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That's What She Said

The continuing adventures of the After-Work Fun-Group. Who knew that a free copy of Chaos in the Old World would springboard into a regular gaming group and some of the best friends I've ever had.

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TIL if Workman had lived during the time of the Roman Empire, I would’ve hated him even more.

Charlotte Malone
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Hello there! Welcome to Game Night! Get comfy.

After my big Core Four love fest in last week’s post, Steve bailed on us. (Dammit Steve, you ruin everything.) But the Hubz was available and I had a feeling he would like tonight’s game.

And that game was......



This would be my fifth (I think?) time playing Nations. I really like this game. And I would like to have a really good play of it. Like, I think if I could put up a solid score in a game like this, I would feel pretty good about myself. But people are assholes and I can’t have nice things. Apparently.

But enough about assholes. I was Persia.


We played at Prince level, so technically, I was the Prince of Persia. And I had planned to litter this post with Jake Gyllenhal references but I found that I don’t really know that many Jake Gyllenhal references except “I ain’t quittin’ you” and I just wasn’t able to work that in. Sorry. It might have been hilarity.

Workman was Rome, Mark was Greece and Leon was China. Workman taught Mark how to play and we got to Civilizing.


It’s about to get real up in Persia.

And right off the bat, I got to hating on Workman. Because here’s the thing. He doesn’t just decide what he wants to do, he figures out what you’re trying to do and he takes it from you. I would build up military to buy a colony and he would buy it on the turn before me. Every goddamn time. I was Persia. I had the extra colony slot. I was supposed to colony!! I wanted Nubia. He bought it. I wanted Babylon. He bought it. I hate him so much.


The gods love Nubia.

Workman basically dominated like he always does. He had an embarrassment of resources and military and culture at all times. He wasn’t very stable though. I had him in stability. (Which is ironic because I was always going off on him and he always remained perfectly calm.)

Mark had a couple of rocky turns to start. He ran headlong into a battle and then found out he didn’t have an army. (#awkward) And he built a thing without having any ore (“Check your ore situation homie.”) But he was just learning the rules. He picked it up pretty quick.

Leon, meanwhile, started out strong. (I thought.) He seemed to be bringing in resources and buying things and being China. (I thought.) Fun fact, in previous games of Nations, he and I always seem to tie. I didn’t think we were going to tie this game.



Fast forward a few ages.....Caligula was trying to find new worlds to conquer, while me and Mark and Leon were trying to stay afloat. Mid-game can get rough, and it can be hard to come back if you get behind. Especially when you stumble into the Black Death. (Damn that card was mean.)

At one point, I bought a war just so Workman wouldn’t buy it and said “I took one for the team.” Leon was further down the military track than I realized and said “Did you?” Oops. (See there was this depth perception problem I had with the turn order track and the military track and I thought Leon was....oh never mind. I screwed Leon.)


The guy peeking through the cards made me laugh.

By the last turn, I finally had good production. Had I been able to get that going an age earlier, I might have put up a decent score. I mean, I wouldn’t have won. But I might have done better. But Rome sucks and I suck and it wasn’t Persia’s time to shine. Or China’s. Or Greece’s.

In the end, Emperor Workman had 45 points, I had 22, Leon had 17 and Mark had 16. We all hate the Romans.


My end game Persia. It never got real up in Persia.

I do like this game though. Very much. And maybe one day, I won’t suck at it. Maybe.

Our game took every bit of 3 hours. We were all too tired for a closing filler. So I’m afraid that’s all I have for you.

No wait, I have one more thing, I invented a cookie. It’s a s’more, but in cookie form:


Chocolate chocolate-chip cookie, baked on a graham cracker, topped with mini-marshmallows and torched. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

To be fair, it was inspired by a cookie I had at a place called Baked in Bloomington, but I turned it into a full-on s’more. I made a few for game night. Maybe I have some game after all.

And now that’s really all I have for you. Come back next week for more hatred and gaming goodness.

Until then.....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:52 am
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I had no idea Cockroach Poker could go so long.

Charlotte Malone
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Yo! Let’s get right to it.

We missed last week, but we made up for it tonight. Tonight was a near-perfect game night. Why? Well, it had all the elements:

1. The Core Four. Other combinations are great, but the Core Four is the reason we’ve lasted so long. I love the Core Four.
2. Dinner with good food and good conversation. (Why DOES James Marsden always play the guy whose girlfriend actually loves someone else?)
3. Games that make me laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

But you’re only here for the last part. The games part. And possibly the laugh part. But definitely the games part. So what did we play?



We’ve gotten away from the “your night to pick” rotation, at least for now. This week I suggested a handful of games, half were Workman’s and half were mine. I suggested we play whichever one of his half he grabbed that morning and if he forgot, we’d play one of my half. He remembered, and he grabbed Galaxy Trucker.

It’s been a while since we trucked it through the galaxy. (Almost 2 years. I looked it up.) In case you’re not a long time reader, I SUCK at this game. The last time I posted about it, a fair portion of the comments were dedicated to discussing how awful my ships were. (I looked it up.) (They were really awful.)

Galaxy Trucker is a game of disasters. The first such disaster occurred as soon as we set up and Workman realized he’d taken the sand timer out of the box for a Magic night at some point and never put it back. But no worries, I pulled a sandtimer from Codenames and it clocked in at 90 seconds so we were good.


#MVP

Workman gave us a quick review of the rules, and I remembered how I’ve never played this game whilst fully understanding the rules. It just kind of happens at you. We got to building.


Building.


Christ, did a tornado come through here?

