Saturday, June 30, 2007

Machine Guns, Battle Axes, and Cute Pandas

Chris and I formed up for duty at 1000 hours at Dragons Lair to run FFG's new big box game, Tide of Iron, through the paces. Though Chris had played once before against Steve, and I had read the rules twice, we were still a bit intimidated by the beast. We picked the second of the two introductory "early bird" scenarios, depicting the Americans trying to force three ammo-laden halftracks through German lines and over a bridge to safety in just six short turns.

We rolled for sides, and I was awarded with the green forces of goodness. Chris deployed his evil grey forces, including two nasty machine gun teams, a bunch of riflemen and elite veterans, as well as two specialized anti-tank squads. Besides my three halftracks, I had a mortar team and a fairly good sized contingent of infantry, including my own share of elite troopers.

On turn one I boldly ran forward to seize a couple nearby objectives, discounting the fact that Chris had his well-oiled machine guns siting in Op Fire mode, ready to mow my boys down. I made it to my objectives, but two of the four squads I sent to do the job were splattered all over the green French grass. Lesson learned! From then on I was careful to respect the power of the German MG.

I implemented a strategy of first laying down fire from long range using the heavy MGs mounted on my halftracks to pin down Chris' troops. I would then follow-up with a mortar barrage to further suppress defenders in the key areas I was after that turn. Finally I would rush my boys forward out of the woods to do a close assault on the panicked defenders. I was able to orchestrate this sequence two times, which succeed in clear a nice path to the bridge for me.

Chris made several valiant attempts to reinforce his beleaguered forces, but I was able to cut them down with halftracks as they marched on the board. Thankfully I was able to sabotage his heavy weapons team (i.e., mortar) reinforcement team before they were able to deploy. I was also, just barely, able to keep his anti-tank teams from getting in range of my ammo carrying halftracks.

So, after about 2.5 hours of play the Americans were able to declare victory, which seems only fitting for the 4th of July holiday season. Chris put up a very spirited defense and did an excellent job teaching me the finer points of the game and let me roll back more than one stupid move. I had a great time, and I look forward to many more plays of Tide of Iron in the near future!

Taking a mind cooling break, we decided to try out 2-player Zooloretto. This game is pretty much Coloretto with a fair bit more going on in terms of building a zoo, breeding your creatures, and managing concession stands. Chris somehow mastered the art of sparking uncontrollable animal romance and soon baby critters were spawning in almost every pen of his zoo. I forget the final tally, but I think Chris pretty much doubled my score. This is a short, light, fun family-style game with a terrific theme. I look forward to playing a full five-player game. We didn't play with any of the expansions yet, but they all seem to add nice features to the game, and the petting zoo in particular almost seems like an effective mini-patch to the game.

Lastly we played Runebound: Sands of Al-Kalim. I'll keep this short, but I'd say this is, hands down, the best version of the Runebound system I've yet played. Its short, very interesting, fun, and even the losing player has an epic journey through the game. FFG really added innovative mechanics to the base system to make this a very fascinating adventure! I was able to squeak out a win in the last turn, but the game could have gone either way.

Many thanks to Chris for a fantastic way to end the drought in my gaming life. My thanks also go to Jon and Steve for stopping by to help add to the fun.

On one interesting side note, I don't think I remember SABG ever dropping as much cash in DL as I saw today. Chris and Jon injected Star Wars Pocketmodel crack into their veins; Steve picked up Epic BattleLore; and I purchased the new World War 2 version of Wings of War.

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Next Sat? this like..... on?

Anyone planning on gaming next Saturday? Yes, I know it's early, but I have to plan this things ahead of time.

I might be driving to SA on Friday evening. I just got a box with AoEIII (yes, finally gave in), Zooloretto, Epic BL, Battles of the Third Age (had to take advantage of Thoughthammer's 4th of July sale), and Hive. Caylus Magna Carta may be here by then too. So wrong.... my collection is closing in on 100.

Speaking of wrong....

Friday, June 29, 2007

You May Fire When Ready! Saturday Gaming, 30 June 2007

Is it Saturday yet? I can hardly wait. Although I was able to get a small taste of gaming last night, it only served to make me even more hungry for a return to board gaming.

Chris and I have made tentative plans to play Tide of Iron (which plays 2-4), but I'm sure there will be room for lots of other things on the agenda as well, perhaps with multiple tables. Unfortunately my ability to host is somewhat limited at the moment, so I suggest we capture private room(s) at DL at 10:00 hours (unless someone wants to do the honors).

I may have time / energy to digest one more of my new games prior to Saturday, most likely either the Warrior Knights expansion or Colosseum. If I do, I'll bring whichever one that is. Zooloretto is scampering its way to my house, but it might not make it here by the weekend.

Anyone else interested in joining us? If so, what would you like to play?


