Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pre-Columbian Gamefest, Monday, 2 Oct 2006

As a warm-up to Columbus Day festivities, I'd like to start gaming off early on Monday at Dragon's Lair. If each of us brings just a tiny portion of our 100+ game collections, fun will be had by all. The closest thing I have to a Native American-themed game is Wilderness War, but I'm up for anything really. I can go for epic, no-epic, or just a lot of Euro's.... Please chime in with your interests and projected arrival time. I can be there at 1000.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Gaming Friday 9/29

No post from Brian. Are we gaming tonight? Was there an announcement and I just missed it? If Brian and Jacqui can't host, does anyone want to meet at Dragon's Lair? Amy and I would offer to host, but there's a chance we won't be available (and we won't know until very close to time to game).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hearts of Iron 2

There are some grognards among us. I used to be one, but the logistical considerations of grognard type games did me in. The last time I tried playing a game of Advanced Third Reich, my cat decided to have some fun with the counters. That was about 11 years ago. I spared my kitties life.

I discovered a really deep computer game called “Hearts of Iron 2” (HOI2). When I saw HOI1 about 4 or 5 years ago, I was very disappointed. WAY too much micromanaging. When I saw HOI2, I wanted nothing to do with it, but the grognard in me got the better of me and I was hooked. This is not your typical PC game. You can tell that the processor is busy doing all kinds of stuff, but this is not a fancy graphics oriented game. This is a serious simulation of WW2. LOTS of detail that would be almost impossible with a board game, and even for a PC game, the human player can be overwhelmed with decisions, especially if fighting a two front war as Germany or the United States.

Production, Supply and Logistics, Espionage, Research, Government and Political, and of course warfare. I have seen the war go until the late 1940s, I have seen the Germans push the Soviets past the Ural Mountains and I have seen the German line in the east collapse in 1943, giving the Soviets the chance to liberate most of France. I have seen Mexico join the allies in one game and the Soviets in another.

This is a very intense game and one that is not for everyone. But if you are like me and enjoy an epic game AND if you are a grognard (or an old one like me), then you may want to give this game a shot. I’ll be honest – The first time I played HOI2, I did not like it. The learning curve is BIG, but with the help of my friend Adam at work, we were able to offer encouragement to each other. You can learn to play the game in about an hour, but it will take at least a few weeks (depending on how much time you spend) to get in touch with some of the finer intricacies. My friend and I have had long discussions on the optimum mix of division types and how to best allocate the elements of air support or how to best organize a panzer corps. We will often have sessions of play where the game is mostly paused, but we are just reorganizing our armies and reassigning leaders. There are many hundreds of historical military and political leaders represented in the game. Not to mentions corporations and scientists who help you with your technology tree.

I have not played in about six months or so. This is a fantastic multi player game. You can even have multiple people on the same team playing either against the AI (which can at times be pretty stupid) or against other teams of players.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SpielDeal Contest

There are just a few more days left on the contest at SpielDiel. Now's the time to send in your web deals! I think I'm one of only a couple entries, so the odds should be pretty good. I too like the candy Boulder Games throws in its packages. Atomic Fireballs are awesome!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Citadels of Achiles

Citadels of Achiles

Anyone want to play Citadels by PBEM during downtime between SABG meetings? This looks pretty easy to use and includes the expansion variants. If there's interest, we can set up a password protected game.

Very disturbing....

...the dwindling attendance to our weekly soiree. Is it an imbalance in the Force? Global warming? A bad meatball sandwich from Thundercloud subs? Still lots of fun was had by the attendees.

I got to try Taj Mahal with Jon and Amy. Good, weird (ie very different from others), lots of luck in the cards drawn but it's actual modifiable luck (you get more cards if you opt out of an auction early). It has some cool and refreshing mechanics. It feels like many small auction game rounds in a big area control game. Would like to try again.

Pacific Victory is a Pacific Monster. Mark and I played a LOONG scenario (but not the longest), and had to cut it short by 10pm. We were only about 4 rds away from completion, but it looked like history was going to prevail: the US (Mark) was slowly gaining ground on the Japanese (yours truly). It was a great game VERY different from other Columbia Games blockgames. I just need to remember to have dinner before I sit for 5 hrs to play one of these monters.

