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The Semi-Amateur Gamer

A blog from a guy that organizes and plays in a variety of board gaming related events. Somewhat irregular reviews, thoughts on Netrunner events, podcasting, organizing a game group, a small board game convention, and just about whatever else I end up throwing in here. Hope you enjoy!

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Game Design Update

Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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Its been a bit since I have updated on the games I'm in the progress of designing, so I figured I'd spend a couple minutes this morning before heading off to a Memorial Day cookout.

1. Working Title: Lunch Swap. This is the one I've been working on the most. I recently made a significant change on the end game goals, which really helped. It plays and scores in about 15 minutes now which is my goal! I'm considering changing the theme to something a bit more abstract such as "shapes" or maybe a bit more cosmic such as trading celestial bodies like moons, asteroids, and stars. If anyone is interested play testing this please let me know. 3-8 players, 60 cards, and chaotic fun!

2. Working Title: Heptarchy. I've solo played this twice. That really helped. I need to make some significant changes. I now want to add text to the cards, I need a second central board to track stats of each player, and probably need to add more complexity actually. I don't want this one too streamlined. The goal is something bigger than I've ever done.

3. Working Title: Bad Bass Fishin': The Dice Game. I started another design. What the crap. I can't finish anything. This one is a roll & write bass fishing game. It pushes you to go further out in the lake for a bigger fish, but at the risk of not getting back in time when the tournament ends. I'm excited about this one - but of course I've only played the initial prototype and haven't even played it yet.

Then all the others I haven't messed with at all. I've decided game design is more tough than playing games. (You say, "Yeah, duh Adam") After a day of 10.5 hours of work, coaching softball, home improvement projects, volunteering at church, etc. it can just be easier to sit down and fall asleep to Netflix.
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Today 1:43 pm
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Geekway to the West - 2017

Adam Daulton
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I got back a couple days ago from Geekway to the West and as usual I've wrote a geeklist about it. However, for you the readers of this random blog, I thought I'd discuss a bit more. Specifically, I wanted to talk about playing games with a lot of people or just a few at conventions.

Geekway was an great time! It was fun to play a lot of games with my roommates Jason, Cameron, and Jeremy. It was fun to play games with my "St. Louis Friends" that I've played with at Geekway for many years now. However, I still missed playing with so many others. Usually at Geekway I play with a lot more people. When I go to IndyCon I play with a crap ton of people. When I go to Gen Con, because of all the demos, I also play with a whole lot of people. This was an odd Geekway only playing with 14 people.

Something I do enjoy about Geekway and IndyCon though is the open gaming. No real schedule, no real events, just show up and play whatever game you feel like playing with no care in the world. The problem is if you do that, then just like anything else in life, sometimes you don't meet up with that old friend because you are too busy.

So for Geekway 2018, something I'm seriously considering doing, is a games with friends schedule. This will limit my flexibility more, but ensure I get a game in with more folks that I've met there over the years. Not sure how to do this exactly, but perhaps I can combine the different folks together to make it happen. For instance I know Aaron likes Chaos in the Old World and so does Larry, so get them to play it with me. Maybe pick a game like 7 Wonders so a lot get a chance to play all at once. Somehow do all this while I get lots of gaming in with the roommates, St. Louis Friends, and all the new people I'm sure to meet. An impossible task I know.

What about you? When you go to a con do you just go free for all. Do you schedule games by the person you want to play them with or by the game you want to play? Do you play with the same group over and over or do you play with a lot of different people? There isn't a right answer - I've had a blast doing both - just curious what you all think.
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Wed May 24, 2017 1:15 am
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Review: Railroad Revolution

Adam Daulton
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At the last three game days that I've either attended or hosted Railroad Revolution has it the table. So is the game simply taking up space or is it right on my table surface? On to the review!



Game Play
Railroad is at its bare bones an action selection game. Each player has their own board with four actions on it. On their turn they place a meeple on those actions and get different bonus actions based upon the color the of the meeple. Then once you've placed all your meeples you get them back and do it again. Here is a general idea of the actions. I'm sure I won't call them the right names.

The Actions:
Build A Station - You get to build a station at a city to which your rails are connected. At the start of the game you are connected to both DC & Charlotte.

Lay Track - You pay $400 to lay two tracks connected to tracks you already have on the board. With an extra cost of $100 for how difficult the terrain is that you are placing on.