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Week #2 -- Tigers @ Yankees

After I had finished running the Tigers against Jon, Chris took over as manager (while Ted is busy) to visit the house that Ruth built. I can't do a play by play anymore ...

Game one had Kenny Rogers starting against Randy "I'm not in Arizona anymore" Johnson. The Yankees got a run in the 2nd (of a Giambi double and Cairo Triple), but then the Tigers scored two in the 3rd and 4th (one off an A-Rod error).

In the bottom of the 6th, Damon drew a walk, followed by an Rodriguez homer. Then, after Cabrera popped out, Sheffield got a solo HR to send Rogers to the dugout (replaced by Ledezma). The Tigers get a run in the top of the 7th (a Monroe HR), but the Bombers scored another three in the bottom of the 7th, to go up 7-5. Detroit got another unearned run (again due to A-Rod) in the 8th, but Rivera came in to shut Detroit down, striking out two batters to defuse a one-out runners on 1st and 2nd situation.

Then the Yankees batted around (stranding 3, but three more runs). Rivera took out the 2-3-4 of the Tigers for the save.

Game 1
DET -- 6R, 7H, 1E
NYY -- 10R, 12H, 3E

Wang gets the Win (7 1/3IP, 7H, 4ER (2 Unearned), 3BB, 3Ks
Rivera gets the save (1 1/3 IP, 0H, 0BB, 2Ks)

Rogers gets a No Decision (5 1/3IP, 6H, 4ER, 2BB, 1K)
Ledezma gets the Loss (2 1/3 IP, 5H, 6ER, 3BB, 1 SO)
Grill (1/3 IP, 1H, 1BB)


Game two featured Jaret Wright vs Justin Bonderman.

In the second game, the Yankees were up 5-0 after 3, only to have the wheels come off in the 5th. Casey singled, then Inge lined out, Santiago struck out. Then a walk, single, double, homerun (sending Wright to the showers), a double, another HR, and a merciful groundout.

Detroit up 7-5.

The Yankees got a run in the bottom of the inning, to narrow the gap.

Scott Proctor (replacing Wright) then turned on the heat, not allowing a hit during the 6th, 7th and 8th (and a single walk). The Yankees got a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie, and then went ahead in the bottom of the 8th.

Out came Rivera, and earned his Master Sergeant rank (Three up, Three down) for the Save.

Pitchers Lines
Wright (ND) -- 4 2/3 IP, 8H, 5ER, 1BB, 2K
Proctor (W) -- 3 1/3 IP, 2H, 2ER, 1BB, 3K
Rivera (2 Saves) -- 1 IP, 0H

Bonderman (L) -- 7 2/3 IP, 13 H, 8 ER, 3BB, 6K, 1HBP
Rodney -- 1/3 IP

So the Tigers fall to 1-3, and the Bronx Bombers live up to their name, scoring18 runs in 16 innings.


Raining Here, Clear in Detroit!

"After yesterday's rain delay, the A's are back here in Detroit. Nate Robertson pitching in the top of the 1st. He walks Swisher in the lead off. Payton's up ... well hit down the middle for a single, Swisher goes to 3rd. Next up is Jason Kendall. Kendall hits a deep double, Swisher makes it easily ... Payton stops at 3rd."

"This has shades of yesterday, but at least Verlander got to two outs before getting lit up."

"Hoo-boy. True. Robertson walks Frank Thomas. Next up is Milton Bradley, who unloaded that deep homerun yesterday. He strikes out swinging at a wicked curve and limps back to the dugout."

"Eric Chavez comes up, and grounds into the double play to end the inning. Robertson survives a scare."


"And Robertson strikes out Scutaro to bring us to the bottom of the sixth. After a shaky 1st inning, he's really calmed down, but the Tigers hitters haven't done much against the A's ace, Barry Zito."

"Zito walks Granderson. Next up is Monroe, who had a solo shot last night. Well hit down the middle, that's a double. Polanco grounds out, runners hold. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out. Ordonez steps up to the plate. He takes the 1st ball, swings at the next pitch and .... It's gone! Three run shot for Ordonez. Zito's walking back and forth, mumbling to himself. Next up is Guillen -- a deep double! Zito's looking shaky."

"A called Ball-4 against Pudge Rodriguez ... Zito tried to get tricky. Next up is Casey, who grounds into the 4-6-3 double play. Zito gets out, but the Tigers are up 3-1."


"Bottom of the 7th, Tigers still up by 2. Zito walks Inge."

"I don't know why he hasn't been pulled yet."

"Well, he's vulnerable, but not tired, according to the Tiger's pitching coach."

"Santiago bunts! The tigers play small ball for their third insurance run, and Inge makes it to second. Sacrifice bunt for Santiago. Next up ... Granderson. He grounds weekly to the shortstop and is thrown out. That would have been a routine double play .... but Inge was at second."

"Monroe's next ... a hit down the 1st base line. Inge rounds the corner and makes it home!"

