Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Neverending Story

So obviously this post is about our quixotic quest to complete the endless setlist. Jon and Steve showed up around 9 am to attempt the monstrosity. With me on medium vocals, Jon on Medium bass, and Steve on hard guitar we were off.

Things went pretty swimmingly and about 3 hours later we were done with about 45/58 songs when I suggested we pause and go grab lunch at taco cabana.

"I'm just worried about a power outage" said Steve.

Keep in mind I haven't had a power outage in like 6 months, but I wasn't starving and we only had 13 songs left to go so we pressed on.

Three songs later, bam...power blinked. Wtf? Nice karma Steve.

We attempted a smaller song set. Two songs in, bam...power went out.

The Rock Band gods must have been displeased. We must have punted down 14 at midfield with 8 minutes to go in the game. I wrote game over in my notebook and we went to get lunch.

We will attempt again tomorrow hopefully sans power outages.

TI3 Planning

No time like the present. Let's play.

Looks like we've got four so far- Ted, Steve, Ben, and myself. We'd prefer six but could probably do with five players. The plan is to get an early start (8am Saturday at my place, pick out races and start setting the map by 8:30am). New players are welcome--we can walk you through the basics (after which your civilization will be summarily crushed), but it wouldn't hurt to glance over the rules (here and here) the night before. In addition, one of the best player aids for novice and expert alike are the TI3 videos at Bookshelf Games.

Post here or email me if you want in. I'll try to post the list of rules variants to be used by Friday evening, and we can debate in the comments or vote Saturday morning on any that people don't like.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In which no Race was played

Well, not much, anyway.

Michael and I showed up early, and played a single game of Race before the crowd arrived. Jeff, Amy and Simon joined us for a quick game of Escalation.

I have played Geschenkt. Geschenkt was a close personal friend of mine. You, sir, are no Geschenkt. (Or Fairy Tale, or Flauschenteufel, or Bridge, or ... or ... or...). A "Play as many hands as you want" card game has to bring serious mojo to the table to be played again. Escalation is not that game.

When Sean arrived we split and played Power Grid. John showed up a bit later and joined in the side game of not much. Meanwhile, by busting my ass working a ridiculously stressful 32 hour week, I provided power to France.

After that was the chockingest choke that ever choked in a game of Celebrities. Choking was involved. Grand Moff Tarkin was not choked. Wayne Brady did some choking. As did several players. Winning for the "most amazing 3-time appearance in a single game" honorary MVP -- Master Chief. Why no, I don't have an XBox. Not bitter at all. Thanks for asking.

Then we closed with two games of Kutschfahrt, in which we learned that if several players simultaneously decide to deceive, everyone will get hopelessly confused. But we managed to get unconfused when Al and Sean kept swapping their "one use" professions with the device that reset them. They quickly declared victory, and we let them.

What, you say you want to hear how the games went, and not my surreal summary? Should have attended, I say. You'll have your shot next Monday. We may even play Race.

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Sat and a Big Game

I am hoping to play something big and epic this Saturday.

My first choice is a big game of Mare Nostrum, but I'd also love to try EastFront. I would also love a game of TI:3.

I have yet to try WotR, and I hear the first game or two are quite epic indeed.

I am available from about 8a to about 4p.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Getting the Band Back Together, etc

Narrator (Jim Forbes): The dream was over...
Narrator: Coming up, was the dream really over? Yes it was...
Narrator: Or was it?

Jacqui and I arrived (kids in tow) at Franka Recording Studios in time to witness the breaking up of the band. The kids took over the XBox, meaning that our games were serenaded by interesting renditions. Chris and Ben played fought World War II ("Modern day warrior, mean mean stride") while Sean and Tiffany mingled with prostitutes in London ("Wham bam, thank you ma'am"). Meanwhile, Dennis suffered the typical fate of Spinal Tap drummers, but during the Superbowl ... suffering two straight losses as the Patriots ("You sit there in your heartache waiting for some beautiful boy to rescue you from your old ways...")

I contented myself with the odd game of Race, or Glory to Rome.

