Board Games with Friends

June 17th, 2017 started out with a 4 player game of Mottainai. Not a lot of social deduction or party games this time around.  Jeremy and I had played a good amount, but Sam had a bit of an intro game under his belt, and Anthony T was playing for the first time.  This was my first time with more than 2 players actually, so that added a new dimension for me as well. Jeremy ended up winning with 16 points followed by Sam with 14.  Jeremy saw some thing building up, so he rushed to finish with an advantage. Sam had a slow start but did quite well stealing some points off Jeremy just before the end as well. It was a close game with Anthony and I not far back from the lead either.  Great game.

Justin, Halen, and Jenna got into a game of Clank! while waiting for Mottainai to finish.  Justin’s character died midway through leaving Halen to cement her victory at 191 points.

We finally got Vegas Showdown to the table. I actually bought the game almost a year ago but kept not bringing it out in favor of other games.  Sam, Justin, Halen, Bridget, and I played. Justin and Halen had played before. In fact, I bought this copy of the game off someone who had originally bought it off Halen.  Small gaming world.  I had played a demo game myself to get a handle on the rules and planning to make a video but didn’t end up making a video. The rules were simple and straight-forward enough that I didn’t see the point, plus I didn’t have the time.  It was an enjoyable, intermediate complexity game.  The theme is not overly exciting, but I think it is a good standby to play with my English students or something easy to explain to new gamers.  Bridget ended up winning by a good margin with 52 points followed by me with 45.

Tyrants of the Underdark and Isle of Skye followed. Anthony T, Daniel, Jenna, and Jeremy played Tyrants.  I believe only Anthony hadn’t played before.  Jeremy won at his game with 75 points followed by Anthony at 68 but no one far behind. Anthony took off after this game.

Halen, Sam, Justin, and I continued with a game of Isle of Skye: From Cheiftain to King.  Bridget took off after the Vegas Showdown game.  It was Sam’s game, and he taught the 3 of us to play.  It is a relatively simple tile map building game. The tiles are drawn randomly and each player puts a price on 2 of their tiles up for offer.  Each player can choose to buy up to 1 tile off another player hoping to build up their own map and stop the other players from obtaining tiles that could give them points. The combinations that lead to points change each game, and each round had slightly different goals.  It was a simple quick game that was quite easy to learn. Sam won with 57 points, and the rest of us ended up with points in the 40s.

The final 2 games at the cafe were The Oracle of Delphi and Fields of Green.  I know the game ended up being a massacre with Halen leaving her competition (Jenna, Justin, and Sam) far behind.

Daniel, Jeremy, and I played Fields of Green. I am told it is similar to Among the Stars which I hadn’t played. Jeremy and I hadn’t played before, but Jeremy knew Among the Stars and said he prefers this down to earth farming take on this tableau building game.  It has some things in common with 7 Wonders with passing cards and paying to build with prerequisites but included some strategy related to providing water and wheat to different cards called livestock, fields, construction, and buildings. Each kind of card with different immediate or harvest abilities.  I got my win for the day here with 57 points followed by Jeremy but no pictures of the final result unfortunately.

Games continued beyond the cafe along with dinner in celebration of Jeremy’s birthday but I could not. Those games I will post next.

The Longer Games

May 20, 2017, we played 5 longer games.  Rex: Final Days of an Empire was a new one for the group along with Clank! and Tragedy Looper.  Bora Bora and Scythe are not new but always enjoyable.

Tragedy Looper and REX were the first long games up.  5 played REX and 4 played Tragedy Looper.  REX was my game and Tragedy Looper was Jeremy’s. I also made videos for REX with game rules for anyone who wants to play in the future.

