That's What She Said

The continuing adventures of the After-Work Fun-Group. Who knew that a free copy of Chaos in the Old World would springboard into a regular gaming group and some of the best friends I've ever had.

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Twice in a row? What is this Sorcery? I mean Er. SorcerER.

Charlotte Malone
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Good evening!! Or whatever time of day it is where you are. It’s nighttime here. But not just any nighttime. Game Nighttime.

Yes, tonight was Game Night. And while we had the Steve lined up, he messaged us early in the day and said he may have to bail due to a work deadline. For those of you who don’t speak Steve, “I may have to bail” means “Screw you guys, I’m bailing.”

Which also means we needed a fallback. We had planned to play The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, but I didn’t want to play that with just 3P, so I suggested trying Sorcerer again but this time with only 3P in the battle royale. Workman was more than a little on board with that. In fact, when Steve inevitably did bail, Workman sent one of those gifs of Carlton doing the Carlton dance. Because this is the kind of people we are.

But enough trivial details. If you read last week, you’ll recall that I enjoyed the game, hated my faction, and thought the 4P battle royale might not be the best way to play. So how was it this week with 3P and not that faction? Let’s find out.



And I keep saying faction, but that’s not the right term. It’s three terms, and those terms are character, lineage, and domain. I liked my three terms way better this game.


Look at those terms.

I was Ariaspes, the Bloodlord of the Haunted Forest. Your takeaway is vampires. I was vampires. And I had a blood pool. Yeah. A freaking blood pool.


I swear I kept reading this as Blood Fool. As in, “I pity the Blood Fool.”

We got off to much the same start as last game. I did well in both my battles, but then lost them both, everything reset, and I was demoralized. But then I remembered I was a vampire with a freaking blood pool and I pulled myself together. Vampires live forever FFS, they don’t get demoralized.


Also me. I got a little handsy.

So then Leon and Workman each got a second point. I think Leon beat Workman and Workman beat me, but I wouldn’t swear to that. Mid-game was a little fuzzy.

But then, you’ll never guess what happened. I pulled my shit so far together that I won battles against Workman and Leon. Truth be told, I think they just counted me out and were trying to stop one another from winning but who cares. Vampires don’t care. Two points is two points.


Vampires. They don’t care. But they do pity the fool.

So we’re all tied up at two points each. I was first player. Battle order rotates direction each turn, and this turn, I would battle Leon first. So if I beat him, I won, if he beat me or if he beat Workman, he won, and if we both failed and Workman beat Leon or me, he won. I didn’t think there was any chance one of those wins wouldn’t happen. So I went full Hail Mary. I put two minions on my Leon battlefield and I buffed them both and left my Workman battlefield completely unmanned.

I don’t think Leon or Workman thought I had a plan. Until they realized I had a plan. They stood for my dice roll. (Side note....I’ve never had anyone stand for anything I’ve done in any game ever, or in real life for that matter. I was like “Oh, we’re standing. Jesus, this is a big deal.”)

I was able to roll seven dice for each minion (one because of my freaking blood pool and one because he was just that badass.)


I failed to take any pictures of the actual board state during my Hail Mary. This was from earlier in the game. It’s just some omens and the first player token I’m about to reference here in a second. It’s the best I could do.

I rolled. Poorly. I cashed in my first player token and wholesale rerolled everything. Then I rerolled my blanks using omen tokens and managed a decent roll. Leon made me reroll some crits, but I still landed a fair amount of damage. He hit back but didn’t kill my remaining attacker or me.

I swung with badass. I had no rerolls. I didn’t need them. I did seven or eight, can’t remember, but it was enough to win. Your takeaway is I won. I went big or went home, and I went big.

Boo-yah.

I was really proud of me.

I enjoyed this play of Sorcerer way better than the first. Mostly because I liked my three terms better, but I also did a better job of managing energy and cards. Also mostly because I won. But even so, it’s a solid game. Fighting battles on two fronts is both frustrating and interesting. I think the Battle Royale with 3P is way better as well, as there is no fourth person you can’t interact with or impact. And the abilities, when they combo well, are fun.

So yeah, two thumbs up from me. The winner. Also I pity the fool.

After my complete and utter domination, we played Love Letter. Another three-way tie. And then Leon won. Woot for Leon. Any game night where Workman goes winless is a good game night in my book.

And that’s all folks. We hope to be back next week with the Core Four and possibly some mob ties. But until then....thanks for reading and I won!

Also happy gaming.
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Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:05 am
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Crits always go to the board. Except crits never go to the board.

Charlotte Malone
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Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s last week tonight with....no, sorry. It’s not. It’s Game Night. That’s what I meant to say. Game Night.

In my last post, I teased that we might be playing Sorcerer this week if the planets aligned and the US Postal Service came through. And miracle of miracles, they all did. The planets and the postal service. Aligned. So weird.



Workman kickstarted this game a long time ago. I think it was supposed to ship last summer or last fall, so we’ve been anticipating it for some time. And I’ve heard surprisingly little buzz about it. In fact, if Workman hadn’t said “my game still hasn’t shipped yet” every few weeks for the last six months, I might not have known it was a thing. There aren’t any reviews or how-to-play videos online, so I went into tonight’s play totally cold. (I hate totally cold.)

It was a Core Four night, so that was a positive. I worked from home today, and I made pizza for dinner to save us some time. After some debate around the proper placement of pepperoni in relation to cheese, Workman explained the rules and we were off.


It’s a very pretty game, I can say that right off the bat.

Sorcerer is (I think) designed to be a two-player game, but it has a team variant and a battle royale variant. We played the latter. In that version, you battle the people to your left and to your right, so I battled Steve and Workman. It was like I wasn’t even playing with Leon. (I tried to make him reroll his dice once, but Workman said I couldn’t. Dammit Workman.)

