ABX Boardgamers' Group (What we're playing)

A weekly AAR for what we've been playing at our weekly Boardgame Day at Augusta Book Exchange in Augusta, GA. http://comics-n-games.com/backlot/

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AAR for 15 Jan 2018

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Great weekend at the Siege of Augusta!

Flamme Rouge
Got two new players into this great bike racing game. We ran a 3-player race on the Ballons Centrale track. I wasn't looking too good early on, but a fortunate bit of good timing on the final hill got my Rouleur into position and let him cruise across the Finish line for the win.

Dinosaur Island
This one saw two plays today. In my four-player game, a nasty Threat level on the very first turn tore me up and I was never able to recover fully from it. The effect was that I ended up about a turn behind everybody else for the rest of the game. Bad finish, but still a fun game.

Betrayal at Baldur's Gate
Six-player game that featured, for the very first time ever, me *not* being the Betrayer. I played "Grim" Grosk Mugtag, a Half-Orc Paladin and managed to be the one to strike the final blow to defeat the enemy during the Haunt.

Civilization: A New Dawn
This one is gaining in popularity as more people see it. Four-player game with three new players. I took Sumeria and went out after Barbarians for fun and free resources to be a wonder-building civ. A very close finish with the winner completing two of the three necessary objectives on the final turn with the rest of us having to linger on the doorstep.


Other games played and demoed today included: Photosynthesis, Terraforming Mars, Pulsar 2849, and Escape from Colditz...
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:04 am
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AAR for 08 Jan 2018

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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After a couple of weeks off due to the Holidays falling on Monday this year, it was back to gaming again! Today ended up being mainly a demo day in advance of the Siege of Augusta convention this coming weekend where I will, once again, be running the Boardgamers' Corner and showing off some of the best of my collection.

Terraforming Mars
First time trying out the new Venus: Next expansion. This one adds a new board representing Venus along with 5 new corporations and nearly 50 new cards for the game deck. This gives players some new options for gaining TR on the new Venus track, but it is not necessary to max out that track in order to end the game. The expansion does add some new wrinkles to gameplay and our four-player game was fairly low-scoring, with 65 points being enough to win.


Other games played and demoed today included: Shadespire, Lords of Hellas, Siege Storm, and Pandemic Legacy: Season 2....
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Tue Jan 9, 2018 3:52 am
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AAR for 18 Dec 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Monday this year, today is the last ABX Monday Game Day for this calendar year. Thanks to everybody who has joined in on the fun!

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
The campaign continues as we got in two games today - a loss and a win for the month of June. Our major accomplishment was successfully completing the Recon mission at Lagos to open up the African continent. The game is playing at an almost frenetic pace and we really have to stay on top of every turn to get wins. But, we're having a great time!

Unstable Unicorns
We broke in a couple of new players to this card game that is both cute and vicious at the same time. Irreverent, too. As seems to be the case with this one, the end came rather suddenly after one big turn.

Charterstone
One of the most highly-anticipated games of 2017 is finally here! In this one, up to six players take the roles of citizens who are tasked by the Forever King to build a glorious new city. Each player builds up his own section of the overall map that also contain a "Commons" area in the center. On your turn, you place a worker onto a building and take its action. You need to plan and combo in order to score points in the most efficient manner and gain end-of-game upgrades for your character. This is a legacy game that plays in 12 games of building up the new city. At the end, players will have a fully-fleshed out worker placement game to play or could repeat the campaign using the Recharge Pack. Turns play extremely quickly! We had a great time with this one and eagerly look forward to the continuing campaign.

Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn
Two-player game getting a new player into this one. I played Egypt and looked to take advantage of my enhance Wonder-building ability. I was able to make the two Wonder achievements for the victory conditions, but couldn't make the third before my opponent build his 8th city and won the game. The management and sequencing of your five Focus cards is a lot of fun!


Other games played today included: Photosynthesis, Dinosaur Island, and the Witcher...
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Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:38 am
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AAR for 11 Dec 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Hit my goal of playing 100 different boardgames this year!

Hero Realms: Ruins of Thandar
This is the long-awaited campaign system expansion for Hero Realms. This one is a cooperative game played against the "Master" and his deck in a series of scenarios. Each scenario has a different Master and presents a different challenge. Players form a party using the individual character classes and get to advance and level up and gain new goodies for their deck after winning each game. There are a wealth of new abilities and skills and replacement cards available for each character class. Two of us formed our party for this first time out. I took the Fighter and joined the Cleric for the adventure. We won the first scenario, but lost in the second. We tried the second scenario again and were able to win this time. It will be fun to see just how powerful the characters can become.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Our group of four jumped back into this one as the story continues to unfold in front of us. We won the first try in April, but lost both games in May. These games went extremely quickly, but new discoveries were still made. We were also able to open the third of the sealed boxes with new goodies and pieces of the puzzle. On to June!

