Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ToI and Holidays

Tide of Iron

What's the latest word on this one?

I keep tabs on BattleLore and go out of my way to get in a game once in a while. Likewise with CC:E.

ToI seems to have slipped off the radar. Has this been sighted on a game table recently? Session report, anyone?

The copy at the back of DL beckons to me, but I have been able to resist up to now.


It's never too soon to start planning / fantasizing for the holidays, including T-day and Christmas. I have no idea about my availability yet, but I am dearly hoping for an all day game of Here I Stand, and I also would like to get my copy of Mare Nostrum to the table w/ a full group. An additional Civ-type game would be in order...perhaps TI:3? Now that I think of it, the only time I played was about 2 years ago when Rob and I played a few turns one week night at Ben's. Just enough to test out the mechanics.

Then there's all those underplayed euros...Ra, Reef Encounter, Puerto Rico,...

Sigh, for now, it's back to work. Good thing I love my job. Still, I wish there were more dice in engineering...


Because the joke is still a little bit funny...

I stole this from Matthew Baldwin's excellently-named blog: http://www.defectiveyeti.com/

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday planning (edited)

[Edit] Saturday is Worldwide Dungeons and Dragons Day. This might have been an issue had we tried to play at DL, but plans have been made and games shall be played.

This is the official Saturday planning thread. Brian and Jacqui are graciously hosting. Details and responses herein.

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last try for fantasy basketball

I figured I would try one last time to see if there is any interest in a fantasy basketball league among anybody in the group? If you are interested please let me know via email to sashacter@yahoo.com.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Conquest of Paradise

Anyone got this one on pre-order? It's looks really interesting, but I'd like to try before I buy. One of the things about it that really looks interesting to me is the exploration aspect.

I know Rob has it ordered. Anyone else? Ben?


Monday Planning

Well, with J's new job I won't be able to make it to DLair until 6:30 or 7. Assuming that others will be there ... let everyone know your schedule!


Milleniumcon X

A definite longshot, but thought I'd check; will anyone be attending Mcon X up in Round Rock? It's on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of November, and more info is at milleniumcon.com

I expect that most are gearing up for Dallas the next weekend, but I think I saw a midnight session of Titan planned, and I know some are fond of that game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BL, new gamer

I got together today with a guy from work to play BattleLore. He recently moved to San Antonio, and I think he's a potential new member. He's an engineer, making him a great candidate, but he said he hasn't played a lot of board games in the past.

I got BattleLore all set-up before he arrived. When he arrived I explained the rules, then we played a battle. I picked the simplest scenario that includes Lore since I think Lore adds a lot. With all the little special rules, BattleLore can be a bit overwhelming at first, but by the end William was getting things figured out. It was a great game, with some good maneuvering on both sides. I won a close victory.

It was a good learning game, and William is well on his way to becoming a tough opponent.

I'm going to continue working to recruit William, and I think he may become a regular. Time will tell

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Riding in Coach

At the 1st annual "I went to Essen but didn't bother to bring my two favorite acquisitions" day, we opened with an 8 player game of Die Kustchfahr zur Teufeslburg (which I wanted to try). It took us a few rounds to get a feel for the game, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Dennis complaint that if you get stuck with a poor item early (or people ganging up against you 'just because') then you are in for a long, boring game, seems reasonable.

However, I think that most of the random play was just people getting used to the game. And once everyone knows the game then I think we'll trim some time off the game (although the full game adds a few more cards). And finally, I don't think anyone who brings Talisman should complain about random hosage.

Anyway, I'll be putting this game into the rotation. This would also make an interesting PBEM (moderated) game. It would remove the memory element, and all the illicit communication. For those who didn't play, this review should bring you up to speed.

For those who did play, the items that they suggest you skip in the first game:
  • "Sextant" -- After you trade this, pick a direction (clockwise or widdershins) and everyone must pass an object (their choice) in that direction.
  • "Tome" -- If you trade the Tome, you and your trading partner switch occupations. Used occupations (once/game) are reset!
  • "Coat" -- When you trade the coat you get a new occupation from the unused stack (your choice!)
  • "The Broken Mirror" -- The mirror must be accepted in trade, and the other traded card doesn't take effect.
  • "The Coat of Armor of the Loge" -- If you have this item and any combination of 3 keys/goblets, you can proclaim a solo victory!
For such a small game (fits in a card box), I find myself thinking about this...

I summarized the games I played on my blog.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Essen Pics Uploaded

I pretty much felt like this kid the whole time I was at the Essen 2007 convention. Attending is an experience I would recommend everyone try at least once. My pictures are here: Link.

They sure know how to make good apple strudel and bratwurst there. The pizza was surprisingly good too. I must be hungry...