After the first round of building, I had my maiden ship:


Boy, did she suck.

I took the longest to build my shitty ship so I went last. Steve went first because, in his own words “I’m clearly first because I didn’t understand how the timer works.” Um, Ok.

I was doing fine until big chunks of my ship blew off and my astronauts died and I was out of the round. Sigh.

Round two, I boxed myself in with non-connecting pieces and had way smaller of a ship than needed. I thought maybe it would work out? It didn’t.


My Smart Car of a space ship. (It’s not cool in space either.)

And finally, my round three ship:


Yeah.

We pulled a junkyard card and I picked first. Workman rolled for the giant asteroid.

Workman: This one from the rear.
(Rolls dice.)
Workman: 7.
(Everybody looks over at my ship.)
Leon: Right up the ass.

I don’t think I survived to the end of any round. Leon didn’t do so well either. Steve and Workman were neck and neck though. Midway through the game Workman made a big show of asking if there was a fifty point piece so he could cash in all of his galactic credit tiles. Steve said he’d cash his in as well, but I think he only had 49 or something so, you know, awkward.

Late game, Workman got to name a tile coordinate and hit everyone’s ship in that exact spot. He made it count.


He’s going to pole me isn’t he? He is. I know it.

In the end Workman won with 95 to Steve’s 90. In loser news, Leon had 44 and I had 40. I haven’t actually figured out how to score points in this game. It’s fine though. I still like it. (And I did improve my 5-point finish in our last game.) (I looked it up.)(Workman had 99 last game, so I’m getting better and he’s getting worse. Another 20 or so games and I should have him.)

After GT, we played High Society. It was a close game, with Workman missing the cut at the end and Steve winning. He declared it the Year of Steve. But since it’s already March we decided it must be the Fiscal Year of Steve.

And then we decided to wrap the evening with a quick game of The Fucking Loser. An hour later, I’d never seen anything quite like it. We joked about playing the long game a couple of turns, but we really played the long game. I turned into Wallace Shawn from the Princess Bride. I over-thought everything. “But you would know I would suspect you of trying to give me a frog so I clearly cannot drink the stink bug in front of you.” Workman and I got into a scorpion showdown where we both had three each. Somehow we both survived. I eventually had three of three different bugs and I was a nervous wreck.

It came down to me and Steve with one card each. One of us would lose due to no cards to play. Except I got knocked out with my last card. I made it interesting though. “This is a frog.” “There aren’t any frogs.....oh shit. There’s a frog left. I wasn’t expecting you to say frog.” “Don’t overthink it Steve.” He said I was telling the truth. I was. I was the fucking loser.

What a freaking game.

And what a freaking game night. I said near-perfect earlier. But I think it was perfect. I didn’t win anything and may have ruined Cockroach Poker for everyone but I laughed so much. So much. It was the best kind of game night.

Thanks for coming along. We should be back next week, so join us then too. And in the mean time....thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:25 am
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No, not the Adam Sandler movie

Charlotte Malone
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Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to the wonderful world of Game Night!

Tonight’s event marked a first. In the 3.25 years of the Fun Group’s existence, tonight was the first time it was just me and Steve and Leon. We’ve obvs had all four of us. And we frequently have me and Workman and Leon. And we occasionally have me and Steve and Workman. And that one time I caught the plague during the teach there was Workman and Leon and Steve. But I can’t recall it ever being just me and Steve and Leon, sans Workman. But here we are.

(In case you’re curious, Workman was “too busy” this week. And I would normally throw some shade here, but in his defense, one of the reasons he was too busy was he was at my house earlier in the week at a reunion party for our old work team. True story, he shaved his forearm in my kitchen sink and left with an epic Phoenix tattoo. So he might have earned a quiet night at home. I’ll allow it.)

And since we were sans Workman, we opted to play something we love but he doesn’t so much love. And by we, I mean me and Steve. Leon’s fine with it (he’s fine with anything really - it’s a feature) but me and Steve LOVE it. We used to play it at lunch. Like everyday. And I play it a ton with the Hubz as well. (I logged 51 plays in 2017, and yes, that was intentional.)

So what is it? Why it’s 51st State of course!




51st State is probably my favorite game. I mean, AHTCG is my favorite FAVORITE game, but it’s a campaign game which is not really the same thing at all, right? There should be room for both kinds of games at the top: campaign games and not campaign games? But let’s just talk about this game, shall we?

We chose factions. Leon was the Hegemony, Steve was the Appalachian Federation, and I was the Merchants Guild. (FWIW, Hegemony is the best faction, Appalachian Federation is my favorite faction, and Merchants Guild is the easiest-to-learn faction. Just so you know.)


My faction. We badass.

The thing I love about 51st State is that you take the tiniest of actions each turn, build yourself an engine of some kind, and then stop building the engine and run the engine at exactly the right moment. (Ok, that was several things.) And the engine isn’t always what you expect it to be. You have to let your cards tell you what the engine is going to be. Because there’s no time to plan otherwise.

At the start of the game, I was thinking gas cans. My cards seemed to be pointing to gas cans. And I was the Merchants Guild FFS. But then Steve passed me Brick Storage during the draft and my brick engine was born. No one was more surprised than me. Steve should have been the brick guy. I don’t know what his cards were saying, but my cards are definitely saying “Brick me.”


The Little Brick Engine that could.

I built, I used, I bricked, I built again. I was really happy with the general state of things. Steve had taken an early lead but once I got the brick thing running, I moved out in front and never looked back.


Do you think they feel lucky?


