Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday Planning and List Reminder!

I've got 10 lists for the SABG Top 50 Project. I'm sure that some of you still want to get in lists, but if you are going to need a significant amount of time let me know. Otherwise, I'm going to publish the results towards the end of this week.

And I'll be at DLair tomorrow to harangue the non-voters. I can't get there early, more's the shame, but undoubtedly some of you can, and you'll want to note that fact in the comments.

Finally, this monstrous math trade will still be open until Tuesday. (It's using the new MT software, which means it will take almost no time to run it, once all the want lists are in). At least three of us (Jeff, Jon and I) have put items on there, so even if you don't use the list, you may find something one of us has that you want.

Which reminds me, Jon, what would you want for Ingenious?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SABG Top 50 List

So, Tom Vasel releases his Top 200 list, while Snoop's Top 100 lists slowly dribble out. I was thinking about making my Top N list, but it would look suspiciously like my BGG rankings. Then I thought, why not do the Top Games for SABG? Here's how it works:
  • Everyone sends me their Top 20 list (ordered)
  • I'll compile it and then post the results

Simple, really. Details:

Your #1 game gets 40 points, each place losing a point and your #20 game gets 21 points. The reason being that a game that appears on two lists should count more than a #1 game (but just barely ... two #1s beat 3 #20s). Twenty Games ensures that we'll probably get fifty games, but if not then I'll trim it down. Feel free to send me any comments along with your votes.

If you don't want to order your games, I'll just give them 30 points each. Twenty titles is a limit, but feel free to send in less.

This is pretty much inspired by Snoop & Mark's "The Hundred," which I commented on extensively last year, and which already had plenty of brownie points before they went and stated the truest facts possible about me.

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I finally escaped grant proposal hell yesterday, just in time for a short evening of games. I started off with baseball, Week 7, with my Cardinals at home against Sean's Padres. Last time we met, the Padres swept me 3-0 and 6-0, but since then they had fallen on hard times; the Padres were 4-8, while the Cards were 5-7.

In the first game I was limited to one hit...and won. Albert Pujols hit a solo home run at the top of the second, which turned out to be the game-winner, 1-0. It was Chris Carpenter's fourth start, and despite allowing only eight earned runs in over 30 innings, it was his first win. Only once had the Cards given him more than one run in support (against the Dodgers, Week 5), and the bullpen managed to blow that game 7-6.

But in the second game, I was forced to start Jason Marquis, who somehow compiled a 14-12 record in real life despite a 6.02 ERA (?!?). He promptly gave up four runs in the first, but managed to keep his nose clean through the fifth with no further damage. In the late innings I started picking up a run here, a run there, until I entered the bottom of the ninth down 5-4 versus Cla "The Claw!" Meredith (having already chased Trevor Hoffman). Aaron Miles grounded to second for the first out. Pinch-hitter John Rodriguez (replacing catcher Yadier Molina -- I was gambling for the win) singled, and Jim Edmonds (pinch-hitting for the pitcher's spot) walked. Juan Encarnacion then grounded weakly to the Padre shortstop, who committed his second error of the game, loading the bases. So Taguchi (that's "So Taguchi", not "So, this guy named Taguchi") flied to center, but too shallow to sacrifice home the tying run. David Eckstein again grounded to the shortstop, who this time managed not to trip over himself to save the 5-4 win for the Padres. And thus did we effectively eliminate each other from the postseason.

A party was waiting for us, itching to play party games. First came "You Must Be an Idiot!", which I keep wanting to call "Who Wants to Be an Idiot?". I failed once again to come up with any convincing bluffs and became pawn target practice whenever I missed a question; that plus making only one correct accusation all game landed me in well-deserved last. I think Michael and Ben tied for first, Ben on the strength of two sole correct answers, Michael off of several semi-bluffs (horrible answers that weren't because of an Idiot card, but just plain horrible -- Basel??). Smarty Party followed, with Brian making an early run off of Elvis songs. But I took a big lead off of operas, followed by one of the strangest lists ever: Name the top two finishers from the first two seasons of American Idol (4), the three judges (3), and the countries of Scandinavia (5...yes, 5). Give it a shot; my wife got 9. Sean took a run at me on the last question (paper towel brands?), but Brian just cleared the bar, saving my two-point win. The title of this recap comes from the best list ever -- "Name the home row keys on a standard keyboard (11), starting with Michael."

