Wednesday, November 29, 2006

December First Session

Jacqui and I are hosting on the first. Jacqui will be fashionably late, go figure.

The closet has suffered 8 games traded away in the last 24 hours, but should be fine by then. Come see what's left...

Monday, November 27, 2006

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

Hooray! I beat the mad rush to post an announcement about our weekly Monday night gaming session at Dragon's Lair! I should be able to make it by around 4PM.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More War of the Ring coming...

First, let me say there's a special place in the fiery pits of Mordor for USC...

On a brighter note, I did spot this thread on BGG, alluding to not only another expansion for WotR, but also another Lord of the Rings related game from the same designers. Anyone care to try out the current expanded version in the coming weeks? Just e-mail me to set up a date.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

No pun session report

I arrived at Casa de Amy & Jeff and chatted with the hosts and Ben as others arrived. We had six, no ... seven. Luckily, we started 6 Nimmt! which could handle stragglers. By the time rules were explained, we had ten. Chad generously started collecting early; but none could withstand Ben The Cattle King, so after two hands it was all over. We then broke into two games.

I taught Die Macher. Numero Uno. The Big Fix. Players try to take control of the the German Federal Elections by managing seven regional elections. It's like being George Stephanopolous, only with a longer name.

Die Macher isn't complicated as such, but there are lots of moving parts. You've got money, trends, media, workers, contributions, shadow cabinets, party platforms, opinion polls. donations, the 'party base' and regions. Dennis had played before, but everyone else was learning as they went. I had a nice match with the first region, Bayern, also the largest single region in play. My early momentum got me nice contributions, which lead to a snowball effect. I also got several 'deals with the devil' Coalition partner offers to join in with a weaker player. A bit of luck, and having played the game before. Die Macher is now in it's third edition (although I don't think anything changed between 2nd and 3rd). Apart from language.

After that we settled in for some cuthroat chocolate making with Shoko & Co. It's an auction/management game. Players hire their employees, then jet off to the glamorous Cocoa auctions (in New York, Paris, London, etc). Then we make the bars and have a reverse dutch auction. The auctioneer names a price ("I'll buy 50 Tons of Chocolate for $30,000") and keeps raising the price until someone bites. Shoko remains the only game I can think of where you also employee salesmen, accountants, and secretaries administrative assistants. (The event cards also have lazy workers, chocolate melting heat waves, and even some sexual harassment). Again I taught several new players, and again I caught a break or two and never looked back. I have to apologize to Chad, I looked at Walt Mulder's translation later and there shouldn't be any event card on the first turn. [Chad lost some chocolate due to a random event ...] One other minor rule I got wrong ... in setting the Cocoa demand, each player can only say as many as they can hold in storage, not sixteen. In thinking about it, I mentioned I didn't like playing with the Express cards (mainly "Take that") but perhaps you do need to stop a runaway leader.

By this time things were breaking up, I pulled out Air Baron. Jeff, Amy and I just played the basic game, but now that I've got a few converts I'm sure we'll be playing again Michael. I'd write up the game, but we'll all be seeing plenty of Air Baron. Oh yes.

And other games were played, too. I know of Ra, Samurai, Power Grid, and the Director's Cut of Crokinole (now with 60 extra minutes of footage!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Just sharing the news with my gaming buds (like Ben did celebrating his laurels way back when...), I passed the Internal Medicine Boards. Now why does a board certified physician lose so much boardgaming.... I'll never know.

(raises his highball with Black Label) A toast to my gaming buds.... Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reminder Text

This Saturday Jeff and Amy are hosting gaming at their house from 11 AM until around 10 PM. Email Jeff if you need directions. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Random Notes

All of the various and sundry owners of Leonardo da Vinci have led us astray, again! From the online rules:

  1. If everyone goes to the council, the last player doesn’t get the action! (Except in two player games).
  2. You don’t refill inventions on turns 8 and 9.

As penance, owners are sentenced to translate Titan the Arena's rules into Swahili, using original diagrams only.

At a convention earlier this year, I sold a game to Sheila Davis that she’d never seen before. Damned impressive. Made my weekend, although now I wonder if she was just being nice….

Confidential to Jeff – Up the voltage. Seriously, trained professionals are standing by.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving Gaming, Friday, 24 Nov 2006

After you all have gotten over your turkey comas, black Friday midnight shopping sprees, and the celebrations of watching Notre Dame trounce USC, come join me and others at Dragon's Lair on Friday for some board gaming! The fun starts at 1000 hours.

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, 20 Nov 2006

Okay, this is a late post, but tonight there will be SABG-style board gaming at Dragon's Lair. I have Mission: Red Planet, Leonardo, and Mag-Blast 3rd edition in the trunk, and I plan on getting there around 1630 hours.

