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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Cosmic Knizia and the Misplayed Barbarians. (Sounds like a band, yes?)

Charlotte Malone
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First things first, I am tired. And I was tired. All night. It started mid-afternoon but got worse after dinner. Probably a cheeseburger, fries, and a peanut butter shake isn’t the best remedy for a bad case of tired. By the time we sat down to play, I had progressed to soul-crushingly tired. So apologies in advance for what will most likely be a boring, humorless post. I think I nodded off typing just now.

It was Workman’s turn to pick. And he was so tickled two weeks ago to discover we had Cosmic Encounter in our midst that he wanted to play again. I suppose it could have been Sporadicus. Dodged a bit of a bullet there.



I was the Barbarians. I thought my ability was kind of OP, but all abilities in Cosmic are OP so I didn’t worry too much about it. When part of the offense, if successful, I got to take as many cards from the defender as I had ships in the fight. Then I got to discard the rest of the defender’s hand. Pretty great, huh? Here’s the thing.....it took forever before I could reveal my power. Every single encounter was negotiated. I sent ships, I brought ships back home. Sent ships, brought them home. No points. None.


Here I am, chilling out in last place.

But then things ramped up for me. I caught up to Leon. I had a chance.

Then I stole my alien’s flare from Workman and read my super power. It said I could use my ability as an ally as well. “Ummm, guys. I’ve been playing this wrong. This implies I shouldn’t have been using my power if I wasn’t the main player.” Damn.



I won, but it didn’t count since I played wrong. So we played again. This time I was the Shadow. Again, I had a pretty sweet power.


The Shadow knows.

I didn’t win this time. It was close, but Leon was the man. I don’t actually remember much from game two. Did I mention I was tired?


Right before Leon won. I was tired.

After Cosmic X 2, we played Ra. A sharper contrast in games you may never find.


Oh look. The 13. WTF? My picture quality really falls off from here. I don’t actually remember taking this, but here it is. I wonder what I was thinking when I took this?

I like Ra. But it’s pretty dry. Not one to really get the blood pumping. I didn’t have my best game. I also finished my turns before everyone else so there was a lot of me sitting and staring at the board while everyone else played. I might have slept with my eyes open. That might have happened.


Lots of Ra up in here.

But to my surprise, Workman finished dead last. And as far as I can tell, he was conscious and alert the whole game. So go me! I had 22 to his 19, Steve had 38 and Leon had 40. Somebody call Ra and tell him I wasn’t the worst! Also, go Leon!

Finally, Steve requested “the new Love Letter.” I thought “There’s a new Love Letter? And we have it?” Did I mention I was tired? Of course he meant High Society.


Scandale! Probably fell asleep on game night.

I managed to secure 11 points, but then got stuck with the minus five. Workman had 8 points and more cash than me. He won. Scandale!


There was a fair amount of discussion about what part of this woman’s blouse was actually bosom. Probably not as funny as I thought it was at the time. But I laughed.

And that was game night. Sorry I was so blah. I really was out of it.

Please come back next week. I’ll be lively and snarky and it’ll all be good again.

Until then.....thanks for reading and hap......zzzzzzzzzz
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Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:22 am
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It tastes just like cherry cola. C-O-L-A cola.

Charlotte Malone
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If you were here last week, you will recall that we played a game of Cosmic Encounter during which I won the game but lost my immortal soul. I’m still in a shame spiral over that. Having no soul, by contrast, Workman’s conscience was fine the very next day, so much so that he even pontificated about how much he loved games “where the players play each other”. In other words, games where you repeatedly bone one another through various and sundry under-handed schemes. He was on such a high after the Cosmic experience that he proclaimed “I want to play Sporadicus next.”

Well hold on there, Mephistopheles. It’s not your turn to pick. It’s mine. And knowing what you may be picking for us next week makes me think we should play something a little kinder this week. A little gentler. Bucolic, perhaps. Something....dare I suggest it......European?

Yeah. I made a grudge pick. I knew Workman would hate it. But why be nice? I’m going to hell anyway. Might as well get my money’s worth. We played Lowlands.



I actually have a love/hate relationship with euros. I do love a good efficiency-engine-building, multi-player-solitairing, life-on-the-farm game as much as the next Geek, but here lately, I haven’t been wowed by anything in that genre. The last euro to really excite me was Mombasa, and that’s been a while. I really, really liked Great Western Trail, but not enough to buy it. Every new euro I play just seems so samey. Like, “This is fine. But it’s just......fine.”

So I was very excited when SU&SD, who seemed to be in very much the same euro boat as me, raved about Lowlands in a recent podcast. Excited enough that I pre-ordered it and learned to play over the weekend just for game night. And while I did figure out how to play, I didn’t figure out how to win. There was still a lot I didn’t understand about strategy, and (having played 2P) I strongly suspected it was better with 3-4. Even though I didn’t expect the guys to lose their minds over it, I was very much looking forward to playing it again. I kind of, maybe sort of, liked it? A little?