In an attempt to keep me from going home and watching football, Castle came next. I didn't have a bad draw, but a shockingly boring one -- though I had the Magician and Village Idiot early, my other seven cards were the Captain, a Siege Engine, and *five* Soldiers. Place, draw. Place, draw. And I would've won, too, if those meddling kids hadn't sent the Magician back to my hand. Chris dropped the Priest for the win.

So now I'm busy catching up on all the work I put aside during grant proposal hell, but I want to put dibs on hosting Saturday, October 13th. My wife will be out-of-state (thus temporarily satisfying Rule #1), so it should be a good day for a monster game, grilling, college football, etc.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Painting Minis

I've been thinking about paining my BattleLore minis for a few months now. I've been so busy and distracted, however, that I haven't been able to move on it.

My time is opening up slightly now, however, and so that excuse is fading.

Now I'm confronting the enormity of the task. It's quite daunting, probably more than I want to try to tackle.

But the other day I found a link to Wonder Wash. This might be just the thing to get the base set done quickly. It's available in various colors, so I could wash the green units, blue units, and red units. It would add some color to the board while improving the details a lot, and it would still be fairly quick and easy.

Once the base set is done, I could acquire and paint expansion sets slowly.

Anyone had any experience with painting minis? Anyone? Steve?


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Monday Planning

Who? When? What?

I could be at DLair early, if there was a "just and proper" reason. Like games.

Will the National League ever finish? These and other questions will be answered tomorrow. Guess in the comments!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hospitality - Mordor Style

Steve invited me over yesterday for a quick game of War of the Ring. He took the evil Shadow forces and proceeded, over the next couple hours, to beat me from one side of the map to the other. Above is a picture of him as he secured his final military victory point. Congratulations on your solid win, Steve!

If anyone is playing anything fun this afternoon, please give me a call (if you have my number, which I won't post here). I'm defending democracy until about 5PM, but then I'll could probably play for a few hours after that. I hope everyone is having a great weekend.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Time killers

Ben, this will keep you entertained. from

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Slow Week on the Blog

Hello, everyone. It seems we've had a slow week of blog posts, so I thought I'd just put up a short, rambling post.

Though my gaming has been slow lately, I did manage to get eliminated from the Flying Colors tournament last night, so at least that was something. I actually lost in a particularly amazing flourish of bad luck. My opponent and I were about even in damaged ships, but as your fleet gets damaged you have to check to see if your fleet breaks and runs. On a roll of 1-9 on a ten-sided die I would have been fine and had a good chance of winning the game, as two of my opponents ships were sinking. Unfortunately, I rolled a zero, instantly ending the game, with me losing. Insert colorful expression here. Oh well. You have to love wargames to make it past moments like these.

I'm now officially going to Essen. I'm not sure I can justify the excursion through any sort of cost vs. benefit analysis, but I'm still hopeful my two days there will be memorable. I'll try to grab as many interesting things I can that will fit into my luggage, so hopefully we'll have some interesting games to try out together when I get back. I'm hoping mostly to get the small, cool items like the new Power Grid deck, Zooloretto expansion, and maybe a Heroscape promotional figure. Heroscape: Swarm of the Marro is very cool, by the way.

I think the game I'm most looking forward to at the moment is Starcraft (see above video). I wonder if we sound this geeky when talking about our games. What game are you most looking forward to?

