Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gaming on the 3rd

Before you go to Simon's, there will be Friday Night Gaming at My Place. RSVP in the comments. And no, Rob, Jacqui won't be here this week either.

It's All Mine! Part II: 11/4

Hey all. This Saturday will mark my second and final hosting event for the masses. As before, everyone is welcome to come and can stay as long as they want. The festivities kick off at 12:30. Refreshments and leftover Halloween candy will be provided. RSVP in the comments!

It's better than good, it's log...10/30 report

As always, many hours of fun were had yesterday. I could have started even earlier, but was tired/dazed from my Sunday overnight shift.

I played:
1. Acquire: Have played about 7 times in the past, but never with true true gamers (just one 'true' before). It was a VERY different game. I used a different strategy by accident, and inched my way to second place with Jon close in third. Michael, the master card counter/stock tracker, far ahead in first.

2. Scepter of Zavandor: MUCH more enjoyable on my second time around. Definitively on my wishlist. Good brain burner.

3. T+E: Always a hit in my book.

4. Vegas Showdown: Growing on me.

5. Betrayal at house on the hill: Surprisingly close game, with Michael the invisble 6 yr old traitor (SHOCKER), winning a last bloody battle with Al. This made me want to play Arkham.

6. Boomtown: Messy, but enjoyable.

There was also Football Taktik and Attika (Brian and Jon)...

Left wanting to play: Vinci, Arkham, East Front (next Monday, Ted), Hey That's my Fish, etc. So many games, so little time.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Full Day of Gaming: 10/28 Session Report

I'm happy to report that the pseudo-Halloween gaming day was a roaring success.

We had nine different gamers present over a thirteen hour stretch. Personally, I played sixteen games.

Attendees in order of arrival:

Jeff/Amy (tie)

Games played:

Castle of Magic
Adel Verpflichtet
Traders of Genoa
Betrayal at House on the Hill
6 Nimmt!
Frank's Zoo
Once Upon a Time
Monsters Menace America

Humorous Interlude:
Doorbell rings. Ted looks out the window. "It's the postman!! Is he bringing more games?!?"

I'll not go into specific accounts since my memory is a bit fuzzy after so many great games. Post your favorite anecdote in the comments.

We hope that all who were able to come out had as much fun as Amy and I did. Those of you who couldn't make it were definitely missed. My only regret is that I managed to not play a single game with Ted all day.

Recent Tales, Future Tales

Nobody mentioned Friday night, so I'll summarize:

We played Castle, to mixed reviews. I like it, but I'm in the minority. [It's the only one in the 'small blue box' line I care for]. We traded and planted some beans. Sauron slapped the hobbits around, which was fun in a "viewing a train crash" kind of way.

Then we found out who was famous, and who wasn't. As it turns out, everyone but Jacqui knows Nibbler. And only Jacqui's partner (Jeff) could pull that name out of the bag. And the sound of one hand clapping (two fingers to the wrist) means Spider-man. FYI. As usual in any game of Celebrities, it's fun to see who doesn't know certain names. I thought Albert Pujolis (aka A-Poo, see 6:56 pm entry) got robbed. I mean, half the crowd didn't at least put the name together with baseball. I wasn't surprised, but slightly saddened, that the most decorated Marine in US history didn't ring a bell with anyone. Check out some quotes -- "We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them" or "So they've got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those bastards won't get away this time!" The lesson here-- keep getting surrounded and winning, you'll get noticed.

Tomorrow night -- our pre-Halloween gathering. Like every other week, but now with earlier sunset!

As for last monday, I wrote my review. In Haiku. No need to add more syllables here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gaming on Friday 10/27

You'll be done with work. Time for gaming.

RSVP in comments

San Antonio Board Gamers

San Antonio Board Gamers
SABG-Con MLK weekend

I looked at the cost for renting a conference room for the MLK weekend (Jan 12-15). The cost will be around $150-200/day. It doesn't look good to host at a hotel, but we're probably be willing to host at our house. Our kids will probably want to play and/or I'll figure out something else to do with them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I think it would be fun to have a quick tournament.

The languishing Twilight tournament taught me that the event should be done in a single evening. I'm suggesting we'd have 3 rounds in a night, changing groups.

