Thursday, April 30, 2009

First thoughts about Small World

So I got this Small World game that everyone's talking about in the mail recently. I really don't understand what all the fuss is. It's not that great of a game. If you like dancing children and world peace and all that garbage, it's pretty good I suppose, but otherwise...don't waste your money.

Seriously, I read through the rules last night for my copy of Small World that finally arrived, and there were a few big differences between it and Vinci that I noticed right away:

1) It plays for a set number of turns, not to a set score. Everyone gets the same number of turns.
2) Player score is hidden information.
3) I could not find any rule that penalizes you for expanding into territories next to your own declined civilizations. Declined civs don't disappear unless they're conquered or you decline a SECOND civilization.
4) It has different boards and different maps depending on the number of people that are playing, not just one set map for any number of players.
5) There's a die called something like a "reinforcement army die" that lets everyone attack at the end of their turn with a couple of armies that they don't actually have. It's kind of strange and I'm not sure how well that's going to work out. I guess it encourages conquest, though.

I'm sure there are a few more that are covered ad nauseum on BGG, but I've largely stayed away from the BGG discussions because I didn't want my opinion or experience to be slanted negatively by other people's criticism. Overall, I think it looks pretty fun. I'm not gaming this weekend or Monday, but hopefully we can get it to the table the following weekend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Wargame Celebrity in our Midst

This week GMT immortalized Hornsfan by posting his new Victory Banner chart for Command and Colors: Ancients on their website. Pretty awesome (and quite useful too)!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Randomnesses and Monday Session Report

Hey Dennis -- I saw this shirt and thought if you. You might need it. They caught onto your Cylon detector deal. They sell it on zazzle.

Oh and in about a month of so you should support your local Toggy and buy this from her. Yes, I am shameless. And I am OK with that.

Oh -- Monday. I arrived There was racing. Brian and Pat were playing Race, and Sean was helping her our. Then we played Agricola. It is nice to see a new face, and a female one at that. I am glad that Pat liked Agricola, since I do enjoy playing it. Almost as much as I like Tikal. Ok, I might like Agricola better. But I don't play Tikal enough. But I digress.

It was a rather close game, relatively speaking. Brian, Sean and I were all relatively close, and Pat did better on her first game that I know that I did on mine. She would play more, and it would be awesome.

I then left, to go play lets be a responsible graduate student. I think Brian and Sean played something else. Race maybe. But I am uncertain.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Valley of Darkness

I really like this Battlestar Galactica Variant ... not only does it deal with many of the small issues of the game, but it has a few new characters. Some of the concepts were already in other variants, but I think this brings them together nicely.

And don't worry, Tiffany, I can't modify my set in time for tonight. Although I haven't played in over a month ... perhaps the next saturday we get together...


Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Internet Timewasting

Bored? Have some time in front of the computer? Want to flex your brain a bit? And make some money?

Cha Cha may be for you.

I found out about it by reading Rick Reilly's article on Read the article first. Even if this holds no interest for you, the article is light and definitely worth reading (it takes about four minutes--do you really NOT have four minutes?).

How to win friends and influence animals!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jump on the Bus!

I am looking at placing an order through; they offer free shipping over $100.00 and I think their prices are amongst the lowest I've found. If you are feeling the itch, check out their site and let me know if you need anything; I will hold off for a couple of days. I noticed that they are selling Leonardo Da Vinci for $12.99. I am looking at buying Small World; it looks like a light retool of Vinci. Here is a comparison thread between the two. I'm trying to grab a couple of things that we can play when my daughter arrives this summer. Any suggestions for a 13 y.o. Diva would be appreciated (she likes the fantasy genre).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Manic Monday

Since it seems that there will be no weekend gaming this weekend, I thought I would go ahead and see who was up for Monday. I shall actually bring my bag this time, so we shall have fantastic games like Agricola and Tikal and Wasabi and maybe Amyitis, since I would like to play that again. And maybe Metropoyls. But at least Agricola and Tikal. Yup. :) And maybe my copy of Dominion. So many options, so little time to game.

(Eventually I will read the rules to Hermagor and we can play that as well)

Hope ya'll had a fantastic holiday -- at least those of us who had it off. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday Gaming

Hello fellow gamers. With the busy work life, and keeping track of my 3 little ones its tough to get down to San Antonio to do some serious gaming. Anyways, I have recently purchased two games. Both games I feel are money well spent. I bought Starcraft (haven't purchased BW yet), and Age of Conan. Being the War of the Ring fan that I am I had to pick up a copy of Conan. So if anybody is interested in meeting up next Wednesday or Thursday to play either or both please feel free to post so we can set something up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video Game News

I know I'm the only fan in the group, but the XBox demo for UFC Undisputed 2009 comes out Thursday the 23rd, and it looks pretty good.

