Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Faith in Eagle Games Restored!

I'm not sure whether it was appeals to my University of Notre Dame friend who worked for them until recently or the multiple e-mail pleas to both the old Eagle Games and Funagain Games, but my shiny new yellow wooden block for RR Tycoon showed up today!! Hooray!

Banner Redux: The Seconding

Check out the new, more-up-to-date banner and tell me whatcha' think. As a bonus, whoever can name all the bits hidden away in there can take a shiny new copy of Fluxx right off my hands! -For absolutely freakin' free, no strings attached!

Anyone? No...? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Friday Night Gaming

New month, same old friday night gaming. RSVP in the comments!

And if a copy of Vegas Showdown were to show up, I won't complain. (I just made an order, but it won't arrive until after Labor Day).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Oh so many games... I actually felt beat by the end of the night.

Wits and Wagers: Played like 5 times. I'm overdosed, but it's a Keeper.
Stage II: Between not "getting" the "2-stage" element of the game until it was too late, and something just lost in translation...... I think I will get it! (facetious of course).
Perudo: Wow... this game just oozes psychology. Kendahl, jedi master of psychology games, had the best of me in one of the games eliminating my dice 3 times in a row. Played 3 times, never got tired of it.
Blue Moon City: Very cool game, with MANY paths to victory. Cool art, cool components. Even cooler if you know the Blue Moon "mythos", but not necessary to enjoy the game.
Colossal Arena: Love this game, but it had been a while since I last played it.....ergo, I forgot that it works better with 3 or 4 than 5.
Bohnanza: Forget the beans... it's all in the negotiations....Nothing more valuable than "Future Considerations".
Thurn and Taxis: "A true Euro" in Kendahl's words. Definitively more challenging with 3 or 4 players (vs 2). Scores high in my light to medium-weight euros list.

Note to Al R.

Al, you left your games at Dragon's Lair. I'll bring them back next monday (Labor Day).

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Going, going, gone...

I went out with my wife to buy an oak for my frontyard, and suddenly realized that today was the last day for the DL anniversary discount. So we drove over to DL, and FINALLY snagged a copy of Colossal Arena.

Everything today is 15% off except the new stuff. It's not 30%, but my conscience is satisfied for buying at DL. Plus I got 8 random comics too for free. Not a huge comic fan (was a Spawn fan a LOOONG time ago, but that's it), but hey, how could I say no to Free?

Gaming on Friday, 1 Sep 2006

Anyone interested in getting together during the day on Friday the 1st of September? Euros, Ameritrash, wargames, or whatever all sound good. I'm hoping to game during 1000-1600 that day.

I'm going to be in North Carolina all week, so I won't yet have my redux version of Dune put together. Still, we can play with factory original if we get six together.

Games I'd throw out as preliminary ideas:
  • War of the Ring (either Battles or expanded base game)
  • Wilderness War (I'll teach anyone who is interested)
  • Axis and Allies (any version)
  • Dune
  • Shifting Sands (I heard rules were in circulation...)
  • Miscellaneous Euro/Party Game-Fest

Saturday, August 26, 2006

So, what's on the table for monday?

I could stand Sword of Rome again (strike while the iron is hot!), but I could ease back a bit. Based on reviews and commentaries (especially Chris Farrel), I decided I'd like to try Successors, which is also a CDG (the struggle for Macedonia after Alexander's death). I could have had this for a song last century (a friend didn't want his copy, but I didn't play CDGs then). Now it's a game worth gold. But a quick trade (thanks Dennis) and I own it.

But the rules ... ah, Avalon Hill in all it's 'glory.' Mo way I'm learning this over the next few days. Stick with what I already know.

So, it sounds like there will be a game of Puerto Rico, and other things. I've been bringing Struggle of Empires faithfully, for all the good that's done. The closet is open to suggestions...

More Fun with Panzer Blitz Counters

Nerd alert! Nerd alert!

To celebrate getting promoted by the USAF, I just made some new counters of myself. Of course, I gave myself the ratings of a JagPz V...

Back in the days when I was going through officer training, I would motivate myself by striving to perform to the level of at least a 9-1 ASL leader and never ever like the dreaded 6+1!

