Games Played WABA: Mt Claremont 11th September 2016
Shay Rickman
Australia
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1. Board Game: Guilds of London [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1259]
Shay Rickman
Australia
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Lean, Ian, Carl and I sat down to play the latest from Tony Boydell (Snowdonia). This one has you battling for influence over the various guilds of London in an area control point salad.

There is a pretty high barrier to entry with this one. The rule book is not great in defining the iconography and terminology in the game so our first few rounds were really quite slow as we looked up dozens of cards and their meanings. Hopefully some reference sheets and player aids will become available to help with introducing new players to the game.

In each round you have some cards with which you can do a variety of things. You can use a card to recruit a liveryman (pawn), you can use the card as money to activate another cards ability, you can play the ability printed on the card, or you can move a pawn in the play area to an area matching one of the colours on the card. The multi-use cards are neat and have been used in plenty of other games before but aren't really a stand out feature of this game.

One of the stand outs for me was the neutral liverymen pawns. There is a limited pool of these pawns that you can get through playing cards and various other bonuses. When a tile reaches its threshold of liverymen, it will then be assessed at the end of the round to decide who has majority and who has second place. ANY player can use these neutral pawns to switch out another pawn on that tile during the resolution step, potentially changing the outcome by shifting the majority. This element of take that, but more so board control I felt was a great addition to the game.

The other stand out is the cascading nature of tile resolution. The tiles resolve from top left, to bottom right, row by row, just like reading a book. The tiles when resolved have some benefit to the person who wins the tile. You can potentially setup the resolution so that you win a tile in the top left, and then using the benefit granted by winning that tile, cause the resolution of a tile further down the track, or change the outcome of one.

Carl unfortunately had to leave early but did quite well only playing 9 of the 12 rounds. Leah won by about 10 points ahead of me with Ian another 10 or so behind me. The way we all got points was quite different and it was interesting to see the different strategies play out for a reasonably well balanced outcome.

I do agree with the sentiment that it's not a game you're going to want to teach very often, but it's definitely a great game to play with people who already know how to play, or with a regular group. This one is most definitely staying on my shelf.
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2. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:18]
Shay Rickman
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Leah and Ian taught Christope and I this one. It's been on the radar for both Christophe and I and by the end of the rules explanation we were both hooked.

Leah continuing her winning streak put the 3 of us in our place with a convincing victory. Again, a really interesting mix of strategies, with not much of a spread between Christophe, Ian and I, and Leah showing that there clearly is a dominant strategy to be found.
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3. Board Game: Unusual Suspects [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1860]
Shay Rickman
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Codenames meets Guess Who... sort of.

In this game you setup a grid of character portraits just like the ones from Guess Who and then the "witness" looks at a reference card (again just like Codenames) to determine which character is the culprit.

The investigating players (everyone else at the table). Then flip over a card which will have some completely absurd investigatory question such as "Does he/she like heavy metal?"

The witness who I presume is in a coma or full body traction can only respond yes or no. Fortunately, they are provided with a Yes card and a No card, rather than needing to come up with 2 blinks or 1 blink systems.

So armed with whether the suspect does like heavy metal, or does not like heavy metal, the investigators must flip over at least 1 portrait. They can flip over more if they like, and then pass, revealing the next question card.

If they flip over the culprit they lose, if they flip over the 11 other cards leaving only the culprit, they win.

There's a scoring system for number of questions asked, and time taken but we didn't bother with that last night.

Overall a fun party game which should be a hit if you're into code-names and being outrageously judgmental about people's appearances.
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4. Board Game: The Manhattan Project [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:253]
Shay Rickman
Australia
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Leah retired from her championship streak, deciding to watch from the sidelines.

Ian taught me this lighter worker placement game about building bombs.

I enjoyed the look of this game, the artwork and graphic design were both excellent for conveying the theme and the levity with which they approach the subject. The game-play was suitably light and easy to understand.

It's almost like a twist on Imperial settlers or any of those other games where you're building an engine that triggers other elements so you get chains of benefits. The key difference here being that a player takes one action from the public board, and then can trigger as many things as they can power in their personal area as opposed to taking an action and maybe triggering a small number of things.

It got a bit silly as towards the end of the game, I would pass to recall all of my workers and then play the same 17 step turn as I played in the previous round while Ian waited. Then it would be his turn, he would do his 17 steps and so on.

In the two player game, I think this is pretty flawed as there is a shared pool of workers that you can take when you've exhausted your own. This leads to a situation where the player who passes first, has access to that pool and largely deprives the other player of it.