"Polanco steps up to the plate. He's been quiet against the A's this series, only earning one walk. Here's the pitch ... Deep shot towards the right corner. Bobby Kelty, who replaced the injured Milton Bradley after his pulled ligament, can't get to it in time and it takes a nasty bounce. Monroe's heading home ... Polanco's trying for a triple, and there's no throw. A triple!"

"The manager is coming to the mound ... Zito gets the hook."


As -- 1 Run, 6 Hits, No Errors
Tigers -- 6 Runs, 10 Hits, No Errors

Nate Robertson Wins with the complete game. 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4BB, 7Ks, 1 HBP

Zito gets the loss (6 2/3 IP, 8H, 6ER, 3BB, 3SO)

The As and Tigers split their series at one game apiece.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Independence Week Gaming

Like any good, patriotic government employee, I will be taking a brief holiday period during 4-9 July 2007. While I expect we'll have the typical planning posts for Friday, Saturday, and Monday, I wanted to throw this out there in case anyone else would like to gather for any of the other days during this period.

If you're up for something fun, just post a reply.

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G is for Guillen.

"Welcome to Comerica Park. With 3 weeks left in the season, the Tigers are in a fight for the pennant. Tonight they play their first game against the A's. Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers, he's had a good year so far..."

"Batting first for the A's is Nick Swisher. Routine Ground ball to the short stop, easy out."

"Next up is Jay Payton, who lines out to Guillen at First."
"Guillen is playing first today, letting Santiago play short."

"Next up is Jason Kendall, who sends a sharp crack down the first base line ... Guillen flubs the ball. No excuse for that. Kendall reaches on an error."

Next up, the A's DH. Frank Thomas. A well hit single.
Then Milton Bradley Homers.
Then Eric Chavez Doubles.
Then Marco Scutaro goes Yard.

At this point, Verlander gets yanked (since he's "lost his stuff" and allowed five runs in the inning).

Verlander's #s -- 2/3 IP, 4 Hits, 5 Runs Allowed (NONE earned)

Guillen would flub another shot in the 6th, but that one didn't wind up costing them. No matter, five runs was enough (in fact, the Tigers reliever didn't even earn a save despite pitching 2 1/3rd, because the score was never within three runs, and the tying run never made it on deck).

So, G is for Guillen. And Goat.

Final score
A's 7R -- 9H -- 0E
Tigers 3R -- 10H -- 2Errors

Game two has been delayed by rain, but should be tomorrow or monday.


Emergency Gaming Session Thursday

I have no obligations tomorrow night. Does anyone want to meet at Dragon's Lair for gaming? (RSVP in the comments before 3pm Thursday, and I'll check before I head over). Ted has graciously provided his week #1 & #2 lineup, so if someone wants to run the Tigers (for my week 2 game) that would be nice. If not, the bag will provide randomness.

Jacqui and I will be hosting Friday night, if anyone is interested. Again, respond in the comments.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gamers Wanted

Monday at Dragon's Lair. The bag, as always, has a few games (or expansions) making their first appearance in a while, to try to knock down my unplayed games. I'll bring Strat-o-matic (if any of my opponents are ready).

(And Jeff, I'll bring Schoko & Co. Ben, did you want Civ?).


There's no place like home!

Three weeks of board game deprivation are now hopefully at an end! Jet lag is crushing my mind and though my body is roughly 12 hours out of sync with the sunlight here in San Antonio, I'm ready to play some board games! Heck, I'd even try Stratomatic just to see what the insanity is all about.

By the way, what happened to Saturday gaming???

High on my must play list are:
  • Tide of Iron (rules now read twice, surprisingly straightforward rules, ready to roll)
  • Warrior Knights w/Expansion
  • Star Wars Pocket Model (15 minutes of pure geek fun; nice companion to Epic Duels; full booster box coming this week)
  • Colosseum (too pretty not to play)
  • WotR w/expansion (of course... deluxe set announced for this year's holiday season, $250 retail...) about 20 others. Anyway, if you want to get some game on, just shoot me an e-mail. I definitely plan on playing this coming Saturday and the following Monday (all day if anyone else is off work as well).


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weekend Timewasting

I liked the LOLBGG geeklist. Then again, nothing approaches the sublime perficity of the LOLrus (main LOLrus page). My entry is to the right.

So, have any Strat-o-matic games been played? The college world series is nice (and all), but let's have updates! In that vein ... I got my copy earlier this week and, since Michael has been sent back to Louisiana, played a solitaire game to learn the rules (and the Damned Yankees).

You know, there is nothing quite so sublime as watching an imaginary Curt Schilling get hammered in the 5th inning, or seeing Randy Johnson ("ThePorniest Name in Baseball") toss a complete game.

And finally, Linerider (which I saw advertised on BGG). Amazing idea. (Check out the movies, play the game).


Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Gaming

Hope you remember BASIC -

10 IF Gaming @ Jeff's, THEN GOTO 30

20 IF not Gaming @ Jeff's THEN GOTO 90

30 RSVP in Comments

40 Arrive at Jeff's ~7:00 PM

50 PLAY game

60 IF sleepy, THEN GOTO 80

70 GOTO 50

80 Go home

90 END

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Monday, June 18, 2007


Having successfully convinced Ted not to show up, Jon was waiting at Dragon's Lair when I arrived. We played a quick game of Jambo, then I bought my copy of Notre Dame. Sean arrived, so we played a few times. I still like this, but with good players its all based on the deal of the cards. Still, I suspect I'll get my money's worth out of the game.

Eventually, Jeff and Amy brought the Great Xerox Paper Box of games. Everyone who had brought any games packed Age of Steam, so we gave that a spin. We played the Western US expansion, which I hadn't played before. (So that let knocks my "Unplayed games" down a point!) You can see the map below. (Its the thing behind the glare).

Unlike the basic AoS, everyone RailRoad has to stay connected until the transcontinental RR is done (making this a "Golden Spike" variant). While everyone else started out on the Eastern Side, I started in Los Angeles and headed east. (All players have to start on one edge). This left me no competition for deliveries, but the mountains (and mismanagement) took their tool. I suffered an income loss early (to boost my locomotive). Sean raced west while the others lolligagged and fought for the lucrative eastern map cities. We eventually linked up (splitting the $4 bonus). I took out huge loans to try and bully my way into first and managed to come close ... I came in second (69-62). I think I could have given split the transcontinental railroad bonus with Amy (the rules aren't clear), but at the time I was more worried about her. (She had a better locomotive and equal income, at the time).

At this point, everyone but Sean and I turned into pumpkins, so we played a few games of Jambo and called it a night.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Monday Monday Monday

You'll pay for the whole seat... but you'll only use the edge!

Fortunately seats are free at DL. Anyway, apart from a few baseball games that will be played, I'm open for any other games. The bag, as per my recent directive, will have a few of my unplayed games, as well as some classics.

The image comes from the Drag Racing Board Game, which I have no intention of ever playing, owning, or being in the same room as. Sorry, Drag Racing Board Game. Them's the breaks.

(I'll also be at Dragon's Lair on Tuesday, see the first comment).


Saturday, June 16, 2007

SABG's Face in Japan

So, its like 3 AM here in Japan, and I'm wide awake, so I thought I'd check in with SABG. Google knows I'm in Tokyo, so all the Blogger menus are in Japanese characters, which made posting this an interesting exercise. I've only been here a few hours, so I haven't yet found the mythical Japanese FLGS with language independent, in-shrink copies of out-of-print, impossible to obtain board games.... wait, there's no need now that Valley Games is doing their thing. Other random, jet lagged thoughts:
  • When I turned on the TV here to watch a few of the legendary bizarre Japanese game shows, the first channel I saw was playing Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima... without English subtitles, unfortunately.
  • The game shows are true to legend... weird and goofy. The one I saw before passing out had a bunch of guys in drag and heavy makeup singing songs.
  • Unlike in South Korea, I couldn't find the all-Star Craft, all-the-time sports channel.
  • Haircuts inspired by Final Fantasy characters seem to be all the rage here.

Alright... I have to jump on another jet in a few hours, so SABG Japan is now signing off.

Friday, June 15, 2007

You Want Your Teams? I've Got Your Teams Right Here...

I have taken Ted's vote of confidence in the previous SABBL post and run with it. If anyone dislikes my benevolent dictatorship, blame Ted.

I drew up a schedule, then wrote our names and the team names on cards and gave them to my wife to randomly deal into pairs. Here's the result:

New York Yankess -- Brian
Minnesota Twins -- Michael (damn you...really wanted Santana)
Oakland A's -- Jon
Detroit Tigers -- Ted

New York Mets -- Mark
St. Louis Cardinals -- Dennis
San Diego Padres -- Sean
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Chris

I was amused that Ted and I both got the teams we played in our World Series replay from a couple of weeks ago...though I was less than amused at getting the team with the worst record by far (83-79), Series win notwithstanding.

I'll put the full schedule in the comments section, along with a list of all the player cards for each team so that you can look at and start planning ahead. For now, here are the Week 1 matchups (home teams listed second):

Yankees at Twins
A's at Tigers
Padres at Mets
Dodgers at Cards

Finally, take a moment this weekend to look at, particularly the sections on Scoring and Substitutions. In order to collect interesting stats, everyone will need to keep score. I'll volunteer to tabulate the stats; I'll look around for better software tools this weekend, but right now I'm expecting to just do it in Excel.