I saw Vegas Showdown, some party games, etc going on outside...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wings of War

This afternoon I convinced my wife to go see the new movie Flyboys with me, a highly fictionalized tale of the exploits of the World War I Lafayette Escadraille. There's nothing like a Sunday matinee for an epic, bloody war movie. Based on recent discussions with Simon, I've been looking forward to playing Wings of War. So, seeing the previews for Flyboys, I was quickly suckered into going.

My review of the movie is that it's probably a 2 out of 5 star feature best left as a rental. The acting was pretty bad and the little subplots were pretty ridiculous and actually must less interesting than some of the real ones (see also this one; if anyone wants to read this, this, this, or this, just let me know...). Unfortunately, there was also far too much talking and not nearly enough of the colorful CGI dogfights (i.e., 5 minutes of violent spectacle followed by 20 minutes of love story; repeat 5 times). One the positive side, casualty levels in the movie did seem realistic from what I've read regarding the life expectancy of WWI aviators. The airplanes that were shown had a tremendous amount of detail one them that looked pretty accurate. Alas, the producers of the movie felt compelled to give every single German pilot a bright red Fokker Dr-1 Triplane (with one exception of the big bad guy who flew a black one) , apparently so the audience wouldn't be confused as to who the bad guys were. My wife and I did get a juvenile giggle when a character yelled something like, "Here come the Fokkers!"

In any event, the movie did further motivate me to bring Wings of War to the table sometime soon. I have the full set of games plus the new blister packs. Kendahl, Patrick, and I did play the game a little over a year ago during one of the pre-SABG gaming sessions. Wings of War is essentially a miniatures game played with cards, but with some good board game mechanics thrown in. The rules are just a few pages long, and with games taking less than an hour, I would classify this game as a rollicking good filler. With our savy group of gamers, I think I'd only want to play with the full realism optional rules turned on, such as altitude, damage modeling, etc.

Anyway, as soon as I can get a game scheduled, I'll be bringing it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gaming Monday, September 25

I'm on vacation this week and would like to get in some gaming during the day Monday, if anyone's available (too bad we didn't overlap, Ben!). I can be at Dragon's Lair by 10:30. I'd prefer to play Euros, but I'm open to suggestions.

Twilight Imperium 3: A Friendly Afternoon of Galactic Conquest

Carlos and his family were nice enough to host a game of Twilight Imperium 3 at their home today. Chad, Rob, Carlos, Carlos' son Alex, and I gathered around the table for a 5-player session of epic galactic conquest. The race assignments were:
  • Carlos: Xxcha
  • Alex: Hacan
  • Chad: L1Z1X
  • Rob: Letnev
  • Ben: Jol-Nar
We built the map and set up the objectives using the Ancient Throne (1 VP Imperial Strategy Card only if you occupy Mecatol Rex) and Age of Empires (all objectives revealed at start) variants. We drew the Game Over objective card early in revealing the objectives, so the game was only going to last 7 turns.

Very quickly it was clear Chad and I were not going to be the best of neighbors. We tossed action cards at each other to blow up and sabotage various things on either side. Chad made an early move into some neutral worlds between us, and I had to zap his forces back to vapor with my long range defense cannons. Rob, Carlos, and Alex were having squabbles amongst themselves as well. For the first few turns everyone was pretty much even.

During the early turns I convinced everyone to feel sorry for me, the poor defenseless fish people, and the group was nice enough to make me the beneficiary of a couple very nice imperial senate laws. Then for the first 4 turns or so, someone always picked the technology strategy, which enabled me to also use it for free (my racial special power). Soon, my high technology began to pay dividends, and I was able to plant a massive landing force on Mecatol Rex with a sizeable fleet guarding the skies above. Cries of, "He's running away with it!" sang about the room.

I continued to pepper my nemisis Chad with evil action cards, and I picked Diplomacy for two turns to keep him honest. Rob launched a strike against Carlos, and it seemed those two would be well occupied on that side of the board. Chad continued to bide his time, slowly building his armada. I was quite pleased with how Alex seemed to take a good deal of pleasure in attacking his Dad, further tying him up on the sidelines.

