Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tikal - The end.

And there it is. I finished in second place a mere 40 pts behind the winner. My gut tells me that the other two players were not very experienced due to their actions (or inaction in this case) that allowed black to run away as far as they did. I'm as much to blame as well. I failed to notice the crazy advantageous setup black had on the left edge of the board until it was too late. By then, the others had already given up on stopping black and we simply raced to second. Black scored an obscene 50 pts in the last round, a good twenty-ish more than any of us...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Math Trades Again

The Thanksgiving Math Trade has started. I believe the idea is that folks will get the results by Thanksgiving time. Anyway, I did my part and loaded the list with crap:
  • Nexus Ops + dice tower
  • Heroscape Jandar flagbearer
  • Sunken City
  • I'm the Boss
  • ChiZo Rising
  • Ivanhoe
    The only interesting part of this math trade is that you are supposed to list "non-game" things as items or sweeteners only for every 5 games you list (or as one person already pointed out - 5 games you are going to submit a blank want list for so that you could list your geekgold). I'd be really surprised if I trade more than one of the above.
  • Monday, October 22, 2007


    I finally inventoried my Heroscape collection. I got a bit tired of not being able to remember what things I have and which things I still need. The result? I have a lot of stuff. With the exception of the three promo figures and three of the blisters from wave 6, I have nearly one of everything that has come out through wave 7. I have doubles of the base set, the ice set, the forest, and some random doubles of the blisters from different waves (Romans, grut orcs, minute men, snipers & vipers). I finally saw the new Marro base set at Walmart, but didn't feel like dropping $40 for it quite yet. Also coming out sometime in 2008 is the jungle expansions. Gah! Too much stuff!! I even had to get a bigger tub to hold it all. And then, I discovered the best thing to do was put the terrain in the big tub, and the trees and icebergs and such in the other. What a pain.
    UPDATE: I saw a flag bearer at Toys R Us today and snagged it. They had two of the same (Jandar). I would have bought another set if they had had it.

    Tikal Analysis part V

    Wow, the last round seemed to go by pretty quickly. I'm convinced that I'm out of the game. Black has a 5 pt lead on me and has pretty good position. As you can see from the board, a new volcano just came out. So, I need to bid to get the volcano in front of black. That means putting myself even farther down. If beige wants to outbid black, then great, I score second. I just need to score in front of black. But regardless, I think my position on the board is such that second place might be as close as I can get (even that is no sure thing). One nice thing - I had two pairs of masks. Another player discovered the third match to one of the pair, so I went to discover a treasure thinking I'll trade for the match. And what happens? I discovered the other third treasure. So now I have 3 of one and 2 of the other. I need one more treasure to trade and I'll have a pair of triplets. That helps my score, but I don't think it helps enough...

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Oh Hell!

    My aunt and uncle were in town over the weekend, so after a nice dinner out, we sat down for a bit to play some cards. The game played was Oh Hell!. Oh Hell is a trick taking game played with a standard deck of cards. You deal out an even number of cards (in our case 10) to start and bid on how many tricks you are going to take - the stinger being that the dealer cannot bid an amount that will equal the number of tricks in play - thus at least one person each round will fail to make their bid. Now, the last time we played, my dad harassed my mother about hosing whoever followed her. Because I felt a little bad for her, I sat to her left on this night. It was me, Bruce Peterson, Steve Hasegaw, Linda Peterson, then Cathy Hasegawa. In the first game, Linda took a little bit to get in the groove and fell well back, but my uncle cleaned up. We played again, and this time I won by a good margin (which stopped my dad from picking on my mother for a bit). Our last game of the night saw Linda making all her bids for the win.
    Oh Hell is a decent game, but there are a lot of variants out there - Canyon, Rage, Wizard, etc. that I'd rather play with gamers. This on is still a good for the family though.

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Plans for the rest of the year

    While it might be a bit silly and premature to try and "plan out" the rest of the year, I realized that we are getting closer to the end of 2007 and there are still a load of games that need to be played ;).
    So, looking at the calendar, I think maybe 6 more game sessions (maybe more, but 6 is probably reasonable, considering the holiday impact on schedules and such). So, here is a short list of games that I'd really like to get in before the year ends.
  • A Game of Thrones: Storm of Swords 4-player. A bit shorter and just as interesting as the "original" game.
  • Age of Steam. I'd like to get a map played that I haven't tried yet, but at the same time I don't want to introduce an alternate map to players that are new to the game...
  • Torres. This is such a good game, I can't believe I have so few plays of it.
  • Die Macher. Still need to get the king daddy of euro-games to the table.
  • Shogun. The stupid tower keeps calling to me...
  • Nexus Ops. It might be that I grew up playing Risk and Axis and Allies - whatever, I get this itch for a dice and combat and conquest periodically.

