Sunday, September 30, 2007

Game Night and The Beast Got Loose!

Friday Sept. 28, 2007
I headed to the Game Shoppe in Bellevue for some gaming, though with no real plan in mind. I didn't know who might show up, but I knew they were talking about doing a Ticket to Ride tournament, so I had backup if there were no other games to play. As it turned out, the tournament ended up being myself, and three others - Becky, Heath and Will (though Becky manages the Shoppe, so she disqualified herself from winning anything). At any rate, the four of us sat down to play 3 games of TtR, with the winner being decided by total score over three games. I had brought along my 1910 expansion (just in case) to play with the bigger train cards. In the end, we decided to just play the whole expansion, so there was a lot of routes. The first game saw Becky winning by a wide margin, while Will completed one ticket. Will won the next game, but it couldn't bring him back from that terrible first game. I played steadily, but never got big ticket draws, nor did I ever get ticket draws that matched my completed areas. Oh well. In the end, the scores were -
Charles: 378
Heath: 396
Will: 291
Becky: 395
After we finished playing, Heath and Becky taught us Ivanhoe. This was a light little Knizia card game that was good enough that I grabbed a copy.

This Friday must have also been a full moon, because I walked out of the Shoppe with a lot more games than I had before I left. I traded a copy of Villa Paletti plus I made him the Zooloretto expansion for his copy of Mare Norstrum + its expansion. I had purchased Imperial months ago, and it had come in shortly after I ordered it. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to pick it up until now, so I also had that in my hand. Apparently, this wasn't enough, so I grabbed a couple of BattleLore expansions. The Dwarven Battalion Specialist Pack and the Goblin Skirmishers Specialist Pack. That should have been enough, but I also ended up grabbing Ivanhoe and some dice. I grabbed a set of frosted purple dice that should look awesome under black lights. I have a plan...

Friday, September 28, 2007


I just finished a two-player game on MaBiWeb today. I made a pretty bad move near the end that cost me - I let the other guy grab a second majority rather than tying it out. I'm also in a 3-player game with him, hopefully I can pay him back, but I haven't been playing very well lately. I was in the zone for a while, now I'm way out of it.

Tikal Analysis

I started a game of Tikal online, as I discovered that has implemented the auction variant of the game. So, since these games are going to take forever, I thought I'd offer a bit of analysis as the game goes. Feel free to add commentary about what you'd do. Here's a shot after round one. Pretty standard stuff. Jendi was the only player to bid at all in round one and took the masks. Big lot of good it did them - all it really did was start them a point behind. So now, after round one, nobody is really "ahead". Pretty standard stuff. Interestingly, we start round two with a volcano. Jendi bids first. What would you do? Jendi bid one. I think it makes not an ounce of difference when only 5 tiles are on the board if you get to play that volcano first or not. But, if you really really have to go first, don't you think the correct bid is 2? This early in the game, 2 makes everyone else who might really really want the bid sweat a lot, because they'd have to say 3. Is first position (or even not last) really worth 3 for the 5th tile in the game? I don't think so - I don't even think its worth 2, so I passed. The reason the auction variant make Tikal better is that it adds another delicious set of choices to consider and another level of confrontation, while eliminating the randomness that can cost you the game through no fault of your own. However, if you are going to play in the auction, don't give the winning bid to another player - bid the correct amount.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

So many games, so little money

I want to buy...
A lot of games. And gaming accessories. I still need to get a decent set of poker chips. I've just about convinced myself to get the brass ones, so I'll probably order a sample set just to be sure. Heroscape continues to taunt me with new waves, including the new Master Set 2: Swarm of the Marro with its cool swamp landscape. I need to go back and catalog my collection a bit to see which blister packs I don't have and which ones I have dupes for. Regardless, I probably have another $100 worth of crap calling my name. There is always a list of games. I could put together a list of Thoughthammer games in about two seconds. Hell, I could build the list with just expansions I think - C&C:Ancients - Greeks, Arkham Horror expansions, Decent Expansions, BattleLore expansions. And of course, the out of print and really expensive games I still want (and will probably never get) - Chinatown, Antiquity, Indonesia, etc. What I really need to do is concentrate on getting more playtime for the things I have.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My sister Tobey and I sat down to play a few games tonight (over the web of course, since she lives in MA and I don't). We started with some two player games, and I smoked her 3-0. However, in the 4-player games, she killed me. Not even close. 2-0. Matthew Frederick then came online and the three of us played 3-player. We each took a game. Tobey won 14-12-8, Matthew won 9-7-5 and I won 11-7-7. Matthew was having connectivity issues, so he called it a night. Tobey and I decided to play one more game of teams and she and Computer #2 beat the hell out of me and Computer #1. My partner really sucked.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two and Out

