Friday, March 31, 2006

Wednesday night gaming

Thought I'd post a quick session report. Michael, Jon and I met at Patrick's for some gaming. The idea was to play Goa, since the game is going on ebay and I wanted to play at least once before selling it off, but I didn't feel like plowing through the rules and teaching a new game.

So, we started off with Patrick's new game "Heaven and Hell." Actually, I am not sure what the name of it is... I have to admit, I am not the game's biggest fan, but it's growing on me. I enjoyed it a little more this time around. Hopefully Patrick will be able to fine tune it enough that it's fun right out of the box.

Next, we played a game of For Sale. I think this may be my favorite filler. The game itself lasts about 15-20 minutes. It's basically two phases. First phase you bid openly on numbered cards. Second phase you bid blindly on dollar amounts, bidding with the cards you won in the first round. I think Jonathan won.

Next was Condotierre. I really enjoyed this game. Basically, you use a hand of 10 cards to battle for Italian cities. First person to win three connecting cities wins the game. Cards are not renewed until only one player has cards remaining. First there is hand management to think about. Then there is the strategy of knowing which battles to enter and which ones to pass on, saving your cards for future battles. There were times when you had to enter a battle even though it didn't help you, to prevent someone else from winning the city.

We played three games. I can't remember the winners -- I just know I was 0-3. I also know I made several serious strategic errors. Games were short but full of strategy. Plus, there was just enough player interaction (table talk is allowed) that even Patrick gave the game good marks. Patrick screwed me once by promising to play his winter card (which makes the value of all mercenary cards 1). I changed my strategy but then he didn't play the winter card and Jonathan won the city on his next turn and eventually the game. Very fun game...

I had to work the next day so I left, but the three stooges stayed behind to play some more games. One of them will have to post here to let me know what I missed out on...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Economics of Board Game Collecting During Wartime

I have been reflecting recently upon the interesting influence of fluctuating fuel prices on my board game purchasing behavior. Specifically, the rising cost of shipping from on-line vendors, E-Bay sellers, and fellow gamers engaged in trading has dramatically skewed how I buy, sell, and trade board games.

One thing that's changed is I no longer order just a single game at a time from on-line retailers. A couple years ago, shipping costs didn't seem like that big of a deal. Today, on a single game order, shipping can easily be 25% the total cost of the purchase. So, I now find myself buying more games than I otherwise would just in order to keep shipping cost low. I figure it's better to have more games than to forfeit discretionary spending money to UPS or FedEx.

Another thing that's changed is that trading games is almost never worthwhile unless there are non-monetary factors involved, such as game rarity or sentimental value. Recently I traded an opened copy of Shadows Over Camelot for a sealed, slightly dinged copy of the A Game of Thrones Expansion, which are roughly on par in value at $30. Unfortunately, shipping the games cost each of us around $12 parcel post, which cut away $24 out of the $60 value of the games. Perhaps we should have both just purchased new games.

E-Bay isn't quite as bad, as sellers are frequently willing to take it in the shorts on shipping in order to attract bidders. On a single game, shipping rarely goes over $10, but it's still almost never worth it unless collectability is the prime motivator or you find the rare below-market-value opportunity.

I can still save at least 20% over FLGS costs by buying on-line, and, being a cheapskate, I still buy games almost exclusively this way. However, now I massively defer gratification by doing orders of at least $125-$150/order minimum, usually with at least one pre-order game added in order to get the total cost above the free shipping threshold. The result is I'm still waiting on a game order placed in Nov 2005 which included a Fantasy Flight pre-ordered game...

With shipping costs from on-line retailers now creeping up to the $10 mark for basic shipping on a single game, the competition of FLGS vs. on-line deep discounter increasingly becomes one of sales tax vs. gratification speed. For the moment, cheapness still wins with me. However, in the end, the rising cost of board games becomes yet one more reason for us all to hope and pray for peace in the Middle East.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gaming on Friday

We'll be having gaming on Friday night this week. Back to normal! As always, RSVP in the comments.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Banner Tagline Submissions

Alrighty people, the new resized and reduced opacity, for better bits viewing, banner is up. Now the biggie is deciding on the tagline. Please post your ideas under this thread so we can all eventually vote for the best one. Submissions should be in by Friday and I'll leave the voting to begin on Saturday under a new thread. Voting will end whenever everybody has chimed in or until Tuesday rolls around, whichever happens first.

