I was hoping to tie this blog's board games section to my played games at BGG, but unfortunately, BGG doesn't make its plays accessible through its API, which basically means it's impossible to get good play data out of the site. So, no seamless integration for me. Instead, I came up with the brilliant (okay, not really) idea to simply summarize my plays in a weekly post. I'll keep doing it as long as it remains useful to people.
I finally played Endeavor for the first time, after having it on my radar for more than a year now. This was a three-player game, and I don't think the game's so hot at that number. I also made some mistakes early on that I realized only later. Not the best session, but I'm still interested in trying again. It proceeds at a pretty good clip, although there was some serious downtime towards the end of the game when I didn't have any more actions to do, and Ben and Matt were taking a while on their actions. I do like the exploration theme, in spite of the fact that it is basically "be a colonialist asshole." At least this game doesn't whitewash what you're doing, like some I could mention. 6/10
I also tried Ascension, and the masses are not lying when they say it's just a Dominion clone. I've made my peace with Dominion as a fast game that has its place as filler for gamers. I think I like Ascension a bit better than Dominion, mostly because I like the theme a lot better. The various factions do a lot to emphasize the theme and I even enjoy the borderline cheesy colored pencil art, even if it does occasionally look like it came out of the margins of a high school notebook (Apprentice, ouch).
Sometimes, I feel like I've played Dominion after I see the initial layout of cards, and the rest of the game is just a long resolution step. Matt pointed out that Ascension clevely solves that by having new cards come out consistently through the game, meaning you are constantly making new decisions based on the new information available to you. A nice twist for sure. 7/10
I also played The Downfall of Pompeii when I was home for the weekend. I figured it would be a hit with my parents, with the lighthearted gameplay and tossing guys into the Volcano. I was not wrong. I had already played this, and I'm not sure I'll keep it forever, but it does make a nice, fast, light gateway game. 6/10
And finally, I played about 7 games of something that I can't reveal here. It's going to be a surprise at the winter gaming retreat this year, but I will say that we picked it up at the Sauk Centre thrift store, and it was ludicrously fun. It had all of us, even my parents, whooping and giggling like children when we played it. That's going to be all I say about it here, as I want it to remain a secret. With apologies to Danny Devito in L.A. Confidential, it's off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.