Joe's Gaming Blog

A collection of game night sessions and other gaming subjects that I hope folks find interesting (because I do!) :D

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February Was Rough!

Joseph Peterson
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Round Rock
Texas
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I just wanted to drop by and leave a quick update. If you follow my blog, you've probably noticed I've been pretty quiet this past month. And with only four games being played the entire month, there hasn't been much to write about. Needless to say, it's been a bit rough.

Work conflicts, sickness, and more have plagued us all February and it hasn't been much fun. Hopefully, March will fare better for us. However, I'm not yet sure as things are always changing around here. I guess it's true, sometimes life can get in the way of living.

In any case, I'm looking forward to the year and once we get over this little bump in the road, I'm sure there will be more gaming for us in the future. Until next time, take care!
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Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:01 am
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Comment Corner - January 2016

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Microbadge: Green Bay Packers fanMicrobadge: Breaking Bad fanMicrobadge: 2015 "100 games X 1 challenge" participantMicrobadge: Platinum Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: 2015 Secret Santa participant
Board Game: Karuba
Karuba - 9.2 - Game of the Month - Best Quality

I love Haba, so maybe I'm biased, but Karuba is an excellent game. To have all players start out the same, with the same goals and the same ways to reach those goals and then see how everyone goes about creating their paths is simply amazing to me. The game's almost like Bingo, but you're creating your Bingo board as you play. I love it, I really do. I haven't been this enamored by a game in awhile. This one really takes the cake.



Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas
Carcassonne: South Seas - 8.8 - Game of the Month Runner-Up

Carcassonne: South Seas is another of many games which take the basics of Carcassonne and tweak them ever so much. The tweak here is collecting resources to be used to gain points. I enjoy not only the art, but the flow of play. The only thing that some may not like is that there is more hidden scoring than in other versions of the game. You're generally not going to have much of an idea of where your opponents are in way of points which may change how players place their tiles. All things considered, I really like it.



Board Game: Wasabi!
Wasabi! - 8.8

Wasabi! (or Sushi! in my case) is like Scrabble, but instead of creating words, players are creating sushi. It's overly (and awesomely) thematic with the menus, wasabi bowls...heck, even the board resembles the sushi rolling mats. Simply great presentation, but it doesn't end there. There's a great game in the package. While some players may get caught up in a tad bit of analysis paralysis, for the most part, turns go by fairly quickly. Great game with excellent gameplay and a really fun theme.



Board Game: Würfel Bingo
Würfel Bingo - 8.6

Yahtzee meets Bingo? That may be the best way to describe Wurfel Bingo. It's a lot of fun to watch how players who all share the same numbers wind up with such different boards at the end of each round. It's also nice that there are both 5x5 and 6x6 boards available allowing the game to change up from time to time. And I love any game that lets me root for the dice to roll a certain way.



Board Game: Blockers!
Blockers! - 8.6

Blockers! is an excellent abstract game which I feel should belong in everyone's collection. It's such an easy game to learn, but it really takes a lot to master it. I really like how the "capture" mechanic works and can be a big decision on whether to take advantage of it or not. While the components are limited, they're functional and the board is made so well, I could imagine playing this on a bumpy road and not running into many issues with jostling pieces. Seriously though, there's an excellent abstract strategy game here that I feel has been overlooked. It plays well from 2 - 5 and certainly plays different at each count. Lovely little game.



Board Game: Clue: The Great Museum Caper
Clue: The Great Museum Caper - 8.5 - Most Thematic

Clue: The Great Museum Caper is my first try at hidden movement and what a great introduction it was. I feel like the game is more balanced towards a full four player count, but works very well at two and three. I love the dynamic of thief versus captors and the flow of the game works really well. There's also a good amount of luck in that thieves may find themselves caught almost immediately just depending on how things turn out. At the same time, a thief may be able to clear out a whole side of the museum without even being seen. I like it though. It plays quick and, after one game, everyone wants a shot at being the thief.



Board Game: Wizard
Wizard - 8.5

Who would've thought adding 8 cards to a deck would create such an interesting game? Wizard is a basic trick-taking game with betting which changes one thing: The trump can be trumped. It's one of the most unpredictable card games I've ever played. As someone who grew up on card games, I don't know why this one never hit the table. It's now going to be permanently in reach of my person everywhere I go. I really like it.



Board Game: Serengeti
Serengeti - 8.4

Serengeti may just be the most clever bidding game I've yet to play. I love how when players gain a card, their bid can no longer end in the number displayed. As the game plays on, this can really change how bids may normally have gone. Also, payouts work in an amazing way, which again makes people think twice about their bids, hoping not to pay out their entire bid to one player. It fits the same niche as a game like No Thanks! and shares (or may even excel) in having a very clever mechanic to keep the bidding interesting throughout.



Board Game: The Climbers
The Climbers - 8.2

The Climbers is an abstract game that not only looks great, but plays great. It's a heck of a thing to have so many moves at the beginning and watch as those moves slowly slip away as the structure grows in height. The only thing that's a little unfortunate is that not all the pieces are perfect in that sometimes when the stacks grow, they tend to lean a bit. This doesn't necessarily break the game, but can result in a possible crashing of blocks and unintentionally end the game. Otherwise, a really great game with really nifty components. I love those ladders.



Board Game: The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
The Great Heartland Hauling Co. - 8.2

I haven't played many "pick-up and deliver" games, but if they're all at least somewhat like The Great Heartland Hauling Co., I think I'm going to have a good time. As for Great Heartland, what a neat idea. From the building of the map to moving trucks around, loading and unloading product, it's just a lot of fun. It's one of those games where you feel like it's going to take forever and then all of a sudden it's the end of the game. It's a whole lot of management as well. You can end the game, but if you've got a lot of product left in your semi, you'll probably lose due to the penalty. It's a great little game.