Ignacy sent me the gas mask meeples after I complained on Twitter that missing out on the 51st State pre-order was among the most regrettable things in my entire life. I love the gas mask meeples.

51st State is also a game of mumbling. Everyone does it. “imspendingtwogearsfortwograytokens”, “imturningtwomeeplesinforabrick”, “twogascanstomakeadealforVP” and on and on we mumble.



But as much as I love 51st State, it isn’t a great Game Night game. You really do get into your own world (State) and do your own thing and don’t interact with other players. You can spoil other people’s stuff, but I almost never do and no one did tonight. When I say I don’t know what Steve’s cards were saying, I mean I really don’t know what Steve’s cards were saying. Leon’s either. I never looked at what they were building. 51st State is multi-player solitaire at is finest, but that isn’t really what we’re after on game night. I play with the Fun Group because they’re fun. And they’re fun when they interact, not when they go head’s down and mumble.

So I’m glad we played it because I love it. I love it so much. But is isn’t a game that will come out very often with this group. And that’s OK.

Oh and I won also. 41 to 33 (Steve) to 23 (Leon). Yeah. I’m a post-apocalyptic badass. Everyone says so.



After my complete and utter domination, we played High Society. I can’t stop loving this game. Leon won. Steve had the least cash. I had to do some very sophisticated order-of-operations math to even figure up my score. Such a fun time.

And then we drug out Favelas which we played once about a year ago. Steve had never played. I quick-reread the rules and it all came back. Very basic tile-laying, dice-rolling, filler kind of game. It was fun. Steve won.


The dice rolling.


The tile laying.

So everyone won a game. That’s always nice. No one goes home the fucking loser. It was a quieter kind of a game night, but we had great discussions about flat-earthers, Lorena Bobbitt, and auto-erotic asphyxiation to liven things up. And Steve did an Alex Jones impression that was more Alex Jones-like than Alex Jones. I will not soon forget it. (I’m laughing now just typing this.)

Sorry I don’t have more to share, this is what multi-player solitaire will do for you. Thanks for reading along anyway. Maybe next time will be more raucous.

So until next time....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Fri Mar 1, 2019 3:30 am
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Winter is coming.....or possibly an early spring? I don’t know. Something something weather.

Charlotte Malone
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Hello and welcome to the blog! We’re glad you’re here.

Today’s post is not a recap of an official Fun Group Game Night sanctioned event, but we had two official members and two regular alternates and I was fifty-fifty on whether or not to blog about it but man-oh-man what a game so here we are.



A little back story...the Hubz loves A Game of Thrones the Board Game. We don’t get to play very often. I like the game, but don’t love it. Mostly because we don’t get to play very often and when we do play, it takes me a while to remember how to play and by then, we’re way past the point in the game when I can accomplish anything.

But since he loves it, I got him the Mother of Dragons expansion for Christmas. And we played a learning game with our two sons. And I LOVED it. I was anxious to play again before we forgot everything.

As soon as I tried to set it up though, wouldn’t you know it, everyone started trying to set up a game of TI4. So GoT had to take a backseat. (Because everything takes a backseat to TI4. #imnotbitter)

So here we are almost a month later, Workman couldn’t play, Steve didn’t want to play, but Munch was in and Leon roped his wife (Derenda) into playing. It was finally go time.


Setting up.

In the interest of time, this hubz and I decided which houses would be in play and which would be vassal houses so we could set up the board. We may have chosen poorly, but we had Lannister, Greyjoy and Martell as vassals. When everyone arrived, we randomly assigned the remaining houses. Mark was Arryn, Munch was Stark, Leon was Tyrell, Derenda was Baratheon, and I was Targaryen.


Ma house.


Ma dragon.

I won’t do a play-by-play - it’s not my style and it was a long game - but I will start with some interesting tidbits:

1. Munch, Leon, and Derenda don’t watch the show. Leon plays AGoT the card game, so he wasn’t completely lost, but Munch and Derenda didn’t know who anyone was. So we identified by color. “Red is attacking black. Will blue support?” Funny.

2. We never drew a single card that let us bid on the dominance tracks. Not once. We reshuffled the decks a lot, but no dominance track changes ever. Munch played some battle cards that made a couple of changes but other than that, nada. Not funny. At all.

3. The expansion board (Essos) is placed to the right of the original board. So you have Westeros, then the victory point track, the supply track and dominance tracks, and then you have Essos. Since no one was here when we set the board up, everyone thought we just arranged the boards like that. “Just curious, why did you put your board way over there? It makes the map hard to read.” After a good laugh Munch suggested the expansion come with an X-acto knife. Funny again.


”I didn’t want to say anything but the way she set that board up was whack.”

And now let’s talk about me. I dig the Targeryens. I like how they play so differently, I like the asymmetry. And let’s face it, I like those dragons. They’re easy to play at the beginning - you hunker down and play hard D and wait for your dragons to mature. But it’s tough to know when to make a move. Go too early and your dragons die and you’re fucked. Go too late and everyone else has armies everywhere in Westeros and they just come after you one after the other. Very tough calls. Very tense.

While I was holed up growing extinct beasts of war, Westeros went to seed just like in real life. Houses were butting heads, vassals were fighting...it was a real shitshow. Someone gained a castle, someone lost a castle. Then that person lost a castle and someone else gained castle. It was a tight game for a long time.


The Westerosi Shitshow.


Munch and Leon fought with their vassal houses the whole game. The. Whole. Game. One turn, they decided to change houses. And they still fought each other. “I was just wondering if it would be different playing as red instead of black. It’s not.”