Halen, Justin, Jenna, Evan, and Aaren played this first attempt by the Yangsan Gamerz at REX. I had played once before in Jeju on my friends board and bought my own set a few months ago.  I was pretty familiar with the rules though after making the videos and was able to explain to the other players for the most part.  It would have been better if I could have finished making the video earlier, so people could have been familiar already, but it didn’t work out that way.  With 5 players, Jenna was the Federation of Sol (human revolution), Halen was the Lazax Empire (rebelled against), Justin was the Emirates of Hacan (lion looking traders), Aaren was the Universities of Jol-Nar (brain in a jar technology leaders), and I was the Barony of Letnev (devious like the Harkonens from Dune).  The revolution and the empire ended up teaming up against the other upstarts however.  Halen and Jenna won in the 5th or 6th round of play by allying and controlling 4 strongholds between them.  Well played!

Jeremy, Daniel, Jenna, and Henry played Tragedy Looper. Only Jeremy knew the game, and he played the part of the mastermind leading the other players through the scenario.  Unfortunately, through subtlety, trickery, and whatever means Jeremy was able to get Daniel to lead the key character to their death by serial killer after some play loops.  Deduction failed, and Jeremy won as the game mastermind.

Next, the group broke into 3 groups for Bora Bora, Scythe, and Clank!  Jeremy and Justin played Bora Bora.  Jeremy played for the first time with Justin explaining.  Justin finished with 150 to Jeremy’s 120.

Scythe looked like it was going to be a runaway victory by Halen.  The game went much faster than I expected with only 3 players to my shame. I (playing red) was not prepared after playing 2 much slower paced games.  Jenna (playing black) and Halen (playing blue) finished pretty close, but Halen’s runaway game was not quite enough to beat Jenna.  She finished with 82 to Halen’s 80 coins.

The last big game was Clank! It was a first time play for all but Daniel.  The game involves seeking treasure while trying to not disturb or get caught by the dragon in the form of a deckbuilding game.  Bridget, Ryan, Aaren, and Daniel played.  Bridget took a fairly close victory of 120 points to Daniel’s 111.  Ryan ended up Dragon food.

The Short Plays

May 20, 2017 was another game day.  I didn’t get any pictures this time, so I will just write up a few details here for the shorter games and another post for the longer ones.

Games started a little early with Daniel learning how to play Android: Netrunner.  Justin and Halen spent some time teaching the game, but there was no official score to record.  However, it was a good game and will likely lead to more games of Netrunner in the future.

Jeremy and I played a quick game of Mottainai while waiting for more players.  Jeremy played strategically to end the game quickly thinking he had an easy win with his early hand of cards.  The score ended up being a tie after counting backorders and sales on my side.  However, a tie goes to the player who ended the game, so Jeremy still got the win with 14 points and being the current player.

More players arrived about the time that Netrunner and Mottainai finished, so we split the group into 2.  The larger group played Secret Hitler 3 times.  That group included Halen, Jenna, Justin, Aaren, Jana, and Henry. Jana and Henry were new to the group, joining from Jinju.  All 3 games were wins for the liberals.  The first win was for Justin, Aaren, Henry, and Jana by policy. The second win was by Aaren, Halen, Jenna, and Jana. They killed their own team member Aaren but got Justin Hitler with the 2nd kill.  The third win was by Justin, Halen, Henry, and Jana with policy.

At some point people were playing Red 7 but didn’t finish or record any result.

Jeremy, Daniel, and I played Smash Up while the others played Secret Hitler.  Jeremy won using the killer plant and mad scientist factions.  He ended the game with 18 points to my 15 using bear cavalry and aliens.  The result was decisive, but I came close to winning a couple times before Jeremy got his big victory only to be blocked by Daniel’s super spies.

Later, while some long games were happening Jana, Ryan, Bridget, Daniel, Henry, and Jeremy played 2 games of Bang! The Dice Game. The first game was a blowout victory for the sheriff and deputies partially because there was 1 too many of them dealt into the game.  Jana was the sheriff with Daniel and Henry as deputies.  The 2nd game was a win by the outlaws played by Daniel, Jeremy, and Ryan.  They killed sheriff Bridget.

