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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Charlotte Malone
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Forgive us, fellow gamers, for we have sinned. It’s been almost a month since our last game night.

So yeah, it’s been a bit since you heard from me. At least one of you noticed. As far as the rest of you.....wtf? It’s been almost a month! We might have been dead! Or trapped under TI4! You might have at least inquired. Anyway......more on the general state of the Fun Group later. Let’s get back to the real reason you’re here. And that reason is.....tonight’s game night.

Best we can recall, it was Workman’s turn to pick. And he wanted to play his birthday game Yellow & Yangtze.



Fun fact about me....I say “yella” instead of “yellow” if I’m not paying close attention. I think it’s my southern. I’ve become a bit self-conscious about it since it was so kindly pointed out to me. Please don’t mention it if I slip up.

Long time readers may recall that we have a love/hate relationship with Y&Y’s older, beiger sibling Tigris & Euphrates: Steve and Workman love it, Leon and I hate it. I won the first time we ever played due to sheer dumb luck and five blue tiles. Spoiler alert: four black tiles is the new five blue tiles.


My stuffs.

Workman had read the rules and did the teach, which mostly consisted of “this is just like Tigris/this is not like Tigris”. We were playing fairly quickly. (Apropos of nothing, this game had the smoothest board I’ve ever encountered. I wanted to rub my face on it but I thought that might be weird.)

Right off the bat, I liked the hex board and colors way better than Tigris. Wasn’t crazy about the cubes for points but fine. Didn’t like the wooden leaders as much as the plastic cut-shapes but I get how making them hexes worked better.


I wanted to rub my face on that board SO BAD.


One thing I didn’t like was this god awful thing. Somebody totally mailed it in the day they designed this. War, what is it good for? Shitty components apparently.

Game play felt very similar to T&E. I mostly just tried to accumulate even numbers of points (although the yella cubes definitely added a new element to keeping your points balanced) and stay out of trouble. But trouble found me a couple of times, as it always does. Steve started a fight with me, and Leon forced me and Steve into a fight, and both times, I was sitting on a pile of the exact color tiles I needed. I walked away from both fights like a boss. You know, shit exploding behind me and me just walking away like “whatevs, bitches.” Exactly like that.

I acquired a couple of pagodas (not the yella one though, Steve and Workman fought over that and it mostly stayed with Steve). I liked the pagodas. I also liked dropping two blue tiles to end the pagodas of my enemies. Always a good time.


Not a yella pagoda.

All in all, I had an easy time of it. In the end, I won with 6, Steve had 5, and Leon and Workman tied with 4. Close game.

I think I like Y&Y better than T&E, but I still conceptually don’t really get it either. I’m sure we’ll play again. And I’m sure I still won’t get it. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

Did I mention that I won? Can’t remember.

After Yella, we played Not Alone. Leon was the alien, and like last time, he dominated. Got very close to winning. And like last time, the hunted had a big pep talk, said we gotta dig deep, focus, don’t get caught. Unlike last time, however, the hunted had Steve on their team. He ran right out of that pep talk and got caught the very next turn. Dammit Steve. Game over. Go Leon.

The night was still young, so we played some High Society. We played two games....Workman won the first and I won the second. And just like last time, I was DIALED IN for the second game. For the last auction, Workman and Leon had one card each so they couldn’t bid. Steve had played two cards already and only had one card left. And I still had three cards, including my 25. I won the last auction and the game. Damn it feels good to be the one percent.

And then we played Love Letter. Out of sheer boredom I created a whole new meta by playing the king and passing a priest. I mean, who does that? We do, that’s who. New meta. Workman did the same thing later in the game and had Steve completely buffaloed. Workman had kinged me and traded me the priest, so of course Steve thought I had the princess. And even said so. “Can’t baron Charlotte, she’s got the princess. I’ll baron Leon.” Of course Leon had the princess. Fun times. Workman won, so that wasn’t fun, but still fun times. New meta feels betta. Love Letta.

And that was game night. Hopefully, we’ll be back next week. I’m not making any promises. It seems that everyone went out and got some new priorities. Leon is back in school and has class two nights a week, Workman picked up a common-law wife and two pets seemingly overnight, and Steve is.....Steve. I’m still me, but it often feels like I’m the only one trying to keep this going. And I sometimes wonder if everybody wouldn’t rather just call it quits but no one really wants to be the one to say it. So I’m going to back off a little. I still love game night. It’s still my favorite thing that I do. But I don’t love feeling like no one else really wants to do it. So if we play, great. But if we don’t, I’m not going to nag.

I guess I’ll be back whenever I’m back. That’s the best I can do.

In other game news, I’m going to be starting a Gloomhaven campaign in the near future. I may blog about it. I may not. I’m not sure it’s a thing that will inspire me. But if I do, you’ll be the first to know. I won’t be blogging here most likely. I’ll probably start a separate blog. But I’ll still advertise here. So keep those eyes peeled.

Until whenever, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Today 3:28 am
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Mistakes Were Made

Charlotte Malone
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Hello there! It’s been a minute. We skipped last week as my mom was in town. (Actually, the guys played TI4 on Sunday but I sat out. Dodd won. Workman got obliterated. It sounded fun.) And this week, we found ourselves sans Steve. So we had to pull out the Three-Player Game Night Playbook. (That’s a thing. Buy a copy. For realsies.)



