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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Last Week on Stream #5

Another fun week of streaming in the books!

Mario Monday 8/13: No Stream
As previously mentioned, I was a little off schedule this week and didn't stream Mario Monday. Tomorrow, I'm going to tackle a variety of Super Mario Maker levels. Chat is encouraged to submit their own level designs! The design lessons in Super Mario Maker will be plentiful. I'm going to go out on a limb now and say the lessons will heavily revolve around "how to best design negative ideas."

Thursday 8/16: Bohnanza: The Duel and Star Realms
Bohnanza: the Duel is a 2-player version of Uew Rosenberg's bean farming and trading game, Bohnanza. Bohnanza was my introduction to true negotiation and hand management games and is fondly referred to as "The Bean Game" in this house. The 2 player version takes the core theme but changes some of the trading aspects and introduces a bluffing element that isn't in the original. There are some differences in how planting beans work in Duel as well. You still must plant the first bean in your hand every turn, but beans can now be planted in the same field as other beans, providing that they are the next numbered bean. In Bohnanza, you were forced to only plant 16s on 16s. In Duel, you can plant a 14 on a 14 or on a 12. The real crux of Duel is the new trading phase. After planting, you reveal 3 cards from the top of the deck. Then, you offer any bean to your opponent. Your opponent can accept this bean or counter with a different bean. This phase continues until an offer is accepted. The accepted bean must be planted along with 2 of the original 3 beans revealed. You can discard a bean if you like. An interesting wrinkle in offering beans is that you can offer ANY bean, not just one of the 3 that was revealed. If your offer is accepted but you don't actually have the bean to give, your opponent gets 1 point. This interaction and rule form the true heart of the game, and it took me some time to figure out that bluffing was a good strategy, since the 1 point was usually better than giving your opponent a bean to build on later. It's a neat game but the easy AI is pretty hard. I'd be interested to play this on the table.

Star Realms is a sleek 2 player deck builder, themed in space. You buy ships that give you a combination of life points, combat points, and credits. Some ships have special abilities as well. My only critique of Star Realms is that the game ramps up incredibly quickly. In just a few turns, you go from dealing 2-3 damage a turn to 15. It's fun to see the damage ramp, but it also speeds up the game. There are several times where I'm building fun combos with the cards, but don't have a chance to execute any of them. Maybe I'm just too slow. Star Realms is still an excellent deck builder that has a ton of expansions that I haven't tried yet. The base game is free on Steam and app stores. The Hard AI beat us 3-1 in a best of 5 match to close out the night.

Friday 8/17: Ticket to Ride, all maps.
It's no secret that I'm a big Ticket to Ride fan. The original America map is the game that really pulled me into this wonderful hobby. The Steam versions area all implemented very well and the games play at a good clip. We triumphed on most of the maps on the first try, but was too ambitious in Nordic Countries and took a risky gamble at the end of India that cost. I ended up losing by 4 points after taking new routes on my last turn. I didn't have any of those connections so I took the lowest value for the lowest point loss. 5 points. If I didn't do anything, not even claim a 1 or 2 point route, I would have squeaked out the win! Redemption was had on the return trip to India later in the evening. Fun Fact: The music for the India map is incredible.
Currently, you can play these Ticket to Ride maps on Steam. They are a blast to play on the table as well, but UK has some route restrictions based on new Technology Cards. It's easy to slip up playing on the kitchen table, but the digital version does a great job of keeping you in line. If you enjoy the digital versions, treat yourself to a physical copy. Most of the map expansions for tabletop are double-sided, so you really get 2 expansions in one!

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Sneak Peak
Super Mario Maker on Friday. I'm looking forward to all the troll levels! Board games on Thursday and Friday, and weekend streams are always a possibility.
I'm also planning on how best to use YouTube. I enjoy video editing but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Nevertheless, YouTube is an incredible important branding platform and I need to be posting content regularly. I'm not going to focus on reviewing games. There are tons of well established channels that do that much better than I could currently. Instead, I would like to focus on creating fun videos, highlighting some Twitch moments, and maybe some fake product pitches based on items you can find in board games and video games. I also have several ideas for video game or board game music videos.

Stay tuned to the blog for reviews and musings every Tuesday and a weekly stream roundup on Sundays. Follow me on Twitch to get in on the fun every Monday, Thursday, and Friday!

More information on each game can be found on Board Game Geek

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