Friday, December 29, 2006

Dec. 29, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Bobby

Looks like I forgot to post the results of this one. The title was correct enough as the Axis were Kiln me. These Russian scenarios blow - I hate giving up what I'm doing on the next turn. This one definitely favors the Axis. Bobby crushed me.

Dec. 29, 2006 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

Utah Beach
I still hate the beach landing scenarios. This one looked like a good chance to make up some ground as Jason had something like only 6 units on the board. All I had to do was punch an opening. Well, three of my units later, I did. Jason still managed to kill a couple others and so I snuck out a 5-6 win. Whooopie. 93-81 still in Jason's favor.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dec. 28, 2006 - Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

The battle of deep fried burrito was a hard fought affair that went back and forth until I brought a weak unit too close to Jason's troops (though in my own defense, had I rolled a hit, I would have won 6-4). Jason closed it out for a 6-5 victory. 64-63 Rebels for the war

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dec. 27, 2006 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

Gold Beach
I hate the beach assaults. If you've ever seen Saving Private Ryan, you'd understand immediately how much it sucks to be the Allies in these scenarios. At any rate, I moved in to position to be beat on and had a few turns with no help from the dice. Jason got a nice easy 6-3 win to move ahead even further 88-75 for the war.

Dec. 27, 2006 - Charles vs Jason C&C:Ancients

Ok, I don't remember much about this, except that Jason broke me early on and I was just trying to hold on and steal a point or two back. Jason won 5-3. This was mostly a trial run to see if we could stand playing C&C:A over VASSAL - it worked out fairly well, because its mostly obvious when someone will evade or stand ground, so there isn't as much back and forth as we originally thought.

Dec. 27, 2006 - Top Ten update

You may notice I updated my top ten list. I had to bump somebody, so sadly, Ingenious got the boot. I moved Twilight Struggle up to a 9 from my previous 8.5. A couple recent playings and an ongoing VASSAL game have reinforced what I like about the game - its just damn interesting to play. Its frustrating as hell not to be able to do what you want and to watch the other guy just hose you over and over. Likewise - its fun to do that to them.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dec. 26, 2006 - Games played Year in Review

Here is my listing of the games I played in 2006. Now, technically I still have another game session coming up on Friday. I'll update the list after, but I expect to mostly get in a couple plays of games that will get me to the "5 plays" point of Antike, C&C:Ancients, BattleLore and one more game of AoS with my friends before I move.

So, the list has 128 different games. Most of those were new plays, though a number were plays of games that I had tried before. At any rate, to sum up my year of gaming:

  1. I bought a lot of games. I also traded a lot of games. I added 94 games to my collection, though a number of those went out in trade for others. My collection sits at 146 if I've not missed any. It never feels that big - probably because of the number of "games" that are really just expansions.
  2. My top three games? Power Grid, Age of Steam, and A Game of Thrones. I had not played A Game of Thrones until this year and I fell in love with it. Its really just well done.
  3. When I started the year, there were a ton of games I wanted to try, but as the year progressed, I realized I didn't care if I got to try all of the ones I read about. What I wanted was to play some of my favorites more.
  4. Surprise! I like the Command and Colors games. All of them.
  5. Surprise! I really like Twilight Struggle.
  6. I attended my first con this year - Phoenix ConGames. 4 days of gaming goodness. Except... there is only so much gaming with Jerry and two other n00bs I can take. Jerry is just painfully slow and it gets old when every game you play for three days takes an extra 45 minutes because you have to teach it. Otherwise, it was pretty fun.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dec. 22, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Bobby

Bobby sent me a continuation of some of the Eastern Front stuff. This one was a full blown assault with points going to 7 for the win. I managed some kills, but ran out of middle cards when I really needed them to push to the win. With the score tied at 5, Bobby managed a full out assault on the right flank and ended up easily killing another two units for the win.

Dec. 21, 2006 - Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Pickett's Charge
Well, the second part of the Battle of Gettysburg went about like it did historically. Pickett charged and got smacked down. Not much Jason could do really - with the defensive line, the confederates didn't get much chance to inflict a lot of damage. I won this 6-3 bringing the war back to a tie at 58-58.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dec. 19, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Jason

Juno Beach
BTW, if I haven't mentioned it, I HATE the beach scenarios. BAH! At any rate, I'm not helping the war effort. Jason took another game, 6-5. It wasn't as close as the score would have you believe. Jason had a huge lead, but I made a late charge to grab some cities and score 3 pts quickly. If I could have drawn a right flank card, I might have won, as their was an easy point sitting there that I could never move to. Ah well - that makes it 82-72 for the war. Geez. I need a really decent couple games to catch up and the next one is.... another beach <cry>

Dec. 19, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Bobby

In a strange move, Bobby sent me a game he started of a scenario he hadn't tried before. I say strange, because I was also playing this one with Dion at the same time in our series. At any rate, I was fairly aggressive, as was Bobby, which let me get a lot more confrontational early on. Some good rolls on my side let me grab the 4-2 victory.

Dec. 19, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Dion

As per my MO recently, I felt like I was puting a beating on Dion, but couldn't kill anybody. I looked like I would be able to grab the win, but Dion's beat down units came roaring back and took this one away from me 4-2. That makes it 22-20 for the Allies.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dec. 17, 2006

Guitar Hero
While this is not a board game, I don't care. Got to play this for the first time last night. I've seen other guys play before (Noah Antwiller is pretty decent at it). It was about as damn fun as I expected. Pretty sure we'll be getting a PS2 before long - Stephanie absolutely loved it. So anyway, I'm surfing You Tube and caught a guy doing Free Bird from Guitar Hero II on expert level. He misse like one note up until the solo at the end of the song. I have no freakin clue how ANYONE could do that song on expert and not screw up the solo. Seriously. If I practiced a lot, I might get the fingering down on some of that, but to strum that fast while fingering - no way. Impressive none the less.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dec. 16, 2006 - THEY STOLE MY CAR!

Friday Dec. 15, 2006 - Gamers Inn
I arrived at the Inn around 4:30 with no specific plan, but a desire to try and get in a game of BattleLore and possible either Twilight Struggle or Antike. Before long, we had a group of five or six and Jason Maxwell pulled out Fearsome Floors for all of us. Joining the two of us were Eddie Hinan, Jason Sato, Matt Cullinan, Rich Frangiamore, and Jerry George. When you play with Jason Sato, he isn't in to winning as much as he is in to causing mass havok by getting the monster into everyone. We played the advanced rules and Jason saw to it that this game was no exception - he managed to get the board setup such that the monster wiped 5 or 6 guys out in the first move. Eddie managed to race a couple guys out as the rest of us just scrambled around trying to get the monster to hose each other. Still not a great game for me, but I admit that it can be fun getting the monster to wreak a little havok.

At this point, we broke up a bit and Jason Sato and I sat down to play BattleLore. Jason is an old wargamer, so I knew he wouldn't have much trouble picking the game up. He asked to throw it all at him, so we played a scenario with all (most) of the trappings. Unfortunately for Jason, the dice were not his friends. He rolled a lot of misses early on and to top that off, almost all his cards were on his right flank, limiting his choices. A slight bit of experience (very slight) and a run of bad luck for Jason helped me to a 5-3 win.