Lowlands is an Uwe-esque (officially Uwe-approved, actually, that’s a thing) farming game where you are breeding sheep and saving them from floods. Or trying to sell them at a decent price before the floods come and they drown. Because once they drown, they don’t score any points. Just like in real life. It has a fair amount of rules, but it has a really decent rulebook and it’s not that hard to grok. We got through the rules explanation fairly easily.



We all very much hit the ground running. Leon built buildings. Steve built fences. I built warm and welcoming pastures for my sheep. Workman asked when the game would end.

One thing no one built much of was the dike. Steve took the early lead in dike points, but eventfully Leon owned it. Workman and I very much brought up the rear. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to build it, but it seemed like every time I was ready to build, someone went ahead of me and changed the resource needed. M&*$#@ - f*&$+%.


I really like the visual representation of the dike.

When it became obvious that we were going to lose sheep to the flood (lots of sheep in my case) I decided I better sell as many as I could. And again the bastards blocked me. Every time I thought I would sell, someone sold ahead of me and took up all the spaces. M&*$#@ - f*&$#%.



All in all, it went pretty quick. I think it’s a pretty fast game overall when you know the rules. And when you learn what the buildings do. I spent a fair amount of time reading each of the building functions out loud. Repeatedly. (I’m looking at you Leon.)

Speaking of Leon, he dominated with 92 points. Steve had 77, I had 66, and Workman had 57. Looks like the devil needs to step up his sheep game.

I’m not crazy in love with this game (it’s no Mombasa), but I do like it quite a bit. I like the Caverna-esque buildings, but I also like the focus on one thing (sheep). And I really like the dike building mechanic. I think Steve and Leon were ok with it. Probably not dying to play again, but they were good sports. Workman hated it, obvs.

After Lowlands, I wanted to play Parade instead of Love Letter. And we did! (Can you believe it?)



As much as I like this game, I can’t ever do it right. I’m always thinking I didn’t take any cards, only to discover I took three. Greater than, less than, colors....that shit is hard.



But I still won.....I had 14, Workman had 20, Leon 24 and Steve 26. Go me!

And such was game night. Not our most dynamic experience ever, but a nice change of pace. For me anyway.

Thanks for coming along!
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Tue Jul 3, 2018 4:34 am
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The Stink That Won’t Wash Off

Charlotte Malone
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We reset the pick rotation and put Steve in as starting picker. And he picked Cosmic Encounter. And we all had basically the same reaction: how have we never played this game before?



I mean, we’ve all played this game before. Just not with the core four. Workman was all “Wait, we have that game?” only to be told that we have not one, but TWO copies of that game in our collections. No clue where and when Leon got his copy, but Steve got his copy from the same “come to Leon’s desk and get a free game that he got off a guy’s porch” giveaway where I ended up with Chaos in the Old World. I initially asked for Cosmic, but Steve had already claimed it. Had I gotten Cosmic in that deal instead of Chaos, our little game group might never have happened. Good thing Steve’s a douche.

But back to the business at hand. Cosmic is a game of conniving, backstabbing, broken powers and general shenanigans. How have we never played this game before?


Please don’t point your big warpgate at me.

At the start of the game, we were all still friends and I was in a great mood. That did not last.

I was The Chosen. It’s a pretty terrific race. When I’m a main player, after playing an encounter card, I can reveal the top three cards from the draw pile and either replace my encounter card or add to it. I know, right? Terrific. I liked my chances.

Steve’s power let him take played artifacts and add them to his hand, and Leon’s let him play attack cards less than six (?) as reinforcements. Also good powers. Workman’s power.....well, we’ll get to his power in a minute.

And for a few turns, we were all in the mix. But a few things worked against me. One, I had a grip of Negotiate cards. And that’s all I had. Which means I could never draw new cards, because Negotiate is a valid encounter card to play. And any time I got to take cards from other players, I took Negotiate cards. Like every freaking time. It became amusing. By amusing, I mean sad, but amusing.


My hand. I wish I was kidding.

Another thing working against me was Workman’s power. He was The Grudge. Which mostly meant I did what he said or I lost four ships to the warp. I got really good at losing ships to the warp. I was frustrated to say the least.


It’s about to get real.

At this point, I had one ship on three of my home planets, and one ship on two foreign colonies. Workman Grudged me into sending one ship to defend an encounter, meaning I had to send a foreign colony ship just to keep my alien power. So I lost a point. I was thinking about just how big a prick Workman actually is when he played some damn card that put all my ships in the warp.

W.T.F.

Steve is about to win, I have four ships to my name, and Workman decides to decimate me? I was legit pissed off. Like not even kidding, I hate your ass for real, I don’t want to play this shitty game anymore, PISSED OFF.

I realized why we’d never played this game before. Because it SUCKS, that’s why.

I sat in my corner (actually it’s a round table, but I felt like I was in a corner) and read the rules to see if I was eliminated or if I was forced to keep playing. I was forced to keep playing. God, I was mad. And then by some stroke of luck (I can’t remember why) I got to take a card from Workman. (That may have happened before the decimation. It’s all a blur of emotion at this point.) I got an artifact that let me retrieve all my ships from the warp. And just like that, I was back in it.

