WTF is Yucata.de?!
Tony Ackroyd
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I'd been wanting to try some more online gaming for a while. Mainly for the chance to try out some new games to see if I liked them enough to play them, but also to try a couple of games I had but hadn't tried.

I already play a couple of games online, mainly Advance Wars and I'm also enjoying the free trial of Memoir '44 online. I tried BSW a while ago and didn't find it very intuitive. I also tried Vassal and it seemed more effort that I could make (and I don't think I read the 24 page manual).
It doesn't much help that I don't often have the time to sit down and play a whole game through online in one sitting.

I saw a couple of geeklists about Yucata and finally one day I took the plunge. This geeklist covers my experiences and views based on the three months since then.
I'm no expert on Yucata.de, so if you think you can add something feel free to chip in!
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1. Board Game: Track [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:16722]
Tony Ackroyd
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Turn-Based Online Gaming

The first big deal about Yucata is that it is turn-based. So you don't have to play the whole game in one sitting. You log in, play turns on all of your games where it is your turn (or action) and then either log out again or hang around and play some more.

Oh yeah, I said 'games' plural. There might be a limit on how many games you can have running at one time but I don't know what it is. A while ago I was playing about 50 games at the same time.

You can set up your account so that you get emailed when it is your turn, but I soon had several hundred emails from Yucata in my inbox so that probably only works if you have a couple of games going.

If your opponents are online at the same time you can sit on the site and play effectively live.
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2. Board Game: Easy Cheesy [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
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It is Easy

The best thing about Yucata is that it is ridiculously easy. The website is simple, creating a game is simple, joining a game is simple, playing a games simple. Playing lots of games is simple.

Whoever is creating the online versions of the games is brilliant because they are incredibly intuitive realisations of the boardgames. It is often possible to blunder through a game learning it as you go.
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3. Board Game: Germania [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:9532]
Tony Ackroyd
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It isn't in German

Well, not unless you want it to be.
Yes, no need to be afraid of that ".de". It is really easy to switch to the English version of the site and the English implementation is flawless.
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4. Board Game: A Gamut of Games [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
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What Games Are There?

There are currently 57 different games you can play on Yucata. The most well known BGG-type ones are probably:

Balloon Cup
Campaign Manager 2008
Carcassonne H&G
Famiglia
Fearsome Floors
Hey, that's my fish
Pompeii
Roll through the Ages
Saint Petersburg
Stone Age
Thurn and Taxis
Yspahan

There are new games being slowly added - Famiglia was just added a week ago.
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5. Board Game: Meta [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
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Meta-Game

There is a clever meta-game on Yucata. You get points for winning games and lose points for losing them. Win enough games and you get promoted a rank. You start as a Worker and can't go down from there.

You get more points for winning games against higher ranked people and lose less points if they beat you.
It gets more difficult to get promoted to the higher ranks because as well as a points target you also need to win a more different types of games. So you won't get very far if you just play one game type.

After 3 months I've been promoted eight times and I'm now a Temple Servant. You can work your way up to Ahaucan which is some kind of high priest. There are about 100 of these at the moment.

I've heard some comments that meta-games spoil sites and make people rude. If so I've seen no evidence of that on Yucata. Okay, people aren't often very chatty, probably because they are just whipping through playing all their games, but no-one is rude and there is no telling people to hurry up - because people aren't expected to be online.

You also have to play your games in order of age, so it isn't possible for people to ignore games where they are losing and just concentrate on ones where they are winning. They have to play all of them.

You can also play non-scoring games when you are trying to learn a new game so that it doesn't hurt your stats/ranking.

