Monday, May 31, 2010

Around the Town

Some items, in no particular order:
  • I have a new pile of Bridge Books (Thanks, Fred, for the heads up). This includes ~30 beginner's books. Some are standard "Bridge in a few hours" types. Many of them are British or Old (which teach slightly different/archaic bidding systems, but are otherwise fine). These are free to a good home. Some of them are actually good (deep) beginner's books that cover one aspect in detail (Bidding, Declarer Play or Defensive Play). I'd be happy to float these around for extended loans.
  • Do you have any summer gaming resolutions? I do. I've actually been getting more and more of my collection played (and rotating through the not-recently played games at a reasonable clip).
  • Thanks to Rob for Hosting, and also for confirming something I learned in Graduate School (Doctors performing math is a terrifying sight).
  • Thanks to Anne for buying Greed (so I don't have to).


Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's the Most List-a-ful Time of the Year

We have an early summer tradition here in San Antonio, the SABG Top 50. And, as the monkey says "It is time!" Just a reminder for how this works:
  1. Email me your (ordered) list of your Top 20 games.
  2. Your #1 Favorite game will get 40 points, your #20 game will get 21 points. (So, points = 41 - Position). I think this works out reasonably well, in that a game on two people's lists is worth more than a person's favorite. I've been saying for years that I should make the scale 30-11, so I think that this year I may run the results both ways.
  3. Sometime around the 4th of July I'll post the results
  4. Sometimes I group games together ... for example, all the Combat Commander games. Ticket to Ride games (etc) usually get grouped.
You are eligible to vote if you've been to a few SABG meetings/meetups, whatever. If you are reading this, odds are good that you are eligible. We have a lot of new members, so I'm hoping that we'll get 20+ voters!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Apparently Chris and I are GMT superstars....

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Father of our Analysis Paralysis

Proceeding slowly, gingerly forward in the BPA tournament of Washington's War, I'm learning how PBEM can totally suck you into an acute case of analysis paralysis. When you don't have an opponent across from you, staring you down, clearing their throat, and letting out periodic heavy sighs, you are free to indulge your hidden AP monster's darkest desires.

This evening I took over an hour pondering the first move of the game. Good Lord! I could have been doing something entirely more productive!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thanks to Jeff and Amy for Hosting!

Jeff, Amy, Ian and Floppy Monkey hosted a day long gaming session wake to celebrate their impending move to the wilderness of Maconga. (When Jacqui was working for the airlines, she got a call that said "I need a ticket to Maconga." She eventually figured out that the customer wanted to go to Macon, GA. As the pigeon says, True story.)

People came from near and far, food and drink flowed, games were played:
  • Chess
  • Cornerstone
  • Factory Manager
  • Hansa Teutonica
  • In the Year of the Dragon
  • Innovation
  • Pandemic
  • Race
  • Shadow Hunters
  • St. Petersburg
  • Uno
Innovation was interesting ... and also taught me that Jeff had a job for all these years despite not being able to read simple sentences. Due to repeated failures, the floppy monkey was appointed his strategic adviser. Good luck to Jeff and Amy on their upcoming move!

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This is Cute.

Learn to Talk Like Yoda with the Yoda-Speak Generator

Happy 30th, Yoda.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Retro Arcade Fun

Go to
Click "Insert Coin"
Enjoy (for as long as it lasts).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More X-Box Fun

Sorry for my continued habit of making non-board gaming-related posts, but I'm assuming gaming in general is at least tangentially of interest to most here. Plus, posting random thoughts on this blog is a healthy catharsis of the brain cells after a night of overstimulation, so I beg your indulgence.

Anyhow... I spent last night trapsing about the dusty environs of Rock Star's Red Dead Redemption. Over the course of a few hours I had a wide variety of adventures, including a duel, slaughtering various outlaw gangs, and a failed attempt to rescue an innocent man being hung. I had to shoot the rope he was dangling from while fighting off the evil lynch mob. Unfortunately my accuracy was a tad sub par, and the poor guy is now with the angels. In addition, my cowboy is now officially a one man wildlife killing machine, slaughtering all manner of critters that crawl, fly, run, or otherwise slink about the Wild West, skinning and selling the by-products of each.

So... my overall assessment is that this game is GTAIV with horses and cacti, much better graphics, and packaged in a no less interesting sand box. The game is still intensely gritty, with racism, murder, rape, prostitutes, and all the other stuff Rock Star is known for. Multi-player is way different, feeling almost like a full-blown PvP MMO, with up to I think 18-players in an instanced world, free to team up or take each other on, and lots of mini-adventures to take on. The game tracks XP in multi-player and seems to dole out nice toys at regular intervals. Right now my guy rides a very uncooperative mule and only has a terribly inaccurate, short range pistol, so I'm assuming I'm still Level 1.

Anyone else have this game? If you see me there, please go form a posse!

Oh... here is a stretch, but the game has a fairly involved poker mini-game built in as well.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Nocturnal Wargaming

Now that I'm with child, my "Me Time" largely occurs after 2000 hours. Thus, my board gaming lately consists of using rulebooks as bedtime reading, sleeving cards, arranging counter trays, and wondering which games I'll auction off next.

Thankfully, some motivated individuals associated with the Board Game Players Association (the same folks who run the annual World Board Gaming Championship) have organized two play-by-e-mail tournments I'm now engaged in. Although the competition in these tournaments appears to be quite fierce, so far its also been quite friendly and seems to be a great way to learn the systems as I go.

The first tournment, now officially kicked off, is for GMT's Great Battles of the American Revolution Series. The first game in the tournment is the Battle of Eutaw Springs (pictured above), a nasty, bloody little scrap that took place late in the war in South Carolina, featuring the Swamp Fox of Disney TV fame (starring Leslie Nielsen). The tournment will proceed through all the games in the series, which up until now have sat unpunched, decorating my bookshelves. Wish me luck!

The other tournment is for GMT's Washington's War. I like to think of this game as Hannibal with a three-cornered hat. This tournment is still forming up, but I suspect due to the newness and popularity of the release it will be a big one.

So... what else is going on? Lots of X-Box 360. I'm on the downward slope of Mass Effect 2, and Red Dead Redemption appears tomorrow. ME2 is incredible. I'm still not a huge fan of the Mass Effect combat system, but the writing, location design, and sound are amazing. I did have to bump up the difficulty to Veteran just to make things a tad more challenging, which isn't saying much, as my poor shooter skills are somewhat legendary within SABG.

I also tried the Halo: Reach beta.... More of the same, IMHO. Star Craft 2? I just like driving the Schwarzenegger-sounding unit around the battlefield.

Oh... and the "new" Good Old Games incarnation of MOO2 is getting a lot of play these days as well.

Okay... that's enough for now.


Friday, May 07, 2010

On to Mass Effect 2....

Yep. After two years, I'm done. I have to say, just like the time it took me two years to play my first game of War of the Ring, I feel pretty silly. What a great game! ME1 was way, way better than Dragon Age, in my opinion. In a fit of geekiness I even picked up the ME1 soundtrack.

Anyhow.... I have ME2 loaded in the tray and ready to launch tonight. I expect it to be rudely interrupted by Red Dead Redemption next week, but I'm looking forward to continuing the ME story.

What is everyone else playing these days?

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Steam findings....

If you like what I call Games for the energy-drink generation, I recommend getting Beat Hazard from Steam.

Download the demo. Try it with a few "high-powered" songs (techno/trance/electronica seems to work best). Play in a dark room using a good set of speakers or better yet, headphones. Call me to remind you to buy the game, after you have recovered from your seizure.