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  #991  
Old 05-18-2017, 08:26 PM
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Still, never take it off the wall.
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  #992  
Old 05-18-2017, 09:00 PM
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I wish this news had come out a couple days ago. There is a Golden Girls Clue game coming out.
Ages 8+, for all of those 8 year-old Golden Girls fans.
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  #993  
Old 05-18-2017, 11:03 PM
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Sorry, finally getting my long post about mafia, since it probably was my number one? And I should say something about it because it means a lot to me.

So yeah, mafia. I feel like everyone's first game of mafia is going to be one of those with tons of roles, tons of silliness, and inevitably getting knocked out because of some random witch hunt. And those games are good and fun, but they're not very deep. I do think that One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Secret Hitler, and The Resistance end up being the better games if you're looking for a tighter experience than this sort of mafia, and they are all really enjoyable, fun, social games where you have to lie to your friends.

But I do think that mafia, in and of itself, is a hard game to replicate. Hear me out.

I used to run my own board game club back at LSU called Strategic Games Club, and our second year we had a guy print out and make his own special mafia game with tons of roles and silliness. And it was a lot of fun, we had huge games with a lot of interactions and weirdness, and it helped us bond as a community. I even paid the guy to make a special set of cards for Festivus, with roles named after forum members, which Matchstick ultimately ended up with. But in the end, this sort of mafia got stale! There's only so much silliness and weirdness that can carry this sort of game before you've seen most of it before.

That's when LastArgument came into the picture and started helping run games. He'd set up some tightly knit games with only a few roles, and took notes on play, and everyone would come and listen to his ideas and tips at the end of the game to improve our play. And lo and behold, over many, many games, Eden, Candelarius, Urchin and the like would get better and better. But the huge thing that keeps me playing mafia is that without all the roles and the craziness, there lies beneath it a social deduction game. What matters the most is how much do you know your friends, and how well can you act? Over the past few years of playing mafia with my best friends, I've learned so much about them, and vice versa. And also, with no-frills mafia, the tenseness and finality of a lynch, of making that case against a mafia member, or as mafia subverting the conversation and slowly making the town eat itself, are some incredibly hard things to pull off in games without that fact of elimination. And because mafia is such a fun spectator sport, it's even fun to sit and watch a game you got knocked out of. Those past three years in LSU Strategic Games Club, we built a strong following of mafia players and had many a fun, tense, mafia game that maybe we even got a little bit too emotionally invested in. But it is one of my favorite things to play in person, just so I can read people, make my cases and arguments, and dodge a lynch with good acting or a genuine defense. These are things I've felt were missing in games of ONUW and Resistance I've played.

So if you haven't, try playing a mafia stripped down the brass tacks with a few of your best friends, and understand that if you're lying to each other, that it's all just a game. You'll learn so much more about each other and have a great time doing it, and the puzzle is as complicated as your friends are. Mafia is just grand, folks, and I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
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  #994  
Old 05-18-2017, 11:19 PM
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I feel like all the people interested in Mafia should consider looking into Dead Last. I hated it for the same reasons I hate Mafia, but other people love it for those very reasons, so hey.

True neutral on Ticket to Ride. Maybe it's really good, I dunno.
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  #995  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:11 AM
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#13 - Hanabi
If pleading eyes could talk

Points: 224 Mentions: 9
# of players: 2 - 5



Ooooo. Ahhhhhh. *KA-BOOM*

Or at least, that's the plan, but there's a problem! The crowd is expecting a masterful fireworks display, but the powders, wicks, and rockets have all gotten mixed up! The fireworks are scheduled to start soon, so everyone has to work together in a hurry to make sure that they're a success! In Hanabi (lit. "fireworks" in Japanese), players take the role of pyrotechnicians, and need to work together to organize a deck of cards into 5 ordered piles of matching colours. That seems easy, right? There's just one wrinkle: you can see everyone else's cards, but not your own.