Update: A new ranking system is now being implemented. The users don't know the full rules of it yet. It seems to be very well thought out. Surprises are promised...
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6. Board Game: Just4Fun [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:7138]
Tony Ackroyd
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Most Popular Games

The most played games on Yucata.de are the following (by number of games played):

143645 Just 4 Fun
79866 Just 4 Fun Colours
77634 Schotten Totten
65585 Balloon Cup
59808 Roll through the Ages
58270 Carcassonne H&G
52475 War of the Roses
49115 Saint Petersburg
40912 Oregon
40695 Vikings
37646 Tally Ho!
37032 Four in a row
33278 Stone Age
32610 Thurn and Taxis

What the best games are to play on here is questionable. I've seen people complain about the time it takes to play a game of Stone Age, but I've found it an excellent game to play on Yucata.
2 player games have the fastest turnaround as you are only waiting for one other person to play.
Roll through the ages is great as you only get about 7 turns in the whole game.
So far the game I've found least suited to Yucata was Finca. It took absolutely ages to play and the people I was playing with were playing fast and often.
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7. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:640]
Tony Ackroyd
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What Have I Played?

In three months I've completed 124 scored games:

44  Roll through the Ages 
27  Pompeii 
21  Stone Age 
11  Hey, that's my fish 
7  Oregon 
5  Industrial Waste 
2  Yucata 
1 Balloon Cup 
1  Campaign Manager 2008 
1  Carcassonne H&G 
1  Famiglia 
1  Finca 
1  Gobang & Gomoku 
1  Just 4 Fun 

I have another 29 games in progress.

Of these there are a good few that I haven't tried in real life (Oregon, Yucata, Campaign Manager, Finca, etc) and some that I've only played once in real life but multiple times on here (notably Industrial Waste).
I'm currently trying my first ever game of Die Speicherstadt (where I'm struggling to understand it without having anyone to ask questions of) and a game of Yspahan, where I seem to have completely forgotten how to play.
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8. Board Game: The Who's Who Game [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
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BGGers on Yucata.de

There are a lot of BGGers on Yucata. I've played games with a few whose usernames I recognised:

Boltongeordie
DancerInDC
Friendless
JohnBandettini
moviebuffs
sorp222
Steerpike

There have probably been lots of others, but I'm not very good with names and without avatars it is hard to recognise a lot of them!

Who else is on there? Is your username the same as your BGG one?
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9. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:450]
Tony Ackroyd
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Time Killer

Warning:
Yucata is a time sink. I've already had two of the wives of guys in my game group give me an ear-bashing because of me introducing their husbands to Yucata. And it has cut into my BGG time and is yet another reason why I am still not learning to play my bass guitar.

It is far too easy to log on, play your turns in 4 or 5 games and then set up several more which you then proceed to play 'live' with some people on the site for the next two hours. And do it again the next day, and the next. And suddenly you have 50 games going on.
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Tony Ackroyd
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But don't take my word for it, there are a lot of Yucata geeklists around, like this one by
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
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....
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Tony Ackroyd
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or this one by
Matt Schoonmaker-Gates
United States
San Diego
California
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Tony Ackroyd
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A bit worried to just let random people on Yucata play you? Well you can use this geeklist to let random people from BGG play you.
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Tony Ackroyd
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Not sure if Stormseeker is still actively looking for players, but if you sign up then feel free to invite me to play any of these games:

Stone Age
Roll through the Ages
Pompeii
Oregon
Balloon Cup
Famiglia
Industrial Waste
Hey Thats My Fish

Nothing else right now thanks - my brain is too full to learn new games.
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Tony Ackroyd
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Jenks
Germany
Eckernfoerde
Schleswig-Holstein
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Organised a load of tournaments on Yucata.de featuring a lot of different games. I have no idea how they went, but I hope he (or someone) does something similar sometime. I'd join!
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Tony Ackroyd
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This list by Sparhawk shows what might be coming to Yucata soon....
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16. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:122] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
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I know this isn't on Yucata, but I couldn't resist adding a comment about the online implementation of Memoir '44 which is on the Days of Wonder site.
You have to pay for it, but there is a free trial where you get about 25 games free.

The implementation is brilliant. Just stunningly easy to use and most of the rules (terrain impacts, troops abilities, special rules) are built into the game.
Glorious.
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Tony Ackroyd
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There are now a number of open tournaments. Some of these are rolling tournaments where anyone can enter at any time, like Roll Through the Ages, Zooloretto the Dice Game and Can't Stop.

There are also some ladders for Carc H&G and Stone Age.

Finally there are a number of more formal contests in various stages, with more starting up all the time.
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