Each player starts with a deck, but you don’t so much build a deck as assemble one, with cards from one character, one lineage, and one domain. I was Thenoch, the Demonologist of the Lunatic Asylum. Spoiler alert: I was not a fan.


It me.

My character ability let me take two cards from another player’s deck every round and keep them, and then play one. Which sounds great, except that you can’t actually use most of the abilities that come with those cards, so the cards you take are mostly useless. I eventually just quit doing it. You only get six actions per turn and it just wasn’t fruitful. Leon and Steve and Workman all had these power-house abilities that let them exhaust things and re-use things and beat face all over the board and it just felt like they were playing a completely different game than me.


Rock me Asmodeus.

Admittedly, I’m not intuitively good at 1-v-1 MTG-like card games. So maybe my combo was good and I just mis-played it. I know I didn’t manage my hand well and I didn’t manage my mana well. (Editor’s Note: I discovered on the first read-through that this auto-corrected to “I didn’t manage my mama well” and I almost left it. Just to make peeps wonder.)


Me and Steve in Whitechapel. That’s me on the right, arms akimbo.

I actually started out fairly well. I had some success battling Workman in the Underground Hive. I had good cards and good dice rolls and we eventually both got up to 11 board damage. One more hit for either of us would do it.


I mean, do you really even need to ask who won? How long have you been reading this blog?

So Workman won that battle and got his first VP. And all the minions and all the damage and everything went away and we reset. Which was honestly pretty demoralizing. I mean, I did some good work there and it was all just gone and we started over.

Then Steve beat me in the Whitechapel battlefield and that one reset and we started over there too. I had two mana and two cards. I was not in a good place.

The Steve beat me again, and Workman beat me again. And Leon said I was mailing it in (which actually hurt my feelings if I’m honest). I was just too far in the hole to get back out.

Then Steve beat Leon and had three VP and that was the game. Woot for Steve!


There’s lots of dice rolling. Which we all agreed is great when you roll well, and blows ass when you don’t.

Overall, I liked the game, I just didn’t like my faction/deck combo. I’d have to play it a few more times to really understand what I need to be doing. What I did in this game was clearly wrong. I suspect it’s a much better two player game, but I’d like to try the team variant some time.

After Sorcerer, we played Love Letter. And some of us played Hearthstone but I’ll be damned if I’m going to talk about that. Workman won. Because I said princess but he heard prince because he cheats. Or something.

Anyway, it was a good night overall despite my poor showing. And Workman really likes Sorcerer, so that’s a good thing. It’s always fun to be excited about a new game.

So I guess that’s a wrap. Come back next week for more gaming goodness! Until then, thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Tue Apr 9, 2019 3:59 am
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What do tigers dream of, when they take their little tiger snooze?

Charlotte Malone
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Welcome to Sin City! Before we get started, I have to share....The Hangover is one of my favorite comedies. I recently watched it three times in about a ten day stretch. Accidentally. (I mean, it was on. What was I supposed to do? Change the channel?)

So what does this have to do with game night, you’re probably wondering? Everything. (Well, not EVERYTHING. Just Vegas. There’s a Vegas connection. That’s it really. We played a Vegas game.)



Before we jump into Lords (and one Lady) of Vegas, we played our filler games first. Because Steve is selfish and inconsiderate and The Hubz can’t leave work on time. (In other words, we were sans Steve so Mark was our fill-in and he was late.)

We haven’t played No Thanks! in a while. I got lucky with the card flips. I won with 44 points. (Go me!!)


Forty-four point smackdown.

We played a second game and Workman won with 54. Leon and I had......more points than 54. (But 54 is not as good a win as 44 so still.....go me!!)

After No Thanks! we played 6 nimmt!, another solid exclamation point filler we haven’t played in a while. I am terrible at this game, but Workman decided to play the role of me this time around and shot to 52 points in no time. We were sure he would end the game, but don’t count Leon out! He had a monster bad turn and ended the game before Workman could....72 to Workman’s 60 to my (what!?!?!?!?) 58. Go me yet again!!!



By this time, the Hubz was home and we were ready to gamble.

”It says here, we should work in teams. Who wants to be my spotter?”

We’ve not played LoV in about a year, and then just the one time. That time, Steve and Leon and Workman all tied for first, so it went to money and Steve and Leon were still tied. They shared the win. Which is bullshit cause there’s no sharing in Vegas.

”Classic mix-up!”

I explained the rules and we were underway.

Nobody had drawn a silver card on their opening hand. So everybody started out building silver casinos. I drew some lucky spots and ended up with a decent little silver casino on Frank Sinatra Drive.


Look how cute.

That decent little casino shortly grew into this:


Notice how Leon has wormed his way in.

And eventually into this:


Now Leon and Mark have both wormed their way in.

There was a lot of re-organizing going on in the silver casino on Frank Sinatra Drive. I was mostly the boss though. I lost it once to Leon I think, but I got it back. It kept me well-supplied with money and points the whole game.

And there was a lot of reorganization in general in this game. Everybody wanted to be the boss of something. Every turn someone was taking someone else’s shit. Or not. It was the or nots that were hilarious. Someone would pay out all this cash and roll a grip of dice and then end up worse off then when they started.

And by they, I mean Workman. Workman ended up worse off then when he started the whole game. He gambled, he lost. He reorganized, he lost. Even card draws screwed him.

“Not up in here. NOT UP IN HERE!!”

I think all of us sprawled onto properties we didn’t own. Who was the only one who got bit in the ass doing that? Workman. (And I was the one that bit him. That was kind of nice.)