Yes, players draw cards into their hand facing away from themselves, and the gameplay revolves around helping the other players figure out what cards they're holding under a very restrictive set of rules for giving out hints, so that they can play them in the correct order. Play begins with the player wearing the most colourful clothing, which is a detail that I love, and players take turns in clockwise fashion doing one of three possible things: playing a card, discarding a card, or giving another player a hint about their cards. Hints have very precise requirements, and must take the form of either telling another player complete information about a colour that they have, or complete information about a number that they have, and then pointing out the relevant cards. For instance, I could say "You have a single 1", or "You have two yellow cards" and then touch those cards, but I could not say "You have a yellow card" and touch only a single yellow card if they have more than one, nor could I say "You have no 5s", since it has to be information about a number or colour that they're holding. You'll usually want to start out with hints, since players would be playing blind otherwise, but doing that requires exhausting a hint token, of which there is a finite supply.

In order to gain more hint tokens, players can instead spend their turn discarding a single card, but this is risky, as you don't want to discard any cards that might be needed. In particular, there is only a single 5 of each colour in the deck, so you want to avoid ever discarding those if possible. Finally, players can of course play a card, which involves laying the card on the table face-up, and, if it is a legal play (it either starts a new colour with a "1", or is the next number in ascending order that can be played on top of a set of colours that's already been started previously), placing it in the appropriate place. However, if it is an illegal play, a fuse token is removed from the fuse stack, revealing a quickly shortening fuse. Three such failures reveals the explosion token, which is an immediate game over.

Play continues like this until the deck is exhausted, at which point players sum together the highest number reached in each colour to determine their score, with 25 being the highest possible score. You then consult the scoring table to see how you did, which is easily my favourite silly little detail about Hanabi:



Like Space Alert and Arkham Horror from earlier in the list, Hanabi is a fully cooperative game where players are all working together towards a common goal, but unlike those other games, Hanabi is relaxingly paced and dead simple. It's also tiny like Love Letter, which makes it a great choice for gaming on the go! Really the only unintuitive/awkward part of the game is holding your cards backwards, which I can more or less guarantee that you will screw up, and it will likely happen almost immediately. Don't worry about it; it happens to the best of us. It's just a fun and challenging group optimization puzzle that relies on conveying information with very limited tools. It actually reminds me a little of Bridge bidding, in that way that you say more with your hint than might be readily apparent (for instance, if I look you in the eye and say "You have a single 4", and then touch it, and there is only one pile on the board with a 3 on top of it at the moment, then it's very likely that I want you to play that 4). Hanabi is another French game, and like Dixit before it, it's kind of artsy and pretty. In fact, it's the first entry on this list from famed French designer Antoine Bauza. He has a lot of great games under his belt, but I'd ask that people hold back on discussing those for the moment, as he may be putting in another appearance soon.

I've only played Hanabi a half-dozen times or so myself, usually with different groups (I'd love to get it to the table more, but the opportunity hasn't come up), and consistently get in the 18-24 range or so, but I have yet to get that perfect game. What are everyone else's Hanabi high scores?

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  #996  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:21 AM
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I played it once, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Different from most other games.
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  #997  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
In fact, it's the first entry on this list from famed French designer Antoine Bauza. He has a lot of great games under his belt, but I'd ask that people hold back on discussing those for the moment, as he may be putting in another appearance soon.
~Hooray~

It's Rampage, isn't it? Or, no, probably Takenoko or Tokaido. No? Samurai Spirit?

J/K it's Ghost Stories. Love that game.


Antoine Bauza is a great designer, easily top five as far as I'm concerned. And while ~redacted~ isn't my favorite of his games, it was my first... but more on that later.

Hanabi is an excellent game. My wife and I have played it to the point where we don't even bother with the default difficulty. Give me some of those rainbow cards, aw yeah.