Board Game: Kreuzwort
Kreuzwort - 8.2

Kreuzwort is an excellent alternative to games such as Scrabble and adds in a neat element of rolling dice instead of drawing from a bag to pick letters. While it's solitaire, it's fun to go up against others and seeing what everyone does with the letters that have come up throughout the game. Since each turn there are two choices of letter, everyone's end game boards can look completely different and still find success with their own strategy. I also think the addition of the "?" wild roll is great and can come in handy when it's available. I really enjoy it and can see it going well with any player count.



Board Game: Montego Bay
Montego Bay - 7.5 - Best Art

Montego Bay is a light, family style game that not only looks beautiful, but plays well too. Now, there's not much for strategy here as it's mostly a guessing game, but that doesn't make for a bad time. While there is the chaos of movement on the pier, there is strategy which exists in placing barrels on the boats. As for player count, playing at any count other than three is going to make for a less enjoyable time, but the game does function at 4 (extreme chaos) and 2 (though barely). While it's not a game I'll return to often, it's one I can see myself enjoying each time it comes off the shelf (as long as there are three to play it).



Board Game: King Up!
King Up! - 6.8

King Up! is a voting game which adds in a small heap of bluffing which can really turn things on their head. The game is generally chaos no matter the player count, but seems to play better in the 4 or 5 player range. As much as I enjoyed it, which I did for the most part, I felt as if there was something missing. When we finished our first game, we were like, "Is that it?". And even with further plays, yep, that's pretty much it.
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Mon Feb 1, 2016 6:01 am
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Game Night January 24 - Four Fun, Quick German Games

Joseph Peterson
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Board Game: Serengeti
This week's Game Night we started out with Serengeti, an auction card game where players are trying to buy cards to make sets, but there's more to it than just that.

Players receive 10 coins each. The remaining coins are placed aside to make up the bank. The cards are shuffled and placed in a face down stack in the center of the table. A start player is chosen and the game begins.

Each round, a number of cards will be flipped from the top of the deck and shown face up. The pattern of cards will start out with one card, move to two cards, then three and then repeat the pattern with 1, 2, 3 over and over.

In the first round, the starting player will start the bid for this card. As in other auction games, bids will go around the table until everyone has passed. If on a player's first turn to bid they choose to pass, they receive 2 coins from the bank. The player who wins the bid will then split up the total bid between the players equally. Any remainder is returned to the bank. For instance, in a four player game, the winning bid is four coins. Each other player than the winner receives one coin and the fourth coin is placed in the bank.

The player who won the auction will now flip two cards off the top of the deck and start the bidding. Here is where the game begins to change. When bidding, players have forbidden numbers that their bid cannot end in. For instance, if the player who won the previous auction won a 2, he may no longer bid 2, 12, 22, etc coins. As players continue to obtain cards, these forbidden bids will continue to grow and players may be in situations where they will need to bid multiple coins more than they have without the forbidden numbers.

These cards also may provide players with larger payouts. Whenever a player wins an auction with a bid, players who own the card with the number of the bid receive the payout. For instance, our player with the "2", if someone were to win the next bid with 12 coins, all 12 coins would be paid to the player holding the "2".

If multiple players own the card, the total is split between the players equally based on how many of the card they hold. Let's say one player has two "2"s and another has one "2", for a winning bid of 12, the player with two "2"s would receive 8 coins, and the other player would receive 4.

Players will continue to bid on cards until the deck has been exhausted. At this time, they will score based on how many cards of a set they have collected. The player who held the most coins at the end of the game receives 3 bonus points. The player with the highest score wins. For ties, the player with the most cards wins. If still tied, the player with the most coins wins.

Serengeti may just be the most clever bidding game I've yet to play. I love how when players gain a card, their bid can no longer end in the number displayed. As the game plays on, this can really change how bids may normally have gone. Also, payouts work in an amazing way, which again makes people think twice about their bids, hoping not to pay out their entire bid to one player. It fits the same niche as a game like No Thanks! and shares (or may even excel) in having a very clever mechanic to keep the bidding interesting throughout.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Kreuzwort
Next up, we played Kreuzwort. In this dice game, players are rolling dice and trying to build words on their own personal crossword board.

All players receive a sheet with a 5x5 grid and something to write with. The five dice are set out on the table and play begins.

Players will take turns rolling the dice. After rolling, they will check the dice to see which dice they will receive a letter from. One of the dice has two colored arrows on each side. Depending on how this die rolls, the players will choose between the letters on those colored dice. For instance, if the die shows an orange and white arrow, players will choose either the letter on the white die or the letter on the orange die. Whatever their choice, they will put the letter anywhere onto their grid. The next player rolls the die and the game continues.

Players are trying to build as long a word as they can on their grid. Being able to complete a 5 letter word will net them 10 points. Players will also score for shorter words in case they just can't get the right letters to show up.

The white die has a special "?" on it that acts as a wild. When the white die is available for use and the "?" shows, players may place any letter of their choice on their grid.

Play will continue until all 25 spots have been filled up on their board. At this time, each player will score their boards depending on how long of a word they have put on each row and column. After scoring, the player with the most points wins.

Kreuzwort is an excellent alternative to games such as Scrabble and adds in a neat element of rolling dice instead of drawing from a bag to pick letters. While it's solitaire, it's fun to go up against others and seeing what everyone does with the letters that have come up throughout the game. Since each turn there are two choices of letter, everyone's end game boards can look completely different and still find success with their own strategy. I also think the addition of the "?" wild roll is great and can come in handy when it's available. I really enjoy it and can see it going well with any player count.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: King Up!
We then moved on to King Up!, a bluffing game where players are voting for the successor of the crown.

Players choose their color and receive a "Yes" vote card in the color chosen. The "No" vote cards are split up equally among the players. The character tokens are placed near the board. The goal cards are shuffled up. The game begins.

The game takes place over three rounds. To set up each round, each player receives a goal card for the round. These cards have six characters on them. Players will score points at the end of the round based on where these characters are out on the board.

After receiving their goal, players will take turns placing one of the characters onto the board in any room other than the throne room. When placing characters, no more than four tokens may be placed in the same room. Once all players have placed equal number of characters onto the board, any leftovers are placed in the "0" room.