My favorite game of the show.... Race for the Galaxy by a nose with Brass losing out just a tad because of the somewhat esoteric theme.

So, who is going next year?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saturday Planning

No time like the present to start planning...

Ok, it's been a while, but Casa de Chris is open for gaming again this Saturday. I just got my World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion from Thought Hammer and will hopefully rope a few people in to playing it. (Ben? Steve? Chad? Help a friend out here...)

But of course we need to play other stuff, too, because, well, it's Saturday. Plus we'll throw a football game on the telly depending on which fans show up. So come on over at 9am and let's make it a good day.

RSVP below (or don't...you're still welcome). Let me know if you need directions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Power !

Jeff and I started up with Voltage, a fast two player card game. It's ... ok. But that started us on a "Power/Industrial" theme that kept going. After running our power plants, Sean showed up and we ran some Factories for Fun. I still like this one, as its reasonable quick, but fills that 'puzzle game' niche well. Dennis and Rick showed up, so we briefly paused for Cineplexity (ok, two pauses) then expanded our operation from one single plant to a whole string of them. This was my first time for the print-and-play Power Grid Atolla Modulis expansion, but our group likes Power Grid. Anyway, the game play is identical, just with the (modular) map. Overall, I think it went reasonably well. However, there are way too many cities that have no connection cost -- not only do several of the tiles have clumps, but the rules (as written) only put connection costs between cities that connect through a linking tile (one without cities). I think breaking the costs into "small" and "large" (whatever those may be) and putting the small tiles between cities (which would normally have no cost) and the large on the linking tiles will fit. Perhaps making the small costs the 1-10, and the large 10+ or so would be about right.

Overall, I'm glad I got this (I traded a game for a nice set), but I'd still be happy to play some of the other expansion boards too. Still, this is better than another game on the basic US/Germany map. (And soon the 2nd power plant deck will be out!).

After that we completely left industry behind to build up our huts in Taluva. This beautiful game, vaguely reminiscent of Java (with it's 3D building), seemed interesting, but really should only be played 2-player. Otherwise you get into the "No, you stop him!" issue. On the other hand, I think Attika (also designed by Marcel-Andre Casasola Merkle) is OK with 3 or 4, great with two. I'll need to play this a few more times to see, but this does look promising.

By this point everyone else had bailed, so I taught Starship Catan to Sean. This is a cute little game, really part of the "Settlers" genre by courtesy only. You have resources (and the race for 10VPs) but the heart of the game is the flightplan. There are four sectors, each with 10 cards. During your turn you pick one, shuffle it, and your opponent flips out the cards one at a time. Most of them let you buy or sell, but some are blank, some are 'destinations' (to finish adventures), and even a few pirates. It took me a bit to review how to play, but we got started and ended up with a tight race. Sean got to 9 VP and made his purchases to earn him a tenth on his next flight. I made my flight and claimed my 10th VP, but then a recount showed that we were tied for "Diplomatic Friendship Points." This gives a longest road style VP, but unlike Settlers if there's a tie the VP is taken away. So my "10th" VP was actually my 9th. But my flight let me flip through 7 cards (out of 10) on the stack and the final card earned my actual 10th VP, letting me squeak out the win.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

BGG con....watcha playing?

Judging from last year, I much prefer to wander aimlessly until I find a spot for a game that I'm interested in (which is truly not hard to do at all), than to formally commit to a gaming schedule (like they are trying to do here).

Now, knowing that this year I'm getting there on Wed afternoon, I am seriously considering scheduling at least 1 beast. But immediately 2 questions came to mind:

1. What day am I willing to sacrifice to this beast? Thursday? Will probably focus on the new Essen hits. Friday? I think they have some of the special stuff (game shows, puzzlehunt etc) that day. Saturday? Really? the last day? hmmm... maybe

2. Then of course, WHICH GAME? It has to be something that I haven't played or at least not to completion. A few games come to mind: Europe Engulfed, Here I stand (full campaign), Barbarossa to Berlin, EUROFRONT 2. Other beasts that are played in less time are tempting me (Die Macher, Roads and Boats, West Front2 etc), but I have either played them in the past or can probably schedule those more easily. So it's probably going to be one of the previous..... with a STRONG preference for Here I Stand.

Would any other con goers be interested in a FULL CAMPAIGN of HIS.....or any of the other preferred beasts? Then, what day would you prefer to do this on? I think Sat would be the best because it has the least activities (IIRC).

