Monday, March 31, 2008

Live From ATT Park

You would think that averaging 5 runs/game in notoriously pitcher friendly ATT park would be good. But when your opponent averages 8 runs/game, then you get swept. Jon's team crushimated me.

Game 1 -- Barry Zito does not last to the seventh out and I yank him (big mistake). Marmol pitches 4 innings to allow me to get within a few runs, but nothing good happens. Cruz also pitches multiple innings, so all my long relievers are tired. I lose 3-7. At least Zito severly injured Brad Hawpe, forcing him to miss the rest of the series.

Game 2 -- Can faces nine batters in the first ... and nine batters in the second. Despite being fatigued after 5 outs, I keep him in the full game (who else do I have to replace him). However, he goes 1-2-3 in the 3rd, 4th and fifth, and shuts Jon out for the remainder. I lose 6-8.

Game 3 -- Lincecum manages to make it past 7 outs before fatiguing. Since I'm not on the board and it worked so well ... keep him in! He blanks Jons team, except for a Bond's solo home. In the top of the 8th I score six runs (Jon kept Brandon Webb in when fatigued for a few hitters, but lifted him after Martinez hit a 3 run HR. At this point I put in Rivera (two run game), and Bonds got another solo jack for insurance.

Some stats (no batting stats yet) -- According to my pythagorean, I should be 5-4. I'm 3-6. (54 RF, 49 RA).

As I told Jon, if those breakouts occured in the fifth (or later), I'd have likely won all three games, since I'd have yanked those bad boys.

My starters -- 56 IP 5.79 ERA, 1.8 WHIP. 38 BB, 35 K.
My relievers -- 21 IP 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 6 BB, 23 K.

Victor Martinez allowed a passed ball and gave up an error in the same inning. Way to go!

Remember my request that the gods of baseball not punish me with any multi-base errors? Denied.

In all games Jon loaded the bases by the 2nd inning, I believe.

Bonds had something like 6 RBIs (including two scored on walks). Imagine what he would have done if he played all three games. One of the HRs was on the Petco diamond result (HR 1-4).

I did finalize one players batting stats. Matt Holliday has shattered the Mendoza line. BA .143, OBP .244, Slug .249 (OPS of .493). Serious slump. He actually hit a home run (1-4 Right) in the final game .... and then I realized he was on first, and looked at the right card. One of his walks was actually mis-read from another card, but we let it stand rather than rewind.

Jon is 4-2.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Building on Mondays

We've had 5-6 last week, will the numbers go up or down? We could play some of those games Chris mentioned with Cubes! (I've got several Age of Steam expansions I've only played once). Or if Ted shows up with "The Big," that has cubes.

I'll be there at 5pm.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wow, What a Game!

Another Saturday, another brain burning, 8-hour fantasy-themed dicefest at Chris' house.  I arrived a bit before 9 o'clock to see World of Warcraft with both expansions laid out in all their glory, ready to be played.  The five of us split into two teams (Chris, Travis, and I vs. Rob and Sean).  My team was generous enough to let me play the Orc warrior again; Chris took the Undead mage; Travis had the Tauren druid.  Rob played two Alliance characters:  paladin and priest; Sean played to not nearly so good Gnome warlock.

Things began with a rocky start for the Alliance, as they all died a couple times on the first few turns, giving the Horde an early lead.  By mid game they had closed the gap though, by aggressive and well calculated play.  Around half way through the game, everyone seemed to be humming along on all cylinders, and it became an intense power leveling race.

We, the Horde, decided to pursue a strategy of taking down instances, while the Alliance ventured into Outland to challenge some tough quests.  Both strategies seemed to pay off in experience points, but I think the loot we pulled out of the instances seemed pretty superior.  In addition, even with three of us together we were able to ratchet up the risk and reward of the instance such that it was worthwhile for everyone.

In the end, the Horde made it to the boss dungeon probably about a turn or two before the Alliance was ready to.  We totally crushed the first of three levels when we had to call time.  Argh!  Still, I think it was pretty clear with our carefully selected buffs that we would have sailed through to victory.

I had a great time, and I enjoyed the fun times gaming with everyone all day.  Thanks go to Chris for his continued outstanding hosting, and to Sean and Travis for being willing to learn and play such a monster of a game.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Camden Home Opener

[Sorry for not having all the names, I only have my sheets ... but this is still an amazing story.]

"Welcome back. For those of you just joining in, the RockOrioles are up by one going into the ninth. The Orioles lost the first game of the series 4-1, and won the second 17-7. That game featured 17 batters in the fourth inning, and three pitchers (The '5 runs in an inning rule.') There's been terrible defence all around, which you'd expect from the Florida team."

"Yes, everyone remembers Scott's selection of Hanley "Error" Ramirez ..."

"True, but our boys have three (including 2 two-base errors), not to mention a passed ball."

"Still, Orioles are up by one, and we're safely in the bullpen. One of our starters may get the win. Pedro Feliciano is in for a long middle relief and gets the first batter. He walks the next batter ... The batter is pulled for a pinch hitter ... and now Brian is walking to the mound. Looks like they are going for Rivera. Now, scott is pulling the pinch hitter for a different pitch hitter! Not every day you see someone in the game for no plate appearances and no defence..."

"Trying to play that left vs right game. He's going to be hurting on defence, but this is the ninth."

"And it doesn't matter, Rivera gets the strikeout."

"We've got another pinch hitter... he hits an easy grounder to Orlando Hudson, and Hudson drops the ball! He completely muffs the play! The final out to end the game. Ooh, Hudson only had 12 errors last year and that's his second of the series."