So I say unto thee...Let the bad puns commence!

Caylus and other games 3/27

So I showed up to DL right around 5 and Brian was already there waiting so we started a two player game of Caylus. I can't really get an intuitive feel for this game at all. Certainly I screwed up my timing of when to be making cubes and when to really push for vps. I did perform better than my previous attempts but still was a distant second.

Jeff, Jon and Dennis had showed up and we decided to break out Fury Of Dracula. I got to try my hand at Dracula. I was attempting to play actually more Cowardice of Dracula with the goal of just staying as far away from people as possible. I started in the far reaches of Eastern Europe and worked my way up around the russian border for a few turns before heading west. (oh at some point Ben showed up and Jon went to play a 2 player game with him and then Chad showed up and took over for Jon). I also got a sneak peek at what was in store for me when I got to take a gander at Dennis's Items: Stake Stake were the first two things I maybe cowardice is a good idea. At this point, the hunters got an ally that let them see the last card on my trail and they picked up the beginning of my trail. Because of their location at the time they picked up my trail, they were able to deduce pretty accurately where I had been. So I went evasive. I did wolf form to go make my trail a little bit harder to follow and instead of running to Western Europe and towards some wide open spaces doubled back down to with the plan of hitting the coast in a few turns and making my escape by sea. I also really wanted to land in the single space island, hide for a turn and plant a vampire, and then head out again, hoping that it would not be detected in time.

Well this plan seemed to work pretty effectively. They concentrated their search on my escape points in Western Europe, and although I had to use a hide to get the timing to the port right, I was able to make the port and take to the sea. Then a wonderful card for me hit. It let me teleport to anywhere on the board, and even though I thought I had double crossed them pretty well, it let me escape a trap Dennis had been planning with a vicious card.

I went to Paris and was planning on heading south to the mediterranean to get to that island and plant a vampire still. This time though, my trail was found very quickly. A card that let them see adjacencies in my trail got two of them, and by the time I made it to sea, they had all the ports well covered. At this point in the game I had 4 points and it was almost a new day, so I just needed to hold out a little while. Here is where I made my big blunder. I tried to be sneaky again, going to ireland instead of back to eastern europe where there were many possible escape routes. I figured if I used a hide there and a feed, I could stay there for a few turns and hopefully get them off my scent. It was not to be. A few more revealing cards came out and all of a sudden I was trapped into going to England with all of them there. This was a double plus ungood event but I got some very lucky escape rolls and took to sea again.

I ran to the mediterranean as fast as possible, hoping to find a safe landfall. Again, I probably should have just landed in europe leaving myself as many escape routes as possible, but I was hoping they would be thinking that way too, so I landed on that little island thing. By this point it was night and a few more turns would leave me victorious, so Brian, realizing if I was there that they could not afford to let me remain there, played a hunch and checked it. Luckily, I had an encounter that was able to discard his stake, so he only had a crucifix with which to vex me. Mainly my goal was to escape from this fight, but getting a bite on Brian was also a nice possible result so I tried to pick opportune times to Mesmerize him. He was reading me like an open book though and the fight ended with basically no damage being dealt either way on continuations. Dennis tried to hop in quickly with his double stake crucifix combo, but an extremely ambitious customs official confiscated them as contraband.

I ran away again and this time quickly moved to Italy another kindof dead end, but at least one that gave me some options. I kept running away and managed to survive the last couple of turns without incident.

Next we played a card game...I'm bad with names, but this had something to do with cattle (I think that was the theme) and numbers. I had a really bad idea about strategy in the first round and took 20 points early (points are bad). I picked up some idea about how to play and was even able to offer the other players advice about good cards to play in the later rounds. Meanwhile Jeff was running away with it, having only 2 points going into the probably final round. Somehow, he managed to take 24 and myself 0 (to go along with the 25 accumlated points), to allow me to squeak out a win.

Finally, at my request, we played a game of Shadows Over Camelot and I pulled the traitor. Basically my idea about this game has been that the while the traitor has a broad spectrum of possibilities for his play, there would be two possible optimal ways to play:
1. Pretend to be loyal, avoid getting revealed, do as little good stuff as you can without giving it away so you can flip two white swords at the end.
2. Pretend nothing, be openly treacherous at the beginning, always do the worst possible bad action and be less than useless with your good actions.
Mixed strategies where you start off pretending to be loyal and then reveal later seem less likely to succeed because while you are "good", you are moving the loyal knights closer along to success without getting the sword flip bonus.