But let’s get back to me. I was doing really well. I had my silver casino on Frank Sinatra Drive, but I also sprawled onto some lots I didn’t own to take an ugly brown casino away from Leon. It was in the shit part of town but who cares, it paid me points and money a couple times. That’s all I needed it to do.


The ugly brown casino in the shit part of town, right before I took it over from Leon. Bwaa haaa haaa.

And now I had two casinos that could cover the four-point threshold I needed to keep moving up the track. I was pretty sure I would win. Mark and Leon were also doing well, but I didn’t think they would catch me.

“Right in the nuts! That was beautiful. Well done. Give her a hand everybody. Good job!”

But even in Vegas I cannot have nice things. I needed the game to end one card flip before it did. As it happened, Mark got a good payout right before I flipped the end game strip card, and he tied me. Then he won on tie-breaker. I was so pissed.

”We call this place Loserville.”



Sad face emoji. I really thought I had it. I’m like Charlie Brown with that damn football. I never have it.

Oh well. At least it was fun.

And Lords of Vegas is a fun game to play once in a while. It is a bit of a luck fest with all the dice rolling, but there is also some strategy involved in picking casino colors that will pay out enough times to make it worth your while, and making sure you can expand enough to cover the point thresholds. I dig it.

And that was game night. Sorry for all The Hangover quotes. (No I’m not.)

Come back next week.....Workman got a shipping notice for Sorcerer over dinner, so hopefully we will be playing that.

So until then...thanks for reading, and happy gaming!!

”You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-[woman] wolf pack. But when I got to know [Workman], I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then [Workman] joined in later. And [three and a half years ago], when I was introduced to [Steve and Leon], I thought, "Wait a second, could it be?" And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. [And board games].”
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Wed Apr 3, 2019 4:16 am
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Kicking It Old School

Charlotte Malone
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What’s up?!?!? (Don’t answer, it’s rhetorical.) Welcome to the game night recap you didn’t know you needed (I don’t really know what I mean by that).

If you’ve been reading these last few weeks, you may have noticed a trend. It wasn’t intentional, but we’ve been playing some old school games here lately. Nations and Galaxy Trucker are both six or seven years old. Even 51st State came out three years ago, which makes it practically ancient in board game years.

See, a few weeks back, I threw out a list of games I wanted to play. They were all just great games that we hadn’t played in a while. And in hindsight, they were all old. Tonight’s pick was no exception.



We played Terra Mystica a little over a year ago. And before I get too far into tonight’s play, I have to share a funny about last year’s play. See, you may not know this, but I’m a bit different from the rest of the group in one very important way. You’ve probably sussed it out yourselves, but in case you haven’t, I’m an iPhone person. (The guys are all Android people.) (I know, I know, how do we even play games together? It can be a struggle.)

One fun thing about iPhones is the Live Photo feature. You don’t just get a picture, you get a brief video. I don’t love it when I’m scrolling through my picture roll (feels a bit like I’m in a Harry Potter book) but it does increase your odds of getting a good shot. And it occasionally captures some good audio.

In last year’s game, Workman completely screwed me not once but twice by taking a tile that I had just built a bridge to. Twice!! (Damn you to hell Workman.) And when I was going through the pics later, I realized I had Live Photo turned on. In the final score pic, you can very clearly hear Workman say “I apologize for bridge fucking you.” (I hate him, but he is quite colorful.) I laughed about that for days.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. Where was I? Game Night.


I can’t carry the ring Mr. Frodo, but I can carry you.

I was the Halflings. I wanted a faction that I hadn’t played before and one that was fairly simple. Some of the crazy faction abilities make my head hurt. Steve was the Nomads since he played them last time and he couldn’t remember how to play. Leon was the Ice Maidens (I might have taken them if he hadn’t, I think I’d like them...simple power, cold, well-dressed...they sound a lot like me.) And Workman chose the BWitches. A bit I simple for a gamer of his caliber if you ask me but it’s a free country. (Wait, is it? Where are we in this game anyway? Maybe it isn’t free..... dammit!)


Early game. Butting heads with the Ice Maidens.

We played with the Fire and Ice extra end-game bonus. It was border structures. Right away, I got to building on the border, as clearly visible in the above photo. What isn’t visible in that photo is that just across the river, the evil green BWitches were building towards a town. I had boosted my shipping, and then focused on building my stronghold. The turn right before I planned to build it, the BWitches built a bridge to that black space right across the river from me. (You can just barely see it in the lower left corner.)

When the Halfings build their stronghold, they immediately get three shovels. So when Workman built that bridge I realized.....I was going to bridge fuck him. And not just out of spite. Mostly out of spite of course, but I had planned to take that space anyway to keep my border empire going. I don’t think he realized I had the shipping to get there, so it would be a surprise bridge fucking. So glorious.

But because the universe hates me and I can’t have nice things, I was one worker short of being able to build a settlement. Dammit. Dammit so hard. But I could terraform it anyway. And I did.

And Workman’s immediate deflation was indeed glorious. He didn’t say anything (he never does) but I knew. I KNEW. Damn it feels good to be a Halfing.

But then common sense kicked in. I was spending three shovels on one space that he would immediately work to terraform back to green. There was a very good chance I would waste all three shovels on a spite move. (My kingdom for a worker!!!) So I asked if anyone cared if I ret-conned it (Workman looked like Ralphie in that scene where the teacher asks if anyone knows where Flick is....”no, no, I don’t mind”) and I turned three spaces brown where I needed to start a second town instead. It was the better move. But damn. The irony.


Very late-game board state.