Justin and Jeremy also played 2 games of Jump Drive.  Jeremy won both games with between 50 and 60 points.

It was August in Pandemic Legacy

Got in some quick games with Justin and Halen on Thursday of my birthday week.  The main event was a big win in Pandemic Legacy (which we hadn’t played since November I think).  We also got in some quick games of Sherlock 13 and The Grizzled.

We had to complete 3 objectives to get an August win in Pandemic Legacy, and one of those had to be curing 3 diseases. There were about 5 other options including 2 search missions and having a military base in each of 6 world regions.  From the start, we already had 6 military bases, so that was 1 down.

Our next objective was a search mission.  We decided to focus on getting the virologist first as that was the first to come up and would give us a new useful character to fight a mostly unstoppable disease. At this point, it is mostly only possible to slow it down with quarantines, blockades, and basically killing zombie like people with the disease. We had a lucky start with Justin able to discard a card of the matching color to search and Halen able to do 2 searches. Along with some bonuses for certain search conditions, that gave us another objective complete in the first round but also a first epidemic in the same round.

The final mandatory mission involved a lot of trading information between players and luck of the draw, but we were able to hold things together long enough to get the cards and cure the diseases. I played the scientist, who is able to cure a disease with only 4 cards of a color, and Halen was the researcher making exchange of information easier.  I cured the red disease early on and a few rounds later Halen and I both had the cards to stop yellow then blue consecutively in a single last round.

The biggest struggle we faced this time around was holding back outbreaks in the untreatable disease zone.  Justin had the soldier who has the ability to stay in a city with a faded figures without getting a scar.  He was able to hold back the outbreaks a little with strategic quarantines by moving in and out of cities with 3 faded figures next to each other.  We also got a new ability that allowed us to trade a scar for a turn with no infections which we used quite liberally this game.  With the new virologist, the faded figures should be less of a problem next time hopefully. We also probably should have used the colonel instead of the soldier (…) because the colonel had an additional upgrade that removed faded figures by just leaving a city.  Could have knocked them out by just moving through.  Oh well. We won at some cost and have hope for September when we will hopefully get the immunologist.

Next came a game of Sherlock 13 with some alternate rules.  Justin recommended a rule where the cards get rotated in a way that allows players to give less complete answers making deduction more challenging and uncertain. It was interesting, but we decided the Grizzled would be a better use of our short time.

So far our group only has 1 win against the box in the Grizzled game on record.  Justin added the expansion rules, but they don’t change the feel or strategy of the
game much.  The Grizzled is still a fight against the inevitable in the horror of war.  It is about a slim chance at survival but not getting out undamaged even with a win.  We played 2 losing games.  The first was a quick loss. We were less than lucky and the cards worked against survival after just 2 missions ending with a lost mission and Halen with 6 hard knocks.  The 2nd game went longer but didn’t progress toward getting rid of enough cards in missions to get out of the war zone alive.  We took one final chance with all the remaining cards but went out in a blaze of glory.  That’s war.

Longer Games

The longer or more involved games for March 11th included Star Trek Catan, Ticket to Ride Europe, Champions of Midgard, Mottainai, Deus, and Scythe.

Bridget, Ryan, Mia, and Ksenia played both Star Trek Catan and Ticket to Ride Europe.  They were at least mostly familiar with Catan, so I explained the minor changes in the Star Trek theme, and they were able to play with only a few questions as the game progressed.  Ksenia ended the game as the winner with 10 points.

They moved on to Ticket to Ride Europe but none of them had played before, so I gave a quick tutorial, and they had a couple questions as they played. They were able to figure things out for the most part and ended with respectable scores for their first time play.  Ryan won with 127 points.

Sometime in the middle of that Jeremy and Aaren were playing Mottainai and Jump Drive both with Aaren learning the games for the first time and Jeremy explaining.  I told Aaren that Mottainai is a simplified version of Glory to Rome which seemed to make the game play clear.  They played a longer game with Jeremy winning with one final megaturn.