PS: For those not with a military inclination, this is a picture of a U-2 Dragon Lady, the only airplane I know of that requires the assistance of a Chevy Camaro driving at 100 mph in order to land safely.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

They can have my game when they pry it from my Sandy Claws

I see that Tom "Top Reviewer" Vasel has started another BGG Secret Santa. I'm tempted. The issue isn't giving, but building a wantlist. Most games I want are expensive (like $100+), or games I wouldn't buy but would trade for. I don't expect Santa to pony up, which means I'm getting a game I wouldn't buy ... by buying a game for someone.

I'm hard to shop for.

The reason? I buy games I want. I'm not as impulsive as younger me, but that's my curmudgeonry showing. For example, I'm tempted by some GMT offerings in their flyer, but I'm holding out. I do qualify for a 50% off item. I may go for the free counter trays. (Probably $5 after shipping). Like Jello, there's always room for counter trays. [Ben and Rob -- you guys probably qualify too, as I'm sure you noticed].

I've never gone in for math trades, or ultimate trade lists; perhaps I should. Is there an easy way to filter these? Perhaps an ultimate trade list for San Antonio? We could do that here. A swap meet would be easier. Thoughts?

In related pimpery, I'm ready to sell Successors, Totaler Krieg! (with some expansion stuff) and perhaps Pax Romana. Odds of playing are low, they are valuable, and taking up space. I'll list them on eBay next weekend unless someone shoots me an email. Games on my trade list may be sold, too.

Holiday Daydreaming

The thing I find myself most looking forward to during the holidays related to board gaming is hopefully to get some difficult-to-get-to-the-table games played. Games in particular I'm looking forward to playing:
  • East Front 2 - I don't have a copy, but I know there's several in our group
  • Descent with the new expansion - this game is just too fun not to be played more often
  • World of Warcraft with the new expansion - I found the base game to be fun, and the new cards should just make it better
  • Marvel Heroes - 'Nuff said!
  • ....and of course, Twilight Imperium 3 with the new expansion.
I think its way too early to begin scheduling, but if you're interested in any of these just let me know, and we can start up an e-mail chain.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holiday Gaming

Amy and I hosted all day gaming the day after Thanksgiving last year and it was a lot of fun. Is anyone interested in playing all day either the Friday or the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Place, date, and time will be determined by your comments plus a random factor pulled from a secret formula I found on the intraweb.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thoughts on Leonardo da Vinci

Thanks to Brian, Rob, and Al/Michael for helping me try out my newest acquisition, Da Vinci Games' Leonardo da Vinci. The drawing by the Maestro at left bears a striking resemblance to my expression as I counted up my final score and realized how totally I had been trounced.

To me the mark of a good Euro is one where it is simple to learn and play, but it takes you 5-10 plays before you really feel you're understanding how the various mechanisms all fit together. This game has several: the pre-game favor picks; the worker allocations; picking your council options; when/how to upgrade your labs; when/how to save money; and which inventions to pursue.

This is not the typical game in my collection, as there's no killing involved or even implied, but fortunately there is real resource conflict. In fact, I think the real crux of the game is the bluffing and screwage that goes on during the worker assignment phase. I found it very tempting to forget about the real work to be done back at the lab when there's so much to be done out in the city. Still, you can't be everywhere at once, so you need some form of a plan to prevail.

Anyway, I won't get too longwinded in my rambling thoughts... what did everyone else think about the game?

San Antonio Board Gamers

San Antonio Board Gamers
Gaming at the Casa de Bankler on Friday, November 17

We're again hosting gaming this Friday. Please RSVP in the comments.

Monday, November 13, 2006

BGG.Con Session Report

Check out my BGG.Con report in Geeklist form at

Sunday, November 12, 2006


In my last post, I meant Monday, not Tuesday. I'm busy with miniatures on Tuesday night. Sorry.

Don't worry about the image. I don't backstab people. I just thought it was funny. The only time I can remember actually backstabbing someone was in a game of Empires in Arms when the France player ordered me to help him attack Prussia or he would "obliterate" me. I said OK, but then didn't take part in any battles. Does that count?


Saturday, November 11, 2006

I have two old games that I've had for years but never found players. A three player game Web and Starship, an old West End game by Greg Costkyan, and Kingmaker by Avalon Hill. These would take hours to play, so it would be best to plan ahead of time. Anyone interested some Tuesday?


Friday, November 10, 2006

Atomic Fireballs and Board Games

I really enjoy the candy Boulder Games sends with their orders. The Atomic Fireballs they add to each shipment are probably my favorite non-chocolate candy of all time.

