Saturday, October 31, 2009


As some of you know, I've always been a fan of MechWarrior/Battletech. I picked up a new edition "Classic BattleTech" Intro box set (the one with maps, and minis), and hope to try it out with someone someday.

In the mean time, I've been playing around with this....

It's free, and can be downloaded Here. You have to download their client (similar to Steam), and then download the game. Pretty nice. Still trying to figure out how to turn my mech's torso.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Also Clearing Clutter + Weekend Gaming?

Since Dennis posted it, I may as well see if anyone wants to get some of my clutter. I may ask Tiffany to drag various games to the BGG con flea market as well. Most of my trade list (on BGG) is available, but just some things that I'm likely to have hauled off (because shipping them is a bitch or I think they'll get good value):

Combat Commander: Med (unpunched),
Europe Engulfed,
Gridiron Master,
Pitchcar + Expansion,
Screaming Eagles,
Zopp (!),
Tribune: Pares Inter Primus,
Pillars of the Earth,

But almost everything on my trade list is negotiable...

As for the weekend, I forgot that Saturday is Halloween ... so no gaming then. Would anyone be up for Sunday afternoon gaming? I may host, if there's enough interest.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In case people did not know...

National Novel Writing Month begins soon. Very soon.
I might not be around for the next month. I am super woman, but even super women must sleep at some point.
That is all.

Labels: , , ,

This worked over there so why not here too...

When I lived in League City, we barely had people to game with. We had to drive up to Houston to find some gaming. One of the guys in the group started a Meetup. 2 yrs later he has 98 gamers signed up. I think it's time for SABG to find more gamers. More gamers means more gaming, so I took the liberty (and expense) of starting an SABG Meetup.

Join up if interested, so it doesn't look like I'm the only member.... I'll be adding pics tonight.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clearing Clutter

My game room is overflowing, and my tastes have changed over the years. Time for a culling! I'm selling off all of the games listed below. Anything that doesn't sell is going with Tiffany to the BGG flea market. This is as much about clearing clutter as making a buck, so no reasonable offer will be turned away (especially if it keeps the games local).

ASL Starter Kit #1
A House Divided (Phalanx edition)
Aladdin's Dragons
Battle Cry (AH/Hasbro)
Die Kaufleute von Amsterdam (and the bid clock works!)
Down With the King
Fantasy Business
Formula De (& tracks 3-10, 13-14, and 17-22)
Fury of Dracula
King of the Elves
Krieg und Frieden
Lunar Rails
Mystery of the Abbey
Shadows over Camelot
Stadens Nyckel (English pasted-on cards)
Stephenson's Rocket
Wyatt Earp
You Must Be an Idiot!


Who will be there. After all girl gaming session of awesome I am in the mood to play more games, while I can. Since soon I will be rather strapped for time. :sigh:

Game Day Chez Anne

Game day at my humble abode has recently concluded and I thought I'd share some of the highjinks. There were only two others besides myself:Tiffany and my friend Erin. That's right, it was a total hen party. Instead of doing each other's hair, painting our toenails and talking about boys, we concocted cocktails (repeat numerous times quickly), played games, and talked about boys.

As you can see above, Erin and Tiffany are enjoying martinis while grappling with the incessant horrors of the [un]fair city of Arkham. And it's a good thing we had martinis, they helped to anesthetize us from the reaming we received from Azathoth. That Azzie is a mean mistreater!

Moving on, Tiffany had to dash off to work for a bit, so Erin and I played my copy of Jack. It was the first time playing for both of us, and Erin-as-Jack managed to elude me. That is to say, I found jack. As in squat. I really enjoyed the game, however. It's a nice little two person entertainment source.

Finally, Tiffany rejoined us and we played her copy of Tikal. Tiffany was a very gracious educator. So gracious, in fact, that I used her knowledge to beat her at her own game. Needless to say, I believe the next time we play Tikal, two equations will be involved: (My Ass)= Grass and Tiffany=Lawnmower.