Therefore I suggest we should pick a game with these characteristics:

1. Plays 3-5 players
2. The group owns several copies
3. Should play in 45-60 min
4. Light and fun enough to play 3 times in a row

Two games that come to mind are San Juan and That's my Fish.

Does anyone else think this is a worthy idea?

Halloween Gaming!! Sort of!!

Any day special enough to have greeting cards published for it, or special enough for postmen and Air Force colonels to get the day off is special enough for its own organized gaming extravaganza.

Amy and I are hosting all-day gaming October 28th. Roughly 10 am to midnight.

Don't expect decorations, costumes, or horror movies. Do expect games games games. I suppose some Halloween-themed games, like Fearsome Floors, might break out. Or we could play Phase 10. I can't think of anything scarier than that.

More details will be forthcoming. I'm posting this a bit early to make sure there's enough interest. Post opinions in the comments.

Dennis/Rick: Tell that "other" group you game with that they're invited, too.

Oct 23 Session Report: Night began with a Bang!

I arrived about 6:45 or so to find many guys on a food run. There were 7 of us, and after a little discussion we settled on Bang using Jeff's copy of the expansion Fistful of Cards. We had a deadly rule from the expansion wrong due to strange phrasing, but we got it fixed. The first game ended in the first turn, so we played again. I think everyone enjoyed it a lot. The outlaws won the first game, then the sheriff & deputies took the laurels.

I've had very mixed success with Bang. If folks are loose, social, and fast, it's lots of fun, but I've had some games that were quiet, slow, and took far, far too long. I'm willing to keep trying. Brian and I both bought copies of Fistful of Cards which I had confused with High Noon. I already have Fistful, and if someone wants my copy let me know. High Noon was a very small printing and is somewhat hard to find.

We dropped down to 5 players and went for Beowulf. There was lots of risking, lots of wounds and scratches, and generally a good time. Poor Rob had terrible luck and actually ended the game with a negative score. Despite his sufferring he held in like a trooper. It's such a rush when anyone wins a critical risk, and several times people got 3 symbols from their risks. That push-your-luck element embedded in a bigger strategic scenario is a blast in my book (though as Rob showed it can bite you badly). While risking is central, there's a clear elements of both long-term planning (how will you handle the dragon battle?) and immediate tactics (how to bid this auction). I like this game quite a bit. I think Brian won and Michael took second.

Finally we played China. I dreaded it as Brian explained the rules, but I enjoyed the game play. You try to achieve majorities of either houses or emissaries in various areas. I did OK in first half of the game, but terrible in the second half of the game. I came in last, but I enjoyed the game anyway and I would play again. I forget who won.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Twilight Imperium 3 Expansion Details

This article gives a lot of good information, and the picture is even better... Hopefully we can get it on the table over the holidays.

Weekend Report

Does it date me that my brain inserted "with Dennis Miller" after my title rather than "with Colin Farrell" or "with Tina Fey and ________"? Probably.

Two SABG events this past weekend: Friday Night Gaming was at our place. Michael and Simon joined us. We got things started with a videogame: Mario Party. It's a boardgame in videogame form. Everyone was leading at some point except for Simon. The completely random game mechanics handed the game to Amy.

We headed upstairs after that to play a non-luckfest, actual cardboard-and-plastic boardgame: Taj Mahal. This is the most fiddly Knizia I can think of. There's twelve rounds which each consist of six simultaneous auctions. Michael and Simon were neck-and-neck the whole game. I was doing something else during the final scoring (I was so far back that it didn't matter for me) and I missed who actually won.

Lowenherz was next on the table. Amy and I have played this Teuber creation at least half a dozen times, but I think this was the first time we didn't screw up a rule. Suboptimal play by just about everybody handed Michael a region so huge that it was mathmatically impossible for us to catch him, so we called the game early. (We were about 80% done.)

Finally, we played Democrazy. Fluxx with voting. Uggh. (And I like Fluxx.) I knew it would be chaotic, but I thought it would be fun chaos. Amy mentioned afterwards that it might be better with more than four (the minimum number that can play).

Fortunately, bad games (except Taj Mahal) can still lead to some good times.

Saturday at Simon-Con (tm) saw Ben, myself, Michael and Dennis. Ben and Simon were wrapping up a game of Roma(?) when I arrived. We then let Simon destroy us in a game of Hey! That's my Fish! while we waited for Michael. With Michael, we had four and four at Simon's means Crokinole. Everyone but Simon was a newbie and our suboptimal flicking showed it.