By this point, everyone felt the need to watch worm pinatas do the dance of romance and love.

Thanks again to Chris for hosting, complete with Music, Mayhem and Pinatas.


Monday, Monday, So Good To Me

Let's not let the momentum fade... who's coming to DL on Monday? Dennis could bring Pizza Box Football. Tiffany could bring Mr Jack. I'll have the bag (I've decided I need a bigger bag). I'll be there about 6ish.

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Patriot Prognostication

Amidst bouts of rocking, I participated in three Super Bowl preplays with Pizza Box Football, as part of their Predict the Winner promotion -- they send out team cards, you play the game and submit your results, they put the averages on their website in advance of the game. I've included my game reports below.

New York Giants coached by Michael
New England Patriots coached by Dennis

An early red zone interception by Tom Brady got the Giants off and running. They scored touchdowns on their next two possessions, and killed much of the 2nd quarter with a 14-play drive (13 of which were runs) culminating in a 19-yard field goal. If not for a defensive stand at the 1, the Patriots would be in even worse shape. The half ended 20-7 Giants, who rushed for 143 yards on 22 attempts, including three rushes of over 20 yards.

In the second half, the Patriots defense clamped down hard, allowing only 51 yards for the rest of the game. But after a three-and-out on the Patriots' first possession, the Giants returned the ensuing punt 87 yards for a TD . Down 27-10, Tom Brady took the game in his hands, but a poor completion percentage (20-39 for 51% on the day) resulted in multiple drives coming up short with field goals. With time running out and a 4th-ahd-4 on New York's 37, Brady threw a short pass for three yards, giving up the ball on downs and ending the game. Run the pattern to the first! Final Score: Giants 30, Patriots 20.

(I forgot to mention in my report that Michael made a 4th-and-2 from his own 18 on his first possession, as Gregg Easterbrook wrote "game over" in his notebook.)

Rushing: 33-168, 1 TD, 0 Fum
Passing: 12-20 for 133, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks

Rushing: 20-113, 1 TD, 0 Fum
Passing: 20-39 for 234, 1 TD, 1 INT, 0 sacks

New York Giants coached by Dennis
New England Patriots coached by Scott

The first half was uneventful, highlighted by 7 punts and a 19-yard sack of Eli Manning (dude, where are you going?). The Giants featured a balanced attack (60 yds rushing, 88 yds passing), while the Patriots went pass-wacky (19 yds rushing, 120 yds passing). The half ended with the Patriots up 10-7 thanks to an early 46 yard field goal.

In the second half, the Giants again used the run to set up the play action, resulting in a monster half for Eli (10-14 for 227) including touchdowns of 8 and 60 yards. Meanwhile the Patriots abandoned the run completely, throwing on all of their last 25 plays. Unafraid of the run, the Giants stayed back in coverage and limited Brady to a 43% completions in the second half. The Patriots managed a touchdown late in the 4th to pull within seven, but their onside kick was recovered by the Giants and led to a game-icing field goal. Final Score: Giants 27, Patriots 17.

Rushing: 35-129, 0 TD, 0 Fum
Passing: 18-26 for 315, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks for 24 yds

Rushing: 10-21, 0 TD, 0 Fum
Passing: 27-48 for 241, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack for 7 yds

New York Giants coached by Chris
New England Patriots coached by Dennis

I switched back to the Patriots, and Tom Brady rewarded my faith by going 17-25 for 182 yards and 2 TDs in the first half. Meanwhile the Patriots run blitzed on nearly every down, forcing Eli to win the game with his arm. Eli was up to the task, but his offensive line was not -- several QB Pressure results turned into three sacks and a pick. A last-second 52-yard TD by Manning kept the game respectable at 20-10 Patriots.

