Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jumping the Gun - Labor Day plans

We're having to plan everything early these days to accommodate
the height-challenged member of our family. I expect Saturday and /or Monday will be filled with sessions of TI3 and marathons of shorter games, so Amy and I would like to host Sunday evening - August 31st. We'll lower the drawbridge of the Clan Wiles stronghold around 7:30.

RSVP in the comments.

Oh, and I thought of a really irritating thing one could do in a game of Celebrities - submit all famous dogs as your celebrities.

Our Friendly Neighborhood Admin bumped our post as a reminder to us all:

Gaming at Jeff and Amy's - Sunday, Aug 31 @ 7:30 PM

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rolling heads and black swords

Monday gaming started out with Brian, Scott, and myself and we opened with a few quick games of Race. While playing, another Scott sat down with us, who was visiting from Manhattan, Kansas. He actually was looking for the TCBY that recently closed in the same shopping center and saw the gaming store and stopped in. Al and Sean soon showed up and we began to debate what to play while Old Scott and Ol' Brian went to go play baseball. Al had a copy of Guillotine with him, and two people sitting at the next table volunteered, "If you're going to play Guillotine, we'd like to join." So we invited Benjamin and Nina to sit with us, and the six of us started this light little game. Nothing says "Great subject for a cartoony card game!" like the French Revolution beheadings.

In Guillotine, you deal out a line of 12 noble cards. Each is worth points from 1-5 (a few are negative points) and has a suit (military, clergy, aristocracy, government, if I remember correctly) and you go around the table taking the card from the front of the line into your scoring pile as you execute them. Chop chop. Every player also has a hand of action cards which let you change the order of the line to allow you to execute a noble worth more points, or stick someone with a noble worth less, or change the value of nobles in your score pile, etc. You play through three "days" (represented by emptying the line of nobles or sometimes playing a card that ends the day early) and count up your points at the end of the third day and that's pretty much it. The box says it plays 1-5. We played 6 and had a good time both times we played (it's very quick, maybe 15 minutes per game), but I got the impression that with maybe 3 players, there's a lot more "Oh yeah? Take THAT!" opportunities available to each player. As it was, the person who got the most points (which was pretty much a function of luck depending on how the initial line of nobles was laid out) was usually so far separated in turn order from the rest of the players that they were hard to target, so they would inevitably coast to the win. Cute game. It's a filler. 'nuff said.

We then brought out the options of Lifeboats, Bang, and Shadows over Camelot. Our new friends thought Shadows over Camelot looked interesting, and Sean has been wanting to play for a while, so this was a great opportunity to play it.

I think most everyone in the group knows this game, but for those who might not, everyone plays a knight who jumps around from Arthurian quest to Arthurian quest trying to bring glory to Camelot without letting it get sacked by siege engines, which come out with failed quests. In the first game, one of the first cards to come out was the Dark Forest, which prevents anyone from playing good Holy Grail cards. The only way to get rid of it is to be victorious in another quest. Meanwhile, Despair (anti-Grail) cards piled up quickly. Therefore, we ran around trying to finish a quest. New Scott managed to fight back the Picts and the Dark Forest went away. However, we had used up quite a few Merlin cards to prevent the grail from being lost, and had used up a couple of life points trying to speed along the quests and prevent siege engines from coming out around Camelot. I lost a battle with the Black Knight, knocking me and Sean down to one life, and then a card came out which killed us off before we got a chance to heal ourselves. The remaining knights tromped around, but Benjamin, who had been revealed as the traitor, emerged victorious as Camelot fell into ruin.

After getting whacked, Steve (who had showed up during the game), Brian and I played a game of Glory To Rome while Sean, Al, Scott, Benjamin and Nina tried their hand at a second go-round of Shadows over Camelot (in which I heard that defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory as the good guys were coasting to the win). (Classic Scott had to go after baseball.) In GTR, we were all doing ok (meaning it wasn't a blowout yet) until I let Brian complete the Scriptorum, which lets him finish any building with one marble. He quickly took all my marble via the Bridge despite my two Leigonnaires. He also had the Circus (right?) which let him use each patron twice. With a huge number of buildings completed, he managed to think for the number of influence he had. So he drew to his hand limit (7) then drew an additional 23 cards. I've never seen that before. I hope to never see it again. Needless to say, Steve and I got fed to Brian's lions.