Also, did anyone get any particular email today?

Ever so slightly off topic

But I know that at least some people in the group have read The Song of Ice and Fire stuff by George R. R. Martin. Well, it is coming to HBO.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Smoke dem fishes if you got em.

Scott, Chris and I started with No Thanks. I have decided that standard laws of probability do not apply, as the number of times where card N was followed by N +/- 1 is way higher than normal. (And, as Scott and Chris will attest to, I kept shuffling and cutting the deck between cards during the game). Due to the unfortunate (and highly improbable) card draw, Chris won.

At that point, we added Tiffany as well as a new face (Pat). Actually, she wasn't the first new face, as Chris and Scott were talking with Frank when I came in. Pat joined us for Adel Verpflictect (how to pronounce it). Scott led for most of the game, and I was doing fine until my thief was caught by every single detective in the game. Literally. Every Single one. This triggered the end game, and not to my benefit. Chris buried Scott's lead under a wave of curiousities.

At this point, Chris decided he needed to lose something, so played Memoir '44. Sean joined the rest of us in Phoenicia. And won. (Pat was just a point behind me in second, not bad for the first game). Pat had to leave, so Tiffany, Sean and I played Le Havre. After a bit, another gamer wandered by and watched the last half of the game, making this a banner night for new faces.

By the way, discussing Bridge with Chris reminds me that a) I'm still willing to teach people if they want to learn, b) I wrote an article on how tournaments work, and c) there is a regional tournament in San Antonio in a few months. (I wouldn't expect new players to be interested, but they'll probably have dedicated novice games ... )

And mybrute is down for maintenance. Boo.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Monday Planning

So, I'll be there at the normal bat time. Anyone else?

OK, and here's a timewaster you need to do -- My Brute. You challenge other people's brutes to fights. (The link will let you challenge my personal brute, TaoffEnuff). You get random stats and skills, and no control. It's addictive.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Farming and shipping and rocking, oh my?

I desire to game this weekend. I have games about farming. and excavating, and caravanning, casino building, but not so much about shipping.

Is there going to be any gaming this weekend? Hmm? I could have people over if they were interested, unless anyone else wants to be gracious.

Please let me know if there is going to be gaming, and if so where. That way I know if I have to prepare for the invasion of the horde. Or something.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gaming for Charity in Austin

I probably won't go (although if someone else went I may be enticed to change my mind); but I figured I'd give a shout out to gaming on April 25th in Austin to help a foodbank. They have a silent auction, too.

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Support Your Local Monday

I showed up at 5:30 to find Brian sitting alone. He helped me look for a pink or light-purple shade of paint for some of my Saracens, but Games Workshop doesn't make such a color, apparently because there are no pink skulls in the grim darkness of the far future. Guess I'll mix my own.

We placed two-player Race. As Alpha Centauri, I quickly got the two small blue worlds that boost the sell value of blue and brown goods, got a couple more blue worlds, got the 6-tech that profits from blue worlds...and lost by two to Brian's Terraforming Guild.

In the second game, I had both the Terraforming Guild and Terraforming Robots by the end of Turn 1; that plus *six* windfall worlds finally put me ahead of Brian 41-38. But unbeknownst to me, Sean had arrived and was also in the game, and his Trade League + four big-point worlds had crushed for 45.

Sean and Brian were nice enough to try my print-and-play King of the Tabletop. My brother and I played this to death when it popped up in Dragon magazine a quarter-century ago, and I wanted to see if it held up. It does, except for one rule -- the initiative die roll for battles nearly decides the game. Brian suggested various "you-go-I-go" fixes, but I think the game needs speed to not outstay its welcome. At first I thought "attacker always sets up first" would be a good fix, but the more I think about it, I prefer "defender sets up first", since (a) it encourages aggressive play, (b) it encourages you to spread out your fortifications instead of massing everything in one huge castle, like I did, and (c) it likely ensures that attackers will always have to fight at least a couple of token guys, and maybe take a couple of token hits. Anyway, Sean and his massive standing army were grinding toward inevitability, but on Turn 6 Brian stole his Gran Muniment and won one turn later.

Continuing the theme of big monsters bashing each other, we played Titan: the Arena. Brian looked strong for most of the game, though we couldn't know that his secret bet had died in turn 2. In the last round, I was able to engineer a situation where if Sean wanted Brian's Unicorn dead, he could kill it, but inadvertantly give the win to me. Alas, Sean revealed that his secret bet was *on* the Unicorn, and used its power to keep it alive. One turn later he dropped a 10 on his Ranger, killing the Troll 10-10-10-9. This appeared to crush Brian, since he had six points in bets on the Troll, but it was also my secret bet, giving Sean the 10-7-1 win. Some chit-chat followed, and then we dispersed.

