Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 2008 Game of the Month

Unsurprisingly to me, Starcraft easily makes my January 2008 game of the month. This beauty came to me thanks to winning a $100 gift cert to ThoughtHammer. The giant box is loaded with the standard Fantasy Flight fare - tons of minis, big glossy rulebook, thick cardboard pieces, and loads of cards. This game scratches just about the same itch that Game of Thrones does for me, but should play well with 3-4-5 equally. I'm not convinced that Game of Thrones with A Clash of Kings Expansion isn't the better choice for this itch with 6 though. But - what's not to like? It does exactly what the video game did so well at - it balances three completely different races (and here it even goes one more step, breaking each race into two factions). Each faction requires a different approach, and the game board is uniquely built each game - in fact, setting up the game board is part of the game and influences a lot of things. Expect this one to take 45-60 minutes a player (not including rules). The length is one of the few downsides to this one.

Other games in contention for January? Memoir '44, which saw a ton of action with Jason Maxwell via Vassal. Ca$h 'n Gun$ was also new to me and I had a riot each time I played it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Game Night (Wherein Mike and Charles Have a Few Laughs)

Friday - Jan. 25, 2008
Mike Garrett and I headed out to the Game Shoppe for a bit of gaming. They were having a Ticket to Ride tourney, but I didn't think Mike had much interest, and so I brought a load of stuff to play with Mike and his friend Mike Linder. When we all were there, I asked Mike what he was up for and told him what I had brought - he said we can either play Starcraft or a whole lot of other games. Well, it was no surprise to me that he choose Starcraft. We saw Scott sitting around not playing Ticket to Ride, so we invited him to join us, and another of guy Mike knew named Conrad Engel also joined us. We pulled out the game, picked sides and I started in on the rules. The players /factions were: Charles/Green/Zerg, Mike G/Blue/Terran, Mike L/Orange/Protoss, Scott/Red/Terran, Conrad/Purple/Zerg. As I was going through the rules, another guy Scott knew (Tom) joined us for the 6th player (Tom/Yellow/Protoss). Having played before, I started as first player - Mike G the only other player to have tried out the game would be second. We got setup with a fairly interesting board. Unfortunately for me and Mike L/Orange, we both drew the only two worlds without a conquest point space on our first draws. This ended up being really bad for Mike L/Orange, as his second world was the two area world, leaving him resource short to start the game. I ended up a bit on the fringe and was happy. We played through two rounds and then Mike G pointed out something to me that we had both overlooked in our first playing - special victory conditions can only happen in the 3rd stage of the game. We had taken that to mean the third phase (place order, execute orders, regroup) and had thus ended our first game really early. Mike and I both looked at each other and laughed, realizing that we hadn't been planning on the game lasting this long. We both immediately took a turn to regroup and concentrate on upgrades. We also agreed not to tell the Justins until we had to. The fighting started almost immediately, with yellow attacking randomly. This proved to be his downfall, as he got immediately squashed (and eliminated) by Conrad/purple. This turned out to give the game to Conrad, who then spent the rest of the game turtled in his Zerg swarm with his special victory condition in place, and a good lead on us in the conquest points. The rest of us were busy battling back and forth. After about 4 turns, Scott had to leave, but his place was taken by Sam who had played three times before, so he jumped right in. Interestingly enough, we corrected him on a couple rules, which probably changed the game for him a bit, he also didn't have much of a chance having to take over for someone else. He did managed to nearly eliminate Mike/Orange. Mike/Orange somehow managed to stay alive and then hoped to try and last to 15 before the third stage could hit. It was not to be, and after 6 turns, we hit the third stage. Conrad had been pulling as many event cards as he could to speed up the game and it worked. four of us hit our victory conditions but we were all at least 3 points behind Conrad. It was a long game, but I'm still pretty sure that if everyone knows the rules, its maybe 45 min a player. My only real complaint so far is that the game takes up a huge amount of space - more than any game I know.
We finished up and Mike grabbed Ca$h and Gun$, which was the same brain-refresher we needed after the last Starcraft game. Sam left, and we were joined by Becky and her boyfriend Heath. The smack talk started before we even had all the pieces out and we were laughing the rest of the game. A good end to the night (plus I won).