"Rivera gives up a hit, two runs score! Oh, that error has hurt us. The RockOrioles escape without further damage, but we're down by one in the bottom of the ninth. Francoeur is pulled to put the Left Cliff Floyd in. Floyd hits slightly better ... Zambrano takes his leave after 8 IP to be replaced by downs. And he gets Floyd to strikeout looking."

"Next up is Orlando Cabrera. Downs was a LOOGY, so he gets pulled for Fredrick Rodriguez."

"And Cabrera smashes a shot down the right field line ... its sneaks into the corner ... he's easily into third. A triple! Next up is Hudson, he can redeem himself with a big hit ... but he strikes out. Next up is the DH Moises Alou ... and the manager pulls him!"

"Well, Alou isn't clutch at all. He's as bad as A-Rod" [Alou has 13 hit chances turn into out in clutch situations.] "In comes Mark DeFranco ... He hits a strong shot to Hanley Ramirez and Ramirez flubs it ! Cabrera scores, DeRosa is safe ... the scorer charges another error. Matt Holliday, who hasn't lived up to expectations of a first round draft pick, strikes out. We're playing extra innings."

Rivera gives up a walk (I believe), and the runner promptly steals 2nd. The hit sends a runner home, and FRod gives up a hit and walk, but in the other order, so the RockOrioles lose 6-5 (in 10).

How bad was the defence? Well, apart from each team dropping a game-winning play ...

  • The Orioles scored 23 runs ... 11 earned.
  • There were 3 multiple-base errors.

After this series Scott is 4-2, and I'm 3-3.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

any interest in free 1986 season strat baseball?

anybody interested in joining/forming a free 1986 season strat replay league on You can do a live draft or do a salary cap. Let me know if there is interest and if so I will set one up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Past, present and future

Wow, that old thread is like the "Big Bang" of the SABGers. I think that thread makes Ted, Brian, and Rob the "grandpas" of the group, and the relative newcomers like me the little kids sitting around the living room saying "Grandpa, tell us the story again about when there was no board gaming in San Antonio!"

Well, in the birthday spirit, here's to another good year of gaming and prosperity, healthy family additions, Race for the Galaxy and Arkham Horror expansions, less crime, more SABGers attending BGG.con (just go register, you know you're going), and the occasional suspension of rule #1.

Now for the present. We need to doing the same thing we always do. Play games. There has been some interest in playing Descent again, so this thread is probably a good place to express interest if you want in. Rob is also going to stop by, so the non-Descenters should have a good time of it (bring Kingsburg, Rob!), and it might not hurt to have a few non-Descent preference lists.

I can host, although I have to kick people out at 4pm. DL is a less desirable alternative (I don't think we'd haul Descent+infinite expansions there, plus I hate that the gaming tables are filled with the sale-that-won't-end stuff, pushing us to the dingy siderooms) but people can stay there as late as they want.

Anyway, discuss within.

(By the way, in response to Rob's request, Derk posted that there will be a "mega Rock Band" setup at BGG.con. Looks like we'll feel right at home.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, SABG!

Once upon a time, a lonely geek posted a thread looking for friends in San Antonio. It was just before Easter in 2005.

First, he met Rob (v1). Rob said "We should get more people and we should play on more nights than just Monday." The lonely geek said "Nah." [2 pts for Rob, 0 for lonely geek]

Rob decided the lonely geek was crazy, and Rob kept looking.

Soon, Rob introduced the lonely geek to Kendahl, and now they were three.

At this point, the lonely geek's memory gets fuzzy. Soon thereafter appeared both Patrick, a game designer, and Brian, a famous game player/reviewer.

Soon, Ben showed up, and he brought this blog along with him.

Soon, the lonely geek couldn't keep track of all the new game players in the SABG.

Shortly, Patrick and Kendahl moved away, and the lonely geek was sad to lose gaming buddies.

Eventually, the lonely geek had a baby (well, his wife had the baby...), and that distracted him from games and SABG.

Then Rob (v1) moved away, and the lonely geek had lost his first gaming buddy.

Eventually, the lonely geek started to figure out the whole parenthood thing, and he started playing more games again.

The lonely geek had lots of game buddies, all over the country.

And he was happy.

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Monday Review

Let's see...

Sean, Raab and I played Thurm und Taxis. I delivered the mail real well.

Then we played the (obscure) Dry Gulch. Since Al showed up we each shortened the game by a few turns (by giving us each a few VPs). Rob managed to build a sheriff and post office and got a win a few turns before I was ready. If I had known that was coming I may have vandalized his buildings ... Dry Gulch isn't nearly as good as the idea of Dry Gulch, but it's not bad. I have hopes for the new "Dry Gulch Junction" coming out soon.

Next we tried Lost Valley again.I liked it more than the first time we played, as the game had a bit more of the items, and exploration. It's OK.

After that we returned to the classics. Glory to Rome and Race. Then everyone else turned into a pumpkin, so I left, too.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Not too early, right?

> Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2008 21:56:04 -0500
> To: Robert Ramirez
> Subject: BGG.CON 2008 Registration Confirmation
> From:
> Congratulations! We have received your registration for BoardGameGeek.CON
> Your Registration # is: 1135
> Registration Password:
> Check your registration details here:
> You can edit your badges here:
> We look forward to seeing you in November!
> --
> Aldie & Derk

Fantasy/Rotisserie Baseball

There had been some interest expressed in a fantasy/rotisserie baseball league in addition to our Strat/Sim/SABBL. Is there still any such interest? With the beginning of the season on deck I thought it made sense to ask so if there is we can quickly throw something together before we are too far in to the season. I was figuring on a free online league (yahoo, espn, etc.).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Every once in a while, I find myself desiring Descent -- the floor tiles, the minis, the theme, etc. Then I play it. The odd thing is that I enjoy Doom; why like one and not the other? It might be that I fully expect to die messily and repeatedly in Doom, while I haven't accepted that in the fantasy genre yet. Or it might be that Doom is simpler in rules (fewer special powers running around), bookkeeping, and tactics (since melee doesn't play as big a role), so given less investment, I don't feel as much frustration when a plan capriciously fails. Whatever the reason, Descent annoys me despite my best efforts to like it, and Road to Legend, so close to a fantastic upgrade, just makes things worse.