And now for a little reminiscing. An old friend recently closed an email to me by saying, "Watch out for Cylons," which prompted me to send him this link, probably the funniest post and subsequent thread I've seen on this blog. Do you have a better one?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

DL Gaming Monday Planning

I don't know if Easter will have any impact on Monday gaming but I thought it prudent to post this to check. I have a 5pm meeting so personally will be later then normal if something will be going on.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Blood Bowl Update

There's a multiplayer beta for anyone who has the time and inclination for such things:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Taxman Cometh

A friendly little reminder--this is the last weekend before Uncle Sam wants his chunk of your change.

So, if you've got your taxes done, you're welcome to come over Saturday at 9am (yes, I will crawl out of bed and make my store run earlier this time) and celebrate your refund or forget about your indebtedness for a while.

Thinking about a short list for games this weekend:
Twilight Imperium- it's been 9 months since we've last played. Carlos and I have been talking about TI3 for a couple of weeks, and Ben and I have been destroying digital spaceships on the PC the past few nights, all of which have me wanting to play the board game. C'mon folks, it's about time.

Age of Conan- I know the game last weekend was generally well received, and although Ben's kitchen pass is probably used up for April, I think Jon has a copy, so we could try that if he brings it.

The other games don't really need quite as much advanced planning. Plus, I'm sure if one of these hits the table, the group will probably split so that there will be alternatives.

Monday, April 06, 2009


When I ran the hypotheticals I got my math wrong (forgetting that if Michigan State made it to the final game, Ben would pick up 80 points in the semis). So, it's a simple game -- If UNC wins, then I win the SABG bracket. (Having gone 49-14) If Michigan State pulls the upset, Ben does too (40-23). But he'll deserve it for the gutsy pick.

But, since Duke lost in the round of 16, we're all winners. In a way.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Crom, Count the Dead.... Age of Conan the Board Game

"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Jon (Stygia), Michael (Turan), Steve (Hyperboria), and I (Acquilonia) faced off today in the new Age of Conan board game. This was a learning session with a few minor asterix and all of us only having a vague understanding of final victory scoring until the very end. Still, what great fun!

Jon led his evil Stygians to quickly woo the southern kingdoms under his banner using intrigue actions. This netted him a huge pile of gold, but few VPs. He also seemed to constantly have a monster pile of sorcery tokens, all very true to theme. His army became slightly bogged down in the politically incorrect kingdoms, but he was able to control Conan to his great advantage most of the game.

Steve, the undead Hyperborian overlord far in the icy North, built an army worthy of Mordor composed of his giant sorcery spawned giants. However, when he marched them out of the snow and into the desert, they did their best Frosty the Snowman imitation and spent at least three full turns deep in a quagmire. Steve too had a respectable performance with Conan, raiding his neighbors much our chagrin.

Michael, the whirling dervish from the East, made the best use of his emmisaries, and launched an impressive golden spearhead of troops across the board at me. Unfortunately, when I counterattacked all he had left was a few camels and an unguarded harem or two, scoring me my one and only Crom counter.

I pretty much ignored Conan the whole game, though I did convince him to follow the path of righteousness for one adventure headed down towards the kingdom of political incorrectness. Instead I girded my loins and focused on building an iron curtain of client states around my kingdom, heavily garrisoned against any foreign adventurism.

Still, Jon was able to crown Conan the King of Stygia, severely crushing our chances of victory... or so we thought!

In the end, it was my successful boring of my opponents during rules explanation that secured my triumph. After 15 minutes of lecture they begged me to start the game, skipping discussion on the finer points of the final victory scoring mechanics. At the end of the game all conquered territories you were able to retain are re-added to VP total. As I had done the most conquering, this propelled me to the lead.

Overall our Age of Conan game was a very enjoyable experience, and one I very much look forward to repeating. Now that we've played, I think we'll have a much tighter, hotly contested military game next time.

Thanks, guys! Great fun.


Monday night gaming

I will probably be able to make it to Dragons Lair for Monday night gaming. Who else thinks they may be able to attend?


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Weekend gaming

I am heading out of town this weekend to somewhere super-secret. But I'm guessing someone will be playing games this weekend (besides craps and blackjack). So if there's planning to be done, I just wanted to put this out there so people weren't waiting on me to post something.

P.S. Yes, Jon, that means my house will be off-limits this weekend and unavailable for hosting.