Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Madness

Well, its already March! Speaking of March, there should be a pile of games marching onto my doorstep this month, including the new Combat Commander Battlepack #3 and Washington's War, further evidence that all games worth reprinting eventually will be. The Washington's War Playbook, now on-line at GMT's website, provides an interesting commentary by the designer on the changes he made from the original We the People game.

I'm hoping for good things from these, as my recent acquisitions Republic of Rome and Axis and Allies: Pacific 1940 have been errata-fests of the worst kind. Luckily, thanks to a motivated community, both have now been living ruled back into shape.

On the computer gaming front, I just picked up Dawn of Discovery: Gold on Hornsfan's recommendation. Come join us in multi-player! Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy may be the best RTS I've ever played. I've been playing enough now that I can match wits successfully (barely) against Hard-level AI, and I'm still loving it. Meanwhile, I'm still crunching through Dragon Age and have no idea how far along I am. I played about 4 hours/day for a week, then got a bit burned out and took a week off. I'm back in now, and its finally starting to get nicely difficult and scary.

This next month I'm looking to pick up the Dawn of War II expansion. I'm a sucker for Chaos Space Marines. Also, hopefully I'll be ready for the Dragon Age expansion when it comes out.

This is a good time to be a gamer! What is everyone else looking forward to this month?

Now I just need to find some tarot-sized sleeves....


Friday, February 26, 2010

War of the Ring: Collector's Edition, Open Box Impressions

Okay, no pictures here, just some quick notes:

1. The box is huge!

2. After considerable unpacking, roughly equivalent to my Falcon Northwest uber-PC, the inside wooden case is quite beautiful to behold.

3. WARNING!!! Do not open the lid past 90 degrees! There is a warning inside saying this, but by time you read it, you've probably already flipped open the lid 180 degrees. ARgh! This was poor design, as you essentially have to use one hand to hold the lid vertically upright while you extract the contents. If you go past 90 degrees, then hinges chew into the soft wood and paint of the box cover.

4. My box cover was apparently scratched at some point, then filled with putty and touched up. The result is pretty noticeable, depending on the light and angle. I've requested a replacement, but I'm not holding out any hope. Overall, its not a disaster, as the overall look of the cover is a weathered leather book, and the scratch isn't inconsistent with this.

5. The box is very, very fragile and won't withstand too much handling or trips to friends houses. Lots of corners and edges with soft wood and easily chipped paint.

6. Rulebook is thick leather bound, sort of like a high school yearbook with pages approaching card stock thickness. Very nice.

7. Paint jobs.... Well... not as good as I would have hoped for, IMHO. Sort of what they would look like using quick dunking and rough macro painting. Sort of like Heroscape figures, only perhaps a bit worse.

8. The cards... They're huge. I'm not deshrinking these until I have sleeves.

9. Black dice now for Shadow; White for Free Peoples. Personally, I prefer the original colors.

10. The bonus box with re-painted Aragon and Gandalf the White turned out nice.

So..... Wow. This Italian masterpiece edition board game certainly impressive to look at, but like a fine Italian automobile, fiddly, impractical, hard to maintain, and not something you'd just take up the block casually. What does everyone else think?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

saturday gaming interest???

Anybody interested in gaming this saturday? I could host...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Game Worthy of Mordor... apparently on its way:

Greetings from Fantasy Flight Games.

Your order has now been shipped.

Thanks for shopping at Fantasy Flight Games, and we hope to see you again soon.
The following 1 item(s) were included in this shipment:

Qty Item Shipped Subtotal
1 War of the Ring: Collector's Edition $ 399.95

Okay.... Seriously... What the heck was I thinking spending this much on one board game? Have I totally lost my mind? If I didn't know better I'd suspect the actual One Ring was involved in the marketing of this thing.


Here I Stand PBEM?

Scott, Ben and I are in. Do we have three more? Right now I'm assuming we'd be using ACTS and cyberboard (Ed Beach has the HIS downloads on his page). The nice thing about ACTS is that it handles the card stuff and dice, so no need for a referee. Technically we could each use whatever we wanted to track game state, but Cyberboard looks nice (and lets you email small update files),

I figure this will be a leisurely game, but not languid. Full game, of course. Do we have three more? Thoughts about running the game in the comments.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

BattleLore Meets A Game of Thrones

Hey, cool: I can still post.

While I like BattleLore a lot, interest in BattleLore among the SABG ranges from "I wouldn't ever buy it" to "I sold it at a huge loss."

C'est la vie.

Looks like FFG has some big plans, however. They have just announced a new game using BL mechanics set in Westeros, the universe of A Game of Thrones. Here's some info. Note this is not an expansion; it's a stand-alone game using base BL mechanics, and apparently adding and modifying heavily.

One of the distinctive features that DoW brought to BL was a family-friendly (some might say silly) atmosphere. FFG does not use this tone; their games tend to be much darker.

In the last year or so, I've managed to keep my new game purchases few and small. I'm probably going for this one, however.