    Ok, so I just re-read that list and realize, that the above games probably take up most of 6 sessions, especially as there will be rules teaching and new players (and add in extra time for Justin Easley and his AP ;) ). There are still more games I'd like to play - Descent, Age of Empires, Imperial, Mare Norstrum, Battlelore, etc. Maybe I can find a long Saturday somewhere in there to try and work in a chunk of games.
  • Game Night

    Friday Oct. 19, 2007
    My wife and her friend took our oldest children out for the evening, leaving me to watch our youngest. After seeing them into bed with a story, I sat down with Mike Garrett and Justin Easley for a bit of gaming. We were deciding between Age of Steam vs a couple of other games, and decided to skip Age of Steam with only three players (Mike didn't seem to care for it with three). We started the night with High Society, a Knizia filler that for some reason I had never tried before. Mike explained it and off we went. In the end, Justin ended up having spent too much cash, and my -5 put me too far behind Mike, despite his having the IRS audit (1/2). Next, I introduced the two of them to San Marco. This is a great game that doesn't come out much since it really shines with only three players. Its a pretty straight forward area control game, where the actions for each turn are determined by a hand of cards. The trick is that the cards are divided by one player, and the other players get to pick which of the cards they want to use first. It makes for some delicious decision making. Finally, we ended the night with a game I've been wanting to play again since I was first introduced to it - Vinci. My buddy Matthew Frederick once said this is a great game while you are playing it, but the ending sucks. He was quite accurate about this, so I wanted tot try out the variable ending rules (roll a die to randomly determine the end of the game). Of course, as soon as Mike hit 120 pts, we start rolling and ended the game. At that point, I could only get within three points of Mike, whose civ had just started its downward spiral. Another turn and Mike might have been out of the game. C'est la vie.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    Tikal part IV

    So here we are at the start of round 5. This last round included scoring, which put me in third place, down a single point to jendi and a couple more back of the leader cpsof95 (black). I capped a temple at 6 to ensure myself some pts for the rest of the game and was able to grab a couple of points that black was wrapping up. In this next round, I really need to go before black so I can dig a couple more layers up and then cap one of the many temples he's locking down. I wish red would lock down that seven so that black and beige can't score any off it. Otherwise, this round looks to be pretty uninteresting.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    More Printing

    I'm going in the wrong direction. I have this package of cardstock, and its like I can't NOT print something if I have it. Anyway, added a couple more printouts to my list of things to mount and cut.

  • Space Junkyard. There are actually two versions of this, the second being a revised version with nicer graphics. I choose this one of course.
  • Triumvirate - the official 3-player expansion for Mare Nostrum.

    I also need to mention - double sided stuff is a pain in the arse. I think I've got an ok solution, but its still a pain to do.

    Also of some minor note. I've been trying to find some textured papers to print on. I found a "sketch" pad of specialized artist's paper (I forget the exact type). The have different types for inks, charcoals, watercolors, etc. At any rate, this paper's texture is very similar to the the linen finish that some game boards have (The Game of Thrones boards are good examples). The color laser printer has trouble with paper that is too thick, so I printed out some stuff on my wife's inkjet printer (her printer handles larger papers that mine does not). As was typical, the end results appeared to be "muted", but after a spray of Krylon crystal clear, they are nearly as bright as the laser printed version (though more effort of course). I now need to finish the work and see if the end result was worth the effort and increase costs. If so, I might try to do Mike Doyle's PR-II set this way.
  • Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Why Do I Collect?

    A gamer blogged about collecting and buying and the obsession many of us have with this hobby. So here's my response to why.

    Why do I collect boardgames and why do I feel the urge to buy and trade them all the time? First - I like to play games. I like the problem solving exercise I get. I also like the competition aspect. Though I enjoy sports and athletics, I'm not a natural gifted athlete in any way, so mental gymnastics have been the only thing I can effectively be competitive at (this might be why I also like golf competitions, since its usually done by handicap). And I like the social aspect. I like sitting around talking and BS'ing about anything. The game is an activity itself, but it also allows for other things to happen simultaneously.
    Yeah, so what does that have to do with owning a bazillion (201 and counting) games? When I first started playing, I never imagined I'd own 20 games. But what I found was, if I really liked a game, I wanted to have it around in case I wasn't playing with my friends that owned the game. I also wanted it, in case I wanted to play and they hadn't brought it out to game night. And so, my collection grew. At one point, I started grabbing anything that sounded good or was cheap. I realized I was starting to just horde and started trading most of those games away. My collection is now comfortable. Which is not to say that I won't be getting more games. It just means I like where my collection is currently at. I don't feel like I have any glaring "holes". I have games that are good for just about any number of people 2-8+. I have strategy games, war-ish games, card games, race games, abstracts, ameri-trash games, euro-snot games, filler games, thematic games, gamer games, classics, etc. In fact, I hit a certain point where I wanted to play new games less, and play some of my games that I owned more often. So what keeps me buying now? New and interesting games. Things that I will enjoy. Price helps, but you can sell a lot of crap on Tanga that I won't touch. Expansions draw me in, but there are limits. I haven't touched Runebound yet, due to my completist needs. I've also gotten into some rarer games, but only if I will play them. I don't need to own things I won't play like Rail Baron and Advanced Civilization.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Game Night