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Pre-BGG.CON Trade List

I am clearing my closet by getting rid of a ton of games, through the BGG.CON math trade or any other means necessary. As usual, I want to give y'all first shot. No reasonable offer (cash or trade, cash preferable) will be turned away on the following:

ASL Starter Kit #1
Babylon 5 Wars (AOG -- no minis)
Battle Cry
Battleground: Fantasy Warfare** (Men, Orc, Undead starter decks)
Fantasy Business
Filthy Rich
Gettysburg (AH 1977)
Harpoon (1991)
Lord of the Rings: The Search
Marvel Heroes
Memoir '44
Sid Meier's Civilization
Stadens Nyckel (English translations pasted onto cards)
Starfarers of Catan

** I think I lost these in a sports bet with Simon, but he never showed up to Dragon's Lair again to claim them. Simon, if you're still out there, they're still yours.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Monday Planning

So, whose up for gaming this monday? I'll be there at the normal time ...


Workers of the world unite!

The dialectic propounded by Lenin and Marx and perfected by the great Stalin has proven its inevitable truth. Tonight the workers of the world threw off the shackles of their capitalist oppressors and formed a worldwide union of soviets. The proletariat now live in a workers paradise while their capitalist oppressors have been reeducated and perform useful service to the state.

Jose joined me for a couple of games of Twilight Struggle Friday evening.

Game 1 began with the overrunning of Israel by the combined Arab armies followed shortly by the conquest of South Korea by Kim Il-sung’s red army. This allowed the Soviets to quickly dominate the Middle East and Asia. Their hold over these regions became unbreakable after the Vietnamese revolt Islamic Revolutions. The withdrawal of the colonial powers allowed the hammer and sickle to spread quickly throughout Africa. Meanwhile Castro and Che’ spread revolution throughout Latin America. All of this proved too much for the Americans and they finally succumbed in turn 6.

Game 2 began with American hesitation in Western Europe. Although the Marshall Plan was instituted almost immediately, the Americans delayed the formation of NATO leaving the door open for Soviet interference throughout Western Europe. The Soviets skillfully exploited the American oversight and Italy went solidly red while France and West Germany teetered on the brink. Arab armies overran Israel again while South Korea fell to the North. Despite all these disasters, the Americans managed to claw their way back into the game. The war in Afghanistan distracted the Soviets while Radio America rolled back communist control over fragile governments in Southeast Asia. The expulsion of the Soviets from Egypt got the Americans back into the Middle East. Things looked better for the Americans in Africa and Latin America. American influence spread quickly from South Africa and Libya. America maintained good relations with her neighbors to the south gaining substantial influence which kept Castro at bay. The Soviets had a slight victory point lead going into turn 7. At this point we had to call it an evening with the game being too close to call.

Twilight Struggle is an outstanding game which needs to hit the table a lot more often than it does. Jose is a gentleman and a skillful competitor. I look forward to our next game.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Saturday and a quick summary

Reminder -- Saturday is at Casa de Bankler. RSVP in the comments if you are coming and didn't already drop me a note.

Dennis, Michael, Jon and I played 7 Ages today. (Technically, we played "2 Ages and change.") Who squeeked out the win through shenanigans isn't important. What is important is that:
  • The Romans managed to survive two rebellions, an earthquake, several floods, the Normans, Carthaginians, Syracusians, Frankhs (Poor Frankhs!) and several other nations.
  • The universally acclaimed language of art and scholarship? Gaelic.
  • The T'Ang dynasty appeared so briefly that even Bill Clinton couldn't find it. [1]
  • The Great Wall was originally built in Mexico. It later disappeared and was then discovered by a stunned Cato the Elder, who declaimed "Eram ut parietis hic heri?" [2]
  • The Huns drove the Japanese out of China, then decimated the Tamil in India. And the aformentioned T'Ang.
Anyway, I've put a review of 7 Ages on my blog. The four of us thought that it would be nice to try this with a few more people (it can handle up to seven). I think that five may be the sweet spot, personally (3 empires per person. Two seems a bit ... constraining). But I'd be happy to try 6 or 7 players. Perhaps over the holidays.

Oh, and here's a note about the last time we played it ... I think I'm going to start tagging posts with the games involved.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cutthroat Caverns

Has anyone heard of this game? It sounds fun, dark, and interesting. Tell me if you have played.


Monday, October 15, 2007

My games needs played

So, now that the math trade is over, I've got new games that need to be played.

Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg is the most novel. Sort of a Cross between Werewolf and Shadows Over Camelot. The players (3-10, but probably 6-8 is best) are put into two teams. You have to identify your team-mates and gather the objects you need to win. However, there's no communication -- players can only identify each other by actions. You can trade objects back and forth (and trading usually provides a bonus, but your trade partner can refuse the trade), and you can attack people. If you win an attack (either as attacker or defender) you can steal an object or find out which team your victim is on.

Could be good, could be bad, but definitely looks interesting.