Justin (with Halen as a partner) explained Champions of Midgard to Sam, Daniel, and I for another video that ended because of a low battery.  The explanation and play went well, but at that point there was too much background noise, so the result was not great.  The game is a worker placement that includes rolling dice and battling monsters. The dice are warriors that also need to be fed if taken on long journeys.  Points and money to spend on things can be gained through battle.  There are also varying abilities for the players including the pious, the swordsmaiden, the berserker, and the destined. I ended up winning the game with 81 points, using the swordsmaiden, followed by the teaching team of Justin and Halen at 64 points playing the pious.  I was happy with the result and could probably work more on strategy next time.

Justin, Halen, Sam, and I continued on to a game of Deus. Sam was the only first time player although I had only played once before and didn’t remember the exact rules of play before reminders.  Halen killed us all with a score of 47.  Justin and I had scores in the 30s at the end. We ended slightly prematurely as Sam had to take off in the final turn.  The end result probably wouldn’t have changed much though.  Sacrificing to gods and building up a good engine takes pretty good strategic planning along with the luck to get the right cards together.  Halen definitely had all that going.

The last game that I saw going was a big game of Scythe with Jeremy, Justyna, Daniel, Jenna, and Aaren playing and Injae observing the game and cursing Jeremy while supporting Justyna.  This led to a 2nd place finish for Jeremy with 68 points and a win by Justyna with 72.

Finally, Jeremy, Jenna, and Daniel played their extreme coop Codenames and a game of Mottainai.  Jeremy pulled off another Mottainai win with 26 points which is a better end to the day than the double loss to the Box in Codenames.

Party and Deduction

Yangsan Gamerz got together March 11, 2017 at Cafe Swan Valley again.  This post will focus on the social deduction games, simple card games, and party games.  That included Jump Drive, Secret Hitler, Red 7, Parade, Spyfall, FitzIt, Toc Toc Woodman, and Codenames.

First game for this post and for the day was a 4 player game of Jump Drive which was also our first trial at doing a tutorial video and playthrough which can be found here. The video was not a complete success, but it was a good first attempt.  Next time, I can do better with more planning, better video, etc.  Jeremy won the game with 73 points followed by myself with 68 even though it was a first play for both of us.  Justin taught the game, and Halen played and gave some helpful hints.

Secret Hitler came next with another video attempt but less successful with some sound issues, stopping and restarting the game a bit, and the video being frozen by a phone call coming in.  This social deduction game played between liberals and fascists trying to keep the most control of policy, fascists to elect their Secret Hitler as chancellor, or liberals to successfully find and do away with that Secret Hitler in order to win for their side.

We played twice.  Ksenia, Sam, Halen, Justin, Jeremy, Mia, Bridget, Ryan, and I played.  The first game was a close match in policy passing, but liberals finally won by killing Sam Hitler giving Halen, Justin, Jeremy, Bridget, and Ryan a win (although Ryan was killed for being suspicious as well). The 2nd game the fascists won and got away with offing 2 liberals in Ksenia and Jeremy.  They passed enough policies to win giving Justin, Bridget, Ryan (Hitler), and I the win.

 

While Secret Hitler was happening more players arrived and started up a game of Red 7 which was interrupted by more players. Finally, they played Parade twice, Spyfall, and FitzIt.  The first game of Parade was a win by Emy with only -1 over Kate, Tricia, Justyna, Aaren, Injae, and Changyeon.  The 2nd was a win by Emy again with a perfect -7 points versus the same players and Aaren dropping out when they realized 7 players was over the limit.