All in all, a great day. I definitely look forward to playing all of these games again. Hopefully, if there's any more Arkham Horror fans out there, I'd love to play that game more often with or without expansions. So Arkham Horror lovers unite! There was also chit chat about Die Macher. I'm considering buying a copy, but if anyone else has it and we can get a saturday session in, consider me interested!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Arts Cow - Airborne In my Pocket

I finally decided to give Arts Cow a try to produce the print-and-play game Airborne in my Pocket plus its three expansion decks, for a total cost of $35 shipped. The results?

The four decks arrived via airmail from China approximately 2.5 weeks after my order. The decks were packed in a padded envelope and sealed individually in two-piece, clear plastic deck trays within the envelop. One of the deck trays arrived slightly crushed and broken, but the poor, innocent deck was nestled safely, unharmed inside.

Quality of the cards themselves is good, though not quite top notch.... The card printing is quite sharp, and I found no errors in any of the four decks. On the down side, the lamination of the decks is a tad on the thin side, and the cards have a slight papery rather than smooth plastic feel to them I prefer. This really isn't a huge deal though, as I'm promptly loading them into pristine protectors this evening.

The game itself? I'll let you know. It looks sort of like a poor man's Fields of Fire at this point.

Anyone else have any experience with Arts Cow?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

WotR Preorders open

An Artifact of Great Power
FFG is proud to announce War of the Ring: Collector's Edition!

Here's a video from Essen with the creator, Francesco Nepitello.
I love the way Richard Bliss (the guy next to Francesco) keeps saying "This is the box?"
To quote Luke Skywalker: "Look at the size of that thing!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Say Psychic

Let's see ... Anne, Pat and I played Endeavour. Then we added Tiffany and Rob, and played Endeavour. Then some FITS (minus Anne and Pat, but adding Sean). By then Rob's friend Dan had arrived and we played Say Anything. Here our story begins.

Tiffany (I think) got the question "In my opinion, what would be the hardest thing to sell door to door." I quickly wrote an answer and tossed it into the middle. As did Dan. And then I took his answer and stacked it on mine. "These are the same."

Now I've met Dan for a session or two a while ago, and he's been at Dragon's Lair maybe fifteen minutes, but I was completely convinced we had written the same answer. When everyone else had put in, I flipped over our two tiles, then slid the top from the bottom to reveal ... the same answer.

If you care to guess the answer in the comments, we'll see if anyone else is psychic. During FITS I'm pretty sure that Tiffany was using her Ghostbusters training to see the cards ahead of time.

Then, just to ruin the mood, I came in last in a game of Race. I blame the luminous ether for not shutting the hell up.

(Be sure to check out the rest of the xkcd comic).


Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday Gaming prospects?

Tonight at Dragon's Lair, in between sundry conquests in Endeavor, I was contemplating my weekend plans. My new home has a large kitchen island that is big enough for playing Arkham Horror, among other things, as well as a dining table that seats 8. Then there's the family room and living room for smaller, comfier gaming.

So, I'd like to offer up my house for gaming this weekend. So far, I'm free Saturday or Sunday, so I'm interested in learning people's preferences for which day. I have an Xbox 360 and a ps3, as well. so if anyone wants to avail themselves of those goodies, I can oblige. I do have Rock Band with drums, guitar, and mic, as well. So if anyone has the newer rock band games they want to take for a spin, that's also an option.

ETA: I have two cats. So if anyone has allergies, that is something for consideration!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

C&C Ancients printing error

I don't want to push the other posts too far down (nice to see more posts!), but for those that ordered the two new C&C Ancients expansions, they are starting to arrive, and I wanted to advise whoever is getting a copy that there is a printing error. In this system, auxilia normally have a white circle around the green dot in the upper corner. When the stickers were printed, the Roman auxilia in expansion #4 had their white circles omitted. GMT printed replacement sticker sheets with the white circles and stuck them in the expansion #4 box...but they didn't put anything in saying not to use the originals. So just a word of advice--if you're working on your stickering, look for the replacement sheet of auxilia with white circles and use those, not the ones on the original sheets. There's enough stickering work required with this puppy--you don't want to have to peel off 56 stickers and replace them with new ones.