I also got Francis Tresham's Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648. (I'm a sucker for games that deal with the Reformation, apparently). This is a luckless game for 2-5 players. In some ways it's reminiscent of Civ (in particular the fact that tokens serve as money and people, and the fact that there's no luck), but this strikes me as not quite as elegant (each turn has 20 phases, although you can skip some as needed). The game also only has 5 turns (plus an abbreviated turn 0). A longer title, but one I'd like to try.

I also picked up Power Grid Atolla Modulus.

Anyway, what do you want to get to the table?


Simple Wargames I Have Known

Ted and I showed up at The Lair around five. After staring at the tumbleweeds, we broke out Battle Lore. We used the Call To Arms system to pick a scenario and then build our armies. It seemed to work reasonably well, although I've got a feeling we were doing something wrong. In any case, we had a heavily wooded area, and both sides had a nice mix of units including heavy infantry, heavy cavalry, dwarves, goblins, a Giant Spider, archers, crossbowmen and the like. I also had a rogue's den, so we had a fair number of the rules.

I killed the spider, and then got decimated. It probably had something to do with running up a few heavy units, which smashed nicely, but then got decimated when they couldn't battle back (not being bold). I also risked using my Rogue's Den to 'teleport' a unit behind enemy lines, but that didn't work out so well. I should have teleported the dwarves...

During our game Jeff and Amy showed up, but after a game of Voltage and Hansa (I think) they called it a night and packed up. So after finishing my humiliating loss, we pulled out Combat Commander. We played Scenario #3, where elite Germans face a lot of poorly trained Russians who have to defend their headquarters. The germans real enemy is time. Early on Ted mopped up the Russians I had set up forward, and marched halfway up the map when the Time Trigger had gotten to '2'. I managed to kill a few Nazis while losing another objective, and pin a few units as they approached my command bunker. With time starting to run out, Ted placed some smoke and ran into the wire outside of my HQ. But as he moved my opportunity fire finished off Ted's deck, triggering the first of two time advancements I needed, which also removed the smoke. My followup fire combined with Spray fire to hit all the moving units. I made a great rolls, breaking almost everyone in the main hex. I followed up with the commander's pistol. Originally I had just hoped for a time trigger anywhere, but now I found demoralized Germans trapped in wire on an open road and made another great roll, to kill several units and cause the germans to surrender. A bloody engagement, with both sides suffering heavy losses.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Planning for Monday

I plan to be there around 5 or so, and I'll have Mare Nostrum + Mythic Expansion. I recently got this. I've not yet played, and I'd really like to get in a game w/ a full complement of folks.

As usual, post in the comments


Sunday afternoon: Wanna Play a Game?

I've got some time this afternoon/evening. Anyone got some time? My place, your place, DL.

I am interested in the following:

-- BL
-- CC:E
-- other mid-length 2 player game

Post in the comments or give me a call.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reporting....and Quick Links to BGG con

Dennis, thanks for hosting an amazing game day. Got to play CnC Ancients for the first time ever with Steve (very very cool, but I probably won't get it knowing how committed I already am to BattleLore). Also a game of Napoleon's Triumph with Ben...my third, and his first. This is a great wargame that I strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys wargames, and likes the maneuvering aspect of it more than the chaos of dice rolling....or simply if you are looking to try something different in terms of wargaming. To be fair, I did amazingly well because he didn't really know all the nuances of the rules (read, how all the intricate battle rules translate to actual strategy).

Then got to play three (!) of my lighter euros: Thebes (chaotic fun with a great theme and mechanics), Guatemala cafe, and Fairy Tale (one of my fav 'super' fillers). Great games all IMO.... although I don't know that Guatemala Cafe can offer much new that I haven't already seen in 2 plays. Just don't play it too much, and I won't come to grow tired of it.

In other news............

Criss: You asked about what games to bring to BGG con. Trust me, don't bother. See below....with other links that all attendees may be interested in.

1. The BGG con 06 gaming library

2. Here is the new signup list for special games, and here for wargames. Tempted to sign up for a game of Europe Engulfed.

3. The Math trade

3. What is BGG con (2006 version)?

There might be other good links that I haven't found in my 5 min search... please include them here if so inclined.

Saturday with Totaler Krieg!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dear Board Game Publishers....

/Rant On

I will gladly pay an extra $10 per game to have factory workers apply stickers to blocks and other game components.... I just spent the past hour with Napoleon's Triumph and C&C: Ancients, gingerly applying stickers to pieces. Its a whole new kind of high pucker factor board gaming fun! At times like this I truly begin to appreciate Hasbro, Days of Wonder, and Fantasy Flight Games, who I'm sure use well paid workers in the most comfortable of working conditions to lovingly apply the stickers for their American brethren.

/Rant Off

Whew.... better now.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

I think Brian was looking for suggestions for Wii games a while back

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Saturday Games Planning

I'll be open for business starting at 8:30am. Email me if you need directions.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The SABG Top 50 Results!