Our party consisted of the orc Mordrog (Chad), the dwarf Corbin (Chris), the wizard Runemaster Thorn (me), and the chick with knives Silhouette (communal control), all with rudimentary equipment and one skill each. Ben played the evil Beastman Lord, conspiring to create eternal darkness ("Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun..."). We bought some potions, grabbed a nice bow for Silhouette (throughout the day, the best equipment went to the character no one wanted), got wounded in a bar fight (screwage without recourse was another leitmotif), and were given a map to a treasure a million freaking miles away. We then popped off to Starfall Forest to do a little exploring and get a little XP.

The first level of our newbie dungeon included a Master red dragon with extra armor and wounds just down the hall from the entrance room. His 8 armor made him impervious to all attacks, and the only other sources of XP were behind him. Not wanting to simply give up, we sent Silhoutette on a sprint to grab some coins in the entrace room. Ben spawned kobolds to cut off our escape, but we managed to kill four and get all of our characters just out of range of where the dragon's breath could reach on the next turn, and where we could all escape. Ben then played "Charge!" to double move the dragon, and "Rage" to double attack with Breath, killing two party members and missing a third by one or two wounds. In one turn.

We saw four dungeon levels and one outdoor encounter in all, and only one included a boss with armor low enough for us to defeat, regardless of tactics applied or deaths expended. And that's just unacceptable, especially since it is so easily fixed -- the dungeon level deck should either be three decks (one for each level), or each card should have permitted levels listed on it, like how the outdoor encounter cards only apply to certain trails. Reasonable levels like the ruined column/skeleton fight would be 1st only, while the Red Dragon of Everything-Killing would be 3rd only. The concern might be that adventurers will only hit the top levels of each dungeon to prevent the Overlord from getting conquest, but (a) the Overlord is still getting conquest from razing cities, (b) which he can then use to buff minions, making even the top levels harder, and (c) all the awesome rewards, particularly from rumors, are on the third level, so you've got to get down there eventually. Just that one change and Road to Legend would go from "absurdly broken" to "would play again" in my mind -- though Undying still both sucks and blows.

(Let's not even mention the fact that Ben was holding back on buying early lieutenants because what little part of him still has empathy for players knew it was a game-breaker.)

Should you try your luck against Road to Legend, take these lessons from us:

1. Don't waste a turn grabbing an early Rumor; even if you can get to it, you're not strong enough to beat the associated dungeon level.
2. Spend your first few turns hitting the dungeons within one space of Talamir -- it's 100% certain that you'll end up back in Talamir by the end anyway.
3. You're going to die a lot. Just accept it. The penalty isn't even that bad, and it's a quick heal!
4. Your first priority is 1000 gold for the Enchanted Boat, which opens up an enormous number of trails. Your second priority is 20 XP, which gets you your first skill training -- you should have plenty of money by then.

In other Saturday news, Chris dominated Colossal Arena so badly that he had to kill his own creature to sew up a win, Notre Dame thinks it still has another half to play, and Stanford tried as hard as it could to lose and failed.

Descent: Road to Legend PAIN...

In which our heroes were verily smote.

And then smote again.

Our first week went something like this:

"Oooh, a rumor says there's something good nearby!'s not nearby. It's far away."
"Well, let's go see this side dungeon first so that we can get experience and build up our characters."

"There's a dragon in this dungeon."
"But it's our first dungeon."
"Yeah... and it's kind of a boss dragon."
"Oh. But this is just the first level of our first dungeon."
"Yeah. Oh, and it's actually tougher than a regular boss dragon. It has more health and more armor."
"I see."
"Yeah. Oh, and none of you can do enough damage to hurt it."
"That's nice. Well, we're going to dash in, get some money near the exit and get out."
"Hmm, yes. Well, your problem with that is that there's six kobolds now between the heroes and the exit that weren't there seconds ago."
"Aaah. Well, we kind of have to kill them to get out."
"Yes you do. And, while you do that, the better-than-boss dragon will move twice and catch up to you."
"And it will breathe fire on you."
"That's bad."
"Oh, and it will breathe fire on you twice."
"That's also bad."
"Yes it is. And now you're all dead. And the overlord is now tougher because you died."
"That's even worse."
"Not for the overlord."

Cut to two hours later.

"Hey, we killed the skeleton boss of this dungeon level! We're doing pretty good."
"Yeah. Well, he actually comes back to life with full health."

Ten minutes later:

"There. Now he's dead."
"Yeah. Well, he actually comes back to life with full health again."
"Hmm. That's irritating."

Twenty minutes later:

"There. Stay dead."
"Nope. He comes back to life again."

Thirty minues later:

"There. IS HE DEAD YET?"
"Yes. He's finally dead."
"Okay. We open the door to the last level."
"Okay. Now you see that boss dragon again that you still can't damage."
"And there's also a boss demon with him."
"Of course there is. Why wouldn't there be? Well, we flee the dungeon."
"Okay. By fleeing, you automatically go back to the start town and have basically undone all the travel you've done over the last three weeks."