So, the last two turns arrived with me 2 victory points ahead of everyone else and having a firm armored spaceglove around Mecatol Rex, squeezing it dry like an overly ripe orange for every drop of influence and resources. I began to write my victory speech and order the champagne. Next thing I know, alarms on Mecatol Rex were clamoring and my radar screen was filled with jump signatures looking ominously like those of Chad's evil race. A huge fleet of dreadnoughts surrounded with a swarm of smaller vessels engaged my peaceful forces, still hung over from the night's celebrations. Being a weak fish-like people, my forces suffered a -1 modifier to all combat rolls. His forces were on mine like the proverbial wolf on the fold. One after another my battleships blossomed in rainbow plasma novas as millions of fish people went to the big fishfry in the sky. His marines showed no mercy as they burned down fishmen, fishwomen, fingerlings, and eggs alike. It was terrible I tell you!

The final turn arrived with me wanting revenge for the smelly stench of burning dead fish coming from Mecatol Rex. I christened the galaxy's first War Sun the SS Chad Spanker and pointed it back towards Mecatol Rex with a massive warfleet in tow. Unfortunately, I just didn't have enough time. The final victory point claiming phase rolled around Chad claimed enough VPs to tie me. Then, with a triumphant flourish he turned over his secret victory condition card, which he confidently displayed he had earned to advance a final 2 additional VPs. Argh!!

A great game all in all! My sincere thanks go to Carlos and his family for hosting this monster game and being such gracious hosts. Congratulations to Chad on his solid win and to each of my opponents on their skilled and spirited play. This is truly a game I could play every week, and I can't wait until the expansion arrives a few months.

PS: I think the Ancient Throne variant worked very well. You really had to earn the use of the ISC, and it just felt really right. I think the game still worked very well with 5, and I think I'd like to try it even with 4, where each person gets two strategies per turn. It really helped that everyone had a pretty good idea how to play, and I never felt like the game was taking too long.

PPS: We screwed up one rule at the beginning of the game when setting up the map. We forgot to reverse directions after going around once in placing our map hexes. This helped me (player #1) and hurt Chad and Rob (players #5, and #4). I guess it wasn't too big a factor since Chad won anyway, but still...

In which a multitude loses to Jeff, again

Last night we had a full group, and that was before Jeff and Amy arrived. While we were waiting for them, we played a game of Geschenkt. Everyone was aware of the best strategy ("Sit to my daughter's left") but she was on the computer, so people had to wing it. By the time Simon won, Jeff and Amy had arrived. This meant we had seven, and that means party/trivia games.

[Neither Jacqui or I are big Diplomacy fans. I could have lived with Struggle of Empires, but it would have taken a bit long since only I had played. After that I don't have many seven player games.]

We started off with two games of Wits and Wagers. I still can't believe I didn't know the year hubble was launched ... my college did the optics while I was there (and it was a major scandal) and fodder for the comedy magazine, etc. But I thought it was my freshman year when it was junior year. In fact, at one point in the second game we realized that it was impossible for me to have so little money ... you can only lose $10/round. Jeff won the first game, and I don't remember who won the second.

The titles and anecdotes change, but you can end each following paragraph with "Jeff won the game."

Stage II saw our second ever "theme guessed after a single clue." Given the theme, I'm surprised they didn't re-order the answers. I'm still trying to think of any other theme with the first answer. [Insert stock ending here].

Attribut plays any number, but I'm souring on the 'grab someone else's selection' mechanic. don't expect depth in a party game and Attribut delivers what I expect. [...]

Scott had to bow out, but we ended with Smarty Party. Yet again, a fun game marred by random violence towards the truth. I hope some philanthropist funds an open source site to provide better questions, ala Wikipedia (SmartyPedia?). Perhaps the expansion is better. Still, most cards were reasonable, and we get to live out a Seinfeld episode. ("I'm sorry, the correct answer is Moops!") For a while, it looked like Dennis would win a laugher ... but ... you know.

Random Thoughts


I have achieved a certain level of gaming nirvana: I am satisfied with my game collection. I look at new games, even highly rated games, and think "Oh, that reminds me that I need to play X" where X is a game that either I own, or some one in the SABG owns and is anxious to play.

No doubt this state will pass soon, but for the time being I'm enjoying our collective games.


I've been wondering about what gives rise to replay value. The knee-jerk reaction is that variations in the set-up and/or pieces gives replay value. No doubt there's a lot truth, but the greatest abstract board games are go and chess, and they always start with exactly the same board position.

I guess replay value has something to do with "game space," although I am not sure how to quantify that. I conjecture that games with a small game space will grow stale no matter how much variability is available.

Morning Gamer

I'm a morning person. My normal bed time is 9:30-10, and by 11 I'm definitely degraded.