I won some attacks and landed some colonies. I was so back in it.

And then we were all tied up at four. Workman drew me for his next encounter. Steve and Leon came over to defend. I had the attack 30 card in hand. I could fight him off. He wouldn’t win. And then.....he asked to negotiate. We can each place a colony, he said. We could share the win, he said. Don’t effing do that, Steve and Leon said. He screwed you so hard, they said. Don’t help him win, they said.

And I didn’t want to. I really didn’t. I hate Workman. We all know that. But it was late. I was tired. It had been an emotional game for me. I knew I would hate myself, but I wanted the game to be over and I wanted to win. Even if it meant sharing the win with the Devil himself.

I negotiated. We shared the win.


I hate myself. I have since returned home, taken five scalding hot showers and drank some tequila. I still feel dirty.

Why have we never played this game before? Because of dirty shared wins with the Devil, that’s why.

After shaming myself and my family, we played High Society, Steve’s favorite new filler. Twice. Tonight’s games were closer and more interesting. In the first game, Leon bid his way to a close win, with Workman once again not having enough cash to even matter. But then Workman took home the win in game two.

We closed with Steve’s former favorite filler Love Letter. He won. He rattled on about it still being the year of Steve, but we’re not really buying that. He might have claimed a week here and there, but not the year.

And that was game night. Don’t judge me. Workman is the terrible person in this story, right? Not me, right? I’m not terrible. Am I terrible?

Oh god, I’m terrible.

Thanks for reading anyway. And happy gaming anyway. I’m off to take another shower.
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Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:26 am
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Turns out, it isn’t The Year of Steve after all.

Charlotte Malone
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I was reminded of two things this week.

The first, why we decided to assign a person to pick a game each week rather than selection by committee. The following is an edited, partially paraphrased excerpt from our group chat:

“I’ve lost track of whose turn it is to pick. What do we want to play this week? I’m not super-pumped about anything I brought back from Origins.”
“Something Charlotte brought back from Origins.”
“Let’s pick something else.”
“Stop back-peddling Charlotte.”
“I’m not back-peddling. I just played them all except one and I don’t know the rules to that one.”
“What’s that? You’ve back-peddled too far, I can’t hear you.”
“Fine, I’ll pick and we’ll play the driest f***ing euro I can find.”
“Leon, what have you done?!?”
“Do we have four for sure?”
“Yes.”
“Cry Havoc.”
“I love me some Cry Havoc.”
“I’ll play it.”
“No, let’s play something Charlotte brought back from Origins.”
“I’ll do that too.”
“Charlotte doesn’t want to play anything Charlotte brought back from Origins.” (Editor’s note: this was actually me talking. I find that if I refer to myself in the third person, they often get confused, think it’s someone else, and are agreeable.)
“No one asked for your opinion Charlotte.” (Editor’s note: it doesn’t always work.)
“I’ll concede. Cry Havoc.”
“Terra Mystica?”

The other thing I was reminded of is how much I love Cry Havoc.



We haven’t played since last July, so it’s been a minute. And Steve didn’t play that time, so it’s been even longer for him. And unfortunately for him, we bypassed the rules refresher and just jumped right in. I was the Pilgrims (I do so love the Pilgrims), Steve was the Machines, Leon was the Humans, and Workman was the Trogs. Spoiler alert: Workman beat the shit out of all of us. Like, it wasn’t even close. Ever. Round one, Trogs were everywhere. It pretty much just went downhill from there.


Me trying to hug it out with Workman.

So here’s the thing about Cry Havoc: the game is super tight. You only get three actions per round. Three. And the game only goes four rounds. In case you’re bad at math, that’s not a lot of actions and not a lot of rounds. And when some Troglike person explodes down the victory point track, the game can lose a round, making it even tighter. (And yes, I know you don’t have to play it this way, but we do.)

And the fact is, I’m OK with all of that. It’s one of the reasons I like the game so much. I love how tight the turns are. You can’t waste actions. You can’t lay back. And you really need to know your plan before the game starts. In that regard, it feels very different from any other area control game that we play.


Early game. Before the dark times. Before the Trogs.

In tonight’s game, Steve paid the penalty for being rusty on the rules. By the time he got straight what he needed to be doing, the game was over. I built my happy little crystal engine, but I didn’t get it going until round two and I never was able to generate a lot of points with it. Leon came closest to catching up with Workman, but he still had too much ground to make up and not enough time to do it. Workman just got too many points too fast. Bastard.

We did battle a lot. Six in the last round. I maintained control of my regions whenever Workman attacked me. I attacked him once purely out of spite and didn’t fare well. I didn’t battle anyone else. Now that I think about it, I don’t think anyone battled anyone besides Workman. Bastard.

The final score was Workman 66, Leon 50, me 41, and Steve 21. It’s not The Year of Steve.

After crying “HAVOC!”, we played a game I got at Origins: High Society.