And here endeth this chapter.

Let's put this into context. This game is tough for starting heroes. Brutally tough.

Now, none of this is Ben's (the overlord) fault. He's playing exactly like he should, and exactly like any of us would if we were in his shoes. His job is not to make the game fun for us. It's to defeat the heroes. And I think I speak for Dennis and Chad when I say we appreciate the job that Ben is doing, because it's like referees in college basketball (which we watched after Descent). It's a thankless job. When he is successful, the game is less enjoyable for the rest of the players. When he's not successful, it's less enjoyable for him. And we all knew that before we started playing. It's just the way the game is. So we need an overlord who can take the sighs and gripes and continue to play. And Ben does that. So thanks, Ben. You're playing well.

And to be honest, I had a pretty good time. Honest. And I wish this post didn't sound so...despondent. The game looks beautiful, and the variety of things we've seen as we've played is an improvement that's head-and-shoulders above the original gameplay. But we're in a tough spot. The overlord has twice as much "conquest" as the party, which means he's getting tougher, and doing so faster than we are. We've actually got a decent amount of money. But XP is difficult to come by without killing bosses, and no XP means no training for extra dice or learning new skills, which basically killing the bosses.

And none of us are sure if there's a way to make the game competitive given the position we're in. We can't complete any of the beginning dungeons, partly because there's no such thing as a "beginning dungeon." They're all just crazy tough. That's a pretty demoralizing feeling. So, we put it away for the week and may take a look at it next week with fresh eyes and see what we can do.

Oh, the terrier!

Some days you get the T-Rex, and some days he gets you. Mondays tend to be the latter, so you may as well recover with some post-work gaming. What will be played? Excellent question. If you want to be a decider, you have to show up.

Much like Rexy, you have to provide your own snacks.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saturday Planning

It's FINALLY arriving. Descent: Road to Legend, the game that promises to bring true meaning to life, solve the global warming crisis, and spread peace throughout the entire world (or so I've heard), should be here Friday evening according to the FedEx website. So Ben and I are doing our little Homer Simpson happy dances and are planning to play Saturday morning.

The game needs exactly five players- the evil baddie (Ben, at least for the first game) and four heroes (me, so far). Steve and Jon said they might play, so that leaves a spot if anyone wants to join in. So we'll take volunteers (disclaimer, as always- we understand this is not everyone's cup of tea). We'd ideally like someone who can play regularly (probably just on Saturdays, not Mondays), as this will take a few hours at a time but will do so across several sessions. The beauty of this game, though, is that we can substitute people in and out and even play with fewer sometimes if we have to. And of course, we'll teach it to anyone who wants to learn- no experience required.

There will also be other gaming. Probably baseball. Maybe Rock Band (if Michael gets his new XBox) or Smash Bros. (if someone brings a Wii...and the game).

(Tenatively planning on usual 9am start at my place unless other options present themselves.)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let's play two

Well, Monday night went off with not much of a hitch, but I suddenly find myself in the position to have bonus gaming on Weds at DLair (from 6-9). I could play a baseball series, or be talked into non-baseball. If you are interested, respond in the comments...


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saintly Planning

Tomorrow is the traditional day for some wee reinforcing o' the stereotypes. And then comes a bit of gaming. Having looked carefully into the matter, I can safely say that I'm not up for any Irish themed games.

So I'll just be there at the normal time with random games.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Report

My day started with the blood, sweat, and adrenalin and ended with the cerebral maneuvering of wooden cubes.

Early this morning I started out running in an organized trail run at McCallister Park here in San Antonio. Ten miles running through the woods on dirt and rock trails, chasing down whoever was in front of me felt quite primal. Trail running can be pretty intense! I really pushed myself to the point where I found myself running with a bunch of shaved-headed guys who looked like Steve in berserker mode, so I knew I was doing something right. During the race four separate people I was chasing face planted right in front of me, and due to a minor spill I had just enough blood running down my leg to look suitably motivated. Yeah!

After a much enjoyed shower, I headed over to SABG's secure undisclosed location to join up with the gang for board gaming. I arrived just in time to catch the tail end of Stage 2, which Jacqui seemed to win easily.

Chris and I, sticking to the plan, then busted out Pillars of the Earth, which we've been talking about playing for months. We set it up and tried out the two-player version, which Chris won easily. I really enjoyed the game and found playing it to be a good time. I am admittedly quite terrible at games where a math-based resource optimization strategy will dominate, but I find if I just play to have fun and don't overthink things, I can have a great time at these types of games.

Next, Chris, Jacqui, and I played Thebes. I had played once before with Chris and Rob, and this time I enjoyed the game just as much. There is a ton of luck in this game, so I don't claim any great skill in having my own taste of winning easily. The theme of the game works so well, in my opinion, with the bag draw mechanic, and I really find the time continuum track quite interesting.

As far as other games played, it looked like a lot of Stratomatic Baseball and Race for the Galaxy were played.

Chris, as usual, totally outdid himself with his outstanding hospitality and generosity.


Remember the Alamo!

In honor of Fiesta (San Antonio's celebration of Texas' independence day) Jose and I played Blood of Noble Men, Worthington games version of the battle of the Alamo--companion to Victoria Cross. I played the Mexicans and Jose took the Texians. After being driven back from the Alamo's walls, I finally managed to scale the walls on the third assault and achieved a break through on the South wall--opposite of where W.B.Travis fell. Mexican forces quickly made their way to the chapel and long barracks where the last alamo defenders had retreated. A cannon blast directly into the chapel followed by a bloody bayonet charge spelled the end for the Texian defenders. I won a marginal victory as Jose managed to delay me for some time outside the Alamo walls.