I think I just found my first Essen purchase

And it's Dungeon Lords. The rulebook is pretty damn funny, and who can argue with Vlaadi's track record? Here's some quotes from the first two pages:

Oh, you’re here already? Um... do come in. My name is [redacted to comply with advertising regulations]. For over 300 years, I have been in the service of the great [redacted to comply with advertising regulations]. The Ministry of Dungeons has asked me to round out this text with notes and comments from my centuries of experience. It is my honor to comply. Although if they don’t stop censoring me, they can take their pencil and [redacted to comply with obscenity regulations].
At the end of the "Overview of play":
You call that a summary? This is a summary: build, fight, build, fight, score. That’s all there is to it.
On Priests:
Priests hate their roles in adventuring parties and do not get along with the others. With lawyers, however, they are quite chummy. They take the Adventurer’s Code literally when it says, “Priests are required to heal the party after battle to the best of their abilities.” See? “After battle.” No battle, no healing.
On your first game's simpler rules:
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, I’m a hardcore gamer. I can handle the full rules.” Well guess what? This game is designed for hard-core gamers. And we still want you start with the simpler rules. You gotta learn to irk before you can torment, kid.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Collector's Edition To Rule Them All

Steve and I managed to sneak in a game of War of the Ring today around the excruciating Texas win over OU. It was a military slugfest, with the Free People's giving as good as they got for a while. Finally, the hobbits ascended the last step on Mount Doom, looked over the edge...and shuddered as The Shire and Edoras fell in quick succession to give the Shadow a military victory. The game came down to both sides being one move away from a win, but my Fellowship was revealed one step away from victory with the last tile draw, meaning they needed two moves--a hide and then a move--to dunk the Ring, and that was all the opening Steve needed to claim Edoras before the hobbits could make their last move.

Steve (and I think Jon, too?) has the amazing ability to know the starting setup without looking at the rulebook. (Me, I spent all game trying to differentiate between Rohan and Gondor, referring to their armies as "the ones with the little shields and the ones with the big shields," never being certain which was which.) So as we opened my WotR set for the first time and set it up, Steve figured out instantly that I was short one regular orc figure. No big deal--I've written to FFG before about missing or messed up pieces and they've always fixed it quickly and without question.

As I prepared to email FFG, I went on BGG to figure out if the piece has a name that I need to refer to so I could request a new one. As I did so, I came across this:

War of the Ring Collector's Edition Pre-orders (official)

Only 299.99 (don't call it 300) Euros. That's 450 in American smackeroos! Only 2000 copies will be made. Only 1000 will be available this year and only 400 in the US (through Fantasy Flight). I don't really know what to say about this...other than I can't wait to see this thing when you get it, Ben. (I know Joe Fling will get one, right Joe?)

Speaking of Ben (I're thinking "Who is this Ben person?"), sorry about your Golden Domers. We were rooting hard for a ND win over USC. But at least your team didn't lose twice.

I wuz robbed...

...of a weekend game session, apparently. Ah well. In case you missed it, one of our own was Geek of the Week (and still is, for another day or so).

So all I have to look forward to is gaming on monday. I'll be there at the normal time. Many games need playing. I haven't tried Chaos in the New World, for example.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FFG Epic Box Announcement

Announcement here...

Hmmm.... Not sure what to make of this one. I have everyone one of the other FFG epic box games (well now, actually except for Descent, which I sold away). Still, there isn't much information yet on what sort of game this is. It would be cool if you could somehow combine Descent and this game to fight epic battles with your Descent characters in the midst of a long campaign adventure.


Free Corporate Ice side Tickets--Speaking of the God of Violence, How About Some Hockey, no not fantasy, real hockey

I have a couple (2 or 3) extra (free to you) (corporate ice side) tickets to the Rampage hockey game Sunday October 25 at 3pm; is anybody interested?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Old World Kislev, Khorne pops you!

I arrived on Monday around 6:40 and jumped into a 6-player game of Shadow Hunters to await further arrivals. I still am not used to the werewolf-style games, but I found this one the best of the lot that I’ve tried; there are a lot of mechanics to reveal information, and there’s enough silly dice rolling and forced slaughter to make things amusing for all. The atmosphere of the game is also quite fun, sort of Scooby Doo with serial killers. The game went pretty quickly, with the forces of darkness getting totally crushed, failing to kill anyone despite identifying the forces of light fairly quickly, possibly due to the forces of light having a chainsaw. (Note to self: when playing a horror game, make sure to acquire a chainsaw.)