The starting player goes first. On their turn, a player will move a character up one floor on the board. For instance, a character in the "1" floor may be moved up to the "2". Players must keep in mind the rule that no more than four characters can be in the same room.

When a player moves a character into the throne room, play stops for a moment in order to have a vote. The player whose turn it is receives the crown (to remind players of whose turn is next). Now, all players look at their secret goal card and choose a "Yes" or "No" vote card based on if they'd like the current character in the throne room to be king.

Players now reveal their votes simultaneously. If all players choose "Yes", the round ends and players score. However, if any player has voted "No", the character in the throne room is removed from the board and is out of the game for the remainder of the round. Any "No" votes are discarded and "Yes" votes are taken back into hand.

The round will continue until all players have voted "Yes". Players now reveal their secret goal cards and receive points based on the position their characters on their goal cards are at on the board. The King provides 10 points and points are distributed from 5 to 0 below him or her. After scoring, players set up for the next round.

The game will last three rounds. Once scoring has completed at the end of the third round, the player with the most points wins.

King Up! is a voting game which adds in a small heap of bluffing which can really turn things on their head. The game is generally chaos no matter the player count, but seems to play better in the 4 or 5 player range. As much as I enjoyed it, which I did for the most part, I felt as if there was something missing. When we finished our first game, we were like, "Is that it?". And even with further plays, yep, that's pretty much it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Würfel Bingo
We ended the night with Würfel Bingo, a game in which players are trying to score the most points by filling out their Bingo boards.

All players receive a bingo card and a dry-erase pen. Players choose whether to play on the 5x5 or 6x6 side and place their board accordingly. A start player is chose and handed the cup and the two dice. The game begins.

On their turn, the roller will roll the dice. Players then total the dice and place that number somewhere on their board. Throughout play, players are attempting to build up twins, two twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, full houses, and five-number straights (with or without a 7) so placement becomes more important as the game goes on.

Once all 25 (or 36) squares have been filled up on their boards, players score each line (including diagonals). The scores for each line are added up and placed on the "Round 1" area. Players play two more rounds and the player with the most points at the end of the third round wins.

For the 6x6 board, additional combinations include 3 twins, 2 triplets, six of the same, big full house and six-number straight.

Yahtzee meets Bingo? That may be the best way to describe Wurfel Bingo. It's a lot of fun to watch how players who all share the same numbers wind up with such different boards at the end of each round. It's also nice that there are both 5x5 and 6x6 boards available allowing the game to change up from time to time. And I love any game that lets me root for the dice to roll a certain way.



From gallery of joeincolorado




So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time bidding for treasures, creating cross words, voting for the king and creating bingos with dice. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:11 am
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Game Night January 17 - Blocking Wizards in Montego Bay

Joseph Peterson
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Board Game: Montego Bay
This week's Game Night we started out with Montego Bay, a game where players are loading barrels onto ships as they head off from the harbor.

Players start out by setting the board on its correct side for the player count (2/3 player or 4 player on the other side). After doing this, set up begins by shuffling up the barrel tokens and placing them out onto the center of the board in any random order. After this, players will choose their color and place their large and small workers in their starting buildings. All players receive a deck of ten cards which will be used to move their workers as well as 16 barrels of their color. The starting boat is placed out on dock 1 and the other boats are shuffled. Depending on player count, players will pick the yellow or red side of the boats to use for the game. Three boats will be placed out on docks 2, 3 and 4. The remaining boats are split up into two equal stacks and set aside. Turn order tokens in each player's color are shuffled and placed out to mark the order of turn for the first round. The tally man is set out on his starting box. Lazy Jack and the money are set aside. Finally, the players place their score token on the beach. Play begins.

Every round begins with seeing if players are able to use Lazy Jack. Lazy Jack gives players a third worker for one round. If a player has three coins, he can hire Lazy Jack. If several players want to (and can) use Lazy Jack, the player with the fewest points gets priority over the others.

Next, players will simultaneously choose one card for each worker (a big and small, and a third card if they have Lazy Jack this round) and place them face down onto the table. If a player has Lazy Jack, they show the movement card they chose and move him first. Otherwise, in turn order, players reveal their card and move their worker.

When moving, players move their worker the number of spots displayed on the card in the direction of the arrow and place their worker at the spot once running out of movement. If vacant, this ends their movement phase. If another worker is at the location, that worker is moved across from the spot to the other side of the board and the spot will now belong to the player who just moved. If the spot across from the board is not vacant, the moving player must move back to the next free space moving opposite the direction of the arrow.

Once all players have moved, play moves to the loading phase. In order from the location of the tally man and moving in the opposite direction of the arrow, players will take the action as displayed by the spot they ended movement on with their worker.

For barrels, players will move the number of barrels shown on the board onto any vacant spots on any boats. For broken barrels, players must move that number of barrels off the boat (if they have any to move). For silver coins, players take one coin from the supply.

At any time, if a player has completely filled up a boat while loading, the boat immediately leaves harbor and points are given. The points are listed on each boat. For majority, players receive the higher total listed and so on for 2nd most and 3rd most (in four player games). The score token is moved along the score track on the beach. The player who placed the final barrel in a boat prior to scoring receives 1 additional point. After scoring the boat, the other boats move ahead up to the next dock and a new boat enters dock 4.

Once the tally man has made his way around the dock, he moves back onto his box. Now, the boat at dock 1 is scored and leaves harbor. No players receive the one bonus point for being last to load this boat. After scoring, all boats are moved forward with a new boat entering dock 4.

Before starting the next round, the turn order token in the back is moved to the front of the line and all tokens move backward. So, in a 3-player game, the worker who went last will now go first in the next round. Whenever the first stack of ships is emptied during the final phase of the round, the turn order markers are shuffled and placed back out randomly setting up a completely new turn order for the 2nd half of the game.

The game will end once there are 3 ships or less at the harbor after the loading phase. Any ships left at a dock are scored. If all boats are gone but a player still has barrels to load, they are delivered to the tavern for some victory points, majority receiving more points than those with less barrels. The player with the most victory points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most coins wins.

