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Subject: What are you playing this week? (July 2 – 8 Edition) rss

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Nick Shaw
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Good morning, Pegheads!

While trying to think up a topic for this week's question (I usually have the topics planned WAY in advance... honest...), I happened upon a blog post about Euphoria and how the writer's most admired game mechanic is that of the Euphoria's dice-workers where the sum value of the workers could make them too clever for their own good, and one might realise the dystopia he/she is living in and wonder off.

This gave me the idea for this week's question: What's your most admired mechanism in a game, and why? This isn't just "what's your favourite game mechanism", but specifically "what mechanic in a specific game is better/cleverer/more admirable than all other mechanics in other games"? It's a tough question to answer! Let us know if you HAVE an answer, and if so, what it is and why...




But of course, what the pegheads really want to know is: What are you playing this week?
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Joe Pilkus
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Good morning, Nick!

I absolutely love the "follow-on" mechanic from Tiny Epic Galaxies (and I'm sure it's been done before that title), as it keeps everyone invested in the game at all times.

As for this week, our 4th of July celebration (no hard feelings, mate) occurs on Wednesday so it'll prove an interesting work week for many folks. My girlfriend and I shall spend time in Philadelphia, New York City, and then off to Martha's Vineyard, and she's asked me to bring along games. She's a great gal and the fact that she enjoys games is just icing on the cake. So, for this week, I'm packing Azul, Concordia, Splendor, and Villages of Valleria.

Cheers,
Joe
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Bill Kunes
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My favorite mechanism is one I experienced back in November of 2013 playing Expedition: Northwest Passage. The solar token is the time piece that moves around the edge of the board to track the rounds but also freezes all water north of it. This means any ships are now frozen in the ice and you have to send out a dock sledge to continue movement. The risk is getting caught stranded once the ice melts (again dependent upon the movement of the solar token).

I suspect more solo plays this week. But I also have four new games arriving this week so I'm possibly going to see one or two of those make it to the table.

meeple Keep playing...
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Brendan Riley
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"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
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Good morning, all!

Good question, Nick. It is hard to pick one, but I'll choose the Fate die from the little known but wonderful Strife: Legacy of the Eternals and its sequel. These are really interesting two-person card games with perfect information. Really fun.

Occasionally, there will be a tie in one of a couple different ways. When that happens, the 12-sided "fate die" comes into play. The player who has it chooses whether to lose the tie and keep the die as it is, or win the tie and increment the die up once and forfeit it to the other player. The die is worth as many points as it depicts, so as the game goes along, the tiebreaker question gets harder and harder. Lovely.

Runner up:
The team mechanism from A Study in Emerald in which you have to figure out which players are your team-mates and help them some because the player who scores the least points eliminates her/his whole team from contention.

Playing this week:
Nothing for sure, but I suspect I'll play a couple games in the next day or two, and then bring some two-player games to play on my trip to Newfoundland next week.
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Nick Shaw
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So, to answer my own question!...

I think I'd have to go for the action selection mechanic in games such as Puerto Rico and San Juan, where you choose the action all players will take this round, but you get a boosted version of it. It keeps all players engaged in every turn, but can also be used to screw over other players by selecting a specific action when you know it's sub-optimal to them.

A runner up in 2nd place for me is the mechanism in Anachrony where, after the impact, the city worker spots get covered with 'last-ditch boosted' spots which give greater benefits than before, but once used are flipped to 'unavailable' for future rounds. It starts constraining the worker spots which brings the game to an inevitable conclusion within a few rounds, and players effectively have control over how quickly that game-end trigger will happen. You can use it to force an early end, or let it run to the final round by just not using the spots. Clever stuff.




This week: Game night on Wednesday is in a temporary new location as our usual meetup place is unavailable; the 'new' location is actually where our Monday group meets up, and so we have a longer time available there 6-11 instead of 7-10. Should mean some longer games are able to be played! Currently on the possibles-list are Petrichor and Heaven & Ale...
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John Kanost
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njshaw2 wrote:
Good morning, Pegheads!

Good morning, Nick! Or afternoon, to you!

njshaw2 wrote:
What's your most admired mechanism in a game, and why? This isn't just "what's your favourite game mechanism", but specifically "what mechanic in a specific game is better/cleverer/more admirable than all other mechanics in other games"? It's a tough question to answer! Let us know if you HAVE an answer, and if so, what it is and why...