Next up was Chaos in the Old World, with Brian, Dennis, and Tiffany. Way back about 20 years ago I got a copy of “Realm of Chaos: the Lost and the Damned” for the Warhammer roleplaying game for 25 cents; it covered Nurgle and Tzeentch, two of the chaos gods and players in the game. So I had inside intel!

Chaos features unequal sides with different powers and goals, and different paths to victory. Helpfully to me as a newbie, I drew Khorne, god of bloodshed, which is the simplest side to play. Khorne’s strategy is to kill early and often, and ignore all other considerations.

The trickiest part to master in the game is the interaction of the various chaos cards which players can use, and the abstract nature of the movement. You get a nice region map, and pieces travel from adjacent region to adjacent region, but they don’t actually move, they are “summoned”, which means a piece can be picked up and moved to the other side of the board. It also costs the same to bring a new creature into being as to move an existing creature, which is an odd mechanic. There are a lot of cards which block battles, teleport creatures, block entry into territories, and prevent corruption, the main goal of most sides -- it’s pretty easy to spoil someone’s plans, although you generally have to spend actions in order to do it.

The basic turn sequence is the most interesting part of the game: each player takes one action in sequence and can choose to take “stalling” actions, leaving multiple actions available at end of turn to adjust to the new board conditions. Watching opponents develop their moves and strategies can leave you with some potent countermoves at the end. Since the player who has the most effective turn gets a bonus, if you have a strong move lined up it behooves you to mess with anyone else who has a strong move, which is an elegant hose-the-leader mechanic entirely appropriate for a game about Chaos.

One problem I had with the game was that the victory conditions were difficult to gauge from observing the board. Each player has dials that can advance them to victory -- but the number you see when you look at the dial does not tell you how close they are to winning; you have to look at some faint sector markings along the side of the dial. The game can be ended by regions being ruined, but it’s not immediately obvious how close regions are to being ruined, or even how many more ruins will end the game. The game can be ended by victory points, but it’s difficult to gauge who will pick up how many victory points on any turn. The game can be ended by turns, but there’s no visible way to tell how many turns remain; you have to either remember or count a deck of cards. A lot of times I felt at a loss judging where we were, and I’m sure that my multiple questions about winning conditions detracted from the game, but I blame the board design for at least part of this. I’m sure that would be less of an issue with future plays. Also, in this game the last turn was mostly superfluous, which I think is not usually the case.

The game also does feature dice rolling to determine the outcome of battles, so there’s the possibility of dice luck significantly altering the outcome. I think my win with Khorne was mostly due to above-average dice luck. (I later learned that there were a couple rules that we played incorrectly that would’ve favored Khorne.) However, Khorne is really the only player in this game who needs dice luck to win, and a more skilled player could reduce the luck element for Khorne by entering more battles than I managed.

Thematically this game is a huge win. Every god has its own flavor. My cultists got seduced by Slaanesh, god of pleasure, multiple times, and I was forced to slaughter them ruthlessly as a result, which I found vastly amusing. Nurgle repeatedly poisoned large areas of the board, and Tzeentch had all kinds of teleporting fun. Strategically, the game also has a lot going for it, and I would definitely try it again.

Final game of the night was Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. It took a while to work out all the kinks, but it played interestingly. In a gin rummy game, a skilled player can build up a very detailed picture of what’s in the opponent’s hand; here, with fewer cards and more players, it’s harder, so it’s more a tactical game of assembling melds and waiting to lay them down until other players are threatening to go out, with a few interesting twists. The Jack the Ripper theme is well-developed.