I was interested in trying option 2. During the convocation I threw in a grail and asked to get it back since I was interested in helping on the grail quest. King Arthur then traded me a grail, and I gave him one back in return (I was trying to set up a potential alibi for my super extremely treacherous play on my turn). On my turn, I went to lancelot's armor after putting a catapult out (I think catapults are probably on average the worst bad action for the loyals, since they restrict their choices for bad actions later and make certain quests less attractive to complete. My movement raised a little stir, but I tried to ease their fears by claiming to have a full house and a couple of grails left in my hand.

I tried to at least keep the pretense somewhat up by putting down a 5 5 and a 4 over my next few turns and cringing as lancelot cards kept coming up. Finally the last lancelot acrd was drawn before I got to play again. We flipped them over, and sure enough it was a 14/14 tie. I had the special ability to add cards to the knights total to try to get this quest won, but as my remaing cards were just grails and a merlin, I had to decline. That pretty much cooked my goose as far as pretending to be loyal.

They delayed a turn in accusing me, so I got one more turn as a "loyal" knight, which I used to draw 2 cards hoping to get a fate. No such luck and before I could place the 6th siege engine myself and accuse someone, they preempted with an accusation against me.

At this point the strategy for me became even more degenerate...siege engine every turn and pull a card from the guy (Chad was this one) who can play special cards for free. The siege engines were piling up so Jeff was forced to start trying to fight them off. Meanwhile Brian had moved to the Black Knight with no cards on it to try to get a quick win there and Dennis and Chad were working on the grail.

In rapid succession things went downhill for the knights. First Brian lost to a quick succession of black knight cards coming out. Then Jeff lost a siege engine fight and died to it. Chads hand was quickly emptied and enough despairs and desolations hit, that the grail quest became too difficult to complete in time. A card placing 2 siege engines sealed their fate.

I think the black cards the loyal knights drew certainly didn't help matters, but I do think that a degenerate completely treacherous strategy can be very painful to the knights. I think if the grail had been completed they had enough swords to win so it might not be that bad. Just towards the very end, when it became clear that the grail would not be successful in time did it feel a little bit ridiculous.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Gaming at Patrick's on Wed

Hey hey.

Chimaericon was surprisingly successful. I managed to sell a bunch of games and even traded HP for Arkham horror. Anyone played it? I have yet to find a cooperative game that is worth a damn. I'm hoping that this one will finally fit the bill.

Anyways...gaming Wednesday @ 7pm. I'm talking to you Kendahl.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I am Gilthoran

I am Gilthoran, currently a level 7 Dark Elf Rogue from Teldrassil. I'm here to tell you that I have taken over Rob's life.

He won't be having much boardgaming time thanks to me. I will be cutting away $15/month out of his monthly boargaming budget all because of his feeble mind. You see, I own him now. Last year he was able to cut himself lose from a human warlock in World of Warcraft online, but that doesn't compare to the dark seductive ways of the Dark Elves. There is no escape this time around. He was snared back to this world by peer pressure from some friends at work. You should have seen the pathetic look of childish glee on his face... "friends at work that actually play WoW?!!?". That's all it took. Weak.

Sure I'll let him play on 3/27, but I know he will be back. The wee hours of the night are mine. I'll make him stay up late, miss meals, forget showers, argue with his wife over me.... all part of the dark charm spell I cast on him.

When you don't see him boardgaming, you can find me, Gilthoran, future Rogue Master, on the Scarlet Crusade server. Come on... you know you also want to be charmed by us. Accept it. Let it surge through you. Pull out your credit card and join me in the dark side.....

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, Monday, 27 Mar 2006

Anyone else up for some gaming? I'll bring Duel of Ages, War of the Ring, Twilight Struggle, Colossal Arena, and Mall of Horror. I'll be there by 6 PM.

Friday, March 24, 2006

In case you guys didn't know...there is a con going on under our very noses. Its at Crossroads Mall. Very small scale stuff, but there will probably some interesting stuff going on. Plus its a great way to meet more peeps for our little gang.