Build A Telegraph Station - You place out on the Western Union telegraph path. It doesn't cost any money, you get some stock, and usually can get rid of a meeple to do something extra.

Get Money - On the players board they have a line of tracks and stations which act as end game trigger. When a player takes this action they remove one of those from the game and take some cash. Then they get to flip a train.

Generally, as the second part of your action, the orange meeples have to do with money, gray ones have to do with stock, while the turquoise and purple ones have a variety of bonuses. The 4 white meeples you start with allow you to promote meeples to complete milestones (as do all the colors).

Non-Actions - But Still Important:

Trains - There are trains that get you bonus actions like more money or more stock. If these are face up at the end of the game they are worth 8 points, but in order to get their actions you have to flip them face down, so constant flipping back and forth.

Deals - There are spaces on the board that triggers deals when something is placed there. A deal is essentially an extra action that you have to pay stock to use. The person that triggers the deal gets to do both actions on the deal card and all other players get to do one of the two actions.

Milestones - Goals that each individual players have such as have a station in a certain level city and be connected to other level cities and promote (remove from your supply forever) an orange meeple to score points.

General Flow of the Game:
Players continue to take actions, occasionally interupted when deals are triggered, until the game ends from placing all rails and stations to the left of their logo. There are bonuses for being the first to place a station in a city or on a telegraph station. There is no limit to who can place at a city or who can connect to a city, just that bonus for being there first.

Scoring:
Once the game end is triggered, players score in six different categories. There are three multiplier tracks that players can move up which gives them points for how many of the three level five cities they are connected to on the board, how many Western Union telegraph stations they have, and how many stations in cities they have. Then players also score points for their face up trains, the milestones they've completed, and for the points between each telegraph station they have placed.



My Thoughts
I've never played another What's Your Game? game. I've really wanted to try Nippon, but still haven't had the chance. I've played the game with three players and with four players and in those games a few things jumped out to me.

First, the game with either count seems to out stay its welcome just a little bit for me. My games have been clocking in at 2.5 hours or so and I really wish they'd last around 2 hours or less.

Second, I like the deals. They help keep all players engaged, even when it is not their turn. They put pressure on you to keep your stock levels at a certain amount so you can participate when others trigger them and get those extra actions.

Third, I love the action selection in this game. It is intriguing trying to balance what action you want to take with what bonus action you want by what color you are placing. The tension is thick in this area. Tough decisions have to be made. You need to promote and orange, but you still need to to place a station cheaply, but you can't get it back until you've gone through all your guys. I really do like this.

Fourth, the board is ugly.

Fifth, I heard on a podcast and then read for myself about the variants approved by the designers. Making it easier to get the milestone you want and also making it cost 10x more than on the board to move up the Western Union multiplier track. Not sure I like the idea of official variants so quickly after publication to fix problems. However, in our last game, all but one player maxed out the Western Union stations but the one who didn't still won the game even without variants. So maybe it is an over reaction.

Finally, I think this comes down for me as a very solid game. Not my favorite, but it has intrigued me enough to play it at back to back to back game days. There are a lot of games out there that I haven't played three times, which at least tells me something. This is probably one that I don't need in my collection, but I'm willing to play it some more with others that own it. Especially with folks that already know the game!



Recommendations
Multi-Player Solitaire Fans - There seems to be very little interaction in this game. The placing first bonus is nice, but not a huge deal. There is no negative for placing rails after others. More often than not, you just make sure you get have stock in case a deal is triggered and you do your thing.

Point Salad Fans - Eh...maybe? It feels very point salad-y to me, but in the end there are only 6 things that score points. Perhaps because there is a ton of those points. The lowest winning score that I've been involved in was 251. The last game I played the winner had over 300 points. So maybe if not a salad, at least you feel like you scored a whole lot no matter what.

Railroad Game Fans - Don't come into this thinking it is a railroad game in the traditional since like Age of Steam or Railways of the World. I'd say even Ticket to Ride feels more like a railroad game then this one. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, just realize this is very much an action selection Euro game with barely any theme in my opinion.

Crunchy Gamers
- Not those gamers who have sat out in the sun too long. No, the other ones, who like big thinky games. I'm think you'll enjoy this one. It actually surprised me a bit. I thought it'd be more light, maybe just because of the artwork, than it was. However, once you get going it really begins to ramp up and you brain gets that tired, burned out feel which is so nice.
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Sun May 14, 2017 2:34 pm
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Parenting Done Right?

Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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For the past month or so we've been playing a lot of Dominion with our 7-year old. Enough that we've just permanently left it set up on my game table and then move it to my work bench should we need to play another game on that table. My daughter Kaylee has been really enjoying it as we've played about 15 games in that amount of time. She has been enjoying it more than I thought though.

Kaylee has a friend named Easton who was over at our house this week. We were watching him while his mom worked that evening. I asked my wife what his mom did for a job and she said something to do with a studio. I then went to Easton to get clarification. He has a hard time pronouncing some words, but said she is a photographer, and then started to explain to me what that means she does. However, Kaylee didn't hear "photographer" she heard "cartographer" and quickly interrupted him saying, "That means she gets to draw 4 cards, discard what she wants, and put the rest back on her deck!"

I'm not sure I've ever been more proud as a gamer dad.
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Sun May 7, 2017 12:50 pm
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Associating Email Signature Block Quotes & Board Games (Part 2)

Adam Daulton
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We're back for a second round! In case you missed it, here is the summary from part 1: Several years ago I started saving email quotes. You know what I'm talking about. That usually meant to be inspiring bit of text after someone's signature block on their email that will say things like "We're all in this together" or perhaps quote some famous person. I saved them, because I thought I'd one day write a blog about them and critique them. I did it once on my general blog a few years ago, now though I thought I'd do it again and give each quote a board game that goes with it. All quotes were received through work in a professional environment. If they attributed the quote to someone, then I included that as well. I left all spelling errors.

"Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone."

This seems like one of those generic quotes. Everyone knows it is a good one and everyone agrees with it, but at the same time, it is just generic which is maybe why the person that emailed it to me didn't attribute it to anyone. I think the board game that goes with this one might be Werewolf - you know - because I'm usually standing alone, but I'm standing up for what is right (in this case I think it is right, because I actually have no idea, I'm just accusing people because it is fun).

"Not as lean, not as mean, but still a Marine."

Yeah, me too buddy, me too. Except for the Marine part. This one makes me think of Ticket to Ride: Europe. It isn't as mean or lean as the original, but it is still basically the original - just with a bit extra around the waist because of the stations making everyone lazy.

"There are no secrets to success-don't waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence." - Colin Powell, Retired U.S. General

I completely agree with this quote. I also think this applies to those life style games we call CCGs or TCGs or LCGs or CDGs (collectable dice game, not card driven game). Android: Netrunner is a perfect example here. You can't play these games half-hearted and do well and for me even really enjoy them fully unless I'm all in. You have to work hard, try and fail, be loyal to the game, and play it over and over again. That is why I must avoid Legend of the Five Rings reprint.

"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again" - William Penn

Another quote I quite enjoy and hopefully carry out well. The perfect game here is Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. You only go through once. Do some good for the world. SAVE US and name a disease while you are at it!

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile" - Mother Teresa

This one seems really similar to William Penn's quote. Instead of a legacy game, I'll choose Egizia here. You gotta go up that river, make the right decisions, because there is no going back down.

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in life you will have been all these"... George Washington Carver

First off, love this dude. PBJs get me through life and my kids through life. Second off, there needs to be more games with PBJs in them. Third off, let's go with Lifeboats on this one. If you aren't all these things and more to everyone in that game then you are shark bait. You might be shark bait anyways.

When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil. ~Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949
In the Year of the Dragon. No doubt on this. Who do you kill, your farmer or your doctor? Who will it be. Like some evil choice laid out in a horror film, but played out on cardboard.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” - Harriet Tubman

Dune is what I immediately thought about. Seems like ti would be a quote at the beginning of a chapter in the book. The game makes sense too. You got to have a plan, you have to be patient, and if you are never out in that game.

If you can't stand behind and support our soldiers, then stand in front of them

Sounds like me in every negotiation game I ever play. New Angeles is one I've only played once, but think if you can't support this agenda then you gonna get hurt!

"Energy follows Focus" What is Your Focus?


I'm using this in next game of Power Grid that I play. With out a doubt.

Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?

This sounds like something my mom would have said to me while I was having a crappy day. It is also something that should be said while playing Chaos in the Old World as Nurgle.

Don't be afraid to see what you see - Facts are stubborn things - Ronald Reagan

Me everytime I play Chinatown since it has an optimum way to make deals.