The second half featured the funniest sequence I've seen in Pizza Box Football. Down 27-10 after a New England rushing TD, Eli was intercepted at the Patriot 25. Brady calmly drove down the field, and on 2nd-and-8 at the NY 28, called a rushing play. The roll was a 4 -- fumble! I rerolled to find the spot...and rolled a 17, well past what was needed for a TD. So the fumble was in the end zone -- and the Giants recovered for a touchback! Looks like Maroney pulled a Leon Lett; don't celebrate, act like you've been there! The suddenly rejuvenated Giants scored seven plays later, and what should have been a 34-10 game was now a real contest at 27-17. But with only seven minutes left, neither team could muster much offense, and the Giants gave the ball over twice, once on downs and once with a fumble on the last play of the game. Final Score: Patriots 27, Giants 17.

Rushing: 19-93, 0 TD, 1 Fum (all the run blitzing, coupled with the large early deficit, forced the Giants away from their strength)
Passing: 21-37 for 330, 2 TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks for 19 yards

Rushing: 23-123, 1 TD, 1 Fum
Passing: 28-41 for 299 (68% completion -- about time), 2 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks

So what did we learn?

1. Both teams must keep a balanced attack -- the Giants must stay with their strength, and the Patriots must run to keep the defense from keying on the short passing game. Note the only Patriot win came when the Pats had more than 20 rushes and the Giants had fewer.
2. The Patriots must stack against the run and dare Eli to beat them through the air. They need 8 men in the box on every play. Then on the rare occasion when they throw in the QB blitz, the pressure will rattle Eli into a game-breaking mistake.
3. No one in SABG wants the Patriots to win.

Finally, I found Pizza Box Football to be a lot more fun with real teams. Instead of random rock-paper-scissors, the teams take on personalities and strategies based on their strengths and weaknesses. And the results even felt more accurate (except for the whole "Patriots only win 1 of 3" thing).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Call to Duty, Saturday Board Gaming

Hornsfan01 (aka Chris) and I have made plans to play Combat Commander plus probably other various amazingly fun board games on Saturday at his pad. I'll leave the further posting of the hosting to him, but I thought a mid-week planning post might get things rolling.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Workers of the World Unite!

I don't know if any of the gamers with MLK off made it to Dragon's Lair - the "workers of the world" made it to the table at around 5ish. Brian and I played a few more games of Race For The Galaxy - the 2-player 2-actions-per-turn version. I have to say - if you like the game and haven't tried this version, you really need to give it a whirl. It amps up what is possible to do, and makes for a very fast-paced two player game. I continue to improve, and finally am at a place where I'm not self-destructing on a regular basis. In fact, I even took away a victory or two last night. Thanks, Galactic Federation! I can never keep count (and it's always "just one more"), but I think we landed something like 6 games before Al showed up around 7ish.

We played one more game of Race, this time with three players, and it was a pretty tight contest. I think Al scored close to 35 points, I had 41, and Brian a few more than that. I think I had played twice the games Al has before I came close to the 30 point mark, so kudos for that. As much as the game is a competition amongst each other, I've found that I am also trying to beat my previous "bests" in the game. That's not always points, depending on how quickly the game ends, but also avoiding past mistakes, combining good cards, planning ahead for the end-game, and other various game activities. I don't know that there's a game I've played this many times that I still am this interested in...

Finishing up the night was Vegas Showdown - I was suprised to learn that my game was unpunched... apparently we've always played someone else's copy at game night. After a few turns I caught/passed up everyone on the income track, but some lack of foresight on my part and plenty on Brian's let him grab a Nightclub for 8 vp. A handfull of turns later he also was the only one holding enough cash to pick up the theater, which is worth 12 vp. The rest of the game was a battle for the small stuff. I think I suffered from a little too much "analysis paralysis" as I tried to conceive of some way to make up a 20 point deficit, but it was a losing battle. This is a great game, but with three seemed to suffer a little from the runaway leader syndrome. I'm going to blame the game instead of my poor play. :)

On a side note - I miss everyone! Mondays have gotten a little slim lately. Is this temporary? I know that semesters/holidays/etc go in phases...

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mmmm, braaaains...