What the game lacks in strategy it makes up for in theme. I can't help but think this would make a great minatures battles. It's a nice filler game as it plays in about an hour.

Jose got his revenge as we capped the night off with a game of Twilight Struggle-with optional rules. He played the USA and the victory point chart stayed uncomfortably close to even for most of the game. In the last few turns Jose took a decisive lead and on the last turn we didn;t even bother with final scoring as he was clearly the winner.

I enjoyed the games Jose, it was nice to get away from the office for a few hours.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Aliens Prance About Rocker, Transfer Power

It seems 80% is good enough to beat Green Grass and High Tides on Expert.

Unfortunately I may not be able to make it tomorrow. It reminds me of back at school when I won nationals in boxing over the weekend in Reno, and instead of going to class and enjoying it on Monday I instead had to get my wisdom teeth out first thing that morning. I'd been keeping weight off for months and then when I could eat freely I instead had to have mushed up food.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Saturday Gaming

This is my obligatory quarterly post when I check the level of interest for playing Twilight Imperium 3 (TI:3), hence the Star Wars themed video. Anyone? If not, among the many other options I'd be highly pleased to play are:

Pillars of the Earth
World of Warcraft
Combat Commander: Any kind
War of the Ring
Command and Colors: Ancients
Tide of Iron: with or without sand

I actually can't appear until around noon, as I'll be participating in my other main hobby of the moment in the morning. I'm definitely not doing the 50K.

Who else is up for Saturday gaming? Who (if anyone) wants to host? What do you want to play?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So yes, I know that it is WAY WAY too late to be up still. Sleeping is overrated, right? But i was playing on, and their legal came giveaway of the day -- is ingenious!. Its only for PC, but still, I wanted to share. Its a lot of fun to play on the computer. And yet another reason to procrastinate. I was given a copy of Oregon Trail recently, nice old school distraction. The silly cholera keeps killing me.

Go there. and have fun with the downloading.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The new and improved Monday

Why New and Improved, you ask? I point you to the planning thread for monday so you can listen to the excuses:
  • Can't make it
  • Work
  • Sleep
  • Rule #1
Despite all of you nattering nabobs, we had seven people show up!

Larry showed up and I taught him Jambo. This resulted in me quickly losing another game of Jambo. Sigh. By this point Ted, Rob (and his wife, whose name I undoubtedly heard) had arrived. But only Ted could stay. After considering the potential for Starcraft (or Through the Ages) we figured there just wasn't enough time. So we broke out Caylus Magna Carta. As we were setting up Travis arrived to make four. So off we went with four.

It took a bit longer than usual, being a first game for everyone but me (I think). Still, it didn't stall out. With 2 turns left, Larry had to bow out but was replaced by Jon. This was the highest scoring game of CMC I've seen, with plenty of cubes, money and gold for everyone. All the prestige buildings were built (and several more could have shown up, if they existed).

After that we broke out everyone's favorite Board2Pieces character, Ra! Despite it being Travis's first game, he was only one point behind the eventual winner. In this game, however, that was only good for 3rd, Jon taking the honors.

We ended the evening with the contractually required games of Race. No real surprises there.

So, if we can get 5+ people on a night where nobody can make it, all I can say is "We're back, baby!"

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Brawlers Wanted!

Brawlers Wanted!

I just got my brand spankin' new copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (wii) in the mail and was wondering if there would be any interest in co-oping or throwing down in some multi. Since fellow SABGers have been flocking to the Rock Band side of things, it’s worth a shot to throw it out there. I could sure use the help in the Sub Space Emissary (basically a new "story mode"). Ok ok, this post is mainly aimed at Michael and Jon. I’m ready to rock any weekday post five o’clock, sans Fridays (weekends are touchy). I’m also off on Mondays now. Yeah, my schedule sucks, I know.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Planning for Mon night

Events of the upcoming and "non" varieties

It seems my last post was an over-cautious non-event. Better safe than sorry.

Anywho, did you hear about the festival next weekend downtown SA? There will be "roving street poets" and at least one"guerrilla music ensemble."

Check it out.

Mon night

I think I'll be able to make it Mon night, but I'm really not sure. Don't know what games I'll bring.

Post in the comments.

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Apologetic Groveling

The best satire dances on a delicate line, moving close to offensive but always twirling away just in time. In my recent post about MN, I attempted satirical humor. Upon reflection, however, I have concluded that I stumbled over the line.

It's never true that everyone will like every game, especially a quirky one like MN. Even advocates of MN admit is has some significant flaws. No one owes anyone an explanation for why they don't want to play a game.

I apologize to the people I singled out and also to the whole SABG. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, embarrassed anyone, or otherwise hurt anyone's feelings. Our blog is a communal space, and the right to make a post is a trust. Hurtful posts have no place.

I have edited the original post to soften it. If anyone thinks it's still too harsh, drop me an email and I will make additional edits.

Enough unpleasantness.

Game on!

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A Day of Epic Battles

Steve and I started the day off with Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Steve took the pesky Carthaginians, while I commanded the noble Romans. I think the key to victory for the Romans is to play a conservative defense, wearing down Carthage but avoiding getting sucked into a large engagement until your good general, Africanus appears on turn 8. This is very hard to do, as Hannibal is happily marching up and down Italy and your empire threatens to come apart at the seams. Despite one ill advised foray into Spain with my Consuls, I managed to keep things pretty much together. Unfortunately, I made a crucial error by sending Africanus to Spain while Hannibal was still strong in Italy. Steve masterfully earned the auto-victory and remains undefeated at this game.