We actually played three times. Mostly because I won the first two games and the guys cannot let something like that stand. Workman even said “We can’t let Charlotte win three in a row. And those are words I never thought I’d hear myself say.” He was just mad because not only did he lose, but in one game he, as he put it “lost twice - I have no money and no points.” In the last game, Steve won. I didn’t keep enough cash to stay in it. My streak ended. Bastards. Perhaps it is still The Year of Steve? Maybe?


Make money money, make money monAYYYYYY.

I think we all liked this game. It’s a very simple bidding game with lots to consider. And I liked winning for sure. Steve liked throwing his cash down with great bravado. He even wanted to play a fourth time and declared it “the new Love Letter.”

We immediately followed that declaration with a game of Love Letter. And I won. It so isn’t The Year of Steve anymore.

And that was game night. We haven’t had a core four game night since May 3rd. (What!?!?) I said earlier I was reminded of two things. It was actually three things. I was also reminded of how much I love game night and our game group. (Is that four things?) Good times.

Hopefully we can get back on a regular schedule. We’ll see. Life things are still happening but I’m hoping we will persevere. Regardless, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:57 am
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Pax Magnifica Bellum Gloriosum. Or Something.

Charlotte Malone
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We’ve not had a game day or night since Memorial Day. Not my fault. Everybody else decided to get a life all of a sudden. What the hell is wrong with people?

But we had a game day today. And what a day it was. It was a Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition day.



Much to my joy, we agreed to pick factions in advance. Long time readers will recall that it is very important to me that I like my faction. I found a handy faction guide on this very website that laid out abilities, faction techs, starting techs and just about anything else you would ever need to know to decide if a faction is right for you. After reviewing, I went with the Naalu Collective. They get to go first and they get to retreat: two things I can easily get my head around.

Immediately after choosing said faction, I stumbled upon a Twitter conversation in which a certain “Snake Matriarch” faction was discussed. Matriarchs! I wanted to be them. Because obvs. So I looked them up to see who they were. And they were....wait for it.....the Naalu Collective. Excite! Also, they were topless. I was less excited about that part.


I like being a faction of powerful women snake leaders. With or without human breasts.

Less important than me, Steve was the Federation of Sol, Munch was the Clans of Saar, Workman was the full-blown Nekro Virus, Leon was the Ghosts of Creuss, and Dodd was the Emirates of Hacan. We had a full house.

I did well early. Starting on turn two, I managed to get an objective (and sometimes two) every turn. I wasn’t building an empire, but I was able to score.


I played black for a change. Black like my soul.

Early game highlights:

Dodd: “I’m kind of annoyed by this.”
Workman: “I don’t care.”

Munch came after one of Steve’s lone ground units and Steve beat him back with great aplomb. Munch: “You know that guy was down there all by himself, shooting like a space marine, probably smoking a cigar.”

Leon: “I’ve got plans but Workman keeps getting in my damn way.”

Another early game highlight for me happened when I dropped a lone Destroyer in a wormhole system all by himself (action card). Workman came over to blow it up and use his faction ability to steal my tech. But he didn’t realize my faction ability let me move that ship right back through the wormhole and out of reach. Bwah ha ha.....



I kept the lead until I got to five VP. And then the well just dried up. I got fenced in to my part of the board and had already completed most of the public objectives I had a chance at completing. There wasn’t much else for me to do. Dodd had a big turn and moved safely into first place.

Then I got lucky and drew a secret objective that let me score a VP by winning a combat against the player in first place. And I had some decent firepower within range of a system that had one of Dodd’s ground units. One. But before I could move, that son of a bitch Workman swooped in and took out the one unit instead. Dammit Workman. So I formed a backup plan that would get me through a wormhole to another single ship of Dodd’s. This was a dreadnought. Not as easy to kill but doable. But then that son of a bitch Leon moved in and took out that ship. Dammit Leon. I hate everyone.

Meanwhile, Dodd was close to winning. We all focused our energy on stopping him. I played a rider that let me take the speaker token from him during the agenda phase, Steve played an action that removed one of his command tokens (preventing him from scoring an objective involving command tokens) and Leon took his home world, stopping him from scoring any more objectives even if he could. It was a perfect storm of shafting. He was pissed. But he handled it well, I have to give him credit.


Leon crashing into Dodd’s home world.

At that point, it was anyone’s game. Except mine. Or Workman’s. I was dead last and he was only one ahead of me. He had had some major bad luck with dreadnoughts getting blown up (I’m not kidding, I think he lost like ten in two actions - it was oppressively bad luck) and he never could get his game going.

The last couple of turns were tight for everyone, and I thought Steve had it. Then I thought Leon might have it. Then Dodd threw a Hail Mary and tried to take Mecatol Rex but failed. In the end, Munch pulled out the win. Woot for Munch!

I did manage to win a combat against Munch once he took the lead, so I got my combat objective, and I managed to get two spaces adjacent to Mecatol Rex, which allowed me to score another public objective. If you’re keeping score, that means I managed to just jump ahead of Workman, putting him in sole possession of last place.