Unstable Unicorns
A new Kickstarter card game where players are trying to build a stable of seven Unicorns through fair or foul means. This is definitely competitive between the players and the addition of the NSFW deck introduces plenty of terrible and off-color and hilarious jokes. Four of us played. I had an advantage early on, but stalled out and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle
We continue to work through the difficult expansion boxes. This game saw four of us take on Box Two and its collection of monsters. We played twice, losing both times but in almost opposite ways. In the first game, we had an awful start and charged back to have only Voldemort remaining when the last Location card was filled. We started much better in the second game only to get blitzed later on. We lost the last Location while still having five creatures/villains to defeat. We'll certainly be giving this one another go.


Other games played today included: Tales of Time and Clank!in!Space!...
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:36 am
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AAR for 04 Dec 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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December already?

Nations: the Dice Game
First time out for the new "Unrest" expansion to this favorite. New countries to play, new Bonuses to earn, new dice to roll. Scoring also seems to be slightly higher with the expansion, as well. We had two games today, one with three players and one with four. I played Mali in the first game and Ethiopia in the second with the end result in both games seeing me finish just a few points behind the winner. Good addition to the game!

Android: Infiltration
Another one rescued from the closet and brought back to the table. This one is essentially a board game playing out a "run" in the great card game, Netrunner. It's a race to steal as much data as possible and escape the facility before the guards arrive and catch you. We also had 3-player and 4-player games. I got out safely both games, winning the first but getting drubbed badly in the second.

Flamme Rouge
Back to the La Classicissima track with one new player in a four-player game. The three differently-sized hill climbs in this one make for a very tricky movement puzzle to get right. I ended up finishing in 2nd place, just one space behind the winner. The winner, interestingly enough, finished both first and last with his two riders.

Tides of Time
This is a two-player card-drafting game played over three rounds. Cards are drafted and played to create combos, with one card being saved between rounds and one other card being eliminated from the game by each player. There are only 18 cards in the entire game, but the combo possibilities are still quite extensive. Plays in less than 20 minutes, so we got in three games. I won one and lost the other two rather badly.
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Tue Dec 5, 2017 4:08 am
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AAR for 27 Nov 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Everybody get their new games over the Black Friday weekend?

Gloomhaven
The monstrous second edition just arrived from Kickstarter. It is glorious in its immenseness and has risen to #2 on the BGG rankings even before the new edition hit. Four of us created our characters and jumped in to get used to how the game plays. Things went pretty smoothly, but we ended up on the losing end due to learning how easy your hand disappears if you use too many of your special actions too early in the scenario. We'll fix that problem and get our campaign going the next time out. Awesome game!

Power Grid
Six-player game on the US map. Wow, did I play bad in this one! I could only get to seven houses by the time the game ended. Oh, well...

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Finally got our entire party together and got the campaign going. We took a loss in the first January game, but came back to win on the second try. Hard to describe these games without spoilers, but we are already discovering more goodies as the story advances. The game plays in less than an hour, so we should be able to get multiple games played in one session. It's going to be a good one!


Other games played today included: Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn and Onitama...
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Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:29 am
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AAR for 20 Nov 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? Just got a notice that a new game is being delivered.

878-Vikings
Got two new people into this excellent "Birth of Europe" series game. I played the English in both games. In the first game, I got positively steamrolled by the Viking hordes after missing a chance to take out their Leader in the first turn. That game ended in an Automatic Victory with the Vikings holding 14 cities. In the second game, I had better luck and slowed down the invaders long enough to be able to get both Treaty cards out on Round 5 and hold nine cities. This will be one of my feature games at the upcoming Siege of Augusta convention in January.

The Geneva Accords
Three of us did a playtesting session for a new game under development. This is based on Cold War politics and conniving trying to gain control of various countries. Each players represents a historical leader, from Ronald Reagan to Nikita Khruschev to Margaret Thatcher and others, who try to use their particular strengths to win over the countries. There are three categories (Military, Science, and Economic) that are the primary stats used to win countries and earn VP. We tried out a few other stats and traits, as well. The designer got several ideas from us as we played that should lead to a more refined design for a game that looks to have some good potential. The game plays in under an hour and keeps players involved with long-term planning and short-term targets of opportunity. I'll look forward to future test plays.
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:09 am
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AAR for 13 Nov 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Veteran's Day Weekend!

Unlock!: The Tonipal's Treasure
One of a series of new games based on the popular Escape Room adventures. You have to solve puzzles and use logic to find your way through the adventure to the eventual end goal. This game requires an app to play and has a 60-minute timer (although we disabled it for our game). This was rated as one of the more difficult games in the series, so that's where we jumped in. Three of us set out to defeat a pirate and preserve the treasure for ourselves. Interesting storyline with many clever puzzles to solve along the way. In the end, we successfully solved the mystery in 47 minutes. Very little replay value here, but a fun game.