One last general question for this ramble: Heard any good podcasts lately? The ones I currently favor just aren't coming out fast enough, so I'm looking for some good recommendations, not necessarily board game related.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Fistfull of Points

I missed the "everyone show up at noon" gaming session, but was able to make it after work. I showed just at Ted was leaving, which left us with four, and a game of Tichu began. Michael led off an unorthodox "wish for something fun" strategy, playing the mahjohng and calling for random things he HADN'T passed to his left. It actually worked quite well 3 of 5 times, and only mildly stung his partner (ME) once. We called the game early before Brian and Jon could stage a come-back once Ben showed up, but my favorite Tichu trick ever made it memorable. Brian had called Tichu, and was well on his way unopposed. He led a full house, 10's full of 5's - 40 points right there. I countered with Q's and 3's... But Brian was prepared - he laid down K's & 8's - now the hand is worth 70 (out of 100 possible per hand) points - at which point I bomb in with 2222, and play the Dog to let Michael go out, breaking the Tichu... So one trick stole 70 points, and set up the -100 for the opponents.

Jon decided to bow out, and with the arrival of Al we had five - this led to the obligatory Stage II, where we discovered that you people have played this much too often - starting from opposite ends of the box we've officially met in the middle and are out of cards. It didn't help much on the answers to the questions, but made guessing the theme easier.

Minus Ben, Phoenicia followed with the random beginning money variant, and I engaged in the only good strategy I know - buy both trackers, and a bunch of workers. Luckily my opponents were trying to save money, so delayed auctioning off both of the forts during my low-dollar phases, so the game paced itself perfectly for me to pull out a two-point win... I thought up a strategy question - the items that buy you a large discount - everyone knows that you now NEED those items, and bid you up - does this negate the value of the discount items? I suppose this applies to items that others don't require to win, else they've got to bid over you... but if no one wants it, and just bid it up to a "retail price" level, has the discount helped at all?

Michael had to jet (how did the cat situation turn out??), but Jon returned and next to the table was Ticket To Ride: Marklin. Al had limited experience with TTR, and I've only played the original... after a quick rules recap we were off. The passenger riding is a new twist that I didn't plan well for - Brian and Jon were competing for some big opening points quickly with some well-timed travels. It seemed like everyone needed to cross paths in the southwest corner of the board, as we went from no trains down to about ten different links in that region. I believe it was Brian who brought up that TTR is a giant game of chicken - how long can I wait before you block my route? Jon got connections into three different countries, and completely blocked Denmark from anyone else entering, which limited the long routes available to others. Coming down to the end everyone kept drawing destination cards trying to soak up some extra points, and Jon kept drawing already completed cities... It all came down to the route scores, and although Jon and I tied on number of completed routes, I had one more long route than he did, and squeaked out a victory... ironically, if he had kept his fourth destination card at the beginning of the game (for which the cities needed were linked by his trains at game end) he would have earned a 22 point card, plenty enough to pass me up.

Finishing up the night was Glory to Rome, where Sean gets distracted by all the cool abilities of the buildings he is creating, and ignores the end-game conditions of actual victory points. Brian and Jon ran away with it, Jon with patrons and Brian with his vault, but the vault strategy paid off. I think I almost understand the entirety of this game now, but of course everyone else has played it to death...

As the night wrapped up, it was suggested I should buy a game that everyone wanted to play... :) I'm actually not opposed to the idea, as I'm happy to contribute to the group's enjoyment and all of my "gamer's games" are a few years out of date to y'all. But nothing persuaded me yesterday - maybe some suggestions here are in order, so that I can browse the info and reviews online, and pick out a game or two.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Monday Planning

For a change of pace, I'm able to arrive at DL by about 12-12:30. I would love to play any of the following from my under-played games list:

-- EastFront
-- BattleLore
-- CombatCommander
-- Hammer of the Scots

And I am open for other suggestions.

Post your plans and preferences in the comments section.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunday Gaming

Jacqui and I will host gaming on Sunday, if anyone is interested. We'll be starting at 2pm or so. RSVP in the comments.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Weekend Gaming

Alas, I'll be in military mode (cue Transformer sound) again this weekend, but assuming I get an early start on Saturday, I should be able to join a game session in the late afternoon. Anyone playing anything fun?