Let’s all have a moment of silence for Workman’s last place finish.

The game took eight full hours and I was more than ready to be done. It was a good game though, with more combat than any TI game I’ve ever played. It was also the closest finish I can recall. My only regret is that I was never in the mix in the end. My biggest complaint against TI4 is that when you know you can’t win, it’s a hard way to spend an afternoon.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I will be heading to Origins shortly, so no new post next week either. But if you’re in Columbus, come say hello. And if you’re not, I have no idea when game night proper might resume, but I’ll see you then!

So until then, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:09 am
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Banana Sandwich

Charlotte Malone
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To my American friends, Happy Memorial Day! And to my friends in the UK, Happy Spring Bank Holiday! And to my friends elsewhere around the globe, Happy Regular Shitty Monday!

So, Steve is missing. And by missing, I don’t mean actually missing in any Murder-She-Wrote sort of way, I just mean missing like “WTF Steve, get those priorities in order and come to game night for the love of god!”

The irony of today’s game day is that we were actually trying to work it out so Steve could join us for a change. He was free all weekend. But the rest of us were all “I can’t do Saturday, but I can do Sunday/No, Sunday’s crap for me, you really can’t do Saturday?” et al. Then we countered with Monday, so naturally Steve couldn’t do Monday, but the rest of us were so jazzed about a day-off game day at that point we just played today anyway. But we played a co-op, which Steve hates, so in the event he reads this, yes we played without you but you would have hated it. Really.

Plus also, Munch.

So welcome to game day!



Me, Workman, and Steve played Eldritch Horror over two years ago on an early FG game night. I really liked it and wanted to play again. As you can see, we got right on that. It’s been so long since playing, I read the rules and watched two how-to-play videos and part of a play-through to be ready. (And just between us, I don’t think the guys appreciate my efforts at all. I really don’t.) Munch and Leon were noobs. Lucky for them, the game phases are fairly easy to teach. We were fighting evil in no time.

We randomly selected characters. I was a sailor (pirate?) named Silas with a Ben Affleck-esque chest tattoo and no visible shirt. (I may have actually been completely nude. It’s hard to say.) Ironically, I was the only male investigator. (At least until peeps started dying, but I’ll get to that later.)


Silas Marsh. Bringing the eye patch back.

We were up against Yog Sothoth. I remembered thinking the monster we faught in our last game wasn’t all that, so I was hoping Yog would be a challenge.

And right out of the gate, he was. Either that, or we just sucked. Or maybe both. We definitely sucked. We rolled terribly. Leon died early. We couldn’t close gates and we couldn’t get clues. Things weren’t looking good for the world at large.


Fighting monsters in London. I prefer fighting shirtless. (Pay no attention to Leon’s corpse behind me. Nothing to see here.)

I did some kickass fighting though. I had a fishing net and a bull whip and a carbine rifle and no shirt and (later) the Sword of Saint Jerome. I had it “going on” as the kids say. Taking down monsters was the one thing we did well. (The monsters were a bit weak sauce though, to be fair.)


Workman’s investigator wore a cool hoodie. It was no eye patch but it made a certain statement. Also, he looked like Jennifer Lawrence.

So we killed a lot of monsters, but literally nothing else went our way for a long time. It took forever to complete our first mystery. I mentioned that Leon died....he came back as another female investigator (this one was much cooler though - very badass looking.) Then Workman died....he came back as a crazy old man (my investigator from our previous game). It wasn’t long before he threw his back out - this kind of work is hard on the elderly.

And before you say two investigator deaths isn’t terrible, this isn’t mentioning the times Munch saved each of us from dying. He had some spell that let him block insanity and he DID WORK. I think he brought everyone back from the brink at least once.



And then, for no particular reason, things seemed to get easier. We completed the second mystery fairly quickly. The third mystery required spells to be discarded, and me and Leon had almost zero spells but Munch and Workman had spells in spades. On our last turn, we were in position for three of us to end the game if anyone missed rolls. I think Munch actually ended it, but it was a sure thing. We saved the world with two spaces left on the mythos track! Go us!

Leon had to rush off as soon as we were done (kids!) but I don’t think he liked the game overly much. Workman and Munch thought it was too fiddly. I’m a big fan though. I like co-ops, and while there are a lot of moving parts, I really like the scale of this game. It feels substantial. And I like the story-telling aspect. Crazy shit happens and that can be so much fun if you let it be. For example:

“Is that a MiGo? Ooohhh, I get his brain in a case.”

“Yeah, don’t be on a location with Workman. If he flips this thing, he’s gonna go banana sandwich and damage everyone there.”

“A crime syndicate? In the Midwest? That’s the f$&*ing Corn Syndicate f*$&ing you up.”

“Give me the Lead Investigator token. Ya’ll disgust me.”

“What’s the worst that could happen?”


Ahhh, such good times. Would play again. In say, two years?

After EH, we played Love Letter. With Leon gone, I liked our chances. Munch won. I’ll allow it.