I finally put this together w/ gaming in the last week. Last Sat I played Crusader Rex w/ Rob starting at 9a on Sat, then I played PV w/ Mark Mon night starting at 7p. I was happy and sharp during the whole CR game, but by the end of the PV game (@ 11) I was sort of generally annoyed. Mark can attest to my negativity at the end of the game. By the next morning my mood was much better.

With the realities of a job, yardwork, kids (someday) etc, morning gaming will be hard. Maybe when I retire.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Combat Commander: Volume 1, Europe

For those of you who haven't been tracking the eminent release of this game, I'd encourage you to go check it out here. From reading the previews, skiimming the rules, and looking at the advance pictures, this looks to essentially be a cross-breeding of Advanced Squad Leader (or perhaps just Squad Leader) with a card-driven wargame. The rulebook weighs in right in the middle of the modern wargame heaviness sweet-spot at around 25 pages.

One fascinating aspect built into the game is the ability for players to rapidly roll-their-own scenarios with the players quickly laying out a battle in a random, yet structured fashion. If this works correctly, as I've seen it work in the old Panzer Leader / Panzer Blitz systems (where it was called Situation 13), then this should theoretically provide unlimited replayability.

Apparently tanks and other vehicles are not featured in these games, which seems a shame. I haven't studied the ConsimWorld forums for these games yet, so this may be planned as an expansion. Off-board artillery is included as are small squad support weapons such as machine guns.

The P500 status of this game is already over 1,000 pre-orders, and the sequel, Volume 2: Mediteranean is at 447 orders already. So, hopefully these new games will soon be blossoming out onto the tables of SABG!

Off Topic: Arcade, Pinball, and Video Game Inspirational Poster Contest

Arcade, Pinball, and Video Game Inspirational Posters!

As one who comes from the era when Asteroids and Missile Command first arrived at the local pizza joint, I find this contest mildly entertaining to watch. I'm sure this could be done with board games as well.

MAME rocks, by the way!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Wargamer - Editorial: Games Research Project, 1st Sortie

The Wargamer - Editorial: Games Research Project, 1st Sortie

Remember this survey way back when? Here's the first set of results.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The EuroGamer

The new 'toons on BGG have been pretty good in general, but I'm particularly fond of this latest one. Reminds me of a few of us in the group..... . . . .. . . . . . . ..

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Twilight Imperium this weekend on Saturday

There is one, possibly two slots open for a game of TI3 at my house this Saturday Morning at about 10:00 a.m. Munchies will be provided along with the opportunity for some good gaming. If you are interested, please let me know!

Gaming Friday 9/22

They always say you don't regret what you do ... you regret what you didn't do.

Jacqui and I will be hosting this Friday. Time to celebrate the New Year with games. [Jewish New Year, anyway]. You know the drill, RSVP in the comments.

Pacific Victory

Last night Mark and I finally finished a game of Pacific Victory. Yay!

Mark was the Japanese, and he adopted a defensive posture early on. This was pretty much dictated to him by the scenario. We started late in the war, and Japan just cannot sustain an attack. Eventually he was able to assemble a massive armada that was virtually undefeatable, and he used it threaten New Guinea and the surrounding area.

Geography is destiny, they say, and this game proves it. Part of the reason Mark's armada was so strong is that he was able to stay under his "air umbrella," but I couldn't get my umbrella out far enough to attack his ships. I attacked him once w/o good air cover and he virtually obliterated me. The range of aircraft together with the location of islands creates attack lanes and some choke points.

By the end of the game I was figuring out how to take islands using marines and infantry invasions, and I very nearly cut supply to Mark's huge task force using submarines. Subs are sneaky in this game because they can move through enemies and trace supply through enemies.

On the last turn, I made a desperate attack on the island of Japan. I contemplated adding a suicide attack to distract his navy, but decided against it. If I had done the attack and pinned his navy, I would have blockaded Japan and won the game. Unfortunately, however, unsupplied navies cannot enforce a blockade, and Mark's navy was able to cut supply to my would-be blockaders. We had agreed to use the optional internet victory conditions, and so Mark got the victory.

In retrospect, I probably wasn't aggressive enough as the allies. I was also learning how to conduct land invasions effectively. Finally, I think I spent too much building in-place. It lets you keep up the pressure, but it's very costly. I think the allies need to be cycling units back for cheaper building.