Friday, August 25, 2006

What? I'm not going first in my league? That's messed up.

Does anyone else want to do a fantasy football league for pride (aka fun)? From my experience with the trivia games around here I think I'm probably a bigger sports nut than most around here but I just wanted to feel things out just in case.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

I am a convert

Ben, I've crossed to the Dark Side. I finally gave in, and am now playing Crusader Rex on Vassal. Not PBEM, but live. It is simply GREAT. I am really really surprised at how good it all looks and how easy it is to use.

Plus.... Couldn't finish our session today, so we saved it. Tomorrow we are continuing..... SAVE and Continue is actually an option! Oh the possibilities... Lock and Load, Hammer of the Scots, ASL, Bonaparte a marengo, etc etc etc

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Twilight Imperium - The Beast

A friend of mine from work and I want to host a game of TI3 at my house on Saturday Sept. 23rd. Yes I know that this is a month away, but our work schedules often involve weekend work and it is hard to coordinate a session.

So if you are willing to play "The Beast", let me know. I'll remind you again as the day approaches. TI3 is not a quick game, so I thought a 10 or 11 am start time would be good. My wife usually is good about providing chips and dips. Think about it!

Last Call for Poker

Just checking if anyone else is coming to poker on Saturday. Right now I have only two RSVP's, Kirk and Jennifer (another Trinity person). You really need at least five people for a decent game.

Note also that other random gaming may break out during the evening; Jennifer has been hoping to play her copy of Iron Dragon.

Avalon Hill's Dune

About every 2-3 years I go through a period where I get momentarily re-obsessed with the Dune universe. I break out the whole series of novels and re-read them; I watch a version or two of the movie; and, of course, I try to do some form of Dune gaming. For some reason this has always meant Dune computer games, most likely because I never thought I'd have potential opponents to play anything else with. So, until now I had never owned or played Avalon Hill's Dune board game, which typically goes for $40-100 on E-Bay, depending on quality.

Recently, seeing the high quality homemade reproductions of the out-of-print AH game inspired me to perhaps produce one of my own. All the components, including those for the expansions, are readily available for download, and with the help of a color printer, lamination machine, and some free time I thought having a decent quality copy was well within my grasp. I also just picked up an official copy from E-Bay for less than the range listed above. My plan is to selectively upgrade some of the original AH components using better looking graphics, tokens, cards, etc.

Does anyone else have experience playing this game? Any interest in trying it out sometime? If anyone else is interested in making a copy for yourself, I can share with you the files I've gathered thus far, most of which are on BGG.

Oh, by the way... do you think there are any ethical/legal problems with reproducing such an out-of-print, abandoned game? I feel better now that I own an official copy, but I'm still not 100% clear on this issue.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gauls Gone Wild: Thoughts on Sword of Rome

My brain is still sizzling from last night's journey through the annals of ancient Rome, but I would offer the following observations. First, a little introduction. Brian (Rome), Rob (Greece), Jon (Gaul), and I (Etruscans, Samnites) played GMT's card-driven wargame, Sword of Rome. This was all of our first time playing and, being a weeknight, we limited ourselves to the 6-turn short campaign scenario. What followed was a game where everyone desperately fought for the lead, with the yellow jersey changing hands many times throughout the game. A highlight mid-game was when the Romans appeared to be taking a dominant lead. All three other players teamed up and knocked Rome practically back to the stone age of last place. The sneaky Greeks, idling away in their peaceful resort of Sicily, having soundly beaten Carthage, waded ashore late in the game with some hired elephants and stomped their way to final victory.
  • While the political support mechanics are pretty fiddly, the game isn't as complex as I thought it would be after reading the rules. I think we had the game down pat by the end of our first play.
  • Combat is brutal! Unless you are desperate, you want a solid 2-1 or better advantage before going in to battle. Losing is disastrous, especially for the slow breeding Etruscans and Samnites! I became overly agressive early in the game, lost 2-3 critical battles along with most of my military and spent the last two thirds of the game focusing on diplomacy and backstabbing rather than good honest killing.
  • I do feel a bit bad for my part in orchestrating the three-way beat down of the Romans. I suppose it is historically accurate, though, since the Etruscans were the architects of a Latin alliance against the Rome.
  • I should have thrown a few more nasty cards towards the Greeks. I wanted to keep Rob off the Samnites back, but I think he might have tolerated just a little more poking.
  • Rob deserves his solid win. My last turn moves were a bit sub-optimal and my attrition roll cost me a VP, but even fixing these issues wouldn't have allowed me to catch Rob. I think the key is never to get too busy in Italy to forget what Greece is up to...
  • Brian played the Romans probably as good as they could have been played. He garrisoned all his cities perfectly; had his colonies popping up; and at his zenith was cranking out legions like a Dark Lord breeding orcs from the pit. Only three people ganging up on him kept him from running away with it.
  • The T-Gauls weren't as much of a factor as I would have hoped. This may have been due to Jon's excellent play of the Gauls, but they never did cause much of a distraction for him.