Montego Bay is a light, family style game that not only looks beautiful, but plays well too. Now, there's not much for strategy here as it's mostly a guessing game, but that doesn't make for a bad time. While there is the chaos of movement on the pier, there is strategy which exists in placing barrels on the boats. As for player count, playing at any count other than three is going to make for a less enjoyable time, but the game does function at 4 (extreme chaos) and 2 (though barely). While it's not a game I'll return to often, it's one I can see myself enjoying each time it comes off the shelf (as long as there are three to play it).



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Blockers!
Next up, we played Blockers!. This is an abstract game where players are trying to have the fewest groups of tiles on the board.

Players start out by setting out the board. Everyone receives tiles in their player color and a tile holder. Players shuffle up their tiles and set out 5 onto the holder. The game begins with the starting player.

On their turn, a player must choose one of their five tiles and place it onto the board. Each tile has either a letter from "A" - "I", a number from "1" - "9", or one of nine symbols. When placing the tile, it must be placed in a spot on the board that matches it. For instance, when placing a "1" tile, the player is able to place it in any vacant spot in the "1" row. After placing their tile, the player will draw a new tile onto their holder and end their turn. There is one "Blockers" tile which acts as a wild and may be placed anywhere on the board.

When placing a tile, players may wish to (or have to) move another player's tile off the board. When doing this, players cannot break up their opponents' groupings, but are free to pull tiles they won't split up a group. When taking the tile, the replace the removed tile with their own and hold on to the removed tile for end game scoring.

Players will continue playing until all tiles have been drawn. At this time, each player receives one last turn and will end the game with four unused tiles. Players will now score one point for each of their groupings on the board. A grouping can be multiple tiles or just one. They then score whichever color tiles they hold majority in. Their final score is the combination of these two scores. The player with the lowest score wins. In case of a tie, the player who had the fewest total captures wins.

Blockers! is an excellent abstract game which I feel should belong in everyone's collection. It's such an easy game to learn, but it really takes a lot to master it. I really like how the "capture" mechanic works and can be a big decision on whether to take advantage of it or not. While the components are limited, they're functional and the board is made so well, I could imagine playing this on a bumpy road and not running into many issues with jostling pieces. Seriously though, there's an excellent abstract strategy game here that I feel has been overlooked. It plays well from 2 - 5 and certainly plays different at each count. Lovely little game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Wizard
Moving along, we played Wizard, a card game where players bid and take tricks, hoping to match their bids to make the most points over several rounds.

One player takes the score pad. A player is chosen as dealer and shuffles the 60-card deck. He then begins by dealing one card to each player. The top card of the deck is flipped (this card shows what suit is trump) and the game begins.

The player to the left of the dealer will begin by stating their bid. Players are bidding on how many tricks they believe they will win. For the first turn, they'll bid "1" or "zero". These bids are marked on the score pad. After everyone has bid, the player to the left of the dealer plays. As in other trick-taking games, the opening card marks what suit must be played for the turn. If a player does not have the suit, they play another card of any suit, possibly the trump. After everyone has played a card, whoever won the trick takes the cards and starts the next turn.

Players will play out the round until all cards have been played. At this time, players go around stating how many tricks they took. If they matched their bid, they score 20 points plus ten points for each trick they collected. If they missed their bid, they lose ten points for each trick they collected from their bid amount. For instance, if a player bid three and took two tricks, they would score -10. The same score would occur for a player who bid three and took four tricks.

After scoring for the round, the player to the left of last round's dealer becomes the dealer this round and deals out one extra card from the previous round. For instance, in round 2, the dealer will deal out 2 cards to each player.

The big thing that changes how the game differs from just a regular trick-taker is in the addition of the Wizards and Jesters. The first Wizard played in a turn will always win the trick. Jesters can be considered the lowest card in the deck and will lose a trick if played. However, if all players play a Jester, the player who first played will win the trick.

When Wizards show up when showing the trump for the round, the dealer will be able to choose the trump suit. When Jesters show up, there is no trump for the round.

Play will continue until the final round where all cards are dealt out to the players. After completion of this round, final scores are tallied and the player with the most points wins.

Who would've thought adding 8 cards to a deck would create such an interesting game? Wizard is a basic trick-taking game with betting which changes one thing: The trump can be trumped. It's one of the most unpredictable card games I've ever played. As someone who grew up on card games, I don't know why this one never hit the table. It's now going to be permanently in reach of my person everywhere I go. I really like it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing August. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for July here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - August



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time loading barrels in chaos, blocking opponents from grouping up, taking tricks with our Wizards and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:36 am
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Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - August

Joseph Peterson
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This is an entry that I will update weekly as my group makes our way through Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Please keep in mind that there are multiple spoilers so, if you do not wish to have any information of what occurs in the game, I suggest skipping over this entry and not reading. However, should you wish to have the game spoiled, or if you're just interested in our game, continue reading!

August - Medic Reporting

From gallery of joeincolorado
After taking a short leave, I've returned to the team to provide assistance once again. As we headed out to Atlanta, we were informed of a new objective, to seek out an immunologist who is able to fashion a vaccine for COdA. I understand a virologist has recently been found and that the search was quicker than expected. Hopefully, the same will be said for seeking out the immunologist. We were also informed that eradication of disease is no longer a priority.

From Atlanta, I pushed through the barricades south of the border and into Mexico City and began pushing through the Faded cities, slowly uncovering what I believed to be the location of the immunologist. As I searched, the Quarantine Specialist and Researcher began working on curing the diseases. Sadly, after making some headway, I had to abandon my search as Faded started to raid my position. As I pulled out, the Researcher took over the search.

His search was coming to a head and was close to where we believe the immunologist was. Sadly, with news of our third epidemic, the trail went cold and he had to pull out and assist with our other objectives. Our main focus was now on curing the three diseases and quarantining seven Faded cities (something we've never done).



From gallery of joeincolorado
We were able to quickly cure the black and red diseases, even eradicating the latter and focused on a cure for blue. In the meantime, our quarantine specialist moved down into the Faded zone and began to quarantine areas like crazy. Not only is she able to call in a quarantine from any location (once per turn), she can now call in quarantines from a military headquarter to any adjacent city.