    Friday Oct. 12, 2007 - Game Shoppe
    After a bit of confusion on what we were going to do tonight, I headed out to the Game Shoppe in Bellevue. My only real plan was to meet up with Steve Wicklund to try and get in some Power Grid. As luck would have it, when I arrived, Mike Garrett was at the store when I arrived, so things looked good. Bob Huntsman and his lady friend Isabelle were there waiting for their group, so we all sat down to play No Thanks! while we waited for folks to show up. My copy was new and Mike didn't do a great job of shuffling the cards, so there was a lot of grouped cards that first game. Bob and Isabelle weren't impressed, so Scott and Sam joined us for a second game. Mike easily won both games.
    By then, the other(s) had shown up in Bob's group, so Scott, Mike and I broke off to go setup Power Grid while we waited for Steve. He was along shortly, so I jumped head first into explaining the game. I sort of pushed him into the deep end, but he seemed to grasp everything really quickly. We played the American map, with the most eastern (cheaper) areas. What made this game really strange was that nuclear power came out early and often and Steve and Scott were fighting over it. There was at least one turn that Steve wasn't able to power his 5-city nuclear plant because he had no fuel. I stayed away from that, but ended up with a couple expensive oil plants. Coal and garbage were not seen much, nor used much. In fact, we had a lot of expensive plants early (a bad sign that the mid game would stall with bad plants) and sure enough, things stagnated right after we jumped to step 2. At this point, I could power 12 cities, so I kept plowing ahead in my purchases of cities. I grabbed a garbage plant to power 3 cities and when the others stalled, I simply built to 17 and ended the game powering 3 cities in more than the others. Scott and Steve were new and the weird plant battle the had going on hurt them a lot, but I give a lot of credit to the AZBoardgamers for my success - playing with that ruthless efficient bunch really honed my PG skills and it showed - I was able to pour it on when they slowed down. For the record, I started with the #06 (garbage) plant, not the #04 plant. The Noah garbage strategy wins again!
    After we finished up, we had time for another game, so I pulled out Mykerinos - a neat little area control game that I'm terrible at. This game was no exception. I only got a couple guys into the museum and I failed to notice that all of the red patron cards were gone before the final round, eliminating my chance to get the full set of patrons. I scored a load of boards the final round, but it was too little too late. I easily ended up in a last with Steve pulling out the win. This game is fun, but there is a lot going on to try and think about, and I'd need to play it a lot more to really get a better handle on it.
    Scott was done for the night, but Steve wanted to try No Thanks!, so the three of us played a quick hand of this. I was finally able to do some damage and won the last game of the night.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Print and ...

    Well, its supposed to be print and play. Lately, I've done a lot of printing. A lot. My company conveniently put a color laser printer out which I've put to good use. Last night as I cleaned up my office, I realized I've been printing a lot of things. Here are the things I have printed that I need to cut and mount:
  • Atolla Modulis (Power Grid expansion)
  • Alternate Vinci map
  • A couple copies of the Zooloretto expansions
  • The Puerto Rico Haiti expansion
  • Mike Doyle's first Puerto Rico revision
  • Michael Schacht's Dschunke: Das Legespiel
    Hmm... Only one of those is really a PnPLAY - Dschunke. The rest are all expansions (or in the case of the Mike Doyle stuff, re-imaged). I don't know why I like doing this stuff. Maybe its because when I'm done, the things look a lot like a purchased set of pieces. It might be because I like having game things that not a load of other people have. I don't know. At any rate, I foresee a lot of gluing and cutting in my future...
  • Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Tikal Analysis part III