You never know what lies right around the corner, so never stop believing.


Never stop believing! Just keep going in Can't Stop. It'll turn out just fine. There is no doubt those snake eyes will come up just as you need them to do!

Well, that is it for tonight. Got to be up at 5:45AM, have been on a computer much of the day, and now I have the Journey song stuck in my head.
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Thu May 4, 2017 3:34 am
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Three Plays Series: La Granja: No Siesta

Adam Daulton
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Krista (my wife) and I have committed to playing games three times together and then I (or she) or both will post here about the games. We rotate picking games, they must be playable as 2-player games, and then we'll finish with our ratings as a 2-player game.



Game Overview
La Granja: No Siesta is a spin off in the La Granja themed games. There are two games in that series, so maybe it is just the dice game. I'm sure the card game is coming. In No Siesta you are rolling dice with a different symbol on each of their sticker-ed sides, and then checking off circles on your individual player paper. You score points by collecting sets, being the first to finish certain categories, and by moving your token on the siesta track out in the center of the table. Players also claim roof tiles, get helpers to...well...help them out, and try to score the most points.

How We Obtained It
My wife won a $25 gift card to the Games Preserve at IndyCon by winning the Tichu tournament. She waffled a whole lot on what to buy with it, going back and forth between it and 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon, but ended up with this one because she'd played it twice at IndyCon and really enjoyed it.

Our Three Games
All our games were extremely close. The first two I tried to rush the end by taking all the hats I could take. The last one though we meandered on and I thought I was going to lose by a lot because the wagon deliveries were a last second thought for me, but on the last roll I grabbed all three things I needed to deliver the biggest wagon and scored 13 points off it and the market token I got to place for having 6 roof tiles! I still lost on tie breaker.

Game 1
Adam 49
Krista 45

Game 2
Krista 52
Adam 50

Game 3
Krista 74 TB
Adam 74

Our Thoughts
Krista was the real driver for getting this game and I'm glad she did with the $25 gift card, because I think $30 is too much for the game. I really have enjoyed this game though the more that I've played it. It is fun rolling the dice, making a quick decision, and then moving on hoping that the right symbol will come up the next time. It takes right at the 30 minute mark to play and has inspired me to design my own "roll & write" game. I've always enjoyed Yahtzee and the satisfaction of checking off boxes and this provides that with some fun decisions and a nice "theme".

Krista's thoughts were interesting. She really does like the game. She also said that she has to really fight to not try and complete every space on her paper and focus on actually winning the game and bringing it to a conclusion, but it is tough for her to do, because of the enjoyment she gets in accomplishing each little area. We both think that this little game is one we'll have for a long time in the future.

Final Ratings:
Adam: googoogoogoogoogoogoogoo
Krista: googoogoogoogoogoogoogoo
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:46 am
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Review: Path of Light and Shadow

Adam Daulton
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I'm pretty much an omni-gamer. I love little games like Fairy Tale or High Society. I love big long games like Dune or Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. For the most part, I just like games, but there are certain types of games that really seem to right in my wheelhouse (Sidenote: We need a term for board games that is different than wheelhouse. I suggest table surface and will use that from now on). These games often include some direct conflict, take around 1.5 to 2 hours, multi-use cards, and players have unique special abilities. Path of Light and Shadow (PoLaS) hits for me right on that table surface. I'm lucky enough to know this, because I happen to live in Indianapolis, where Action Phase Games are based out of and so have been able to play it several times in the past month! Now with that introduction on to the review.



Game Play
Normally, if you've read my reviews, you know that I don't go too deep into the rules explanation. However, since this a game that is not out yet, I am going to go a bit deeper in order to give you an understanding of exactly what you do in the game.

In Path of Light and Shadow you are the leader of a fledgling nation putting back together the fallen lands around you. You travel around the country side recruiting followers to your cause - the thing is just as in real life - you don't always get the chance to choose who follows you. It could be the Halax Sovereignty, the Horde Blood Empire, the Sigilborne Ascendency, or the Commonfolk. Now of course if you are in a specific area, there is a better chance of a certain group of people following you than others, simply because there are more of them in that area, but that doesn't mean that a Halax won't show up to join your cause!




On a players turn they get a single movement which they move their miniature on the map. You can do this before or after you take any of the following actions:

1. Promote a Card. Basically you trash a card in your hand or discard pile and get a specific card from the appropriate deck that it promotes to. There are three levels of cards, with only of the top level, so the that means their is a race to that top level card.