As the researcher and I finished up our research on the cure for blue, the quarantine specialist finished quarantining four locations adjacent to Bogota. With this, we were successful with the completion of our objectives and pulled back out and into safer zones.

As we ready ourselves for September, we've found that the virologist may be joining our team. I look forward to seeing if her expertise may be needed as we continue into the final third of the year.

Medic out.
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Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:36 am
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Ten Favorite Designers - Another Revisit

Joseph Peterson
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Just to give some background on this list, last year I put up a list of my favorite designers after a year in the hobby. I revisited the list again 6 months later. I've decided now, with this third entry, to try and do an update to the list every 6 months or so as a way to track such things. It interests me to see how tastes change over time and so hopefully this list proves as some sort of time capsule of interests.

10 - Ludovic Maublanc

Favorite game: Dice Town

My first introduction to Maublanc's games was Le Fantôme de l'Opéra which was very enjoyable and hit #77 on my 2014 top 100 favorite games of all time list. Since then, games like Dice Town and Terror in Meeple City have found their way onto our table and have also been well received and become some of our favorites. Of the games I've yet to try of his, I'd most like to check out Cyclades as I've heard such great things about it and I'm a fan of Greek mythology.

9 - Ted Alspach

Favorite game: Suburbia

Suburbia was the first game I had played of Ted's designs and actually one of the first board games I had played when getting back into the hobby. It was a lot for me to take in, but was incredibly enjoyable and remains a top 20 game for me. I've also really enjoyed One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Ticked Off and bring them out whenever we have a crowd. Castles of Mad King Ludwig is one of the games I've yet to play, but most interests me.

8 - Dominique Ehrhard

Favorite game: Marrakech

The first of Dominique's games I played was Kimaloé and was one of my top 50 favorite games in 2014. Since then, Marrakech is the one which has become a favorite of mine and one of those games that does "roll-and-move" right. Of the games I've yet to try, Condottiere strikes me as most interesting with its mix of auctioning and area control.

7 - Steve Finn

Favorite game: Biblios

For the first year or so when I came into the hobby, all I ever heard about was Biblios. However, for the longest time, it was out of print and rather expensive to obtain. I was finally able to get my hands on a reprint and it was my first, and favorite, game of Steve's. Of the games I've yet to try, I'd most like to play Capo Dei Capi. It has an awesome theme of rivaling mobsters that sounds like it should really hit the mark for me.

6 - Mike Fitzgerald

Favorite game: Mystery Rummy: Escape from Alcatraz

The first of Mike's games I had ever played was Diamonds. We had played it over the Christmas holidays in 2014 and had a blast with it. Since then, I've been enamored with the Mystery Rummy series, particularly Escape from Alcatraz. I'd like to dive deeper into the series and try them all out in the future. Also, Baseball Highlights: 2045 seems right up my alley as a baseball fan.

5 - Richard Garfield

Favorite game: King of Tokyo

The game most synonymous with Richard Garfield is Magic: The Gathering and one I enjoyed quite a lot as a teen in the 90s. Nowadays though, it's all about those monsters attacking Tokyo and New York. I lean more towards King of Tokyo though as it's more easy to get players familiar with the system, but New York is a great leap from the bases. As far as other games that interest me, I'd have to go with Treasure Hunter. Not only does it seem a game that should do well for my family, but the art is excellent.

4 - Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

Favorite game: The Downfall of Pompeii

Anyone who has been following my blog, particular in the past couple of months, might have noticed all the different types of Carcassonne we've been playing. It's a game I've fallen in love with and am amazed by all its variants that keep the bases, but still make the game different and interesting. However, what puts Klaus on this list is The Downfall of Pompeii. It's quite possibly my favorite game I've ever played. Of the non-Carcassonne games I've yet to play, Rapa Nui most interests me with its Easter Island theme.

3 - Phil Walker-Harding

Favorite game: Cacao

Sushi Go! was the first of Phil's games I had played and it introduced me to the drafting mechanism. Cacao is the game though that has made me really appreciate Phil's designs. It's a completely new take on tile laying that I had never played before. Aside from wanting to try out the expansion from Cacao, Cacao: Chocolatl, Dungeon Raiders also looks to be a lot of fun.

2 - Uwe Rosenberg

Favorite game: Patchwork

I haven't played many of Uwe's games, but the ones I've played, I've incredibly enjoyed. While Patchwork is my favorite, I also love Bohnanza and think it's one of the best designed card games I've ever played. Since there's so many games I've yet to play, I think what I'd most want to is Caverna: The Cave Farmers. I've just heard so much about it, it would be nice to actually try it out.

1 - Matt Leacock

Favorite game: Pandemic

I was first introduced to Matt's designs through Forbidden Island and it proved to be a great hit in our home. We then moved to Pandemic and that's where we found true greatness. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is what we've been playing for the past couple of months and it's been a real joy. While it's not yet eked out Pandemic as my favorite, it's getting there. Of those I've yet to play, I'd most like to try out Forbidden Desert.

So that's my favorite ten designers as of now. Who are some of your favorites? What's your favorite game of theirs and which ones that you haven't played would you like to? Let me know in the comments. Thanks as always for stopping by and checking out the post. Take care!
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Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:44 am
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Game Night January 9 - Karuba Wasabi Climbers

Joseph Peterson
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Board Game: Wasabi!
This week's Game Night we started out with Wasabi!, a game all about assembling sushi.

Players will start out by setting out the board on the table. Ingredients will be set out to one side of the board, making up the kitchen. Recipe cards will be placed above or below the board. Bonus cards and wasabi cubes will also be set to the side. Everyone receives a menu, a bowl and ten tokens in their color (representing points for recipe completion). Each player chooses three ingredients (other than Rice or Maki) and pass them to the player to their left. This will be the starting ingredients. Players will then choose a starting player who will choose three recipe cards and place them in his menu. The other players, in turn order, will do the same. The game now begins with the starting player.