Now that everyone who has promised a list has submitted it, the fine accountants at our firm have tallied the votes! Remember, each time a game appears on a list is 21-40 points.

The "Just Happy to Be Here" games (2 voters)
  • Descent (49 pts)
  • Nexus Ops (50)
  • Smarty Party (51)
  • Axis & Allies / Shifting Sands (52)
  • Caylus Magna Carta / Junta (53)
  • 1830 / Cosmic Encounter / Kingmaker (54)
  • Taboo (55)
  • Roborally / Poker (56)
  • Dicke Kartoffen / Torres (57)
  • Arkham Horror / Loopin Louie (58)
  • Vegas Showdown (59)
  • Crusader Rex (60)
  • Twilight Struggle (61)
  • Samurai / We the People / Yspahan (62)
  • Colossal Arean (64)
  • Cash N Guns / Keythedral / Werewolf (65)
  • Perikles (66)
  • Race for the Galaxy (69)
  • Diplomacy / Dune (70)
  • On the Underground (71)
  • Phoenicia / Princes of Florence (72)
  • Crokinole (73)
  • Command & Colors: Ancients / Roads and Boats / Tikal (74)
  • Shadowfist (80)
Thanks to all of our contestants, and remember that it's an honor to just be here! Especially for Dicke Kartoffen! Now onto the real celebrities -- games with 3 or more votes.

Coming in at #25 -- Seven Ages! (3 voters / 73)

#24 -- Memoir '44! (3 / 76)

#23 -- Acquire (3 / 80)

#22 -- Civilization (3 / 82)

#21 -- History of the World (3 / 85)

#20 -- Glory to Rome (3 / 86)

Tied at #18 -- Goa and East Front II (3 / 90)

#17 -- Stage II (3 / 92)

#16 -- Tichu (3 / 97)

Our top 15 games all clear the 100 point barrier, although just barely for our next entrant

#15 -- Bridge (3 / 100). I guess we really need a fourth.

#14 -- Notre Dame (3 / 101). A flash in the pan? Only time will tell.

#13 -- Magic the Gathering (4 / 115). I'd snark, but I voted for Shadowfist...

#12 -- Age of Steam (4 / 119). I may have lumped in a vote for Railroad Tycoon.

#11 -- Ra (4 / 122)

Isn't the tension fabulous? No?

At Number 10, we have Hammer of the Scots (4/124).

At Number 9, Settlers of Catan (4/130).

At Number 8, Celebrities (4/ 143).

At Number 7, Ticket to Ride is the first game to get five voters (5/ 147). (This had all the variants lumped into one title).

At Number 6, Battle Lore (5/150) completes the Command and Colors Trifecta.

At Number 5, War of the Ring grabs 171 points from five lists.

At #3 there's a tie! Tigris and Euphrates and Puerto Rico will have to duel it out in sudden death! They narrowly edged out War of the Ring by a single point (5/172)

Showing up shockingly high (in my mind) at #2 is San Juan. And this is no "almost tie" either, as six voters combine for 196 points.

And the winner isn't even close. It's a runaway winner, grabbing all the little SABG statues! Showing up on fully half of the submitted lists, with an awe-inspiring 244 points ... the winner of the Inaugural SABG Top 50-ish games (that we like) award is :

Power Grid!

I've created a geeklist that has all the results, so that we can comment on individual games there, or on the general thread here.


Mini Monday

Dennis and I started with the one-game playoff for the NL pennant. Cards (with Chris Carpenter) vs the Mets (John Maine). As you would expect, not many hits in this one. Tied (1-1) going into the seventh, when the wheels came off for the Cards. After Valentin whiffed, Shawn Green got on base, so I pinch hit for Maine (with Cliff Floyd) who singled. Jose Reyes singled and drove in Green. This fatigued Carpenter, but even so he was better than relieving him (especially as he batted first at the top of the 8th. Needless to say the "Strikeout (if not fatigued)" result hit, scoring another run. The Mets advance to the World Series on a 4-1 victory.

Sean had shown up, so then we played Phoenicia, Acquire, and a new game called "Fast Figure." In that one the answers are all numbers (0-100). When you answer you drop your card between the numbers already used in previous answers. So a round may start with 0 and 34. The question is "Name the number of amendments in the bill of rights." So you throw your card in ten and first scores a point. Now the #s are 0, 10 and 32, and the next question is worth two points. A reasonable game, although we should definitely play with an extra starting card (or two) at the begining of each round.