Note: During the rather obsessive exercise of typing in all of the players on each team, I've discovered that while most teams have just enough at-bats to get through the season, none have nearly enough pitcher-innings (real teams run through a lot of temporary relievers from the minors). So here's how I'm modifying things (and it makes bookkeeping easier, too):

BATTERS -- For every 35 at-bats in real life (round up), a player may play one game. A batter has "played in a game" if he makes at least two plate appearances, so a one-off pinch-hit doesn't count, but staying in the game for 2+ innings does.

PITCHERS -- Starters may make one start of any length for each 50 innings pitched in real life (rounded up). Relievers may make one relief appearance of any length for each 10 innings pitched in real life (rounded up). Starter/relievers will get a point total equal to IP/10 -- each start will cost 5 points (if he has 1-4, he can start, but it costs them all), each relief appearance 1 point.

2nd Note: Some teams, like the Yankees, are low on pure starters, so let's say *3 days rest* after starting. That means your best starters will get 4 games each (even if they have enough IP for five). Note also that a reliever cannot appear in three consecutive games, even if they have enough games allowed for it.


Killing Time

My airplane to Tokyo from Houston just developed a "mechanical difficulty," so I have four hours to kill here at the airport while we wait for a plane coming in from London. Luckily the USO here has a computer, so I can kill a bit of time.

Anyway, one thing I found interesting yesterday was the customer loyalty incentive program at the local comic book store, Alien Worlds. I was there buying-in big time into the Wizkids Star Wars Pocket Model game (which is quite cool, though very simple). Essentially for every $200 you spend at the store, they give you a $20 gift card. Now, this still doesn't compete with pricing on-line, but it makes buying local a bit more palatable. It is too bad they don't sell board games... On top of that, I talked the store clerk out of two limited edition promotional ship packs for free. If you're at all interested in the game, you might want to go get a free promotional pack (a small set of cards, two Tie Fighters, one X-Wing) at the store located on San Pedro just south of North Star Mall.

Hooray! I pulled the Yoda card in my first pack. CCG Armory has the best pricing I've seen for the game thus far. Based on the relatively low cost of this game compared to the recent Star Wars starship miniatures game, its no suprise Wizards of the Coast is now slapping a lawsuit on WizKids.

Alright... I'm going to go hunker down with the Tide of Iron rulebook. See you all around a game table in a couple weeks!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gaming Friday

Jacqui and I are hosting at the standard time (7pm). RSVP in the comments!

Update: I'm also looking to trim out my game collection. See my blog.


Flexible League Idea -- Draft

I was thinking about this, based on the fact that some people have different schedules etc. Anyway, let me know what you think. (The other nice thing is that this would let people enter partway through).

I've added a "SABBL" tag to this, (SA Baseball League). Anyway, rules below. Comments?

Flexible league rules (baseball)

This presents a ‘flexible’ league format. This is done to accommodate managers that cannot commit as much time as other players. This idea is based on the “Blood Bowl” leagues I have played in and been modified. This document does not concern itself with how players acquire teams (drafts) and the specific rules of running the game (Strat-o-matic). It does deal with a few ‘baseball specific’ concepts. For clarity “Manager” refers to the (real) person running a team, and “player” refers to the baseball player on a team.

The basic format is ‘the series,’ a number of games against the same team, all played in the specific ballpark. Series can be played in any order, and do not need to be scheduled in advance (so if a manager is out of town for a week, other players can play whoever is available). The league does have a schedule (i.e. one series/week) that should be adhered to.

At the end of the season, teams may not have played the same number of games. All of these games are assumed to have a .500 record. For convenience, the total of each team will be filled to 162 games. So if a team plays 20 games, at 13-7, it got an average of 142 games (for 71 games). That makes it an 84-78 team.

Pitching Limits and Rotations, Injuries

Each season has an expected # of games (i.e. 24). For pitchers and other non-full time players, their usage is pro-rated (15% for 24 games). Players may not be used above that percentage of time. Additionally, players may not have ‘unrealistic’ unbalanced schedules (ie, pitchers starting multiple games in the same series, or a 50% player showing up in every game against a specific opponent).

Intermediate limits must also be followed. (For example, no player may pass 10% of their full season total until after 15 games have been played). If a manager passes the target number, they get to adjust their total limit accordingly.

“Everyday” players do not need to be tracked. Any player with 600 at bats is everyday.

Injuries only last until the end of the game. (The rest of the injury time is assumed to take place during the unplayed games).

Home Field

For the first (and further odd) meeting between two teams, the team with the fewest home series is the home team. For the 2nd (and further even) meeting between two teams, the teams flip. For Interleague series, only look at interleague series.

Selecting Pitchers

Both teams should simultaneously announce their starters (one for each game in the series). Ideally this can be done in email when arranging games (to let managers pre-plan their lineups, to speed up the game). For each game, the Road team must announce its pitcher first, then the home team. Then each manager makes his lineup normally.