I started making my moves when my dragons got to level 3. I lost a dragon early, trying to get two tokens at once. It would have been good ROI had I succeeded, but Leon said “I don’t think so” and I lost the dragon and failed to snag the tokens. Dammit Leon.

But my other two dragons were in good position. A turn or two would give me what I needed. Except Munch was about to win. I could swoop (literally swoop cuz dragons) in and take the two loyalty token spot. But Derenda had five combat points and a small fortress of support around it. So I needed to wait. But if I waited, Munch would win. What to do? What to do? (Seriously guys. What to do? Who’s got ideas?)

I had placed some useless move orders so I floated turns until the round ended. I kept Munch from taking his last castle by not moving out of it but he would go before me next round (going last every turn blows hard btw) and could take it easily. I had a dragon there, but he had so much support around us, I would never win a battle. I could attempt the attack for two tokens to try to win in grandiose Hail Mary fashion but there was no way I’d pull that off. (And I’m not even mentioning the fact that Munch thinner-cursed me mid-game with the traditional “I think Charlotte’s got this” bullshit. How does everyone know I’m a headcase?)

I decided to wait and do nothing. I took the very slight chance that the cards flipped during the Westeros phase would help me.

Spoiler alert: they did not help me.


Level four dragons. You heard me.

We started turn eight and Munch made his move. Then he said “Wait, I can just go right here.” We all looked and there was an undefended area with a castle. He waltzed in and took it. But we all thought that was anticlimactic so he retconned it, attacked me, slayed the dragon and won. Much more George R. R. Martinesque.


So close!

It was a long game (five and half hours including explanation) But it was fun. My favorite play of GoT so far. And I definitely prefer the game with the expansion. The vassals, the Targeryens, the Iron Bank (I didn’t even mention the Iron Bank - the expansion adds shopping!!) - all of the new features are great. It does need an X-Acto knife though - that would be perfect.

And now I just want to play again.

But for now....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:24 am
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Game Night wasn’t as good as a gift card from my mom I love you

Charlotte Malone
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I have solved the blog post title conundrum! Are you ready? Two words: predictive text. Genius, amiright? Genius! (True story....my first attempt at such a title ended with the phrase “and we had a little gas” and while that was beyond hilarious, I just couldn’t.)

But.....let’s talk about game night.

The guys played TI4 on Sunday so Steve couldn’t play games this week because.....something? I don’t even ask any more. “Steve can you play?” “No.” “YOU’RE DUMB!” But Leon and Workman did not let me down. We enjoyed an evening of three-player goodness. The three amigos indeed.



First up was a game that I had barely heard of in November and now it’s probably cracked my top ten (if I believed in top tens, which I don’t, but if I did, it would.) I’ve played Heroes of Terrinoth at all player counts and while it works at any count, I think three is the sweet spot. All players take an action and then collectively decide who takes an additional action. It just works.



If you recall from fairly recent posts, we tried this game twice before. And twice before suffered embarrassing defeats. We just couldn’t figure out how to win. Or even how to try to win. I’ve played it quite a bit since with the fam (son the younger likes it especially, which means it hits the table a lot when he’s home) and each scenario is its own puzzle. And it may take a few tries, but each puzzle is solvable. And solving it is so much fun.

We wanted an easier time of it tonight, so we tried a “trivial” skill level scenario. (Note: I don’t think the design team knows what “trivial” means.) We took on the Battle of the Mistlands.

Leon was a Mage, Workman was a Healer, and I was a Warrior.



Duel-wielding axes and beard pony-tails? I love me.

We started out well enough, but we somehow got off-track and didn’t travel when we should have or traveled when we shouldn’t or something. At any rate, the way the scenario works, you can only upgrade on the green peril space and only once per location. And we jacked that up. We were only able to upgrade once the whole game. Which was bad. But we managed the enemies super well and never took a ton of damage. Workman got in trouble once but he healed himself back to a good place and it was all good.


My one and only upgraded card. It was a good one. Makes me think of the Vice Principal in The Breakfast Club.


I sprung for the player mat. Totes unnecessary but I love it.

Let me pause here and make a confession from the innermost part of my soul. I love exploding dice. I do. You know when someone gives you a gift in a gift bag and there’s all that tissue paper and you reach in and pull out some bit of wonderfulness and you’re just so damn happy and then they say “there’s more” and you get to reach back into the bag? Exploding dice feel just like that.


heartheartheartheartheartheartheartheartheart

So...where was I? Oh yes. One upgraded card. Decent health. Enemy management.

We traveled to the last location. We spawned the nemesis. I engaged him and attacked him on my turn. And my dice just exploded and exploded and exploded. I think I rolled twenty exploding dice. Might have been four. Felt like twenty. It. Was. Glorious. I did nine damage. Leon took the additional turn and did a ranged attack and landed six more to finish him off.


Suck on that, Ankaur Maro.

Battle of the Mistlands? Check.

After feeling pretty damn good about ourselves, we tackled two of my other favorite three player games.



We hadn’t played Azul in so long, we forgot how to draft tiles from the factories. And Workman used the wrong side of the board. But it came back to us soon enough. Soon enough for Workman to win handily (83) and Leon to be respectable (49) and me to barely register that I’d played (35).



Biblios has been hitting the table a lot lately. It’s a Leon favorite, even though he declares “I suck at this game” every time we play. He sucked so bad tonight that Workman won with three dice. I only took green. I suck at this game too apparently.