After that Sean and I played a learning game of Blood Bowl, with Dennis offering advice. I took the Norse vs Sean's Orcs. The first half saw the Orcs score, and then Norse failed a 5/6 shot to score on the final turn of the half. The second half was much more chaotic, with more missed rolls (which end your turn, usually). Despite some horrific rolls, I managed to get a touchdown, but had to score faster than I'd hoped, leaving enough time on the clock for the Orcs. Sean got the ball and built a cage around his runner, I managed to stun two of his three black orks (strong brutes who dish out the US Recommended Daily Allowance of Pain) so with them down he couldn't cover everywhere. His cage had a weak spot and I had an advantageous blitz, only to fail with snake eyes (double-skull) and no rerolls! However, on the next turn Sean had to blitz with the ball-carrier to excape and returned the favor (snake-eyes, no rerolls left). So the ball bounced around to a dead spot, at which point there wasn't enough time for either of us to score, so we just inflicted a few flagrant fouls and called it a night. Sean ended up inflicting 3 serious injuries, to my 1. He was a bit unlucky to not inflict more (the Norse have poor armor), but on the other hand he only had a few blocking turnovers (two die blocks without the blocking skill should fail 1/9th of the time)

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Monday Gaming

Not to gloss over Saturday, but what about tomorrow? Ben had mentioned the possibility of starting at noon, which I'm certainly up for. Anyone else?


Sat 10/13

So I called Michael by accident today, and he kindly reminded me that if I want to set something up for this coming weekend, I should post it here.

Anyone up for gaming on 10/13? I'm avalaible from the crack of dawn., but would prefer starting closer to 10 at DL.

Jon, I can't do Napoleon on Friday. Maybe Saturday? Just break from the group at some point and play? Ben, it would be great, but also doing a scenario of LnL would be too much, wouldn't it? (I'm doing a fair amount of eurogaming now, but I'm really lacking on the wargaming front.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday in the Cave with Gamers

Scott, Jon and I arrived in the morning and started off with Ticket to Ride: Marklin. Scott hadn't played before, but I have no excuse in my ~60 point loss to Jon, who smoked us by breaking 210. Then we paused for a caloric interlude, and to wait for Ben who was "On the way." Chad made a surprise appearance, and we Jon and I discussed the results of the latest math trade. [I'm fairly happy with my results, and Jon is moderately happy, although he messed up a want list with the easily predicted result of winning a poor trade].

After that we played Cosmic Encounter. Most of us got to 4 bases, which meant that it would be a group win (for some). Chad, as the Vulch, had a stack full of edicts and no attack card, but he got into a position to trade the win with Scott, leaving the rest of us losers.

We then played Stage II (which also provides the title reference for this post).

Jon left, so Scott and I sent up our P-51s up against the Luftwaffe. Sadly the game we played was called Rise of the Luftwaffe, and soon our parachutes were floating gently towards the earth. So we played again, and we lost again. (Despite the fact that I got the "Hit Fuel Tank and blow up enemy plane" card all three times through the deck). The Down-in-Flames series (of which RotL was the first entry) is actually a fairly simple game hiding under insanely complicated rules. Still, I enjoy it. Next time we'll have to try it with more people.

Having been shot down from grace, Scott and I left Ben and Chad to play Tannhauser.

And some misc updatage -- I've been promised another Top50 list early next week, so I'm delaying the results until Tuesday or Weds.

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A Good Game of Rail Road Tycoon

Life has gotten hectic with projects at the job and new school activities with the kids. I was finally able to get in a good game of Rail Road Tycoon on Friday with some friends. Mark and I were probably the only ones from the group you would recognize, with the possible exception of my son and my friend Jerry; whom some of you have met on previous occasions.

I really like this game, but I have yet to master it. I tend to play either too aggressively and go crazy with stock, or I play too conservatively and get left behind. Last night I played with the latter loosing strategy. Mark, on the other hand, played well and pulled out waaaay ahead and left us far behind.

I think this game is a true treasure with strategies I have not even started to explore. Last night I played extra badly as I discovered the hard lesson of not having your segments connected. As a result, I never needed to build a locomotive higher than level 3. I had LOTS of cash and nothing to spend it on.

Good, game Mark. Looking forward to playing again.

BTW, I downloaded the blue cities replacements from Eagle Games. I covered the original blue cities (which looked purple) and it made a great difference.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Session: Zombies and the Obscura Korps

Jon, Steve, and I had a rousing session of "Ameritrash" today at Dragon's Lair. Ah, its nice to finally have a day off work again.

We kicked off the day with a game of FFG's new Tannhauser, playing story mode. Jon took the peace loving Union forces, while Steve and I split responsibilities for the evil, twisted Obscura Korps. We muddled through the rules a bit at first, which seem to be organized in a way only the French mind could understand, but before long we were rocking along. Jon carried the day, barely, but I have to say I really enjoyed this game even more than I thought I would. The Hellboy-esque theme is very well implemented, and each of the characters had a diverse set of powers and equipment. I didn't find any of them to be unbalanced, though I think the game will shine further through one of the other three game modes.