Having spent time over several weeks with this game, I think my rating is settling into the "6-7" region: it's a basically fun game that's worth playing from time to time. The underlying system is pretty good, and the diversity of units is great. While there's a few things that bug me a bit, I found myself re-analyzing the game last night and this morning. I have a few ideas about alternate strategies I might have employed, especially now that I have a feel for naval invasions.

Next week Jon and I are planning to play Fire in the Sky, another game covering the grand strategy of WWII in the Pacific. FitS looks to be a step up in terms of complexity and simulation accuracy. It will be interesting to compare the two games.

Boulder Games

I recently received an email from Boulder Games, in Georgia. It said:

"Someone recently pointed out that your gaming group's site links to 3 of our competitors but not boulder games. We'd like to change that."

All members listed on our web page will get a 5% "kickback coupon" of the total.

Pretty dang cool, IMHO!

I'm not web-savvy enough to know how to add them to our web page, but I hope another kind soul will do so.

There's another offer, too. Drop me an email, and I'll give the details.

I'd say Boulder Games is off to a good start w/ SABG. Here's to many fine games between friends!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes

This is by far the game I am most looking forward to this holiday season.... Well, at least I hope to see it this holiday season.

By the way, I still need to set up a game or three of my holiday wishlist game from 2005: Battles of the Third Age...

What's on your wish list?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Monday Gaming

I thought I had posted, but apparently not. In any case, I'm taking monday off, so I can be at DL whenever I can find an opponent or two. Could be anything from Seven Ages, Wilderness War, Scepter of Zavandor, or what have you.

So, when are people showing up?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Furniture Activities 9-15

Since Brian and Jacqui can't host Friday night Euros this week, that gives Amy and I the chance to request some furniture-related help from the SABG. No, we don't need help moving it (that's what you were thinking, right?). We need help BREAKING IN our brand-new gaming table. Gaming goodness starts at 7:00 PM. RSVP in the comments. Let me know if you need directions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Son of Monster Gamefest on Friday, 15 Sep 2006

I'm organizing some game play for Friday, 15 Sep 2006 at Dragon's Lair. Simon and I spoke about playing Runebound, but I don't think he's arriving until mid-afternoon. I should be there by 1200 or so. Anyone else interested in joining me? Name the game, and I'll play it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BattleLore: The Anti-P500 Plan

Thought Hammer : BattleLore

So now we know the economics of a promotional figure:

$70 + shipping (or tax) from Days of Wonder (or a FLGS); includes Hill Giant promotional figure


$49 + sales tax from Thought Hammer (no Hill Giant, assumes free shipping)

Really, this is like an anti-P500 type of arrangement for gamers (as in evil P500). In a P500 type of arrangement, publishers offer fans price discounts and frequently bonus features such as extra scenarios for pre-ordering directly from them prior to publication. Here, Days of Wonder is using the stick rather than the carrot by charging a higher price in order to qualify for the promotion. If it takes this type of negative marketing energy to coerce people into shopping at an FLGS, I can't help but fear for their survival.

Thoughts on Prophecy

Jeff, Michael, and Rob were tremendous sports by agreeing to play the new board game Prophecy with me last night (see pre-game discussion a few posts down). Here are my post game thoughts on the game:

First the bad points:
  • Downtime and Length. The game is officially playable with 2-5 players. The designer himself on BGG posted that he recommends the game as best with 2-3 players. Throwing caution to the wind, we played with 4 players. With 4 players, I think downtime was a minor but measurable factor as the game went on. We kept the turn order moving well, so each player had maybe 5-10 minutes max between turns. Still though there was enough action on the board that I was pretty engaged in watching each player's turn, so downtime didn't bother me too much. However, with 4 players (and no expansion sets added in), we cycled all the decks several times, which became a tad repetitive towards the end. I'm sure 2 players would work well, but I think you might lose some of the theme where you're competing against a group of other adventurers rather than just going head-to-head. I think this may be the odd game where 3 players is actually the optimal number of players.
  • Endgame. The end game did seem a bit unnecessarily drawn out. Again the designer speaks to this issue on BGG. He recommends to cut the number of artifacts required to win down to 3 rather than 4, particularly with more than 3 players. I think this makes a lot of sense, as once one person has 3 of the 5 artifacts, a man-hunt essentially ensues where everyone else's optimal move is to run away from the angry juggernaut. Since this is a designer recommened approach, I'd consider it an official variant if not errata. Another thing that would improve the endgame would be more than five possible minor and major guardians. Return of the Heroes does this well (as does Arkham Horror) where you can get a different end-game boss (or bosses) to fight against each game. This would improve replayability quite a bit, and I suspect this point is addressed in the expansions.