Brian then suggested Agricola, which I had mentioned I wanted to play. Steve hates animals and games about happy things, so he went to watch the main group while Brian and I built farms. I think I've played four games now, and each game has had a different number of players. And they each play very differently. I got a hand which I thought was great (one free wood when taking wood, two free clay when taking clay, one extra free food or reed when fishing) and I had dreams of building a mighty stone mansion in short order. But quickly, I found myself using every action to scrape together food while building the house. Without extra food, I couldn't afford to grow my family, and no family growth means your efficiency engine stalls. In my opinion, the fireplaces and animal growth contine to be particularly appealing, primarily because you can insta-cook the animals without needing actions. Fishing takes an action (and delaying the action lets someone else take the food and block you from it), and baking bread takes several potentially blockable actions as well (one for the baking, one for the sowing, etc., and you're limited in the number of grain you can covert with an oven, whereas no such limit exists with the animals). Without a fireplace, I felt more restricted than I thought I would. I think getting that fireplace and starting some animal husbandry has to come before family growth, at least the way I play. Brian got animal growth started early, and with good food flow managed to get the rest of his farm humming and won easily.

Good game. I keep thinking this game will get kind of "samey" after a while, since your farm generally looks close to the same at the end of every game (a mix of 4-5 houses, some pastures, a couple of crops, a veggie or two, etc.). But the path of getting there is really different each time, and that's the part that keeps pulling me back to play again. It feels like plotting a journey--you know where you're starting, and you know where you'll (hopefully) end up, but the path in between is this big maze and you have to figure out how to logically navigate it every step along the way. Plus I like that there's a lot of thinking two or three moves ahead, which is forced by the harvests. I find myself evaluating constantly "How many food do I need at the next harvest? How will I get that food? What actions are left over after getting that food? (a la Fat Tony: "Where is the money? Why aren't you out getting the money?")

Brian and I came out of the side room to find that Benjamin, Nina, and Al had left. New Scott, Sean, and Steve were engaged in a game of Clans in which they were moving around colorful huts. Beyond that, I couldn't tell who was winning. Brian and I had to leave, so I'll let someone else fill in the blanks.

Good to see some fresh faces. Playing at DL on Mondays is a good thing, I think.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

An escape from the daily grind....

So I finished my exam. So its not turned in. But I finished the draft. And now begin revisions. This is a major step forward. So of course, I decided that I deserved some board gaming. Rationalization? Me? Never. I arrive only slightly late, instead of the usual 30 minutes late, to see Chris, Ben and Steve setting up a game of Star Wars Risk. They begin placing their forces down on the interplanetary board (when I read the books, I mean I knew there were a lot of planets, but some of those places I don't remember. I guess my memory is failing. Less room for the star wars universe as science gets assimilated) and Dennis and I talked some about his tenure box, and my exam, and funding in our respective fields. And we watched Mr. Black take an excessive interest in my Mr. Darcy scented game bag. (When I got home, Mr. Darcy took an excessive interest in my now Mr. Black smelling game bag). The band arrived, and somehow I got to the be bass player. I will NOT be leaving my fay job got a career in rock. After about 3 epic fails on my part I got down the button pushing and strumming (thats the important bit, you see) and we played some songs. And I didn't fail any longer.

Risk finished and the band was reunited, leaving me out of a job, but then again I knew I was a temp hire anyways,and Ben, Chris and I to play Agricola. I doubled my last game score, which is good. I learned a few things from playing solo. I still don't have the Agricola machine down yet, but things are getting better.

Post Agricola things with the band were winding down, and we were left to play Pacific Typhoon. Michael sat this one out, as he crashed and burned, the rock star life style far too much for him to take, though he did make a valiant effort, and I was introduced to the work of combat in the pacific theater. I.....I..... so they were nice, and started out with an entirely card driven game. No chits and bits and pieces and tanks and soldiers and things. And i suppose as rules go, it was fairly straight forward.

Select 1 of 3 battle scenarios
Pick Day or Night
Pick Air, Surface or Sub or Combination

Begin the battle.

I am still not sure if I *liked* it.

But I think I can now say that i played a 'war game'....sorta.

Mk, back to work for me. I just wanted to toss a session report up before things got lost in Monday planning. And I like writing session reports. :)

Thanks again for hosting, Chris, as always, it was fun. Even if it was Sunday and out of the natural order of things SABG and gaming.