Ben, Simon, Jon and I met up at DL at 10am to sit down for a game of Doom. Jon the Invader threw all sorts of nasty monsters at our Space Marine heroes and started off with some quick kills. After picking up a few weapons, however, we gained some traction and kept pace with the evil spawns. Simon vaporized zombie scientists with his shotgun, Ben the sniper picked off creatures from range, and I ran like crazy with the chainsaw, slicing and dicing when I could (and getting sliced and diced myself a couple of times). Ultimately we recovered the exit key, and with the aid of a "you hit the jackpot!" BFG blast, we cleared out the boss and barely sprinted our way to safety. A very close game, and a lot of fun in a very reasonable amount of play time.

After a quick lunch break, Ted joined us for Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game. This time, Ben was the evil Overlord and tried to swarm Ted the Sheriff, Jon the Priest, Simon the Quarterback, and me (a pretty seedy-looking drifter) with sheer numbers. Each of us ran for the safety of the high school gym, where, fortunately, all sorts of items like guns, chainsaws, meat cleavers, and ammunition (not to mention a zombie spawn point) could all be found sitting right under the bleachers. Who knew?

As the hordes drew closer, Jon continued to make the sign of the cross and cancelled out many of Ben's best evil cards. Sheriff Ted then grabbed Old Betsy, the town dog, and threw her into the path of the zombies to distract them. Old Betsy, not one to like zombies (except when they serve as a source of bones to gnaw on), held 5 zombies with her snarling and growling. At the same time, Jon pointed out to the rest of us (who had not played the game before), "There's a dynamite card that lets you kill all the zombies in a space at the same time." Simon, seeing that this was good strategy, correctly drew the dynamite card immediately thereafter and tossed it over to Ted, who had the lighter. Ted threw the dynamite out the gym window (don't worry, not at Old Betsy) and in one mighty explosion, 6 additional zombies were dead (well, more dead, I guess). Simon took out one last zombie as evil Ben howled his protests, and the good townsfolk saved the day (even though it was still nighttime). This game was really fun as well, pretty silly but certainly in the spirit of the best zombie movies. I'm glad we got this on the table.

Jon departed, and the rest of us played Zooloretto. This is always enjoyably vicious, but in this game, everyone mostly looked out for their own well-being and frequently took partially filled carts when they were clearly advantageous. This meant not quite as much cart-polluting and screw-your-neighbor tactics as I've seen in other Zooloretto games, as players were often out of the drawing-and-placing-chits part of each turn fairly early. With less interaction, the game sped along pretty quickly. This was the first time for Simon and Ted to play this game, and it seemed like a nice pace for learning strategy. We elected not to play with the disruptive building sites (that block other players' pens and barns) this time. Those definitely up the screw-your-neighbor factor, maybe too much so, but I expect they'll be thrown in for the next game.

I had to leave at this point, so I'll let Ben and Simon comment if any additional games were played. Overall, a really really enjoyable game day with a lot of games that were just plain fun.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Brian for having his website named Best Blog by Board Game News!

A very well deserved honor, as anyone who has visited The Tao of Gaming can attest. Congratulations!

MLK Day Gaming

For those able to tear themselves away from Viva Pinata and Lego Star Wars, I'm free to game on Monday, MLK Day, all day. Who's with me? I suggest starting at DL at 10:00 AM. I'm fine with just about any kind of agenda, and I'll bring a few tasty nuggets myself.

There was early preliminary discussion of epic TI:3 gaming, but I think this might be better saved for a session with Hornsfan001.

If you're planning to attend, please post in the comments.

So many stickers to apply....


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Weekend Cometh...

Time for a change of scenery.

I'm getting a bit stir crazy and want to get out of my house for a while. Therefore, Ben and I are planning to meet at Dragon's Lair on Saturday at 10am to play some games. We're (tenatively) starting out with Doom, but that may change depending on who else shows up and what the general consensus is.

Ideally, several people will show up with their various Bags o' Games (tm) and we will have many fun things to choose from (hint hint to those with said bags). Can anyone else swing by for a bit?


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Enter The Dragon - Monday January 14th Planning

Anyone going to make it tomorrow? I once again will make it in about 6ish, which is computer geek speak for 6:30 (at least the last few weeks). I'll bring my usual assortment of games, including Power Grid, Tongiaki, and Race for the Galaxy (are there other games besides Race?). Comment if you're coming so we can look for you, and also comment if you're interested in meeting folks who are available earlier.