The main game of the evening was Battle for Rokugan. And I have to say, I love the hell out of this game. We picked it on Monday, and I started thinking about it and I got really excited. Don’t you love games like that? Games you just think about and then you’re jonesing to play? (Don’t tell Root.)



We picked clans. Workman wanted to be the Scorpions (No one like you-ooo....), Leon picked the Crabs (he may have called them the Crabasses, it’s hard to say for sure) and I went Team Phoenix (#teamphoenixforever).



And right out of the damn gate, I get pitted against Workman. My secret objective was to control the Scorpion capital and/or the other two Scorpion provinces. Like I needed that heartache. I could have chosen the other objective, but it was to control a province in every territory on the board or something super impossible.


Team Phoenix trying to move in on Scorpion Land. Trying to rock it like a hurricane, if you will.

So Workman and I skirmished over and over all up in the middle of the board and Leon fucking dominated. Like, for realsies. He was this entirely unstoppable force. Crabasses don’t play, apparently.

I felt like I was doing Ok. I was no Crabass, but I was solidly in second. Because Workman sucked. Like, so bad. He kept getting Shugenja-ed. (“Shugenja” is Japanese for “take your token off the board and shove it up your ass”.) I even started to feel bad for him. (IKR? What is wrong with me?) I had to place my scorched-earth token during the last round and he had the only territories I was adjacent to. And I legit felt guilty.

And my turns had ceased to matter. I had spent the entire fourth round preparing for a hail-Mary into the Scorpion capital and I had the entire fifth round to make it happen. Except some Crabass declared peace in the only province I had that was adjacent. Are you kidding me Leon!?!?! I couldn’t complete my objective. Damnation.


Workman, most likely removing yet another token from the board.

So we wrap up round five and tally our scores and somehow Workman beat me, 23 points to my 19. W.T.F. I mean, honestly. How does this happen? But as we’re pulling tokens off the board I remember we didn’t include territory bonuses. I had 15 more points. Workman had 10 more. I beat him by a point.

Oh. Yeah.

Also, Leon had 56 points. Crabass.

Battle for Rokugan is such a good game. I love the pacing, I love the territory control, I love the variable turn order. I especially love how you just shit tokens all over the board before the game even starts and then you go from there. You’re in the thick of it at the start of turn one. This one is a favorite. Why don’t we play this more?

After getting stomped on by Leon, we played Not Alone. Twice.



Game one, Workman was the alien and he shut us down. We never stood a chance. Game two, Leon was the alien. And he also did some shutting down. Almost. He caught Workman on almost every turn. And he needed one more point to win. But then we turned it around. And by we, I mean me. I bobbed and weaved all over that planet and got us rescued. Me. Workman just ran around and lost his will and got caught.


Here we are. Winning. Look how close Crabass got.

Not Alone is a neat game. My biggest complaint is the rulebook. This is a game you just want to pick up and play with no prep, but it always seems like we need to check a few rules and we can never find them and bleh. But otherwise, super cool game. I dig it. Just don’t make me be the alien.

And no three-player game night would be complete without Biblios.



This game had the weirdest auction phase of all time. It was all gold. All gold. So much gold it became comical each time we flipped a gold. Which was every time. How does that happen?



I had orange and green mostly sewn up. I was planning to buy more blue but no blue cards came up. (Just gold.) Leon kept amassing all the gold that flipped, but gold doesn’t win games. In this instance, red and brown won games. At least they won Workman this game as they gave him seven points. I took orange and green as expected, but they were only worth five. And Leon took blue for four points. And a gabillion dollars worth of gold.

And we wrapped up with Love Letter. Because of course we did. Leon won, despite having to come from behind and despite a giggling fit mid-game. It was quite contagious.

And thus concludes our Three-Player Game Night Extravaganza. It was fun. It usually is.

Be sure to tune in next week. Or don’t. You know. Your call.

But for this week, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:58 am
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I’m in love! And it’s not even Friday!

Charlotte Malone
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Hello and welcome to game night! I hope no one minds, but we played Root again. It was my pick, and there was nothing else I really wanted to play. And to be fair, I asked for suggestions from you all last week and only got one. (And it was for an out of print game that I’ve never even seen, much less played.) So you have only yourselves to blame. Really.

But in all honestly, I really did just want to play Root again. I can’t remember when a game has captivated me quite the way this one has. It’s all I want to play right now. Is this what Love feels like? (“Love” autocorrected to a capital L just now, and I’m leaving it. Because yes, this must be Love with a capital L.)



We switched up factions again, except for Workman. He’s hell-bent on winning with the Birds. Steve played the Cats, and Leon took the Vagabond. I wanted to play one of the expansion factions: the Riverfolk.

We got off to a rather sour start because people are rude and I’m a bitch and suffice it to say the first few turns weren’t that memorable for me because I was sulking. That’s all I have to say about that. Except this: sometimes other people don’t care about things in the same way that you do and maybe they don’t mean to, but they still make you feel small. And that sucks. That’s really all I have to say about that.