    Ok, so here we are at the start of round 5. Roughly half way through the game. No volcano this turn, which means a lot of positioning, because its likely we'll see one next round. Scores are pretty well tied up. Jendi made an expensive move to cap the temple, but that should pay off. This round has a level 5 temple out. I'm in a good position where it may pay to bid 3-4 to grab that tile, move a guy on it, raise it to a 6 and cap it. That would help me to mitigate the guaranteed 21 pts that Jendi is going to see from his the rest of the game. 4 pts might hurt, because it would leave me short to bid on the volcano the next round. We'll have to see how the bidding goes. This is a game where it pays to have a really strong bidder in front of you. When scoring comes around, someone that will take the volcano will give you scoring second, which is often just as good and doesn't cost you anything. I really hate bidding just so that the slob after me doesn't win the volcano. There are only 3 artifacts to grab this round, so I'd be hard pressed to see them, plus I'm not really in a position for them to help me. If I get really lucky, someone will pull the matching mask to mine, so I can get a 3-piece set.

    Math Trade Results

    Math trade results came out over the weekend. I traded away Niagra, Hey! That's My Fish and a copy of the Zooloretto expansions. In return I got Crib Wars, Fifth Ave, and 110 geekgold. Overall, a B- in the results. I got Crib Wars, which isn't easy to find. I don't know if my Dad and Mom will be interested or not - its a twist on Cribbage, but we'll see. If it doesn't look hot, Mike Gingold from AZ might be interested. Fifth Ave isn't one I care about one way or the other, but it is part of the missing Alea Big Box series that I don't have yet. With that acquisition, I will have 8 of the 11 games. Two of the 11 I don't have are easy to get, but I may never complete the set as Chinatown just gets more and more expensive. At any rate, I moved two games that I won't play (and were inexpensive), for two games of roughly the same value.

    Monday, October 08, 2007


    I'm about to hit 200. Two Hundred games in my collection. Ok, I admit, not really. A very large chunk of those are not games, but rather expansions - 45 to be exact. Wow, 25% of my collection of games are just expansions. That number would probably be even higher if BGG broke down the various Heroscape expansions even farther than they currently do. 150 is still a lot of games. Games I'm just not getting played enough. I'm going to have to work harder on getting these played.


    Played a quicky against my sister online yesterday. 4-players (2 bots). I dropped my rating on this down to a 7 (from 7.5) on the BGG. There is just too much luck and not enough strategic control. 4-player in teams is better and I'd play that just about any time. I wonder if this was played without a "hand" if this would be better. Maybe if there were 6 tiles to choose from for all players or you could just pick any tile. Yes, you'd see all the doubles played right away - so what? Something to make this more strategic.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Tikal Analysis part II

    Ok, so here we are at the end of round 2. The first person to win a tile was Jendi, who did not place the volcano. Since Jendi won for 1 pt, I immediately bid 1 the next round and won it - and I took the volcano. And like I indicated in my last posting, it made no real difference. Here I sit exactly 1 pt in the lead. Whoooopee-do.

    Math Trade

    SO I spent forever last night working out my want lists for the math trade. I had 4 items (Nexus Ops+dice tower, Niagra, Hey! That's My Fish, and Zooloretto expansion) in the list of 1400. A mere 65 pages of games to sift through. Thank god for Jeff's trade tool. I need to win geek gold to tip him. So, I originally thought - I'll trade any of these for anything close to things I want. Then I decided that Niagra was a border line trade because its heavy and it was a Spiel de Jahres winner. So off I went compiling the list. And about 30 pages in, I got bored. Things I would have added at the start I skipped later on. Just too much effort. Math trades are a bit fun, but the really need to be much shorter and focused. There seemed to be a stupid amount of geekgold in the list. Which is fine, but really, do we need entries for amount say under 50? Some of the random stuff I recall adding to my list:
  • Formula De foamcore mats. Very cool (even if I never play the game).
  • Puerto Rico. Yes, I have an unopened copy. My plan is to get another and some "upgrades" to it and see if I can trade it up.
  • Age of Steam, Wallenstein, Roads and Boats, RrT, Union Pacific, multiple Betrayals, lots of geekgold. All things I don't mind getting, don't care if I don't.
  • The things I would like to get: Pompeji, Villa Pilleti, WoW, Runebound, Himalaya, Diplomacy(Hasbro ver), Crib Wars,
  • Wednesday, October 03, 2007


    Continuing my streak of playing poorly in Samurai (which I will keep blaming on bad draws), I finished a three player game on MaBiWeb. I struggled to get anything going most of the game, as the other two seemed to have strong hands and I was getting killed. Finally, there tiles slowed down and I pulled down a few at the end. The game almost filled the board, and in the end, the best I could managed was a two-way tie for first. Final scores (majorities - others - total):
    Charles: 1-5-9
    tibelix: 1-3-7
    RickT: 1-5-9