It's unclear what this might mean for base BL, not that anyone here cares about that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We Stood .... There!

Anne, Chris, Fred, Scott and I started up Here I Stand at around 10am. Rob, who was scheduled to play, had an emergency plumbing event, and was late, so we had to switch roles around. As per the suggested rules, England and the Protestants joined forces (until such time as Rob could make it). So the players were:
  • Ottomans -- Chris
  • Hapsburgs -- Brian
  • England -- Fred
  • France -- Anne
  • Papacy -- Scott
  • Protestants -- Fred, then Rob, then Fred.
We were playing the 1532 scenario, which starts at Turn 4. Some of the events may have happened a turn earlier or later, but this covers the gist.

Turn 4 -- The Ottomans drove quickly on Vienna, but had a terrible time. The Knights of St. John harrased them, they had terrible weather, and bad luck. Poor infidels. The Holy Roman Empire, having already circumnavigated the globe, sent out another explorer to the new world, joined by both English and French explorers. The Pope granted Henry a divorce. (I'm not entirely sure what deals were made for that. I believe England gave away shiny baubles that had previously been rejected by the Manhattan Indians). Henry, disgusted with his new wife Anne Bolyen ("I shall never share here bed!") declared war on Scotland, which allied with French. Unbeknownst to the Scots, however, the French had been bought off, and they simply retreated out of Edinborough (the Scottish troops returning to Paris in the winter). The Protestants .... well, they tried, but the sweet smell of Popery made significant gains in Germany. About the only good thing the Protestants can say is that nobody was burned at the stake. Non-major powers fell like flies .... France took Milan (enslaving their artisans to help build Chateaus later on), the Hapsburgs took Metz and claimed the Electorate of Koln from the Protestants (while they were in the neighborhood). . I believe the Turks took Tunis, but that may have been turn 5. Eventually the explorers came back, with the de Gama discovering the Amazon, the French making a minor discovery (I think) and the English getting nothing. The Hapsburgs held the lead at 20 VP, with the Pope and Turks just behind, France in the mid-teens, and England and the Protestants in single digits.

Turn 5 -- By this point, the Protestants had fired their CEO and replaced Fred with Rob, who nailed an "Under new management" sign next to his Thesis. No major diplomacy happened ... apparently everyone was happy with their current war (or not). The Turks claimed Vienna, and started some Piracy in the Tyrrhenian against yours truly. I gave him a VP, to help encourage others to view the Turks as a threat. I built up my fleet completely, but was still outclassed by the Turks (I should have tried to get loaned navies ...). The Turks also put down an uprising in Egypt with brutal efficiency. Protestant Reformation II ("This time, it's biblical!") showed much more success than the first try. The French built a nice Chateau, sent more explorers to the new world, and also sabotaged the Holy Roman Emperor's ships. Jane Seymour gave birth to a healthy Edward the VIth, catapulting England into the pack. The Protestants held off all Papal barbecue attempts. The Ottoman push for Prague caused Charles to drop what he was doing in Europe and make a (slightly desperate) counter attack at Belgrade. Belgrade fell, Prague held out until the end of turn 6. At the end of the turn, England and France snapped up the last discoveries in the New World. At the end of this turn the pack was much tighter, spread from 20-15 points.

Turn 6 -- Charles made overtures to the Sultan to end the war on roughly even terms (returning Vienna for Belgrade). However, the Sultan felt that he couldn't make enough gains from Piracy and had no convenient target to declare war on. Charles didn't press the issue, a strategic blunder that was revealed when France declared war on the Hapsburgs (and Genoa, for good measure). The Pope (using the Genoese as an excuse) declared war on France. Still not yet alarmed, Charles sent some conquistadors to the new world. Henry, never one to turn down an opportunity, used his special ability to declare war in the middle of the round. So the Holy Roman Empire was at war with everyone but the Pope. This, as you can expect, does not lead to good long term prospects. I put up a valiant fight, including the "Should have been a storybook victory" Battle of Navarre, where a lone Spanish troop sallied forth against the French invaders ... and then mysterious reinforcements showed up (Landsknechts) and 1/3rd of the French army changed sides (Bribe Mercenaries). But then it was siesta time, so the French still won. C'est la Guerre. I suffed the indignity of being besieged by three seperate powers, losing Prague, Antwerp, Metz and Navarre. Charles rushed back to Spain to lead the Armada against the infidel Turks (trying to capitalize on Barbossa's death and the splitting of the Turkish fleet) but was repulsed. The remainder of his fleet conveyed the Spanish army to Marseille, which quickly fell. Beaten down, Charles ordered the founding of a 3rd colony in the new world, having little hope in the old.

Meanwhile, the reformation started to stumble again, so the Protestants switched gears and started littering Germany with soldiers, out to spread the word. The Jesuits showed up and dropped a bunch of universities in Germany (no surprise) and the still-totally Catholic London and Bristol (big surprise). France took Genoa. In the New World, the Spanish finally found someone they could defeat ... the Incas, which salvaged a few VP. The Turks ended the turn tied with England (I think), but without as many prospects, and the rest of the players a few points behind.