The Riverfolk are a merchant faction. They sell cards and riverboats and mercenaries. I didn’t think they were strong contenders to win, but they seemed fun to play. And those otters are just so damn cute.


I mean honestly.

Workman took a pretty commanding early lead. He got roosts out and racked up points every turn. So I decided to make it my mission in life to stop him. And I did OK. He had given me four of his warriors to buy a card early game and I used them to put out trading posts in his roost locations and then battled over several turns. I wasn’t always successful, but over time, I took quite a few roosts off the board. As did Steve and Leon. We beat him back pretty effectively.


Note the absence of roosts. I think the forest looks just fine without them.

Steve was busy building up a feline empire. He did it quite well. I lowered my prices and he bought cards from me. We were getting along just fine, better than I normally get along with cats of any kind, and then I attacked him a few times and he didn’t care for that. But I needed the points.

I needed the points because I never could reserve enough funds to pay any dividends. My plan was to spend a turn or two, when I had lots of funds, and just not take any actions. Then get the dividend points. But there was always something I needed to do. It never worked out.


Party in the committed funds box!

Leon, meanwhile, was a better Vagabond than I ever thought about being last week. He collected what seemed like a shit-ton (metric system) of items. And he battled. He used his crossbow to snipe people and then attacked. I was the only faction he wasn’t hostile with. He don’t need no stinking friends apparently.

And here’s the best part (I thought).....it was a really close game. Once we beat Workman back, no one took a strong lead. Even I stayed close. (Me! IKR?)

We were in the last turn when I had an a-ha moment. Steve was going to win on his turn and if he fell a point short, Leon would win. I was planning my best points scenario for my last turn and Workman moved into a fox clearing and fucked me. Not on purpose, he just didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I said “oh, you really fucked me.” And he said “what, you were planning on getting ten points?”

And it occurred to me that he never plays for position. All I ever do is play for position. If I win, it’s a pleasant surprise. If he doesn’t win, where he finished doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s not relevant, I just never considered how if you are used to winning, there’s no other prize to be had. I guess my scrounging for every possible point looks kind of pathetic from that perspective.

Anyway, Steve did win with the rest of us at 26 (Leon), 25 (Workman), and 24 (me). Definitely our closest game yet. Woot for Steve, and woot for us!


Look at those contenders! We’re definitely getting better.

I know I’ve said this every time we’ve played it, but I love this game. I think about it when I’m not playing it, and I want to play it all the time. It’s just such a genius design and such a gorgeous presentation....I love it. Love, love, love it. I’ve even ordered a shirt for god’s sake. I’ve got it bad.



Obligatory cute card pic #1



Obligatory cute card pic #2

Afterwards, I didn’t feel like playing anything else so I bailed on a closing filler. I actually brought my quiver full of fillers, but I just wanted to go home and go to bed. Which is what I should probs do right now.

So good night, thanks for reading, and happy gaming!
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Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:23 am
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We played Root twice and ate tacos and had birthday cake (Happy Birthday Workman!) and played High Society and I had a pretty stiff cocktail with dinner but it’s fine. I’m fine. Really.

Charlotte Malone
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Before we get to game night proper, Workman’s birthday is next week, and we opted to celebrate a bit early. We had pork tacos and tres leches cake and I enjoyed a pretty stiff whiskey sour. After all, it’s not everyday your BFF turns 15! In all seriousness, I know I say I hate Workman all the time but I don’t really. He’s actually one of my all-time favorite people (except for 2-3 hours once a week and sometimes on Sunday afternoons), so everyone wish him a happy birthday. (And please don’t tell him I said any of this. It’s probably the liquor talking anyway.)

But....you’re here for game night. And what a night it was. It was Steve’s pick and he wanted to play Root. I was much excite.



Steve was the only one to play the same faction as last time. He repeated with the Woodland Alliance. Leon was the Cats. Workman really wanted to play the Eyrie. And I went with the Vagabond.

It took everyone a few turns to get acclimated to their new faction, with Workman asking Leon about the Birds and me asking Workman about the Vagabond and Leon asking me about the Cats and Steve asking a surprising number of questions about the Alliance to no one in particular.


Me. Vagabonding. I hadn’t made any friends yet according to my friend chart. Just like second grade.

Long story short, Leon freaking dominated. He herded those cats like a professional cat herding person. (Probably not a thing.) He built. He recruited. And he crafted. Thank god, he crafted. Because no one else did. Like, at all.

I would know because in my Vagabond state, I needed items. I explored all my ruins. I tried to craft my own items, but that can be challenging when you have super shitty cards. Lucky for me, I could give those shitty cards to Leon in exchange for his items. (And no Workman, I didn’t give him all those ambush cards he kept screwing you with. No matter what he told you. Well, just that one.)



After the first few warm-up turns, the game was over pretty fast. Leon got to 30 points with ease. (And with a constant supply of cards provided by yours truly.) I finished with a respectable 19 points in second place, Workman had 13 and Steve had 8. Workman was so frustrated with his faction that he asked for a second game. Game one only took like an hour, so why not?

We played the same factions in game two. I played much the same game as before, just trying to get items and complete quests. And I worked on my relationships this time around. I even got Steve up to a level 2 friend. Noice.