Okay, that's enough for now. We need to play again!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Totaler Krieg!

I was able to get my hands on a WWII strategic game called Totaler Krieg! (TK!). For a few years I have heard that it was a fantastic WWII sim, but it has been out of print. I finally got a copy less than a week ago. It seems great, but the rules are something else. Actually this comes out in the reviews.

Has anyone ever played this? I know that Mark owns a copy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Session Report -- Friday Night

Jon and Michael made the perilous trek safely, and were rewarded! No children's videos. And games. Sweet, sweet games. First up was Indonesia. After explaining most of it to Jacqui, we got started. Yet another odd game. I went to merger-2 quickly, but nobody else did. Then, staying at 2 slots, I raised expansion and created the first siap-fajj company and raised my mergers to three. By this point, other players had raised their mergers, but we were still in Era B. We stayed in B for 4 turns (by my count), but then Era C flew by in a single turn. The scores were close, I had 1094, and the low was about 1020.

I think I'm at the point where I can write coherently about Indonesia strategy. Nothing epic, though. Perhaps over the weekend. This was one of our longer games of Indonesia, taking 2.5 hours (with rules). Next was Stage II. Ah, difficult questions. Fun, except for those damn hockey-related ones. Anyway, age triumphed as Jacqui and I traded categories, amidst accusations of collusion. When clearly everyone saw my bribery attempt fail. In any case, Jacqui won by a point.

Two quick games of Can't Stop rounded out the evening. I think Jon got one, and I got one.

ConsimWorld Forum - GMT Games

ConsimWorld Forum - GMT Games

Scoop from GMT Games, announced about an hour ago....:

Attention: Collectors and others looking for out-of-print GMT titles:

We have just received about 100 unpunched, still-in-shrink-wrap games from a private collection. ALL OF THESE TITLES ARE GAMES THAT CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK IN OUR WAREHOUSE.

We're going to make these available for purchase, on a first-come, first-served basis, while they last. We will NOT be selling them at collector prices, but rather at the same retail price for the games that you see on the Games Page here on the website.

This collection of games includes at least one copy of ALMOST every game on our Games Page that is out of print, so here's an opportunity to get that elusive title you've been looking for.

For quickest service, CALL us at 800-523-6111 and our office folks can give you an up-to-the-minute update of what's available. We'll also happily accept e-mail orders - just be aware that there's some risk with that method that the game you want may be already sold.

We hope this helps you find the game(s) you've been wanting! ------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First Poker Night

I've decided to put the first Poker Night on Saturday, August 26th, starting at 6:30pm. Drop me a message if you are interested and if you need directions.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gaming Friday 8/18

Yet another gaming night this Friday (although Jacqui will be AWOL for the first hour or so). RSVP in the comments...

Gamefest, Monday, 21 Aug 2006

I thought it best to start a new post on top to coordinate the mega-game fest on Monday, 21 Aug 2006.

Plans so far are to play a 4-player game of Sword of Rome starting at 4:00 PM. Rob and I also have made plans to play the Rohan scenario of War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age starting at around noon.

If you have the day off that day, please join us! If not, come over when you get off work. As always, the more the merrier.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Session Report: Shifting Sands, 14 Aug 2006

Rob and I faced off for our second match of Shifting Sands. We switched sides for another go at the Campaign scenario, with me being stuck leading the evil Axis forces.