2. Cull a Card. Return cards to their appropriate deck. Doing this gains means you are cruel! Remember those cards are people that are following you and when you tell them you don't want to play with them anymore their feelings are hurt!

3. Build a Structure. Each player has a player board with four different buildings in each of the different factions plus a neutral one. These give that player a special ability and serve as a way to make the play more asymmetrical.

4. Use an Action Ability. Some of the cards have an action on the that you can use for some cool effect.

5. Conquer a Province. You attempt to conquer the province where you miniature is located. Without going into a ton of detail you play cards from your hand, your opponent plays card from their hand, and both of you roll dice equal to the strength of your strongest card + the strength totals on all the other cards (with modifiers from buildings and card text as well) to see who wins. Destruction happens in the province (thus making that province worth less points) and you claim it if you win by placing your flag there.

Once your turn is done, you then gain a card from the deck associated with the province where your miniature is located, and if you want you can gain a second. If you do that you get a bit more merciful, because after all you are letting someone hang out with the cool kid!

Essentially, you are building a deck of cards, taking actions by using those cards (which all have multiple uses), and trying to gain control of the territories on the board without completely destroying them. You have to make tough decisions on what to use cards for, because if you promote a card, then you can't use it to attack a province, but at the same time if you use it to attack a province you can't use it to build that awesome building for lots of points! You play over a total of 12 rounds, with scoring rounds occurring three times throughout the game, escalating each time for controlling two of the three provinces with the same terrain. You are doing this by taking the path of light (often having a larger deck of cards) or taking the path of shadow (often with a smaller deck of cards) to gain the most points and win the game!



My Thoughts
I really enjoy this game! As of the writing of this review, I've only played with the prototype version of the game, but still am really impressed. A third of the way through the year and I have played 25 new to me games thus far in 2017. This is competing for the best of the year for me. There is a lot of year left, but even playing the 60-80 new to me games a year that I usually do, I can't imagine it not finishing in the Top 10 of the year for me.

What Was Meh
Let's start with a couple things I am not such a huge fan of in the game. First, drawing your cards at the end of the turn based upon where your leader is at. IT IS SO EASY TO FORGET! I don't know what else they could have done though. In the rule book they do suggest putting a token on top of your deck so you don't draw from it until you have gained the cards. However, it can have big impacts on the game. Either letting you keep your deck thinner or maybe you miss out on that card you really needed. Second, I really wanted to see a bit more importance in the merciful & cruelty track. Importance is probably not the right word, it is very important, what I mean is some variance in your decisions as you go on. You really need to choose one or the other and go all out. There isn't any true middle ground on this and if you go bad and regret it, well then you just got to get over your conscious and stick with being bad. Same for good. It isn't a huge deal, just something to know going in, that it isn't going to be like Fable (can you tell how long it has been since I've played video games). In that type of moral choice game you can be good, regret it, and work your way towards bad. In PoLaS you can do that, it just doesn't seem that it'll fare well for you in the victory category.

What is Great
The art is superb as you can see from the few pieces of it I've included in this blog post. Beth Sobel is quickly becoming my favorite board game artist. I received Coldwater Crown done by her earlier this year and now she is doing the art for this one. A wide variety of characters and just seems to fit the realism of the world. I've only seen screenshots of the board and some of the other pieces of art, but the box cover and the art on the cards is top notch.

I really love the theme. The idea of being a leader, traversing the countryside and picking up followers. This is carried out fully in how you gain cards to your deck. You don't get to choose who follows you, nope this is like real life. The people that follow you are made up of the people that live in the place that you are at and so the odds increase that a larger contingent of people will follow you from a certain faction, but it isn't guaranteed. Such a great fun mechanic! It while it does add a bit of luck, it does take out some of that analysis paralysis that can show up even in deck building games.

There are no "draw a card" cards and I love it. For example the Smithy in Dominion with the "+3 cards" nothing like it exists in PoLaS! It felt a bit odd at first. Every deck building game I've ever played has had it (even those that aren't only deck building), but this does not. You have to plan your deck and your goals on the board accordingly. Make sure you have what you need in the deck without depending on drawing into that card by playing a lost of "Smithy" actions.