Sunday gaming

Sunday gaming opened with Steve, Ben and I trying another go-round of Star Wars Risk. This is actually a quick, enjoyable version for three that sees the Empire, the Rebellion and the Hutts each trying to accomplish different victory conditions. As the benevolent Empire, I was tasked with restoring peace to the galaxy by ending Steve's troublesome rebellion. Ben's Hutt Clan, meanwhile, tried to take advantage of the chaos by sweeping to control over the most valuable planets among the stars.

Now, when we played the game a few weeks ago, I played the Hutts and had come very close to victory without even realizing it. This time, I think Steve and I were more aware of the Hutt threat and we spent more effort keeping the Hutts in check. However, this game is still very much each man for himself, and while fighting against Ben, he was unable to hold back the Imperial swarm at the same time. The Death Star unleashed its might against one of the high-commerce worlds and, vaporizing it, sealed off a vital gateway between two systems that kept the Hutts essentially stuck in one corner of the galaxy. It then moved around to protect the Imperial homeworlds as the Rebellion was slowly extinguished. Finally, in one last dramatic stroke, the Death Star swung around the last Rebel planet to the moon on the far side...and in a flash of light it was over. No thermal exhaust port to take advantage of this time.

Overall, like I said, it's a quick fun game. The cards that each side draws add a lot to the theme and make each game different. The ships you can build confer a huge advantage to the owner, and the addition of eight-sided dice as a bonus was a neat idea. The sides feel pretty balanced, and the fact that each side has its own victory condition rather than just having to own every planet gives the game a great ebb-and-flow. But at its heart, it's still Risk which means its still rolling 6's. If you can take it for what it is, it's enjoyable.

Then it was farming time. Steve went to go rock out with Dennis, Michael and Jon, so Tiffany, Ben and I baked bread and bred sheep and had families in Agricola. One interesting card that came out was the Ratcatcher occupation. It let me keep Tiffany and Ben from using one of their offspring's action in rounds 10 and 12. For being in the non-interactive E deck, it was surprisingly interactive. One action might not seem like a lot to lose, but in Rounds 10 and 12, when there's a harvest every two rounds and you're trying to improve while rapidly making food at the same time, they feel pretty vital. By the way, the power of Fireplaces to convert animals to food without an action makes them extremely attractive, especially when a Bake Bread may only net you one grain to food conversion at a time. And I agree with Brian that 15 points for 5 family seems like a lot, and that maybe 2 points per family rather than 3 per family might place more emphasis on the rest of the farm improvements. It seems like the added actions you get from each family member is enough of a reward in and of itself. But I'm sure smarter minds than mine have thought all this out already, so I'll let it be.

Finally, we did something a bit unexpected and broke out Pacific Typhoon. It was especially unexpected because we got 6 of us playing at the same time! (Jon, Ben, Tiffany, Dennis, Steve, and me...Michael, operating on very little sleep, lapsed into unconsciousness and had dreams of Rock Band 2.) This is a card game in which you pick battles between the Japanese and Allies in the Pacific theater and play fighters and battleships and heroes and see who plays the greatest total of numbers on each side. The victorious side gets the spoils, with the player that contributed the most divvying up the VPs. The highlighs were Jon recreating the bombing of Hiroshima with a card that let him take the VPs regardless of who wins ("I'll take the Japanese Home Islands 8 point card, thank you..."), a battle that had day threatening to turn into night and remove the attacking Japanese air support (I'm surprised the cheers and groans at the last die roll to see if it happened didn't wake Michael up), and Dennis winning the last battle on a roll of 6 to claim the overall victory. Surprisingly fun because of the interaction. We don't usually get 6 people into a short game on weekend gaming sessions here, so it was fun to get everyone playing! Now if only I owned a copy of Ca$h and Gun$...

In other shocking news, I am watching the final scenes of Lord of the Rings as I type this. I can't believe it...I know how it ends, and it only took five years after it came out to see it. I thought maybe Aragorn was going to break out into some Middle-Earth version of the Ewok song at the end, but it seems maybe not. Well, I suppose my geek cred got bumped up a bit tonight.

I'll Be There, 6ish

I wonder where "elvish" falls on the clock. Anyway, Dragon's Lair, Monday - anyone else going to make an appearance? Or will I be playing Shadows Over Camelot solo?? I hate when I do that and the traitor wins...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Plans

I seem to have this cloud of nebulous "other stuff" that always needs to get done. I don't ever seem to get it actually done, and somehow the world keeps on going. Still, I suppose I have to make the effort to chip away at these responsibilities.