** Um, I didn't win. Mike G and I tied. Then of course the tie breaker is the guy with the least shame (tie) and then the guy with the most wounds. Of course, I hadn't been shot, but Mike had, and he won.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

This was a fairly large fight (to 7 pts) that pits the Russians against a huge invading force. Jason basically had his back two rows filled with units. Realizing that he'd be tank blitzing the hell out of me, I took a risk and tried to push him early, hoping that a few flags would help thin him out a bit. Sadly, I hardly rolled any and only managed a paltry 3 kills before Jason finished me off.
Total score: Axis: 183 - Allies: 173
Eastern Front: Axis: 13 - Allies: 7

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Battle Cry - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

Well, we finished the Civil War (sort of). The last of the official scenarios was Glorieta and Jason beat me a lot 5-2. That made it 106-95. I'm vaguely interested to know if it'd be similar if we did it again, but not interested enough to actually find out...

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

We started into the Eastern Front expansion with [RUSSO-FINNISH WAR] SUOMUSSALMI. I'm not sure I'm a fan of this expansion from the Russian player side at all. I dislike having to expose my next card. At least for this scenario, it turned out ok, as the weaker ski troopers were getting whittled down pretty quickly. I had one nice turn where I nailed 3 of Jason's units out of nowhere. I surprised myself and pulled out a 6-4 win. Creeping closer and closer the war is now Axis: 174 - Allies: 172

We are replaying this. Turns out, the card I play under the chip isn't face up - due to the interface I didn't realize that until Jason read the blog. After further review - its not face up. However, I didn't get the timing quite right, so we are going to redo it. The redo went against me 6-4 which changes the score to Axis: 176 - Allies: 170

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Battle Cry - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

SAVAGE STATION - Jason and I had to restart this one after about 4 turns, because on my first turn, I started playing the wrong side of the map and Jason didn't apparently think anything of it and just assumed the other...

So after that... There was a rail line and some special rules for that - turned out not to matter a whit, since we played almost the entire game on the other side of the map. In fairly standard BC play, I ran across the map trying to make a charge to hit Jason's forces before he could inflict too much damage. This time, it didn't work. Jason won 6-4 to make it 101-93 for the war. Only one official scenario left...

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

The war is slowly evening up between us. Here was another fairly standard scenario where I was able to get my tanks into play (and they lasted long enough to do some reall damage). A 5-2 win for me makes it Axis: 170 - Allies: 166

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

Jason and I continued our recent Memoir games with [ITALY] THE GOTHIC LINE. This was a fairly straightforward affair with lots of varied terrain. The fight was pretty even and went back and forth, with Jason taking a 3-2 lead in the game. I was then able to use a tank attack to kill then weaken a unit allowing another unit to finish the weaker one to take a nice 4-3 lead. Jason blew up my infantry that had just taken out his guys to tie it all up. Then I noticed that this scenario only went to 5 medals, so I ran a tank into a town and claimed the last medal to win 5-4. The total score is now Axis: 168 - Allies: 161. As a side note, this is now the 10th game of Memoir I've played already this year, making it a dime for 2008 17 days in!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blokus Trigon vs THE TOB

My sister and I played some Blokus Trigon again tonight (apparently we did before and I missed logging it). Anyway I had some form of Blokus Trigon dyslexia tonight and couldn't see the shapes correctly. We played to a tie, but apparently the tie breaker online is TIME. I lost despite a 197-197 score. Ah well.