When Dennis arrived we broke out Knizia's Lord of the Rings (with the Friends and Foes expansion). Simon and Michael claimed they they owed Sauron a good solid kick in the teeth. Now they owe him two solid kicks in the teeth. We were playing well/correctly, but freakish tiles draws overcame us. On one scenario board, Michael took our first and only turn. He drew six (or more?) tiles before hitting a 'safe' one. We managed to not be devoured by Sauron (well, most of us) on that board and fended off a horde of Foes, but that left Sauron on the '6' space of the corruption track, and the three remaining hobbits on the '5'. We handed Sauron the ring early on the next scenario board.

Ben had to leave, and since that left us with four, we went back to Crokinole. The newbies were visibly improving, but were still outclassed by Simon and Dennis. We got in two games before I had to call it a day, and the non-Jeff team won both.

Remember - Gaming at Jeff and Amy's next Saturday. I'll post another reminder later this week.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Help a brother gamer

I just created a geeklist called "Do you feel lucky, punk?" about games that have an element of push-your-luck. Not "luck" but "push-your-luck."

My request is this: check out the list. If you like it, give it a thumbs-up. If you don't like it, no problem.

Geek lists are pretty competitive these days, and w/o a few thumbs-up this list will be lost in the dustbin. If the list truly sucks, then it belongs in the dustbin. I just hope it doesn't get there because no one reads it.

Oh, and I plan to bring Ra, Beowulf, and War of 1812 tomorrow, plus a few other games.

Assuming, of course, I don't get any last minute homework. Jobs are so... pesky.

Taking Brian's suggestion, here's the link to my first ever list.

Just another monday!

I'll be able to pull away from my latest BSW find. Barely. Actually, with a full week since my last gaming, I'm ready to go. Reasons you should go:

1) Will I bring Air Baron and Struggle of Empires, or have they been snubbed so brutally they dare not show up again?

2) What will the Mystery Game be?

3) It's our annual "Post-Essen" game day! None of us went, so everyone should be there.

4) Is everyone tired of bitching about Tanga? Or can we complain some more?

These questions and more will be answered...if you show up tomorrow!

(At some point, I'd be looking for one of those CDGs again. Sword of Rome, perhaps?)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Night Gaming - Brian By Proxy

No blog entry/invite from Brian for the normal Friday night session yet. If he posts later and he and Jacqui want to host, then we'll game at Casa de Bankler. Otherwise, Amy and I will host. RSVP in the comments.

We'll start at 7 PM. Email or post if you need directions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If I could wish to be anyone...

... I would be Rick Thornquist...

Essen 2006 day 1

Off Topic: Halloween Fun and Games

I hope others will find this puzzle interesting and fun. I have 40 of the 50 films identified, but the last ten or so seem to be real head scratchers. I think I figured out a couple more while jogging today, which seems to be where I do my best thinking...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's All Mine! Simon-Con 10/21 & 11/4

Well, I got the house all to myself for the next whole month (!) and have decided to host on two Saturdays: the one right before Jeff's Mega Halloween Game Fest Day (tm) and the one right after. Since I value my sleep a little more than Jeff, the festivities will start a little before noon. Everyone is welcome to come and can stay as long as they can stand.

The main events for this Saturday's Mini Simon Con will be:

  • Heroscape And My HS Civ Builder Homebrew
  • Crokinole On My New, Sexy Board
  • Possibly Beer Bottle Zendo (Drinking Won’t Be Required)
  • Ye Olde Standard Euros
  • Loopin’ Louie
  • The Usual Party Game Gamut
  • And Anything Anyone Else Brings (Except Scepter, Keep That At Home...)

Reply in the comments for RSVP and directions. And Jeff, you owe me licensing fees for that trademark. I take cash and Paypal. No money orders please.

Victoria Cross, 16 Oct 2006

Last night the fierce Zulu chieftan Mark led his angry mob of 4,000 warriors against my 100 brave British soldiers defending the small camp at Rorke's Drift in South Africa, recreated in Worthington Games' Victoria Cross. Billed as a light block wargame playable in under two hours, Mark and I decided to bring it out for a test drive.