I did get a few new things in this week. First, I received three expansion pieces for Duel in the Dark direct from the German publisher, since Z-Man isn't selling them yet. The railroad flak, acoustical mirror, and quad flak are pretty cool, but at 1 Euro per counter, the selling price seems a bit steep.

Heroscape Swarm of the Marro
along with Wave 7 arrived. I think the circle is now just about complete, though the upcoming Marvel expansion and Wave 8 look good. I do find it strange that my wife hasn't remarked on the fact that there is now a Deathwalker 8000 pointing a gun at her when she sits at our desk. Perhaps she's comforted by the cute Gorillinators nearby.

Anyway, if you're hosting and/or playing in an open (at least for SABG) session tomorrow, please post the details.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quick Thoughts

I have a few minutes to kill before my on-line War of the Ring tournament game continues this evening, so I thought I'd type out a quick blog post. In any event, I seem be getting smoked by my opponents who has 5 Shadow VPs, with the Fellowship still just past Lorien. Gondor is strong, but Lorien and all of Rohan are gone. Rivendell doesn't look too safe, so I think things are looking grim.

I find myself with a finger on the trigger regarding GMT's Asia Engulfed, but there's a voice inside me asking how many times I expect to play an 8-hour, 2-player block game. Still, the game looks fantastic and though the rules are a dense 24 pages, they look pretty manageable. Anyone getting this?

Tannhauser arrived today from FFG in a suitably heavy box complete with promotional figure. It looks to be a cross between Doom and Hellboy, with everything given a French artistic once-over, sort of like Dungeon Twister. I hope to try it out sometime soon, so I'll know whether to pick up an expansion figure or two at Essen.

Rob and I keep promising to play Lock 'n Load, but I'm taking forever to get through the rules. My problem is a lack of focus, as I'm playing in two on-line tournaments, reading Dune novels, training for a marathon, etc. Anyway, the newly announced scenario book makes me even more motivated to learn the game. The most recent Dice Tower episode had a nice rundown of LnL, so we're not the only ones with this fine game on our brains.

Hooray! I scored my second ever board game podcast shout-out, this time on Into the Gamescape, which is fast becoming my favorite board gaming podcast. These guys play the types of games our group seems to enjoy most, and the show is pretty entertaining.

Anyway... far too many rambles for one post, but there it is.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Notes from the Underground

In no particular order:
  • Michael has clinched the AL pennant ... I split with the A's in todays set, and I believe he split or swept Scott yesterday. I'm not sure about the NL (the Mets have to play their week 7 and 8 series ... ). The Dominitable Nick Green wins the 'Golden Whiff' award, going 0-9 with 8 Ks. And as you would expect, with the Yankees out of contention today (Michael had to get swept for my series to matter) A-Rod had a great series.
  • For those of you who played in Monday's Phoenicia game, I've posed the first turn as a problem and gotten quite a bit of responses (including from the designer). I've also got a two strategy articles. I definitely want to play with variable starts from now on.
  • Michael has been pushing for 7 Ages, and I agree that it's been too long.
  • Had a nice bout of Shadowfist tonight. If anyone wants to learn let me know and I'll bring a few simple decks to monday night. Or just show up on any Tuesday at DLair (by 6pm ish) and someone will teach you.
Leave your latest game related links in the comments.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Monday Planning

So whats the plan? I know at some point the baseball season will be finishing up but other than that I'm totally willing to play something fun. We played a few fun things the other day at Jeff's and I'll go ahead and say was pretty fun. Incidentally, watching Monday Night Football is not something fun just in case anyone was wondering about that. I mean come on Arizona vs SF and Baltimore vs Cincy? Both of those games are clearly unsexy.

If we have interest I could bring 25 words or less. Brian could bring the riddle me this game. Sounds pretty fun all around in my opinion. Didn't Steve and Ben say something about being available early? Sounds like we almost have enough for TI3?