”Hey Steve, will you be my level 2 friend?”
“Sure. Do you have any cheese?”


Whatever Steve was doing wrong in game one, he righted in game two. He led his band of woodland creatures to an easy win. I finished in much the same place, this time with 17 but in third place behind Leon who had 18. And Workman dive-bombed his birds to a last place finish with 11. He actually seemed to be playing his decree really well....I think he only fell into turmoil once in the second game. He just couldn’t turn all that decreeing into points. Oh well. He had cake.

I still have a lot to learn about all the factions. I’m no where near being able to play a solid defensive game. And we still played some things wrong, even in game two, but I LOVE this game. It’s so unique. I can’t think of another game that does what it does, or that looks the way it looks. It’s definitely a favorite.


I fended off a bear, did you hear?

After Root, we played Steve’s favorite filler High Society. Twice. And we played the two best games of it we’ve played so far. Both games went through the entire item deck before flipping the final green card. Both games were super tight. Workman won the first, I won the second (and it was my most strategic game to date.) Both games were super fun.

This may be the first ever game night where we all four won a game. Is that right? Sounds right. It doesn’t matter in the long run, but it made for a really fun evening. And everyone seemed to like the tacos, so there’s that.

If anyone’s curious, our birthday game for Workman this year was.......

Spoiler (click to reveal)




He loves him some Tigris and Euphrates, so I imagine he will love this. He seemed pleased.


He’ll be picking that on his next turn. But next week is my pick. Not sure what I want to play. Suggestions are welcome.

Until then.....thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Sep 6, 2018 4:36 am
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In which we play Kemet and Leon sneezes. A lot.

Charlotte Malone
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It was Leon’s night to pick, and he wanted to play Kemet.

(Editor’s note: if you know anything about Kemet, you know that it doesn’t suffer slow play. You’re driving hard to the hoop from turn one. Hence, I’m dispensing with the witty intro. We’re getting straight to it. Which is fine by you, I imagine. I laid it on pretty thick last week.)



It’s been a while since we played Kemet. (I could look it up, but there’s no time!) Someone took the time to re-read the rules and re-watch the Watch It Played video beforehand. (Who among us is wonderful enough to do all that? Hmmm. I just can’t imagine.) We unboxed everything, reviewed the rules, and began to assert our dominance in very small land area in ancient Egypt.

It was at this point that Leon sneezed. I didn’t think much of it. What’s one sneeze?



Everybody started buying stuff. I bought the white tile with the buxom woman who provided deep discounts. Then I focused on upgrading my pyramids and teleporting to the big temple and accumulating prayer points. Next thing I knew, most of the good stuff was gone. What good are buxom deep discounts when there’s nothing to buy? Dammit people.

It was at this point I noticed that Leon was sneezing a lot. Like A LOT a lot. Like, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Leon sneeze before and here he was, sneezing his damn head off. It might have been a tactic? Hard to say.


Leon bought this elephant. He might have been allergic to it.

Workman got a lot of VP really fast. He had two temples. He had a level four pyramid. He had a VP tile. And of course he won a battle or two. Interestingly, while all of us took VP tokens to mark all of our points, Workman didn’t take a token for his VP tile. He just counted the tile in his head. So we all thought he had six VP when he actually had seven. That was definitely a tactic.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t doing too awfully bad. I had five VP. Then I got confused and thought maybe I couldn’t have the Sphinx and a VP tile because they both had the VP symbol on them? Did that count as a dupe? I was attempting to look it up in the rulebook and Workman said “Let’s just worry about that when you get to eight points.” Really? Do you suppose he works at being so insulting, or is it just a natural talent? Regardless, he clearly didn’t see me as much of a threat. He was about to get his eighth VP.



But he got his eighth VP in the night phase, and you have to get through the day phase before being declared the winner. Sorry about your luck Workboy, but the game’s not quite over.

So we all focused on beating the shit out of Workman and trying to amass as many VP as possible ourselves. And we got close. Leon got really close. I thought he was going to catch him. But he had some bad luck in a battle. And he just couldn’t stop sneezing. It must have been hard for him to concentrate. So as I’m sure you all predicted, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t stop the Egyptian steam train that was Workman. I just hate him so much.

He won at the end of the day phase with nine or ten or twenty or something, Leon and I both had seven, and Steve had five. It was a good game, just not good enough.

I really enjoy Kemet. Such a tight game that sounds so easy to win but in actuality is damn near impossible to win. For some of us anyway. I wish we played it more.

After Kemet, Leon still reserved his picking privileges and snubbed Love Letter. He went into Workman’s game closet, sneezed a few times and came out with 6 nimmt!. We hadn’t played that one in ages, and it was such a nice change. I fast-tracked us to end-game in about four rounds, as I’m like to do, and I lost big with 69 (tee-hee) points. Pharoah Workman won with 9.



Right after we got underway with 6 Nimmt, I got this text from my son who is back at school and was recently invited to join a game group:



Is it possible that somewhere in the world Love Letter is always being played? Like, when Leon rejected it, the gaming universe righted itself and bunch of college kids played it instead? I shall ponder this.