Turn 7 -- I finally saw some benefit from my (heretofore unproductive) colonies, but Raiders stole them my riches, so I had to content myself with what I looted from the Incans. Spain and France declared peace, and exchanged Marseille for Navarre. (We should have formed an Alliance, which would have let me spring deploy Charles into Brussels, threatening Antwerp and Metz from the get-go). I considered suing either England or the Turks for peace, but it would have given the Turks too many VPs (since they get a bonus for each war they win) and England could have just declared war on my again right away. Charles appeared in Brussels and quickly built up a new army. The Turks retook Belgrade, although they were slowed down when Ibrahim went back home to deal with a minor uprising. The Pilgramage of Grace put half of England into unrest, but Henry used the cover to proselytize against the Pope and placed troops in strategic locations (to get back the VPs caused by unrest). The protestants translated the new testament into French AND founded Calvin's institute, which doubled the number of heretics in Europe. Charles' attempt to take Metz ended in disaster when his mercenaries deserted. Antwerp, left without much of a garrison, rebelled ... and rebels had grabbed control of the artillery, so Spain retook the city. At this point, both the Turks and England were at 23 VP (and 25 ends the game). Suleiman landed in Italy to make an attempt at Naples, while Henry sent troops to Antwerp and Paris. In the end, though, Suleiman's gout was too much to bear, and his army loitered at Messina as both European cities fell to the Victorious English.

Overall, we spent about 8 hours playing the game (around 2 hours a turn), not counting setup, but we also had a lunch break and some plumbing delays. The first turn was closer to 3 hours (since those of us who had played before hadn't played recently) and there was quite a bit of rules lookup involved. I suspect next time we'll be able to shave 30 minutes a turn or so (I hope). We'll see.

Thanks to Anne again for hosting, as well as providing lunch.

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Extreme Makeover: Dragon's Lair Edition

Wow, looks sharp. If DL is willing to invest in something like this, it looks like they're going to be around for a while. I think I see the little slat that my Race For The Galaxy expansion purchase paid for right over there...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Civilization V

Firaxis Games: News

Woo hoo.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Uh Oh --

DL is still closed for remodels.
It is unsure if they will be open for tonight.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Axis and Allies Pacific 1940

This video summarizes the past couple months of hardcore fan rants occurring on Pretty hilarious, but totally disappointing for an $80 game.

Thankfully its just now been announced that Wizards are reversing their previous "tough cookies" stance and sending out replacement components (if you call and ask for them) in a couple weeks.

In the mean time while the dust settles on Pacific 1940, anyone interested in a game of Anniversary Edition sometime? I broke the seal on this $250 masterpiece over the holidays, so it needs to be played.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

We're still standing ...

We finally did the draw for countries for our Here I Stand game...we've got

  • Sultan of the Ottomans -- Chris
  • Non-divine leader of the reformation -- Scott
  • King of England -- Fred
  • Holy Roman Emperor -- Brian
  • Le Rois -- Anne
  • il Papa -- Rob
Let the bitching and moaning (and trading) begin.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Found: one jacket

A tan "Member's Only/Mariner" jacket was left behind at Chris's place. I've got it and will be bringing it to Dragon's Lair tonight.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Are you ready for some football...and indigestion?

Apparently, more antacid is sold the day after the Super Bowl than any other day of the year. I wonder why.

I'm hosting Sunday for some general board gaming starting at 12 noon. We'll end up with the Super Bowl and all of its attendant commercials, pregame shows, anthems, hourlong halftimes, and the like. It's listed as having a 5:25pm Central start time (not 5:30pm, mind you)--I don't know what that means regarding when the good commercials actually start or when kickoff is, but I suppose we'll figure it out as we go. I'll likely order a slew of pizzas but people are also welcome to bring other snacks, drinks, desserts, or just themselves. We've done this two years running and it's always fun, even if we don't really care which teams are playing. So get your chores done on Saturday and come over on Sunday because you know you'll be watching it anyway, and watching with friends is better.

Let me know if you need directions, and check back here for updates just in case. Try to let me know if you're coming in case seating space becomes an issue.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I'm probably going to purge another 12-25 games fairly soon, but if anyone wants something I can skip the geeklist auction...probably going are:
  • Some age of steam expansions
  • Aladdin's Dragons
  • Combat Commander (Europe and Med and Battlepack one)
  • Le Havre
  • Samurai
  • Tales of the Arabian Knights
  • Tribune
As well as a bunch of games that don't have so much name recognition. I'm also probably going to get rid of some XBox games (BioShock/Oblivion IV combo pack, Fallout 3, UFC Unleashed, Mass Effect). My full list of games is here. Email me if interested.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Special Gift Revealed

...for the War of the Ring: Collector's Edition. I have to say I am very pleased! Here is the link.

Time to start clearing the closet to make room for the behemoth.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Wait, What?

I am scared now.