On their turn, the player will play an ingredient onto the board. Depending on player count, players will be limited to sections of the board (in four player games, players use the whole board). After placement of an ingredient, the player will show if they have completed a recipe from their menu. If not, he will choose a new ingredient and play will move to the next player. If the ingredient creates a successful recipe, some things will happen:

When a player finishes a recipe, he will pull the recipe card from the menu and show it. The player will take the token matching the ingredient count of the recipe and flip it to its point side. If the recipe was completed in order as stated on the card, players will receive a bonus of wasabi cubes as dictated on their token.

Once the player has scored his recipe, he can then choose one bonus card. The player will then fill back up his menu to three recipes and ingredients to a total of three. Play will move on to the next player.

Once a player has made recipes for his tokens of one count (2, 3, 4 or 5), he can no longer make recipes of that count.

Bonus cards change how the game is played. There are five bonuses each with a different action players can take on their turn upon playing the bonus card. The bonuses are:

Stack: Allows player to place their ingredient on top of another ingredient already on the board.
Switch: Allows swapping of two adjacent ingredients
Chop: Allows the removal of an ingredient to be used on the player's turn or placed back in the kitchen.
Spicy: Allows placement of two ingredients
Wasabi: The player receives one wasabi cube. The card is placed onto the board, covering up four spaces. Until it is removed, players cannot interact with the covered spaces and if any ingredients are covered, they cannot be used to complete a recipe.

Play will continue until either a player completes all 10 recipes or all spaces on the board have been covered. For the latter, players will count up their chip totals along with one point for each wasabi cube. The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most wasabi cubes wins.

Wasabi! is like Scrabble, but instead of creating words, players are creating sushi. It's overly (and awesomely) thematic with the menus, wasabi bowls...heck, even the board resembles the sushi rolling mats. Simply great presentation, but it doesn't end there. There's a great game in the package. While some players may get caught up in a tad bit of analysis paralysis, for the most part, turns go by fairly quickly. Great game with excellent gameplay and a really fun theme.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Karuba
Next up, we played Karuba. In this game, players are racing to discover treasures and reach temples before their opponents.

All players receive a board, four explorers and four temples (one of each color) and a set of tiles in their chosen color. The gems are set out in the center of the table. The temple idols are then set out in a stack from high to low. There will be as many idols as there are players.

Players will now take turns around the table setting up their board. Starting with the first player, he will choose an explorer and temple of the same color and place them onto the board. Explorers must be on the beach and temples must be in the jungle. Also, temples must be spaced out at least three tiles from the location of an explorer. Once each explorer/temple has been placed out on each player's board, all boards will be the exact same.

Now, one player is chosen to be the leader. This player will flip over all his tiles and shuffle them. The other players will set out their tiles face up in order to grab them as they are called. Play begins.

For each turn, the leader will take a tile and call out its number to all players. All players will now either set the tile on their board or discard it.

Players are free to place tiles as they wish with no need to worry of blocking roads due to their placement. The only rule for placement is that the tile cannot be placed in any other direction but with the number facing correctly towards the player. When placing a tile with a gem on it, players will place the appropriate gem on the tile (either diamond or gold).

When discarding a tile, players are able to move an explorer a number of spaces equal to the exits on the tile. For instance, for a tile that has a road heading north to south, players would move two spaces. Players can collect gems when moving, but must end their movement on the tile they wish to collect the gem from. They can then place this gem on on their board on the face of the explorer who collected the gem.

Explorers must head to the temple of their color. Players will need to be careful of their placement as they may accidentally block progress of an explorer.

When a player reaches a temple, they take the topmost available idol from the table. If multiple players reach the same color temple on the same turn, one player will take the idol while the others will take the next idol along with crystals equaling the total of the idol.

The game will end either when a player has reached all four temples with their explorers or when all 36 tiles have been called by the leader. At this time, players will count up their idol totals along with their gems (1 point for diamonds, 2 for gold). The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player who placed the most jungle tiles on their board will win.

I love Haba, so maybe I'm biased, but Karuba is an excellent game. To have all players start out the same, with the same goals and the same ways to reach those goals and then see how everyone goes about creating their paths is simply amazing to me. The game's almost like Bingo, but you're creating your Bingo board as you play. I love it, I really do. I haven't been this enamored by a game in awhile. This one really takes the cake.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: The Climbers
Moving along, we played The Climbers, a game where players are climbing up a structure they are slowly taking apart and building back up throughout play. It comes in a snazzy orange shoe box.

Players start by setting up the blocks. The two long, gray blocks are placed vertically and adjacent to each other on the table. Players now use the remaining blocks to build around the gray blocks, making sure no parts of these blocks are visible. When building the structure at the beginning of the game and throughout play, players cannot create gaps in which a block is being used as a sort of bridge. Once the structure is built, players randomly take a climber of any color along with its matching circular "blocking" token and a short and tall ladder. The game begins with the starting player.

On their turn, the player takes a vacant block from anywhere on the structure and places it in a way so that they may (hopefully) move their climber up and up the structure. When moving their climber, players can only move up (without ladders) one step. A step would be considered half a cube. Players are only able to move onto blocks of their climber's color or gray blocks. Multiple players can stand on a gray block (up to four total on one block).

During play, players are able to use their ladders to go up larger steps that equal two or higher steps. Their short ladder can go up two steps and their long ladder can go up to four. Once used, ladders are taken out of play.

Players may also use their blocking token once per game. After taking their turn, they place the blocking token on any block of their choice. This block cannot be used during their opponents' turns during this round.

Players are always allowed to pass if they are unable to move up or simply do not wish to. For the end of the game to occur, all players would have to pass. At this time, the player who is highest up on the structure wins.