However, the whole “murky endgame” problem became apparent here. I’ve played a lot of canasta and continental, so I’ve got a reasonable sense for when a player can go out, and at one point I looked around at the melds on the board and commented that I had to get rid of my cards as quickly as possible because it was likely that an opponent would go out, which the next player immediately did. Rob, who had not had much rummy experience, made a comment about my ability to foresee this, which got me thinking. In a rummy game, deciding when to end the game is a major strategic choice. Rummy is also fast, so being able to trigger a surprise endgame doesn’t alter the balance of a multi-hour session. In general, however, it’s obviously a huge disadvantage if you’re unable to perceive that a game is about to end. Until you get good at predicting endgame, this also makes the game seem more random than it really is.

Mystery Rummy was the third new game of the night for me, and the third that I’d try again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday Planning Post

Who is up for gaming Monday? Is anybody prepared to honor Columbus Day with a game? Assuming some other folks will be coming out I personally should be able to make it sometime 5:30-6 for 2-3 hours.


This is my own horn

And I am blowing it.

We have to stop the corn?

While my group was playing Battlestar Galactica on Saturday, I kept hearing mentions from the Chaos in the Old World table about "corn." I couldn't quite figure out what they were referring to. I thought a few times, "Did I put corn chips out and the corn chips are too strong? No..." Lo and behold, they were referring to Khorne the Blood God, one of the malevolent deities in Chaos in the Old World. I learned about Khorne first hand during the second Chaos in the Old World game of the day when Scott introduced me to his minions over and over again. Kudos to Scott as he played this warloving race to perfection, spreading out and sowing the seeds of battle to run away with the game. I really like games such as this where the abilities of the sides are different. It forces each player to modify their style play to the strengths and weaknesses they've been given and to me adds an additional layer of thinking to the game as well as increasing replayability. My favorite of this type of game is still by far Twilight Imperium 3, but TI3 is too long to hit the table with any frequency. Chaos and Age of Conan do the same basic thing in a shorter period of time. For me, the two games are similar enough that I would play either on occasion, although everyone I've asked seems to like the former better than the latter.

We did get in a game of Battlestar Galactica. Steve and I became Cylons at the sleeper phase and managed to drive morale into the ground for a last gasp win. Tiffany's impression of the Pegasus expansion: "It's better than it used to be." A ringing endorsement if I ever heard one. I think our group's BSG frenzy may have finally died down, but that's probably also related to the fact we've all had less time for boardgaming in general recently.

Rob also brought Endeavor, or as we nicknamed it, "Chaos in the New World." It reminded me of Puerto Rico with the building and worker placement. Each building either ramps up your economy slightly or lets you take actions on the game board. These actions basically involve the establishment of shipping lanes and founding or forcible takeover of colonies. Each board action usually nets you a bonus token which also nudges up your economy. Victory points come from established colonies, economy improvements, and bonus cards (more colonies in a region gives you access to better region-specific bonus cards). I wonder if the ability to automatically take over an opponent's colony without the opponent being able to mount any kind of defense may be a little overpowered, especially since being able to attack back is imited by building availability. Still, it's straightforward and enjoyable with good production quality (as is typical for Z-Man games).

Lastly, Michael introduced us to Barbu. I love card games and trick-taking games (although I frustratingly still haven't quite grasped Bridge), and this game is like a trick-taking buffet. The version recalled by Brian (and described on BGG) has seven sub-games:

Nullo: -2 per trick taken.
Queens: -6 per Queen taken.
Last Two: -10 for taking the 2nd to last trick, -20 for taking last trick.
Hearts: -6 for taking Ace of Hearts, -2 for each other heart taken.
Barbu: -15 for taking the King of Hearts.
Trumps: +5 per trick taken.
Dominoes (also called Fan Tan): go out of cards before everyone else, score 40/20/10/-10 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to go out. Cards are played in ascending or descending order on the table from an arbitrary start card.

Michael's version also added Ravage: -24 points for the longest suit held among tricks taken.

Each dealer picks a game after looking at their hand and then calls one of the eight games. Each dealer will deal eight times and call each game for themselves once. There are some bet doubling options and requirements thrown in. As Michael mentioned, it's a zero-sum game, so finishing with positive points at all is good. Michael won handily, and his "funny math" was the source of some amusement during the game. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the constant flow of varied trick-taking games, and I'd probably play this game anytime we could find four players. The time required to get through this game is potentially prohibitive, but it does make for a good late evening weekend gaming option when no one is really worried about the clock.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Richard III by Columbia games....