Next up, Jason Maxwell and I setup Twilight Struggle, which Jason was interested in give a try. The rules are actually fairly straight forward, so in no time we started playing with Jason as the USSR and me as the US. Now, I really enjoy this Cold War game - the theme fits in so well and it plays out a lot like history (the early war is in favor of the USSR, the focus shifts throughout the game, there are times when things are on the brink of losing for a player, etc). I know some other folks dislike the luck factor of the cards and dice, but it doesn't really bother me here. It bothered Jason this particular time. Jason was playing the USSR, because its typically easier for the USSR player the first time through - its harder to really screw up. However, luck was on my side, as my initial hand was devistatingly good for the US and Jason's was mediocre at best. Throughout the first three turns, I had good cards - which turned out to be good news for me, as I could not stop Jason from pushing to within a couple points of disaster for the US. However, about turn 5, I crushed Jason. I was able to play a card, Bear Trap, which forced Jason to discard a card and roll a die. If he rolled a 5 or 6, he had to keep repeating the action each action phase. The card worked TOO WELL, as Jason ended up rolling 5's and 6's until his hand was gone - essentially giving me a free turn to do as I wanted. I couple turns later I had a 13 point lead and had a card that allowed me to end the game with a US victory. We both agreed that the card (and its USSR match) are a bit unbalanced and turn up the unfair luck factor too much. However, this playing did confirm that we will probably start playing over VASSAL, which seems to be the perfect vehicle for this game.

Some other folks were 20-25 minutes from the end of their game, so Jason and I raced through setting up a Command & Colors:Ancients scenario. While it looked to be a bit unbalanced at the start, a crappy hand of cards for me and an excellent set for Jason made the early game look like this would be more than a fair fight. After advancing nearly his whole army, we finally clashed. Back and forth it went, until we were both exposed. I was able to grab the last point before Jason though, thus securing a 6-5 win.

It was getting late, so Jason Maxwell, Jason Sato, Matt and I were joined by Miles Antwiller for a wrapup game of Landlord. This was a card game I had never heard of before. Turned out that this was a total TAKE THAT! game, and was actually pretty fun. To bad for me, I got thrown in Jail for two turns (for bombing a building) and it pretty much took me out of the running. No biggie, as it was pretty fun.

Now, the interesting part of the night. Jason and I headed out to our cars, so he could unload all his Heroscape stuff on me (we are doing a trade). As we get outside, he asked where I had parked, so he could figure out if he had to truck the stuff all over the lot to my car. The thing was, I couldn't find my car. Now, given how scatterbrained I can be, I started wondering what the hell was going on. I own the car, so it wasn't going to be repo'd. Stephanie wouldn't have taken it without telling me (since she had the kids). Plus, I always park pretty much in the exact same spot. BUT DAMNIT, MY CAR WAS NOT THERE. I turned and put my armload of games on Jason's car and told him my car was gone. He said, "Seriously?" - turns out, that has been the most common reaction when I tell people. Now, given my retardedness, he starts asking if I'm sure I parked where I thought I did. Unsure of myself a little (I mean, why wouldn't my car be where I thought it should be?) - I start walking the parking lot. Its like 12:15AM at this point, and there are only like 3 small groups of cars, so it doesn't take long to realize that my car really is missing. At that point, I call my wife, who asks if I'm coming home soon. I explain that I am not, since I don't seem to have a car anymore.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Dec. 15, 2006 - Perspective

Here are a couple webtoons from Ted Alspach this week about gaming. While these are funny, it does tell a tale that many gamers face - how do we play them all? One of my goals for 2006 was to basically play a new game each week - new game being defined as one I hadn't played before. Thus far, I'm sitting at something like 76 new games so far this year. I enjoyed most of them and would play most of them again if given a choice. But, I also recognized that there was no way I could keep trying games and still get more plays in on games I really really liked - which is why I set the number of new games so low. When I first really got into this hobby, I didn't play a game for the second time for something like four months. Yep, for four glorious months, I was learning something on the average of five new games each Friday night. And you know what? That was great. But I also recognized that some games were more entertaining than others. Some games were much deeper than others and needed more than a single play to "get". So, in 2006 I set my bar a bit lower. What I found out was the following:

  • Some games are fun once. Then you play again and the game is the same. Or there is only one winning strategy. Or there is no winning strategy and in the end its pure luck that determines the winner.
  • Some games are not fun the first time, because unless you have some understanding of the game's system, you can't really be competitive (Age of Steam, Power Grid, any Knizia auction game). These games require multiple plays before you come to love them.
  • There are some games that I just don't care about playing. If a game isn't high on the BGG "radar" it doesn't mean its a bad game, but on the other hand, I don't need to try it just to say that I have. I can now happily watch others setup a new game, spend a load of time explaining rules and struggle through a playing while I play two other games that I know and love.
  • There are some game types that I just don't care about playing. I don't need to play every random card game that will appeal to non-gamers. I don't need to play half the "light" games that get pulled out just to try them. I don't really care to play games that are heavy on theme and questionable on game (Arkham Horror, Fury of Dracula).
  • There isn't enough time to get in replays of games that I do like. If I can't get enough time to play games I know I like, how can there possibly be time for playing new games that I know nothing about?

Anyway, back to the point about playing them all. First, as funny as the numbers that are thrown out in the above cartoons, the reality is that there are not that many games. Lets look at what I mean by paring down the numbers.

  • Hell, probably 1/4 of those are new versions of Monopoly, Uno, Risk and the like. The BGG has seperate listings for each of the "versions" because people like to track their collections and it makes trading easier if you can specify the versions (on that, I disagree - the admins have merged any number of games that should definitely have their own entry based on that criteria and there are a number of "games" listed that are aggregations of parts (Heroscape sets). Having 100+ Monopoly versions is retarded no matter how you look at it). So, when looking at the number of games you'd have to try, you have to understand that a large number of that 27,000 or whatever are versions of the same game. At least in Risk, the games really are different, unlike Monopoly, where they just change the graphics of the board.
  • A large number of the games listed are expansions. There are 16 entries for Age of Steam, yet there really is but one game. There are 15 officially released maps/expansions for the game. Ok, so that probably doesn't whitle the number down much, but it is a consideration.
  • The BGG is international, so games from around the world are listed. A great number of those will never see the light of day in America (or at least they won't be readily available in America). Because there is no market, its not that great a game, whatever. So we can eliminate a number of games due to the unavailable issue.
  • Also in the unavailable category - old games. There are a large number of old games listed in the BGG - games from the 60s, 70s, 80s that were just silly (The Bionic Man game, Gilligan's Island game (the cartoon version), etc etc). These are games you get at garage sales if they didn't mildew to death. You can get these on ebay for like $2 or at thrift stores. But in general, you can't find them and you don't care.
  • Kids games. There are any number of games listed that no adult would normally play. The Dora the Explorer Game for example.
  • Game styles will impact the number. For example, I am no Grognard and don't feel the need to play any wargame with loads of chits. I don't really feel the need to play a "block" wargame either (though I admit, there are a couple I'd try). Most Grognards feel the same way about Eurogames and meeples. I also don't really play collectible games (Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, anything ending in CCG). You can probably eliminate 1/3 to 1/2 of the remaining games based on what style of games you enjoy.

So, where does that leave you? I don't know, I'm not doing the math on this one, because its based on a gamer's personal tastes. For me, I'd guess that (realistically) there are about 100 games that I haven't played that I'd like to try. I added a number of games to my list from Essen reports, but I also gave up on a number of games based on other reviews and word of mouth from friends. Do I think that I'll ever play/try all the games that I desire? No. I'm sure if I tried all the games currently on my "list", I'd be able to go make a new one, or that a new batch of games will have hit the shelves. For 2007, I'm not sure what my goal is going to look like. I have a friend, Dion Garner, who has been trying to play through the top 100 games on the BGG. That's probably as good a place to start as any, but I looked through the list once, and I don't really desire to play all of them. I think I've gotten to the point, where I'm just happy playing games. I know enough of them, that if I never got to play a new game, I'd be ok. I do like learning new games, but it is not the driving force it was when I first started playing 18+ months ago.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dec. 13, 2006 - Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Devil's Den and Wheat Field - Gettysburg part I.
This one went back and forth for a while. and was in a 4-4 tie. I had half my command cards giving me orders I couldn't use, so ended up late in the game kind of flailing around trying to get anything done. I got a fire card that let me push one of Jason's infantry units with a general back off the board, giving me the last two points I needed for the 6-4 win. Union takes back the lead 54-53 for the war.