Nothing especially eventful happened after that. Me and Steve and Leon expanded and built towns and stayed very close on the VP track. Workman ran away (flew away?) with the lead somewhere around mid-game and it wasn’t even a contest. I did manage to get 36 end-game bonuses, but I only got first on one Cult track, and I tied that track with Leon. So only six points I think? The big bonuses got me a second-place finish, but I only had 97 points. (I think I’ve only ever cracked 100 points once.) Steve finished behind me with 91, and Leon had 87. Workman had 138. BWitch.

Just for grins, I listened to the Live Photo audio I got with the score track photo this year. Not as good as last year, but definitely worth reporting: it was Workman saying “I think I had an easy faction.” Yeah you did.

After TM, we played a raucous game of Love Letter. It wasn’t really all that raucous, there was a funny incident where Workman and I went twinsies on a handmaid, and Leon carried the Princess to term three times. This was my 75th logged play of Love Letter, and that’s just since I started logging plays two years ago. That’s a lot of love. And more than a few letters. Oh and Workman won. He had an easy faction.

And that was game night. I went off on a bit of a tangent and my picture-to-text ratio was a bit off this week, but thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate you. I really do.

So until next time.....thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:41 am
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TIL if Workman had lived during the time of the Roman Empire, I would’ve hated him even more.

Charlotte Malone
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Hello there! Welcome to Game Night! Get comfy.

After my big Core Four love fest in last week’s post, Steve bailed on us. (Dammit Steve, you ruin everything.) But the Hubz was available and I had a feeling he would like tonight’s game.

And that game was......



This would be my fifth (I think?) time playing Nations. I really like this game. And I would like to have a really good play of it. Like, I think if I could put up a solid score in a game like this, I would feel pretty good about myself. But people are assholes and I can’t have nice things. Apparently.

But enough about assholes. I was Persia.


We played at Prince level, so technically, I was the Prince of Persia. And I had planned to litter this post with Jake Gyllenhal references but I found that I don’t really know that many Jake Gyllenhal references except “I ain’t quittin’ you” and I just wasn’t able to work that in. Sorry. It might have been hilarity.

Workman was Rome, Mark was Greece and Leon was China. Workman taught Mark how to play and we got to Civilizing.


It’s about to get real up in Persia.

And right off the bat, I got to hating on Workman. Because here’s the thing. He doesn’t just decide what he wants to do, he figures out what you’re trying to do and he takes it from you. I would build up military to buy a colony and he would buy it on the turn before me. Every goddamn time. I was Persia. I had the extra colony slot. I was supposed to colony!! I wanted Nubia. He bought it. I wanted Babylon. He bought it. I hate him so much.


The gods love Nubia.

Workman basically dominated like he always does. He had an embarrassment of resources and military and culture at all times. He wasn’t very stable though. I had him in stability. (Which is ironic because I was always going off on him and he always remained perfectly calm.)

Mark had a couple of rocky turns to start. He ran headlong into a battle and then found out he didn’t have an army. (#awkward) And he built a thing without having any ore (“Check your ore situation homie.”) But he was just learning the rules. He picked it up pretty quick.

Leon, meanwhile, started out strong. (I thought.) He seemed to be bringing in resources and buying things and being China. (I thought.) Fun fact, in previous games of Nations, he and I always seem to tie. I didn’t think we were going to tie this game.



Fast forward a few ages.....Caligula was trying to find new worlds to conquer, while me and Mark and Leon were trying to stay afloat. Mid-game can get rough, and it can be hard to come back if you get behind. Especially when you stumble into the Black Death. (Damn that card was mean.)

At one point, I bought a war just so Workman wouldn’t buy it and said “I took one for the team.” Leon was further down the military track than I realized and said “Did you?” Oops. (See there was this depth perception problem I had with the turn order track and the military track and I thought Leon was....oh never mind. I screwed Leon.)


The guy peeking through the cards made me laugh.

By the last turn, I finally had good production. Had I been able to get that going an age earlier, I might have put up a decent score. I mean, I wouldn’t have won. But I might have done better. But Rome sucks and I suck and it wasn’t Persia’s time to shine. Or China’s. Or Greece’s.

In the end, Emperor Workman had 45 points, I had 22, Leon had 17 and Mark had 16. We all hate the Romans.


My end game Persia. It never got real up in Persia.

I do like this game though. Very much. And maybe one day, I won’t suck at it. Maybe.

Our game took every bit of 3 hours. We were all too tired for a closing filler. So I’m afraid that’s all I have for you.

No wait, I have one more thing, I invented a cookie. It’s a s’more, but in cookie form:


Chocolate chocolate-chip cookie, baked on a graham cracker, topped with mini-marshmallows and torched. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

To be fair, it was inspired by a cookie I had at a place called Baked in Bloomington, but I turned it into a full-on s’more. I made a few for game night. Maybe I have some game after all.

And now that’s really all I have for you. Come back next week for more hatred and gaming goodness.

Until then.....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:52 am
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I had no idea Cockroach Poker could go so long.

Charlotte Malone
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Yo! Let’s get right to it.

We missed last week, but we made up for it tonight. Tonight was a near-perfect game night. Why? Well, it had all the elements:

1. The Core Four. Other combinations are great, but the Core Four is the reason we’ve lasted so long. I love the Core Four.
2. Dinner with good food and good conversation. (Why DOES James Marsden always play the guy whose girlfriend actually loves someone else?)
3. Games that make me laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

But you’re only here for the last part. The games part. And possibly the laugh part. But definitely the games part. So what did we play?



We’ve gotten away from the “your night to pick” rotation, at least for now. This week I suggested a handful of games, half were Workman’s and half were mine. I suggested we play whichever one of his half he grabbed that morning and if he forgot, we’d play one of my half. He remembered, and he grabbed Galaxy Trucker.