And finally, we played Love Letter. I keep most of my small box games in a Quiver, LL being one. And I also keep Diamonds in there. And every time I open it, Leon looks at the Diamond tokens and asks “Do you have Ascension in there?” And tonight, Workman got the Diamond/Ascension tokens out and we used those for hearts.



Leon won. Dammit Leon.

And thus concludes another game night. It was a good time.

On a very personal note, I’ve been struggling with a herniated disk the last few months. It causes a lot of pain in my neck and shoulder and it can be nearly impossible for me to be comfortable, especially when I’m sitting straight up. And I’m seeing doctors and doing PT and taking meds and nothing is helping. And it’s got me really depressed, if I’m honest. Some days aren’t bad, but some days are. And today was bad. Like really bad. It turned me into a major snapping turtle at work. Such that I almost canceled game night. I knew I’d be uncomfortable and I knew there’d be a pretty good chance I’d be a bitch at some point and I just didn’t want to deal with it. But I love game night, so I went through with it.

And surprise surprise.....I’m glad I did. I was uncomfortable (I kept a heating pad on my shoulder, held in place with a neck pillow and I’m sure I looked insane but no one laughed at me, which was nice) but I had fun. I think playing games with friends may be the best thing in the world. Even better than exploding dice and that gift card from my mom.

Anyway, just wanted to share. In case anyone reading this is somehow still on the fence about board games.

And thanks for reading this. It means a lot.

See you next time.
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38 Comments
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:48 am
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An Evening of Woodland Might and Right. And Cheating. And an Asterisk.

Charlotte Malone
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And just like that, it was game night again. Welcome back!

We’ve been off the rotation of late, and have just been collectively choosing games. This week I yelled “Root” louder and faster than anyone else. (Actually, I just typed it. There was no actual yelling. I got some thumbs-up emoji responses and it was decided. I may have over-dramatized.)



But wait! There’s more!



We haven’t played Root since the fall when I was all in love. I’m still in love, it just hasn’t hit the table in a while. I was excited to play again.

We picked factions. Workman, having yet to win with the Birds, wanted to be the Birds. (I hate him, but to his credit, he doesn’t give up.) Leon took the Vagabond and Steve took the Woodland Alliance. That left the Cats. And I really didn’t want to play the Cats. So I took the Lizards.


Check out the sly grin. Just like the lizards you find in the wild.

I have played the Lizards twice in two-player games with the Hubz. In the first game, I barely made a dent in the board. In the second, after I understood what to do, I dominated. I figured I had a 50/50 shot.

The Lizards are a weird faction, but they are thematically amazing. They collect everyone’s discarded cards each round to create a Lost Souls deck. They go through the Lost Souls deck at the start of each turn and determine what suit (bunnies, mice, or foxes) was the most often discarded. That suit becomes the outcast suit and is the focus of all the Lizard actions that turn. (Sound like any cults you know?) Also, any Lizards who die defending in battle become acolytes, which can perform more powerful actions than the standard actions. (Again, very cult-like, yes?) I love how thematic all the factions are, but the Lizards seem particularly clever.

There’s something else about the Lizards:


Ironic, don’t you think?

They hate Workman. I mean Birds. They hate Birds. They can’t use bird cards for their main actions. And guess who drew a whole grip of bird cards to start the game?

While I struggled to get a hand of cards I could use, Workman and Steve and Leon got busy earning VP. Workman took the early lead, but they all stayed very close for the most part. Then Steve and Workman started getting a solid lead. Steve shit sympathy all over the board and Workman avoided turmoil pretty impressively. It was neck and neck for a while.


Posting this, I realize we should have played on the winter side of the board. Because winter.

Workman got to 24 and was about to fall into turmoil. Steve had a monster turn and got eight points all at once to win handily. He commented that he’d played the Alliance a couple of times before but this was the first time he really knew what he was doing.


I love the adorable little mice meeples. Spoiler alert: too bad they’re lying, cheating, sons of bitches.

As we were boxing up the game, I checked the rule book because it seemed odd to me that Steve had amassed so many points on that last turn. And it seems that he had misplayed. He was taking an action he could only take in an unsympathetic clearing and he had done it in a sympathetic clearing. Umm-hmm. Well, no worries. He could have easily moved to an unsympathetic clearing and done it. Same diff. Then Leon picked up the Alliance faction board and discovered that Steve wasn’t supposed to have more than one sympathy token per clearing. Umm-hmm. Then Workman read the faction board and discovered something else he had misplayed. So yeah, this was the first time he really knew what he was doing. Good game.


Obligatory adorable card art pic. I mean a mouse? With a crossbow? I can’t even.

And if you’re wondering how well I piloted the Lizards this game, well....I won’t be threatening any of the major world religions any time soon I don’t imagine. I got five points. Five. I hate those damn birds.

After Root, we played two games of Cockroach Poker. Steve yelled “YOU’RE DUMB!” when Leon got stuck with a card, and I could not stop laughing. So we yelled it every turn. Because we’re just hilarious. And guess who wasn’t the fucking loser in either game? Yeah. Me. That’s who. First fucking loser was Steve. Second fucking loser was Leon. Fun times.


I only got stuck with three cards in game one. Three!! I’m so good at this game now. I may never fucking lose again.

After La Cockerelle, we played Love Letter. And I fucking won that too. What a night I was having!! (Minus the five point debacle of a performance in Root. I mean, not counting that of course.)

And then we played the obligatory two games of High Society. Workman won one, Steve won the other. (We think. We haven’t checked the rules.)

And then it was over. Another game night in the books. It was a fun one. Even though Steve cheats.