A couple others have already touched on this, but I also have to go with mechanisms that keep all players invested in a game throughout that game. I could list lots of honorable mentions, like the Enlist bonuses you get in Scythe when your neighbors do them, or the following mechanisms in Glory to Rome, TEG, Puerto Rico, Rising Sun, etc. But the one that impressed me the most (and, I will admit, most recently, which might be why it comes to mind) is that of the launched ships mechanic in Space Base. I cannot think of any other game where I actually cannot afford to miss my opponents' turns... the bonuses you can get on other players' turns toward the end of that game are often more important to victory than what you do on your own turn.

njshaw2 wrote:
But of course, what the pegheads really want to know is: What are you playing this week?

We are on vacation this week, visiting my wife's family in Maine, and I'll quote my sister-in-law Laura who said to me this morning, "games are better in Maine!" We brought along a decent portion of our collection that I hope to introduce to them, so I'll surely have plenty of gaming to report later in the week. One that I'm hoping to get to the table is an out-of-print title that my brother-in-law owns that I've never had a chance to try: Starfarers of Catan.
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Nick Hayes
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Lots of Star Realms on my phone, though it's getting a bit easy. I may need to try out Cthulhu Realms soon.

My Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes addiction is still kicking, so I did a lot of that over the weekend, and then I also discovered the Marvel Comics Color Your Own app, so I spent a good chunk of time being a little artistic. It can get a bit tedious if there's a lot of detail, but the opportunity to get a little artistic (which I rarely do) has been surprisingly relaxing.
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Steve O'Rourke
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Not sure how earth-shattering it is, but the "person-farthest-back-goes-next" mechanic is extremely clever. In games I love like Patchwork and Tokaido, the mechanic adds a lot of push and pull to the choices. You can rush forward as far as you like for a great move, but others will get many turns before it rolls back around to you. Do you take the huge scoring leap? Or do many small turns while you catch-up on the track end up giving you more of a payoff? That tactical and strategic puzzle is fantastic.

This week, one big game I'm playing is "Turn Over My Collection." I'm making some big swaps on BGG to give some underplayed games new homes and bring in some ones that will be new to me. As for real games, I'll be playing more Okey Dokey and I'll try to get back to Legacy of Dragonholt.
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Chris Graves
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One of the things I like (not sure if it is actually a mechanism) is in Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game when you are placing cards into the "Complex". You place them facing down. To see what is coming, you have to spend an appropriate amount of attack resources for that room. It really adds to the tension. Another mechanism I like, even though I haven't played the game, is in Raiders of the North Sea. When you place a worker, you are able to pick up a worker from that same space. Again, I haven't played the game, but I find that intriguing and hope to play it someday. Since I already have a Viking worker placement game (Champions of Midgard), I've been hesitant to add this title to my collection.

Should be a busy game week. Have a surprise game night on Tuesday which I am playing Arcadia Quest for the first time.

Wednesday, we are celebrating independence from England by playing Warhammer (Games Workshop being based in England)...4th Hammer is what we're calling the event.

Friday will be an evening session of Gloomhaven.

Sat/Sun I'm not too sure. Maybe more minis gaming Saturday, and my once regular Sunday group may meet up to play something.



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Scott Sexton
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This is going to be a weird week.

I hope to finish my standing game of Dungeon Alliance with the kids.

The new Star Wars Destiny set comes out Thursday, so I'll probably have a draft session with the kids.

Thursday is my adult gaming group, and I think we have Kanban on tap.

I'm supposed to get my copy of the Near & Far expansion in this week and my daughter is DYING to get it to the table.

I am trying to get Too Many Bones to the table, but it may be tricky. This Saturday is the game day at the library, and I'm not sure what I'm gonna take.
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Ashley Kennedy
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The turn order bidding auction of Five Tribes is one of the more clever mechanics I have seen. It requires thought about how valuable the turn order is as you bid victory points to go before other players.

If picking a second, I would say the cost for keeping a card in Terraforming Mars.