Rob started off very well with his skilled card play beating back my weak Italian desert army from the gates of Tobruk to cower in the Libyan mountains, hoping some Germans would come to their rescue. Seeing the deployable state of my army in Libya and admiring the well motivated Indians, Australians, and British facing me, I decided to turn my attention to the Horn of Africa and my legions in Ethiopia.

I launched a major assault towards Nairobi, running over Rob's weak colonial forces. I was on the verge of knocking him all the way back to South Africa when Rob displayed his talent for spotting when I've left a gap in my lines. He sprinted an infantry battlegroup past my lumbering Italian infantry division to capture my capitol unopposed. Argh!!! Key rule in this game: never leave your capitol ungarrisoned.

Now I had revenge on my mind. I brought my buddy Rommel on to the map and led my Libyan forces for an assault on Tobruk. I think I played about half the cards in my hand in one action round to make a maximum attack. The odds favored me heavily. If I forced Rob to retreat with Tobruk surrounded, he'd loose an entire stack of troops. The only way I couldn't win was to roll a 1 with Rob rolling a 6. Sure enough, that's what happened! No!!! Seeing the red blanket waving in front of me, I attacked again two more times with ever mounting losses (mostly assigned to my friends, the Italians, of course), but his troops held out. So, seeing British tanks on the horizon, I scurried back to the mountains to lick my wounds. I was starting to get nervous.

I still had not yet achieved revenge though, so I fought my Ethiopian legions back into supply, then captured Khartoum and again began my march to Nairobi. Then, I pulled my dream card: Egyptian Revolt. Rob had, I think, only one garisson unit sitting in Egypt, and with Khartoum in my possession I was able to activate a massive revolt across Egypt. I rapidly ran my rebels into most of the key cities of Egypt, racking up serious victory points. Rob had to spend most of the next turn burning his most powerful cards to reposition his troops to mop up my brave but doomed rebels.

While he busied himself chasing my guys around the pyramids, I busied myself stirring up revolt in Iraq. I launched a full-scale Iraqi revolt, then quickly obtained a full alliance with the Vichy French in the Levant. Next, I dropped a full German Mountain Division into Baghdad, and the game was on. I took complete control of Iraq, pushed him out of Jerusalem, then charged across the Sinai to capture the Suez canal. Victory for the evil Axis forces.

Wow, what a good game! This game definitely has a learning curve and a number of tricks. Its a game where you kind of have to know what might happen before it happens, so you can plan a defense against it in case it does. The two games we played developed very differently, so I do think there is a lot of variability and replayability. The key too the whole game is how the various events react against and counter each other and this will certainly be different in each game.

Rob played very well against me and if things hadn't gone my way during a key turn or two, he was set up to really beat up on me. I think this game is very well balanced, and I look forward to playing it again!

First Rate Games, Second Rate Player

Session report for Aug 14, 2006

I played 3 games last night. All of them were first rate, and I came in 2nd place in all of them.

One was Pacific Victory, a 2 player wargame, so "2nd place" really means "I lost." This is the third time I've played the mini-scenario, and I'm beginning to think it's not well balanced. Regardless, I think it's a good way to introduce the game w/o overwhelming new players. You use most rules, but only about 8 blocks each.

Then was Beowulf. Like many Knizia games, the more I play this game the more layers I find. There's a strong push-your-luck element, and a lot of folks are bothered by that, but I like it. Another great feature is that the theme is tightly integrated into the game, although like any Knizia game it's no simulation. Michael won, Brian and I tied, Mark came in last, but he made a good showing for his first game.

Finally, I played my first ever game of Knizia's Samuria. It's interesting, and definitely worth study. It's an elegant little strategy game that took Michael, Brian and I about 30 min to teach and play. Brian was first, then me, then Michael.

Recently I've been coming in 2nd in a lot of games. In the last 10 or so games I've played, I've won none, but come in 2nd place in about 8. Not too shabby, but not as nice as having a few victories.

What other games were played Mon? I know there was a big crowd.

ConsimWorld: Pro's and Con's

Now that I've been a member of ConsimWorld for a few weeks, I thought I would offer the following short thought:

The Best Thing about ConsimWorld:

Being able to ask detailed questions to a game's designer and the world's most knowledgeable players of that game.