Ok, that's what I wanted to happen. What really happened was that I screwed up that last turn. I hadn't moved an artillery back at the start of my turn and so had rolled too many dice. I re-played the turn and did NOT kill Jason off. Instead, he killed me the next turn and HE won 6-4. Damn 55-52 for the Confederates.

Dec. 13, 2006 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

Operation Goodwood
Well, only a couple turns into this, Jason did a "Panzer Blitz" and took out a number of my units and I was done at that point. He finally finished me off a few turns later for a 6-3 win. The score is now 76-68 for the war (Axis/Jason).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dec. 11, 2006 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

St-Lo (Attack on Hill 192)
First of the official new scenarios. So we went back and forth on this to 4-4 and then I had to take a chance and make a run at the last two points - Jason took my units and smacked them around scoring the last few points he needed to win 6-4. Axis now ahead by five points 70-65.

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Top 10

As you can see, there has been an update to this blog - there is now a listing of my top ten games (as I've ranked and listed them on the BoardGame Geek. I thought I'd throw out some notes about the rankings:

1) Power Grid. I really enjoy Power Grid, because it incorporates a number of mechanism that I think are easy to understand (auction, supply and demand, jockeying for position) and have been mixed together quite well. This game plays equally well with any number from 3-6. Its slightly fiddly in managing the goods track and to a lesser extent, the power plants - though a single person can easily handle those portions of the game. Ther rest is easy enough for a beginner to quickly pick up.

2) Age of Steam. Though I like this one better than Power Grid, I don't rank it higher because its unforgiving - which means beginners will struggle with it and might not want to play again. Its also a bit long, if you get behind far to early. However, if you can get past the learning curve, I think its easily one of the best games I've played. Tight economics and a changing map (and for that matter, set of expansion maps) make this one fun to me.

3) A Game of Thrones (plus expansions). This is one freaking great wargame. Nearly no luck and all strategy makes this a nearly perfect. Everyone's house plays differently, yet the game is really well balanced. It also captures the flavor of one of the best fantasy series exceptionally well. This would be number one if it didn't take 5+ hours to play.

4)Torres. This is one that I do not own. I really really should. I should also play this more, as I really enjoy it. The action point system and the spatial system really connect with me (it probably why I also enjoy Java).

5)Carcassonne The Castle. This is probably my favorite two player game. Knizia's take on the Carc franchise is very well done. Its pretty simple to learn and has enough to it to make you think a bit. I wish regular Carcassonne was this entertaining.

6)Tichu. This is far and away my favorite trick taking game. A great card game that I've never gotten tired of. The 6 player games is quite different from the 4 player version, but I like them both.

7)Samurai. A great Knizia game that took me a while to understand the 3-player strategy. I still have no grasp on the 4 player strategies. This one looks great and is pretty fun.

8)Java. See the above entry for Torres. This one is more complicated than Torres, and I tend to get a bit of analysis paralysis trying to find really slick moves, but I've never hated any game I've played.

9)El Grande. A seriously fun area control game that I've played ONE TIME. I think this might actually be a crime in some parts of the world.

10)Ingenious. Hmm, three Knizia's in my top 10? Well, there are a load of games that could make number 10 in my list depending on the day. This one plays equally well with 2-4. The more I play it, the more I like this one.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dec. 9, 2006 - Game Night

Friday Dec. 9, 2006
Stephanie was out of town with Ainsley, so I invited Jason Maxwell, Dion Garner, and Matthew Frederick over to get in some two player games. Of course, the first game we played wasn't a two-player. Jason had picked me up a copy of Front Porch Classics' Stretch Run. I wanted this simply for the brass horse figures. Jason wanted it because he knew the person who had done all the art for the game. At any rate, Stretch run is a fairly simple horse racing game. We decided to simply run a single race to see how the game played. It pretty basic and of course, totally random. There are more advanced rules to handicap the horse and for betting, but we didn't bother getting into that so that we could play the games we really wanted to get in.

I had BattleLore, the new Richard Borg Command and Colors game. We drew for who got to play, and the partners. Dion and Matthew got to start playing BattleLore, so Jason and I opted to try out the other game in the system that we hadn't played - Command and Colors:Ancients. Being simpler than BattleLore and a bit easier to setup, Jason and I were able to get through the first scenario pretty quickly, with Jason winning 5-3. There was no terrain to worry about, so it was just a straight clash of the armies. We looked over and saw that Dion had half the points he needed and Matthew had none, so we decided that we could get another scenario in while they finished. We setup the next scenario which put me in the poor position of having to ford a river to get to Jason's armies. This allowed Jason time to get in position to wipe me out as I crossed. He won easily 5-2. We had all finished up, so Jason and I took over BattleLore while Dion and Matthew pulled out Twilight Struggle.

Though I had only played one basic game prior to this and Jason had not played at all, Jason wanted to jump right into the advanced game (adding lore cards and a War Council). I too was interested in trying it all out, so I picked the most basic of the "advanced" scenarios and we got setup. Basically, the War Council allow you to customize which lore skills you are adept at. I skipped the Cleric skills (healing and some attacks) and went pretty evenly on the others. Jason skipped the wizard (spell attacks) and spread out over the others. What we found was that the lore added a bit of chaos to the game. The cards let you increase attacks, escape, screw up the other player's orders etc. It also lets in another source of randomness, so if you want very little randomness and more strategy/tactics in a Command and Colors game, you probably want to skip BattleLore and stick with C&C:Ancients. Jason and I though, had a good time and I was able to use some decent lore at the end to quickly comeback and crush Jason out of left field for the 5-3 win. Matthew and Dion were (not unexpectedly) still playing TS, so we setup another scenario with a ton of armies. Again, pretty chaotic, but I had a pretty good run of cards. I managed to inflict a lot of damage, but very few kills. Finally, I got a couple decent lore cards and disrupted Jason's plans long enough to kill some of his armies and ended the game with a 6-4 win. Overall a fun night, winning 2 and losing 2 games.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dec. 7th, 2006 - BattleLore

I got a call yesterday that the new Days of Wonder game BattleLore has arrived. I got to pick it up today and Dion Garner came over tonight for a short test play. BattleLore has been highly anticipated everywhere due to the success of Memoir '44. It has also been highly anticipated by a number of folks in my group, including myself. So, Dion came over and I went over the basic rules as we set up the first scenario. Since we are both familiar with the basic system and have played a lot of Memoir, we found the basic rules VERY easy to pick up, but I still wanted to try the basic system to get a handle on the differences. One thing that didn't change - a bad run of cards will really hurt you. Dion couldn't get the cards he needed and I had plenty that I needed to take him behind the shed. I won pretty easily 4-2.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dec. 6, 2006 - Samurai

I realized I finished a game of Samurai on MaBiWeb the other day that I didn't log.
Jason Sato, Mike Gingold, and Dion Garner jumped into a new game I started. I feel like I have a good handle on the 3-player version of the game, but I just seem to be lost in the four player version. It may just be too chaotic with 4 players. At any rate, Mike seemed to easily win. It may have just been one of those games where the opportunities matched up with his tile draws. My tile draws sucked :(

Dec. 6, 2006 - Memoir Charles vs Dion

I was checking out the notes to this one and I noticed that tanks counted double to VPs for the Allies. I also realized that Dion had probably not remembered this, as he had put a tank pretty deep into my side of the board with no support. I jumped on his tank and won 4-1. That now makes it 21-16 in my favor.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dec 5. 2006 - Gaming Goals for 2007

I started seriously "gaming" in July 2005. It took almost 4 months of weekly gaming before I ever played a game twice. As we started the 2006 year, there were somethings that I wanted to do during the year as far as gaming went. I still wanted to try new games, but I also wanted to play the games I liked a bit more often to get a better grasp of what was happening. Here were my goals for 2006:

  1. Average a new game each week. My gaming group usually bring a bazillion games (it took me about 4 months before I got to play a game that I already knew). This shouldn't be too hard for the first half of the year, but I want to keep things new all year round.
  2. Play all the unplayed games in my collection. I'd like to have at least one play for every game I own.
  3. Try and keep my purchases in line with goal #2.
  4. Play one heavy game each month (3+ hours). I'd like to try and play at least one of those games once a month. This will probably still fit in with my first goal, as I can think of a number of epic games I've never played.