Battle Cry - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

LEETOWN (Pea Ridge) - Jason and I fired up Battle Cry again. After whipping through so many of the Memoir scenarios recently I was surprised at the slow pace of this game (despite knowing the game was slower). It had apparently been a while since this had been dragged out - April of 2007 to be exact. At any rate, this particular battle was fairly standard as far as BC fights went - I made a charge, Jason made a charge, and in the end, he outlasted me. Jason won 6-4 and the Confederates are now ahead 95-89 for the war. I think I'm going to drop my rating on this game again. Its still a good game, and so far, I think it captures the feeling of the combat for the period better than the other Command and Colors games, but its just not as fun as the others.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

[NORTH AFRICA] KASSERINE PASS - this one looked interesting. The Allies were dug in for a change, and it looked like the axis would need to be the aggressor. However, I took advantage of my cards and rushed some tanks, extending to quick 4-2 lead. For a turn, it looked like I might manage another sweet victory. But it was not to be, as Jason made a great return tank blitz and took out unit after unit. In the end, he pulled out a 6-5 victory. The total score is now Axis: 164 - Allies: 156

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Game Day

Saturday Jan. 12, 2008
Steve Wicklund stopped over with his kids in an effort to get a little gaming in and to let our kids run around a bit. Mission accomplished. We started with some BattleLore. Steve had not yet played with lore and it had been a while since we played, so we setup the Wizards and Lore scenario (the first lore scenario in the base set). I played the French to Steve's English army and used my familiarity with the system to race out and best him 6-2. Steve managed to keep me from using any lore effectively, which was probably for the best. After feeding the munchkins, we switched side. Steve noted that I only needed to kill three armies to win on both sides. I killed his third army after we tied 2-2, so we called it there. Steve had a little time left before he had to take off, so I pulled out Babel, which I had received in a math trade last year. This is a two player game that I knew nothing about. Basically, each side is trying to build temples using a hand of cards to "pay" for the temple levels as well as for their special abilities to steal or harm the opponent's temples. After one playing, we both said it was ok. I beat Steve and it was obvious that one major flaw was the game's randomness (due to the cards). Oh well, probably just end up as a trade sweetener now.

Game Night

Friday Jan 11, 2008
This particular Friday night, I headed over to Justin Easley's place for the BIG EVENT. I had purchased Starcraft with the money I had won on a BGG giveaway to ThoughtHammer. We had all wanted to get in a bit of an epic game and we all wanted to try this out. When I arrived, Justin Kosec was already there, so we sat down and started to punch everything out and sleeve all the cards (thanks for the help guys). About the time we were finishing up, Mike Garrett arrived and helped us finish up. I started going through the rules (which I wasn't at all familiar with) which lasted for at least another hour or more. Once we had the jist of it, we picked factions and started setting up the board, realizing we all had no clue what we were doing or going to do. JE was the blue human faction, JK the orange Protoss faction, Mike was the green zerg, and I the purple zerg. Each faction has its own special victory condition and to some extent ability. Despite warnings to the other players about placing orders, I managed to screw myself up each round of the game. Despite this, I though I might be in good position to win after 4 rounds with an attack on the next turn. Mike reeled me back to reality when he showed me a new tech card he had just played that was going to make any fight a bit harder. And before I could decide what I might do, JE and Mike announced they had won through their special victory condition. When we checked, they were correct and it also turned out that Mike had won the tie breaker. A clumsy first game, but one that we were all eager to play again.
We all weren't ready to go home yet, so Mike pulled out Ca$h 'n Gun$. This game might loosely be described as being like a light version of Reservoir Dogs - players are thugs fighting over a bank robbery pile of loot. Each turn you play a card which either has a shot on it(limited) or a "click" (bluff) then point your foam gun at another player to try and get them to back away from the loot. Get shot or chicken out and you don't get a chance at the loot that round. Get shot enough, and you are done. Its light and fast and with the right group will draw a number of laughs. The first game saw Mike and I split a HUGE pot in the second round, so we called that game a tie and restarted. The second game saw JE and I split a good sized pot, followed by a lot of guns pointed my way, then towards JE. As expected, the guy who hardly ever had a gun pointed his was won - Justin Kosec. After we freed our brains a bit, we ended the night with a game of Race For the Galaxy. Interestingly, I had to go for yet another new strategy to me. About 5 cards in, I got a 6 card that gave me 2 pts for having developments with consume abilities and 1 pt for planets with consume abilities, so I started trying to get as many of those as I could into play. JE was ahead of the rest of us building things, and ended the game with 12 cards on the table. He scored the same as me (at 9 cards) with 33 points. Mike was a bit all over the map and had 30 points. JK had started slowly, but had got to 9 cards down with a lot of points and scored a win by one point with 34.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Memoir - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