The situation in this game is that the Zulu player has 90 strength points of warriors vs. roughly 40 strength points of British troops. Also, at the start of each of the 16 turns, any Zulu strength points that have been killed in the previous turn are replaced, forming an unstoppable horde. The British have a single overworked doctor who can heal 2 strenght points per turn in one space on the map. Not good! Complicating the situation is that the hospital is full of wounded soldiers and the British must carry these wounded chaps to safety before its burned to the ground. The Brits also have to protect their water supply and their animal pen, all of which seems overwhelming for the thin red line.

On the British side things are helped a bit by the fact that they were led by that most elite of all military professions, a civil engineering officer. Hence, their defenses are quite strong. The British get to shoot at the Zulus before they close for bloody melee, and even then the British have a melee advantage due to the walls surrounding the camp. The British leaders also provide bonus abilities to their troops like the ability to volley fire and bayonet charge.

So, the game we played essentially involved Mark throwing his horde repeatedly at me only to have me blast each wave into oblivion. However, among the pile of bodies there was an ever increasing number of British redcoats. Mark quickly burned down my hospital, but I was able to get everyone out alive. I quickly found the worst thing the British can do is to allow the Zulus to close to melee range. It is far better to give up ground and keep the range rather than to try to fight the horde hand-to-hand. I found it very tempting to try to hold the line against the horde to keep them out of my compound, and I even launched a valiant bayonet charge or two. The problem is, as the British player, you feel the loss of every single strength point. Charging headlong into 40 Zulu warrior strength points with 4 brave Brits and an officer may be brave and glorious, but it is rarely worth the cost.

Eventually, the attrition inflicted by the countless Zulus was too much to overcome. On the second to the last turn, my final holdout force was overwhelmed with a single brave British officer guarding the wounded and defending the final redoubt. Mark's warriors charged in and.... well... it was just ugly. I asked Mark if he felt guilty for what he had just done. Oh, the humanity!

My overall assessment is that this is a fun, closely balanced, yet bloody game. I honestly thought I was going to hold Mark off about midway through the game, but the body count just kept growing too fast. The game is a dicefest, with probably several hundred die rolls resolving gunfire and melee. I'd say this is a good, light wargame, best appreciated when you are in the mood for death and destruction with minimal brain power usage.

Hail to the Chief!

Our long lost pal, Kendahl, met the Commander in Chief recently... Kendahl, we miss you in San Antonio!

Post your humorous photo captions in the comments....

Session Report Oct 16: What Happened?

I had some last minute homework, so I had to skip last night. What happened?

I did manage to get in a game of Through the Desert with Meredith. It's a decent game of "tile placement" (camel placement?), but it lacks the interest of T&E or Samurai.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

expecting more....

Anyone else disappointed with what Tanga ended up being?


Dragon's Lair, Monday, 16 Oct 2006

I think I will be able to make it to DL tomorrow night, which means it will be another day or so before I get the Dune maps printed for Jon and Rob. Who else is coming? I can be there safely by 1700 hours.

I'll play whatever, but there are a lot of two player games I've been wanting to play, like Lock 'N Load, Victoria Cross, Wilderness War, Blue Moon (the card version), etc. Of course, there's a lot of multi-player stuff I'd love to play. I do hope to try Scepter of Zavandor sometime. Please reply to this post if you're coming and are interested in playing something in particular.

I'm getting close to having a pile of wooden Dice Towers constructed, which I'll give away to various members of SABG who want one and pass a suitable feat of skill/geekness. The first will go to the first identifier of the dragon pictured above. You also have to name his slayer. No Googling, please!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Spielbox magazine: Der Knizia Almanach

Funagain Games: Spielbox magazine: Der Knizia Almanach I

Apparently an expansion for Blue Moon City will be included in this issue, adding a couple new variant buildings.

Discussion and description for the expansion is here: Link.

BattleLore | Days of Wonder

BattleLore | Days of Wonder

Score one for Days of Wonder's marketing department. I just pre-ordered my copy direct through DoW at full retail plus shipping, but with the promotional figure.

Rob and I did actually discuss pre-ordering the game through Dragon's Lair with the store owners last week, but we didn't get a very reassuring response. Their response was something like, "well... maybe... we'll have to see what we can do... we've already placed our store order for two copies...." I told them members of our group would most likely be interested in ordering a few copies if they could guarantee us the promotional figure, but this didn't seem to get them too excited. I get the impression, despite Dragon's Lair's relatively good inventory of board games, that they aren't too clued into the board gaming hobby.

