Sunday, December 30, 2007


Anyone showing up during the day at DL for some end of the year gaming? I'm in town, and don't have much going on during the day. Call me if you want to play anything. I could meet anyone at DL @10 AM or so.

Saturday Gaming

On Saturday six gamers got together at my place to play Conquest of the Empire. Steve was quick to grasp the bounty that Italy provided and jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Playing CotE with six players is fun but stressful. Ben summed it up best by saying it gave him a headache. I think 3-5 players is about the right number. Fewer than that and there is not enough confict, more than that and it's gridlock. Overall. it's a good game that requires a lot of skill and some luck to win.

Jose stuck around after the group left and we played a game of Twilight Struggle. He foiled my plan to knock the USA out of the game by turn 5. Instead he held out until the beginning of turn 9. For our next game of TS we have decided to try the optional rules at the back of the 2nd edition rulebook: Defcon status does not prevent realignment rolls and the ability to split up Ops points from a single card between different actions. We have also discussed bidding influence in the hope of improving the game balance.

Our last game of the evening/morning was War of the Ring+Expansion. I took the Shadow forces and Jose played the free people. The expansion adds all sorts of special actions and abilities, mostly for the free peoples. I swear Jose made up half the stuff. I pretty much stuck to the traditional Shadow strategy using the core rules. Gondor fell and Rohan was besieged. After defeating Gondor I pounced on the Fellowship to keep the Ring from moving while slowly tightening the noose around Rohan. My strategy worked and the Ringbearer succumbed to corrpuption within sight of his objective.

Overall. it was a nice day of gaming.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Seasons Greetings

Its the holiday season and time to enjoy quality time with our families as well as hopefully lots of board gaming with our friends. Hopefully the new expansion character for War of the Ring pictured above will bring you many wonderful games as well. In any event, I wish each SABG member and their loved ones very happy holidays. I thought about posting a picture of reindeer, but Antler Island has kind of scared me away from those fuzzy fellows for a while.

Speaking of board gaming, I'm officially off work on government slacker employee holiday until January 2, 2008. Other than Wednesday, I'm definitely interested in gaming with anyone who is of like mind. Jon are discussing Combat Commander: Med, but I'm sure there's plenty of time for other things that are fun. In the mean time, I'll be progressing through the engrossing Mass Effect.

Of course, what holiday season would be complete without a little journey to Mecatol Rex? I would like to suggest the possibility of Twilight Imperium 3 this coming Saturday. If we can gather at least four players, I'm sure we'd have a great time. Anyone?


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Here's a picture of some of my minitures. These are several of the units comprising a Free Company about to be steamrolled by my Swiss. This is a shot from the old digital camera, so we'll see if the new one can do better when I take some more pictures over the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Friday Night Gaming

Jacqui and I will host. Ben is invited, but warned. The Malevolent Lifeforms will be watching... 7pm, RSVP in the comments.


Saturday Planning

We almost started a game of Doom last week. Perhaps we can try again? In any event, I'm interested in spending the day gaming on Saturday if anyone would care to join me.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Race" indeed...

It turns out that 6ish means 6:30, unfortunately for Dennis who thought it was much closer to 6:00. Everyone else apparently was well versed in this convention, and showed up much closer to the designated time. I was the first of those who arrived at the correct time, so Dennis and I attempted Shear Panic again, this time as a two player game. It definitely works much better with two rather than three players, but this game sadly does not live up to it's incredible production values. And I'm not just saying that because I lost. I'm not seeing too much "plan ahead" ability on this, so it's really more a matter of timing when the scoring hits than positioning for said scoring. It's too bad - I WANT to like this game.

Chris and Brian showed up mid-game, and so they played a quick game of To Court The King, which I think they consider superior to my "it was only a buck" Knights... I must admit I've forgotten much of how to play that one, so I'll leave comments to them.

We followed that up with Race For The Galaxy. Race is a bit of a misnomer, as my galaxy resembled the black hole sucking and spewing radiation in the photo... No, it's not that bad. I love this game, and I'm getting better and better at it, which means I don't make the same mistakes I did ten games ago. That doesn't always mean my scores improve, but it's something. My one complaint is that the card draws can be infuriating... the card you need, the card that has to be there SOMEWHERE in the deck, has a nasty habit of coming into your hand the turn AFTER you've abandoned your losing strategy and gone for a thumb-in-the-dike move instead... I guess that's what they like to call "interesting decisions". Dennis and Brian kept trading wins, and I don't remember who won that last one, but after a few more "just one more game"s we finished up the night at post 11pm with seven? games of Galaxy under our belts...

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Back in Black

HA HA ha! I’m back from the dead, suckers! I bet you all thought you’d never see me again, but now that I’m all diploma’ed, I’ve got a small percentage of free time back. I still work like a mofo, but I might be edging back into some meet-ups if I get the chance.