Well I finished up (and out) of the Samurai tourney today. I got killed in my three player game. Not only did my opponents do a great job of frustrating me, my tile draws never really let me recover or fight back. In the end, there was a tie for first with me looking in wishing it were otherwise. C'est la vie. Final Scores (majorities - others - total):
Charles: 1-3-9
Cornjob: 1-5-9
specturm: 1-5-9

Monday, September 24, 2007

Math Trade notes

Its interesting, but I've started seeing something that I'd like to take credit for - homemade stuff in the trade lists. I'd like to think I was the first to try this, when I traded Atolla Modulis in a math trade. Up until this point, any games listed in trades were real published games. In the current trade going on, there are a number of print and play copies of games being traded, as well as a number of misc game accessories: I've got a dice tower as a sweetener, one guy that does a load with foamcore has card racks for Arkham, player mats for Formula De, etc. Now, I don't think this is a bad trend, as long as the PnP stuff has been well printed and mounted. At any rate, its an interesting phenomenon (do do do do do - phenomenon, do do do do) and I think its cool, though it means my cool new trick is now not as cool. Oh well.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Played Ingenious online again against my sister. This time I went for a more prepared "format". We played one-on-one, 4-player, and teams. Today's one-on-one matches saw Tobey winning 3-2. We then switch to 4-player mode and I won 2-1. In fact, in both my wins, I filled out my boards! The team play games were also close as the computers suck. I won out 2-1, wrapping up 2 of the 3 modes of play for the day. That's another 11 plays today. At this rate, I'm going to get in 100 plays of this by the end of the year easily!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Ok, so I finally figured out how to play Ingenious over the internet and my sister and I plowed through a huge number of games. 13 to be exact. We played one-on-one, 4-player with computer bots, and in teams with computer partners. When playing with bots, we counted a win as scoring more than the other person. I "won" 10-3 on this day. Like most Knizia games, the secret to Ingenious is simply to be more efficient than your opponents. Everyone gets the same number of turns, unless you are more efficient - then you get ahead of them! This one is still best played in teams.

Math Trades Again (part II)

So, I can't help myself. I found 3 games to trade. Nexus Ops (with a dice tower sweetener to see if I can't get some separation from the millions of others that will show up), Niagra, and Hey! That's My Fish. Nexus Ops is the only one I really don't want, as I already have a copy and I only got the second for trading. Actually, I don't care if Niagra stays or goes - I got it for like $13 at B&N last winter, but it did win the Spiel. Maybe I'll try to seriously trade up on that one just to see. Hey! That's my fish is a decent game, takes longer to set up than to play, so if I can get a good game for it instead I will.

Samurai on MaBiWeb

Got another two player game in. This time the game was really tight. For the early part of the game, I figured I was pretty hosed, but managed a comeback that was really only thwarted because I never drew my switch tile. I lost the big city 2-1 and then lost one of the two-piece cities. I snagged the other, but I needed the switch tile to move one of the Buddhas so that the game couldn't end, but to no avail. Still a good game.
Final score (majorities - others - total):
Charles: 1 - 4 - 8
cmmajoue: 2 - 0 - 7
Winner: cmmajoue

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Math Trade

Another math trade started. I don't know why I care - I don't really have anything I desire to not have at the moment. However, since its been a few weeks since the last math trade, I'd guess there will be an explosion of the latest tanga games as well as all the previous ones that went nowhere. I traded Ark for Trias in the last trade - I may take a look and see what should go. I may include a dice tower as a sweetener - I think I'm an addict...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Samurai on MaBiWeb

Got in a fast two-player game today. The game started with random hands and I got a few pieces that let me do what I needed to do in order to win - that is I pulled down all three of the pieces in the capital city and got both pieces out of one of the two-piece cities. And that's the key in two player games - you cannot let your opponent nail all three pieces in the big city. Three pieces is just too hard to overcome. You have to get at least one of the three pieces. If you can help it, you shouldn't let them have both pieces in the two-piece cities either (unless you are getting the other two for yourself at the same time). Anyway, after I grabbed the three, the rest fell in place quickly.
Final score (majorites - others - total):
gRom: 1 - 2 - 6
Charles: 2 - 3 - 8

Since its Talk Like a Pirate Day

My pirate name is:

Red James Kidd

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Solo Gaming On My Computer part deux