Who wants to try this with me? I feel like I own too many blockgames, and would really like to try before I buy.

SABG and BGG.con flea market

So I just noticed that almost everyone going to BGG.Con is selling games at the flea market. Do you all have the games you are selling up on BGG as for sale. I thought that there might be some internal sales prior to the flea market, depending what is for sale. Just a thought. Or we could just list them here. :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Saturday gaming

Ahh, the halcyon days of gaming. When men were men, women were women, and games were Battlestar Galactica. Well, those days are here again.

With apologies to the Sunday crowd--I wish we could get everyone together on the same day, and this doesn't preclude additional Sunday gaming if someone else wants to host--I'm having people over at 9am on Saturday. This may be the only October gaming at my place, so let's do it up right. If people bring money for pizza and someone brings Beatles Rock Band (unless the SABG house band has already beaten it to death), we'll swing the rest. We'll try to flip back and forth between the UT-Colorado game and the LSU-Florida game in the evening and just keep going until we get tired or people's kitchen passes run out. RSVP if you can make it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

XBox 360

I have access to one now. And I even have an ID. :) So what are other peoples IDs? Hmm? I am, unoriginally, ToggySABG. Which works, since Toggy was taken. :sigh:


A post about gaming

Once upon a time, there was a blog about gaming. And then something altogether unforeseen appeared on that blog...a gaming session report! Who would have guessed?

On Monday evening, Brian and I played the de rigueur game of waiting for other people to show up (also known as Race for the Galaxy). Brian got his developments going and beat my settle x 2/ military strategy. I dropped four military worlds on the last turn but still wasn't that close. (Still, settling four worlds in one turn was fun.)

Pat, Ann, Sean, and Tiffany all appeared and we pulled out Brian's copy of Shadow Hunters. This is a hidden role and hidden team game along the lines of Werewolf with some of the item manipulation of Kutschfahrt thrown in. Everyone gets a role card and is either a Hunter (good), Shadow (evil), or Neutral (neutral). Hunters win when the Shadow team is dead. Shadows win when the Hunter team is dead. Neutrals each have their own victory condition, which include things like "You win if you are the first character to die," or "You win if you acquire five inventory items" or "You win if you kill any character after two other characters are already dead." Action cards come in three flavors, Church (heal or prevent damage, take an extra turn, favor good characters), Cemetery (increase damage, attack more characters, favor evil characters), and Hermit cards. Hermit cards are used to gather information about roles. They each have a character type (Hunter, Shadow, or Neutral) and an action, and the person who draws it reads it silently and then passes it face down to another player of their choice. If that player is a character of that type, then the recipient must complete the action on the card (things like "Give an item to the person who gave you this card" or "Take 2 damage"), thereby revealing part or all of their identity to the person who passed them the card. If the recipient is not that type of character, then they simply state "That card doesn't affect me." Interestingly, one evil character (named "The Unknown") can lie about the Hermit card and is not obligated to respond to the card even if it says "Do this action if you're a Shadow character," so that can kind of throw things a bit.

Every person rolls a six-sided and four-sided die and adds the values and moves to a location with that value listed on it (each possible sum is listed on one and only one location). The location you move to gives you a possible action for that turn, things like "Draw from the Good deck" or "Draw a hermit card" or "Heal a point of damage" or "Take an item from someone else." After executing the power of the location they moved to, a player may then attack any character that is at their location or a neighboring one. This is accomplished by choosing someone and then rolling the d6 and d4, with the damage given to the target equal to the difference between the two dice. (Needless to say, there were a few zero damage attacks at inopportune times).

Each character can also reveal themselves and use a special power, things like "Damage someone else once per game" or my favorite, the Vampire: "When you damage someone, heal yourself at the same time." But once you're revealed, expect the other characters to come after you, because chances are that most of the players in the game will want a revealed character dead to help satisfy their victory condition.