Chessex to the Rescue

Thank goodness for Chessex. I just purchased a small pile of items to bring my recently acquired GMT games up to snuff, such as blank replacement dice for C&C: Ancients and some miscellaneous markers for Twilight Struggle. The Chessex guys were quite friendly and very helpful. Apparently they've been getting a number of orders for blank dice lately.... The sad thing is how cheap it would have been for GMT to go through this trouble for me.

Now to snag some of my wife's clear nail polish...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Gaming Saturday, not Friday

My Lovely Wife and I will be hosting Saturday night instead of friday this week (assuming that anyone can make it). 7pm until whenever. Drop a line in the comments to RSVP.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Apples and Bananners!

Above are two of the logo ideas I've got at the moment. Of course everything is subject to change from colors to game clutter, tagline, etc. Feedback welcome; in fact I implore it. I prefer the bottom one since it is a bit cleaner and blends in better with the look of the site. Any other ideas you've got are welcome as well.

Off Topic: Duel of the Fates Tournament Podcast

Like perhaps a few of you, I'm a geek. As a geek, there's a few things I just can't resist. One of those is imagining conflicts that never existed between my favorite characters (e.g., Star Trek vs. Star Wars). That's what this podcast is all about, though from a very light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek point of view. Anyway, the show is already on a second full tournament, but there's time to catch up if you're interested. Tournament One featured these characters locked in mortal combat:

1) Tomi (from Spherical Tomi); (never heard of this one before)
2) Spider-Man
3) Captain James T. Kirk
4) Ash (from Evil Dead)
5) Godzilla
6) Starbuck from the original Battlestar Galactica (Dirk Benedict)
7) Harry Potter
8) HAL-9000 (from 2001)
9) Gandalf
10) Darth Vader

Tournament 2 is even weirder. Here's the link: Link. Please excuse this off-topic silliness. Oh, wait, this is on topic. If anyone else likes this genre, I now have the full set of Duel of Ages, and I hoping someone might like to try it out with me sometime...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First Shot at Club Business Cards

Okay, this is kind of ugly, but it's my first shot at a card to advertise our group and hopefully attract more members. As previously discussed, I'm thinking of printing something like this out on business card stock and setting the cards on the table inside the front door of Dragon's Lair.

Oh, this is just a screenshot out of MS Word, so the red underlining on "Wargames" wouldn't appear.

Feedback or artistic improvements welcome!

Board gaming until the wee hours of the night...

...and now posting about gaming until the weeer hours of the night.

Brian and I met up at DL around 5pm. Nobody was there yet, so we played a quick game of San Juan. I started with a Prefecture and ramped up pretty quickly from there and manage to win with the monuments and the triumphal arch. By the time we finished, Jon had arrived, so after a quick rules course, we played a three player game. This time Brian smashed us into submission until we were both so thoroughly humbled that we quickly agreed to let him smash us again.

Luckily Ben showed up and we switched to a game of Fairy Tale. I still have a real hard time with this game in that I don't really know the pictures well enough to even pretend to defensive draft. So my strategy is basically to take the best card for me always which obviously is suboptimal. Brian smashed us again.

A couple of quick games of High Society followed. In game one, not one positive score card came out!. Not one!. So not only did we not officially get a winner, as Ben, Jon and Brian were all tied at zero, I got the dubious distinction of finishing with the least amount of cash remaining and a -10 score to boot. I don't understand it, I took the Isiah Thomas course in shrewd investments. Game two worked out better for me as I snatched up my own island and a backup yacht (the island came with one) and held on to top Jon's hooker and friends in the end. Ben had the best stuff but alas he spent himself out of the game.

It was finally time for some meat! Brian brough out Antike, which last time ended up being an exercise in carebear style play with a grand total of one attack in the game. I had made up my mind that if we ever played it again, I wouldn't let that stand, no sirree. My strategy was to send wave after wave of my loyal soldiers to their deaths against my neighbors, Brian and Ben. I was hoping to break through one of them so I could attack Jon and not be playing favorites but it was not to be. Jon attacked (aka stabbed) Ben in his unprotected flank (aka back) to sack two temples and put a lock on the game for a couple of turns later. It was a much more enjoyable game with some sort of conflict although I agree with Brians assesment that all of the back and forth between the three of us most involved in conflict was not a positive.