So in my last post, I noted that I play a lot of solo Ingenious, PR, and St. Petersburg. In addition to these, I also play a bit of San Juan, Samurai, Taj Mahal, Go and Formula De. Samurai is a pretty decent adaptation, but the company that did it apparently folded before I could purchase a license to unlock the game. The demo is supposed to expire after 5 plays, but there is a registry modification that will reset this, so I can play as much as I like - what I really wanted to purchase this was for the alternate maps that the game included. Oh well. I actually prefer Samurai against real people, and since I can easily find a game on MaBiWeb, I tend not to play much solo. San Juan is a decent program, except that its painfully slow for the CPU to take its turns (and like PR, if you accidentally choose the wrong role, you are screwed - no take backs). Due to its slowness, I almost never play this despite my enjoying the real game. With PR on my computer, I may never play SJ again on my computer. Taj Mahal is a decent adaptation of the real game, except the thing that I think makes the real game tense is the "bluffing" against real people. It does play quickly though and is good practice for a game that isn't that intuitive out of the box. The author of Taj Mahal also wrote a solo version of Tycoon, which I have not tried. There are a load of Go games out there, I found one that is pretty easy to jump into and play, but I suck at the game - it seems to be a game that require I put in more time than I want. If I had someone to play Go with live, I might practice more. Its a lot like chess as far as that goes - good game, but I just don't have the time or willingness to "figure" it out. As for Formula De, FD on the computer is my preferred way to play this game. I really want to like FD, but the real game is just too damn slow. Why? Because its not easy to count out and see where your cars can possibly go. With the computer version, you click on a die and see exactly where you could land, then you roll and again - see exactly where you can move. Each turn takes about 15 seconds as opposed to 5+ minutes. Someday, I'll get this hooked up to a projector and get an 8 player game going and everyone will have a good time in about 2 hours instead of 5. I'd play this one a lot more too, but this is a game that I think is really best against a large number of real people.

In addition to those games, there are a number of games that are available for solo play on the net. Matthew Marquand has solo versions of Ingenious, Clans, and Coloretto on I haven't played Clans, but the versions of Ingenious and Coloretto are fun. The only reason I really wanted the new version of Ingenious was to play it online (which I have yet to do). I know there are some other site and downloads out there, I just haven't tried them yet. I found a simple version of Acquire out there at one point, but it didn't interest me enough to keep playing (though I like the game itself a fair amount). There are a bazillion versions of "classic" games like Risk available. Most big game sites like Microsoft's the Zone or Yahoo! games offer solo-playable classic games like checkers, backgammon, cribbage, etc.

Its worth mentioning that Days of Wonder offers a number of games including the excellent Ticket to Ride online. Its been a long time since I've checked it out, but you used to be able to play for free (with a few caveats). This was a very well done version that was a load of fun to play solo.

Finally, I also found some old computer games of boardgames at - 1830, Heroquest and Advanced Civ. These are all the original commercial releases of these boardgames that were done back in the days of DOS. I grabbed copies to see if I can't force myself to try these out and learn the games. I'm not real sure I'd ever sit down to play a real game of 1830 or Advanced Civ, but having tried them might help the cause. I also have an unopened copy of Age of Imperialism! (both the real game and the computer version) sitting around my office. Most of the knocks on this game deal with flaws in the boardgame itself, so I'm not sure that the computer version will make it any better - thus the reason I haven't tried it.

On the list of games that I wish there were computer versions of so I could play solo: Age of Empire III, Die Macher, Arkham Horror, Nexus Ops, Antike (heck, the more I sit and think about it, I'd probably play most of my games on the computer with the exception of pure auction games like Ra, Modern Art, Princes of Florence, Power Grid, etc).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Solo Gaming On My Computer

I've been playing a lot of Ingenious and Puerto Rico lately. Solo. On my computer. These two games have joined St. Petersburg in my rotation of computer games that I can play in roughly 10-15 minutes when I get bored. I just happened to catch a thread on the BGG about Ingenious being available for free for 24 hours. I knew that Ingenious had recently been done, so I jumped over and grabbed it. Not long after I did that, my copy of Puerto Rico showed up. I had only played PR once a long time ago. While I enjoyed it, I barely remembered how to play and wanted to brush up on it before trying to get it to the table again. Unfortunately, these are now three games that probably won't hit the table much unless someone else is dying to play them. Its hard to suggest a game that take soooooo much longer to play in real life. While PR against real people is probably much more entertaining, its so much faster and less fiddly to just play on my computer. It takes care of things automatically and I don't have to chase bits down. Same for Ingenious and St. Petersburg - the programs calculate things quickly and automatically. I'll most likely be downgrading my ratings on these games the next time I sweep through my ratings. Not because the games are bad, but because I just won't want to play them face to face given other options (actually, I'd still jump at 4-player Ingenious in teams). They are still ok on my computer. One other thing that came up because of this - I started looking for other versions of games out there to either try or whatnot. I ran down a few games which I'll talk about later when I have more time to post.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Samurai Tourney Rd2

Round two was detailed in an earlier post. As expected, I didn't win, but it was an exciting game of ups and downs. Its a double elimination tourney, so everyone I played gets to advance to the next round of three player games. I've historically done better three-way, so here's hoping that holds true. Final scores (majorities - others - total):
Schuyler: 1 - 5 - 9
Charles: 1 - 3 - 7
elricz: 1 - 4 - 9
ratpfink: 0 - 6 - 6
Winner: Schuyler