We next busted out Commands and Colors: Ancients. Sticking with the theme of Rome vs. Carthage, we kept the same sides and re-fought the Battle of Cannae. History was reversed again, as I was able to barely squeak out a desperately fought victory against Steve, winning by one flag. Glory to Rome!

Next, we coaxed Jon into trying the new game Age of Gods. We each played to the role of a fantasy god, manipulating various fantasy races to engage in a worldwide chaotic war of death and destruction in hopes our followers would reign supreme in the end. Master of Deception Jon totally misdirected me into thinking the High Elves were his followers, and I spent the first half of the game annihilating them from the map. Unfortunately, he was secretly controlling the Dwarves and the Giants, two races that I had helped fortify and expand in order to take down the innocent elves. Argh! Steve ran amok as the God of War with the Orcs and Gargoyles and moved to a solid second place. My poor Legion of Chaos, Amazon nation, Cult of Necromancers, and Lizardman tribe were all pretty much wiped out by the various fantasy incarnations of tactical nuclear weapons present in the game. Excellent win, Jon!

Lastly, Steve and I played an epic game of War of the Ring. This post is getting long, so I'll cut to the chase. Steve dunked the ring with 11 corruption and me on the verge of having 8 VPs. A solid win which, despite speedy play, was so tightly contested that it took a solid three hours to reach its conclusion. Steve, you're a master of this wonderful game.

Chris, thank you very much for your fantastic hospitality and gracious hosting!


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Starting the trading

[Just a reminder, add the SABBL label to any baseball posts. It will help later on].

The RockOrioles (aka the Weavers) have 'excess' pitching. Twelve pitchers, actually. An ugly miscount. I'd like to trade two pitchers for one pitcher and one Position player (or possibly two position players). Most trades may involve an extra player to balance (giving up some OPS to balance a trade, etc).

I think we can get mutually beneficial trades. My 3rd (or 4th) best reliever may be better than your second.

Starting Position Players [OPS]
C Victor Martinez 4e5 (0) [.879 Switch Hitter]
1B Ryan Garko 4e11 [.842] (Garret Atkins may start, don't know).
2B Orlando Hudson 1e12 [.817 Switch Hitter]
3B Mike Lowell 1e16 [.877]
DH Moises Alou (4e8 (+1) LF) [.918]
SS Orlando Cabrera 1e12 [ .742]
LF Matt Holliday 3e3 (0) [1.012]
CF Carlos Beltran 1e6 (-3) [.878 Switch]
RF Jeff Francoer 1e5 (-4) [.782]

Garret Atkins 1st, 3rd [.853]
Mark Derosa -- Everywhere, [.791]
OF Cliff Floyd [.793]
C Mike Napoli 3e12 (0) [.794]

Barry Zito (LHP S(6))
Tim Lincecum (RHP S(6)
Jason Marquis (RHP S(6))
Matt Cain (RHP S(7))
Jake Westbrook (RHP S(6))
Micah Owings (RHP S(6), R(3)/N)

Manny Corpas (RHP (1)/4)
Pedro Feliciano (LHP (1)/1)
Billy Wagner (LHP (1)/6)
Mariano Rivera (RHP (1)/6)
Juan Cruz (RHP (2)/N)
Carlos Marmol (RHP (2)/0)

Incidentally, I do like my team, although I'm fragile. Going strictly by the STAR draft sheet, I got a great catcher, great 2B, good 3B, good SS, Great LF & CF, (Moises at DH is fine). Francoer is a light bat, but a good arm, making him an OK late pick. My top 5 relievers are ranked from #58-105 (and we're probably missing 1/3rd of the ranked players). But starters ... whoo.

Chris and I played a pre-season game and it (thankfully) went like I said. Micah Owings took the start against John Smoltz and, after two innings I was down 4-3 ... but that settled it until we went into the bullpen (which features two of the scariest cards in the game ... Rafael Betancourt for Chris vs. Carlos Marmol for me. Martinez managed to hit the only extra base spot on Betancourt and the Beltran popped one over the short-right field wall at Camden. I think I won 6-4. Earl Weaver would be proud.

Anyway, I'm not going to play my first regular season game until we've had time to look at trading (and I need to get L/R splits, etc), but I'd be willing to do a pre-season game (or two) one evening. Not monday, natch.


Final SABBL Rules answer, questions

After our practice games, and thinking about things, I looked up a few rules.

1) The chart that Dennis mentions on the SA charts is minimum rest required for STARTERS only, not relievers. (Basically, if you don't have a * and go 6-9 innings, four days of rest. 5 innings requires 3 days rest). Relievers follow the same basic rules (two days on, then off). The most innings a relief pitcher can be used is POW + 2. (So a (1) reliever must exit after 9 outs). We need to clarify how we are working that. I think "2 consecutive reliefs of any length require a rest, and any long relief requires a rest". Long can be defined how we like, but I think it should be 6+ outs.
2) According to 27.62, you can use a starter as a reliever, but he's instantly vulnerable. (POW rating of 1).
3) I'm not completely hosed at Outfield ... moving OFs around just causes a range penalty. 25.21.
4) Remember to use the Super Advanced Cutoff rules. Among other things, this means that with a runner on first, a DOUBLE (no star) results could have the lead runner try to take home and the trail runner taking third (and being thrown out if the other manager decides to concede the run). Follow those flowcharts carefully.
5) As we decided after the draft, on an injury an OK result remains (Stay in game). A REM or 1 game miss turns into "Miss current game." Miss 2-3 games turns into "out this game and the next (if in the same series)" And Miss 4+ turns into "Miss the remainder of this series." This is a slight change from what we discussed early.
5) VARIANT Proposal (post draft). Just to make things interesting I think any of the "e0" people should be assumed to have a basic error (E1) result on a 3 or 18. (About 1% per check).