I would definitely like to check this one out with more players, but I'm not a huge fan of it at 2.
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5. Board Game: The Grizzled [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:324]
Shay Rickman
Australia
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Sat down with Ian, Warren and Alistair to be punished once again by this great game. We tried to go out in a blaze of glory with a 4 card last hand but simply found ourselves ablaze.

I'm looking forward to checking out the expansion which introduces missions to the game but sadly I didn't get a chance to learn ahead of the day. Hoping to check it out at Thornlie.
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6. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:720]
Shay Rickman
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Ian taught me this fun trick taking game set in the world of Alice in Wonderland. Like most trick taking games (or trick avoidance) this one is really about minimising damage to your own score while ideally trying to setup the next player to take a hit on theirs. The objective in this game is to end with the lowest score.

The game is constructed of 6 suits (colours) of cards ranging from 0-10. If you end up taking cards, you'll score their face value at the end of the game unless you have the majority in which case all cards of that suit are then worth 1 point each for you. (In a 2 player game, a majority is at leas 2 or more than your opponent)

The game ends when the deck is exhausted, or when one player gets their 6th suit.

When the game ends you secretly select two cards from your hand and play them face down, revealing them for end game scoring.

That majority system adds an extra layer of depth to the game, and the threat of your opponent breaking your majority with those 2 final cards adds more risk to your majority plays.

A really simple to understand game, offering a good level of strategy and one I would happily play again.
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7. Board Game: Secret Hitler [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:175]
Kent Hurley
Australia
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Dave and I both bought our copies of this, but I was able to entice more players using my prettier box so we played with my copy instead.modest

Of our three games:

The first game was won by the fascists taking over, due to a group brain fart allowing Amy (Hitler) to secure the losing policy.

In our second game, the Liberals won by assassinating Hitler (Austen).

The third game was won when Hitler (Dave #2) was elected Chancellor.
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8. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:319]
Kent Hurley
Australia
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Amy, Amie, Jason and I split from the Hitler group and sat down to two games of this one. Since we had all played before I suggested we include the rainbow fireworks.

Our first game we scored 21? out of 30 points, hindered mostly by my inability to remember anything...

For our second game, we got rid of the rainbow cards and had a much better time, scoring 25/25 with only one burnt fuse.

For both games we played a variant where we gained a clue when we successfully played a card, mainly because that's what I thought the rules actually were.whistle
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9. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:50]
Kent Hurley
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Jason agreed to teach Amie/refresh Amy and I on this one out of my collection. Needless to say, he won easily with 40 points, while the rest of us barely managed to break 20.

This one seemed to draw more spectators than normal? That's the impression I got, anyway.
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10. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:264]
Kent Hurley
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Mark and Warren joined us with this one to fill in Jason's remaining time.

Mark suffered a quick death, with Warren soon to follow, leaving them wondering why they bothered to join us! Jason met his end a while after, with Amie wrecking Tokyo before retreating to die alone.

Amy then sat in Tokyo for some time, managing to rack up points from 0 to 18 before I was able to force her out. She then won with a lucky roll of 4 1s, which reminded me why we don't play dice rolling games with Amyangry
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11. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:356]
Kent Hurley
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Jason had to leave, so Amie got to play with her own copy of Citadels she bought.

Mark managed to constantly find himself the target of either the Thief or the Assassin, and failed to have any buildings by the time the rest of us had reached at least three. I managed to build an excellent engine with the Park and Laboratory cards (draw two cards if you have no cards, sell a card for 1 gold) and managed to mostly avoid getting hit despite being the obvious target. I eventually placed my 8th building, managing to end the game but losing by a single point to Amie's sneaky museum card.
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12. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:47]
Kent Hurley
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Mark left, and the chatty Leah joined us for a game of this. I was too focused on my own horrible luck to notice much of what everyone else was doing, coming dead last.
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13. Board Game: Spirits of the Rice Paddy [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2264]
Alicia Smith
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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Gemma and Tim played this with us and were patient as we bumbled through the occasional rules clarification.

Tim grew his way to victory and I came second due to all my fine animals doing my weeding and the spirits kindly obviating my need for water for planting.

Thanks to Rob for most of the rules explaining!
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14. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:805] [Average Rating:6.84 Unranked]
Alicia Smith
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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Played a couple of games with Tim and Gemma.

Tim's sheep placing skills are beyond compare, but the dice were kinder to me.
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15. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1149]
Ernest Chua
Australia
Western Australia
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BANG! is a card game where everyone gets a random secret loyalty card (the sheriff needing to immediately reveal). Players draw and play cards, gaining equipment and guns, shooting each other, and trying to heal while trying to work out who has what role (and thus who each should be trying to kill to fulfil their win condition).