So the six of us got in two games of this, and it was a lot of fun. It felt like a more structured, shorter Werewolf (perhaps Sean can attest to this better than I, since I think he's played Werewolf a time or two). While table talk is not prohibited, our games had a little less bargaining and negotiating than in a typical Werewolf game. (That would probably change if Michael was playing.) My favorite mechanic is that information about roles that is revealed with Hermit cards is gathered only by the person passing the card rather than the whole table, so it requires some conjecture based on who has elicited actions from whom and how they're acting now towards that person. Items are fun but not overpowering, although you HAVE to use items you have if you can, and that can lead to some mildly tough choices (like I had with the machine gun that lets you damage ALL characters in your attack range rather than one target of your choice...but you HAVE to damage all characters if you choose to attack--you can't choose to attack but NOT use the machine gun if you have it). Plus, the good deck favors good characters (and can hurt evil ones) and the evil deck favors evil characters (and can hurt good ones) is the person who just chose to draw from the good deck actually a good character? Or are they just trying to make everyone else THINK they are?

Bottom line: definitely worth several plays at least. Knowing how we like our hidden role games, our group should enjoy this for a while. There's an expansion that will be published by Z-Man that will add more characters and items--details are on their front page. My minor concern is that after a few games it may get somewhat easy to guess who has what character (especially the neutrals because their win conditions are so specific and end up eliciting behavior and choices different from the typical good/evil character actions), so the added cards should help with replay value.


Then we pulled out FITS. This is Tetris without the lateral movement of the pieces. Everyone has a playboard and the same pieces in their inventory. Each piece in a specific color, though, is unique--there's only one square, one L with four squares, one 3-square straight piece, and so on. But every player has one square, every player has a four-square L--you get the idea. A deck of cards, each card with one specific piece on it, gets turned over one at a time and everyone picks up that piece out of their inventory and either places it at the top of their board and slides it down into place (no moving it side to side once it's on its way down), or passes and discards the piece. Once every piece is played or discarded, each player scores their board, with bonuses for completed rows and penalties for uncovered spots in the board. The kicker is that there are as many spots on the board as there are squares making up all the pieces. Discarding a five square + piece is guaranteed to leave you with five uncovered spots at the end (-1 point each), but placing it may actually render spaces under the symbol inaccessible and cost even more points. In practice we seemed to discard the + with some regularity but almost never any of the others.

Everyone plays four rounds, and each round's play board is different. The first round is just spots. Cover them up, get points. Leave them open, lose points. The second board has some spots replaced by numbers. Leave them uncovered, and that spot is worth positive points rather than the usual -1. The third round has positive AND negative numbers. Numbers left uncovered score that many points, positive OR negative. The last one has paired symbols. Leave both members of a pair uncovered, score +3 points. Leave just ONE of the members of a pair uncovered, however, and you score -3 points.

Overall this was enjoyable as well--it plays quickly, the concept is easy to understand, and it has the requisite amount of frustration to make you want to try again. Too bad there are only four playsets, so only four people can play at once. Potentially, someone could buy another set and we could play 5-8 people at the same time as well--perfect for those times where we're all sitting around and can't decide what to play.

Brian's friend Kevin then showed up and Pat and Ann departed. We then pulled out Say Anything. As Brian succintly put it, this is Wits and Wagers with phrases instead of numbers. It basically involves one player asking a question and then everyone else writing down possible answers to that question. Once those answers are revealed, the person asking the question secretly chooses the answer they think is best. Then everyone places bet tokens by the answers that they think the questioner picked as the best answer (like W&W, everyone has two tokens--you can put one on one answer and one on another, or put two tokens on one answer). The questioner reveals their pick and the bet tokens are scored. Go around twice (so that everyone has asked two questions) and you're done.

It's a social game that gets its humor and challenge from people knowing something about the other people playing rather than about obscure facts like Wits and Wagers. As Kevin noted, this put him at a fair disadvantage, but he was a great sport and still did really well. This type of game is ok but not really my cup of tea. I tend to like trivia games like Smarty Party rather than more open-ended games such as this. A fair number of the questions were not really that funny, and one of them was a bit uncomfortable--Sean's question was "Name something I would never do, even if my life depended on it." Well, two of us said "Hurt/kill your children." Ok, good times! I mean, it's the obvious answer for anyone with kids, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable to write it or bet on it once revealed. Your mileage may vary.