And that was game night. Day. Whatever. We saved the world. You’re welcome.
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Tue May 29, 2018 3:34 am
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Surprise! We didn’t close out the night with Love Letter!

Charlotte Malone
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We led off with Love Letter. (Fool you!!)



It was Leon’s turn to pick and he wanted to play Inis. Steve was out again, and Munch had never played. So I semi-set-up the game for a rules tutorial, but Munch was late and we decided to go ahead and get Love Letter out of the way. Played right there on the Inis board. Variety is the spice of game night, amiright? It was a close one, but Baron Leon won the day.

But back to Inis. Long time readers may be aware that we have not played Inis since the three and a half hour debacle of a game that resulted in no clear winner and major ass fatigue. Regardless of how the last game ended (or didn’t end, as was more the case), I was still excited to play. I dig this game.


A slight departure from my normal boring box cover shot. The sunlight seemed like a good omen.

At the start of the game, I had no real strategy beyond getting Epic Tale cards. Those things are the shizzle. Some of them are wicked powerful.

The game started slowly. No one really jumped into the lead. And then about forty-five minutes in, I realized Workman was about to win. He was chieftain over five clans and had a deed. So I announced “Hey, if we don’t stop Workman he’ll win.” I then refused to make eye contact with him. He was giving me the stink eye. I could feel it. But no eye contact = stink eye not received. Failed stink eye.


Ax Guy is my favorite.

I moved a clan out from Workman’s control and Leon moved three. Threat mitigated. The game continued. At that point, Munch and Workman mostly tripped over each other. They fought and moved and fought and moved and used MTG terminology for all their plays. “If you cast the Geis, you can stop that.”


Munch and Workman, gummed up in the middle of the board.

Meanwhile, Leon and I snuck all over the board. Mostly in places with sanctuaries. We both built up fairly solid threats. I had clans in territories with four sanctuaries, but I also had a deed, and Leon was in territories with five sanctuaries. We were looking strong. And then Munch and Workman stopped casting cards and noticed us. Bastards.


I dig the art so much in this game.

That was the closest I got to a win condition the whole game. They beat me back enough that I wasn’t a threat anymore. And I spent so much energy keeping up with everyone else’s status that I never could get myself going again.

Workman threatened several more times, but we managed to keep him in check. I love the semi-cooperative feel that happens when someone takes a pretender token and everyone else starts figuring out how to stop them. Leon also grabbed a pretender token, but we stopped him from winning as well.

After about two hours, Workman got clans in five territories and had a deed and we couldn’t stop him. Sigh. Workman won. Stink eye delivered and received.



This game is quirky and charming. It’s basic area control, but the drafting and the win conditions and the art just make it special. I wish we played it more.

Afterwards Munch regaled us with stories of dead mice and induced vomiting on tiny dogs. I laughed quite a bit. It was a #GGN.

Thanks for coming along!
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Fri May 25, 2018 4:52 am
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Turns out, shuffling is kind of important.

Charlotte Malone
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A week or so back, when we played The Flow of History, Workman said, to no one in particular, “This game makes me want to play another game.” And while I didn’t respond (I was probably mad at him for something or other) I thought to myself “Nations. This game makes me want to play Nations.”

And sure enough, it came around to Workman’s turn to pick tonight and he wanted to play.......



It had been awhile since we played, so I prepped by watching Rahdo’s run through. And let me just say, that video is kind of hilarious. Rahdo toys with the idea of retconning an adviser purchase and the self-talk he has with himself is comedy gold. Totally worth watching. But I digress.....


Helllloooooo.......Newman.

Steve was still tied up with life, so we recruited our favorite alternate. Munch had never played Nations. After a quick rules run down, we got to civilizing.

I was Greece. I was disappointed by the general lack of gyros. But otherwise, Greece was fine. I got plus one on a golden age. (And yes, someone had to explain to me how the plus one actually worked every time I bought a golden age, but whatevs. It wouldn’t be a game night if I didn’t struggle with something.) Munch was Egypt (they’re quite wonderful), Leon was Persia (I now can’t recall what their ability was but it wasn’t wonderful), and Workman was China (which he insisted on pronouncing in the same way a certain POTUS pronounces it, which was admittedly funny. Twice.)


The board. With cards. That you buy. (Not its real name.)

I got off to a decent start. The video helped. In previous games, I spent the first few rounds relearning the rules, but this game I knew what was up. I was “on fleek” as the kids say. (Do the kids still say that?)

It felt like we all got off to a decent start. Except Munch. He appeared to have fallen behind from turn one. I felt like I was neck-and-neck with Leon most of the game, and of course Workman was always in the lead. Because of course he was.


These are not gyros. Why can’t the food be thematic?

I grew a strong military, mostly because they said I wouldn’t. They don’t know me!! Except that they do. But I grew a strong military anyway. I bought wars and battles, but that was about it. Literally. There weren’t a lot of good buildings out that I could buy. Like ever. Like not the whole game. Like “who the hell shuffled?!?!” (I did. I shuffled. My bad.)