I enjoy that the game can be what you want it to be. If you want it to be a face down deck builder you can. Not sure that is a viable strategy to win, but it is still a fun way to play the game. If you want it to be in your face go after the perceived leader, you can do that as well. The game fits nicely in that "sandbox" feel for me.

A single piece area control game is exceptionally unique to me. This is truly area control too, not area majority. You go in, you attack the territory and if you get it then you put your flag on it and it is yours. Someone then can take it from you. I love that. Direct conflict. I'm not just throwing some cubes in here and you'll get second place. No, I'm taking this from your cold dead hands. Mostly, I imagine I don't actually kill you since you are likely off in some other part of the country doing deeds, but you get the idea. I'm probably just spreading horrible rumors, attacking your followers, and drawing mustaches on your portrait.

The promotions of your followers is such a good mechanic. A lot of deck building style games have trashing of cards into other cards. This one though uses it as well, but in a specific way to get to other specific cards. It provides a bit of a race since there is a limit to the higher cards. The frustrating feeling when someone beats you out to that top card is excellent!

There is a lot going on in this game and it will take a long time to do it well. Each game I have played, I've played against experienced players, and lost by a lot. I believe that shows some depth to the strategy behind the game. It also shows how enamored I am with it wanting to come back for more after getting my butt handed to me.



My Recommendations

The Deck Building Super Fan - You know who you are. You've been into deck building since day one. You've played them all. You even like DC Comics Deck-Building Game because the mechanics bring out the theme so much. This game is absolutely for you. While deck building is a part of the game, it is not by any means all of the game, but will still scratch that itch for you while adding more depth.

Dominion Haters - Dominion to you was just an exercise and should have had a real game in there. Then A Study in Emerald came out and you were on it, but wanted more streamlined game play. Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure then showed up, but was just a bit too light for your taste. PoLaS was made for you. I think it fits right in-between those two games for depth and strategy, while still being much more than just another deck builder. So I'd suggest at least trying it - because while deck building is an element it isn't nearly everything and it is done differently.

Luck Hating People - This one is probably not for you. There is luck in the game. What you roll on your dice, what cards you get, so the game can turn a bit to the unexpected. That makes the story of the game better and adds some excitement, but if you are looking for El Grande level of control you should look elsewhere. There will be times where your plan just doesn't work out, because of luck. Now, I say this after being destroyed in the games I've played against experienced players, so luck is obviously mitigated if you know what you are doing, it still exists though.

Gamers Who Want Story - Perhaps yes or perhaps no. I'm not sure this is one for you, but at the same time I don't want to say it is either. I liken this game to Scythe. All the trappings are there and you can jump into the theme if you want, but it won't force feed it to you like some other games do where you can't help but jump into the story.

Someone Wanting the Next Step in Board Gaming - I would say yes, though it is a bigger step. If you've played Dominion or you've played Ticket to Ride and you are looking for something more, something deeper, then I think this is one that is worth grabbing. The time investment is not much more than those games in a single sitting, yet the complexity is taken up a notch.

Punch Your Friends Gamer - PoLaS has some direct interaction, there is not doubt, but it isn't or at least doesn't have to be the focus of it. You can go after your buddies provinces they own, make them your own, or at least make them worth less for your buddy when scoring happens. If that seems like something you'd want to experience, then go for it.

Edit: Fixed number of rounds played to 12 instead of 4. You play 4 and thenscore and then repeat twice more for a total of 12 rounds.
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Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:00 pm
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To Insert or not to Insert? That is the Question.

Adam Daulton
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Indiana
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It seems like almost every board game podcast I listen to is talking about these great inserts made by these great companies for all my great games. Then I go look at them and they do seem awesome. I even got to experience one made for Blood Rage last year when I was at Geekway to the West. Then I look at the price tag. OUCH. $30 extra for something to just keep my game organized! I can buy a whole other game with that or at least a nice expansion.

Now, you have to know where I'm coming from on this. First, I've been known to be called cheap. Second, when I get a game I almost automatically throw away the factory insert. I think I've kept the Five Tribes one, but that is the only one that comes to mind. Third, I usually use different sized baggies to organize the game.

Then a couple years ago we added Caverna: The Cave Farmers to our collection. I bagged it. Even with the bags it is was completely full, probably too full. I ogled the Broken Token insert at Gen Con. I didn't purchase it. I put it in my online cart a few months ago, thinking this'll let my wife and I get a game we both enjoy out more often, then didn't click the purchase button. Finally, on Sunday morning I got an itch to make the Caverna insert myself. When I get an itch about something, I tend to scratch it. (Great image huh? Me scratching an itch.)