Next we started a game of No Thanks while we were waiting for Simon. But midway through the setup, he appeared. Since we had already gone through the tedious preparations for the game, he joined us for one quick game. Brian smashed us again, getting a nice 5 card run and a plethora of chips to top it off.

Next we played Shadows Over Camelot with Brian's motivation cards variant. I was a loyal Native Son (I was screwed if we ever lost the Saxon's quest). I thought we were pretty golden since in all the games we've played before, we have never lost the Saxon or Pick's quest. But, wouldn't you know it, about midway through the game, the Saxon's were looming large on the doorstep and we were still a turn or two from completing it. Luckily things worked out in the end with that. Meanwhile, Simon had grabbed Lancelot's Armor, I had taken out the Black Knight by chopping off his limbs one by one, Brian and Jon had stabilized the Grail quest, and Ben had completed the Excalibur quest. A few rounds later, Simon revealed himself as the traitor via the fate card and as he knew from the tabletalk that Brian was the Judge was able to start supertaunting him. We stabilized the siege engines then all ran to the Grail to try to make a mad dash to the finish. In the end Jon played the quest saving Grail card and took all of the fight cards in the 7 we got as a reward to push himself up to 16 total (his motivation). My motivation worked out fine even though there was a scare. Ben needed to see the Dragon Quest to completion (success or not) and luckily for him the dragon slaughtered us relatively quickly in the game. Brian was the judge, (needed to have the traitor revealed to win) and so all of the good loyal knights were victorious. The lesson as always, evil never wins. Except in Doom.

That was the next game of the night. Brian and Ben called it a night here I think, and Jon, Simon and I went back to Simon's house to do the last campaign in the original Doom. I tried my hand at the invader this time. Good choice. The board was huge, I got a million monsters to play around with, and drew some insane cards. We played until they escaped, by which time I had 10 frags. The things I learned: acid is good, hell knights are better, sealed in is best. Grenades are bad, chain gun is worse, BFG is still the worst. Oh yeah and Mancubi suck. We finished at 2:30. Hurray for 9 and a half hours of gaming.


Too bad there is no

Yeah, there is something I've been holding back from you guys. I'm pretty much crazy about all games, not just board games. There is a mud that I've been playing on for about 5 years now that due to unstable ownership and problems with actually being completely down for months at a time because of the unstable ownership has lost most of its player base. Thats where hopefully maybe some of you guys come in. If this isn't your thing, sorry for wasting your time, but I figured this group was the most likely group of people I knew that might want to have some other geeky style gaming outlets.

The rundown:

Basically its an extremely heavily modded diku mud base (although if you are familiar with diku muds you probably won't really recognize it from all the modding). The implementor is crazy about all things final fantasy, and many of the mechanics of the game borrow heavily from all the final fantasys throughout the years. There is basically always something new being implemented so things stay fresh and the best part (at least to someone like me) is it's totally free. Oh yeah, maybe here is where I should mention is that muds are text based role playing games played through the telnet protocol. So if pretty pictures are important, you might pass (I know we all like our bits).

Anyway, main point is, if you are interested, get a telnet client designed for muds like gmud or zmud and connect to Solar Eclipse at 4321. You can look for me on there under the name Moki (who sees who is online and tell moki hi tells me hi if I'm there). Just make some random character and then I can give you advice on how to get started including the original character creation. Anyway, hope this wasn't too off next post will be nice and on topicish. The picture is a screenshot of me destroying a pushover monster with a well timed monk combo.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Return from GAMA 06

GTS was awesome, as usual. We demoed until our throats were sore, then demoed some more. Some excelent points of interest include breaking into the German and Chinese market, and even turning HP into a video game. We met lots of new people, and also met up with some old friends. Including ex-Steve Jackson Games employees Will and Giles. Everytime we meet up with those guys a game of Werewolves breaks out. Werewolves has got to be the best game to play at cons. We also met up again with Tom Jolly and played some of his prototypes. One of his space games is so nice that we are thinking of publishing it. Add that two other games we found while there and we have alot of playtesting to do.

Speaking of which, I'd like to invite anyone to my place on Wednesday at 7pm for some gaming.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, Monday, 20 Mar 2006

I know it's pretty late to be posting this, but I'm hoping others will join me tomorrow evening at Dragon's Lair. I should be there around 6 PM or so.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

They say Risk? You say .....?