Anyway, the point is that Saturday pretty much has to be a catch-up day for me. So I can't host or play. I figured I should post something since I seem to host Saturdays pretty regularly, and when I don't post, I'm a bit concerned that I leave other people hanging in limbo. But, I'm willing to open up my house again on Sunday for those that don't get to game and need a bit of a weekend fix (like me). Not trying to shatter SABG habits here. Sundays just have worked out better for me the past few weeks (or more to the point, Saturdays have worked out poorly) and I figure the more, the merrier.

Hmmm...what time? I'm planning on 12-6 again. With luck I can come out to play on Saturdays again soon. (Probably not next Saturday, though, as work rears its ugly head again, and I'll be joining everyone at the Wiles compound next Sunday.)

P.S. How did I go this long without knowing that Rob has a blog of his own now? I just saw it in the banner to the right of the site. Where have I been? I feel like Admiral James Stockdale..."Who am I? Why am I here?"


Free Bridge tourney on Saturday

FYI, the Turtle Creek Duplicate Club will be having a free session tomorrow. It starts at 12:30 (these things usually go 3.5 hours) but space is limited, so you'll probably need to show up (with a partner) at 11:30.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just in a Nick of Time....

...before I was about to totally incinerate and dispose of my complete BattleLore collection out of apathy and disappointment, this potentially wonderful news is posted. Perhaps now we'll see some suitably impressive expansion armies, leaders, spells, monsters, etc. and leave the ostriches, cows, and hyenas to happier places like the pens in Agricola or Zooloretto. Thoughts?


Someone must be an Ex-Marine

GMT just posted the counters for the upcoming Combat Commander: Pacific. The top left counter represents a squad of true supermen! 8 morale, 7 range, plus respectable firepower (6) and movement (5). These guys will totally kick butt. I imagine facing them with some 4-3-3 Axis Minors... ugh! Actually the US Marines did have a small contingent supporting Operation Torch against the Vichy French, so such an ugly matchup would be historical. The sorry 5-4-3 garrison Marine counter is surprising. It must represent retirees from the local military golf course perhaps. Anyway, the Japanese counters are posted as well, though not nearly as impressive. It will be interesting to see how the scenarios balance things out.

Anyone else have this pre-ordered?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Excommunicated on Turn 1

My first foray into playing Here I Stand via PBEM using Cyberboard/ACTS is going well, except for the small detail of getting excommunicated by the Pope on Turn 1. I'm playing as France, and as you might notice from the map above (click on it), my loyal forces have besieged the decadent Papists at Ravenna in Italy. An unfortunate side effect of the excommunication is two zones of unrest in southern France, disrupting supply to my forces in Italy. Time to crush some peasants! The evil Hapsburgs have taken advantage of my southern endeavors by quickly gobbling up Metz and Liege to the north, so I'll have to do something about that next turn. Unfortunately, the English have already crushed my Scottish allies. So, essentially, its me vs. the World (reference the diplomacy track top right), except for the even more evil Ottomans, who no one wants to be friends with anyway.

At a turn per day, this method of gaming, though slow, is good fun. Particularly when you're learning a game it gives you time to look up rules to make sure you're doing things correctly without irritating everyone at the table. Also, you don't have to wait until you have enough interested players with a day to kill before you can play the game. If anyone wants to try any card-driven wargames this way, just let me know.

Now to go process ordering my troops out onto a final glorious German death ride in Diplomacy!

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Some days are just Mondays

I showed up at Dragon's Lair at the advertised 6ish. Scott and Dennis were slogging their way through a Strat-O-Matic baseball session, with Scott playing my team. I'm sort of happy to learn that the losing streak I was on with the team was my poor managerial decisions, and not the team itself.

Brian and I decided to play Football Strategy, just to prove to everyone that I'm not really a sports guy. I seemed to be doing decent, with both Brian and I providing stunning defense and preventing scoring until late in the first period - then the wheels started to come off. Now, I'm admittedly bad at actual football strategy, but this seemed pretty straightforward. You look at a matrix of possible plays - offense calls the column, defense shows their pre-selected row. You can both see all possible outcomes. There HAS to be optimal plays, although a lot of the decisions are trying to get inside your opponent's head. I apparently failed to do this - at one point it was 2nd and 30 from my own 1-yard-line... it's hard to work out of that hole. I think somewhere around the third period I gave up rationality, and kept going for the highly un-optimal "Razzle Dazzle". It payed off big a few times, but led to some turnovers as well. The final score at the merciful end of the game (don't you DARE call a time-out!!) was 30-0. Youch. I had fun despite my pounding, and am determined to figure out some optimal strategy for this crazy thing.