Check back next week for more cheating and insults. And until then....thanks for reading and happy gaming. And YOU’RE DUMB!
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:59 am
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He Shall Be Leon

Charlotte Malone
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I heard “Levon” on the commute one day last week. And it got stuck in my head something crazy. And then, just like that, it was gone.

Until tonight. Tonight was game night. And it was just me and Leon. Leon likes his money. He makes a lot they say. Spends his days counting.....

You’re welcome.

But you’re not here for Elton John. (Wait, are you?) No, you’re here for me and Steve and Workman and Leon. Except Steve and Workman aren’t here for you. Suckers! I kid. They weren’t here for us either. “Too busy” they both said. “Priorities” I say. (“Fuck you” I also say, but only under my breath, all quiet like.)

Leon and I played anyway. Another 2P card game night where we only played my favorite 2P card games. (Funny how that happens.) We started with Crystal Clans.



I had two new clans I hadn’t played with: Moon and Gem. Here’s a fun fact about me: anytime things release in twos (new clans, new Ashes decks), I’m always excited for one and “meh” for the other. And the “meh” one always turns out to be my favorite. Apparently I don’t know myself very well, even after all this time. Because I was super-excited to try the Moon clan.


Pirates!!!

Leon played with the Shadow Clan. And he destroyed me. In two straight games. He was all stealthy and aloof and bobbing and weaving, and I was all big clunky dead pirates.


He hung out in my home zone a lot too. Rude.

I didn’t dislike the Moon clan, they just didn’t sing to me. Like, they were doing these basic things while the Shadow Clan was all next level.

Guess who did sing to me?


This guy. This guy sang.

As foreshadowed earlier, I wasn’t expecting to like the Gem clan, but I really did. They gain abilities based on the crystals that have been scored and crystal zones and the like. (They’re the Gem clan, get it? I didn’t get it.)


Check out Boldo. What’s not to love?

Leon played the Flower clan (my all-time favorite clan) for our third game, and he beat me yet again. But I enjoyed the game a lot more. I think the Gems are going to be fun to play. (I wish I’d played two games with them and just one with the Moons, but what can you do? I never learn.)


The Charmed Caravan: excellent against the Flower clan’s “Sleep” ability. Oh and freaking Leon, hanging out in my home zone again. So rude.

After three games of Crystal Clans, we played one game of Ashes. I played Rimea (which I always think is Crimea for some reason) and Leon played Xander (the one of the two latest Ashes decks that I didn’t expect to like but ended up loving. I can’t figure me out.)



And even though we only played the one game, it was a really good one. We were point for point the whole game. It came down to the wire, we both had 18 out of 20 health. I had a spell that let me ding him one point at a time, and I wore it out, but I needed a unit in play and he killed all my guys. I decked him, so I could have killed him if I could have lasted the turn. But he killed me first. So close!!

When we were cleaning up, I realized that had I meditated to get a horse head, I could have used that dice power and would have drawn my Ancestral Army. I had the dice to play it, which would have let me keep on dinging him one health at a time. I might have won had I done that, but who knows. It was still a really fun game. I do love me some Ashes.


The Ancestral Army that I might could have drawn and then...oh never mind.

And that was game night. A bit quieter than normal, but still fun. I did miss Steve and Workman, but 2P nights are a nice change of pace. (And if they ask, I didn’t say I missed them, I said “fuck you”, got it? Good.)

Hopefully we’re all back next week for a more raucous evening of fun and frivolity. And games. Always games.

Until then though....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Thu Feb 7, 2019 3:41 am
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Poor Unfortunate Souls

Charlotte Malone
United States
Floyds Knobs
Indiana
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Greetings and salutations! Welcome to the wonderful world of Disney!! Spoiler alert: it’s not all that wonderful.



A few weeks back, I left Workman and Leon alone with my game shelves. When I discovered them, they were looking at Villainous. I said it was a good game. I said I liked it. I said it was asymmetric but simple. I thought that would be the end of it.

Then last week when we were planning this week, low and behold, they wanted to play it. I said I didn’t think they’d like it. They still wanted to play. OK, but if you don’t like it, I don’t want to hear about it.

The thing is, I really didn’t think they’d like it. I thought they would find it too simple or too basic or too....meh. And I was a bit worried about the fate mechanic. We tend to spend more time in our games stopping people from winning than actually winning ourselves. Villainous could potentially go on forever.


I really like the player pieces. Big, heavy, artistically interpreted. An unexpectedly nice set of components.


This cauldron, by contrast, is one of the shittiest things I’ve ever seen. It’s paper thin. I think I could eat and digest it easily. I mean why even include it? Component quality = push.

Before I get going with the game play, I need to explain something. Some of you may have already figured this out, but I’m the rules person. I read rules, I watch videos, I learn to play the games we play. Even when it isn’t my pick, I generally always know how to play. And I’m fine that.

What tends to happen though, is the guys either hate my rules explanations or they have ADD but generally about halfway thru, they start asking to play. And some nights, it rubs me the wrong way. Tonight was one of those nights.

See, when you don’t know how to play, it’s easy to say “shut up, let’s just play” because you can ask questions when you don’t know what to do. But when you’re the person who is constantly answering those questions, it’s hard to concentrate. And it’s easy to get frustrated. And tonight, I handled that frustration poorly. I was pretty hateful.

And now that everyone’s gone and I’m just sitting here, eating the last half of the one cookie they left me, I feel bad for getting pissed. It’s just a game for chrissakes.

So Steve and Leon and Workman, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. For realz.

But enough about me, you came here to read about game night. Let’s get to it.