I searched on BGG and found some plans: Caverna - foamboard Storage. I then ran over to Wally-world, grabbed a $2.77 foam core board, a $4.96 scalpel, and boosted my supplies from my wife's scrapbooking shelf with a cutting board and super glue. I then sat down at the couch, watched some NCAA basketball, and spent 3.5 hours working on the Caverna insert. The next evening after work, I spent another 2.5 hours, and here are the results in a proud and defiant tweet:



Now that it is done, here are my thoughts. First, I didn't follow the design exactly as laid out by BigRoad. Second, even though you probably can't tell, mine isn't exactly the best looking when you look close. Third, I used some pins to keep things together and provide a bit more strength. Fourth, it works! It does fit in the box perfectly (maybe slightly too perfect) and you can twist the box all around without mishap.

So - to insert or not insert? NOOOO!!!! I doubt I'll save 6 hours of my life as I play this game in the future. I also don't want to spend $30 to have the same results with probably still some assembly time. I think the only reason I could be convinced to do a custom insert like this again is in order to combine some expansions and game into the base game's box. Then I could convince myself I'd be saving valuable game shelf real estate. So perhaps custom game inserts and I will only meet in a lonely gift alley called "Christmas Wishlist".
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Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:14 pm
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Three Plays Series: Coldwater Crown

Adam Daulton
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Krista (my wife) and I have committed to playing games three times together and then I (or she) or both will post here about the games. We rotate picking games, they must be playable as 2-player games, and then we'll finish with our ratings as a 2-player game.



Game Overview
Coldwater Crown is a 2-4 player game about catching fish and winning tournaments. Each player has a tackle box board that has four zones on it. These zones get plastic crystals (bait) of 6 different colors on them. Then three discs with a 1 on one side and a 2 on the other side are placed on main game board on 3 of the 6 casting spots. Each player then receives a disc and places it in their play area with the 1 showing. Players then take turns, placing a disc on the board, either at the port or the river, the lake, or the shore. Then after placing they take a different disc off the board and then flip that disc to the opposite side that it was on. The actions that players do depend on the discs they place and take back. If a 1 is showing, the action is less, and if a 2 is showing the action is better. This place and receive mechanic really does feel a bit like casting a fishing pole. Using these actions players attempt to catch fish, which they then turn in at the end of the game to try and win tournaments at the Shore, Lake, and River, plus catch the "Master Angler" fish which give a few points themselves and can be turned in as sets for more points. The person who has the most points wins!

How We Obtained It
I happened to see someone post about it on Twitter. I absolutely loved the art, love the theme, and so immediately back on day one when it started. I have done less than 20 Kickstarters since it began, most being projects of people I know, but this one just drew me in. It was delivered a full month and a half ahead of schedule!

Our Three Games
I set the game up the day it was delivered, but due to life happening we didn't get around to playing it for a couple days. However, eventually it did happen and I learned I'm only allowed to score 33 points.

The first game Krista didn't quite get the flow of the game and how exactly scoring would work. The second game though things got moving, but I was able to win most of the tournaments. The third game she won two of the three tournaments, but I put together a nice stringer of Master Angler fish, which got me 8 extra points, plus both bonus chips for the win.

Game 1
Adam 33
Krista 17

Game 2
Adam 33
Krista 26

Game 3
Adam 33
Krista 27

Our Thoughts
As I said before, the theme is great, which is an auto bump in the rating for me and inspires me to finish designing my fishing game. The art, especially the board is beautiful, and I have now made it my life goal to have Beth Sobel do the art for one of my games. The "casting" mechanic is really good and the game does play out quickly and if very tactical. There is quite a bit of luck in the game with the optional tag rule, Pike being between 3-21 lbs, and what color bait comes out. That all fits the theme though. For some reason (even though they aren't like each other) this one seems to fit in the same space for me as Thurn and Taxis. Probably because of all the different goals you place out on the board and race against players to get, but even if you are second you still get some points. I am satisfied with my Kickstarter purchase.

Krista was less than impressed with the game. She did like the casting mechanic, but that is about where it stopped. She didn't like all the luck, the different tournaments and other goals didn't click with her, and in general this one fell a bit flat. Though she did admit it could be because she lost each of the games. Her exact words were "it was fine".