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The Insanity Begins

This weekend I started the long journey of painting my BL minis.

Luckily I have one extra archer and two extra goblins. I used the archer as basic practice. As we say in the R&D world: "Good, I've finally begun making mistakes."

In other words, he turned out hideous.

It's not surprising since I've only ever painted a single mini more than 20 years ago, and that was a hack job on a much larger mini.

Still, I'm optimistic. I have over 200 little suckers to practice my technique. Worst case scenario, I'll pick up a used BL set some place and/or play w/ ugly minis.

I'll throw out updates from time to time.



So I have this lovely nice new shiny board game that i got for Christmas that is sitting up on my shelf just wishing to be played.

The problem is I have no one to play Mr. Jack with. Some Monday might work, now that my rotation student is settled in, though Doomsday, rather my PhD candidacy exam is supposed to be at the end of February so Monday's might be outta the question. Saturdays could be good if there were a little more Eurogaming and a little less rock band guitar heroing. I would offer to host a Saturday session to accomplish this, but I have one table. One small round table, and four chairs, and that might be less an an appealing gaming environment. And a cat that some people might be allergic to.

But Mr. Jack is a two player game, and well, I wanna play. So, anyone interested? I almost have all the rules down. Not well enough to wanna play tomorrow, but perhaps MLK Jr day, which is in fact a holiday for us UTHSCSA lackeys.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rocking and Slaying

What do you get when you cross Descent: Journeys in the Dark and Rock Band? No, not GWAR, though that's not a bad guess. The correct answer this weekend was SABG!

The best cover band in the universe reunited for a day of Rock Band today. In addition, three intrepid heroes plumbed the depths of Descent to chase down an evil demon, the source of evil infecting the nearby generic fantasy hamlet.

From what I could see, the rock stars were having a great time. In the Descent game, the heroes finally one one, vanquishing evil, with the final death scene of the poor misunderstood demon sounding something like this. Sorry... I'm on a bit of a Predator kick right now.

I sincerely appreciate the hospitality Chris provided today, and the great gaming fun provided by Scott, Steve, and Chris around the Descent table. Descent is a tough game to love, but I like it well. It can go a bit long, and when death comes to the heroes, its seems like it usually seems unfair (e.g., surprise! attack yourself!). Still, I am glad we played, and I can't wait to start up a Road to Legend campaign this spring.

What's next? There's preliminary whispers of TI:3 on MLK Day, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet. If you're interested post a reply here. Otherwise, I need to play lots of C&C: Ancients, Combat Commander, Hannibal, and maybe even Lock 'n Load some day.


Democrat wins the White House / New Life for Twilight Struggle

Tonight, Jose and I played a game of Mr. President. It's a 3M/Avalon Hill bookshelf game from the early 70's and reflects the political landscape of America in the middle of the 20th Century. Jose showed off his veteran campaign skills and his Democratic candidate soundly defeated my Republican 350 Electoral votes to 100 and something. My candidate invested heavily in the East, Midwest and California. Somehow I dominated the East yet lost big everywhere else. Mr. Candidate even lost his home state of Michigan. I spent several turns challenging Jose's candidate to debates which proved fruitless. Jose invested in quite a bit of advertising. His strategy of campaigning in every state proved sounder than mine of concentrating on the larger states as he picked up almost all of the undecided vote, which made most of the difference.

We both agree that we want to try this game again but with 4 players. Jose had played before and says it's more interesting with 4 (2 Presidential candidates + 2 VP candidates).

Next up was my favorite, Twilight Struggle. Again we used the optional rule allowing alignments regardless of DefCon level. This time I played the USA and was intent on showing Jose how unbalanced the rule is in favor of the USA. Not true. Jose won the game in Final Scoring with 14 Victory Points. The USA dominated right up until the Late War when some nasty cards came out (Glasnost, OPEC). Our game was extremely tense through the end. I highly recommend everyone try the optional rules found in the 2nd Edition Rulebook. It makes Europe a battleground instead of a stalemate. Our experience has been that Asia becomes locked up in favor of the Soviets, but Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central/South America all become more active. Realignments become the weapon of choice with Coups reserved for Military Ops and special targets. I still think this is a great game.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The next Line Rider?