The Worst Thing about ConsimWorld:

Having the game's designer, the world's most knowledgeable players of that game, and everyone see how ignorant your questions are! : Wargame Counter Scans : Simulacrum on the web

Perhaps I'm one of the last people in the world to be aware of this site, but I find it quite amazing. Currently high resolution color scans of the counters from 788 games are stored on this site for easy downloading. If nothing else, its a wonderful museum of wargames. However, as one who occasionally loses a gamepiece or two, this is an invaluable resource!

Monday, August 14, 2006

If after thirty minutes, you can't tell who's the sucker...

So renovations to my poker palace are nearly complete, and I think I've heard enough interest by now to get a regular low-stakes game going.

If you are interested, add a comment and say what nights you would be available. Right now it looks like Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday would be best (I want to avoid Friday so as not to conflict with boardgame nights at Brian's and Kirk's).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sword of Rome, Indonesia, and whatnot

I'll see everyone tomorrow. Now that our grognard quota seems to be met, time to start plotting a Sword of Rome game. This week seems booked, perhaps the 21st? (I could also be talked another CDG at some point, but Sword of Rome, as a four-player game, takes some coordination to play).

And some notes from recent games -- as it turns out, the map for Indonesia isn't quite how we've been playing it:
"The sea around Java Timur is split in two, a north half and a south half, and the two halves do not touch one another. Both the north and south halves touch the westernmost tip of Bali."
And finally, for those interested in Titan, David desJardin's invaluable strategy guide.

World of Warcraft Expansion

IMG_3355.jpg (JPEG Image, 1024x683 pixels)

Wow, look at all those WoW Expansion sets....

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Early Adoption is Smart Money

Buy now, dear gamer, or regret it later.

Okay, so here's my thesis: The widespread availability of information regarding the nature and quality of board games, coupled with the limited production runs and instability of the small companies producing the games makes it economically advantageous to be an early adopter of games. Or, in short, if you research a game enough to be reasonably sure you'll like the game and you can afford to buy the game, it is to your advantage to make the purchase the game sooner rather than later.

In days of yore (i.e., pre-mid 90's), being the first on your block to buy a game was very risky. Operating on limited information, you could easily end up with a game that wasn't worth the cardboard it was printed on. One had to rely primarily on advice from the FLGS, local friends, biased company magazines and marketing material in deciding which games to purchase. Today, with the wide resources of the gaming websites, podcasts, postings of game images, replays, and rules, and other on-line information, in most cases you can have a very good idea of whether you'll like a game before you shell out the dollars to buy it. While you'll never truly know how good a game is until its sitting in front of you on the table, the odds of a huge disappointment are dramatically less today.

Even the risky practice of pre-ordering on a P500-type of list today is heavily mitigated by the visibility and availability of designers to their gaming public through forums such as Consimworld. Companies have, in some cases, helped gamers accept this higher level of risk by offering early shipment, price discounting, and even bonus features such as extra scenarios to entice gamers into semi-blind ordering.

The risk of not picking up during its initial print run presents an economic threat of its own. A sizeable portion of games, even the good ones, are slow to be reprinted if they are reprinted at all. If you miss out on the initial print run, chances are you're going to be waiting a while or paying a significant premium. Even games which will be reprinted can experience temporary spikes in market value while they are temporarily out of print. If you wait to long to buy a game, you're probably going to pay more for it if you can still find it.

In most cases, assuming you've avoided the purchase of a stinker game, the main true cost in the purchase of a game is the transaction costs associated with the purchase (i.e., shipping, sales tax) and the opportunity cost of tying up your money in a game while you own it. Good games almost never go down in value and can in fact have huge increases in market value in a relatively short period of time, starting at the end of print runs. Even average games, assuming they are well maintained, have a good chance of fetching at least their original market value once they go out of print.

This phenomenon of prices escalating the longer the game has been released seems among the gaming hobbies to be somewhat unique to board games. In general, with video games, RPGs, and CCGs, the longer you wait to pick up a game, the cheaper it will be. After CCGs go out of print, they can usually be picked up by the caseload at deep discount prices. Computer games get cheaper until they eventually become shovelware or even abandonware. RPGs, once abandoned by their publisher, are usually archived electronically and available in the fan community.