We got in one more game of FITS with Kevin, Brian, Tiffany and myself, and we went our separate ways, with me still getting home in time to watch the second half of the Brett Favre show.

Ok, folks. Gaming has been hard to come by recently (we missed a Monday at Dragon's Lair? Really? When was the last time that happened?), and as a result, this blog has been dying a slow death. I miss hearing from some of the old regulars. Time to pick it up and drop in every now and then with a post or two. I'm likely going to host this weekend and will put up a planning post by Thursday evening with the specific date (maybe earlier), so that'll be a good chance to at least get an RSVP in and let us know who is still alive.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Let the purging of games commence

The BGG.con no-shipping Math Trade geeklist is up. Hurry, you've only got a month to post your garbage items.

Less Talk More Game

Well, this has been the wettest "dry spell" of gaming in recent memory. But I'm planning on ending my long nightmare tomorrow night at Dragon's Lair. I'll have Shadow Hunters and other new games.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Greetings from the Toddler Zone

I send greetings from the land of chaos, mirth, and general destruction called Toddler Zone. I have been an all but totally absent feature at recent gaming events, and my blog posts have been few and far between. So, I thought I'd use this brief nugget of naptime respite to report on my recent gaming activities:

Dwarf Fortress 2
This game is so vast in scope, complexity, and wonder, its hard to describe. Essentially, its a real time entire fantasy planet simulator, where an entire Lord of the Rings-sized saga is unfolding around you, and you control either a single dwarf settlement or just an individual adventurer. I've been putting a fair amount of time trying to get into this game, but I still feel like I barely understand what is going on or why my kingdom gets horribly destroyed or some of my dwarves literally get so upset they commit suicide. Nonetheless, if you can tolerate the ASCII, there is amazing depth here. In any event, its totally free.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
I've posted enough about this wonderful Rogue incarnation that I won't repeat myself. The variety of classes, races, religions, plus random instances and encounter vaults interspersed throughout the dungeon make this my current favorite masochistic pleasure. Rogue-style games should be a required component of any anger management program, as having your level 25 character you have carefully nurtured for the past 4 hours insta-killed with no save recovery because you made a stupid split second decision will teach one iron self control. Hey wait.. I think I just repeated myself.

Halo: ODST:

Its like Gears of War 2 Horde Mode, only better.

Hellenes, and latest two Command and Conquer Ancients Expansions:
These should arrive any day now... Between these, the first two C&C: Ancients Expansions, FAB: Bulge, Asia Engulfed, and 1805: Sea of Glory I probably have something like 1,000 wooden blocks to sticker. I think this calls for a fresh, new exacto knife...

Race for the Galaxy: AI
Speaking of soul crushing.... Wow, I suck at this game! But, man... this AI solo version is great fun. I was actually able to dominate the AI incorporated into this guy's earlier Blue Moon game (which is still well worth the download), but I clearly need some Race practice. This game is making my lunch hours at work something I get quite excited about these days.

GeoDefense and GeoDefense Swarm
The most deliciously frustrating tower defense games I've played in a long time. I enjoy the high tech, vector-style graphics that will melt your retinas when they start going wild at high levels. Well worth the $0.99 cost for each.

Storm Over Stalingrad
Do we really need another wargame about Stalingrad? Yes! Two titanic armies throwing everything into a meat grinder. Easy, pretty, and engaging, this is the right kind of game for my current lifestyle. Good job MMP!

Okay, that's enough chatter for one post. Hope to see everyone soon, or at least at BGG.Con!

Initiating teleport back to Toddler Zone!


Because the next best thing to gaming is....

.... buying games. Couldn't resist the Bouldergames TGIF deals. That plus a discount code I had dropped the price of Planet Steam to $80 (from $120). Oh, and picked up Endeavor for $21 (from $31... internet price). Thankfully, I should be back in the gaming scene after next week.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on?

Unless there's gaming on saturday, it will be 10 days between sessions. Must ... have ... session... but I can't host. Is anything going on Saturday?