It’s been a while since we trucked it through the galaxy. (Almost 2 years. I looked it up.) In case you’re not a long time reader, I SUCK at this game. The last time I posted about it, a fair portion of the comments were dedicated to discussing how awful my ships were. (I looked it up.) (They were really awful.)

Galaxy Trucker is a game of disasters. The first such disaster occurred as soon as we set up and Workman realized he’d taken the sand timer out of the box for a Magic night at some point and never put it back. But no worries, I pulled a sandtimer from Codenames and it clocked in at 90 seconds so we were good.


#MVP

Workman gave us a quick review of the rules, and I remembered how I’ve never played this game whilst fully understanding the rules. It just kind of happens at you. We got to building.


Building.


Christ, did a tornado come through here?

After the first round of building, I had my maiden ship:


Boy, did she suck.

I took the longest to build my shitty ship so I went last. Steve went first because, in his own words “I’m clearly first because I didn’t understand how the timer works.” Um, Ok.

I was doing fine until big chunks of my ship blew off and my astronauts died and I was out of the round. Sigh.

Round two, I boxed myself in with non-connecting pieces and had way smaller of a ship than needed. I thought maybe it would work out? It didn’t.


My Smart Car of a space ship. (It’s not cool in space either.)

And finally, my round three ship:


Yeah.

We pulled a junkyard card and I picked first. Workman rolled for the giant asteroid.

Workman: This one from the rear.
(Rolls dice.)
Workman: 7.
(Everybody looks over at my ship.)
Leon: Right up the ass.

I don’t think I survived to the end of any round. Leon didn’t do so well either. Steve and Workman were neck and neck though. Midway through the game Workman made a big show of asking if there was a fifty point piece so he could cash in all of his galactic credit tiles. Steve said he’d cash his in as well, but I think he only had 49 or something so, you know, awkward.

Late game, Workman got to name a tile coordinate and hit everyone’s ship in that exact spot. He made it count.


He’s going to pole me isn’t he? He is. I know it.

In the end Workman won with 95 to Steve’s 90. In loser news, Leon had 44 and I had 40. I haven’t actually figured out how to score points in this game. It’s fine though. I still like it. (And I did improve my 5-point finish in our last game.) (I looked it up.)(Workman had 99 last game, so I’m getting better and he’s getting worse. Another 20 or so games and I should have him.)

After GT, we played High Society. It was a close game, with Workman missing the cut at the end and Steve winning. He declared it the Year of Steve. But since it’s already March we decided it must be the Fiscal Year of Steve.

And then we decided to wrap the evening with a quick game of The Fucking Loser. An hour later, I’d never seen anything quite like it. We joked about playing the long game a couple of turns, but we really played the long game. I turned into Wallace Shawn from the Princess Bride. I over-thought everything. “But you would know I would suspect you of trying to give me a frog so I clearly cannot drink the stink bug in front of you.” Workman and I got into a scorpion showdown where we both had three each. Somehow we both survived. I eventually had three of three different bugs and I was a nervous wreck.

It came down to me and Steve with one card each. One of us would lose due to no cards to play. Except I got knocked out with my last card. I made it interesting though. “This is a frog.” “There aren’t any frogs.....oh shit. There’s a frog left. I wasn’t expecting you to say frog.” “Don’t overthink it Steve.” He said I was telling the truth. I was. I was the fucking loser.

What a freaking game.

And what a freaking game night. I said near-perfect earlier. But I think it was perfect. I didn’t win anything and may have ruined Cockroach Poker for everyone but I laughed so much. So much. It was the best kind of game night.

Thanks for coming along. We should be back next week, so join us then too. And in the mean time....thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:25 am
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No, not the Adam Sandler movie

Charlotte Malone
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Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to the wonderful world of Game Night!

Tonight’s event marked a first. In the 3.25 years of the Fun Group’s existence, tonight was the first time it was just me and Steve and Leon. We’ve obvs had all four of us. And we frequently have me and Workman and Leon. And we occasionally have me and Steve and Workman. And that one time I caught the plague during the teach there was Workman and Leon and Steve. But I can’t recall it ever being just me and Steve and Leon, sans Workman. But here we are.

(In case you’re curious, Workman was “too busy” this week. And I would normally throw some shade here, but in his defense, one of the reasons he was too busy was he was at my house earlier in the week at a reunion party for our old work team. True story, he shaved his forearm in my kitchen sink and left with an epic Phoenix tattoo. So he might have earned a quiet night at home. I’ll allow it.)

And since we were sans Workman, we opted to play something we love but he doesn’t so much love. And by we, I mean me and Steve. Leon’s fine with it (he’s fine with anything really - it’s a feature) but me and Steve LOVE it. We used to play it at lunch. Like everyday. And I play it a ton with the Hubz as well. (I logged 51 plays in 2017, and yes, that was intentional.)

So what is it? Why it’s 51st State of course!




51st State is probably my favorite game. I mean, AHTCG is my favorite FAVORITE game, but it’s a campaign game which is not really the same thing at all, right? There should be room for both kinds of games at the top: campaign games and not campaign games? But let’s just talk about this game, shall we?

We chose factions. Leon was the Hegemony, Steve was the Appalachian Federation, and I was the Merchants Guild. (FWIW, Hegemony is the best faction, Appalachian Federation is my favorite faction, and Merchants Guild is the easiest-to-learn faction. Just so you know.)


My faction. We badass.

The thing I love about 51st State is that you take the tiniest of actions each turn, build yourself an engine of some kind, and then stop building the engine and run the engine at exactly the right moment. (Ok, that was several things.) And the engine isn’t always what you expect it to be. You have to let your cards tell you what the engine is going to be. Because there’s no time to plan otherwise.