So, with only a month left, where am I? Well...

  1. I've tried 78 new games this year.
  2. My collection still has a number of unplayed games. In fact, I've acquired a number of new ones I haven't played. Some are really decent bargains that I didn't want to pass up. Some I expect to play with friends or family, but not my regular group. Others just haven't seen table time yet.
  3. I have played at least 11 3(+)-hour games. I think one a month is about right, if you game every week. Although, playing A Game of Thrones almost always makes me want to do it again.

So what about 2007? Well, I'm trying to cut back my game nights to every other week to make my wife happy. We are also moving to Omaha, so I'm losing one of the best game groups in the country. My folks will play some games and they like cards, but it won't be the same. So, I'm not sure, but here is a early take on what I see in 2007 (assuming we move).

  1. Tichu has to hit my dime list again. That means, teaching my wife and folks to play.
  2. Find a group to game with.
  3. Get a Crokinole board.
  4. Go to the BGG Con.
  5. Attend at least one other game con. Origins might be the one, as I could stay with a friend near Columbus.
  6. Write a couple game reviews each month.
  7. Teach my parents and/or their card partners 12 games. Real games. Probably things like: Ticket to Ride, Mystery Rummy, Cluzzle, Tichu, Samurai, Canyon, Carcassonne, Coloretto, David & Goliath, Quandary, M, Margin for Error, That's Life!, Union Pacific

Dec. 5, 2006 - Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

This scenario sets up with the Union in the center of the board, and the Confederates in the left and right flanks. Of course, Jason eliminated the one unit I had in the wings and left me with a hand of useless cards. I took at least two turns where I could not do anything because my cards were left and right moves only. I made a good dent in his troops and lead most of the game, but in the end I didn't have any cards to fend Jason off and he won 6-5. The lead swings back to Jason 49-48 for the war.

Dec. 5 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

SAVERNE GAP - #16 (last of the original game scenarios).
Another interesting one that had unpassable hills on the left and right flanks, making two valleys. The objective was to race through the valleys and try and take the town in the middle. This one seems a bit weighted towards the Allies, who start with a number of tanks. I had a few good cards that let me move a lot of tanks in position early. These charges let me inflict enough casualties for the win 5-3. Axis still winning the overall campaign 64-61. We've decided to just keep playing through the official scenarios and expansions, so more to come.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dec. 4 - Hansa on MaBiWeb

I started a four player game online with Mike Gingold, Jason Sato and Dion Gardner. I ended up starting as the third player, and things seem to work out extremely well for me. I think I finished the game with markets in nearly every city and I cashed in on a number of 2 and 3 barrel deliveries, allowing me to run away with the win.

Games Played November 2006

Well, the list is again small. I traveled out of town one weekend and played a couple longer games (Manifest Destiny and A Game of Thrones:Storm of Swords), so the overall numbers were down. I did of course get in a load of Memoir '44 and Battle Cry in via VASSAL and a couple games of Samurai on MaBaiWeb. Still, a pretty fun month of games. The list is up on the BGG.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Game Night - Dec 1, 2006

Friday Dec. 1, 2006 - Gamers Inn
When I arrived at the Inn this week and there were already a few guys there. Jason Sato and Matt Cullinan were playing a Star Wars mini game and Dion Garner, Jerry George, and Rich were setting up for Cleopatra. I declined to join them and instead took a look around the store. I ended up grabbing the new Power Grid map of Benelux/Central Europe. Of course, I hadn't brought my copy of Power Grid, since Bobby Warren had said he'd bring his. Then Bobby canceled on us at the last minute. Luckily, Noah Antwiller showed up and had his copy. And so it was that Rob Smolka, Jason Sato, Noah and Miles Antwiller, Matt Cullinan and I all sat down and tried out the Central Europe map. I don't know that we got any kind of feel for the map though, as the order that the power plants came out was almost in reverse. Since people were not buying plants worth of resources each turn and because the nuke and garbage plants just hadn't shown much, the resource board was mostly full to start each turn. On the second turn of the game, the plants came out in poor enough order that I ended up having to take a plant I didn't want. This pretty much kept me out of the running for the rest of the game. I believe Miles pulled out another win.

Noah and I were then joined by Steve Bauer and Matthew Frederick for a game of A Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords None of us had tried this out yet and so Matthew and Noah begin going over the rules as Steve and I attempted to sort out the cards and playing pieces. We managed to finally get started and about 3 turns in, we realized that we had mis-played a rule (as we inevitably do every time we play). This ruling went against me and the others decided that we should probably just start over, as it made a huge difference against me. And so it was that we started over, which is probably why we never finished the game - at 1:30AM we finally just decided that we'd all had enough and called the game a draw. So, how was this version of one of my favorite games? Very interesting, and quite balanced. There are a few new things (the allies and the strategy cards). I'd have to say that the new items add a bit of freshness to the game. The new four player version is very balanced - too balanced maybe, as nobody looked even close to winning at any point.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nov. 30, 2006 - Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason

This one was interesting and I got a few good rolls when I needed them allowing me to push Jason back a bit. I ground him down for a good 6-4 win. Its now 61-56 Axis for the war.

Nov. 30, 2006 - Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

This one was a little back and forth - I pounded against Jason's left flank early and built a good lead, then the dice went against me and I could not put him away, even though the cards I needed were always around. Turned out that right after I eliminated Jason on the left, he had 3 of 4 cards that were no longer of any use. I won 6-4 and we are now tied up at 43-43 for the war.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Well, this one is loaded with units and it didn't look good early, as I wasn't eliminating units, just grinding down on Jason a bit. After he went up by a good amount, I managed to hammer him on two turns to tie things up 5-5. Unfortunately, he was able to quickly score the last point, winning 6-5. The Axis is extending their lead 57-50 for the war.

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Fredericksburg #8
I managed to get out to a very fast lead on Jason, destroying most of his right flank. Unfortunately for me that meant that my remaining choices for attack were all his forces barricaded behind field works. Combined with a hand of three cards that weren't helping me do what I needed, Jason came back for a 6-5 win. 39-37 for the Confederates for the war.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Bobby


This was a fun and interesting one. Bobby took the Finnish and started skiing around killing my guys, but I had a really decent turn where I killed a number of units and went up 5-4. Bobby then tried to escape over the river, but apparently all his running over the ice was too much as the river broke and killed the last man of one of his infantry units. He really had no choice, as I had nearly surrounded that unit and it was toast if he didn't move. That, or he needed to be able to wipe two of my guys out quickly, which he wasn't in position to do.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Arnhem Bridge #13
Well, this one looked like it was going to be tough for Jason, but once he eliminated my artillery, I had a hard time holding any ground. It was close, but Jason pulled out a nice 5-4 win. Its now 51-45 for the Axis.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Dion

Omaha Beach - #5
Well, I really hated this one and Dion didn't do anything to change that. Rather, he took out two tanks in the first turn and then pretty much had his way with me in something like 4 turns, 6-1. At least its over. Totals now stand at 17-15 in my favor.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Dion


Well, I did better in this one vs Dion than the one against Jason, winning this 4-2. This makes the overall score 16-9 in my favor (Allies). Of course, the next up is Omaha Beach, one of the ones I really really disliked.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Game Night - Nov. 17, 2006