The next game to come out is the newest craze sweeping the board game community, Agricola. I muddled my way through my first game, often feeling like there were too many choices for my tiny family to work through - but I accidentally stumbled into causing a massive food shortage for everyone but me on the first harvest. Sorry about those crops, guys! I swear, I thought it was fertilizer... Somehow at game end I had four cattle, four pigs, an occupation that let me ignore negative points for things I was short on, and a fairly high scoring major development. This brought my score to 27, tied with Brian, and Dennis coming in at 26. I honestly think my score was a fluke - but I'm intrigued enough to want to play again soon.

We finished off the night with a short 2-player Race for the Galaxy... just like old times...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy now?

I've tried to resist. I told myself that I was too old, that it was too much money, that I'd never get enough use out of it, that my PC was fine. But Chris's latest episode with WoW was the straw that broke the camel's back. I can't resist anymore. I've got to get with the times.

I'm going to buy an XBox 360.

But I have a *lot* of questions that I'm hoping some of you experts can answer, such as:

1. Which version should I buy? (I'm guessing the 60 GB Pro)
2. Where should I buy it?
3. Should I get some kind of anti-RRoD warranty from where I buy it, or does it come with one from the manufacturer?
4. Are there any must-have accessories that don't come with it? For example, I noticed it only has one controller.
5. This is now three things going into the back of my TV (DIRECTV, DVD, XBox), which has only two sets of connections. Does anyone else have that problem? What device do you add in between?
6. Can I connect to Live through my regular DSL connection? How tricky is that to set up?
7. Who's going to play NHL 09 MMO-mode with me?

Responses in this thread are fine, answers in person at DL on Monday are even better (in case I think of other questions). Thanks!

PS: No, I'm not going to buy Rock Band. I'm going to hold out for RB2.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He resolved to go alone to Mordor...

Okay, I've been staring at the pretty pieces for a few days now and would love to put them in motion. If anyone has a few hours to kill on Sunday and wouldn't mind teaching War of the Ring, I would love to have you over. I only have the base game so if you want to bring the expansion that would be fine too. Of course, if there is anyone else who wants to learn then come over --although I'm pretty sure I'm the last person in the wide world of gaming who hasn't played.

I am pretty much open tomorrow until the evening so anytime between noon and 6:00 will work for me. If anyone is interested just post and we can make arrangements from there.

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monday planning

We are all supposedly playing the rain game Monday. What else will be in play? Hopefully I can continue my quests to get Sean's team back to .500 and to do my part to inch the SABBL towards its finish line. Who else will be able to attend? Who will be melted by the rain? Come and find out.


World War II Never happened!!!

Are those really French tanks in Berlin?

Today I had to apologize to my guests Mark and Jose. After planning for a game of Europe Engulfed for a few weeks I let them down as the German by allowing myself to be destroyed by the French very early in the game…Yes the French.

This is from the same guy who managed allow the free peoples in War of the Ring to defeat his orcs militarily.

How did it happen you may ask? We talked about this at length after the game (the slaughter). Actually if you play Europe Engulfed and are the Germans in 1939, know that you can defeat the French and even that you have some margin for error…but not too much margin for error. Don’t relax until France is conquered. The French army is almost as tough as the German army at the start of the game, but without all the armor. What gives the German the advantage is that the Germans have lots more special actions. I managed these poorly and paid the price!

I spent lots of money on u-boats and fighters too early in anticipation of fighting the British and neglected the war with France. Don’t let this happen to you. Yes I was knocked down but not knocked out. I like this game and am looking forward to playing again. I just need some time to lick my wounds, play some more games and I will be ready to go.

Jose is an excellent strategist and I applaud him. Mark is good too, but he just did not have an opportunity to show it.

We did play Rail Road Tycoon with the extra time we had left and Mark took this game. No surprise there. I have played RRT with Mark several times and he knows this game backwards and forwards. Thanks for coming by, guys. Now I have to mow the lawn before the rain gets here.