I think that's all.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Road to Legend Campaign

The Descent: Road to Legend rules have now been posted, and the game is officially shipping. We should be able to start up a campaign as early as next weekend perhaps if we can muster sufficient interest. We'll need at least a DM plus 1-4 additional players. I'm most certainly willing to DM, or I'd also be happy to let someone else take the honors if they're so motivated. Who is in?


Coming Soon?

Apparently the expansion is approaching...


Mare Nostrum: I hardly knew thee

[This post has been edited. See the explanation here.]

MN on Mon Night

Monday night I brought Mare Nostrum. I knew getting it to the table would be an up-hill battle, but I set out with high hopes nevertheless.

After the appetizer of To Court the King, the group was deciding what to play next. Optimistically, I offered Mare Nostrum + expansion.

All-in-all, there was a lot of eye motion, fidgeting, and mumbling. Some rolled their eyes (in exasperation?); others averted their eyes (in embarrassment?); still others closed their eyes (but I think that guy was just sleeping...). Some one mumbled something about having played in the last year. Several others mumbled similar sentiments.

Some one raised the complaint that the last turn of the last game of MN took longer than 3 games of Race for the Galaxy. This statement is wild hyperbole, but it is true the last few turns took a long time.

Summarizing fidgeting, eye-motion, and accusations, Mare Nostrum was not played Monday evening.

MN in context

Extrapolating the furtiveness (to say nothing of direct challenges...), I do not see Mare Nostrum getting back to the table any time soon.

To be fair, I cannot blame anyone. A mighty river of games flows through the SABG, and any game showing the slightest flaw deserves to be quickly washed downstream to the math-trade delta. Why bother to play a game w/ any flaw when the world is saturated with untried games?

Our last game of MN took about ~4 hrs, and it had a...let me say "strange" ending. Speaking for myself, I enjoyed the last game quite a bit despite some issues. As Atlantis, I managed to build up my empire w/o being seriously attacked. There were land attacks, sea attacks, gods, trading, and more. MN provides some civ-like aspects, some military aspects, some diplomacy, some trading. There's some "attack the leader," but it's mitigated by the fact that a wonder/hero never goes away. To cap it all off, the different players have significantly different abilities. This kind of asymmetry is great when it is balanced, and MN seems to be reasonably well balanced.

While it took a while, it was also a learning game for almost everyone. I tried a variant to speed things up, but it was untested and caused a lot of confusion. People claim once the game is well known to the players it takes about 2-3 hours while still offering an epic, civ-like feeling.

While I enjoyed it a lot, it's true the game has some flaws. The ending can be strange, the trading mechanic is weird. I hear that a bad player can wreck the whole game, although in our one play that wasn't the case, IMO.

Woe is me

I enjoyed the game. A lot.

Those who didn't like the game have moved on to others.

Alas, it requires at least 4 players, and preferably 5-6. I doubt I will be able to muster this number ever again.

I suspect it will molder in my closet until I break down and consent to a trade.

Of such bitter moments is life built.

The King is dead; long live the King

Luckily, what the SABG taketh away, they also give. I doubt I can get this back to the table, but I know that many other games await me. Before Mon, I had never even heard of Fast Food, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Anyone want to play Combat Commander? I still want to try Thurn and Taxis. Then there's my (soon to be) painted BL set. Then there's the latest civ game out there: Through The Ages.

Summing up, I am left with but two parting words:

Game on!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

What a surprise! The theme for Saturday's planning post is...

Who knew?

Sure, we'll do Saturday at my place. 9am.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Insanity Update

A while back I posted that I am paining my BattleLore minis. Chris reminded me that it's time for an update. You can see some results here. Far left are the raw minis. Middle are primed in white. Right are the completed figures.

I've painted all the green units, both archers and infantry, and I've started on the blue infantry. That's 8 units of archers, 4 green infantry, and 3 blue infantry units done.

I seem to be gaining some speed and experience, and I sort of know what I'm doing now. I have most of the colors I need, though I may need to upgrade my brush selection .

A lot of folks, including the DoW site, suggest priming in black. The idea is that you can let a little black show in strategic spots to really make details pop. Also, the black can be used to simulate shadows.

I tried this approach, but I didn't like the results. The figures came out looking dark and heavy. When I switched to white primer, the figures came out brighter and more in keeping w/ my view of BL. If I were painting War of the Ring minis, black would be a great choice due to the darker theme. The whimsical world of BL, however, seems to call for happier minis.

I have been focusing on speed over quality for several reasons. First, these minis are part of an army. They aren't meant to be viewed individually at close range. They are meant to be viewed as a large group from a distance. Second, I want to play this game again, and the sooner the better. I need to get these buggers done! Finally, being a beginner, subtle shading and washes are a little out of reach for now. Maybe at the end of this I'll do an intricate job on the monsters.

Here is a close-up so that you can see some of the details. At this scale you can see some of the flaws on this figure, especially the sloppy line on the helmet. I also got a little lazy and didn't bother to paint the back of the shields.

My figures are way better than the raw minis, but they don't hold a candle to some stuff on BGG where the folks have shaded each and every figure. Maybe someday...

Anyway, I'm making progress, and I hope to be done in another few months.

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King of the Geeks Drops to 0 hp

If you haven't heard by now, I have the sad duty to inform you that Gary Gygax, driving force behind the creation of Dungeons and Dragons, passed away yesterday.