Anyway... in the mean time, I need to play some Memoir and C&C: Ancients...

BattleLore teaser . . . revealed!

Earlier I mentioned And if BattleLore contains one idea that Ricard Berg mentioned, it may be brilliant and Rob asked what it was. I coyly deferred, but I see via the BattleLore blog a confirmation.

The idea: For every "Miss" you roll, you gain a token. You spend these to cast spells, etc. Of course, you can roll a bunch of the wrong symbols and miss (rolling Green banners against Red Troops), but I loved that idea when I first heard it.

If you pre-order Battle Lore, you get bonus stuff (DL should be able to take pre-orders, or you can go via DoW). I'm tempted ... but I sold my copy of C&C:A, [I'd sell Memoir '44 if anyone is interested.] On the other hand, I'd like to play more Battle Cry. So ... will this be a play once and then sell, or a keeper?

Am I encouraging the industry by buying another fantasy themed game? ["No more bleedin' 'obbits!"]

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Tanga - One Big Huge Fetchin' Mystery

So, is anyone in the group participating in this? I've solved a grand total of one puzzle so far, and I must admit that I apparently suck at these. Hopefully someone in our fair group will bring home some loot.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gaming Friday the 13th

Oooh. Spooky. Jacqui and I are hosting.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10/6 session report

I was surprised to see that Ben and I were the only ones that showed up. That was kinda my suspicion, so I only brought 2 player games.

Catan the Card game: I was pleasantly surprised. This game does a LOT more to original Settlers, than San Juan did for Puerto Rico. But it doing that much more, IMO, it stops really resembling the original Settlers. San Juan adds more but still retains PR's 'magic'. It is good game with cool mechanics. The fact that it barely resembles the original Settlers, doesn't detract from it though. It actually adds a lot to modernize this crowd favorite classic.

I'll probably do better next time around. There just a LOT more things to do, and to keep an eye on: random game-altering events, somewhat different ways to get victory points, etc. Plus I miscalculated the value of one of the victory point conditions in this game. In original Settlers you have the victory points for Largest Army and Longest Road. In the card game, there is one for Largest army (which gives you a victory point, AND an extra free resource occasionally), and the most 'commerce-type' buildings (which also gives you a victory point and can give you a free resource occasionally.....BUT! this resource comes from your opponent's stash). My game really slowed down as Ben kept stealing resources from me by having the latter. By the third time he stole stuff from me, it was somewhat late to recover and build enough 'commerce' buildings to steal some of his.

Jambo: Still not getting bored with this game. Like Blue Moon City, I like this game because of the combos you can come up with. I won by a LOT, but to be fair, this is a game were you need to know the cards and its 'flow'.

LOTR Confrontation: It's received some flak lately, but I still enjoy it because of its simplicity and speed of play. This time we tried adding the 'extra' special cards. We both secretly picked 2. The game was WAY better with these. They add a good level of surprise that the regular game lacks (because you can easily calculate what cards your opponent has). Ben won, but it was PAINFULLY close. Frodo bit it early, and Sam was knocking on Mordor's door before Chelob returned to her lair to enjoy some Frodo stew.....hairy feet and all.

Senjutsu: Mix a bit of Stratego and a Samurai theme, and voila.....a truly enjoyable sleeper of a game. I haven't heard much about 'Salvador Games', but this is a truly enjoyable fun little game.

We need to bring more 2 player gems to the table.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

House to Myself, Saturday October 14

My wife will be in Pennsylvania for her sister's (second) wedding this coming Friday through Sunday. Which means I have the house to myself on Saturday for all-day gaming, grilling, and/or poker. Reply in the comments if interested.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Columbus Day Gamefest, Monday, 9 October 2006

Columbus Day (aka the Day of Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela) is almost here! This is the holiday each year where I give thanks for my government job that gives me a free day off on such occassions. I can think of no better way to commemorate Columbus' arrival in the Bahamas than to spend the day board gaming. I hope to organize gaming starting at 1000 at Dragon's Lair, assuming they're not closed for the holiday. Chime in if you're interested in joining me.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Scott, Jon and Michael joined Jacqui and I, and we opened up with Power Grid. It was Scott's first game, but everyone else had played. I suspect Power Grid may be the most widely played Euro around here. It hasn't "hit the table" at my house in the last few months, but I've played 5-10 times since moving. It's one of the few '10s'. [I still need to play the expansion maps more]. We played in the US.