We picked villains. Workman was the Queen of Hearts, Leon was Captain Hook, Steve was Jafar, and I was Ursula.


The Sea Witch. Two tons of fun, amiright?

I fate decked Leon on turn one. I drew Peter Pan. “You won’t be needing THIS I don’t think.” And thus Peter Pan was put into Leon’s discard pile. He would spend the whole game trying to get thru the fate deck, reshuffle, and get Peter Pan back. Hey, they wanted to play.

Workman was lining up guards and tapping wickets. (I’m sure there’s an off-color joke in there somewhere but I’m tired.) He was doing OK, but whenever he got close, someone (me for example) fate decked him. He also discarded the card he needed to win on about turn two, so that was a challenge. Hey, they wanted to play.

Steve and I had more convoluted win cons. We both had to get this card to that location with this thing and then do this other thing. Not hard necessarily, just tedious to set up (that’s what she said).


I’ve long maintained that Ursula is not a villain. I mean, Ariel signed the damn contract.

I actually had all the cards that I needed in my hand for a few turns. But the right combination of actions and power eluded me. Everyone was very focused on fate decking Steve, so I flew under the radar for a bit. But then, all the pieces fell into place. I unlocked Ursula’s Lair, moved King Triton there, executed the binding contract to defeat him, took the Trident as my own, and placed it safely next to the Crown. All I had to do was keep it there until the start of my next turn. (I mean, there was no fucking way that was going to happen, but a Sea Witch can dream, right?)

Leon fate decked me and drew Ariel. She took the damn Trident to the Palace, which was locked, and kept me from moving it until I defeated her. Which meant I needed another contract and another.....oh for fuck’s sake, when will this game end?


Flotsam, Jetsam, now I’ve got it boys! The boss is on a....dammit Leon.

I lost the will to try after that. I went through the motions of turns, but I wasn’t going to be able to put my win con together again. Steve got close, but he kept getting fate decked. Leon finally got through his fate deck, but don’t I think he ever found Peter Pan again. Workman finally got his Take a Shot card back and he took a shot. And he won. Thank god.

I do like Villainous, but it can go on way longer than it has a right to. I think I like it with no more than three players. And not with assholes. Definitely not with assholes.

Ok, so I lied. We actually played Biblios first. I should have mentioned it, but I like the continuity better telling the story this way. Steve was delayed so me and Leon and Workman played to pass the time. And I won!! Yay for me. I’m so awesome.


Penitent monk card was the MVP.

Now back to the actual chronology of the evening....

After a lengthy debate over whether Workman disliked Guillotine because it is a bad game or because he just sucked at it, we played Guillotine. Steve won. It was a fairly uneventful play, but it’s still a good game, even if some people suck at it. (“All you’re doing is picking the best card from your hand.” “You’ve just described every card game ever.”)


Isn’t this guy the National Security Advisor?

And finally, we played a game we could all agree is a phenomenal game.....High Society. And I won, due to one horse, $41, and an early end game. Woot.


My game winning horse. I call him 9.

And that was that. Four games, a melt down, cookies, and a bunch of villains. Some of them from Disney movies. I guess it was a good night?

At any rate, thanks for coming along. I appreciate you. I’m not just saying that. You get me and you get my writing style and you get what I’m trying to do here. Not everyone does. I really enjoy the community that follows this blog. Sincerely.

So please come back next week! I think we will. I hope so anyway.

Until then...thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:44 am
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I Smell of Tacos and Failure

Charlotte Malone
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Hello and welcome to Game Night! Glad you made it.

New Guy Steve was back. We may keep him. He has some amazing friends - they bought him a copy of Through the Desert for his birthday last month! How cool they must be! I hope we get to meet them some time. Anywho, he brought it so we played it.



I have played TTD on the iPad but it’s been awhile. All I remember is that you put camels out in a line and try to cordon off areas for points or something. And maybe something about oases. (Yes, I did just google the plural of “oasis”, why?)

Also, I sucked at it. Hard. I remember that clearly.


Little pink camels for you and me. Mostly me though. (Fun fact: Little Pink Camels was the original title of the JCM song Little Pink Houses. It was changed because Little Pink Camels makes no sense.)

New Steve had already learned to play and explained the rules. (Old Steve didn’t believe in reading rules, so New Steve is definitely an improvement.) We took our player pieces and took turns putting out leaders. ICYMI, I was pink.


Starting positions. Notice all the little pick camels in one spot on the board. What an ass I am.

The amount that I sucked at this game came back to me almost immediately. The rules, not so much. It was over in no time and I had amassed a measly 37 points. Green player won with maybe 70 something? We don’t know who green player was because green player is a diva and refused to put the “I am this color” marker in front of him.

So we played again.


This time, I put green player’s “I am this color” marker in front of me in case he won again and I could take the credit. (Also, that shit I said earlier about Little Pink Camels and the JCM song was a lie. I’m a terrible liar. Forshadowing.)

This time I did better, but still never moved the needle past “suck”. And the bastards kept blocking me. As soon as I would think of a semi decent move, someone took it. Just like that. I mean honestly.

I did break into the 40s, but this game Leon and green player tied at 63. And there is no tie breaker. Bwaa-Haa!

Through the Desert is a quick and painless abstract. I like it as much as I like any abstract, but I would play it again. It’s a repeat.

Since both games took less than an hour, we had plenty of time for more gaming goodness. We picked HMS Dolores.


Loot.

I managed to get five points in black and exactly one point in every other color. I was the favorite to win most of the game. And then Workman flipped the game-end card and that bastard Steve had 12 to my 11. But then not so fast, that bastard Leon had 13! Workman only had 6. Poor bastard.