The shortened series – Rain Delays

If a player cannot commit to a full series, he may request a shortened (2 game) series. If a rain delay is expected, players should each simultaneously Players should still select their starting pitchers for three games and determine matchups. Then randomly pick one game to be ‘rained out.’ Play the other two games.

For the rained out game, the starters are assumed to play 6 innings. The manager should pick a 2 inning reliever and 1 inning closer. These innings are logged against the player (as if the game had taken place). [Position players who must be tracked are also assigned innings. This can be done later, but before the next series].

Time permitting, Rain Delay games can be made up. The starters (and position players listed) must be used. If the game is played up, the Innings logged against the prior game are removed, and replaced with real innings.

The rationale for rain delays is that it shortens a session for the manager who cannot (or prefers not to) play three games in a row. Randomly assigning the pitchers & platoon players who get ‘rained out’ assures that neither play can take advantage of this system.


A manager who falls too far behind (as determined by the league rules) may have his team assigned to another manager to make up a series. Managers can always delegate another manager to play out a series (or Rain Delay game). Conflicts of interest should be avoided.

General Guidelines

Like any flexible system, this can be ‘gamed’ a bit. (Managers who are ahead may choose not to play an extra session or make up rain games). Managers should declare (in general terms) how many games they would like to play, and how many per series, and stick to it.

SABG Strato Specific suggestions

  1. Our base Series is 3 games.
  2. Schedule is roughly one series/week.
  3. Schedule is 8 series (one home & away versus each division opponent, and two IL series), so ~24 games. Managers may play their 3rd IL series, bringing things up to 27 games, which would pro-rate to 16 2/3% (but only use that number after their 8th series).


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Strat-O-Matic League

Last night the 86-76 Red Sox (managed by was Chris, right? I'm so bad with names) traveled to Baltimore to take on Brian Bankler's Orioles (70-92). Early on David Ortiz had his way, launching two homeruns and a single for 3 RBI in his first three at-bats. But everything fell apart for Curt Schilling in the 6th, as he hit two batters and intentionally walked a third, setting up catcher Ramon Hernandez for a grand slam. Closer Chris Ray struck out Ortiz and Manny Ramirez back-to-back to finish the 9-5 victory.

We now have five people interested in a league (myself, Ted, Brian, Chris, Michael). If anyone else is interested, let me know soon. Here's how the league will be structured:
  • Everyone will pick a real-life team. For example, we talked about the five people above replaying the AL East, with Chris and Brian taking their hometown favorite Red Sox and Orioles, Michael taking the Yankess so he can pound on the Sox, me taking the 61-101 Tampa Bay Devil Rays for comic relief, and Ted getting the surprising Toronto Blue Jays (90 wins in 2006).
  • Everyone will play a total of 6 games against each other player, split into two 3-game homestands at each park. A real-life week per 3-game series would be a good pace.
  • A player can no longer be started after they have exceeded their real-life innings pitched or at-bats, prorated over the length of our season. For example, with 5 participants we would have a 24-game season, or 15% of the length of a real baseball season. Thus since Curt Schilling pitched 204 innings in 2006, then 204 x 0.15 = 30.6 -> 31, so once he reached 31 IP (4-5 starts) you couldn't use him anymore. So this requires some thought on your lineups. Do you use your awesome platoon outfielder against the Devil Rays to ensure the win, or against the Yankees to try to steal one? Full stats for the team of your choice can be found at

Again, let me know if you are interested, so we can get started soon. And if you'd like your own copy of the game, don't try to maneuver through the ancient Strat website. Get it for $49.50 from Amazon -- search Amazon for "2007 Strat-O-Matic Baseball" and it's the first link you get.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Saturday Morning Gaming

Looks like I may have the house this weekend. Is there any interest in gaming at my place this Saturday AM? I would think that a longer game may be in order. Some suggestions: TI3, CotE2, RRT? How about Epic BattleLore? Suggestions?

Saturday, June 09, 2007


This is your weekly post to prepare for Monday at DL. I'll be there at my typical time (4pm). With "Friendless" as a recent Geek of the Week, I added my name to his stats list and I've got 113 games unplayed! Vhozha Moi!

Of course, many were played before I started logging games on BGG, but I've got to knock that number down to a respectable sub-100 or so. So I'll bring a few classics and quick card games. And some Age of Steam expansions.

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2006 World Series, Game 1

Oakmere Street in sunny San Antonio was the site today for Game 1 of the 2006 Strat-O-Matic World Series, pitting the St. Louis Cardinals (managed by me) versus the Detroit Tigers (managed by Ted). We used the same lineups and starting pitchers (Anthony Reyes for the Cards, Justin Verlander for the Tigers) as in the real game, which was won by the Cardinals 11-9.