At the start of the game, I was thinking gas cans. My cards seemed to be pointing to gas cans. And I was the Merchants Guild FFS. But then Steve passed me Brick Storage during the draft and my brick engine was born. No one was more surprised than me. Steve should have been the brick guy. I don’t know what his cards were saying, but my cards are definitely saying “Brick me.”


The Little Brick Engine that could.

I built, I used, I bricked, I built again. I was really happy with the general state of things. Steve had taken an early lead but once I got the brick thing running, I moved out in front and never looked back.


Do you think they feel lucky?


Ignacy sent me the gas mask meeples after I complained on Twitter that missing out on the 51st State pre-order was among the most regrettable things in my entire life. I love the gas mask meeples.

51st State is also a game of mumbling. Everyone does it. “imspendingtwogearsfortwograytokens”, “imturningtwomeeplesinforabrick”, “twogascanstomakeadealforVP” and on and on we mumble.



But as much as I love 51st State, it isn’t a great Game Night game. You really do get into your own world (State) and do your own thing and don’t interact with other players. You can spoil other people’s stuff, but I almost never do and no one did tonight. When I say I don’t know what Steve’s cards were saying, I mean I really don’t know what Steve’s cards were saying. Leon’s either. I never looked at what they were building. 51st State is multi-player solitaire at is finest, but that isn’t really what we’re after on game night. I play with the Fun Group because they’re fun. And they’re fun when they interact, not when they go head’s down and mumble.

So I’m glad we played it because I love it. I love it so much. But is isn’t a game that will come out very often with this group. And that’s OK.

Oh and I won also. 41 to 33 (Steve) to 23 (Leon). Yeah. I’m a post-apocalyptic badass. Everyone says so.



After my complete and utter domination, we played High Society. I can’t stop loving this game. Leon won. Steve had the least cash. I had to do some very sophisticated order-of-operations math to even figure up my score. Such a fun time.

And then we drug out Favelas which we played once about a year ago. Steve had never played. I quick-reread the rules and it all came back. Very basic tile-laying, dice-rolling, filler kind of game. It was fun. Steve won.


The dice rolling.


The tile laying.

So everyone won a game. That’s always nice. No one goes home the fucking loser. It was a quieter kind of a game night, but we had great discussions about flat-earthers, Lorena Bobbitt, and auto-erotic asphyxiation to liven things up. And Steve did an Alex Jones impression that was more Alex Jones-like than Alex Jones. I will not soon forget it. (I’m laughing now just typing this.)

Sorry I don’t have more to share, this is what multi-player solitaire will do for you. Thanks for reading along anyway. Maybe next time will be more raucous.

So until next time....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Fri Mar 1, 2019 3:30 am
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Winter is coming.....or possibly an early spring? I don’t know. Something something weather.

Charlotte Malone
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Hello and welcome to the blog! We’re glad you’re here.

Today’s post is not a recap of an official Fun Group Game Night sanctioned event, but we had two official members and two regular alternates and I was fifty-fifty on whether or not to blog about it but man-oh-man what a game so here we are.



A little back story...the Hubz loves A Game of Thrones the Board Game. We don’t get to play very often. I like the game, but don’t love it. Mostly because we don’t get to play very often and when we do play, it takes me a while to remember how to play and by then, we’re way past the point in the game when I can accomplish anything.

But since he loves it, I got him the Mother of Dragons expansion for Christmas. And we played a learning game with our two sons. And I LOVED it. I was anxious to play again before we forgot everything.

As soon as I tried to set it up though, wouldn’t you know it, everyone started trying to set up a game of TI4. So GoT had to take a backseat. (Because everything takes a backseat to TI4. #imnotbitter)

So here we are almost a month later, Workman couldn’t play, Steve didn’t want to play, but Munch was in and Leon roped his wife (Derenda) into playing. It was finally go time.


Setting up.

In the interest of time, this hubz and I decided which houses would be in play and which would be vassal houses so we could set up the board. We may have chosen poorly, but we had Lannister, Greyjoy and Martell as vassals. When everyone arrived, we randomly assigned the remaining houses. Mark was Arryn, Munch was Stark, Leon was Tyrell, Derenda was Baratheon, and I was Targaryen.


Ma house.


Ma dragon.

I won’t do a play-by-play - it’s not my style and it was a long game - but I will start with some interesting tidbits:

1. Munch, Leon, and Derenda don’t watch the show. Leon plays AGoT the card game, so he wasn’t completely lost, but Munch and Derenda didn’t know who anyone was. So we identified by color. “Red is attacking black. Will blue support?” Funny.

2. We never drew a single card that let us bid on the dominance tracks. Not once. We reshuffled the decks a lot, but no dominance track changes ever. Munch played some battle cards that made a couple of changes but other than that, nada. Not funny. At all.

3. The expansion board (Essos) is placed to the right of the original board. So you have Westeros, then the victory point track, the supply track and dominance tracks, and then you have Essos. Since no one was here when we set the board up, everyone thought we just arranged the boards like that. “Just curious, why did you put your board way over there? It makes the map hard to read.” After a good laugh Munch suggested the expansion come with an X-acto knife. Funny again.


”I didn’t want to say anything but the way she set that board up was whack.”

And now let’s talk about me. I dig the Targeryens. I like how they play so differently, I like the asymmetry. And let’s face it, I like those dragons. They’re easy to play at the beginning - you hunker down and play hard D and wait for your dragons to mature. But it’s tough to know when to make a move. Go too early and your dragons die and you’re fucked. Go too late and everyone else has armies everywhere in Westeros and they just come after you one after the other. Very tough calls. Very tense.

While I was holed up growing extinct beasts of war, Westeros went to seed just like in real life. Houses were butting heads, vassals were fighting...it was a real shitshow. Someone gained a castle, someone lost a castle. Then that person lost a castle and someone else gained castle. It was a tight game for a long time.