Better than an XBOX?

You'll understand how it works after the first few mistakes.


Our local "Free paper that makes advertising masseuses" catapults SABG's very own Dennis into a nanoCelebrity. It's a discussion of psuedoscience and conspiracy theories. I noticed this today and recall that Dennis asked us to pick up last weeks issue because he was in it. Was the story delayed or was he just throwing us off the track?

I guess it's time to pull Illuminati off the shelves. Did you show that to your lecture Dennis? Why not?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Saturday Planning

We're putting the band back together.

Chez Chris will be open for business at 9am as usual this Saturday. Word has it that talks of a reunion tour actually are in the works, and it sounds like Rock Band will make its encore this weekend. I'm looking forward to this, as it was really fun last weekend and Michael now has all the songs unlocked. Come join in the fun.

I think we've figured out that if we want to get some games of any length in on the weekend, we probably need to plan them a bit ahead of time. Given that, Ben, Steve and I are getting a game of Descent going Saturday morning, and anyone else who wants to jump in is, of course, welcome. We know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but that's why there's Rock Band. Plus, I've got that additional table for Race for the Galaxy or what have you.

The Blog is Dead, Jim

So.... what's new?

I just ordered Estimated Time to Invasion, the new game by the Nature of the Beast guys. Also, a new set of 5 painted Horrorclix Predator minis which just happen to be the right scale for Heroscape are in. Now I can play Predator vs. Captain America using Heroscape rules. Nice! Call me strange, but pretty much Predator vs. anything is cool in my book. The Command and Colors Ancients expansion stuff is theoretically on the way as well.

I noticed today the Best Buy next to where I work has a pile of GH3 bundles... Its possible I'll own one soon. Mass Effect continues to deliver the goods. No spoilers, but I'm really enjoying the homage payed to various sci-fi books and movies in the game.

On the board gaming front there doesn't seem to be much on the near term horizon that excites me, but that is okay because I still have a pretty nice backlog of unplayed games from the Fall. The main hindrances to me in getting these to the table now are the time I'm devoting to training for the Austin Marathon in a few weeks, plus lots of X-Box. Thanks for reading!


Battles in miniature

Monday night, I ventured out to Steve's place to check out his miniatures collection. I've pretty much decided to paint my BL minis, and I wanted to get some tips.

Coincidentally, Steve had a mini battle all set-up, and we took the chance to go ahead and play out this little scenario. The center of both lines were phalanxes. I had some artillery to Steve's elephants. One flank had warbands and the edges consisted of some cavalry.

It being my first game, I was a bit bewildered by the stats and units, so I settled on a simple strategy: roll better than Steve. For most of the game, however, I was not able to execute this strategy.

After a few turns, Steve was up: I had 7 dead units to his 3 dead units. I considered resigning. Figuring it was just a learning game, I instead cried "Once more into the breach!" and carried on the battle. Well, actually, I guess I just said "these guys will attack those guys," but it's almost the same, right?

Steve's wounded units began to melt away at a surprising rate. His elephants finally broke through in my center, but suddenly I managed to pull out the win!

It was my first ever miniatures game, and it was pretty cool. Definitely a different beast than a board game, and a lot of fun.

Also, it's visually stunning. People often say Mare Nostrum has beautiful bits, but they are a pale shadow of a fully painted miniatures army.

Good times!


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Actual Planning Post

Anyone going to be at DLair on monday? I'm not sure if I'll go, but this lack of a planning post does not bode well. I can always stay home and work on GH III (now 12 songs done on Hard). [!@#$ "Story of My Life" took more failed attempts than the next 8 songs].

[I'm not going to Austin, as we'll be down to 1 car next weekend.]