We next played Last Night on Earth, with my assuming my typical evil overlord role as the Zombie player versus Jon and Steve as various townsfolk. We played the Defend the Manor scenario, which required the humans to hold the manor for 17 turns without losing four heroes. Well... they made it about half way, before they fell one after the other. In one particularly memorable scene, the Jon's high school quarterback ran outside to draw off the Zombies, only to get pounced upon by about seven of them who proceeded to rip him limb from limb. The little dog who tried to help the heroes didn't fare too well either. Steve almost managed to dynamite a huge pile of zombies, and at the end of the game, Jon's other character had a chainsaw and shotgun and was ready to be a one-man zombie shredder. However, it was too late as just then the zombies overran the manor. As many people are saying, this game does the whole zombie theme extremely well. Its always a bummer when evil wins over the heroes, but I'm already excited about playing again.

We next played two games of Epic Duels, with Jon (Darth) and Steve (Mace) each winning one. Alas, then Jon had to run, but Steve and I rounded out the day with a great game of Command and Colors: Ancients. We played the Battle of Magnesia (Romans vs. Selucids). Steve's Romans beat me so badly, I was searching for Milk of Magnesia by the end of the game. He's dangerous in this game.

Many thanks to both Jon and Steve for a terrifically fun day. This was a great way to start a great month of gaming!

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Friday Gaming Recap

Tannhauser (not the Teutonic Order vs. Medieval Poland battle, though that is apparently not believed by all within the SA boardgaming community) was played first. John won as we were all a little unsure of how best to proceed, but next game should be better as we'll be far more informed.

Next was a zombie game, Last Night on Earth. Ben cruised to victory as the cruel overlord/zombie master, while John and I searched for matches to light all the dynamite we found but could never use.

Next was Star Wars Epic Duels. The usual cries of " (Insert name here) is running away with it!" I think John won one as Chad Vader and then I won as Samuel Jackson/Jules the contract killer.

Ben and I got in one last game of CnC: Ancients. I do enjoy Battlelore, but Ben and I discussed how the game play seemed to be comparable to Battlelore with much less effort. Both have their strengths but CnC Ancients supports the viewpoint that less is sometimes more.

I'm planning on a quick early session of War of the Ring with Ben while a repair guy is doing his thing tomorrow morning, then will adjust my DL time around the Texas-OU game. I can't let the Longhorns go into the depths of despair without me in front of the TV holding a lit santos candle.


SABBL Regular Season Final Standings

The SABBL Strat-O-Matic league has reached the end of its 16-game regular season. Here are the final standings:

Twins (Michael) 11-5
Yankees (Brian) 9-7
Tigers (Scott) 7-9
A's (Jon) 7-9

Mets (Brian) 8-8
Dodgers (Chris) 8-8
Cardinals (Dennis) 8-8
Padres (Sean) 6-10

The Mets have beaten the Dodgers in the first game of a three-team tiebreaker (see a couple of posts down for a replay), and will now face the Cardinals, with the winner meeting the Twins in a best-of-three World Series.

Team and individual stat leaders can be found in the comments section. They are noticeably more reasonable now than they were at the halfway point. Some thoughts:

1. The Tigers seem to have the best pitchers *and* hitters. How are they 7-9? (Tentative answer: they gave up a lot of walks and a TON of unearned runs.)
2. Those Padres sure like to swing, don't they?
3. Who is Adrian Gonzalez (SD), and how have I not heard of someone with this much pop?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Saturday Gaming

I'm definitely interested in gaming on Saturday. If no one pops up with an amazing offer to host, I say we seize tables (preferably in the side rooms due to the crowds) at DL at 1000 hours. Alas, I don't think my copy of Napoleon's Triumph will get here in time...

I'm up for whatever. Who's with me?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dodgers-Mets 1 Game Playoff

Bottom of the 4th, Dodgers and Mets tied at one. In the Top of the 4th Pedro Martinez beaned Repko, sending him out of the game....

  • First pitch, Lo Duca gets beaned by Derek Lowe.
  • Ramon Castro pinch runs, as Lo Duca looks groggy.
  • Endy Chavez reaches on an error.
  • Jose Valentine pops out to 2nd.
  • Shawn Green reaches on another error.
  • Pedro, up to bat with the bases loaded, lays down a perfect squeeze bunt that not only scores Castro, Pedro beats out the throw!
  • Lowe walks Reyes (scoring Chavez)
  • ... then walks Wright (scoring Green)
  • ... then beans Beltron (scoring Pedro)
  • ... then walks Delgado (scoring Reyes)
  • ... before mercifully striking out Castro and getting Chavez to pop into shallow right.
Why, we've got a full blown case of Derek Lowe Face! I do feel bad for Derek (and Chris) in that he'd never be in that situation except for two errors. (If those had been outs, the exact same sequence would be Pedro whiffs, walk, walk, HBP, out, out).