Spyfall appears to have been 7 rounds long but with no overall scoring or winner.  The players were Emy, Kate, Justyna, Injae, Tricia, Changyeon, and Jenna joined in the 4th round. The first round had no spy, so the game had to be started again. A loss by Injae as spy in the 2nd round. The 3rd was a win from Injae as spy for 4 points as he was able to find the location. The 4th a loss by Emy playing the spy accused by Injae. A win for Jenna as spy in the 5th when the wrong person was accused. Another loss for Emy as spy being found out by Jenna in the 6th. Then the 7th and final round with Jenna losing as spy. There was no real way to deduce a final winner, so these are just on record with no score.

Jeremy and Aaren played a couple of 2 player games.  The one to record here is Jump Drive.  The 2 games of Jump Drive were both wins for Jeremy with 57 points and 67 points.

Tricia, Jenna, Changyeon, Justyna, Injae, Kate, and Emy also played FitzIt for the first time (a first play for the group).  The game is a race to get rid of a player’s pile of cards before everyone else by placing them into a crossword style grid. The key is thinking of items that fit all descriptions in a line without repeating items. There are also ways to give away cards to other players by playing sets of 4 or 5 cards or adding cards to a line that already contains 4 cards.  Jenna won one game. Injae won the 2nd time.  The list of words left behind was worth recording below:

Another quick game of FitzIt occurred between Justin, Halen, and I. Justin won, and we didn’t have a very creative game compared to the other group.

Ryan, Bridget, Ksenia, and Miae played some Toc Toc Woodman after a couple of other longer games but no scores were recorded. They just played for the joy of the game.

Jeremy, Daniel, and Jenna played some coop Codenames with no good results giving the Box 2 wins.

Up to 3 Tables

Games got more serious at this point with all players in attendance and games going at 3 tables.  My table played Dragon’s Gold.  The players included Halen, Bruce, Sarah, Justyna, Justin, and myself.  Justin finally won with 39 points, but it was a little close.  I held onto 2nd place with 35 and Justyna a not distant 3rd with 34. Then, Halen, Sarah, and Bruce.

The next table started up a game of Citadels with Jeremy, Ginger, Jef, Injae, and Aaren.  The game went long and seemed competitive.  Finally, Jef won with 34  points followed by Aaren with 26, Ginger, Injae, and Jeremy. The game finished just before dinner was served.

The third table also started a game of 7 Wonders: Duel. It is a 2 player game, but Matt is fairly new to board games, so he is learning through observation.  He teamed up with Jenna to beat Daniel. 57 to 50.  Their game ended just before dinner was served.

My table also played a few more games while we waited for Citadels to finish in order to set up some bigger games and finally finished when dinner was served.  First, Justin, Bruce, Sarah, Justyna, Halen, and I played a simple game of That’s It!.  It takes some careful listening and focus as it can turn a little shouty.  Many people yell out possible answers to a given hint but only 1 answer is written on the card.  Collecting cards with points, Bruce won a close ending tie breaker with me.  Bruce and I had 2 cards each and the same number of points for the last card, so we let rock, paper, scissors decide the result.

We also played a quick game of Spot It! The same players played that game.  It requires focused eyes and quick thinking.  The game is simple but intense.  Sarah won quite easily with 18 points.

Finally, 4 of us played The Grizzled.  Justin, Halen, Sarah, and I started, but I had to stop to help with dinner, so Jeremy stepped in to finish my hand.  This game usually comes to a loss by the players.  It is cooperative as a group tries to live through the horrors and trauma of World War I.  This was a first time win for both Jeremy and I, so he is part of the win in records.  Sarah also played for the first time.  We all won together not unscathed but triumphant.

Simple Beginnings

The first games to start the December 10th, 2016 holiday games were King of Tokyo and Sherlock 13.  Bruce, Ginger, Aaren, Jef, Injae, and Jeremy played.  The game seemed to have a lot of ups and downs with many possibilities.  Bruce was one of the first ones knocked out, but in the end Jeremy won by getting 20 points.