A Rocking Good Time

Many thanks go to Chris for hosting us again this weekend in his usual over-the-top form with many tasty munchies, beverages, and games to be de-shrinked. Thanks also go to Michael for creating the day's main event, lots of Rock Band on the X-Box 360. I absolutely, totally suck at the game, failing the bass on easy, but I had a great time trying and watching the rest of you guys rock out. What a great game.

Besides watching the rock antics, I managed to get in two games of Neuroshima Hex, one of Memoir '44 with the Air Pack, 2-3 games of Race for the Galaxy, and one game of Glory to Rome. Overall, not a bad sampler plate of shortish games.


Friday, January 04, 2008

USA Victory in Twilight Struggle

Jose and I got together for two games this evening. In round one, we played Axis & Allies Europe. Jose and the forces of evil temporarily beat down the German war machine. It's been a while since I've played this game and I seem to remember why. Europe seems like an incomplete hybrid of the Original and Revised game. Jose and I agreed that Revised is a more appealing game especially with the global scope.

Round two saw another game of Twilight Struggle. This time we used the optional rules allowing for Realignment rolls without DefCon restrictions and for the splitting up of Operation Points between multiple activities. This completetly changes the game. It seems to help the USA quite a bit as they are in a much better position to use realignments to their advantage. The USA also seems to have more high value cards which can be split up amongst various activities (just going by memory). One way this benefits the Americans is in Europe. The NATO card prevents Soviet realignment rolls in Western Europe while the corresponding Warsaw Pact card does not do the same for Russia. Normally Europe is solidly locked up between East and West and Russia is able to concentrate on Third World adventures. The optional rules make it very easy for the USA to meddle in Eastern Europe. This was devastating to the USSR as European Scoring came up 3 times during the first 7 turns and the USA held dominance twice. Combined with steady realignments of the USSR out of Central and South America led to victory in 7 turns for the USA. Congratulations Jose! This is the first time I have seen the USA win a game of TS.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Saturday Gaming

I have it on good authority that a copy of Rock Band may make its way to my house this Saturday, and we need a good supply of people to try it out. I'm also really really looking forward to some regular games this weekend (since I've missed out on the last couple of sessions), so I'd be happy to host on Saturday morning starting at 9am. When are we playing a big game again?
I'm aware the two may end up being mutually exclusive at times. We'll see how that goes and hopefully make it work. If you can make it, post here. If you need directions and such (Simon?), let me know.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Random X-Box 360 Thoughts

One of the many ways I've wasted time during my 1.5 weeks away from the office over the holidays is to play lots of X-Box 360. One of my favorite new games is called "Getting my head blown off in Halo 3." Other games I've enjoyed in this genre are "Getting my head blown off in Call of Duty 4," and "Getting my head blown off in Mass Effect." You get the picture. I do actually remember being pretty good at video games about 20 years ago, but through this terrible affirmation of my own mortality, it seems I must admit that I'm slowing down a bit or at least out of practice. Still, this is great fun.

Anyway, I posted the Mass Effect trailer above to show one of the best games I'm playing right now. One of the coolest features of the game early on is creating the face of your hero. It just sort of dawned on me tonight after playing the game for a few hours that my hero looks a bit like Steve.... well, actually quite a lot like Steve. Sorry, Steve, but I seem to be getting you blown up in a lot of different ways! Still, I think one of the female crew members has the hots for you, so your virtual space self may get some degree of compensation for all the hot plasma he's been eating.

Playing the X-Box 360 has taken a bit of time away from board gaming, but mainly just the time I spent reading various posts on BGG. I now spend about five minutes a day there looking over the hot posts and vainly trying to entice someone into trading me Railroad Tycoon. No luck yet...

Anyway, enough ramblings... Happy New Year everyone! I hope to game with each of you very soon.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Because I've been thinking about Gaming in the Heart of Texas. Is anyone else going? (If I went, I'd probably crash with my brother, but it would be nice to know if a group is going before I decided).

[I'm assuming there's still space, which may be wrong, too].

As for other planning, Jacqui and I could host Friday, but there seems to be little interest of late. Which is a shame, because those Malevolent Lifeforms won't conquer themselves.

Comment away. Narf.