Pedro makes it through 8 2/3rds before Reyes muffs the final out, allowing Martin to reach. Then pedro issues his 2nd walk of the game, followed by 2 hits. At this point he gets yanked to give Chad Bradford the ball -- strikeout, game.

Fun Facts

There were 5 beanballs in the game (4 injuries). The Dodgers put 17 players onto the field. Of the nine runs scored in the game, seven were unearned. Delgado continues to be ice cold, with no hits (one walk during the horrific sequence above) and a DP. At least Reyes continues his hot streak .. (reaching four out of five with a BB, 1B, 2B and 3B).

Next up the Mets face the Cards in the final NL playoff game.


Final List Reminder,a New League and an old one

Firstly, if you want to vote for the SABG Top 50 List, get me your votes (or let me know to wait) quickly. Unless I hear otherwise, I'm going to publish that this weekend.

And now that the SABBL is in the playoffs, my mind is turning towards the Blood Bowl league that Dennis suggested. Blood bowl is a fantasy (elves, dwarfs) football/rugby hybrid game. I'd say that it has a much higher strategy content than managing baseball (even though it's still random as hell). A typical game takes about 3 hours. I'd write a detailed review, but I've already done it! (Go read).

Right now there are only a handful of people in the league. I'd like to see a reasonable number, but Blood Bowl has a big advantage over our Strato league. Games aren't scheduled. You can join in the league and play as often as you like. Want to join after a few weeks? No problem. (The league really represents something akin to football of 100 years ago, when managers just scheduled games against willing opponents. Bloodbowl is like college football scheduling, but with a straight face).

As I said, you can download the rulebook for free.

What would be ideal is to find out there are a few more sets floating around. You can scrounge pretty much everything (although having the special dice and the pass ruler is fairly necessary), but I happen to like the aesthetics of the game. [Dennis has made some paper counters, and I suspect others could, or you can buy a team on eBay].

About the only thing that needs to get decided before we start are any variants we're going to play, and traditional scheduling rules, and a count of whose interested. Lets see what the interest is, and then we can decide on any rules. (I'm actually fairly happy with the new Living Rule Book, but there are a few points of interest, in particular if there are going to be playoffs).

Dragon's Lair has another BBowl league, but I think its fairly formal. Still, there may be those with a spare set for sale.

Finally, I'm up for a follow-on Strat-o league, but after a few months break.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Coping with Depression: Friday Gaming

October is going to be the beginning a of three month board gaming push for me, starting with this weekend. I've spent the past month without a day off work, so its now officially payback time.

Its possible I may be using board games to overcompensate for my depression at Notre Dame's officially worst season ever. I am sorry I didn't acquire the t-shirt the ND bookstore was pushing during Weiss' first season proclaiming, "Return to Glory!" I may be doing some cooking to get ready for the UCLA game this weekend. But, I digress...

Friday, Jon and I are planning to play Tannhauser, with a possible follow-on session of Flying Colors or something else fun. Last Night on Earth is high on my list to play. Steve is also planning to attend, and if we just have three, I'll let him play the leather clad Teutonic dominatrix. Still, if we had an even number or more, there would be even more fun. We're planning to start at 1000 hours at DL. I hope you can make it.

Oh, and I'm definitely up for something fun on Saturday too, other than watching ND win..... Not.

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Quick monday report (I was distracted by something)

The baseball regular season finished not. Two more games to play before the world series match-ups are determined. The good news is I can throw out my Padres scouting report.

Couple of plays of Smarty Party with some surprisingly hard categories and some surprisingly (even for Smarty Party) wrong answers.

Groo was coo enough.

Union Pacific was alright.

Acquire was fun as always. I thought I was doing ok considering my horrid start when I got majority and minority in the two final companies. Alas. I've never played with six before and it feels very different.

Ciniplex was too hard for me. I guess I'm not the movie buff that I once was (another victim of my blatant disregard of rule 1).

Ben and Steve seemed to really enjoy Ricochet Robots.

Thanks for letting me play Nuclear War not.

Now for a digression. It has come to my attention that some of you have been withholding information about critical hilarious blogs for up to six months. Is there anything else you aren't telling me???

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll go first:

Drew Bledsoe's blog: You should definitely start from the beginning of the archives here.

Fire Joe Morgan: Thanks for keeping this comedy gold to yourself Dennis and Chris

I was linked to this by Brian's blog a while back. That single post was one of the best things I've read, but in general I'm pretty disappointed with this one after that.

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