This week, hope to have a game night. Time will tell. I’ve reached 10 games of Gloomhaven for my 10x10 challenge, but need to flesh out the other games to keep up. Hoping Argent second ed will be available at retail this week. Still waiting for it to arrive. Received the expansion for Near & Far last Friday, but haven’t opened it yet. Might even get in games of Catacombs or Alhambra.
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Richmond Bramblet
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Monday night game night is picking up here, so we're getting a few games played after my trivia show.

We Played:
- Diamant
- Mars Open: Tabletop Golf
- Noch Mal (We've been ending with this one each time, just on a different expansion board)
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Jennifer Stearns
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Got to play Argent: The Consortium last night and I lost after many levels of tiebreakers! But it was really fun! Looking forward to trying this again.
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Graham Hall
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The turn order / caballeros selection mechanism in El Grande is clever and really fun. It's also makes first-turn selection tactical and extremely fair.
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Douglas Klipfel
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I love the question Nick, but I struggle to find a good answer. I want to say the white dice in Stuffed Fables representing stuffing.

On the morning of the 4th of July my wife and I had coffee and played games for a few hours.

Sagrada
Splendor X2
Azul X2

First time playing Azul at 2 player. My wife got into "hate drafting" or in other words purposely taking the tiles I needed, or leaving tiles I had no room for. I was glad she did. Is she changing as a gamer? It will be interesting to see if this aggression bleeds into other games as well.


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Nick Shaw
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Love all the answers so far on people's most-admired game mechanisms!


Mid-week gaming update: Game night last night went v well in our temporary relocation. Had 15 gamers along, and approx. 12 different games played over the night.

My table played:
- Petrichor - introducing another new player to it, who then wanted to buy it!. Final scores were super-close (all within a few points);
- Fleet with some expansion and promo bits added in. This was an odd play; there was virtually no way of increasing card draws, and as cards are your money, your boats, and your captains in the game, they are vital to your plans. Think it was just an odd (randomly-chosen) mix of licenses. Still, we enjoyed playing! Always nice to get this one to the table.
- SpyNet - played as 4 player, which is the best way I think, playing as teams. It was new to two of the four playing, so the two of us who'd played before buddied up with one of the newbies each. Played out well, and the emergent gameplay came out as it always does. My team managed to scoop a massive win - 23 vs 6! Woohoo!
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Bill Kunes
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Windship2Mars wrote:
On the morning of the 4th of July my wife and I had coffee and played games for a few hours.

Sagrada
Splendor X2
Azul X2

First time playing Azul at 2 player. My wife got into "hate drafting" or in other words purposely taking the tiles I needed, or leaving tiles I had no room for. I was glad she did. Is she changing as a gamer? It will be interesting to see if this aggression bleeds into other games as well.
We too got Azul to the table yesterday for the first time, recording three plays. She likes it so far and is improving her score with each game but hasn't won yet. Hoping that happens soon so she doesn't get frustrated and ban the game. I'd like to get one or both of my girls to try it with us to see what 3-4p feels like.

meeple Keep playing...
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Jason Light
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I love the multi use cards in La Granja. I know other games do something similar, but not quite at the level that La Granja does.


July 4 was also my birthday, however, we were never going to go somewhere for the fireworks, due to the baby, so instead we had a little party in the afternoon into the early evening. 8 of us played a couple of rounds of Codenames, and then we dropped to 6 people and played a few rounds of Insider.


A few things I learned, a number of my wife's friends really want to play games, so a regular game night may be in the making. One of her friends/co-worker was really good at being the Inside and think she would be great at betrayal/deception games.



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Jamie Maltman
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I love the Concordia card-based rondel, that you add to for more actions, but also your endgame scoring. It's so smooth and amazing.

This week has been great already for gaming.

Got to preview Wreck Raiders, currently on KS from Kids Table Boardgaming. Really pretty family weight game that can intro people or kids to a smooth mix of dice drafting, worker placement (with some bonuses from getting bumped), and multiple types of set collection. My 6 year old really liked it, and so did my friend's 6 year old as well, and the adults enjoyed it too.

Started the Imperial Assault app campaign with my kids and finished the tutorial. We played the 1st two missions a couple of years ago when it came out but they prefer to be on the same team.

Taught Memoarrr this morning,
learned the Race to New Found Land, which was more fun than I expected, and is a quick playing and smooth Euro.