Photosynthesis
This is a game about planting and raising trees for fun and victory points. You want to harvest big trees as close to the center of the hexagonal board as you can to get maximum points. The twist here is that the Sun revolves around the board every turn and changes how light strikes the various trees. Trees that are blocked from sunlight score no points for that turn. Taller trees block more light and hamper your opponents (and yourself, at times) even more. You must score "light points" to be able to buy, plant, and raise more and bigger trees. So, the game is a bit of a competitive math puzzle with some very good strategies available. I was able to win a close game by just two points.

Legend of the Five Rings
First game after the release of the Tears of Amaterasu expansion. I took my Dragon deck against a Crab opponent. We had quite a battle with several large battles. The tide eventually turned when I got my Clan Champion out with attachments and Honor. That allowed me to power through the 3rd province and Stronghold to get the win just as my Honor was running out.


Other games played today included: Clank! and Tyrants of the Underdark...
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Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:12 am
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AAR for 06 Nov 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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Off-year Election Day tomorrow. Shouldn't we be able to celebrate by voting the bums *out*?

Terraforming Mars
Two of us played on the Elysium board. I took the Ecoline corporation and concentrated on improving my lot in greenery and plant production. I didn't draw many good plant cards, but made good progress on the board. After a battle for available points in the last two turns, we counted everything up and I ended up losing by one point, 99-100, in a great game.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Didn't play Season 1 and it is now at #1 on BGG's game rankings. This one is supposed to be even better, so I had to pick it up. It takes place 71 years after the end of Season 1. We control the only relative safe Havens on what remains of the known Earth. Our job is to try to preserve the few remaining major cities while finding out what happened to or became of the rest of the world. We played the Prologue, which is designed to teach the game play without actually getting into any of the Legacy elements and just barely lost when the final Plague cube was placed just prior to my taking the turn that would have won us the game. We'll be starting the campaign soon and I'm looking forward to it!

The Expanse
Three-player game this time. I took the MCR faction and ProtoGen was not played. I was able to secure some bases while the other two players were fighting over control of Earth bases. The headway that I gained in the early scoring rounds proved to be the difference as the game ended with scores of 110-105-102.

Power Grid
Three of us played on the US map where we used only the three southernmost regions. This led to some interesting decisions occupying cities in ways that would most hamper the expansion goals of the opponents. I came in 2nd by having only 14 powered houses to 15 for the winner.


Other games played today included: Clank!in!Space! and Shadespire....
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Tue Nov 7, 2017 4:31 am
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AAR for 30 Oct 2017

Mark Bakke
United States
Augusta
Georgia
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The only games that might be better than our board games are the World Series battles this year!

Discoveries
Three of us got the day started with this recent favorite. I did a bad job of putting together the good mix of species discoveries and it cost me. The Indian tribe card that provides 3 Mountains + 2 Rivers is getting to be my favorite one to grab.

Splendor
Three players tried out the four new module expansions in "Cities of Splendor". Each one adds a new wrinkle to the game that change strategies and give extra options. They can be added individually or combined in any way desired. First up was "Cities". Here you had to achieve a certain combination of points and cards to make the requirement for one of three city tiles that would end the game. I tied with another player with the same value city, but lost the tiebreaker by having one more card in my display. Next up was "Trading Post". This adds a new board with five various achievements that players can claim for points and new abilities. I pulled off a huge combo on my final turn that got me all the way to 21 points. Game three was "The Orient". This one adds new decks for each of the three levels of cards that can give you strong abilities when purchased. I won this one with 15 points. Finally, we tried out "Strongholds". Here, after purchasing a card, you can place one of your three Stronghold tokens on any card in the market. That card can not be purchased by any other player, but they can remove your Stronghold in lieu of placing one of their own. I won this game with 16 points. We generally felt that Strongholds was the weakest of the four and generally liked "Trading Post" the best.

The Expanse
This one is based on the TV series of the same name. The game has similarities to Twilight Struggle in its mechanics and since Twilight Struggle is one of my all-time favorites, I was eager to give this one a try. Four of us played and competed to control various bases between Earth and Saturn to rack up Control Points. I played the "ProtoGen" faction and concentrated primarily in "The Belt" (bases located in the asteroid belt). After gaining control of the sector and kicking off a couple of Bonus Scoring rounds, I broke out to a big lead that couldn't be challenged. I scored 112 points and won by nearly 30. Lots of tough choices and clever maneuvering in this one. We all want to play again!

Clank!in!Space!
This is a stand-alone sequel to the popular dungeon-crawler "Clank!". This time, players are roaming through a spaceship trying to steal artifacts and get out via escape pods. As in the original game, it's a long and dangerous path to accomplish your goal. Four of us played and I was the first to succumb to the perils aboard the ship. Two others followed my demise and only one player managed to escape. We liked this one much better than the original.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:05 am
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