The Climbers is an abstract game that not only looks great, but plays great. It's a heck of a thing to have so many moves at the beginning and watch as those moves slowly slip away as the structure grows in height. The only thing that's a little unfortunate is that not all the pieces are perfect in that sometimes when the stacks grow, they tend to lean a bit. This doesn't necessarily break the game, but can result in a possible crashing of blocks and unintentionally end the game. Otherwise, a really great game with really nifty components. I love those ladders.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing July. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for July here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - July



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time making sushi, searching for treasures, climbing and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:53 am
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Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - July

Joseph Peterson
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This is an entry that I will update weekly as my group makes our way through Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Please keep in mind that there are multiple spoilers so, if you do not wish to have any information of what occurs in the game, I suggest skipping over this entry and not reading. However, should you wish to have the game spoiled, or if you're just interested in our game, continue reading!

July - Operations Expert Reporting

From gallery of joeincolorado
This is my first mission. I've just recently joined the team, but have been well briefed by the head medic. The Researcher and Quarantine Specialist have worked together on several missions and I will try to add my experiences and expertise to the team. I'm not sure how long I'll be here, but will contribute as needed.

Upon my arrival in Atlanta, we were informed of a missing virologist who was last seen in the Faded region while attempting to treat COdA. I requested to lead the search given my familiarity with South America and I had a hunch to head in that direction. During the search, the other two traveled to Asia to deal with the black disease



From gallery of joeincolorado
I quickly rushed to Sao Paulo and began the search at their local Research Center. With nothing uncovered, I headed west to Buenos Aires and struck pay dirt. In what seemed no time at all, I had found her huddled in the nearly deserted Research Center. She quickly briefed me on her findings and we sent her back to Atlanta while I traveled off to Kolkata to assist in the remaining objectives.

With the Virologist found, we were able to focus on curing black and red, and were even successful in eradicating the red virus for the time being. In the meantime, we started having multiple outbreaks of COdA from Mexico City south to Santiago. Luckily, with roadblocks having been set up in previous months, we were able to avoid an invasion of the Faded further into North America.

Blue gave us the most trouble, but with clever use of quarantines shared knowledge, we were able to cure it, thus completing the mandatory objective of curing the three.

For my first time out, I'd say it was quite a success. My biggest fears are that we will soon be completely losing the Faded region. I'm not sure when or if the medic will return, but I'll stay strong in the meantime, especially since I now have training in Paramilitary Escort. Perhaps we can find some success with cleaning up the Faded region after all. Only time will tell.

Operations Expert out.
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Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:46 am
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Game Night January 2 - The South Sea Great Heartland Museum Caper

Joseph Peterson
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Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas
This week's Game Night we started out with Carcassonne: South Seas, yet another take on Carcassonne gameplay with a twist of collecting resources and turning them in for points.

Players will shuffle and set out the tiles face down. The start tile is placed in the center of the table. The resources will be separated and the fishing boat tokens will be set aside for later use. The ship tokens are shuffled and placed face down. The top four tiles are flipped face up and laid out. Players receive four islanders in their chosen color and the starting player begins the game.

On their turn, a player will draw a tile and place it next to another tile, being sure it doesn't break any rules for placement. After placing the tile, the player is able to place one of their islanders onto the tile in any chosen spot to represent one of four jobs the islander will perform: Shell Collector, Banana Picker, Merchant, Fisherman. If a player is able to complete a job, they receive their resources and the islander. At the end of their turn, the player can turn in their resources for a point ship to be scored at the end of the game.

Shell Collectors are placed on roads. Once a player completes a road on two ends, they receive as many shells are on the completed road. Banana Pickers are placed on islands. Once a player completes an island, they receive bananas. Merchants are completed by placing eight tiles around it. Once completed, the player takes the highest point ship available. Finally, Fishermen are laid down on their side in the seas. If a sea region is completed or a fishing boat is placed touching the sea region where a fisherman is, players collect fish for as many are in the region. After fish are collected, players will place a fishing boat token on any group of two fish in the region.

Players will play out the game until all tiles have been placed or if all ships have been taken. Players will now score the face value of their ships and receive one point for every three resources they still have. The player with the most points wins.

Carcassonne: South Seas is another of many games which take the basics of Carcassonne and tweak them ever so much. The tweak here is collecting resources to be used to gain points. I enjoy not only the art, but the flow of play. The only thing that some may not like is that there is more hidden scoring than in other versions of the game. You're generally not going to have much of an idea of where your opponents are in way of points which may change how players place their tiles. All things considered, I really like it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
Next up, we played The Great Heartland Hauling Co.. In this game, players are truck drivers moving loading and unloading products across the country.

Players start out by setting up the board using the map cards. For a four-player game, all cards will be used to make up the board. For less players, the board will be using less cards. Once the finished map board for the game is completed, players will place five resource cubes on each city, being sure to match the product for that city card. All players will choose a color and place their semi in the center starting city. They will take their score cards and a score tracker, placing the tracker on the $5 spot. The resource cards are shuffled and five cards are dealt to each player. The deck is placed down with the three top cards being placed face up to the side of the deck. The game begins.

On their turn, a player must move their semi at least one city, but may move up to three. Movement can either be used with the "gas" resource cards or by paying $1 for each city moved to. Players must end their movement in a vacant city, but may move through occupied cities to get to their final destination.

After movement, players may do one of three things. The first thing is they may load their truck. When loading, players will discard cards from their hand matching the product they are loading. They take the cubes from the card and place it onto their truck represented on their score card. Players can never have more than 8 resources on their truck at any time.

Secondly, players may unload their truck. After moving to the city that accepts the product they want to unload, they will discard cards for each cube they are unloading, placing the cubes into the city they are currently at. Players will then move their score cube up representing how much many they made from unloading.

Finally, players can discard cards from their hand, spending a dollar for each discard.

No matter the action the player takes, he must draw cards back into his hand, a maximum of five in hand. When drawing, players may either take cards from the deck or from the three face up cards. If taking a face up card, it is immediately replaced with a new card from the deck.

Players will continue to play until one player has reached the total that triggers the endgame (different for player count). All other players get one more turn and then players tally up their final scores. Players who still have products in their truck lose one dollar for corn or peas and two dollars for cows or pigs. The player with the highest dollar total wins.