In the meantime, I’m on xbox live late in the night most days, so you can get killed in Catan or Carc if you so desire (or Halo3 or GH3 or TF2). My tag is “Mister Meats.” I have a Wii too, but I never bothered to hook up the wifi. –And thus you know how I managed to survive without boardgames for so long.

I’m entering a Masters program for applied statistics at A&M in the fall (aren’t you proud of me, Michael?) so my return will be relatively short-lived. But hey, we can still get some gaming in, can’t we? Glad to be back, I hope my chair is still warm and there are a few new faces to meet. Or people, rather. I mean, I don’t mind meeting faces so long as they’re attached to bodies. Erm, what I’m trying to say is… Nevermind. I’ll be in closet assembling Loopin’ Louie if you need me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's Almost Monday, and There's No Planning Post Yet!

Anyone going? I got the impression the earliest people could make it was 6:30pm. Anyone showing up earlier?

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Saturday Session Report

Though my discretionary gaming time lately has been getting eaten up by my new job and new X-Box 360, Saturday board gaming is still, thankfully, a large bright spot in my weekly routine.

This week, an element of SABG gathered at Chris' house for a solid day of gaming fun. Here's what I remember playing (not in chronological order):

Fury of Dracula
Notre Dame
Glory to Rome
Neuroshima Hex
Doom (rules explanation only)
Guitar Hero 3 (Steve on X-Box 360)

With the possible exception of Castles (a $1 purchase by Sean at BGG.con), all of the games were great fun. I really do want to get a full game of Doom to the table sometime soon. Fury of Dracula was a good as I remember, and the good guys actually managed to pull out a victory against evil Chris this time. Neuroshima Hex really is best as a 2-player game. The visible scoring track leads unavoidably to kingmaking, and other than heckling there isn't much to do during other players' turns. Still, I'm glad I own it as its relatively quick, yet meaty enough to be interesting. Citadels was good just for the trash talking, and Glory to Rome gets better with each play. Notre Dame is a solid "7" in my book. I'm never extremely excited about playing it, but its always satisfactorily entertaining.

Chris, as usual, outdid himself with the highest standards of hosting. Man, those breakfast tacos were good!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Europe Engulfed

Today three of us got together for a game of Europe Engulfed. If you like games like Axis & Allies then you will probably like this one. The game is a little more in-depth than A&A and it does take quite a bit longer, but the one year of history that we played was fun and involved. If you like historical strategic simulation games, then this is one to check out. There are some down sides:

While the game itself is not really a heavy one (compared to other WWII simulations), it can take a long time to play. I would estimate an all day session for experienced players to finish the war. There can also be a LOT of dice rolling, but this can be greatly reduced if you use the optional rule with the CRT. And although the rules are very straight forward, you will have to look up some of the finer rules unless you have a photographic memory.

All-in-all, this is a fine game that I look forward to playing again. Mark and Jose are excellent opponents who are always welcome at my gaming table.

Game Lesson: The Germans have to be aggressive when they invade Russia. Take out the Soviets without mercy and as quickly as possible. Better to take risks than to play it safe (within reason of course). Supply in North Africa will kill you. Strategic Warfare is a money pit, but if you neglect it you will die.

Here is a really cool video with the classic Al Stewart song “Roads to Moscow” – a song about the war in Russia set to footage of the computer game Red Orchestra. Well worth watching and listening.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday Daytime Gaming

Who's with me for daytime gaming, starting perhaps at 0900?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Which We Carry Boats Everywhere...

I arrived at Dragon's Lair a little early, and found Jeff and Chris playing Jambo. I was reviewing some player aids for some new-to-me games when Dennis arrived. We started a two-player game of Knights while waiting for Jambo to finish, but as soon as we had started Jambo finished! So Chris and Jeff joined in and we restarted... Knights is a dice-fest - you are rolling six dice three times trying to "beat" the dice shown on a card you are attempting to take into your hand. The twist is that any 6 you roll is dead - not useful in your hand, and cannot be re-rolled. The cards have different abilities, and the one we vastly underrated at game start were the "dice" cards, which gives you an extra die of a given number virtually - it's in addition to the six dice you are rolling. Chris got one of these early, and proceeded to use it to clean up. The game was still pretty tight, but there was no way to slow him down with that advantage.

As we wrapped (or rolled) up that game, Jon and Tiffany arrived, so we searched the bags for a six player game. Out came the odd little trivia game Fast Figure... In this game the answers to the question are always numbers from 1 to 100. Previously answered cards stay on the board, and the first person to put their answer card in the correct gap wins the question - so if the question is "number of US states at the time of the Pearl Harbor bombings", then Dennis would win if his answer card was down between the already-on-the-table 41 and 70. The game feels very frantic, and I've learned I'm no good at trivia-under-pressure - but it's fun to play the odds and drop your card in a "gap" of about 60 numbers... The game came down to the last hand, where Jon gathered enough points to come within 1 of Jeff, and Chris won the final question to race past me, leaving me in last.