Now the good points:

  • Theme. I think the game really did a good job of capturing the fantasy adventure and questing theme. The wide variety of encounters, monsters, weapons, and guilds really made the game interesting. The guilds you belonged to gave your character a unique feel, but I also liked how you could still Each character really can choose multiple paths to to develop into a superhero. You can go after gear (which I did); you can build abilities through training at a guild (which Michael seemed to do most); or you can chase adventures that will add to your mana and strength stone capacity (which Jeff did). Each was an interesting strategy, and I'm not sure that one was vastly superior to the other. But this leads to my next point...
  • Runaway Leadership. I think at various times we were all convinced that Jeff, Michael, or I were "running away with it." Both Michael and Rob seemed firmly locked in 3rd and 4th place most of the game, or so it seemed. But, then out of nowhere at the end Rob made a major rush to victory, slaughtering me while I was napping in the forest, then going to toe-to-toe with mega-paladin Jeff. Alas, my epic gear which included Thor's Hammer and a Mace of Death and Destruction didn't save me from being soundly zapped my the Holy Monk Rob. Michael jumped in after biding his time on the sidelines giving selective advice to Rob and began a colossal beatdown of epic proportions on both Jeff and Rob. We called the game due to time before the issue was finally decided, but I think there were many ways to win and lose the lead repeatedly throughout the game.

So, like the recent playing of Avalon Hill's Dune, I'd say there is a good game here if played with just a couple tweaks. Unlike Dune, I think we had all the rules correct and just hadn't implemented designer-recommended patches to how the game is played. I'd happily play this game again, and I look forward to playing Runebound for comparison.

PS to our Wargamers: We need to get it back together, guys! I'm offering Wilderness War lessons/refresher courses to anyone interested. With four games now under my belt, I'm feeling pretty good about how this game is played. I think my next game to tackle will either be BtB or PoG, since I've been begging off a lot of PBEM offers for both. Victoria Cross should be a good light snack as well. The new scenario book for C&C: Ancients looks very good, with some well-balanced Scipio scenarios being added to the mix.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Monday Gaming & Mini-con thoughts

Are people going to be around this monday? If so, I'm open to suggestions although I do have another ginormous game to try out. The living rules are online if people are interested.

But I could live with Roads and Boats, or Scepter of Zavandor, or Sword of Rome or ... lots of things.

Jacqui and I were considering trying to organize a mini-convention, perhaps on MLK weekend in January. We've done this before, basically you get a hotel's conference center (which can usually hold ~20 people) for the weekend. These are fairly cheap, because businesses don't tend to rent on weekends (especially holiday weekends).

This struck us as a good idea, although that was before we started having lots of all day game events (at DL or wherever). One aspect it does give is the monster game that you are in complete control of. Everyone tired? Lock the room and come back in the morning.

In any case, would people be interested in this? It would probably take ~$20/head (or so) to cover the room costs for the weekend. [Out of towners would presumably rent a room for the 'convention' and each room rented would lower costs. There would be a discount for people out of town. [I expect some people may come from Austin, perhaps one or two from further away.] Given the hosts, our kids would be around some of the time. [Caveat Gamer].

The other option is a "NameCon" where "Name" throws open their house for the weekend. I've been to a dozen of these, and they are great. We don't really have the setup for it (and I'm not banishing our kids upstairs for several hours), but if someone else wanted to host ... I wouldn't be agin' it.

Friday, September 08, 2006



We've known for a while that fantasy-themed Memoir '44 wasn't far off, but it is good to know now that it is more than a rumor. I'm sure this game will sell like crazy! Agincourt with goblins, dwarves, and elves sounds pretty weird, but I'm sure it will be fun. The miniatures look great, and I'm sure the production values will be in true DoW over-the-top quality. There won't be any hollow plastic GMT dice in this one.

I do sincerely hope they balance all the scenarios this time. At least with a fantasy theme they won't have history to blame for wildly unbalanced battles.