I just received Leonardo Da Vinci and the six new Runebound decks today. Anyone up for either as an early game on Monday?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gaming at Dragon's Lair, Monday, 13 Nov 2006

Come one and all to play board games at Dragon's Lair on Monday! I can get there to join in the fun as early as 10:00 AM. I'll bring a carload of games and be ready to play all day. If you are definitely planning to come, please post your projected arrival time and any game preference you might have.

Jeff suggested Struggle of Empire for the evening main course, which sounds just great to me.

BGG Reject 'R Us

While Rob (cursed be his name) goes to BGG
con, the rest of us will be here stewing. So may as well get together Friday Night for gaming.

And to explain the picture, its Dave Arnott , who will be running the treasure hunt at BGG Con. I couldn't find his most 'famous' gaming photo ... where he held up the sign saying "Welcome Internet Geeks." So if you are going, say hi to Dave. And if not, well, RSVP.

And he's wrong, by the way.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spin the Bottle -- Monday Session Report

I arrived to find the Stalwarts finishing up a game of Scepter, which probably ranks as the least surprising statement to appear on this blog. Rob had to leave, but Michael, Jon and I decided to try our fortune building Fast Food Franchises. Jon had apparently sold his soul for some luck, and soon Ice Cream Scream dominated the nation. [Just to give an example ... one event card said "The franchises in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit (or wherever) can each expand right now at half cost." All four franchises were his.]

By then Al had joined us, so we went off to San Juan. After a brief caloric interlude, we started Boomtown. By that point we had enough people to split ... it was a touch too late to play Struggle of Empires, which I will get to the table some day. Anyway, Jon and I played The Football, while the Ted, Michael, Al, Amy & Jeff visited sunny Puerto Rico. Another high-scoring affair saw me with the lead for most of the game, only to lose it in late in the second half. I scored the tying goal with about one minute left on the (hidden) clock.

After that people drifted away, so the remaining four played Indonesia. After that, we wrapped up with the most tightly themed card game ever made -- Flaschenteufel (aka the Bottle Imp). This little gem is based on the Story by R.L Stevenson, where a young man gets hold of a demon in a bottle who grants wishes. But there's a catch. You can't get rid of the bottle unless you sell it for a loss (less than you paid for it). And if you die while owning the bottle, you go straight to hell.

In the game, the cards are numbered 1-37 in various colors, the reds are dollars and are mainly in the high end, the blues are cents in the middle, and the yellows are centimes. Like all trick taking games, you have to follow suit. But the bottle has a value (it's selling price). All cards lower than the selling price are trump. If you win by trumping, you get the bottle ... and it's price falls.

It takes a few hands to get your head around the game ... and I forgot two rules. First, there is some card passing (in addition to seeding the kitty with negative points for that poor unfortunate soul). Secondly, the bottle's owner gets to lead to each trick (I don't actually remember that rule ... I may have missed it from previous plays or it may be a mistake in the player aid I saw).

In any case, after three close rounds I had eked out a narrow lead but the final round ... well, I took a lot of tricks, but it profit a man nothing ...

Monday, November 06, 2006

BattleLore Hill Giant - Early Arrival!

Hooray! My promotional Hill Giant figure for Days of Wonder's BattleLore arrived today. He sort of looks like Frankenstein in fantasy armor, weilding a big hammer. Quality of the miniature, character cards, and map hexpiece are just a notch above what I've seen in Fantasy Fight Games, which means: awesome.

Shipping the promotional figure early was very cool of DoW. Now... not to be greedy, but is the actual game coming soon? I will now spend my days wondering...

Random Thoughts on Board Games and Video Games

For France, Video Games Are as Artful as Cinema - New York Times

I wonder if they do the same thing for board game designers.... Still, pretty cool.

Lately, since real world has constrained my board game playing, I've been playing a bit more PC games, and now Michael prompted me to start seriously thinking about Final Fantasy 12... After a few months of PBEMing, I've reached the conclusion many of you immediately reached immediately: its pretty boring. I now realize, at least to me, board games are at their root a social experience. One thing I can say about playing board games on the PC is that its a good way to master the rules and decide if a game is worth buying.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gaming 11/6

Another week goes by, and as always a new Monday lurks around the corner...which means more gaming. Just posting this knowing that there has been a recent increase in people interested in joining us on Mondays, so yes, you are all welcome. We are tired of the same faces...I mean, playing styles...I mean....

bottomline, we are always up for new gamers.

I can be there as early as 11am'ish. Whoever is showing up at that time, give me a call. I have to work at 5pm though, so I should be leaving by 3pm or so. Sorry Ted...we'll do EastFront some day. I'll be playing it at BGG.CON, so i'll let you know how it goes.