Recent gaming: TTR Europe, Concept, Saint Malo, Deep Sea Adv, Happy Salmon, Caesar's War, Surrender Unto Caesar
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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November, 2016

Back at home in California, I posted these lists pretty much weekly. While living & working in France, though, I guess monthly is closer to how it's been. I'm still gaming, just not at the same pace as back home. There are too many other things filling my time. Work, first & foremost, but also weekend sightseeing. Frankly, a lot of podcasting, too. It's filling a void.

-Mark



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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:118] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I definitely like this game, but definitely don't love it. It just adds a little to TTR that I think it doesn't need. Maybe it seems like it's necessary for the European geography, but I don't think so. Regardless, it was a good choice for our light/short(/couples) game night in Paris. It overstayed its welcome a little bit, but not too bad. (It also prompted me to get another copy of Trans Europa, which I prefer.)
 
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2. Board Game: Concept [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:734]
Board Game: Concept
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This was my reluctant pick for SdJ the year that Camel Up won. I like the concept(!) and activity of the game as a group/party puzzle, more than I really like it as a game. That did the trick, however, for a closer that everyone at game night could play together.
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3. Board Game: Saint Malo [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2144]
Board Game: Saint Malo
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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A lukewarm initial outing, but I have hopes this will improve with repeated play and fewer players. We started with 4, then a 5th showed up during the rules and so we folded him in. My gamer crowd back home knows I feel strongly that games usually work better with smaller numbers, but this more social group has the typical reaction that we should all play together. I'd split six players into two 3's in a heartbeat, but that's not always popular. Splitting five into a 2 and a 3 is almost anti-social (even though I know it would make for better games!).
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4. Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:600]
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Still a rockstar of a game. Candy says she doesn't like this one (she jokes that she can't breathe, when really I think she finds the vaguely take-that nature of the strategy off-putting). Yet there it was and people were excited to try. Meanwhile, it was one she already knew how to play, which is always a big plus for her (hates learning new rules). I say it was a rockstar because it again got everyone smiling, laughing, having that ah-ha moment when the air dwindles... In our game there were lots of deaths, but the winner was NOT the most chicken player.
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5. Board Game: Happy Salmon [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1191] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Board Game: Happy Salmon
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Even sillier than DSA, and with no real strategy, I knew this would be the perfect closer. And it was. We played two rounds, the first yelling & gesturing, the second silent & gesturing. Super fun. I ordered a copy for my family back home having Thanksgiving together last week, and it was such a hit my sister-in-law immediately ordered four more.

(I also ordered Codenames Pictures and Molkky for the Thanksgiving family gathering I couldn't attend. Molkky was fun for them, but Codenames Pictures feel flat without me there to bring the fun!)
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6. Board Game: Caesar's War: The Conquest of Gaul, 58-52 BC [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:9280]
Board Game: Caesar's War: The Conquest of Gaul, 58-52 BC
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Every time I rate one of these minimalist wargames so highly, I feel like I need to add a disclaimer. This won't be for most wargamers who want more detail. But for my buddy DaveO and I, there's the right amount of game in here (i.e. not too much) to go along with the history to teach us something about the conflict and still have fun in a short time (~90 minutes). The physical scale of the game (11x17 map, 40 counters) is definitely small enough to be manageable over Skype, too. That's what we need.

I'm just a little frustrated that I lost three of the counters, and am now trying to get some replacements.
 
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7. Board Game: Surrender Unto Caesar: The Siege of Alesia, 52 BCE [Average Rating:5.06 Unranked]
Board Game: Surrender Unto Caesar: The Siege of Alesia, 52 BCE
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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Just because it's minimalist doesn't mean I like it. I keep trying them, but so far none of the ATO Postcard wargames have impressed me. On the other hand, I bet they'd be great apps.
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