Now, the game becomes much easier if you establish a convention on card ordering -- e.g. the cards you've acquired most recently go to the right side of your hand, but the bigger deal is playing with the same person or people over and over. Oh, and don't give clues on what to discard. That's just wasteful.
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  #998  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:27 AM
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I don't get to play it as much as I want either, but I've been able to play with about four different groups. I think my high score is 21, which was with a group who picked up on it pretty quickly. One group I played with was semi-cheating by using a lot of body language when giving hints, but we did badly anyway, because they weren't really paying as much attention as they should have. It's a really fun game, I'm glad I picked it up.
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  #999  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:42 AM
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Hanabi has been a perfect game to bring home to the in-laws, and that's where I've played it the most.

We have the deluxe version which replaces the cards with heavy domino-like pieces. This removes the awkward "always holding cards at a certain angle" element of the basic version. I love it!

The "this is my next discard" technique was one of the first things I learned to do in the game and we usually try to get that going when we teach it. Also it's pretty funny when you have siblings/spouses playing and their clues to each other just bounce right off, and the person does something totally different.
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  #1000  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:43 AM
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Ooh, I'm intrigued by domino Hanabi. So you can just stand them up in front of you? Sounds nice.

This was another one I had near the bottom of my list. Played it a few times with pub friends, it's nice for a short game.
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  #1001  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Kirin View Post
Ooh, I'm intrigued by domino Hanabi. So you can just stand them up in front of you? Sounds nice.
Yep! They look like this:



The downside is that this version costs between 30 and 60 bucks depending on discounts, compared to the basic version's 10 or so.
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  #1002  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:16 AM
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JBear forgot to mention one incredibly important Hanabi rule (can't remember if it's a house rule or actually in the manual)...No matter how badly your partner is about to screw up the whole game by playing the wrong card, you are obligated to remain as stoic as possible until the card is played. In contrast, the person about to play the card is allowed to squirm, look helpless, and think they're going to screw up as much as they want, as long as they're not given any help in their desperation. It captures the zeitgeist of the game remarkably well.

I have played this game with people who table talk, give pointedly intoned hints, and look back and forth at the cards meaningfully as they give hints, telegraphing a ton of information. I've also played with people who treat play with rules similar to bridge bidding, where the only words allowed are the legal statements said in as neutral a tone as possible, and table talk is forbidden. The former is fun on a social level, but it feels like the game gets old faster. The latter version is much more satisfying as a logic puzzle, but it requires a lot more willingness from your group to want to be successful.
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  #1003  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:20 AM
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i think this is actually the first game on the list i haven't heard of, and wow, how is that possible, this sounds like something i'd enjoy a ton

especially the mahjong tiles version
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  #1004  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:23 AM
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I haven't played it more than a few times (I should likely grab that domino set when it's on sale sometime), but it's a simple, fast fun deduction puzzle. Hanabi was number 16 on my list.
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  #1005  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:31 AM
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I have somehow completely avoided playing Hanabi to this point. I guess it got popular at a point when I no longer really had time for board games and the few board games I played since then were not Hanabi. Seems like it would make for a fun light game that can be taught to anyone.
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  #1006  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulgakov View Post
JBear forgot to mention one incredibly important Hanabi rule (can't remember if it's a house rule or actually in the manual)...No matter how badly your partner is about to screw up the whole game by playing the wrong card, you are obligated to remain as stoic as possible until the card is played. In contrast, the person about to play the card is allowed to squirm, look helpless, and think they're going to screw up as much as they want, as long as they're not given any help in their desperation. It captures the zeitgeist of the game remarkably well.

I have played this game with people who table talk, give pointedly intoned hints, and look back and forth at the cards meaningfully as they give hints, telegraphing a ton of information. I've also played with people who treat play with rules similar to bridge bidding, where the only words allowed are the legal statements said in as neutral a tone as possible, and table talk is forbidden. The former is fun on a social level, but it feels like the game gets old faster. The latter version is much more satisfying as a logic puzzle, but it requires a lot more willingness from your group to want to be successful.
Actually, the rules explicitly recommend that you house-rule your own communication standards. For my money, I play Hanabi the same way that I play [redacted], with my Poker face firmly affixed, because I love the challenge of schooling my own impulses and reactions.
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  #1007  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:04 AM
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#12 - Scrabble
"You're not going anywhere until you tell me what a KWYJIBO is."