Saturday, September 08, 2007

On-Line Grogging: Flying Colors

The past couple weeks I've been playing in the on-line tournament of Flying Colors. For those of you not familiar with the game, its a rather low complexity wargame (i.e., about 15 pages of rules) focused on simulating fleet-level actions, while still allowing players to control individual ships. While the game is relatively simple as wargames go, there is still plenty of chrome and flavor within the game, with boarding actions, rakes, carronades, and the abilities of individual admirals all coming into play. Sadly, my favorite aspect of the genre, picking your ammunition type (e.g., grape shot, baby!) isn't under your control.

The heart of the game system is the command rules. Each fleet has one or more admirals, each with a command range. Ships in the fleet will either be in command, which means you can directly control them, or out of command, which means they'll go on autopilot for the turn. To keep things moving fast, there is no secret move plotting, with the action along the lines of players alternating moving their commands with the ability to interrupt for opportunity fire.

Anyway, this game in particular plays quite well over Vassal. The image above is one from a current game I'm playing, where I'm the British surrounded by the evil Dutch. Note the heavy damage on all the Dutch ships... If anyone has an interest in the age of the fighting sail and would like to schedule a game face-to-face or on-line, just comment here.


Friday, September 07, 2007

SABG Shirts

I think it would be great if we were able to show our SABG colors at some of the upcoming conventions or even just at DL. There are a number of custom t-shirt sites on the web, but the best one I've found so far is Custom Ink.

I freely admit I am not an artist or even a designer. Perhaps some of our members with an artistic bent could give the site a try, come up with some candidate designs, then post them here? I did the above design in about 2 minutes based on the level of baseball interest in the group, plus the fact I think Champion makes the best t-shirts.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

I need games!

Who's up for gaming on Saturday? Unless there are objections, we can host Saturday gaming starting at 9 am.

RSVP in the comments.

Jeff says: No Bollywood videos in the session report.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Baseball -- League Rules Thread

OK, since we're talking about the 2nd league, I figured I'd start a thread. Off the top of my head:

Please leave a comment if you are interested, and answer the following questions. Also, if you are in the current league and don't want to play, let us know. (I'd be perfectly happy to have co-managers, for people who don't want to make a full commitment, or to allow someone to manage two teams, if they really wanted more baseball ...)

1) How long/what pace/what format would you like the league to be?
2) How would you like the teams to be formed (drafted, auction)?
2a) How many teams should we have to choose from? [All ML players? 1 real team per team?]
2b) What should the minimum requirements be for a player to appear in the league
3) This is going to mean re-arranging our sets to make up the teams, how should we handle this?
4) Baseball/Strato specific rules
4a) NL or AL? (Designated Hitter)
4b) What kind of pitching rotation? Limits for relievers?
5) Rules variations -- We currently use the Advanced rules .... but we could add some super-advanced (SA) rules. Feelings on those?

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Yankees @ Tigers, Week #7

So the Yankees at Detroit.

Game #1 was all Yankees, as Verlander gave up 7 ER (and 3 Unearned) while Randy Johnson gave up 4 ER. (Both starters went 7.2 innings). Proctor gave up 3 runs in the ninth, but that wasn't enough. Yankees win 10-7.

The second game saw Bonderman vs Mussina. In the top of the fifth Jeter got on base, followed by a Johnny Damon triple ... Damon later scoring on Sacrifice Fly. Then in the seventh, Jeter gets on base and Damon .... triples again (later scoring on a base hit). [In the first game, Damon also reached third while batting, but that was a double, then advancing when the outfielder threw to home].

In the bottom of the 7th, Shelton doubled. Mussina was yanked (even though not tired) to put in Myers as a LHP. Myers gave up a double to Shelton, but that was his only hit allowed in 2 innings of relief, and then Rivera closed out the ninth. Yankees 4-1.


TI:3 Session Report

Another great session of Twilight Imperium 3 was played today, this time hosted by Chris. I won't bore everyone with a long, drawn out session report, but we were able to capture some footage of Jon's people celebrating their ultra-dominating victory:

Great game, all! Most crushing victory ever, Jon!