Friday Nov. 17, 2006 - Gamers Inn
I arrived at the Inn this week and there were already a few guys there, so I brought out Colloretto. I've been playing this a bit online and wanted to see how different it was against live folks, instead of bots that I beat all the time. Noah and Miles Antwiller, Jason Sato, Jerry George and I were all playing. We only played 1 round as a number of folks were piling in while we were playing. I finished in second I believe. Next I broke out Power Grid and we decided on the Italy map. I was joined by Noah, Miles, Jerry and Matt Cullinan. As usual, I hated my starting spot the second I picked it and it turned out to be as bad as I thought. Now, about six months ago, I vowed not to play Power Grid with Jerry anymore. He doesn't seem to "get" it, and usually spends the mid and end game just annoying everyone by spending all his cash buying out the resources, rather than keeping up with everyone. This game was more of the same - at least he wasn't slowing down the game. Miles pulled out a good win.
The main event for the night ended up being the planned game of Manifest Destiny. Jason, Noah and I were joined by Rob Smolka and Dion Garner. Manifest Destiny is a game which is very similar to Age of Renaissance - its something of an empire builder with technologies and a whole lot of "raping the leader". What it doesn't have is anywhere near as much book keeping and its about a 3 hour game instead of 8. I enjoyed the game quite a bit, but made the mistake of moving up too quickly near the end of the game. Dion then played 3-4 cards that easily took me right out of the running. Overall, I really liked this game and would play again, but its probably not something that would come out more than once a month.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) #7.
Well, this didn't look promising for the Union to start. Too many units trapped in the left by the river and the back end of the board. I also had a very poor set of three cards for the game and I ended up throwing out a desperation attack to score a single point and the Rebels won 6-1. 33-32 for the Confederates in the war.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Well, this was one of the more interesting ones we've played - I really liked the unpassable hills. It was pretty even until the end. I took a chance with a singe tank rush and tried to grab 2 quick points when we were at 4-4. Instead, I only got one (the one for being next to the river). Jason killed that tank and won 6-4. That puts the bad guys ahead 46-41 for the war.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Samurai on Mabiweb

Jason Sato, Mike Gingold and I played another in our never-ending series of Samurai games. This time we played with the new "hidden" scores (though technically, all you have to do is look at the game log to figure them out). At any rate, I started out about as I always do, but some bad draws in the middle of the game didn't let me make a couple crucial placements when I needed to and Mike gobbled a ton of pieces up in the mid-game. By the end of the game, I had to choose between increasing my general stock, but ensuring I had no majority, or grabbing a majority, but knowing I had no chance at winning. Mike won pretty handily.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Brawner's Farm #6
The Union pulled out a closely fought battle 6-5. Jason played aggressively which might have put him in a vulnerable spot towards the end of the game. Of course, if I hadn't won, he would have likely taken care of the game on the next turn. 31-27 Union for the war! Next up is Antietam -

The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South), fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with almost 23,000 casualties.

After pursuing Confederate General Robert E. Lee into Maryland, Union Army Major General George B. McClellan launched attacks against Lee's army, in defensive positions behind Antietam Creek. Despite having superiority of numbers, McClellan's attack failed to achieve concentration of mass, resulting in a three-phase battle that Lee was able to counter by shifting forces to meet each challenge. Despite ample reserve forces that could have been deployed to exploit localized successes, McClellan failed to destroy Lee's army. Nevertheless, Lee's invasion of Maryland was ended and he was able to withdraw his army back to Virginia without interference from the cautious McClellan. Although the battle was tactically inconclusive, it had unique significance as enough of a victory to give President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Bobby

Bobby asked me to play the desert Knightsbridge scenario with him (he planned to take three of us on to see how it played out). I managed a 5-3 victory with the help of a couple cards that let me take good advantage of moving a lot of tanks at once. This one may be a bit luck driven, because a handful of move 1 unit "recon" cards would probably hose you.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

The Liberation of Paris #11
Well, this one ended up being a good old fashion ass kicking - with the Allies doing the kicking for a change. I managed to break through a couple tanks and get a couple of the tokens for Paris cities and then had a nice set of rolls on the last turn to grab the last 3 pts I needed for the win. Jason had a string of bad rolls, and I think a lousy set of cards that hamstrung him most of the game. This let me win 5-1 and brings the totals much closer with 40-37 (Axis) for the war. Viva Paris!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Toulon #10
Bah, we finished, then the kids got sick and I forgot what even happened - it was a close one though 6-5, 39-32 for the war.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Game Night - Nov 3, 2006

Friday Nov. 3, 2006 - My House
I hosted game night this eveing and as usual, Noah and Miles Antwiller were the first to arrive and so I pulled out my new game - Hey! That's My Fish. this is a shorter light game, but does offer a few tactical choices as you try and cut off other players, while carving out a large number of fish for yourself. It can also get nasty, but is short so not too nasty. Jason Sato and Matt Cullinan had arrived, so I then pulled out Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 - the new expansion for the original game. This game adds new and modified destination tickets as well as a couple new ways to play based on the destination tickets. I somehow seemed to be the only one that managed to complete all my tickets and won with a decent margin. We were still waiting for some others to show, but Jason and Hope Maxwell had arrived, so we agreed to play some Bang! with the Fistful of Cards expansion. Bang! is one of those games that takes zero skill, but is short and decently fun most of the time. I drew the renegade (which sucks as far as I'm concerned). It was down to the Sherrif (Jason S) and Deputy Hope, and they finished me off in short notice. Erik Von Burg had arrived and had wanted to try out the new expansion for Descent - The Well of Darkness. Erik, Matt and I sat down to battle it out against Miles. We ended up with a couple tanks (Matt and I) and no ranged attackers. That might have been an issue given this dungeon's special trick - the dungeon was collapsing, forcing us to run through it. Each turn, the farthest back part of the dungeon was taken off the map. We did ok, but eventually, the dungeon caught up to us and Miles won. It was fun though, and I'd play again. After that, nobody could decide on a game, so we settled for playing one of Matt's favorites - Can't Stop! Of course, Erik and I never made it on the board at all and Matt rolled (groan) to an easy win. Most everyone took off, so Jason and Hope and Jason S and I finished the night playing Ave Caesar. I hadn't played it before, but found it to be pretty fun - its too bad the word out on the new version is that it sucks. I'd like a copy, but the older version is pretty hard to come by.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Gaines Mill #5
Ok, this was a can't win for the confederates from the word go. No surprise that I won 6-2. Bad rolls on Jason's part didn't help his cause either. The Union is now ahead in the war 25-22.

**UPDATE - ok, I jumped the gun and had mis-played my turn. One additional turn later, the outcome ended up being the same. I'm not sure its even possible to get a Confederate win, let alone score more than 3 pts on that field.

Games Played October 2006

My summary for the month can be found on the BGG in geeklist form. In addition to all of that, I've been playing a LOAD of Battle Cry and Memoir 44 with Jason and Dion through Vassal and the occassional game of Samurai on

So, what am I hoping to get in for November? Antike would be nice to get out, Game of Thrones (either the Storm of Swords 4-player or a full 6-player). I also want to try and get a game of Manifest Destiny in, but I doubt that's going to happen.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Operation Luttish #9
Well, this one didn't go as well. Jason was up 3-2, so I gambled and put a tank in the kill zone, trying for the overrun attack. I got good hits on an infantry unit, but no kill and no flag. Jason finished things the next round, as I expected he was going to. 4-2 Axis, 33-27 for the war.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oct Update on Unplayed in My Collection

At the start of the month, I mentioned 10 games I want to get played by the end of the year - I knocked off these four:

  1. Acquire - Noah, Bobby and Jason S played with me and even let me win!
  2. Quandary - Its a Knizia, which means my first playing I was terrible.
  3. Vinci - Ok, didn't play my version, but I got to lay it. Its fun, but the end isn't terribly interesting.
  4. Age of Steam: Germany - This map was not as bad as we thought it would be. I actually liked it quite a bit.