In the mean time, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:30 am
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Blades of Glory

Charlotte Malone
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So, here’s a fun fact about Workman: he’s a dick. I kid. (I mean, he IS a dick, I was kidding about that being the fun fact.) The fun fact is: he loves to play Magic. Like, LOVES to play Magic. Don’t ask me how much he spent on a faerie deck. Don’t. I won’t tell you. (Ok, geekmail me. I might tell you.)

Steve and Leon don’t play Magic so much. But they do love a good card game. In fact, they met playing VS. (What a great “how we met” story.) And Steve started the entire Louisville Card Board Gamers Group just so he could play Warhammer: Invasion. (Some might call him a beast.)

They are all three, at varying times and to varying degrees, fans of the CCG: the aforementioned MtG, L5R, various and sundry past and future games, and even the notorious Hearthstone regularly make the conversation rounds on game night. And when they do, I usually just sit there, staring off into the middle distance, wondering how I got here.

See, I don’t love the CCG style game. I was an Ashes fan. (Was. Past tense. As with most relationships, it’s complicated.) And I love me some Crystal Clans. But those are anomalies. I’m not so much a deck-building, money-spending, tournament-playing CCG person. So imagine my excitement when Workman bought and wanted to play Millennium Blades. Imagine.

But....I don’t want to be THAT person. That person who bad mouths a game before even playing it. That person who says “I won’t like that”, “Not for me”, “LAME”. (That person Workman was the night we played Lowlands, if I’m honest.) I don’t want to be that. So I watched a play-through. (Rahdo’s. It was epic. I mean that. He lost his mind. Totally worth a watch.) And I tried to read the rulebook. Really I did. And I tried to get excited. Really I did. Really.

Really.



If you aren’t familiar with Millennium Blades, it’s a deck building game about actual deck building. It mimics a CCG, you get starter decks and booster packs and rare cards and deck boxes and etc. It’s really quite clever thematically.

Workman let us pick our starter decks, explained the rules and talked us through a prerelease. I had NO idea what I was doing. I finished last in the prerelease. Not surprising.


Welcome to Chateau Helbane, bitches.

Once we understood (and I use that word loosely) how the game is played (the game within the game...the game you play with the cards you get....in the game) we were ready to deck build. That part happens over three timed rounds. You buy and sell and trade and read card text and try to act like any of the things make sense.


The market.

The only part of the game that made sense to me was the set collection part. So I just focused on that and got 12 points for my first collection - the most of anybody. I still finished last in the first tournament though. Not surprising.

And then we did it all again. Three timed rounds. Deck building. Me focusing on set collection. But while I was focused on collecting darkness cards, I realized that I also had a lot of air cards and I temporarily switched and started collecting those instead. But I didn’t get as many of them as I did the darkness cards, so I ended up switching back to darkness cards for my collection. Which left me with a lot of high-star-value air cards that scored. They worked well together and I got 181 points in tournament two. Which was enough to win it. By a lot. Surprising as hell.

But I still finished second behind Workman overall. It was a close second, he only beat me by 2 points. If I had managed my money better, I might have won.



If you’re wondering what everyone else was up to while I almost came from behind and won, I wish I knew. I think our game was atypical, but there was no player interaction. Like NONE. Steve tried to interact with me once. But there was some debate about how my card reacted to his card and he dropped it. It was a very solitairish game. Again with the surprising.

I didn’t hate this game. Thematically, it was top notch. I also liked the stacks of money - it felt good to throw them around the table.


Fat stacks. I wish I’d saved a few. Or twelve.

I’m not dying to play again, but it was fine. Better then I expected. (That may be the 181 points talking.)

After MB, we played Love Letter.


The view from my seat. All you need to know.

And that’s about all. At one point, we stumbled into a fairly complex discussion about consciousness and immortality. We also learned something very interesting about Workman’s mother, and Steve added another totally crude yet utterly hilarious phrase to my “Top Five Totally Crude Yet Utterly Hilarious Things Steve Said On Game Night.” It was a fun evening. Thanks for joining.

Until next time, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:41 am
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Boo. (That’s all I got. Titles are the worst.)

Charlotte Malone
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained this, but we play on a different night each week to accommodate Steve. More specifically, to accommodate his wife’s work schedule, but regardless, Steve is the one with the difficult calendar. Leon will occasionally have a conflict with one of his kids, and Workman and I hardly ever can’t do game night. Typically what happens is this:

Me (I’m the unofficial planner): “Steve, what nights you got next week?”
Steve: “Wednesday and Thursday.”
Leon: “I can’t do Wednesday, do Thursday.”
And life is good, we have a Thursday game night, Workman wins something, and you wonderful people read about it the next day.

But every now and then, this happens:
Me (Still the unofficial planner, they really don’t appreciate me): “Steve, what nights you got next week?”
Steve: “Just Wednesday.”
Leon: “I can’t do Wednesday.”

And then there’s this awkward silence because Workman and I know, like sad children caught up in an unfortunate divorce, we have to choose between mom and dad. Who do we play with? Steve? Or Leon?

This time, we chose Leon. I’m not saying we felt good about it. Just like life, sometimes game night is cruel and unfair. But it must go on. (Actually, that’s not true at all. We could just cancel and spare someone’s feelings. But where’s the fun in that?)