The early game saw a pause, as the plant market clogged with inefficient plants early. Michael suffered the most, with three '1' plants. Jacqui had good plants, but was in the south-central area with more expensive cities. Scott was in the Northeast with myself ... he had better plants (the 15 that powers 3 cities for two coal, vs my 10, which only power two), but I was on the inside which gave me more expansion room. Methane and uranium prices plummeted, making more powerstations palatable. I got the 24 (two methane for 4 cities) and claimed all the open cities in the area, to trigger stage two. Jacqui won the 3 Garbage for Six cities (30) at a premium, but then power plant market flooded and everyone picked up a good plant relatively cheaply. Everyone had a nice cash reserve, so the second slots filled up in two turns. But with all the plants being bought, the final stage hit. Michael built to 14 cities cheaply (15 ends the game with five players), but was still behind the curve on powerplants. I had 15 capacity, but a few dollars short of 15 cities. I decided to claim 14 cities and risk a resource shortage on the final turn. Just to be safe, though, I didn't fire all of my plants.

In the last turn, the auction for the 50 (power six cities for free) went a bit, and everyone upgraded their plants a bit. My plant upgrade wasn't great (increasing my total from 15 to 16), but it was cheap and I only had to build two cities. Everyone else spent a bit more on plants and cities. Scott had the capacity for 17 cities, but could only get to 16, and I had an extra $10 to eke out the win. Considering how often I've played, and that was his first game, a very good showing.

Then it was time for Stage II. Scott was winning when he had to leave, and the final score barely edged his total (earned two cards earlier!). And the high score wasn't mine, so I have no problem declaring him the moral victor.

So, only two games, but ones I rate highly.

And now looking ahead for Monday, I'll be at DL after lunch. It sounds like people are going to be playing Vampire and other small-mid range games. But given that we could start at 1pm, is it time for something meatier? Sword of Rome again? 7 Ages? I also have Successors, Die Macher. I could go for shorter games, but if we've got the time and crowd...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vampire... through eurogamer eyes.

To keep with the spirit of this month....some rambling

Some geeks are into zombies. Others into werewolves. From the realm of undead creatures I've always been interested in vampires.....be it in a movie (from the cheesy and classic The Lost Boys, to the somewhat overhyped Underworld), games, Halloween (the costume I had last year in my house party), etc.

So of course, as I've said before, I've been interested in Vampire the Masquerade for a long time, but have never found the time, energy, drive, etc to play the pen and paper RPG. The CCG I had in the back of my mind for a while, but could never quite get into it. Now, just this week I realized that I had been looking at it in the past with my fairly narrow Magic the Gathering eyes from back in college. Back then that was all I played, and that was all I enjoyed: you play resource cards, you cast creatures, you attack your opponent. The card interactions provide complexity enough.

Vampire the Eternal Struggle (VTES) was not as straightforward. It involved more....lots more. And plus, combat, what I liked the most in MtG, didn't seem as straightforward. Too much was going on before you could move to combat. So I dropped it.

Now years have passed, and I've matured as a gamer. My tastes have expanded. I now look for different things in games. So, just this week out of curiosity, I bought a "starter kit" for VTES third edition..... and was floored by the cool mechanics it has. In a nutshell, here are the things that I appreciate now thanks to my new eurogamer eyes:

1. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: At its core, this is a resource management game more so than MtG. In this game, each player (Methuselah or head vampire) has 30 blood counters (how cool does that sound). You lose all those, you lose. They represent your political influence, as well as your life points. These are used to cast spells, get retainers, allies, and gain influence over vampires that will do your bidding. But using these points means having less life points left too. Once you commit the amount required to bring a minion into the game, the committed blood counters now become the minion's hit points/vampire age/experience. But again, now you as the head vampire are weaker with that many less counters. There are many other things you can buy, trade, do, gain, lose, etc counters with that should lead to many nailbiting moments in the game.