I'm looking forward to more games though and want to try it with four players.

Final Ratings
Adam: googoogoogoogoogoogoo
Krista: googoogoogoogoogoo
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Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:27 am
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Associating Email Signature Block Quotes & Board Games

Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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Several years ago I started saving email quotes. You know what I'm talking about. That usually meant to be inspiring bit of text after someone's signature block on their email that will say things like "We're all in this together" or perhaps quote some famous person. I saved them, because I thought I'd one day write a blog about them and critique them. I did it once on my general blog a few years ago, now though I thought I'd do it again and give each quote a board game that goes with it. All quotes were received through work in a professional environment. If they attributed the quote to someone, then I included that as well. I left all spelling errors.

"In three words I can sum up what I've learned about life: It goes
on"
.
-Robert Frost

Yep, life does go on and the game that I thought about immediately for this one was Evolution. You get eaten by a carnivore, you starve because there is no food in the water hole, but a new species gets started, you grow your population next turn and life goes on.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States

I really like this quote. I also like that he says actions, not words. A perfect game for this is Puerto Rico - because after all when you select a role others get to do more & become more!

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude."

Personally, this seems a bit fluffy and having no subsistence to me. I haven't played it yet, but maybe The Pursuit of Happiness will tell me if this quote is true. Do you win if you have the most love, grace, and gratitude at the end?

"I bet Russia was annoyed when Germany started calling itself 'Prussia'. Like, get your own thing, dude."

This is very funny to me. Also, even more funny that it was on a work email signature. The perfect game for Russia & Germany being upset with each other is Imperial.

"Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness."


What a second, I thought that happiness was something else? I think a perfect example of this is Galaxy Trucker. You have all the freedom in the world to make the ship the way you want it - and it is still fun to sea it destroyed, because you BUILT that thing, even if it is a 2011 Chevy S-10 version of a space ship.

"There are no secrets to success-don't waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence." - Colin Powell, Retired U.S. General


Agricola, definitely Agricola. You all know the secret is getting people, it takes a lot of hard work, you fail a lot, but through persistence of Family Growth & Major/Minor Improvements, you do it.

"One dreamed of becoming somebody. Another remained awake, and became." ~ Unknown


This quote makes no sense, just like the weird trippy theme of a Dreamwell a game I enjoy. I'm pretty sure you wake up to become in that game.

Remember, your family is waiting for you at home

This seems creepy to me. I mean, I know it is likely to focus you on what matters, but I feel like it is something that someone torturing you might say. In such I choose CV as my game of choice - where all I want to do is have it end so I can go back to my family.

"Once you teach a bear to dance, you'd better be prepared to dance until the bear's ready to stop"


Perhaps this one has something to do with Russia as well? I don't know, but there was a bear in Invasion from Outer Space: The Martian Game and I remember thinking he was probably a dancing bear given it was a circus he was in.

"Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly
level"
- Max L. Forman


This is a really good quote. I think it applies to a lot of things in life, but us board game snobs as well. I'll throw in Race for the Galaxy as the game. Either you have folks that think its the greatest and if you don't you are dumb or you have folks that despise it for its icons and clumsiness (that is where I'd fall). These folks should be proud of their position, just keep that nose at a friendly level. This could apply to so many things in life. Anyways, great quote!

A good friend will bail you out of jail. But a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn.that was fun."


Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure is the one I thought about on this one or any other push your luck game. The best part of the push your luck games is when everyone is pushing their luck and maybe you all end up doing horribly, but it so fun!

Safety is everyone's responsibility and just takes a little common sense.


Hmm...yes it is. Probably is, but as my professor used to say, "common sense ain't." A perfect game for this is Champions of Midgard - because exactly who is going to take out that troll?

“See something, say something.”
–Lance Orton, 5/2/2010, Vietnam Vet and
Times Square Hero.


I take this to heart every time I play The Resistance: Avalon. I SAW him blink when I asked if he failed that mission! I saw it! Look she is smiling! See it!

The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves - in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. -Abraham Lincoln

This reads like a card from Millennium Blades. There is a bunch of text, you know it is saying something awesome, you just aren't exactly sure what and so instead you sell it to the market and get your fat wad of cash.

Well - that is it for this post. I hope you enjoyed this random quotes and the board games I associate with them! I have quite a few more, so look for future posts on this subject.
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Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:35 pm
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