So left with a 3P game night, we went the co-op route again. I’d been wanting to play Ghost Stories for YEARS now.



Ok, true confession. While it’s true I have wanted to try Ghost Stories for a long time, I REALLY wanted to play Root again. I tried to call an audible over dinner. I had it in the car. I even had the expansion. Also in the car. We could play with three. People do it all the time. I want to play it again so badly. We won’t play it next week, Workman’s already picked Millennium Blades. Who knows when we’ll play again. I even offered to write a fake blog so Steve wouldn’t find out (he made a passionate plea for us not to play again without him. Selfish bastard.) (Although, for all you know, this is a fake blog and we did play Root. Damn, that’s meta.)

But we stuck with Ghost Stories. For some reason. (Despite my bold bravado in my posts, I’m not really all that assertive. I should work on that.)

Leon had never played Ghost Stories either, and while I usually over-prepare for game night, I had only watched part of a play-through (a couple of weeks ago) and had tried to read the rules but just couldn’t get through them. Workman hadn’t played in a while, so the first part of the game was spent reading the rulebook.


Our intrepid monks, innocently starting out.

I say “the first part of the game”......I should actually say “the entirety of the first game.” We got waxed pretty hard pretty quick.


Workman’s dead monk body. His death was best part of the first game.

Game one was over so fast, Workman wanted to play again. (Which pretty much sealed the deal on me not getting to play Root but who’s bitter?) So we re-built the deck and re-tiled the tiles and got busy. (Not got busy like in the sexual sense, just like literally got busy. Literally. Busy.)

Game two went much better. We did a much better job of placing Buddhas and using powers and exchanging powers and managing Tao tokens....we were practically professional ghost fighting monks (which is an actual thing I’m sure). By the time we got around to fighting our boss monster (“Bone Cracker” - not kidding) we were feeling pretty confident.

But Bone Cracker was crazy hard. (The “That’s what she said” jokes mostly wrote themselves there at the end.) He was a four red ghost and the bastard took our Tao tokens. So not cool. On my last turn, I could move to Leon’s square, share his last remaining red token, and roll three dice. I would need to roll three red or three white (or some combination of red and white) to win. Leon and I thought that’s what I should do. After all, Leon would lose the red token on his turn. It was our last chance to use it.

But Workman talked us out of it. Don’t waste your time, he said. You’ll never make the roll, he said. I don’t even remember what I did instead, but I remember what I rolled:


Seriously?

Leon took his turn and we lost our last Tao token. But then Workman took his turn and he exorcised the boss monster and he rolled acceptably well:


Ball hog.

I can’t remember now why Workman only needed the three red (maybe he had a token?) but whatevs. We won.

Except kind of we didn’t. We missed an errata and misplayed the “enfeebled” power. We passed that power around the whole game. Incorrectly it seems. (And speaking of passing powers around, Antoine Bauza took that mechanic and built his whole other ridiculously hard co-op Samurai Spirit around that one thing. I’ve played that game a lot, and probably like it better than Ghost Stories if I’m honest. It doesn’t get enough love.)

But back to not really winning. We didn’t really. Win. But it was fun. It was no Root. But it was fun.

Keeping with the monk theme, we played Biblios after. Leon announced that he “effing hates this game” midway through. And then (shockingly) didn’t win. Didn’t even have points! So he demanded we play again (which seemed to be the theme of the evening - bitter replays. Also monks.) And he lost that game as well. Workman won both games with 8 points each (despite some hilariously poor bidding). I think I had 6 points in both games. Leon managed to get some points (4?) in the second game but didn’t manage to stop hating it. Ah well. I still love you, Biblios.

And that, as they say, was game night. It was fun times. Not Root fun times, but fun times.

Be sure to tune in next week when we also don’t play Root. But until then....thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:11 am
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WOOT! Wait, I mean ROOT! No, I meant WOOT. WOOT! ROOT!

Charlotte Malone
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So bucket list item completed....I went to Gencon last week. Just went for the day but wowzers, fun times. Not sure my heart could take more than one day, but it was super funsies. I only had one objective: buy Root. Achievement unlocked. And to make it even sweeter, it was my night to pick this week, so guess what we played? Woot indeed.



I love games with asymmetrical factions. (In fact, we owe our entire game group to asymmetrical godfather Chaos in the Old World.) Everything I’d read about Root said it took asymmetry and turned it up to eleven. I was excite.

I read the rulebook and the learn-to-play (twice each) and watched a how-to-play video. And I was still concerned that I’d jack up the teach. I had the main game grokked, and I pretty well understood how to play the Cats. And the Eyrie. But the Woodland Alliance I wasn’t too sure about. And the Vagabond? Forget about it.

I was so nervous about killing everyone’s enthusiasm with a bad rules explanation that I made notes for myself:


Why yes, I am lame, thanks so much for noticing.

I explained the basic game rules, and then we ended up just collectively taking everyone’s first turns and trying to talk through everything. It seemed like this game was as much about stopping other people from winning as it was about winning yourself. So it was important to understand what everyone else was doing, but for the first game, it was ALOT. We did our best.