In the third age, I started to struggle. I always had enough resources, and I was never in last place on any track, but I wasn’t flourishing. I was just getting by. Great civilizations don’t just get by. Mine was not a great civilization.


My not great civilization.

Workman’s was a great civilization. And it looked like Leon’s was a semi great civilization. But Munch’s was also not a great cilivization. I felt sure I would beat Munch.



I will take a quick break from my dramatic lead up to final scoring to share a funny Workman moment. At least, I thought it was funny. There was a big high-dollar war on the board that would cost all the losers ten food. And Workman kept saying how we were safe from war this turn since no one would buy it. When the rest of us eventually passed, Workman ran up his military and announced “this is where I mind-f*** everybody. I’m buying the war.” So he bought it and he was in the lead on military and we had all passed and could do nothing to improve our militaries at that point. But when we resolved the war, we all had enough food and nothing bad happened to anyone and it was all very anti-climactic. “How did you all have so much goddamn food?!?!?” He was so disappointed.



When it was all over, Workman won with 41, Leon and I tied at 27 and Munch had......28?!?! Son of a bitch.


Don’t call me Char.

After Nations, we played Love Letter. Because of course we did. Workman won. Because of course he did.

And that was a wrap. It was good to see Munch. It had been awhile. I could have done without his beating me, but still.

Until next time....thanks for reading, and happy gaming!
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Tue May 15, 2018 5:03 am
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DTCC!

Charlotte Malone
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For an explanation of the title, you will need to refer back to last week’s post and suss it out for yourself. I can’t be expected to explain every little thing.

We knew going into this week that we would be one gamer short. Steve had a lot of life things happening. Workman suggested the rest of us round-robin several games of Crystal Clans. I was immediately on board. Leon was agreeable (when is he not?) And so it was.



But first, some background.

I was aware of Crystal Clans last fall when all the buzz was afoot. But I was all jacked up about new Ashes decks and couldn’t be bothered to give it much thought. But the new decks have come and gone, and frankly, I’ve grown a little cold on Ashes. (If I’m honest, I hate the new decks. There. I said it.) And while I wasn’t exactly looking for a replacement 1-v-1 card game (such games are usually not my jam), when I saw that CC was finally releasing at the end of March, I decided to give it a go.


Clans aplenty.

Spoiler alert......I love it. I love it a lot. I mostly play with the Hubz, but I’ve played with Euro-game Matt several times, I played with Workman one night after work, and I even played with Steve at lunch just today. I can’t get enough. I. Love. This. Game.


The initiative mechanic in this game is the shizzle.

But...back to the game night at hand.

Leon skipped dinner, so Workman and I started playing before he arrived. I mentioned that we had played once before....I taught him the game and he repaid my kindness by beating the absolute shit out of me two straight games. I think I maybe got one crystal in both games. It was an awkwardly bad performance on my part. I was honestly nervous about a rematch.

Workman wanted to be the Water clan (it worked well for him last time) and I’ve been playing the Flower clan, so I opted to stick with them. It’s a damn good thing I did. Most def. (The Wire? Anyone?)


The unit in the rightmost Crystal zone? The Wisp? MVP.

First game, I couldn’t figure out what Workman was trying to do. He wasn’t trying to score crystals, that much I know. He kept attacking when he really didn’t need to. (It’s just in his nature I suppose.) I danced my units about the board and avoided him. After I went up two crystals to none, he called it. Said he couldn’t win. Who was I to argue?

Leon still wasn’t there so we rematched. This game was much closer, but I still won. (Satisfying moment #27 occurred when I forced his Harlow Tidebringer unit out of the game. He didn’t see that coming. He rarely lets you know when you’ve surprised him. It’s a great feeling. I can probably retire from gaming now.) At 3-2, he called that game as well. It was just a few turns before I won so again, who was I to argue? (Actually, I wanted to play it out as I had a sweet battle move in store, but I didn’t force the issue. I’m a swell person that way.)

Leon came in mid-way through the second game. He and I played next. He was the Stone clan, a personal favorite. I love to play them, but I don’t think I’ve ever won with them. They are slow to build up.



I won that game as well, but it was a learning game for Leon. He did much better in his next game against Workman.


Water vs Stone. Or, an unstoppable force vs an immovable object. Leon eventfully moved.


Everybody’s thinking.

Workman eventually won, after having blown up one of his own crystals to win a battle. It was impressive. Leon didn’t have a great time (he’s actually the first person I’ve played CC with who didn’t really enjoy it) but he was still learning, so you know. I think Workman is a fan though.

I’m definitely a fan. I love how tight the board is. You can’t lay back. The game is on from turn one. And I love the initiative track. Such a clever push-pull mechanic. The clans seem balanced and are fun to play. Their abilities are thematic as well, which I like. So yeah, big fan.

After CC, we had time for some fillers. We played new favorite Azul. Workman won with 45 to my 43 and Leon’s 18 (maybe?) Workman then poor-mouthed his way through an entire game of Biblios (“I have no cards. Literally none. I am going to win zero colors. I’m so out of this game”) before winning 7-3-3. And finally, Leon put us all to shame by dominating Love Letter. It’s his true medium.