In reality both starters were chased early, but in our replay they combined for only two hits allowed in the first four innings. Unfortunately for the Cards, one of those hits was a solo homerun by Brandon Inge in the third. Designated hitter Chris Duncan led off the fourth inning with a grounder to the mound that was booted by Verlander for an error. Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds then both flied out to center, Edmonds injuring himself in the process (out 3 games). Finally Scott Rolen doubled to right, but when I waived Duncan (not a speedster) around to home, he was gunned down by Magglio Ordonez for the third out.

In the fifth Ted played some masterful small ball. Carlos Guillen drew a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Pudge Rodriguez. An error by 2b Ron Belliard then put men on first and third, and a sacrifice fly from Inge brought home the run. At the end of six innings it remained 2-0 Tigers.

The wheels fell off for the Tigers in the seventh. Preston Wilson (replacing the injured Edmonds) and Scott Rolen ripped off back-to-back doubles to make it 2-1. After a groundout, Belliard walked, and that was it for Verlander, replaced by Fernando Rodney. After another grounder, weak-hitting So Taguchi was next up with two outs. I put in Scott Spiezio as a pinch-hitter (worse fielder but vastly better hitter), and he promptly jacked a 3-run homer to make it 4-2 Cards. Managerial brilliance, of course. The next batter, David Eckstein, was hit by a pitch. Since you couldn't possibly hit a target that small unless you meant to, the benches cleared.

Reyes left with a fantastic stat line (6 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 R, 1 ER), and reliever Braden Looper held off the Tigers until the bottom of the ninth. Ordonez and Carlos Guillen led off with a single and double (the only hits from the top six batters in the Tigers order all day), and both were brought home with a sac fly and single from pinch-hitters Vance Wilson and Omar Infante. Looper was then pulled for lefty Tyler Johnson, who got into a bases loaded jam after an error by Pujols (his second of the night) and a walk, but he got Craig Monroe to ground out for the 4-4 tie at the end of nine.

Extra innings were unspectacular, however. Scott Rolen led off the 11th with a solo HR, and Adam Wainwright shut down the Tigers in the bottom half to secure the 5-4 win. Spiezio and Rolen were clearly the heroes of the game, while the goats were the top two-thirds of the Tigers order, who went 2-25 with no RBIs and 8 strikeouts; Ted's substitions did better (2H, 2RBI) in just five plate appearances.


Cardinals 5R, 7H, 3E
Tigers 4R, 6H, 1E
Winning Pitcher: Johnson (1.1 IP, 0H, 1BB, 1K, 0R, 0ER)
Losing Pitcher: Rodney (4.2 IP, 3H, 1BB, 3K, 2R, 2ER)
Save: Wainwright
HR: Inge, Spiezio, Rolen
GWRBI: Rolen
Errors: Pujols (2), Belliard, Verlander

Since it was our first learning game, and extra innings to boot, the game took just under 90 minutes; experienced players should expect 30-60. Except for a couple of decision points (Ted's smallball inning, my Spiezio pinch-hit), the game flew by until the tense 9th, when things got tricksy and a lot of fun. Familiarity with the relievers and subs on a team would also help move things along.

So, who wants to do a mini-league?

In which we are ungracious hosts

Chris and Steve made it over last night, and we mainly played the classics. I don't mean that rhetorically, either. We played Ruse & Bruise, which I've now played five times. Every other game we played was on my "Top 10 Most Played" list.

Needless to say, my uppence never really came. But, good games all.

In San Juan I managed to fill my chapel with a bunch of useless (to me) six-cost buildings, but also dropped a City Hall. Court the King proved easy when I yahtzeed one turn to get the General (only six dice, no control with three dice left), then timewalked and yahtzeed on the king (8-sixes), with each of my opponents only having seven dice. (Steve grabbed the last General, but couldn't roll perfectly).

Jacqui won the aforementioned Ruse & Bruise, which no doubt prolonged our marriage. Then came Glory to Rome. Let me state for the record that I only started the Colliseum because Jacqui was building a forum. Since I had a road (and could build the colliseum with any material I wanted) a Pallisade, and quite a few Legionary & Craftsman clients, my stadium was built in record time and the crowd loved the slicing and dicing. Jacqui, however, was less fond of the gladiatorial displays, and proclaimed our marriage back where it had started.

At this point, we bid adieu to our guests, without even a parting gift. So very ungracious.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sat 6/9

Whether early at 8am in someone's house, or 10am at DL, you know Saturday gaming is going to happen. Who wants to host?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


  1. Call to Arms looks pretty darn cool. I've read through it a bit, but I haven't gotten to try it out yet.

  2. I need to play again soon.

  3. Did y'all see that you can now buy the epic battles expansion? I think I might just give those guys my credit card. Give me one of everything, and two if it's really cool.
  4. I need to play again soon.