Next out was the Dilbert version of The Great Dalmuti, called Corporate Shuffle. I have nothing much to say about this one, except that executive leadership stinks and art imitated life - I remained stuck in the lower-middle-class of the corporate world.

Tiffany needed to leave at this point, saying something about us giving her a pain in the neck I believe (hope that gets better!), and we pulled out a Tanga cheapie called Tongiaki. I actually really like this game - there are only a few actions you can take each turn, but it can still be a brain burner. Everyone populates "islands" with their boats, and once a beach is full the small fleets ship out in search of new islands and territory to explore. You need help, since ocean passage is treacherous - if you uncover an ocean tile with a number, you need at least that many different colors of boats (each player is a color) to survive the trip. The person who initiated the journey chooses the dispersement of ships on the new island if everyone survives. Each island has a point value between 2 and 5, and you score at game end for each island you have a boat presence on. The few other times I've played this game there are many an opportunity to screw your neighbor as you ship everyone ELSE'S boats off to certain doom at sea - but in this game the concept of islands was slightly skewed. I think we wound up with two large land masses at game end... there was still plenty of strategy available, but not nearly enough ocean voyaging, or watery graves. It seems like boats were not the optimal travel vehicle for the game we played...

Our final game was Prophecy, an RPG that with the two-treasure variant clocked in at just over 90 minutes with five players. This game is a lot of fun, and incredibly frustrating all at the same time. Gathering items, experience, and bonuses you build your combined "strength" and "willpower", and battle monsters and villains with those strengths. There's tons to explore, and many different paths to take toward victory - but Dennis is the master of them all. The rest of us kept fighting monsters with three lives, only to lose the third battle... I wish I was better at this game, and think I'll try to study up some - some games just come to me naturally, and others I don't seem to grasp the correct strategy at all for several plays - and this one falls in the latter category. I at least got close to winning one of the treasures in this game - I was a turn away from grabbing my first one at game end - but it was far too little too late. All I know is next game I want to be the "Master of Pain" - that dude is cool.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

A Day of Terrible Carnage, Saturday, 8 Dec 2007

Lest it appear I have completely been completely transformed into an X-Box zombie I thought it prudent to post a brief session report of my Saturday gaming activities vs. Steve.

We started out with our old favorite warhorse, War of the Ring. Steve is now officially a master of the game. Despite my best, albeit a tad bit rusty, attempts to secure victory for the evil side, Steve totally crushed me. Score one ring dunk for the little people.

We next played the new Valley Games reprint of Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Neither of us had played before, so going through the rules (which I had read) took longer than either of us wanted. In addition, as is common with card-driven wargames, neither of us was clear on which overall strategy to pursue, since there were so many options. Hannibal (Steve) came over the Alps and rampaged pretty successfully throughout Italy. I made an aborted attempt to get into Spain, but lost my initial key battle there, sending me scurrying back to France. Things were starting to look desperate for the Romans, so I loaded up my best pre-Scipio general and sent him out to lure the H-man to battle. Somehow I managed to barely beat Hannibal, killing most of his army and sending him to hustling back to Northern Italy. I was so far behind still that I still lost on auto-victory at the end of the turn, but it was good fun.

My overall impression of the Hannibal reprint is good, but the map does make picking out the province divisions exceedingly difficult. This tends to make end of turn scoring take too long as you're guessing who controls what. Still, despite this and some printing errors sprinkled throughout, its 90% good. I hope to play again, trading sides perhaps.

Lastly, Steve and I fought the battle of Agincourt on his miniatures table using his fantastic figures and some good, simple, yet fun rules. Steve guided me through the very bloody game, which featured Henry V getting mowed down, but the English prevailing overall. The spectacle of a miniatures game in full swing is amazing to behold, and Steve did a great job of teaching me and leading us through the game.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Monday Gaming

Anyone gaming on Monday at DL? (My personal vote is for some 2nd ed. Glory to Rome, although that depends on someone with a copy showing up.)

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Doctoral thesis in Agricola

BGN Agricola Review

For those still on the fence.... It makes for a GREAT read for the crapper.

Night of the Ravenous Trickster

BGG user davek was in town on business this week. We did our best to show him some San Antonio hospitality and had him over for game night. Michael and Tiffany joined us for a great evening of chatting about games, game designers, books, online game stores, brick-and-mortar game stores, and game groups. Oh, and we played some games, too: 6 Nimmt! Medici and Medina.

Dave is a super guy; I wish more of the SABGers had had a chance to meet him.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Today's contribution to society? I beat Psychobilly Freakout on Expert. More of life's goals being checked off.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Monday Gaming

At the end of the Saturday gaming, some people were making informal plans to meet at DL on Monday. I think they're talking about getting a game of Risk together, but I'm not sure. It may have been Monopoly. Comment inside if you can make it.

Session Report, Saturday Dec 01

Done. Whew! Easiest session report ever.