You are talking with some non-gaming friends from work who have no clue what eurogames, grognards, or meeples are, and somehow the conversation shifts to talking about SABG and how you play boardgames once/twice a week... Very casually you try to explain to them what these games are about, that it's not just a "kid's thing", and tell them how good and different they are compared to your usual suspects (monopoly, battleship, etc). All of a sudden they ask "Oh you mean deep and strategic like Risk?"

My questions to you my fellow SABG'er:
1. How do you respond to that question without showing signs of hurting from the naive comparison? Is there really a different mainstream game to compare "our games" with?
2. How do you make them understand what this hobby is about? ... understand that these games are different (euro's in particular) and can be enjoyed by adults?

I'll post my own answers later tonight.

Disclaimer: I can force myself to enjoy some of the fancier Risk games, but I can't tolerate the dryness of vanilla Risk.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Fantasy Flight Games: The Price of Loyalty

Fantasy Flight Games' (FFG's) announcement this week of their 2006 release calendar filled my brain with excitement and at the same time my pocketbook cried with horror and dread. So many cool games scheduled for release in one year! Even with FFG's characteristic shipping delays, 2006 looks to be by far their biggest and most amazing year.

I classify myself as an American-style gamer with an appreciation of elegant European design elements, which makes most of FFG's catalog right up my alley. Running down their 2006 upcoming list, I made what is my tentative wish / leaning towards must buy list. Then I applied a cost estimate to each, optimistically assuming on-line, deep-discounting, and not counting shipping or sales tax:

Warrior Knights: $35
AGOT: Storm of Swords: $30
Starcraft: $55
Reins of Power: $55
Tide of Iron: $55
Blue Moon City: $35
Marvel Heroes: $50
Arkham Horror Expansion 1: $35
Arkham Horror Expansion 2: $20
Decent Expansions (2): $50
TI: 3 Expansion: $30
World of Warcraft Expansions (2): $50
Lord of the Rings Battlefields: $30
Misc Runebound Expansions: $40

Grand Total: $570 !!! It may be time to consider starting a part-time pizza delivery job.

FFG's marketing strategy seems to have effectively identified the completist/collector nature of many (including me) in our hobby. The big box of toys theme seems to be alive and well too. I really don't mind the fact that Mutant Chronicles is a collectible miniatures game, as I'm thankful for having a solid reason to skip it. Now I wonder which of these above are going to be the stinkers of the bunch?

War of the Ring: Riddles in the Dark

This week while jogging around the remote areas of Ft. Bragg, NC, I found my brain meditating on my recent experience playing War of the Ring with Jon. Now, without a shred of doubt, I know I need to play the game at least ten more times before I can speak with any form of authority or conviction. Nonetheless, I found myself this week pondering the possibility of whether the following variant would work, and if so, if it might be fun.

Riddles in the Dark variant: Both the initial hunt allocation of the Dark forces and the Action Dice results of both sides remain secret until used. The hunt allocation is revealed after the Fellowship's first move. Action dice are revealed by either side as the dice are used. Thus, the Fellowship won't know exactly what the forces of Darkness are plotting and neither side has advance intelligence on the other side's possible moves. Of course, a strict honor code is in force.

To me this might increase the tension level of the game significantly (i.e., a good thing), but also might put the Fellowship at too distinct a disadvantage. Anyway, I want to play vanilla WotR many times more before considering monkeying with it, and by then the expansion set will be out. Still, I'm interested in any thoughts or reactions on this idea.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Road Trip!

Well, ok. Not really. It turns out that one of the stores in the Outlet Malls in San Marcos sells games. Memoir '44 for 1/2 off? I may swing by the next time I go to Austin.

Casa de Jacqui and Brian closed friday

As it turns out, we're busy friday, so no gaming (at least at our place). We can host Saturday evening if people are interested....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Light game night...

So tonight kevin (my mysterious brother who will be soon taking Ted's mythic place), simon, jon and I met at DL for some gaming. Unlike other nights, we focused on short, but fun games...which was a nice change of pace.

I took this picture with my cell phone cam as we played Pitch Car. What a cool and different game. I had never tried dexterity games, and now can see why Tom Vasel would think this is a no.1 in this category. My brother came in first, me second, and Jon and Simon....well you can see what happened to them in the picture.