  5. Have y'all been following the controversy about the cleric lore cards? Check it out. I don't see much of a problem. I explain my position at the end of that thread, but I'll repeat it here in a nutshell. I think the cards are fine (almost). They can theoretically do a lot of damage, but it's diffuse. That's a key point because in C&C a unit battles at full strength until it is gone. Where I have a minor, very minor, problem is that you have that tiny, tiny chance of a huge impact. If I went w/ a house rule, it would be that no unit may take more than 2 figures of damage. This would nicely limit the max damage while still rewarding a high level cleric.

  6. I really need to play soon.

  7. Once I realized the cleric direct damage cards were diffuse, I concluded a high level cleric wasn't such a good bet. All the other cards are expensive, and you might not even get the cards in question.

  8. Did I mention I want to play again soon?

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Friday Night

Jacqui and I will be hosting this Friday. And nary a Sauron in sight! RSVP in the comments ...


Monday, June 04, 2007

6/4 mini report....and one last chance.

We (Michael, Jon, Ben, and I) started this morning with a quick game of Arkadia. Heck it's another SdJ nominee, so it should at least be decent. Well, to my surprise, it had more meat than I expected. I thought it was a lighter game, but it's closer to medium weight. It's got simple rules, but many interesting options and combos can be played. Fun one.

Then we tried another 2 games of Notre Dame. This reminded me that I never play the same game to death, and thus miss a lot of the cool strategies. This time with this game, it's been different. I've now played 4 games in 3 days, and have been blown away by how different all my games have been. Plus I actually learn something new each time. Heck, my increasing score shows it: in my first game I barely cleared 20. I've progressively done better, and in my last game today my score was 58. Someday I'll get to Michael's 70's. It's not rules heavy, but there's definitively A LOT of options and ways to score.

Ok, so officially I'm leaving on 6/11. I'm off now until then. Drop me an email or call if you can play anything this week, anytime, anyplace.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

You can never have this...6/2 report

8:30 am gaming can be rough but 4 of us (Al, Ben, Jeff and myself) managed to get to Jeff's house around then. Not knowing when Rob would appear, we broke out a quick game of Nexus Ops. It was my first time and I would describe the game as a lightish "war" game that probably fills the same type of itch that other "war" games like risk and air baron fill but in like 1/3 the time. In my opinion that is a huge improvement as there is only so much I can take so I might pick this up to play with my friends in the future. Some bad early fortune for me was repaid with some fortunate card draws and at least average luck with the dice down the stretch to pull out a blitzkrieg victory with 6 vps (out of 12) coming over the final two turns.

Rob still was not there but we knew from a conversation with him that he would soon be so Ben, Jeff and I tried a quick game of Coloretto. We degenerated to mostly a care-bear style of play and with some help from lucky draws I pulled out yet another win (don't worry my comeuppance was yet to come and with a vengeance).

Rob had finally shown up but we were all starving so a quick trek over to taco c for lunch was our next mission. Having satiated all hunger requirements we returned to Jeff's to try our hand at one of Rob's latest acquisitions, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame (at the moment at least) appears to be to me what I wished Fairy Tale was: a game involving the draft mechanic in it that is not completely and totally inscrutable...all dragon hide grrr.... There are many facets that you want to work on at once and the trick is trying to balance everything to some degree. Like many games with a draft mechanic there is a strong incentive to be doing something different than the people to your right (who are feeding you cards), but some balance must be maintained(at least thats what it felt like with our first two plays).

In the first game, Rob and Al fed me plenty of park actions with the net result that most of my late game victory point grabbing actions were coming with a +3 vp bonus. We also had a scare with rats threatening to overrun us all at some point with two consecutive really bad rat draws but I think that was an anomaly. In the end I ran away with that one since the victory point bonus let me achieve an enormous score.

Having now seen the power of the park combined with the power of being the only one in that strategy, we tried again. This time parks were not as easy to come by and in fact I only ended up with 3 guys total in there (with My Buddy(TM) staying for a short time to boost it to 4 temporarily before heading to greener pastures). Jeff pursued a degenerate strategy of ignoring the rats completely and trying to tech up his victory point generator as soon as possible and it looked like it would win but some fortunate events regarding Notre Dame let me hold onto a second tighter victory (comeuppance coming, please don't worry). Having played it twice, I can safely say that with the insane amounts of interaction going on in the game, Simon will love this game (In case you didn't know I was being sarcastic).

Finally, it was time for my comeuppance. We played Citadels. Or rather I should say, Rob, Jeff, Ben and Al played Citadels. I pretended to play, but thanks to a rather amazing run with assassinations against me, ended up sitting in my cage with the 4 of them flaunting their turns at me "you can never have this, la la la la" they would say. It actually got amusing at some point, "who is assassinating me this turn?(an appropriate question always)"..."if you are trying to steal from Jeff you should clearly not steal from the King since Ben obviously has it since that is worst for me(unassailable logic). " Alas, I never got out of my cage and Rob ran away with it.

Comeuppance in hand, it was time to leave.

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