Points: 250 Mentions: 9
# of players: 2 - 4



A game of competitively growing a crossword puzzle, Scrabble has been a tabletop gaming staple for nearly a century. It is currently sold in 121 countries and available in 29 different languages, and it is estimated that roughly one third of American homes and one half of British homes have a copy. That's a lot of Scrabble! Many word games have come and gone in those intervening decades, but very few have managed to improve upon Scrabble's basic but appealing formula, and certainly none have threatened to dethrone it.

In Scrabble, players takes turns adding words to a grid that slowly grows from the centre point. They have 7 randomly chosen letters at a time, and want to maximize their point gains by using many of their letters and placing their high-value letters on key spaces that convey special bonuses. They are also incentivized to create multiple words at once where possible by playing into crowded portions of the grid, as this allows them to score the same letters, and possibly apply the same bonuses, more than once, not to mention re-scoring existing letters. They are also heavily incentivized to play all of their letters, as placing all 7 of your letters onto the table in a single turn conveys a static 50 point bonus. Play continues in this fashion until one of the players plays all of their letters (which grants a slight point bonus and imposes slight penalties on the other players), at which point the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner.

Scrabble was created by an American architect, who decided on the point values and distributions of the various letters following exhaustive analysis of letter frequency in words of various length in several prominent news publications of the time (and a dictionary):


Scrabble is another one of those games that kids can play and enjoy from an early age, but that becomes an entirely different game when played among adults. And even then, that experience can vary wildly from group to group, from a drunken party with no dictionaries on hand (although the prevalence of mobile devices now renders this a near-impossibility) to a group of serious players who own their own Scrabble dictionaries and liberally make use of the challenge rules (where one player can question the validity of a played word at the risk of losing a turn). I used to play Scrabble regularly with my former in-laws, and those were easily the most competitive games of Scrabble that I'd ever participated in-- if you didn't score at least one 7-letter word, then you were near-guaranteed to be out of contention! If was much higher pressure, but my game undoubtedly improved as a result. (The downside is that I find it pretty much impossible to derive enjoyment from casual/social games of Scrabble now. )

I have fond memories of Scrabble that date much earlier than that, though. There was a tiny old lady near where I grew up, next door to the house where I spent much of my childhood, who I called "Nanny" (her name was Helen True, and she wasn't my nanny; it's complicated). I would visit there reasonably often as a kid, and she loved Scrabble. She was very good at it (much better than me), but she still liked to play with us dumb kids. I think she's even the one who taught me how to play, although it may have been my aunt (who, understandably, I think she preferred playing with). Nanny True was one the oldest and most well-respected members of the community, having sold flowers at the farmer's market for over 80(!) years. She passed away a few years ago at the ripe old age of 99, and at her funeral that day, it was those games of Scrabble that I remembered most. Rest in peace, Nanny True.
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  #1008  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:07 AM
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Yeah after my own grandma passed away, we looked over the notes they took taped to the bottom of her Scrabble board detailing some of the plays she made with her family.

Scrabble is one of those games that's been popular and in the general know for ages, but has the actual crunchiness to it to actually merit it.
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  #1009  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:31 AM
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And yes, there's franchise variations!





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  #1010  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:37 AM
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Scrabble means a lot to our family. It's a go to game for us. My dad and I prefer very different styles though: I like more open games while dad is a lot more cutthroat and economical, enjoying games where other players have to fight pretty hard to get their words in. And my Aunt is even more bloodthirsty. Don't you dare try to invoke a house rule where everyone is allowed to check the dictionary when she is around.

It also meant a lot to my grandmother, too. In her last years she suffered from Alzheimer's and there were times where she knew something was missing in her mind (I assume) but didn't know how to articulate it. She would say something along the lines of "I think I need a b", even when she wasn't playing, as if she needed a link to help her remember. I guess there's a lot of speculation there on my part, but she loved that game and it was one of the things she was able to do for a lot longer compared to a lot of other things.