I was the Cats. They seemed like the most intuitive faction and a good one for me. Steve was the Woodland Alliance, Workman was the Vagabond, and Leon was the Eyrie. The first couple of turns were rough, but we got there.


Upside down and backwards, Steve’s warriors looked like asses. He also made a series of phallic sculptures by placing other faction’s warriors atop his, but I elected not to photograph those. You’re welcome.

I did ok to start. I built stuff. I crafted. I connected wood. It’s good being a cat.



Workman just followed me around the board, giving me aids and taking my stuff. (I know the Vagabond is a raccoon, but in my mind he will forever and always be a weasel.)


Actual photo of me and Workman in every game we’ve ever played. I’m all “goddamn you” and he’s all “whaaaattt?”

Workman did well. Since I was the only one crafting, he could only get items from me. But I kept him stocked with a never-ending supply of items. We misplayed his battle action for half the game though. We thought he couldn’t battle until he had made an ally, so we mostly left him alone. But when we realized we could attack him whenever, I spent my entire next turn just taking battle actions to attack him. I even spent a bird to attack him a fourth time. It got me no points and didn’t really help me at all, but damn it felt right. I hate the Vagabond.

Leon struggled with his decrees. He would roll for a couple of turns, moving around and attacking me (what did I do!?!?) but then he wouldn’t be able to take all his actions and he’d have to do the turmoil thing. The decree seems really cool when it works, and really frustrating when it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, the Woodland Alliance got off to a slow start. (“You know Steve, maybe if you’d get out of your corner and meet people, you’d get aids.”) Steve hung out in last place for a good half of the game. But once he got going, he exploded up the track. At one point, I thought he had it won.


I really dig the board and the pieces in this game.

But of course the wily Vagabond pulled out the win. It was closer than I thought it would be: Steve was in second with 27, I had 24, and Leon had 12 (damn those decrees!)

We had a clunky play, with several rules missed, some things played wrong, and lots of time spent checking rules. (And let me give a shoutout to Leder Games for an awesome rulebook and learn-to play: both are very clear, very concise, and very well-layed out. Well done!) But despite all the clunk, I REALLY enjoyed this game. The factions are so different, but they seem to work really well together. The Cats were fun to play, and I think everyone else liked their factions as well (except maybe Leon.) I love the board and the components, and I LOVE the art work:




I mean honestly. How great are these cards?

Everyone else seemed to like it as well. I hope so. I hope we play again soon. I really liked it.

So, you know how I’m all “Let’s play something....ANYTHING...other than Love Letter” for our closing filler? Well, towards that end, I packed my quiver with a bunch of small box filler card games. (Bet you didn’t know I had a quiver. Well, I do. I’m cooler than I may seem.) I packed it full of all these wonderful options and I left it at home. Goddammit to hell.

We played Love Letter. I won. And so it goes.

And that was our evening. It was a fun one. Thanks for coming along!
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Thu Aug 9, 2018 5:13 am
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A week late but finally here! GET HYPED! (Actually, don’t get hyped, it’s probs not that great.)

Charlotte Malone
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So as you undoubtedly noticed (did you notice? I hope you noticed) there was no post last week. (Unless you count Sunday, which was technically last week, but don’t count Sunday, it completely breaks the theme.) There was a game night last week, but for mundane, ultra-boring reasons, I was not able to post after. And then once you miss the night of, there seems to be no urgency to get the post out there. You know, I’ll just post whenever. And then of course it never happened.

So the plan was to do a first-ever double post. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Well, it would have been. But Leon’s off to Gencon and Steve forgot he has to have a tree cut down and Workman couldn’t be bothered, and just like that, game night got canceled this week. So, no game night, no double post, no other solarium. And now all we’re left with is an incredibly late, underwhelming post from last week’s game night. Sorry for the lame.

It was Steve’s pick. He had nothing. I showed him his list. Still nothing. He asked to play “something new”. So we played something technically old, but new to us.



I picked up Arctic Scavengers: Base Game+HQ+Recon at Origins. It’s like ten years old? I think? I’m not a big deck-builder fan, but the theme in this one appealed to me. It’s the post-apocalypse. Society has broken down. Did I mention there was an ice age? What’s not to like? I’ve played a few times with the fam and liked it. It’s not complicated, I dig the art, and you get to snipe people. Fun times.

We played with the base game and all of the HQ expansion modules. I like expansions that introduce a variety of small things into the base game - a few new cards, a few subtle rules changes. It never seems like much going in, but then you realize how much a small thing can change gameplay.


My apologies for the upside down picture and the glare. And the generally meh composition. Photography will be very sub-par in the future. Prepare yourselves.

My tribal leader was the Fanatic. I got to suicide bomb peeps as they went about their turns. Completely not on purpose, I only ever suicide bombed Workman. (I’m not being sarcastic here, I really didn’t target him. It just kept working out that he was the best choice to explode myself on.)


I’d follow this guy. Who wouldn’t follow this guy?

Leon’s tribal leader was where it was at though. He had a guy (name forgotten, it’s been a week you know) that let him draw two/pick one for draw actions. He cycled through crap cards pretty efficiently. And he DOMINATED. He won all the skirmishes and just generally out-played everyone. I mean, no one played badly. Workman just kept getting blown up (whistle) and Steve was all “How the hell does a pick axe have just one dig? That’s all a pick axe does!!”