And then we went home. It was a less-social-more-gamerly game night, but still fun. And I beat Workman so, you know, really fun.

And that’s all I have to say about that. As always, thanks for reading. And happy gaming!
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Tue May 8, 2018 4:39 am
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In which we build civilizations, find suitable husbands, and hunt down a killer. Plus also tacos and a home improvement project. What a night!

Charlotte Malone
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It was my night to pick, and I was DTG. (Steve had to explain to me recently what DTF means, and I’ve been incorporating variations into my everyday speech. For example, DTG = Down to Game. DTC = Down to Chicken. It’s quite charming. Everyone thinks so.)

I had several games I wanted to play. Not fillers really, but not take-a-whole-evening games either.

First up was a kickstarter I’d just recently received: The Flow of History.



And let me start by bitching just a tad. Actually a lot. This is a TMG deluxified game. It’s a card-driven tableau-builder. And calling it icon heavy is the understatement of the decade. The original version had both iconography and text on the card. But in the new, improved, deluxified version, they removed the text and just had the icons. What. The. Hell. That makes me crazy. I get not printing text when you’re space-restricted, but there’s plenty of space on those cards. AND THE TEXT USED TO BE THERE. THEY REMOVED IT. ON PURPOSE. I spent most of the game looking stuff up in the rulebook and reading card effects out loud. Not fun.



The game itself wasn’t terrible. There were some clunky rules, but overall, I liked the concept. I didn’t have a great game though. I got behind in military, and then kept getting attacked because I was the weakest. (Gotta love a vicious cycle.) I tried to buy Ghandi to solve my military woes, but Workman sniped him out from under me. (I have to imagine Ghandi hated working for someone like Workman.)



It moved really quickly though. The internet came out, then the future, and then it was over. Workman won with 29. I surprised myself by coming in second with 22. Steve had 21, and Leon had 18.

The game was fine, but I can’t say I’ll play it again. It probably plays great after a few plays when you work out the clunkiness and the iconography, I just can’t say it’s good enough to make the effort. We’ll see.

My next pick was a game I’ve had for ages but never played with the Fun Group. It came up in conversation recently and I decided it might be a scream to play on game night.



Marrying Mr. Darcy is not a great game. It’s very luck-driven. But if you are a fan of P&P, it can be rather entertaining. And it can be especially entertaining when played with men. (And all the text is printed right there on the cards! I’m looking at you, TMG.)

While I was setting out the suitor cards, Leon asked where all the black people were. #awkward


My face when I think I’m a racist.

I got to be Lizzie. (She’s so awesome.) Steve was Kitty (lame), Leon was Lydia (tramp), and Workman was Caroline Bingley (bitch). Kitty, Caroline, and I all set our sights on Mr. Darcy. (I can’t remember who Lydia’s best match was. Who the hell knows with her.)


Mid-game. Kitty is excited. Lydia is unimpressed. Caroline is a bitch.

As expected, MMD was quite hilarious when played with the guys. “PARTY CARD!!” “Oh look, I’ve played a jig on the piano forte.” And I cant repeat the inappropriate things Steve said about Mr. Darcy.


This wasn’t confusing at all.

Regrettably, I was not able to develop enough wit to ensnare Mr. Darcy. In fact, my only eligible suitor was Mr. Collins. He proposed, but I said no. ‘Tis better to be an old maid than married to a douchebag, amiright ladies?

The other girls married sufficiently (no one landed Mr. D) (Mr. D is Mr. Darcy, not some penis euphemism) but Steve married the best. He won with 22, Leon had 21, I was an old maid with 18, and Workman was so bitter he didn’t even tally his score. Bitch.


Kitty and her man.

Again, not a great game, but a ton of fun every once in a while with fun people. Maybe next time we’ll add the Undead expansion. (I’m not kidding. That’s a thing.)

Finally, we played Whitehall Mystery.



Workman was Jack. Steve, Leon and I fumbled around for two rounds before Steve found his trail. After that it was very tight. We felt sure we were close.


HE WAS RIGHT HERE!

But Workman is Workman and he kept evading us. He placed his third body part. We closed in. It was tense. Workman was nervous.


Yeah, he was nervous. Under the hat, behind the screen.....nervous.

In the final round we knew where he had to go. We circled. We closed ranks. I attempted an arrest. I whiffed. Steve searched for clues. He found one. On the very spot Workman needed to win the game. Workman placed the clue, then placed the red token. And won. Bitch.


So close!

I love that this game gives you all of the tension of hidden movement in a fraction of the time. I’m a fan.

And to close, of course we played Love Letter. It was uneventful. So uneventful, Leon won and then had to tell us he’d won because no one noticed. We were busy chatting about TV shows. You know how girls are.

And then I (mostly) fixed a scratch on Workman’s table that I’d made a month or so ago. Home Improvement FTW!

And that was that. I enjoyed myself immensely. #GGN

Thanks for coming along this week! Happy gaming!
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Fri May 4, 2018 5:38 am
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