So, while I'm sure there are exceptions to every point I've made above, in general I think it is to a gamer's advantage to buy sooner rather than later. There's many an out-of-print game I would like to get my hands on now that I just can't bring myself to buy at inflated aftermarket prices. Please note this thesis was dreamed up by me while jogging in the San Antonio heat today, so I'm sure there some logical leaps present in my reasoning. Thoughts?

Friday, August 11, 2006

The hidden gamer in my wife

I think it was Tom Vasel who recommended some time ago, that in order to get the nongaming partner more involved in your hobby to ask them to pick a game they would enjoy. So me and my wife went to our FLGS last week, and picked a couple of games that interested her for whatever reason:

1. "Alhambra....hey... looks like Carcassonne and we actually went there in July"
2. "Caribbean? Pirates? Interesting. We are from down there so why not."

A week later we got our order from TWS. Tonight we played Alhambra twice. I explained the rules which she picked up pretty quickly. Still, during the game tried to correct her subtle mistakes in a gentle way. I considered losing on purpose to not discourage her from playing HER game again, but the devil on my shoulder pushed me to give it my best. So I did. I won: 126, dummy player 9something (there are rules for a dummy player for a 2 player game), wife 82. So we decided to follow this with another round. It was pretty interesting how quickly she learned from my devious ways. I gave it my best shot again. Score for the second game: Wife 123 and a huge grin, dummy 105, the other dummy (me) 86. We'll be playing Caribbean tomorrow or Sunday...

It's all about gently nurturing the hidden gamer in her.

BGG Thread: Announcing The BoardGameGeek Awards

BGG Thread: Announcing The BoardGameGeek Awards

Vote early and vote often! I was pleased to see Hunting Party is on the ballot. The only category I would come up with 15 nominations for was "Gamers Games."

Off Topic: Alert Level

I just noticed at the bottom of our page, we've apparently risen to Elmo alert level! Please be careful out there.

Elmo: Flights from the UK
Ernie: All commercial flights
Bert: Everything else

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, 14 Aug 2006

More gaming goodness is on the agenda for Monday, 14 Aug 2006, at Dragon's Lair. Come one and come all!

Rob and I will be back to the desert with another game of Shifting Sands. To the left you can see my allied forces training for the battle. Mark and Ted are signed up to play Pacific Victory.

I hope to see everyone there!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back Again, Gaming Friday!

Well, now that the wife and hobbits are back from North Carolina, another friday night of gaming is in order! As always, RSVP in the comments.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hammer of the Scots PBEM


I know there is a lot of Hammer of the Scots interest within SABG. In case anyone wasn't aware, a Boardgame Players Association (BPA) PBEM tournament is about to begin on 1 Sep 2006.

FFG Next to Go Down the Tubes?

For the record, I'm a huge FFG fan, and I have bought almost every board game they've put out in the past year. However, my reaction to their latest announcement is a giant, "Yikes!"

I suppose from a business perspective, diversification can be a good thing, but, apparently just moving from board games to poker games was the downfall of Eagle Games. Will producing B-movies be the downfall of FFG? I'm no Roger Ebert, but to me these clips look like they grabbed a bunch of LARPers at a Con and started filming. At least they remembered to include many of the old fantasy film standbys like the mean looking orc; the pretty but sad elf maiden, etc. What do you all think?

Maybe I should go ahead and pick up my just-in-case-it-goes-out-of-print copy of Britannia sooner rather than later... In the mean time I'm keeping my fingers crossed they don't decide to give Twilight Imperium 3 the B-movie treatment...

Starcraft 2007?

Sad day for the computer/boardgamers in the group who are also into FFG's big box series.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Remember the SABG

Here is a look at Columbia Game's Remember the Alamo. They just recently posted the map. Yes, you can even see Dragon's Lair on the upper left corner. I should be getting a playtest copy soon.

Session Report Aug 7: [Insert Catchy Title Here]

I'm excited about the session last night, but I guess all my creative juices were sucked dry. Rather than wait for a catchy title to come to me, I thought I'd create a simple post and others can add on later.