I did play badly though. I finished dead last with 25 points. Steve had 30, Workman 33, and Leon took it home (or back to his snow bunker) with 39. Woot for Leon.


Artist’s rendering of me at game end.

I like this game. The guys didn’t so much. Steve said he’d give it another try, but that won’t likely happen. Workman and Leon kind of hated it. <sigh>

Afterwards we played two games of High Society. Steve won the first, Leon won the second. I like this game. Steve wants to play it over and over and over again. Every week. I can’t say I like it that much, but I like it.

Then we played Skull. I think I officially hate this game now. I almost just didn’t play. But that’s not cool. So I sulk-played. Also not cool. (Although, to be fair, I never said I was cool.) Workman won. (He is cool, and frequently says so.)

And then of course.....Love Letter. Leon won. It’s probably the Year of Leon. (Leon = also cool.)

And that was last week’s game night. This is where I was planning to insert this week’s game night. But, as explained, this week’s game night did not happen. <sigh> I will insert an excerpt from our game night chat instead:



Until next time......thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:51 pm
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Working Title For Yet Another TI4 Post

Charlotte Malone
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Guess what today was? Hint:



You guessed it.....Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) day!

We had the full six again...me (Yssaril Tribes), Steve (L1z1x Mindnet), Workman (Yin Brotherhood), Munch (Arborec), Leon (Winnu), and Dodd (Federation of Sol).

I liked my faction. I was a Sméagol-esque looking tribe of action card manipulators. Another faction ability I can get my head around.


I dig the earrings.

Today’s game started slowly. No one seemed pleased with the board layout. Except maybe Steve. His home planet was well-protected by hazards. And Dodd. He had lots of planets and tech specialties. And Leon. He had a clear path to Mecatol. So mostly just me and Munch and Workman weren’t pleased with the board layout.

Leon took the early lead. He took Mecatol, took his free VP and he was off to the races. Me, not so much. It took me two turns (maybe three) to even score an objective. I hung out in last place for a while.


Check it out. I got implants. (Is it me, or do my factions always make boob references?)

On one of the early turns, someone (I think Leon) took Construction. I built a PDS. A few minutes later, I realized I should have built a space dock instead as I had a “have three space docks” objective. I thought about asking if anyone cared if I ret-conned it - it wouldn’t have affected anyone else’s subsequent actions - but I decided to keep it as it was. After all, I had plenty of time to build two more space docks. (Remember this. It will be important later.)


The view from my home planet.

I finally got into a bit of a groove, completing one or two objectives a round. I completed one objective - have at least one ship in a system adjacent to another player’s home world - with some panache (I thought). After being thwarted by Workman twice (in fairness, he didn’t know what I was trying to do, he was just moving around the board) I finally moved two cruisers through a wormhole with flank speed, landed in a system full of Workman destroyers, and then played skilled retreat (before he got the chance to kick my ass) to back into the system next to his home world. (Whew! That’s a lot of thinking for me.)

Even after earning some objectives, I was still in last place, but it was a fairly close field. Dodd took the lead from Leon, and then Workman took the lead from Dodd (Sadly, Munch was in the bathroom when this happened and when he came back, he attacked Dodd to complete some objective involving winning a combat against the player in the lead. Only afterwards did he learn Dodd wasn’t in the lead. Dammit Dodd. Or dammit Workman. Dammit somebody.)

Workman kept the lead for several turns. He kicked Leon out of Mecatol, but then basically ran out of gas. I continued to slowly score objectives and eventually got near the front of the pack. But not all the way to the front. That was all Steve.


Steve had him a war sun.

Steve and I remained friendly the whole game. We exchanged support for the thrones, we made trade deals, we even very civilly talked through a mutually agreeable solution to a system we both needed. And we both slowly moved our way forward. He just moved a little less slowly and a little more forward than me.

Ok, so remember the space dock I screwed up and didn’t build and didn’t retcon? Here’s where that came back to bite me. No one else took Construction. So I had to take it. Two straight turns. And in the second of those turns, where Steve was dangerously close to winning, someone needed to take Imperial to try to stop him. He chose last. I chose right before him. And NO ONE took Imperial. So I either took Construction to complete my space dock objective or I took Imperial to try to stop Steve. I chose to try to get as many points as I could before Steve won. Had I already scored that space dock objective, it might have been a whole different outcome. But oh well. I’m a dumbass and I’ll live with it.


Steve well in first. Workman and me tied for second with 8 points, followed by Dodd with 7, and Leon and Munch bringing up the rear with 3 each.

I was happy for Steve. This was his first TI win and he deserved it. He played well. Some of us had bad board set ups, Dodd had some uber shitty luck with the dice, Munch went to the can at the wrong time, but it was a good game overall. We weren’t quite sure who would win until that last turn when Steve dominated. Woot for Steve! (The Year of Steve may be back on again.)



And that was TI4. I think we said it took five and a half hours? Not too bad for six players. Our games are definitely getting closer. And more enjoyable. For me anyway.

Thanks for coming along. Until next time, happy gaming!
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Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:41 am
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