Next was Citadels with expansion. I'm starting to like this game more and more. At first I was disapointed with the second-guessing because it led to "lack of control" of my actions. Well, now I've come to appreciate that second-guessing. It is quite enjoyable. Jon and SImon tied for first, me third, and my brother last. The new characters by the way, add a lot of replayability to this game.

And last but not least, the meatier Hunting Party. My brother had to leave, so we played the ideal 3-player game. This is the third time I play this, and I'm finally catching on to all the abilities, items, creatures, etc. in the game, which I think is key to enjoying this game. Still, again I eventually was overloaded with so many items, abilities, counterabilities, etc being used on the board ... that I decided to neglect most of them halfway through the game and go for gold. I won by killing the Shadow, and having 5 gold 3 silver.

Fun times.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Good Old Fashioned Butt Kicking, Middle Earth-Style

Jon administered said butt-kicking upon Dark Lord Ben this afternoon. It was the Dark Lord's first ever play of the game, so he was a little shaky on the strategy department. The critical mistake was made by only allocating a single Hunt die mid-game, then also not rolling any Eyes. The sneaky hobbits used this opportunity to sprint practically half-way to Mordor with Ben rolling terribly low single-die Hunt rolls. Just as I was firmly grinding Minas Tirith beneath my mailed boot and turning upon practically undefended Rohan, I heard the tell-tale kerplunk as the One Ring was chucked into the Crack of Doom

I have to say... I am so silly for letting this wonderful game sit unplayed for a year on my shelf. It's so much fun! I absolutely can't wait to play again.

Building the Dice Tower

Howdy, all! I'm about to go off on another business trip (this time with my belongings carefully secured), but I wanted to post an organizational message regarding building dice towers on St Patrick's Day, 17 Mar 2006.

Rob, Michael, Jon, and I have tentatively discussed getting together on this day to build dice towers. I plan on using the plans located here. I transcribed these plans into MS Visio and have made a few design tweaks to them. I then cut out cardboard templates of the key pieces, which should speed up measuring and cutting. I'm not 100% happy I have the design I want, but I'm happy enough to make a good solid beta version.

Anyone who is interested in joining in on the fun is welcome. Just pick up enough wood for your tower, which will cost you about $15. I you want to insulate the ramps and base, which I'd recommend, you'll need a little foam board and felt as well. You'll also need to get whatever stain or paint you want to use on your tower. I have enough dark walnut for a few towers if you want to use of mine.

Since there's going to be at least four of us, I figure we should use the full-size wood shop at Lackland AFB, which costs $2/hour. All the saws, drills, sanders, etc. we'll need are there. I figure it will take around three hours at the most.

Here's what I'll bring:
  • Brad nail gun and brads
  • Dark walnut stain and brush
  • Wood glue and wood putty
  • Dremel tool and Dremel router with bits for cutting ramp slots
You'll need to bring:
  • Materials (Wood, felt, foam board)
  • Creative ideas (or better yet, plans) for the design you want to make
I have to take care of a few things that morning, but how does meeting at 1PM at Dragon's Lair sound? We can go from there.

Monday Gaming

Judging from the conversations, there will be another crowd at Dragon's Lair on Monday. I'll bring Age of Steam, which was requested. Additionally, I've been thinking about Shadows over Camelot, and I've made an interesting (untested) variant. So, who else will be there? Any requests?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Late Night Gaming (3/10)

So after an enjoyable evening at Brian's, where much fun was had at Saboteur, Shadows over Camelot, Celebrities, and Medici, Jon & Michael walked out with an ever persistent insatiable gaming appetite. Michael had been craving Doom for a while and so after he mentioned it, I suggested that perhaps it would be OK to play a late game at my house, since my gaming appetite also happens to be insatiable (it’s not an addiction, I swear!).

Fast forward to a rousing game of zombie fragging goodness with all those painstakingly painted models FINALLY seeing the light of day...erm, the dim glow of the mostly darkened house rather. -Sweet absolution indeed. Jon took up the arms of the all seeing invader while Michael and I scrambled up an impressive pair of marines with some killer ability combinations (we were averaging SIX attacks a round with bonuses!).

