Staycation: All I Ever Wanted ... in Board Games
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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My wife and I had a week off from work, and while we did more than play board gmes, we played a good many board games.
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1. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:196]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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We kicked things off on the first Saturday with a 3p of King of Tokyo with another friend. Jenn crushed both our friend and me in turn. It was neither close nor pretty (for us), but, as always, a fun romp.
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2. Board Game: Kansas Pacific [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:3898]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Next on that Saturday was a 3p Kansas Pacific. We'd played Chicago Express before together, but despite my protestations, our friend wouldn't believe we hadn't played this one before. (Sorry, man. I can show you the receipt showing it as a recent purchase.) If you're familiar with KP and CE, both Winsome-turned-Queen games, it's not surprising that you'd think they were at least quite similar. When asked to "prove" this was different, about the best I could come up with on the spot was, "Well, this one has turns for the companies, not for the players!" Suffice to say that while I like games with stocks, my regular gaming partners are not so keen.
 
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3. Board Game: Loopin' Chewie [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2022]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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We'd had Loopin' Chewie out in anticipation of taking it to the home of some friends, but it turned out to be a talking party (boo!), not a playing games party, so we left it behind. Before I put it away on Monday, we broke it out and played five quick games, one with my wife's high school-aged son, who very begrudgingly (but possibly secretly joyously) joined us one of the five times. Pretty sure Jenn won most of these.
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4. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:42]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Also on Monday, we played only our second-ever game of Eldritch Horror (plus Forsaken Lore). We've played Arkham several times (and a lot of Elder Sign), but EH only once before. In newbie style, we again faced off with Azathoth, this time winning. The most memorable moment was surely when my character's Dark Pact came back to, um, let's say haunt Jenn's character. I will swear to my grave that Jenn and I agreed on me taking the Dark Pact. It was a hilarious, adventuresome time, one that convinced me that, at least for me, there's probably nothing Arkhan does that Eldritch doesn't do at least a little better or more cleanly.
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5. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:175]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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For our "Halloween" game, we ended up playing a 2p game of M&M. We'd played once before (a 3p). This time seemed to go a bit more smoothly, probably partly from the smaller player count (not that we minded the 3p at all). Jenn and I were both merchant focused, although I did try, vainly, at the end to locate and sink her ship before she could return home with enough gold to win the game. I'm never quite sure whether I need both this and Firefly, but we like both, and Jenn seems to feel they offer enough variety to be worth retaining both. Maybe next time we'll try some expansion stuff.
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6. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:286]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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I got Clans of Caledonia to the table the day it arrived. As Jenn spent a substantial amount of time in Scotland, I make it a habit to pick up Scottish-themed games). I quite liked this one and want to play again, but Jenn was less thrilled with it.
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7. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:273]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Next day, we broke out what is at or near the top of Jenn's list: Hammer of the Scots. She was the Scots, of course, and ended up winning fairly handily. I figured out later we had goofed on one rule related to movement, but we applied the misremembered rule consistently, so it didn't take away from her win. Jenn succeeded in part because, by her own testimony, she moved away from being overcautious in protecting the home territory of the nobles. The nobles' loyalty can be flipped if they return home to an enemy occupation force, but you still have to move out and face the enemy.
 
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8. Board Game: Richard III: The Wars of the Roses [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1133]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Being in a block game mood, we played Richard III the next day. Seems to be a recurring theme, but this was only our second play of this one as well. The first time was a little chaotic and confusing, as I remember, but this one went quite a bit more easily, maybe because we'd just played the not-entirely-dissimilar HotS (and we got the movement rules right on this one). Surprise: Jenn (Lancaster) won. I was never particularly close as York to becoming king, and my third-campaign lunges at her remaining heirs were brushed off. I'm eager to give this one another try, as it presents an interesting strategic situation, with the pretender (initially York) being off the board each of three campaigns in exile areas.
 
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9. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:48]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Jenn and I played Roll--not for just the second time--later that day. Jenn won with a settlement/development rushing strategy that left me with only about maybe seven buildings built and a trade-based strategy in tatters. We've been playing with the Ambition expansion for the last few games and probably won't play otherwise (unless there's another expansion).
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10. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:284]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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My older daughter and I played this while Jenn was out. My daughter had never played it before but picked it up pretty quickly, at least after the first round. I won, but I suspect it would be closer next time thanks to experience. I really do quite like what this game pulls off with just cards and a relatively few rules in a short amount of time.
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11. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:294]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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It was the "regular" weekend again, so our friend came back, and we put TotAN through its paces. I've owned it since 2009, but, almost unbelievably, this was our first play. Jenn and I were pretty lukewarm after it was all done, Jenn more so because she was Imprisoned for several turns and couldn't find a way out. Our friend "won" running away. He likes storytelling games (at least the conventional, paragraph-based ones) a bit better than we do, so I might sell it off to him. When discussing it afterward, Jenn and I couldn't think of a circumstance in which we'd rather play TotAN than, say, Above and Below. Still, it's a heck of a piece of work on the part of the designers/developers and editors.
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12. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:153]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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So here's another (and the final) second-time-only game for us from that week. Jenn had played SMC the one time with two other friends and me back in 2010, when she was still new to hobby gaming. While that first game had been a rough go, both because of the amount of rules and the player count for a first game, this one as a 2p went really well, and the end was very close, with me (Germany) eking out a military victory one turn before Jenn (Egypt) would've won a culture victory. (Jenn might've won earlier than that had she not missed an interaction.) I'm glad we were able to "redeem" this one from the "maybe never again" pile, as 4x games with civ themes are among my favorites. We have and enjoy Clash of Cultures (and Civilizations) as well, but this one's different enough that, again, I feel like it's alright to have both.
 
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13. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:184]
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, I'm very lucky to have a partner who shares the gaming bug (and so much else) with me.
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