The Westerosi Shitshow.


Munch and Leon fought with their vassal houses the whole game. The. Whole. Game. One turn, they decided to change houses. And they still fought each other. “I was just wondering if it would be different playing as red instead of black. It’s not.”

I started making my moves when my dragons got to level 3. I lost a dragon early, trying to get two tokens at once. It would have been good ROI had I succeeded, but Leon said “I don’t think so” and I lost the dragon and failed to snag the tokens. Dammit Leon.

But my other two dragons were in good position. A turn or two would give me what I needed. Except Munch was about to win. I could swoop (literally swoop cuz dragons) in and take the two loyalty token spot. But Derenda had five combat points and a small fortress of support around it. So I needed to wait. But if I waited, Munch would win. What to do? What to do? (Seriously guys. What to do? Who’s got ideas?)

I had placed some useless move orders so I floated turns until the round ended. I kept Munch from taking his last castle by not moving out of it but he would go before me next round (going last every turn blows hard btw) and could take it easily. I had a dragon there, but he had so much support around us, I would never win a battle. I could attempt the attack for two tokens to try to win in grandiose Hail Mary fashion but there was no way I’d pull that off. (And I’m not even mentioning the fact that Munch thinner-cursed me mid-game with the traditional “I think Charlotte’s got this” bullshit. How does everyone know I’m a headcase?)

I decided to wait and do nothing. I took the very slight chance that the cards flipped during the Westeros phase would help me.

Spoiler alert: they did not help me.


Level four dragons. You heard me.

We started turn eight and Munch made his move. Then he said “Wait, I can just go right here.” We all looked and there was an undefended area with a castle. He waltzed in and took it. But we all thought that was anticlimactic so he retconned it, attacked me, slayed the dragon and won. Much more George R. R. Martinesque.


So close!

It was a long game (five and half hours including explanation) But it was fun. My favorite play of GoT so far. And I definitely prefer the game with the expansion. The vassals, the Targeryens, the Iron Bank (I didn’t even mention the Iron Bank - the expansion adds shopping!!) - all of the new features are great. It does need an X-Acto knife though - that would be perfect.

And now I just want to play again.

But for now....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:24 am
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Game Night wasn’t as good as a gift card from my mom I love you

Charlotte Malone
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I have solved the blog post title conundrum! Are you ready? Two words: predictive text. Genius, amiright? Genius! (True story....my first attempt at such a title ended with the phrase “and we had a little gas” and while that was beyond hilarious, I just couldn’t.)

But.....let’s talk about game night.

The guys played TI4 on Sunday so Steve couldn’t play games this week because.....something? I don’t even ask any more. “Steve can you play?” “No.” “YOU’RE DUMB!” But Leon and Workman did not let me down. We enjoyed an evening of three-player goodness. The three amigos indeed.



First up was a game that I had barely heard of in November and now it’s probably cracked my top ten (if I believed in top tens, which I don’t, but if I did, it would.) I’ve played Heroes of Terrinoth at all player counts and while it works at any count, I think three is the sweet spot. All players take an action and then collectively decide who takes an additional action. It just works.



If you recall from fairly recent posts, we tried this game twice before. And twice before suffered embarrassing defeats. We just couldn’t figure out how to win. Or even how to try to win. I’ve played it quite a bit since with the fam (son the younger likes it especially, which means it hits the table a lot when he’s home) and each scenario is its own puzzle. And it may take a few tries, but each puzzle is solvable. And solving it is so much fun.

We wanted an easier time of it tonight, so we tried a “trivial” skill level scenario. (Note: I don’t think the design team knows what “trivial” means.) We took on the Battle of the Mistlands.

Leon was a Mage, Workman was a Healer, and I was a Warrior.



Duel-wielding axes and beard pony-tails? I love me.

We started out well enough, but we somehow got off-track and didn’t travel when we should have or traveled when we shouldn’t or something. At any rate, the way the scenario works, you can only upgrade on the green peril space and only once per location. And we jacked that up. We were only able to upgrade once the whole game. Which was bad. But we managed the enemies super well and never took a ton of damage. Workman got in trouble once but he healed himself back to a good place and it was all good.


My one and only upgraded card. It was a good one. Makes me think of the Vice Principal in The Breakfast Club.


I sprung for the player mat. Totes unnecessary but I love it.

Let me pause here and make a confession from the innermost part of my soul. I love exploding dice. I do. You know when someone gives you a gift in a gift bag and there’s all that tissue paper and you reach in and pull out some bit of wonderfulness and you’re just so damn happy and then they say “there’s more” and you get to reach back into the bag? Exploding dice feel just like that.


heartheartheartheartheartheartheartheartheart

So...where was I? Oh yes. One upgraded card. Decent health. Enemy management.

We traveled to the last location. We spawned the nemesis. I engaged him and attacked him on my turn. And my dice just exploded and exploded and exploded. I think I rolled twenty exploding dice. Might have been four. Felt like twenty. It. Was. Glorious. I did nine damage. Leon took the additional turn and did a ranged attack and landed six more to finish him off.


Suck on that, Ankaur Maro.

Battle of the Mistlands? Check.

After feeling pretty damn good about ourselves, we tackled two of my other favorite three player games.



We hadn’t played Azul in so long, we forgot how to draft tiles from the factories. And Workman used the wrong side of the board. But it came back to us soon enough. Soon enough for Workman to win handily (83) and Leon to be respectable (49) and me to barely register that I’d played (35).



Biblios has been hitting the table a lot lately. It’s a Leon favorite, even though he declares “I suck at this game” every time we play. He sucked so bad tonight that Workman won with three dice. I only took green. I suck at this game too apparently.