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Shilloh #4
Well, things went much better for me that time out - I was able to come away with a resounding 6-2 victory. The war is much closer now with the Confederacy still ahead, but only by a point 20-19. I started with a sharpshooter taking out a general and had good cards throughout. On maps with tough terrain, the right cards make all the difference.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Operation Cobra #8
Go Joe! The Allied squad was able to run Operation cobra with some measure of success (and a little bit of luck in their favor on Jason's last turn). Allies win 5-3, bringing the total for the war to 29-24 in favor of the Axis.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M

Well, the French resistance played well, but in the end lost a close one 4-3. Current score now 26-19 in favor of the bad guys! I may be getting a little greedy still as I often spend a turn or two trying to setup for massive moves (like being able to move all infantry in on section, so I try and get as many infantry there first, rather than just going after Jason).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Battle Cry Charles vs Jason

Kernstown - #3
Well, things were looking good for me up 4-3, but Jason and his rebel scum came roaring back to win 6-4. He took out my cavalry before I could get use out of my hit and run card, and then I really needed a right flank card and couldn't get one to make use of my advanced infantry. The War Between the States now stands at 18-13 in favor of the Confederate army.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Dion

Sword Beach (#3)
I had a good run and and managed a 5-3 victory. I'm not real sure if Dion is just having a bad run (like I was against Jason), or if I have a slight advantage due to having just played each scenario prior to running against Dion. At any rate, the Dion-Charles series is now 12-7 in favor of the Allies (good guys).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M


Well, this one was a quicky that seemed to favor the French resistance. For a change to the real world, the French did not surrender immediately and I pulled out a nice 3-1 victory. The next scenario also looks to favor the French, so it may be time to try and even things up a bit. Current score 22-16 in favor of the bad guys!

Battle Cry - A game log in serial part III

My Dearest Stephanie,
  I'm afraid that this may be the last letter you receive from me for a while. General Curtis has sounded the retreat and we are going to be on the move. The confederate infantry was able to eliminate another battery of artilery on our Eastern flank, and that was more than enough losses for the day.

Bah - Jason won 6-4. It was close - I was very likely in a position to win my next turn if he didn't on this one.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Battle Cry - A game log in serial part II

My dearest Stephanie,
  I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to write. As I was drafting my last letter to you, word came in that General Dodge had ridden off with a section of cavalry and was killed. We were all relieved beyond words when his horse came back with the good general still alive. I fear though that the Southerners took General Dodge's defeat as a sign of weakness as they began to push through our eastern flank and then began an all out assault from the north. Their troops came down like a flood of crazed barbarians shredding our infantry and destroying a battalion of artillery. Moral was indeed low, however General Carr refused to be defeated. He called for infantry from the rear to lay down fire and demolished what was left of a cavalry regiment. His other cavalry and additional skirmishers managed to eliminate a group of southern infantry that were foolish enough to try and advance up the hills to the west of Elkhorn Tavern. The troops feel quite relieved and are now optimistic about our chances.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M Omaha Beach

Jason continues the slaughter with a 6-3 romp. I was lucky to make it that close. I may need to cut back on the agressiveness to try and slow down the bleeding. Axis is now ahead 21-13. The next scenario is only 4 pts, so I'd be lucky to get up two more points.

Too much Age of Steam?

Ted Alspach's Board2Pieces gave me a good laugh today.

I counted on Friday night the number of Age of Steam maps I now have and I'm at 14.

  1. Rust Belt (default)
  2. Ireland (copy)
  3. Germany/Western US
  4. Korea/Scandinavia
  5. France/Italy
  6. 1800 Penn/Northern California
  7. Disco Inferno/Soul Train
  8. Scotland (2 player)
  9. Northern England (fan made)

In addition, I'm planning to get the fan maps for Spain and India done up. For once, I said no to a couple other maps - JC Lawrence's The Sun/London. I've also been hesitant to get the Steam Brother's maps, due to the price and I don't really know if I want a rolled up laminated set of maps. Now, The completionist in me really wants to have a full set, but the realist in me doesn't care that much. Ireland and England is the only ones I REALLY want, but I'm not paying $80 for them. A lot of the others are also so limited as to not make it worth my effort. I like having a variety of maps, I just wish my group wasn't so uptight about playing some of the alternate maps.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Game Night Oct 21, 2006

Friday Oct. 21, 2006 - Gamer's Inn

We had another overlord game of Memoir planned this evening, so when I arrived at the Inn, we spent a little time trying to decide what to get started with. In the end, Noah and Miles Antwiller, Jason Sato, Matt Cullinan, Rich Frangiamore, and I played a game of Liar's Dice to start the night. Unfortunately for Rich, I forced him into a bad call and he got booted the first round. After that, Jason continued to manipulate me into making bad calls. Still, Liar's dice is a load of fun. Next I pulled out Downtown a lesser known German game. Noah, Jason, and Matt joined me. In Downtown, players are trying to make money by "investing" in real estate while planning/zoning areas. Areas make money depending on the areas that have been developed around them and the number of players who have invested. The game is ok and plays up to six players, though is best with 4. About halfway through, Matt remembered that he hates this game (he hates everything), but I can see what annoys him about the game - too much speculation. Its probably a twice a year game - maybe I'll try and trade this one away. Next we split up a bit and Steve Bauer, Mike Gingold and Jason S joined me for a game of Knizia's Samurai. I really enjoy this game a lot, though like every single Knizia game I play, its taken me a few playings to get comfortable with it. Jason and Mike and I have been playing a bit online and I was happy to get this to the table again. Steve looked like he was going to jump out to an early lead and there was plenty of screwage between Mike and me as the game ran on, but in the end Jason was the only player to hold any majority and walked off with the win.
After a short dinner break, we sat down for our game of Memoir Overlord. Jason Sato was the General for the Russian team of Rob Smolka, myself, and Matthew Frederick. The Germans were lead by Jason Maxwell and were played by Bobby Warren, Mike Gingold, and Matt Cullinan. We were able to get a comfortable lead, and Jason S kept a good suppy of cards coming my way. As general of the middle section, I had plenty of tanks as well as the only two artillery batteries in the game. We won easily 12-5. Sadly, the highlight might have been that we forced the Jasons to wear Burger King crowns the whole time.
As we broke up into new games, I pulled out Age of Steam. I was hoping to play my new Disco Inferno maps, but settled for Germany which I hadn't played yet. Jason Maxwell, Noah and Matthew and I settled down to lay some tracks. Of course, within three turns it was apparent that Noah was going to win. He stopped issuing shares at 8 and we played the game out to play for second place. The four of us then finished the night by playing Pirates Cove. This one was new to me and turned out to be a light pirate sail and fight and get treasure type game - arrrrrrrrgh. I managed to jump out to an early lead that allowed me to grab a lot of treasure and stay out of trouble early on. I was able to then carry that through to the end of the game. At least I finished with a win.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Battle Cry - A game log in serial...

March 7th, 1862
My dearest Stephanie,
  General Curtis has taken control of the Union Army of the Southwest. We have recently become awary of the Confederate army attempting to outflank us to the north of Elkhorn Tavern. General Dodge has joined with my commander, General Carr, and we have regrouped in order to try and hold of their approach. General Dodge's forces were the first to be engaged, as the confederate cavalry swept in and surprise one of our cavalry units. The fighting was mild and we sustained only light casualties. General Dodge immediately called up a unit of artillery and they began to rain down destruction. In an effort to see for himself what was happening, the General joined the cavalry units and helped them to finish of the southern riders as the artilery continued their rain of destruction to units further north. The general is calling for his aide, so I must go. I will write more to you later.