Friday, August 15, 2008


So as I stare at my exam, which has yet to start writing itself (though I have made excellent progress) I realize that in the past week I have talked with two different people about SBW, neither of whom are SABGers. And I decided that maybe i should see if anyone wanted to start some more SBW games. So let me know if anyone is interested. So we can play games. I have to get my gaming fix in somehow. Really I do.

What's in our wallet?

My blog is worth $2,258.16.
How much is your blog worth?

The comparison isn't flattering...

I saw we celebrate by gaming.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thank you for playing

As the usual Monday night DL crowd departed for home, I stuck around so Dennis could show me one last game: World of Warcraft Miniatures. Now, apparently this is not released yet, but they have a print-and-play version on the web to whet your appetite. So Dennis explained the rules to me (they are simple but still have some variety to them that makes each character different) and we played. It was enjoyable, if brief. As we finished, we talked briefly about the online game.

Now I generally have really liked WOW. I liked the art direction, the music, the variety of different characters and weapons and so forth. Eventually I got tired of it and suspended my account. Now I was never a powergamer. I never got a character to the top level (60 at the time) and I don't think I ever owned a purple item, but I never really cared. I just ran around and did whatever just to have a good time. One of the big reasons I quit, though, was because I didn't know anyone else who played, so after a while it felt like this big empty vacuum. I always figured that if only I had other real life friends who played, I might have enjoyed it more.

Well, Dennis mentioned that he started playing again a few weeks ago. Perfect! Maybe now that I knew someone in the game, I might enjoy it more. I figured I'd give it a spin again, especially since I owned Burning Crusade but never played it. If I tried it and got bored again, no big deal--$15 bucks for a month to find out.

On the way home, I started wondering, Do I need another game? I've got so many games on the XBox and board games that I never play. How am I going to squeeze this in? Will I be even less likely to play other games I have? What if it still ends up feeling like a boring grind? Do I really want to invest any time in this? I kept mentally flip-flopping back and forth, feeling like I wanted it to be fun but fearful that despite having a RL friend to play with it would still feel like a grind and not be much fun after all. Do I install? Should I avoid the temptation? Am I going to ever see the sun again?

When I got home, I checked my email.


***Notice of Account Closure***This is a notification
regarding the World of Warcraft account ********. Access to this account has
been permanently disabled for exploitation of the World of Warcraft economy or
for being associated to accounts which have been closed for intended
exploitation. While we try to be as lenient as possible in our assessments of
the results of exploitation investigations, exploitative endeavors on your
accounts have ultimately lead to their closure. The recurring subscription on
the account has been disabled to prevent further charges.As a result, this
account will no longer be able to access any aspect of World of Warcraft. This
action has been taken in accordance with the Terms of Use ( and our game policies ( According to the World of Warcraft Terms of Use, to which all players
agree when installing World of Warcraft, Section 5, Paragraph C [Rules Related
to Game Play] states that you may not do anything that Blizzard Entertainment
considers contrary to the "essence" of World of Warcraft.

How funny, I thought. This junk mail about my WOW account slipped through my filter not 30 minutes after I was thinking about reactivating it.

Then I started checking some of the links. Hmmm...they go to the real Blizzard website. That's strange. Plus, how would junk emailers have my WOW account name? They wouldn't.

Uh oh.

So I went to the WOW website and clicked Account Management.

Access to this World of Warcraft account has been disabled by
Blizzard Entertainment. For more information, including the amount of time it
will be in place, please check the email address registered on the account. All
information and any updates on the account will have been sent there by the
Account Administration team.

Yep. They really banned me. Wow, indeed.

So now I'm a cyberspace felon, apparently.

Like I said, I don't have a character that made it to level 60. I don't own any purple items. I didn't sell much beyond a few green items in the Auction House when I played and I don't think I've owned more than about 100 gold, so I'm not your prototypical gold farmer. I didn't download any third-party software that would illegally level my character. The last time I played was in December 2007-January 2008, when I played probably 20 hours total over two months. Not exactly powergamer numbers. I haven't had an active account in about 7-8 months.

The only thing I can think of is that I helped some random person found a guild when I played last (you need 10 people to sign a guild charter for you to let you make a new guild, and I thought I'd be nice and help). I think I played one or two more nights after that, thinking it'd be nice to belong to a guild but never really meeting or playing with anyone else in the guild.