The session last night was a great. I think we had 10 or 11 folks, including the elusive Kendahl in a nearly farewell appearance. We had a wargamers corner, and they would emerge occasionally for carbonated supplies, and then duck back for more action. Princes of Florence built elaborate villas, the bad-guys showed up with Cash *and* Guns, but not before the bookies had visited Winner's Circle.

Meanwhile, we had a clash of 4 Titans: Amy, Jeff, Brian, and myself. Titan was my only game of the evening. As billed, it's a monster slug-a-thon. Despite a lot of dice, it's clearly a game w/ a lot of skill and learning curve. I liked the game, and I'll play again, but not in the near future. It was a little funny/intimidating that Brian was able to keep track of our stacks better than we were. I think the strategy in this game primarily revolves around movement and recruiting on the main board. The tactical combat strikes me as much less important. I suppose that makes it more of a maneuver & recruit game than a battle game, per se.

I think there were some other games played, too, but I wasn't able to keep track.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekend of many games

I missed Friday, so someone else will have to comment about what was played. But saturday morning it was finally time...7 Ages was hitting the table once again. The players were Jon, Brian, Carlos, Mark and myself. We got a relatively late start, and things started relatively peacefully. I, as the Amazons started spreading out over eastern europe, Brian as the Hellenic greeks mainly stuck to southern europe and the mediteranean, Jon started a civ in southwest asia/the middle east, carlos grabbed the babylonians in the middle east and Mark went for the Hans, quickly dominating China.

Apparently my role for this game would be leader basher since in turn I attempted to bash Mark's Han's into submission with a well timed free state (that attempt got counterspelled aka. "shooting star"), then followed that up to attempt to bash Brian's Greeks with a pirate state across the sea in Carthage (he quashed that with the formation of the Carthaginians), failing that I gave him an outbreak of pestilence to "help" him control his exploding population, finally I turned my attentions back to Mark, sending Attila and friends on a friendly ride through the civilized portions of China.

My leader bashing? Effective. Nobody I leader bashed ended up on top at the end, and I had a nice plan to bash the new leader (Jon) ready to go into action on the next turn (pinching his offending civilization in the double vise of the amazons and the arabs). Alas, it was not to be as Mark had to return home. Also, just to let people know, they are beta testing the 7 Ages computer game and still taking applicants (I'm signing up).

After a short dinner break we returned to play a game of stage II. My memory sucks, I can't remember a single question or theme from that particular game. Maybe someone can fill in some gaps. I did manage to eek out a victory over the others.

After a somewhat longer going home and sleeping break we resumed on Sunday. Jon and I arrived to find Scott and Brian finishing up a game of starship catan. Jon loves those Alan Moon "train" games so he suggested one called Santa Fe rails. The mechanics are pretty simple, every turn you play a card or two, play a 2-6 trains, collect some money for completing links potentially and then refresh your hand. The turn order staggers ala Puerto Rico. Early on I let everyone know that Jon was running away with it as he had just taken in like 50 dollars in profit. Of course, I was horribly wrong, as the only person Jon ended up running away from was me. Scott edged out Brian on the final turn where Brian had to guess whether to give 3 points to me or 2 points to Scott and guessed wrong.

Scott had to leave, so after a quick dinner break it was time for Indonesia. I got off to a poorish start and ended up eating an early merger that I didn't want. The net result was that Brian ended up with a rubber monopoly in the duly abbreviated 2nd era. Now to the untrained eye (mine), that may have immediately tipped me off to the fact that Jon was running away with it. Thus noted, I started methodically avoiding shipping on Jon's boats.

Of course it turned out that to the eye that has brains, Brian was in fact running away with it and beat us in a pretty hotly contested end game (I think everyone was within 100 or so dollars of eachother).

I've noticed something about my ability to pick out the leader in games with hidden victory conditions: it is not so good. A quick rundown over the past month or so:
Warrior Kings: accused Ben, Ted ran away with it
Indonesia: accused Jon and Brian, Ben ran away with it
Santa Fe Rails: accused Jon, Scott ran away with it
Indonesia: accused Jon, Brian ran away with it
I guess the lesson here is if we are playing hidden victory conditions and I proclaim X as the runaway leader, we should all bash the other guy(not me though, I'm not the other guy).