My dearest Stephanie,
  Though this appears to pick up immediately, the last hour has been very exciting. General Curtis ordered our units into small skirmishes. Our brave General Carr has himself rode out to join with a section of our cavalry in order to put eyes on our enemy. However, a report of Confederate skirmishers and cavalry advancing on our position in the west has just come in. It sounds like our troops are giving back as good as we are taking, though I fear for our generals.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Dion round 2

I approached this game a bit differently than when Jason and I played, and that combined with a very good run of cards allowed me to shut Dion out 4-0. That puts the Allies ahead 7-4 going into the third scenario - Sword Beach.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M round 4

Well, after a slight pause due to my being fairly busy as of late, we resumed our war. I had forgotten how poorly things were going for me. If I had to do it over, I'd probably have gone at this one a bit differently. The allies really have to get guys to the forest - everything else is really hard to try and get to and kill. Jason won with a commanding 4-1 slaughter. Axis still ahead 15-10 now.

Memoir 44 Charles vs Dion round 1

I realized I didn't post anything about my adventures in VASSAL against Dion. Dion and I also started a campaign of Memoir 44. I'm also playing the Allied side here. The first scenario started out quite promising for me as I jumped out to a very early 3-1 lead and looked like I was going to be able to grab a lightning fast lead in the series. But, it was not to be. Dion kept hammering away at me ended up with a stunning reversal of fortune. In the end, he pulled out the comeback and walked off with a 4-3 win. I could have put the game away, but couldn't get any cards on my right flank to kill off that last unit that was hiding.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M round 3

Sword Beach
Well, things went a bit better for me in the third scenario. I pulled out a two point win and am now down 11-9 overall. I had a good run of cards and that made all the difference.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M round 2

Jason waxed me again. He's now up 8-4. I ended up with all my cards being the one flank I didn't want to fight in and could never get aggressive in any other areas. I was hoping to make it a one point game as it didn't look like a good scenario for me from the get go, but the dice kept me from making an impact and Jason pretty much had his way with me. I made about 30 rules mistakes while playing - hopefully the next scenario goes better from a victory and rules standpoint.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Game Night Oct 6, 2006

Friday Oct. 6, 2006 - Gamer's Inn
This night of gaming turned out to be quite enjoyable as I got in a couple games I really enjoy in addition to playing three new ones. I arrived at the Inn at nearly the same time as Jason Sato and Bobby Warren. We were joined shortly after that by Jerry, so I pulled out Quandary for the four of us. This is the Milton Bradley production of the Knizia card game Flinke Pinke/Loco. I had purchased this one off EBay a while back and finally got it to the table. Standard Knizia stuff here and Bobby pulled out a win and I was very much in last place. For some reason, it takes me about 3-4 play before I figure out Knizia games regardless of how simple the game.

Noah and Miles Antwiller had arrived along with some others, so Noah joined us for Acquire. This is another game that I've never played, even though I had "acquired" the game back in February from Bobby for making him Atolla Modulus. I had read the rules before, so just needed a bit of a reminder and off we went. Despite playing with a bunch of sharks, I managed to pull out a commanding win.

As we finished Acquire, Matthew Frederick showed up with his newly revised Ants of Steam map for Age of Steam he had done a few minor tweaks to the map and redone all the graphics - it looked really good. We played another five player game (Matt Cullinan joined Noah, Jason, Matthew and I) and it played exceptionally well. Sounds like it'll be going to some other groups for playtesting, though I think its probably pretty close.

Next up on the plate was another game that was new to me. Jason had brought Vinci, as Matthew had put together an alternate map for him. He got it out as the five of us all sat down to play. With a brief explanation of the various civ powers, I found Vinci quite easy to pick up. It was pretty interesting, but I could definitely see how there is a kingmaker problem at the end of the game.

Our last game of the night is one I think is often overlooked due to its bright colors and dice combat - Nexus Ops. Looking back, I was surprised to discover this was my only play of this so far this year. The game is quickly played and has enough interesting tactical decisions to make we want to play again and again. For this game it was Matthew, Jason, Steve Bauer and I. I jumped out to an early lead with 4pts in mission cards after two quick fights. Jason and Matthew each score 3pts shortly after leaving Steve to lament his slow start. It didn't take long for Steve to make a move and roar into first place. Matthew left me an opening and I was able to score 4 more pts with one fight. At the end of that turn, I pulled a 4pt mission card! Of course the mission was more than impossible - take two dragons from the monolith and move them to an opponents home base and win a fight for a 3 mine. Needless to say, that didn't happen. I was able to score two more pts in an easy fight, but by then Steve had walked away with the win.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason M round 1

Well, Jason Maxwell and I have started a "campaign" of Memoir 44. While I suspect that most of the action will occur over VASSAL, its not unlikely we may get a game or two in face to face. We are actually going to play through with me playing the Allied side and Jason on the Axis.

After a few mistakes on my side, we got through the first scenario with the Axis winning 4-2. I couldn't get any cards on my left flank and so mostly took a pounding over there. Ah well.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I've discovered VASSAL. VASSAL is an engine that allows users to create mods that allow for the playing of boardgames over the internet (live or PBEM). My friend Dion is going to be out of town for a while, so we are going to try and play some Memoir and possibly some Battle Cry.

I'm also playing against Jason Maxwell. Jason and are are currently working through the first Memoir game. We'll see how long this lasts. The C&C games are fairly light and fun face to face, though I'm not sure how interesting it'll be over the long term playing by email.

There is also a VASSAL module for AoS (three maps - France, Scandinavia, Ireland), though I can't figure out how to seed the goods. AoS might be a bit of a pain though to play by email. The bidding and then choosing actions might make the game too long.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Unplayed games in my collection

I recently created a geek list of the unplayed games in my collection. There were 29 items on the list. That does not include the four new games I have coming or just acquired. That doesn't include the new games I'm likely to get by the end of the year. October, November, December. Three months. Three new games a month makes nine games. Ok so the list of games I think I can reasonable get played by the end of the year:

  1. A Game of Thrones: Storm of Swords - I really like this game. Noah Antwiller is the only other person I know that really loves this game. Typically my desire to play seems to drive our actually playing AGoT. I'm pretty sure I can get this in.
  2. Liberté - I just got this, but Wallace is fairly popular in my group, so this shouldn't be too hard.
  3. Acquire - Bobby has said that I just need to get it out to get it played...
  4. Quandary - This is pretty light (its the early version of Loco!), so it shouldn't be hard to get played.
  5. Terra Nova - This doesn't look terribly difficult to understand and not terribly long, so I can see this hitting the table.
  6. Vinci - I'm pretty sure I'll have no trouble getting everyone to play with my winky.
  7. Age of Steam: Germany - Despite Noah's complaints, I really want to see what Germany is like.
  8. Manifest Destiny - I haven't received this yet, but I want to play this. I enjoyed Age of Renaissance, but didn't care for how long it was (and the book keeping), I'm hoping this scratches the right itch.
  9. Command and Colors: Ancients - ok, I don't own this yet. I'm waiting for the reprint to come out. I still want to play it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Games Played Sept 2006

My summary for the month can be found on the BGG in geeklist form.