So maybe over the last six months, this guild turned rotten and became a bunch of WOW hooligans, and somehow I'm "associated" with them and thus got a permanent ban. Who knows? I sent an email to Blizzard asking for details of why I was banned a few days ago. Will I hear anything back? Probably not--as far as they're concerned, I'm a no good cyberspace criminal and they've already determined they don't want (or certainly need) my money. So, I think that's it.

Do I care? Well, I'm offended that I got labeled a cheater for something I didn't do, and a serious enough one to warrant a permanent ban. I'm offended that these people judged me on some kind of faulty "evidence" and that I have no recourse, no forum in which to plead my case or even obtain any details. Beyond that, probably not. I, like others, have moved on (and now have been "moved on" as well, it seems). I've got plenty of other stuff to do, games that I've already paid for, no less.

Plus I'm thinking of math trading my World of Warcraft boardgame out of spite now (or burning it, I haven't decided which), which means more room in my closet. Always looking on the bright side of life--that's me.

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Monday, Described

Scott and I showed up and chatted for a while ... nobody else was appearing, so we broke open Race. That worked, and soon there were five of us (Dennis, Sean and Travis). We held the first semi-irregular "Ted Kostek Memorial Beowulf game" where Dennis exhibited his typical poor strategy of choosing to fail the risks. (Actually, I think we got two rules wrong, so his loss is asterisked. He'll have to try again to get the official bad luck record). Just as we were putting this away Al arrived, so the circle was complete. We split into Baseball and Agricola.

I taught Al and Travis, Chris decided that work was optional (good choice) and off we went. I've got several plays under my belt (pushing ten, now) but there are so many occupations and improvements that I'm still seeing new cards each game. I think that there are critical points, but each game is different and still enjoyable. I've upped my rating to an '8', which still makes me one of the haters! Amazing. Al put out a pretty amazing engine to get extra clay and convert clay to food without actions, but I walked through the traffic and pulled out the win.

After that we played Modern Art. My strategy of only selling worthless paintings didn't work.

And then home we went.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

A vistor Monday

I met a man in Dragon's Lair today who told me he is trying to set up a gaming club like yours in Brazil. I hope it's OK, but I invited him to come by on Monday for advice on which games he should spend his limited luggage space on, and maybe advice on how to mail games into Brazil despite their high taxation on foreign publications. He seemed sincere, and not like a game smuggler ;) His name is Hardy, if you want to be nice, you can keep an eye out for him in case he gets there before I do.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

monday planning

So with some folks who have been able to indulge in Saturday and Sunday action will we still see Monday action at DL? Will anybody manage to find and bring an Olympics themed game? How much Agricola action will be taking place? Will any SABBL action take place? Please post so we can start to figure it all out. I will be there, hopefully just after 5 ready for SABBL or Agricola or Olympics themed gaming or just about anything else.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Stir Crazy, part the third

Emergency gaming post!
Ok, so Saturday didn't work out for me and crumbled apart for some others. Basically, I had planned to play Here I Stand with Ben on Sunday. And with work being so busy recently, and Saturday night occupied, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and needed a day to deal with real life responsibilities. So I apologize for planning and then backing out.
But Ben and I are not quite ready to get HIS to the table. So Sunday has expanded from a "Well, what do you want to play?" to an open gaming day. Steve mentioned he could play after car shopping today (I'm not sure how that turned out yet) and Jon is a hopeful as well.
Sooooo....we've got an open gaming session at my place...on Sunday.
I know Sunday is family day and worship day for many people.
And I know Sunday is a few hours away (at the time of this post).
But people are welcome to show up for a few hours. We're starting at about noon (so people can sleep in, go to church, spend time with family, etc.) and will go until whenever (6-7pm ish I'm guessing). No idea what we may play. Rock Band, Agricola, who knows.

Stir Crazy, Part 1670

Thanks to Dennis for hosting last night. We didn't get to break out the Agricola, so I figured I'd open up the house tonight to teach/play. We'll start around 7:00 pm, say. (The Wii has Rock Band as well).


Friday, August 08, 2008

Stir Crazy

Here it is, a three-day weekend, my last ray of sunshine before class prep and tenure review begins in earnest, and everybody cancels! I'm FREAKING OUT!!

Really short notice, but if anyone would like to come by tonight, anytime after 6pm is OK. RSVP in this thread and email me at for directions.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"I've got some good news, and some bad news..."

Today was a good news / bad news kind of day.

Today was a good day at work. Happy bundles of joy brought into the world. And that's always good.

But I live a fair distance from work. Not so good. It took a while to get home and I ended up submitting my math trade want list 20 minutes late.