I also remember finding a copy in the school when I was a teacher in a South Korean high school. I couldn't make it work for class BUT we had two after school English clubs and the girl's club loved it.

So, yeah, it's important to me, too. It was my number one, after all.
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  #1011  
Old 05-20-2017, 11:50 AM
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My grandmother was unbeatable at Scrabble for decades until my brother finally dethroned her about ten years ago.

He also regularly crushes people at Words with Friends so whatever aptitude is required for these games he has it. Which is baffling since I read a lot more than he does.
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  #1012  
Old 05-20-2017, 12:00 PM
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Scrabble's fun! I'm sure I had it down on my list.
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  #1013  
Old 05-20-2017, 12:22 PM
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Scrabble gave us the best episode of Ze Frank's The Show.


Last edited by Büge; 05-20-2017 at 12:22 PM. Reason: accidentally posted a Cooking With Dog video
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  #1014  
Old 05-20-2017, 12:51 PM
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I had Scrabble somewhere in the top half of my list. It's probably my mom's favorite game, so I played a good bit of it growing up, and we ended up with one of the nice wooden-tile sets around the house. My mom plays a relatively strict game, but when my wife and I have occasionally played with friends our own age we gravitate towards more casual variants, including ridiculousness like "any word someone else at the table has ever heard of is valid" and "all languages allowed - including Quenya and Sindarin, and maybe Klingon if we're feeling generous".
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  #1015  
Old 05-20-2017, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirin View Post
and maybe Klingon if we're feeling generous".
yIDoghQo’!
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  #1016  
Old 05-20-2017, 05:04 PM
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I am still eternally shamed that I forgot to include Scrabble on my list since it means so much to me and my family. I'm glad it still had a relatively high showing.

Until the year before my father passed away, my mother, father and I would have a yearly Scrabble game. We might occasionally play it at other times during the year, but the summer game was the tournament. We started this when I was 12 and for the first four years, my mom won - sometimes very closely to me or my dad. But starting at age 16, it became my game. I won that year. To make sure I repeated, the next year I started memorizing all the legal two-letter words (a move that is the first step toward turning your Scrabble game professional). I then won every year going until I was 30. And we kept all the scoresheets to show it.

Sadly, a fire erased our records (and Scrabble game) the next year. And a year or two later, my father could no longer participate. I'm not sure that my mom and I have played a Scrabble game together since my father passed. But the yearly Scrabble tournament still stands as one of my favorite family bonding memories.

Like JBear, I now find it hard to play Scrabble casually so usually I just play a different game than the rest of the table when I'm playing with less experienced players - I play to get Bingos (using all my 7 tiles at once). I'll forgo higher point plays to get rid of the letters that are harder to make bingos with. This usually keeps my score somewhere around the other players unless I manage to get two bingos in the game.

If you asked me to rate the game design, I'd probably put Boggle over Scrabble for word games, but my connection to Scrabble keeps it as my favorite. If I had remembered to add it to my list, it would have been #5.
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  #1017  
Old 05-20-2017, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Hedgehog View Post
I started memorizing all the legal two-letter words (a move that is the first step toward turning your Scrabble game professional).
This is one of my biggest grievances with Scrabble. If I spell an awesome word like "scurrilous," that should be a hojillion points, not eleven. Instead, I'm better off spelling a bunch of small words until I can score a bingo.

The bonus tiles are also more important than the words themselves. As someone put it, Scrabble is an area control game, not a pure word game.

Which is an odd thing to say about one of the oldest word games in the book, but there you have it. I'm a Boggle man.
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  #1018  
Old 05-20-2017, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
I'm a Boggle man.
One of the great tragedies of this thread is that I've already got so many photos on my plate that I don't have time to indulge in statements like this that give me inspiration for hilarious photo ideas.
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  #1019  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:06 PM
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So this is what modern Clue looks like.



Check out the 'tude.
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  #1020  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:20 PM
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I would very much like to wipe that smug grin off of Professor Plum's face, but I don't know if I'd rather do it with the candlestick, or the wrench, or the revolver...
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