Actual photo of Workman fucking Steve over.


Actual photo of Workman planning to fuck Leon over.

Next we brought out Cockroach Poker. I was the fucking loser yet again. I am yet to not lose that game. I’m such a bad liar. Also, I can’t ever remember that when you elect to pass a card and not flip it, it isn’t enough to just say “this isn’t a spider.” You have to actually say what it is.

“He lied. This is not a spider.”

“But what is it?”

“Uhhhh...”

See? Terrible liar. We played twice. I fucking lost both games.



Finally, we played Love Letter. And for reasons I can in no way explain, Workman drooled on a card mid-game. I mean wth? This is why we sleeve cards I suppose. Steve won.

It was not my night. But I had fun!! We also went to a new taco place that was really good and really pricey. Probs not a repeat. But good. But pricey.


Mural in the taco place. She just saw the bill.

And that, as the kids say, is that. (The kids don’t really say that.) Thanks for stopping by! Come back next week for pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boots!

Until then, thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:46 am
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Yay Ireland!

Charlotte Malone
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Preface: I have been rocking a head cold all week and haven’t slept. Like at all. I have also just ingested the vast majority of a bottle of NyQuil. All of the things I’ve been kicking around in my head to include in this week’s post seem absolutely hilarious to me at the moment. Which means they probably aren’t funny at all. I just wanted to provide a friendly head’s up. Probably not going to be my best work. But I’m sure I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it. Let’s do this.

Before we start game night proper, I would like to share that I have been all about Ireland lately. Son the Elder studied in Dublin last semester and the rest of the clan (get it? clan? I kill me) went to visit him over Thanksgiving. (The Irish don’t give two shits about Thanksgiving, btw.) (Actually it’s two shites they don’t give. I speak a little Irish now.) And it was absolutely charming. I just loved it there. The people are delightful, everything is quaint, and the coffee is devine (I mean whiskey, first thing in the damn morning? And everybody’s on board with it? What’s not to love?)

And while we were there, we were driving across the island on a bus and I see this road sign:


Excuse the big noggin obstructing the view. People.

Yay Inis!! I’ve been itching to play ever since our trip, and tonight we played. New Guy Steve was a no-show (of course), but we played with three. I’ve always heard it scales well.



I started the game as the Brenn. I plopped myself down in the capital on the moor. I was excited. It would be my last happy moment in the game. Also Workman can die of boils. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Look at me how happy. Also orange.

Workman and I had a few dust-ups early on. Actually he attacked me right out of the gate for no good reason and I just grudge-attacked him after that. The problem with a grudge-attack is it often isn’t well thought out. I kept getting myself into battles where I had nowhere to withdraw to so I had to keep fighting and eventually got wiped off the board. Like seriously, I think I got removed from the board three times this game. (Which now that I know the rule, getting eliminated isn’t actually terrible. You get to add two clans anywhere you want and the only real penalty is losing a deed if you have one. But I digress.)


Obligatory photo of my hand of cards where I say “Damn I love the art in this game!”

So while Workman and I were all tied up with grudges, Leon was building sanctuaries like it was his job. He did some shenanigans where he played the Sanctuary card, then played the card that lets you pull a card from the discard and then played Sanctuary again. He did this like fifty times. We blinked and he was sitting on five sanctuaries.

At some point early in the game, Leon asked what the sanctuary win condition was. And I said you have to be present in territories with six sanctuaries. And Workman said you have to control six sanctuaries. And I didn’t argue. (I really need to be more assertive.) So we all set about the task of taking control of Leon’s five sanctuary swamp.


Lots of shite about to go down in the swamp.

So first Leon had control, and then Workman had control, and then I had control, and then Leon got control back, and then I think Workman took control again. It was a whirlwind of fighting and discarding cards and moving plastic and swear words. And then I checked something in the rulebook and discovered I had been right before. You did only have to be present in, not control, territories with six sanctuaries. Workman said “well fuck me, I could’ve won last turn.”

We have such a hard time with the win conditions in this game. I mean honestly. What is wrong with us?

So we went one more turn, Workman grabbed his pretender token and managed to stay in six sanctuary spots and won the game. Because of course he did. Even when he doesn’t know what the win condition actually is, he still wins.

After Yay Ireland, we played Leon’s new favorite game Biblios.



For the first time, I went into the auction with no cards of a certain color (blue) and ended up buying into that color such that I almost won it. I got a 4-point blue that I didn’t want, I was just driving up the bid. Then I got three 2-point blues because Workman ran out of money. So ten points in blue, all during the auction. I still didn’t win it. Workman won blue and the game because of course he did. With three dice even. Wasn’t even close.

Then we drug out our old favorite Love Letter, which we haven’t played in some weeks. And I very much enjoyed it. Mostly because we don’t play it every damn week now. And Leon won. Because of course he did.

And then we closed with High Society. Two games. Second game was weird because the last three cards were the X2s. Never had that happen before. I think Workman won both games. Because that seems like something he would do. Also “tricloptic titties.” Trust me when I say this is hilarious. So much hilarious. And that’s not the NyQuil talking.

And that was our Irish game night. Also our monastic, French, and love game night. Actually no, there was no love. Just French and monastic. And Ireland. Yay Ireland!

Thanks for coming along. (Ireland is a long way away. I appreciate the effort.) Hopefully we’ll be back next week with more profanity and grudges.

Until then....thanks for reading and happy gaming!!
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31 Comments
Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:10 am
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