2. POLITICS: There's not only combat, but there is a decent amount of politics. There are political cards that can change things in the game and/or affect opponents in a way determined by the player "calling the referendum" (ie playing a political card). Depending on the vampires you control, and their political titles, you have get a set number of votes. Kinda reminds me of Twilight Imperium and the political role. Pretty sweet. Of course, there are some clans that are stronger politically than in combat, but can do as much damage. The game also adds a sort of forced allegiance with the player in front of you (assuming you are playing with 4), because the player to your left is your prey (your main target) and conversely the one on your right is your predator. This should lead to some interesting negotiating.....I scratch your back, you scratch mine. But then once we are down to 3 players....

3. Combat: Simple and cool. It's fast and dynamic. Basically any action taken by an enemy's vampire can potentially be stopped with combat (if you meet certain requirements). Once combat is declared, range, special abilities, spells, item cards are thrown in the mix to determine the outcome. Unlike MtG, if a creature takes hits, it loses its blood counters (and doesn't just "heal them up").

  • "ok well my vampire is using Flash because it's got the Celerity discipline, and is now in long range"
  • "ok cool, in that case, I'm hurling this fence door at your vampire" (adding 2 more points of damage)
  • "oh really? Well, I'll use...." etc.
4. Theme (Ancient vampires trying to spread their influence in a city), the clans (they have very different philosophies, combat strength, political strengths, weaknesses, etc), the art (ok, not the best, but it does the job), etc.

The darkish theme may not appeal to everyone. Still, looking forward to trying it out...

Off Topic: Basement Arcade

Jeff Kinder's Basement Arcade

My wife and I each have one room in our house dedicated to our various hobbies and interests. I'm not sure I would ever go this far, but it is inspiring! I wonder what the board gaming equivalent would look like....

Friday Daytime Gaming, 6 Oct 2006

Anyone up for some daytime gaming on Friday? Shoot me an e-mail or post a reply to this post if you'd like to set something up. Apologies to Boulder Games for duplicating this picture, but I never realized it was from pottery until I spotted it this morning.

Wilderness War, 4 Oct 2006

Jon and I sat down to tackle a game of Wilderness War yesterday. It was Jon's first game and my second face-to-face game. I've played three times previously via PBEM, but as I found out the face-to-face experience feels much more intense and dynamic due to the quick decisions you need to make. Jon took the French and I took the Brits for the Anno Mirabalis tournament scenario which lasts three years (1756-1759; six game turns), representing the core of the French-Indian War conflict. We spent close to an hour getting settled, going over the rules, and setting up, then jumped into what would be a roughly 3-hour game.

Jon quickly mastered the core concepts of the game and launched an extremely effective campaign of Indian raids up and down the colonies, virtually devastating the south. I think at one point he was up by +7 VP, and he only needed +11 for autovictory. I screwed up in royal fashion by allowing my British army to suffer attrition during the first winter, then Jon hit me with small pox as well. He then worked the politics of the game to turn the provincial assemblies to reluctant, removing a good portion of my colonial troops. Things were looking grim.

Luckily, fortune did swing my way halfway through the game. I was able to bring my best general, Wolfe, onto the board along with a big pile of angry Highlander troops ready to kick French butt. I marched my stack up the Hudson Valley, beating back the scrappy French general Montcalm and his rag-tag bunch of Indians, Marines, and guerillas all the way to Montreal. Jon played an excellent fighting retreat, making me burn tons of cards to keep him contained. He cut my supply numerous times when I became overly aggressive, and I had to backtrack to keep him in check, burning precious actions.

In the end, the Brits prevailed, but as is common on first plays, the game gets an asterix. I screwed up one rule that, though I don't think had a major effect, did help me. Amhearst, a +1 leader, outranks Wolfe, a +2 leader, so he actually should have been in command of my mega-stack. So, I should have taken only a +1 modifier on some key battles, which might have made the difference on this very closely fought game. This was totally my oversight, so I am going to concede the game to Jon.

Overall, I think the game is very tightly crafted and exciting. The different advantages and disadvantages of both sides seem well represented, and I do appreciate a game with this much meat being playable in 3 hours (or even less with familiarity). I look forward to future plays.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gaming Friday, Oct 6th

After seeing the confused scramble last week, Jacqui and I feel a moral duty to host this friday. RSVP in the comments.

BGG Thread: Hunting Party Give Away Contest

BGG Thread: Hunting Party Give Away Contest (Worldwide)

This looks like fun. It is great to hear from the wonderful folks at Seaborn Games! I hope they're selling truckloads of Hunting Party.