There are four different types of roles each with their own win condition (exact distribution varies depending on player number):
- Sheriff: kill all outlaws and the renegade
- Deputy: protect the sheriff and kill any outlaws
- Outlaw: kill the sheriff
- Renegade: be the last person standing

In this session, we played with 4 (1 sheriff, 2 outlaws, and 1 renegade). I was the first to die, revealing an outlaw card. Jess was the second to die, also revealing an outlaw card (and thus meaning we outlaws couldn't win). We know Adrian was the sheriff, which means Marks was the renegade. Mark eventually shot and killed the sheriff, meaning he was the victor!

I've traditionally had some not great experiences of Bang!, having played games that had a high number of players, many who were inexperienced. This resulted in a long wait between turns with little to do, the intrigue of trying to figure out roles not enough to keep things sufficiently interesting, and a negative experience for the earlier eliminated players. With 4, the game moved relatively quickly and (somewhat) restored its favour in my eyes. I would be open to trying it with more players, but would want things to move at a fairly brisk clip.
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16. Board Game: Burger Up [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2613]
Ernest Chua
Australia
Western Australia
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Adrian taught Jess, Mark, and I what I later found out was a game by an Australian designer. In this card game, you are making burgers with ingredients like beef patties, lettuce, cheese, and bbq sauce. Various customers will want different types of burgers (e.g. with ingredients x and y and not z, or with 3 different types of meat), and fulfilling their requests not only gains you money (whatever coins on the burger request card (the longer the card is there, the more coins) + the height of the burger (taller = better) + any special/perfect(?) ingredients).

A neat design for the ingredients is that each card has two ingredients, and cards/ingredients must be stacked such that the various symbols match each other. So, one can't just stack whatever ingredients you want but have to do a bit of hand management to help you have the orientation of cards to be able to build your burger.

This was well produced and I really like the theme. We were soon getting into building our burgers, critiquing the different customers' requirements, and mocking/praising each other's burgers (Jess' plain mustard 'burger' was a highlight (lowlight?)).

Adrian got one (minor?) rule wrong (allowing multiple rather than just 1 card buy each turn), but I'm not holding that against him - I know I will have gotten more rules wrong in other games. He also had his hands full supervising his son and it was fortunate that when he had to leave to take care of his son, Warren was able to jump in.

Jess and Mark both tied for the win on 45, with Adrian/Warren on 43 and me on 22. The multiple buying rule seems to favour those who can get money early, but I wonder whether the correct 1-card-buying rule would both make the game too long and/or make the game too reliant on the card draws. This was an ok game, something that I while I may not immediately think of when suggesting a game but currently willing to give at least one more go to.
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17. Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:760]
Ernest Chua
Australia
Western Australia
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I had played this online before but not physically. Warren (via Tim's copy) was willing to take me through it, while David and Zoe walked in at the right time for a 4 player game. Things I learnt (because many of these things are done automatically/not present online) include:
-not all tiles are dealt each round;
-there are different possible food/military bonuses tiles for each age; and
-the size of the dice.

David ended up on 30, ahead of Zoe on 29, Warren 27 and me 20.
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18. Board Game: Letter of Marque [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:17299]
andrew
Australia
bayswater
western australia
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Bit of a bluffing game by Mr Faidutti.
Looks like nothing but actually isn't..
Would play again with more players..
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19. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:826]
andrew
Australia
bayswater
western australia
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Such a great game..

This is now pretty much unavailable, so if you get a chance to try the WABA copy? Do so.
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20. Board Game: Fabula [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8689]
andrew
Australia
bayswater
western australia
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A fluffy bit of fun for which I'm going to suggest a rule change.

The Author, Mr Grimm needs to award quills to all the characters in his head as each of the three chapters is written. The temptation is to give all players quills just to be nice. So....

At the beginning of each chapter each character rolls a die. This will determine story telling order around the table.
Count the number of even results. This is the amount of characters the writer can award quills to (with the minimum always being 1).
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21. Board Game: Agility [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:2523]
David F
Australia
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Zoe and I played this charming 2 player game about training dogs to get through various agility courses. It's a light strategy game that has enough to think about yet plays in about 30 mins. We really like it!
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22. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:995]
David F
Australia
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Austen, Rebecca, Annika, India, Ava, Dave and I played a couple of games of this later on in the evening, won by India and Ava.

Mascarade is a hidden role game with no player elimination, more information about other people's roles than other HR games, and yet less information about your own role. The only way to challenge someone is to also claim to be exactly what they are claiming to be, which can lead to much hilarity, especially when it might turn out that neither of you know what you're talking about!
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