We managed to trudge through the experimental science wing of the UAC Mars base only accumulating three or four frags out of six. Our über keen abilities, some extra armor, and the "Candyland" weapons cache we found thanks to some passwords gleaned off a few fallen scientists granted us the easy victory. It was actually the first game ever I've played of Doom where the marines won handedly instead of the invader. I was very happy with how everything turned out after all the work I had put into house ruling and painting. I think it showed with the near perfect atmosphere, realism, and enhanced play balance (there’s still a few issues to work out, albeit minor)...Of course, I'm tooting my horn here but you would too!

We finished up at 2:45AM but it was totally worth it. Thanks for coming over guys!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Promoting Board Gaming... the Hard Way!

So there I was in the St. Louis airport last week with about three hours to kill before my return flight home to San Antonio. Having had a long day, I decided to chill out and listen to a board gaming pod cast on my iPod. For some reason, I happened to pick my least favorite show (that will remain nameless, but which has in the past taken a shot at one of our group members). The episode I chose was a particularly monotone and boring one and soon I found myself nodding off and setting my iPod back in my carry-on bag.

When I woke up maybe a half hour later, my carry-on bag was unzipped and my iPod was gone! Argh! A thief somewhere now has my board game podcast-loaded iPod! Perhaps he or she will listen to it, reform their ways, and take up a career in the board gaming industry. Yes, I'm going to extreme lengths to promote the hobby.

Oh, well. Live and learn. So, now I'm auctioning off all my Heroscape stuff in order to get a new and better iPod. Darn you, boring podcast-that-will-remain-nameless!

Yet Another Game Night

Jacqui and I are hosting again, Friday at 7pm. Drop a line.

Does someone have a copy of Fury of Dracula they can bring? I do want to try that. Other than that I think the closet can meet all requests.

One thing I've been thinking about after monday. We should create flyers (or business cards) and post them on that board at the back of Dragon's Lair. Just something like "We play games most mondays at Dragon's Lair, check out our weblog for exact details!" Or the business card idea is good. If someone wants to order those, we could just leave them around, pass them out at conventions, etc.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Moral Dilemma Playtest part 2

Hey hey,

This weekend I made lots of adjustments to the game and I think its getting really close. If your interested come by Wednesday. Of course, we'll be playing other games as well.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Strategy vs Tactics

Over the weekend I saw a really interesting geeklist about games with great strategy. Find the list here:

The concepts of strategy and tactics are pretty important in games, and I thought we might have our own little discussion.

In high school and grad school, I was deeply into chess, and I read more than a dozen books on chess theory. In that course of study, I learned that "tactics" refers to a short sequence of specific moves that you can completely calculate in detail: "if he captures my pawn with that knight, I'll move my queen and fork his rook and king." By contrast "strategy" refers to a long-term plan without a detailed move-response-move analysis: "he launched a central attack, so I'll clog the center then counter-attack on the king-side." Notice the strategy didn't mention a piece or a move, while the tactics named specific moves for specific pieces.

Sometimes people say that strategy is your plan and tactics are how you execute the plan. That is not too far off.

To have a lot of strategy, a game must be stable enough for long-term plans to be meaningful. The "game space" must also be big enough that you can't calculate most of the game tree. If you can calculate everything, you're back into tactics.

I offer the following questions to the group:

-- leaving aside the obvious chess & go, name a game(s) you've played that is (are) highly strategic

-- name a game(s) you've played that's highly tactical

-- do you have a personal preference? When you consider your favorite games, do they tend to be mostly tactical or strategic, or both?

Constructing the Dark Tower

Rob and I have embarked upon a project to construct the ultimate Dice Towers (or at least ones that work). Using the plans located here, we plan on hitting the woodshop sometime soon. We had a short session last weekend, which resulted in some nicely cut wood and an amazing lack of dismemberment and blood. Wish us luck!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Incoming! Gaming at Dragon's Lair, Monday, 6 Mar 2006

Hello, friends! I just flew in from St. Louis, and boy, are my arms tired! [Insert rim shot here]

Now that I'm back, I'm anxious for a return visit to the world of board gaming. Hopefully others are interested in meeting Monday at Dragon's Lair. I'll be there around 1700 hours with an armload of fun.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

March 3rd Reminder

Just a FYI, gaming will again be hosted by Jacqui and me. And the calendar still hates me. (I can't put an event unless I log in. But the event only shows publicly if I log in, so it doesn't show up on this site).