The (understandable) response from the person running the trade:

So I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself. But less than two minutes later, my doorbell rings. And I am blinded by the glory before me (yes, this is me in my Indiana Jones getup that I answer doorbells with):

So it all kind of worked out, I suppose. I would have liked a nice new copy of Shogun, but I guess animeeples will do for now.

Anyway, anyone up for any games on Saturday?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Finally, battles break out in the fall

Year two of the continuing pursuit of control of Europe:

1902 saw Germany take and lose Belgium. It saw Italy attempt to support a move by Germany that didn't occur. And it saw battles around the English Channel and several fights for Galicia.

Turkey supported Austria's push into Russia, while Russia moved into Germany supported by England. England lost Belgium to Germany, but then took it back with France's aid. Austria attacks Italy, but has no gains there. Have alliances been solidified? Perhaps. For now. Have enemies been made? You bet.

Supply Center final count:
6 -- Austria
5 -- England
5 -- France
4 -- Germany
4 -- Italy
5 -- Russia
5 -- Turkey
with Turkey to build one and Germany to disband one.

Again, you can all follow along with the public information here, at game sabgtest.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Now to get SABG in the Paper....

I made the front page (unnamed runner, left side of pic, below the fold) of the SA Express News today for my other hobby, running. Of course, we ran 18 miles, not the seven listed in the caption, but I was too tired and hungry to talk to the guy with the little notebook at the end.

In more pertinent news, Ticket-to-Ride Europe on the X-Box 360 is great fun! We had a 4-player game last night with Jon, Chris, Steve, and I. Though we couldn't get the chat function to get us all on the same channel, it was as close to an SABG experience I can imagine without driving.

Games also played this weekend at Steve's house: Epic Duels; Nexus Ops; gazing at Here I Stand components and trying to convince Steve it will be fun; lots of C&C: Ancients (after I left); Warriors of God; Star Wars Risk: Trilogy Edition (which actually doesn't suck).

In other news, I keep hoping for Successors to ship this week.... its mid-August, isn't it?

There is a new template on BGG for a dice tower made by cutting and folding a single piece of card stock that I need to try this week. If you can't find, I'll send it to you. With a little photoshoping and a color printer, this could have some real possibilities. Plus, if its unlucky for me, I won't worry about making it pay the ultimate price for disobedience!

Diplomacy is fun. Germany is your friend.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm also your Huckleberry

No doubt you are saddened that you missed all the gaming fun. Well, you too can be a huckeberry, along with the rest of us and this guy. The lot o f us will be at Dragon's Lair at the normal-ish time. Yes, yes, some of us may be playing the beisbol, but I'm sure there will be plenty of gaming goodness for everyone. Huckleberrilicious.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

I'm your Huckleberry

Dennis and Scott showed up early for gaming, so we broke out Tombstone Wyatt Earp. I took the early lead, but as the rewards climbed up Scott threatened to swipe a huge bounty by himself ... I managed to pull him down enough to let Dennis steal some of that money, but not enough to benefit myself. However, on the fourth round of varmint-hunting I managed to barely end the game, and while winning! (I almost have 25 plays of Wyatt Earp, which puts it into pretty rarefied territory).

Jon showed up, so we played a few hands of Bridge while waiting for Jacqui to arrive. Then we broke out Puerto Rico. Amazingly (to me), Scott had never played before and Dennis had only played a few times. I've played, uh, more. Discounting my steroid inflated score, Jacqui won. Actually, the game was really close until I got to call the Penultimate Craftsman at a time when it meant that I could monopolize the few remaining tobacco barrels, and swipe half the corn. As Captain had already been called, that set me up for the next round's Captain phase for a sweet score (9 unblockable points).

Then came a close game of Stage II, where Dennis (following the standard Dennis Handicapping rules) failed to win. John also managed to get a category, and not just a Boo-urns one, either.

After that we closed with the federally-mandated game of Race. I think Dennis won. After his loss at Stage II and my loss at Race, we retreated back to our respective bunkers to await Armageddon.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Saturday Planning

So, it is almost the weekend and no planning post has been made yet so I figured I would throw one out there.

I am open as my wife is throwing a bridal shower at our house. So I need somewhere to hide for a while, and hopefully get in some gaming of any kind.

Chris, is your place open? If you are busy just leave the key under the mat and we will let ourselves in.

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Is this how Paul Revere felt?