Here's a link.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Session Report: Mon, Mar 3, 2008

I arrived jus in time to join To Court The King. It's fun, and fast. By taking advice, I won, which doesn't speak much for the depth or decisions. Did I mention it's fast?

We split into two groups. I taught Rob v2 Hellas, while the other group played "the fart game." I enjoy Hellas because it's fast, has some warfare, and has some exploration.

Then we played Fast Food while another group played Thurn and Taxis. FF is Monopoly done right. I enjoyed it, though I didn't do that well.


SABBL 2nd Season Rules Things

Since we said we'd get the rules down before the draft... I figured I'd start a thread on hashing out points...some of these were discussed Saturday and/or Monday.

1) We're playing with a DH (as per Dennis).
2) We're playing with "mostly" super-advanced rules (need to clarify ... my interpretation is "Everything but super-stealing, which is only if both managers agree"). In particular, that means we're playing with the SA X-chances, the closer rule, park effects (& weather), clutch hitting, corners in, catcher blocking the plate, robbing home runs, outfield in, pickoffs, balks and wild pitches.
3) We're using the solitaire rules for resting position players. This implies a "no early game substitutions" rule. (So you can't "start" your terrible backup, then pull him for your great player who'd have to rest if that position came up on a check).
4) As per Sean's question ... you pick two teams, then take one from the stack and pass the stack.
5) Qualifying for the postseason (which I assume will just be a world series) requires you play a home and away 3-game series against each other manager. (That's 36 games, but we're playing over the season, so a bit more than two series a month).
6) Managers can trade freely. Don't collude. [I'd add in a note that trading teams should have played roughly equal number of games].

Points that I'm assuming but haven't been specified:

A) We're drawing seating position for passing separately (after the draft).
B) What are the minimums for a player to be draft eligible? 300 PAs (250 for catchers) is the "standard" for tournaments.
C) Ditto for pitchers and relievers. (125 IP for Starters, 40 IP for relievers). Also, what rest rules are we using? Are we sticking with a 4 pitcher rotation or 5-pitcher? Are we simply going with 2 games out of 3 for relievers? (The STAR tournaments use "3 games out of four AND no more than 4 IP in 4 consecutive games.")
D) Apart from sending game results to Dennis (and tracking pitcher usage), all book-keeping is optional. I don't know if I'll be keeping detailed stats, this time. It's time consuming.
E) Best W-L% of qualifying teams? Or Best Differential?
F) We said injuries were to be limited to a current series, but there should probably be some scaling ... ie, any 1-4 game injury becomes out for the game. 5-9 becomes miss next game (if in the same series) and 10+ becomes "miss next two (if in the same series)." [I want the chance for a key player to miss a series ... because that happens, but I do want it to be rare. If people want to just limit injuries to the current game, and let the rest rule take care of the other stuff, that's fine too.]
G) I'm assuming you have to draft at least 2 catchers, 4 (or 5) starting pitchers, one park, 3 relievers (you'd want more, no doubt) and have people to cover two positions.

We can use this comment thread to hash out what issues are open, and then discuss pre-draft.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Picking Teams

Monday night at Dragon's Lair, we had a card draw to determine the team picking order for the Strat-O-Matic draft. Here are the results (we assumed Michael was in even though he didn't post in the previous thread):

1. Brian
2. Chris
3. Sean
4. Michael
5. Scott
6. Dennis (sigh)
7. Dennis
8. Scott
9. Michael
10. Sean
11. Chris
12. Brian

Remember, you aren't picking *your* team; you are picking a team whose players will be in one of the draft stacks, and you'll get first choice from that stack.

With the first pick, Brian selected...the Colorado Rockies. Word on the street is that he's drafting Coors Field in the first round.

Chris is now on the clock. Put your choices in the comments thread, and let's see how quickly we can turn through this.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

March into Gaming

Thanks to Chris for his typical high standards of hosting this weekend. Now that the band got back together (etc etc), we're off to Monday. I'll be there, but I'm not sure if I'll show up at the normal time (5-ish) or a bit later. The bag will be attending, and I may even mix it up a bit today. On the other hand, I still haven't gotten in a "full" game of Through the Ages (or Starcraft).

The cartoon is just because I haven't used it in a while.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Strat-O-Matic Draft

So we want to have a draft Strat league...but we don't want it to take forever, and no one wants to have to do too much research. I've got an idea to fix that, based on how Magic booster drafts work.

Each person in the league will pick two MLB teams (we'll get to that procedure later). I'll remove all of the players with too few at-bats or innings pitched, so each person will have a stack of around 40 cards. Everyone looks through their stack, drafts one player, and then passes their stack to the left. Rinse and repeat until everyone has 26 players and a home park (yes, we're drafting those too).

Why this way? First, the draft will be ludicrously faster, since everyone picks simultaneously; if we all stick to 5 minute rounds, the draft will last less than two hours. Second, you only need to think about the few good players in the stack in front of you rather than every player in the draft, and that means less advance research.

Other details: I'm leaning towards a version of Brian's "relaxed schedule" idea. Play whoever you want each week, but by the end of the league you'll have to have played a minimum number of games against each other team (so you can't just keep beating on the weakest link). Injury lengths are capped at one series. We'll use the solitaire rules for player availability (each game, three position players have to roll versus their real-life at-bat total to see if they can play). We can probably go with most of the super-advanced rules, particularly park effects.

If you're up for this, post in the comments, and list good dates and times for you to draft. Unfortunately I have a lot of travel coming up (Mar. 9-13 and 16-20), but I can make just about any non-work-hours time on any other date.