And it's only Thursday!
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Rob Cassens
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I hate to borrow from Nick, but I really like the action selection from San Juan and Race For The Galaxy. It keeps all players involved and provides some mild interaction. I guess this is one of the reasons they are two of my favorite games.

We played Qwinto, Wurfel Bohnanza and Potion Explosion earlier in the week, Farkle, progressive Rummy and Euchre waiting for fireworks yesterday and are traveling up to Milwaukee to see our favorite gaming couple this weekend to play several 4 player games and enjoy the outdoors. The husband is the person who introduced us to Euros and newer games. I joke with him that he started this addiction I now have. I’m bringing Roll for the Galaxy, Dead of Winter, Sagrada, Concordia, Dice Town, Bohnanza and some smaller games. I don’t know what we’ll actually play but my wife and I are looking forward to our time with them.
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Jennifer Stearns
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My new favorite mechanic is how the dice drafting works in Coimbra. The color of the die matters for end of round actions, the pips matter for purchase cost and timing of purchase, plus the color of die can trigger ongoing effects from previously purchased cards.

My more classic favorite mechanic is the worker 'displacement' of Five Tribes. It's very fun to figure out the path of workers to optimize the color and action of the meeple and the tile action that you will receive.
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John Kanost
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Grishny wrote:
We are on vacation this week, visiting my wife's family in Maine, and I'll quote my sister-in-law Laura who said to me this morning, "games are better in Maine!" We brought along a decent portion of our collection that I hope to introduce to them, so I'll surely have plenty of gaming to report later in the week. One that I'm hoping to get to the table is an out-of-print title that my brother-in-law owns that I've never had a chance to try: Starfarers of Catan.

We are leaving Maine later this morning. Got in lots and lots of gaming, even though we never did get Starfarers to the table. Monday gaming included Space Base, New York Slice, Downforce, Insider, and Fake Artist. Tuesday more Space Base and Downforce, Unearth, Betrayal at House on the Hill and Orléans. On the 4th I got to teach Scythe to my brother in law and my niece's husband Brandon. We also played more Insider and Unearth, and later in the evening I taught Molly and Brandon Whistle Stop. Thursday featured a little less gaming since we drove an hour and back to Farmington to see Incredibles 2 (it's Maine... it seems like you have to drive at least 20 miles or more to do anything up here). But my son did teach his uncle how to play Boss Monster and HUE before we went, and when we got back I taught him how to play Whistle Stop.
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Greg Blickley
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Set up Merlin on the dining room table last night and it will be played this evening after work - the last of our Origins purchases that has yet remained unplayed.

The rest of this week was pretty tame, got in a play of Skull and Lucidity: Six-Sided Nightmares during the week, also a couple games of Codenames: Duet, which my wife and I absolutely love. Also introduced my wife to Orléans, she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. This coming weekend we're hoping to get some of our less-played games to the table but with a family gathering on Saturday it could be a challenge!
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Jennifer Stearns
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blicko wrote:
Set up Merlin on the dining room table last night and it will be played this evening after work - the last of our Origins purchases that has yet remained unplayed.

The rest of this week was pretty tame, got in a play of Skull and Lucidity: Six-Sided Nightmares during the week, also a couple games of Codenames: Duet, which my wife and I absolutely love. Also introduced my wife to Orléans, she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. This coming weekend we're hoping to get some of our less-played games to the table but with a family gathering on Saturday it could be a challenge!

What are your thoughts on Lucidity?
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Greg Blickley
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jstearns78 wrote:
blicko wrote:
Set up Merlin on the dining room table last night and it will be played this evening after work - the last of our Origins purchases that has yet remained unplayed.

The rest of this week was pretty tame, got in a play of Skull and Lucidity: Six-Sided Nightmares during the week, also a couple games of Codenames: Duet, which my wife and I absolutely love. Also introduced my wife to Orléans, she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. This coming weekend we're hoping to get some of our less-played games to the table but with a family gathering on Saturday it could be a challenge!

What are your thoughts on Lucidity?

We are having a blast with it - the only thing that I wish it had were more options after you roll your dice, there isn't a whole lot of mitigating (you can always spend a point to reroll a die, but I just wish there were more options). For a quick-ish push-your-luck game though it fits the bill!
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