I've had a jonesing for some wargame like action, so I'm going to be bringing Nexus Ops, Antike, Game of Thrones and so on during the next month. I also have my new games coming, so I expect I'll try and get Manifest Destiny to the table. Finally, I'd like to get around to playing Vinci. Vinci is popular with my group, so I don't know how I've managed to not play this yet.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Game Night Sept 29, 2006

Friday Sept. 29, 2006
This Friday, we gamed at my place. Jason and Hope Maxwell, Matt Cullinan, Matthew Frederick, Steve Bauer, Dion Gardner and Rob and Tammy Smolka attended. Jason and Hope were the first to arrive, so I pulled out Tumblin Dice, which I knew Jason was interested in trying. Steven arrived shortly after and we all played. Tumblin Dice is something of a dexterity game, in which players push dice shuffleboard-style off a ramp onto platforms. Each platform further down increases the amount the face value of the die is worth (x1,x2,x3,x4). Off course, any die not on the board (forced off or due to your ineptitude) is worth nothing. Though no expert, previous experience and a load of luck let me win. Dion had arrived, so I pulled out Pitchcar and the expansion (action set), which Dion wanted to try. Again, experience with playing helped me pull out a win. By then, Matt had joined us, so Jason pulled out GemBlo for us to play. I've played Blokus many a time, but not this game. While similar, its quite a bit different and take a little getting used to - its definitely not as intuitive as Blokus. I realized early on that there were two big pieces that I wasn't going to get in play and they were the only two I had left in the end. However, Matt had only twol small pieces left for the easy win.
Matthew and Rob and Tammy had arrived, so we ordered some food and broke into two groups. I joined Steve, Tammy, Matthew, and Dion for a first play of Matthew's new Age of Steam map - Ants of Steam. <EDITED> DETAILS SOME OTHER DAY. It only took about three turns to realize we were going to be screwed (no problem - it was a playtest). Matthew upped the deliveries to 3 per turn, which worked out well. Unfortunately, we had already been bidding too much as a few turns later Tammy went bankrupt and Dion hit zero. Steve and I had maxed our credit/shares and were only profitable the last turn of the game. We all seemed to like it and agreeded it probably only needed a few tweaks (that and a slightly different approach to playing than our group normally goes for).
Rob and Tammy left after that, so we all sat down for a game of Citadels. I was between Hope and Steve, Hope was willing to take the King, Steve was not, so I pretty much had bad choices a lot of the game. Not unexpectedly, I was pretty close to last. Even though it was fairly late, everyone felt like getting in a game of Tichu. I teamed with Hope and Matthew. Though the first few hands were good enough for us, the third hand did not look good. I wroted **SCREWED on the scorepad before we started and sure enough, the other team went 1-2-3 to pull ahead. They beats us down again the next hand to go over 500, so we called it a night.

Recent purchases

I bought a few new games recently. First up was Terra Nova. This looks like a light area control game (that's not really the right description - its not like El Grande or San Marcos, more similar to Domaine and Lowenhertz). It was mis-priced for $19 at the local game shop and they gave it to me for that price. The next purchase was Manifest Destiny. I played Age of Renassaince and liked it, but found it to be too long for what it was. This is supposed to be the spiritual sequel that plays in much less time. I'm really interested to see how this plays. I also found a copy of Liberté. I'm a big Martin Wallace fan and have heard good things about this one. In addition, a fellow on the BGG put together a new version of the game map that looks really really nice. I may have to print or mount one of my own. The last purchase was Axis and Allies: Europe. I played a lot of Axis and Allies growing up, and was able to get this version for $10.71 delivered. Even if I play only once or twice, its probably worth it (and of course, it fits my AH/Hasbro games collection). Of course, I've played none of these games. however, if I don't like them, I suppose I can trade them. The list of games I'm willing to trade is shrinking due in part to the large number of math trades I've been in this summer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Online game ending Sept. 26, 2006

Played a game of Samurai on MaBi web with Jason S and Mike G. I've played a number of games with them and I typically get killed. Today I mark my first win in this game (live or online). I don't normally count my online games in my games played list, but this blog is not my games played list, so I'm going to record it :D
Knizia's Samurai keeps climbing my list of favorites. I like it on a table, as the game just looks nice. I enjoy it online as well, because it really plays well in a turned based play-by-web format and doesn't drag on and on. With 4 players, it is a bit chaotic, but even with 3, a string of bad draws can screw you pretty good. That's ok though - its going to be like that with any game with luck. Its the small tactical battles and the ability to screw your opponents that are the fun here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Game night Sept. 22, 2006

Friday Sept. 22, 2006

Friday night was game night for the AZ Boardgamers and the Gamer's Inn. We had also arranged to play a game of Memoir 44 - Overlord style. There were a number of people that were interested in trying this out and really looking forward to it. I started the night out playing a quick game of Schnäppchen Jagd with Noah and his brother Miles. Technically, it was not a real Schnäppchen Jagd deck, but one I put together from two Corsari decks. This is a fun little trick taking game with three players. Miles somehow killed us both. By then, a number of other players had arrived, including Jason S. I had asked Jason for a rematch in Backgammon (he had destroyed me earlier in the year). Backgammon is a classic game that I enjoy a lot, but don't play very often. The first game, I rolled a lot of ones and couldn't get my back pieces out to save my life. The next game, I rolled a lot of sixes, but most of the time it didn't matter because Jason had blocked out most of those moves. A few more players had rolled in, so we called it a match. Some day I'll give him a decent run. Jason and I joined (or were joined by) Steve, Scott, Rich, and Rob for a game of Power Grid (specifically Funkenschlag Atolla Modulis). I brought out my boards and we set about creating a nice map. I picked an area that I thought would give me good chances to get to 14 cities, but that also didn't look attractive enough that I'd have to fight with too many others. I put myself in good position throughout the game, but made a mistake in ending up with three coal plants and spent too much for resources to afford to build to 15 cities. Steve, who had the good fortune of picking the cheapest spot on the board, and competing against Rich (who has only played a couple time) meant that he was able to power 15 cities easily.

After a short break, it was on to the main event - Overlord Memoir 44. The teams were: Axis - Jason S (Supreme Commander), Matthew, Rob, and Bobby, Allies - Jason M (Supreme Commander), Dion, myself, and Matt. We sat down, layed out the game and went over the rules. Three of us (myself, Matt Cullinan and Matthew) were new to the game, and nobody had played the Overlord version. But, most of us were familiar enough with the system that we were able to jump right in. It ended being a pretty tight game. Both sides had a bad string of dice rolls just when it would have let us put the game out of reach. Fortune was smiling on the Allies this night though, as Jason M managed to get a large number of good cards that let us pull ahead at the end. Everyone agreed that the game had been quite fun and we all vowed to do this again.

After sorting the two games back into two games, we sat down for a quick game of Bang!. Playing were Scott, Jason S, Jason M, Matt, Matthew, Dion, and myself. Turned out to be far quicker game than anyone thought. I ended up as sheriff, and within a couple turns, Jason S (as Billy the Kid) opened up with his volcanic ability and took me right out. Given how fast that game was, we opted for another fast card game to end the night - Frank's Zoo in partnerships. My first hand was a good indicator of how the game was to go - I had two mosquitos, no elephants and a lot of crappy singles. Thankfully, the game ended after 3-4 hands.

Game night Sept. 21, 2006

Thursday Sept. 21, 2006

My friend Dion Gardner stopped over as it was my wife's turn to host her Bunco group. We closed ourselves off in my den and settled down to a few games. Dion has been trying to play all the games in top 100 of the BGG, so we started the night off with a game of Carcassonne: The Castle. This is not only a great two player game, but one of my Top 10 games. Dion started building a huge mansion, which I warned him would be hard to finish. Somehow though, he managed to complete it halfway through the game. However, I managed to grab a huge number of bonus tiles and was able to put the game out of reach. Next, I introduced him to a light two player game that I like - Fjords. We only played one round to give him a feeling for the game. He seemed to enjoy it, so I'll probably try to get it out again for us sometime. To finish the night, I pulled out Battle Cry and we quickly setup the first of the senarios. I've only setup and played the game solo before, so it was basically a first game for us both. The game played quickly and the Confederates (my side) pulled out the win. We didn't have time to reverse the field, or I'm pretty sure Dion would have had similar results. We talked about the differences with Battle Cry and Memoir 44 and we resolved to both bring our Memoir games to the next Friday night game night in order to try for an overlord game.