Sherlock 13 is a simple deduction game with each player given certain information and trying to ask questions to find out what other players know and deduce the identity of a missing person from the deck of 13 characters.  We played 3 games.  The first was just 3 players with Justin, Halen, and myself.  Halen won that first time very quickly.  The 2nd time Justyna joined, and I won.  The third time Sarah joined in and Justin stepped out as the game only plays up to 4 players (although I think 6 is possible).  The final game had no winner and some rushed deductions.

The Holiday Feeling

Once again, the Yangsan Gamerz group got together for a day of gaming on December 10th, 2016.  This time it was hosted by Kate, Brienne, and myself in our cozy (read small) place.  16 people were able to game together and have a good time playing at 3 tables.  There were long and short games, great food from my wife, eggnog by me, other drinks, some holiday lights and decorations, and even a little gift exchange.  All with a good holiday feeling of warmth and friendship.

Brienne was the only child among the 16 people, but she had a great time getting plenty of attention.  She liked spending time with each emo and samchon (aunt and uncle in Korean) and especially enjoyed the gift exchange.

We had a white elephant style exchange with presents running about 10,000 won each.  This was one of the best gift exchanges I have experienced personally with no bad gifts and nobody angered.  It was all laughter and good times even while some presents changed hands.  Brienne opened 1 present and stole a present including European candy from Matt. Presents included a card game, Jenga, coffee, wine, trays, candles, chocolates and candies, picture frames, smart phone gadgets, puzzles, etc.

I didn’t get any pictures of the food or drinks, but my wife outdid herself.  Everybody seemed to happily eat their fill.  The meal included ham, roasted chicken, salad, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes with sides of pepperjack cheese and sour cream.  There were also some cookies not made but pretty good from Emart Traders.

It was great to have such a positive event at the end of a year filled with many unpleasant world events.  Good cheer was great needed and appreciated.

See everyone again next time.

Pandemic Legacy Win and Loss

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Justin, Halen, and Evan played the 2nd game set in June and the 1st game set in July on November 19th, 2016.  Justin played using a military unit with the ability to get rid of faded figures. After losing the quarantine expert last game, Justin’s military unit was necessary slow down the spread of the disease with quarantines and removing faded figures with his special ability.  Justin took care of this untreatable problem while Halen as the dispatcher and Evan as the medic dealt with the other diseases.  Halen had the ability to use cards for travel without having to discard them which was very useful.  She also had a relationship with the military unit played by Justin which gave an advantage for sharing information and finding cures more easily.  Evan’s doctor was able to predict the spread of diseases and treat disease outbreaks more easily.

Unfortunately, the game set in June ended in a loss because there were too many outbreaks in a short time between cities with faded figures.  The players were focused on finding a cure and let the faded figures get out of control quickly.  The one good point of the June loss was the addition of another military base which allowed the players to move around the globe more easily.

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June was a loss, but the players were able to get a win in July the first time around.  There was a new option to search for another strong character as another objective, but the players just focused on curing 3 diseases (mandatory for a win) and the quarantine objective.  Three objectives were needed to win, but one of those was having 1 military base in each of the 6 areas.  That was already complete from the beginning and was one less thing to think about.  The strategy was effective this time around.  Nothing got out of control.  Another research center was also added to give more options for curing diseases and more starting positions for the beginning of a game.

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The 3 completed objectives were eradicate at least 1 disease (yellow eradicated by the medic), have a military base in each of the 6 major regions of the world (already complete, actually have 7), and discover cures to the 3 normal diseases (mandatory objective).  We didn’t complete the search, but that may be possible in a future game.

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Justin was able to keep the faded figures in check and share information with Halen with their characters’ special relationship.  Evan was mostly just playing clean up.  The 2 upgrades the players chose were keeping the research center (after losing Atlanta and having 1 in the middle of the faded figure area not really accessible for most players).  Justin’s character also gained 2 upgrades in the 2 games.  He got Local Pressure and Paramilitary Escort upgrades shown in the picture below.  Both make dealing with faded figures more possible.

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