I also have to say that as a completist, I hate promotional figures! I still recall the Heroscape Nerak promotion last year where Toys 'R Us would only give the figure to you if you were under 18 (perhaps a message of some kind...). I'll probably pre-order the game from DoW to get the Hill Giant, but it sounds like I'll have to do some begging at Dragon's Lair to get the Earth Elemental... Perhaps Thought Hammer will get some... Otherwise, it's off to E-Bay! Argh!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


VIKTORY II: A Fast-Paced Game of Strategy and Conquest

This website provides quite an interesting description of the home-development of a board game. The game itself isn't one I'm interested in owning, but for the amount of effort the guy put into development, I really hope he is successful.

I do have to admit though.... the blatant infomercial quality of the last episode of The Dice Tower, promoting this game, was a bit of a turnoff. The podcast did prompt me to go to his website though, so perhaps it was successful on some level....

Combating Board Gamer Bashfulness Disorder

Recent session reports indicate we're still having periodic outbreaks of the dreaded board gamer bashfulness disorder. For those not familiar with this malevolent malady, symptoms include:

  • Multiple gamers sitting around the table, unable to decide what to play
  • Uncomfortable shifting in seats with eyes wandering around the room
  • A distinct lack of games being played

To help prevent further occurrences of this pernicious pestilence, I've compiled a few helpful recommendations on how to behave to avoid becoming infected:

  • Fortune favors the bold. Don't worry about speaking your mind about what you want (or don't want) to play. It is always better to speak up rather than get sucked into a game you really don't feel like playing. Or, worse, if everyone is too shy to speak their mind, then the group flounders with indecision.
  • Bring your baby to the fight. Try to bring at least one game you'd really enjoy playing. Chances are someone else will want to play it as well. Don't be shy about slapping it down on the table for play.
  • Something for everyone. If possible, bring a few games that might accomodate a variety of player numbers and interests. If everyone does this, we should be covered.
  • Divide and conquer. Don't be afraid to split the group into two or more subgroups. If you try to find a single game that will enable 5, 6, 7, or even 8+ people to play, you're probably going to arrive at an experience not everyone is going to enjoy anyway.
  • Early birds rule. Don't hold up the many to accomodate the tardiness of the few. If people show up late, they can just catch up on the next game or pair up with other late-comers.
  • Be prepared. Advance planning and scheduling of games helps everyone. Rules get read in advance and people come ready to play.

Okay, my brainstorming just ran dry.... Any other thoughts, comments, or ideas?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gaming September 8th

Friday Night Gaming at Mi Casa. What will be played? You can influence the decision ... if you attend. Otherwise you'll just have to read it and weep. I should (finally) own Scepter of Zavandor by then, so that's fairly likely!

" what are we playing now?" ....a 9/4 report

As usual, many great games were played, others not so great, and some time was wasted deciding what the next game would be (more than usual though.....what does this mean? Discuss...Talk amongst yourselves...I am ferklempt!).

El Grande: First time played, not disappointed. Runaway Chad won, but by a very small margin on the last round. Would play again (and bump up in my wishlist).

Wits and Wagers: Quickly falling in the "games I'd leave home because I'm getting burnt out". Don't get me wrong; it's a great trivia/party game. But 1. well, you all know how I feel about trivia, and 2. I can play trivia with anyone if I was really into them whereas Euros/wargames I can't. These are what I look forward to playing every Monday with the awesome SABG folks. Now, being the non-game basher (like others in the group....wink wink) and team player, if people want to keep playing this, yes, I'll pull up a chair. It is a good game after all, even with the chaotic betting. The other trivia game, Smarty Party, was refreshing even when I lost.

Caribbean: I'll admit it. This is my first lukewarm purchase. Bought it out of a whim, without even looking at reviews,etc. Not doing that ever again. This is a game that reads more interestingly than it actually performs. When I bought it, I thought "cool, a light Pirate game". And it is.... a light blind bidding game (no, I don't think ALL games accross the board with this mechanic suck) where you bet for control of 6 different pirate ships stealing treasures from different ports. The manual talks about all these cool combo moves you could pull off: steal treasure from other boats, swap treasures, etc etc. They sound very cool when you read about it, but somehow it just doesn't really happen in the game as "cooly". Definitvely feels more like a very light kid's game to me. If my "future kids" turn five before I am able to trade this on BGG, I'll keep it.