Thus humiliated about my uncanny inability to judge other players standings, I suggested something with open scoring. Vinci was the choice. It was a fairly close battle until Brian got the diplomacy/medicine combo. Because of the way the timing was working out, every turn he was able to almost guarantee that his growing empire would be safe from attack. He rode that and then a late slave trading civ to victory, and while Jon and I mostly worked together to try to stop the inevitable, it was too difficult.

The two big problems with the weekend as I see it were that we didn't play nearly enough games and we didn't play for nearly a long enough time. Other than that it was great.


Friday, August 04, 2006

SABG Wargamers: Message from Headquarters

Dear potential SABG wargame players:

We've learned from hard experience some keys to a successful night of wargaming are:
  1. Commit to and schedule playing the game in advance
  2. Read and have general familiarity with the rules to the game in advance
  3. Come well fed so your brain doesn't fry
  4. Don't leave your buddies behind!
These games are complicated, take a long time to play, and represent a harder-core type of gaming hobby experience than eurogames, where you can just show up and play. Fewer different games get played, but the games that do get played are deep, rich, and engaging. We're very lucky to even have to possibility of having a small wargaming subgroup locally, so hopefully we can work together to keep it going.

Currently, we have three players who seem to be regularly interested in playing and scheduling wargames: Ted, Rob, and me. Three is a tough number, since because most (with a few good exceptions) wargames are 2-player, so this makes achieving the last bullet a tough one. We really need at least a fourth player to join us so we don't end up leaving one person out each week.

So, who wants to be player number four (or even four, five, and six; but, I'm not greedy) for Monday?

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, 7 Aug 2006: Shifting Sands and more

Join us on Monday, 7 Aug 2006, at Dragon's Lair in San Antonio for another night of board gaming fun. Rob and I will be playing the shiny new MMP game, Shifting Sands.

Bring your wargames, Eurogames, or whatever and join us for some fun!

Blood Of Noble Men

Blood Of Noble Men

This should be intriguing to SABG's block game and wargame enthusiasts! This plus GMT's upcoming Halls of Montezuma both feature our humble home town.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gaming Extravaganza weekend

It's here. Gaming gaming gaming.
  • Friday night -- 7pm to whenever
  • Saturday -- 7 Ages (10am to whenever)
  • Sunday -- 1pm 2pm to whenever [Note change!]
Friday and Sunday are whatever we agree on. RSVP in the comments.

Duel of Ages

Found this on BGG:

"I still very much enjoy this game, especially when the mix of characters leads to a game which involvs more than just running to the labyrinths over and over."

It captures my experience with the game. First time out was a blast. Second time it felt a little flat. The great fun part is the player interaction and combat, IMHO, and for whatever reason we didn't seem to have as much the second game.

I wonder about scattering random items around the board to help speed up the game a bit.

Another idea I read is to give more points for killing opponents.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

7/31 report

I got there again at 4pm expecting to find only Jeff. So I brought with me a bag full of 2 player games. But lo and behold, Simon was there too. Luckily I had Louis XIV with me. It was a well-fought game, but again I met my demise by ignoring the oh-so-easy-to-neglect coat of arms (= to 1 victory point each vs 5 for completed missions). Simon took the win by hoarding the aforementioned in the last round.

Chad, and Carlos waltzed in. Cartagena was put on the table. Simon again took the win. (Nice light filler game with a decent dash of strategy...enough to satisfy any gamer hungry for a quick snack).

Simon should have left after this streak, but instead he decided to pit his demonic hordes against mine in a game of Hecatomb. Very interesting mechanics; very reminiscent of MtG. Still, I feel that I haven't mastered deck-building with this game. I'm getting there....

Rick swung by and hosted a game of Hey that's my fish. A little after that Ted and I plunged into a tiny-but-tense scenario of Colombia Game's Pacific Victory. I liked the game a lot, not only because of the theater covered, but because it's so much different than Crusader Rex and Hammer of the Scots (no underscoring of these 2 intended by that comment though). Simon and a bunch of others played some mysterious dexterity game. Looked fun from where I was..... deep in the jungles of Singapore defending my holdings with my precious Japanese army.

'Til next Monday. This Saturday? ....still working on the logistics.