And finally, we played Love Letter. I keep most of my small box games in a Quiver, LL being one. And I also keep Diamonds in there. And every time I open it, Leon looks at the Diamond tokens and asks “Do you have Ascension in there?” And tonight, Workman got the Diamond/Ascension tokens out and we used those for hearts.



Leon won. Dammit Leon.

And thus concludes another game night. It was a good time.

On a very personal note, I’ve been struggling with a herniated disk the last few months. It causes a lot of pain in my neck and shoulder and it can be nearly impossible for me to be comfortable, especially when I’m sitting straight up. And I’m seeing doctors and doing PT and taking meds and nothing is helping. And it’s got me really depressed, if I’m honest. Some days aren’t bad, but some days are. And today was bad. Like really bad. It turned me into a major snapping turtle at work. Such that I almost canceled game night. I knew I’d be uncomfortable and I knew there’d be a pretty good chance I’d be a bitch at some point and I just didn’t want to deal with it. But I love game night, so I went through with it.

And surprise surprise.....I’m glad I did. I was uncomfortable (I kept a heating pad on my shoulder, held in place with a neck pillow and I’m sure I looked insane but no one laughed at me, which was nice) but I had fun. I think playing games with friends may be the best thing in the world. Even better than exploding dice and that gift card from my mom.

Anyway, just wanted to share. In case anyone reading this is somehow still on the fence about board games.

And thanks for reading this. It means a lot.

See you next time.
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:48 am
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An Evening of Woodland Might and Right. And Cheating. And an Asterisk.

Charlotte Malone
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And just like that, it was game night again. Welcome back!

We’ve been off the rotation of late, and have just been collectively choosing games. This week I yelled “Root” louder and faster than anyone else. (Actually, I just typed it. There was no actual yelling. I got some thumbs-up emoji responses and it was decided. I may have over-dramatized.)



But wait! There’s more!



We haven’t played Root since the fall when I was all in love. I’m still in love, it just hasn’t hit the table in a while. I was excited to play again.

We picked factions. Workman, having yet to win with the Birds, wanted to be the Birds. (I hate him, but to his credit, he doesn’t give up.) Leon took the Vagabond and Steve took the Woodland Alliance. That left the Cats. And I really didn’t want to play the Cats. So I took the Lizards.


Check out the sly grin. Just like the lizards you find in the wild.

I have played the Lizards twice in two-player games with the Hubz. In the first game, I barely made a dent in the board. In the second, after I understood what to do, I dominated. I figured I had a 50/50 shot.

The Lizards are a weird faction, but they are thematically amazing. They collect everyone’s discarded cards each round to create a Lost Souls deck. They go through the Lost Souls deck at the start of each turn and determine what suit (bunnies, mice, or foxes) was the most often discarded. That suit becomes the outcast suit and is the focus of all the Lizard actions that turn. (Sound like any cults you know?) Also, any Lizards who die defending in battle become acolytes, which can perform more powerful actions than the standard actions. (Again, very cult-like, yes?) I love how thematic all the factions are, but the Lizards seem particularly clever.

There’s something else about the Lizards:


Ironic, don’t you think?

They hate Workman. I mean Birds. They hate Birds. They can’t use bird cards for their main actions. And guess who drew a whole grip of bird cards to start the game?

While I struggled to get a hand of cards I could use, Workman and Steve and Leon got busy earning VP. Workman took the early lead, but they all stayed very close for the most part. Then Steve and Workman started getting a solid lead. Steve shit sympathy all over the board and Workman avoided turmoil pretty impressively. It was neck and neck for a while.


Posting this, I realize we should have played on the winter side of the board. Because winter.

Workman got to 24 and was about to fall into turmoil. Steve had a monster turn and got eight points all at once to win handily. He commented that he’d played the Alliance a couple of times before but this was the first time he really knew what he was doing.


I love the adorable little mice meeples. Spoiler alert: too bad they’re lying, cheating, sons of bitches.

As we were boxing up the game, I checked the rule book because it seemed odd to me that Steve had amassed so many points on that last turn. And it seems that he had misplayed. He was taking an action he could only take in an unsympathetic clearing and he had done it in a sympathetic clearing. Umm-hmm. Well, no worries. He could have easily moved to an unsympathetic clearing and done it. Same diff. Then Leon picked up the Alliance faction board and discovered that Steve wasn’t supposed to have more than one sympathy token per clearing. Umm-hmm. Then Workman read the faction board and discovered something else he had misplayed. So yeah, this was the first time he really knew what he was doing. Good game.


Obligatory adorable card art pic. I mean a mouse? With a crossbow? I can’t even.

And if you’re wondering how well I piloted the Lizards this game, well....I won’t be threatening any of the major world religions any time soon I don’t imagine. I got five points. Five. I hate those damn birds.

After Root, we played two games of Cockroach Poker. Steve yelled “YOU’RE DUMB!” when Leon got stuck with a card, and I could not stop laughing. So we yelled it every turn. Because we’re just hilarious. And guess who wasn’t the fucking loser in either game? Yeah. Me. That’s who. First fucking loser was Steve. Second fucking loser was Leon. Fun times.


I only got stuck with three cards in game one. Three!! I’m so good at this game now. I may never fucking lose again.

After La Cockerelle, we played Love Letter. And I fucking won that too. What a night I was having!! (Minus the five point debacle of a performance in Root. I mean, not counting that of course.)

And then we played the obligatory two games of High Society. Workman won one, Steve won the other. (We think. We haven’t checked the rules.)

And then it was over. Another game night in the books. It was a fun one. Even though Steve cheats.

Check back next week for more cheating and insults. And until then....thanks for reading and happy gaming. And YOU’RE DUMB!
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:59 am
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