Roads and Boats (aka beefed-up Catan civ game mix): (Players: Michael, Me, Jeff, Amy, Brian). Great game. A few points:

1. It reminds me of everything I like about computer civ games: a real sense that your civ is developing/progressing, the tech tree works great offering multiple different branches to go down through, you can feel the comfort of having a well-greased production machine when you have more supplies than need for them, etc etc. Surprisingly, it's really not that complicated.
2. My only gripe at first was something I know Brian, Michael and I felt during the game: they who control mines the quickest, kick buttang the hardest. Interestingly enough, Jeff and Amy were the closest to mines from all of us, but they actually ended at opposite ends of the scoring spectrum!...Jeff last, Amy first. So maybe this doesn't guarantee victory. Plus there are ways around this which I tried to go after a little late in the game. In this game nobody controls the goods unless they are physically on a transport. I was able to build a raft that could have taken gold from their mines every 2rds. But by the time I realized this, they were almost depleted.
3. Another "mistake" we made I feel,we shouldn't have focused so much on bulding the monument: it is the option that gives you the least amount of points, and costs the most amount of resources....ergo, poor ROI. Focusing on the higher scoring stuff like gold/minting/stock market is the way to go (but would have also made the game last longer than 2 1/2 hrs because building the monument speeds up the game). I mean, think about it: I put a WHOLE lot more bricks into the monument than Jeff did, and I only ended 9 points ahead of him (4th place). Would like to play again at some point.
4. Next time too, we should use the walls to block off our neighbors. Surely, my neighbors (Amy) would have had to spend precious resources blocking my gold-stealing raft had I built it earlier in the game. We played too carebearishly.
5. Oh, and another gripe.... why the poor art quality???! there was no need for that other than to say "yes, we are arrogant...we know the game is great in its own right....we don't need good quality art".
6. Oh and BTW, the turn other deal with the "praying figures" that can reset turn order at key moments in the game adds another interest twist to the game I thought. It's another thing you have to factor into your carefully planned evil plans.

Mykerinos: Very interesting. Feels like 2 area control games in one, each with peculiar rules. Multiple options for scoring/multiple paths to victory is always an key element in my top-rated games. I'd like to play again for a few reasons: I liked the depth in such a short game, we (read Chad) messed up one rule that changes the whole "area control" part of the game, and I wasn't aware until the end that having full sets of characters scores bonus points. Now that I know how to play, I'd like to see how easy it is to "screw" with other players's plans to limit their scores, while setting myself up for victory.

Arkham: Not played, but Chad, count me in. Been itching for a theme-heavy game for a while. We can always do a 3 player game.


In ancient times peasants huddled around campfires would whisper of a prophecy telling of a time when the ultimate fantasy roleplaying experience would be translated to the board gaming world. Over the ages there have been many who have claimed to be the game foretold by prophecy: Dungeon, Talisman, Heroquest, Runebound, Descent, Return of the Heroes.... the list goes on.

Now from the far off land of the Czech Republic comes the game entitled Proroctví or, in English, Prophecy, claiming to be just such a game! I just received my copy yesterday, and I predict I will try to talk a few of you into playing sometime soon.

The game centers around each player being a potential long-lost descendant of a prince, destined to rise to glory by driving out the demons and monsters who took over the land and killed the original royal family during a civil war long ago. There are already two expansions released for the game in its native land, apparently focusing on underwater adventures and dragons. Reviews so far for the game on BGG have been very positive.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Poker -- Last time I'll spam this site

I'm trying again to start a poker game this coming weekend. It seemed Saturday worked best for people, but this time I'm considering moving it to Sunday to coincide with NFL's effective Opening Day -- barbecue, football, and cards from noon until whenever. Let me know if you are interested.

Also, if you have any future poker interest, let me know so I can add you to my mailing list and stop spamming this board. So far I think that's only Rob.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Twilight Struggle Reprint Details

ConsimWorld Forum - GMT Games

Major changes were made to the deck, apparently, including changing the Ops value of a few cards. I suspect this will have a significant impact on how the game plays, most likely for the better.

I vote we officially halt further progress in our tournament (!) until the new printing is released in a month or so.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Labor Day Game Fest?

Is anyone available for some gaming on Monday? I know some of you have the day off. Jeff and I can host starting about 2pm. BTW, Jeff just got his copy of Roads and Boats in, and he's dying to play it. Other options will, of course, be available.

POBEDITELI — Soldiers of the Great War

POBEDITELI — Soldiers of the Great War

If you have any interest in the World War 2 Eastern Front, this site is amazing!