I haven't played many "pick-up and deliver" games, but if they're all at least somewhat like The Great Heartland Hauling Co., I think I'm going to have a good time. As for Great Heartland, what a neat idea. From the building of the map to moving trucks around, loading and unloading product, it's just a lot of fun. It's one of those games where you feel like it's going to take forever and then all of a sudden it's the end of the game. It's a whole lot of management as well. You can end the game, but if you've got a lot of product left in your semi, you'll probably lose due to the penalty. It's a great little game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Clue: The Great Museum Caper
Moving along, we played Clue: The Great Museum Caper, a hidden movement game starring the characters from the classic Clue game. To be fair, this game is pretty much a classic as well, being 25 years old this year.

Players determine who will be the thief. This player's goal is to collect as many paintings as they can (or collect three if playing one game) without being caught and successfully escaping the museum. The other players will be trying to stop the thief from doing this.

The players trying to stop the thief will set up the board by placing paintings and cameras onto different spots on the board. They must place at least one painting in each room, but are free to place the other paintings in any room they choose. When setting up cameras, the players will want to be sure they can see multiple areas as during play, players will be able to access these cameras to gain knowledge of where the thief is. The locks are shuffled and placed on the doors and the windows randomly. Finally, the players will choose a color token and place them onto the board.

After board setup, the thief will set up the shield and take a paper that maps out the museum. He will then mark the spots of the cameras as well as the paintings. The game begins with the thief taking his first turn.

The thief marks an "E" on the spot they are entering the museum. Then, the thief is able to move up to 3 spots in the museum. Movement is marked in secret by the thief on his paper. After his move, the first non-thief player will take his turn. The thief will then go after him. Players alternate turns in this order: thief, player 1, thief, player 2, thief, etc.

Thieves are able to collect paintings and disconnect the cameras during their turn. To do either, they must end their turn on the painting or the camera they are interacting with. Paintings are removed from the board after the next thief turn. This means that if a thief stole a painting on their first turn, after their second turn, they will remove the stolen painting from the board. This way, players will have some knowledge of the thief's position, but won't know exactly where he is. However, when disconnecting a camera, the thief doesn't need to let the players know until asked about the camera.

Players, on their turns, will roll the two dice. They can then move up to the number of spaces on the die and then will take the action marked on the other die. This can be one of three actions.

The first action is represent by an eye. Players can either ask if they can see the thief or if a camera can. If asking for themselves, they simply ask the thief "Can I see you?". If not, nothing happens. However, if the thief can be seen, he will place the gray player token onto the board at his location. From this point on, the thief is visible and may be captured by the players.

If asking if a camera can see the thief, players must state the camera they are using and ask if it is still powered. If it is, they then ask if the camera can see the player. If yes or no, the player says so and play continues. The thief does not display his position in these cases. If the camera has been disconnected, it is removed from the board.

Players may also roll a "Scan" action. When this happens, they gain knowledge of all of the cameras. If any are disconnected, the thief removes them. If any of them can see the thief, the thief tells the players which camera sees them.

Finally, players may roll the "M". This is the motion detector. When this is rolled, the thief must state the color of the space he is currently on. To avoid this, the player is allowed to block the motion detector up to two times per game.

The thief is able to shut off the power, thus disconnecting the motion detector and the cameras, by ending their turn on the "P" representing the power room. The thief does not inform the players until they have to due to a player's rolled action.

The thief and players will continue playing. The thief is able to try to escape at any time by using one of the locks. They will flip the lock over and, if it is an "O", they are free to escape. However, if it is "L", they are locked in and must find another exit. If a player ever ends his turn on the thief, the game ends with the thief being nabbed.

Players are able to play multiple games, with players switching the roles of the the thief. The thief who collects the most paintings wins the gaming session. Otherwise, players can play one game with the thief needing three paintings before being able to escape.

Clue: The Great Museum Caper is my first try at hidden movement and what a great introduction it was. I feel like the game is more balanced towards a full four player count, but works very well at two and three. I love the dynamic of thief versus captors and the flow of the game works really well. There's also a good amount of luck in that thieves may find themselves caught almost immediately just depending on how things turn out. At the same time, a thief may be able to clear out a whole side of the museum without even being seen. I like it though. It plays quick and, after one game, everyone wants a shot at being the thief.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing June. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for June here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - June



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time in the south seas, loading and unloading trucks, stealing paintings and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Mon Jan 4, 2016 7:06 am
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Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - June

Joseph Peterson
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Microbadge: Green Bay Packers fanMicrobadge: Breaking Bad fanMicrobadge: 2015 "100 games X 1 challenge" participantMicrobadge: Platinum Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: 2015 Secret Santa participant
This is an entry that I will update weekly as my group makes our way through Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Please keep in mind that there are multiple spoilers so, if you do not wish to have any information of what occurs in the game, I suggest skipping over this entry and not reading. However, should you wish to have the game spoiled, or if you're just interested in our game, continue reading!

June - Medic Reporting

The first part of June, I don't even know if I should mention it. We left out of Atlanta with what has become our go-to team (medic, researcher, and quarantine specialist). We found ourselves nearly immediately overrun with constant outbreaks bursting out from the Faded regions of the map, generally Africa and South America. Before we knew it, we were called back to the base to regroup. We were able to set up some permanent roadblocks and also found out our researcher was a veteran, meaning he can now move between military bases.

From gallery of joeincolorado
The second part of June was much more successful with only one outbreak coming from Los Angeles. North America is seriously just one giant wall separating Canada and northern United States from the rest of the southern hemisphere. We can now say we have successfully contained the Faded into the roadblocked area and now only need to worry for outbreaks in those areas.

We're lucky to have our quarantine specialist. Multiple times she has saved us from outbreaks with her ability to quarantine any city during her actions.

After completing our three objectives, we decided to finish out roadblocking North America and discovered how to cure the Red disease without having it take up a valuable action. We will most likely continue to research and be able to upgrade our abilities with tackling the diseases we are able to treat at this time.

July will soon be here and we will just have to wait to see what it brings.

Medic out.
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Mon Jan 4, 2016 6:00 am
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