This time out was [MARKET GARDEN] VALKENSWAARD, where I hoped to continue the good streak I've been having. Things didn't look good to start off - mostly due to "Flooded Fields and High Ground rules are in effect". Basically that meant that normal terrain was suddenly one and done. Movement would not be fast for anything. The only "fast" paths? Right down the middle where Jason's units were sandbagged and dug in. I did my best to be patient, but my starting hand was nearly all middle units so I made a mad push up the gut to try and overwhelm his positions. The effect? None. For either of us, as Jason didn't deal much more damage than I did. In fact, I was slowly picking off his guys, while the dice stayed against him. After what felt like forever, I finally killed the last guy I needed and I was surprised to find the score 6-3. I was sure things had been like 4-3 just moments before and that I was about to lose 2-3 units. Well, always glad to keep making up ground after all the crappy beach invasions. The war is getting tight again - the total score is now Axis: 161 - Allies: 157.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Memoir 44 - Charles vs Jason Maxwell

I am on a roll I tell you. We finished [OPERATION COMPASS] BEDA FOMM tonight. Jason mentioned at the start that his cards sucked and weren't going to help him. This scenario has the Italians trying to move off the left side of the map (a new twist I haven't seen before). The Allies have a blockade in place, and if the Axis breaks through, well, its likely over for the good guys. However, Jason basically said he didn't have the cards to move his troops en masse. Sadly, I had no left side cards to bombard what troops he advanced. I was able to finally get a few cards that let me hit him decently and I picked him off while his cards kept him from much of a retaliation. This was a 6-2 win for me. The total score is now Axis: 158 - Allies: 151! I can't believe how lucky I've been the last few games.

Blokus Duo

Snuck in a quick game with my sister Tobey Hasegawa before diner (online - the game, not diner). I was orange and she had purple. She started. We like Blokus Duo, because we basically just try to hose each other as fast as we can. I usually have some scheme that she screws up and while she is laughing at me, I hose her right back. Tonight was no exception. In the end, I was able to place a single square to win the game (luckily for me). Blokus is cool online - they have a petty decent interface. You can see it at

Monday, January 07, 2008

Memoir Charles vs Jason Maxwell

Jason and I finished up one of the strangest Memoir (or any C&C game) I think I've played. I must have had every single left flank (move 3 or all) and infantry card in the deck. We played [OPERATION GRENADE] ACROSS THE RIVER ROER and I had a crazy band of infantry sweep through that flank. Conversely, Jason had nearly no cards to retaliate with on that side and only managed to kill of two of my units before I finished the game. I never had to cross any of Jason's minefields at all. I won 6-2 (which helped my cause). The total score is now Axis: 156 - Allies: 145

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Memoir Charles vs Jason Maxwell

Well, I made up some ground in the SCHWAMMENAUEL DAM scenario. Bad rolling by Jason this time was offset by the fact that I never really had the cards I wanted - I'd move in and have nothing to follow up with. It took me a lot longer to get what I needed done. In the end, I could have gotten two points off of occupying the dams, but I just killed 6 of Jason's units instead. He got one of mine, but only one this time. I needed that. The total score is now Axis: 154 - Allies: 139 Just three more victories like that should help ;)

Wabash Cannonball Deluxe

My top secret plan to make a Wabash Cannonball deluxe is underway. I'm going to use a set of larger cubes (from Age of Mythology - they appear to be roughly 50% larger than the little AoS sized cubes) and I'm going to redo the map 50% larger and probably redo it altogether (which shouldn't be hard). I may try it out with slight variations of the numbering and colorings to see if I can't make a more user friendly map. Some of the ideas I have: putting the company values around the entire board, coloring the space instead of the tiny dot/shape on white, or better yet - a symbol in the hex. Regardless, once I get that the way I want, I'll just find a game board at goodwill or something and mount it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cards With the Folks

I ran over to my parent's house and played a bit of cards with them (Steve and Cathy Hasegawa) and their friends Luke and Annette Wallace tonight. When I got there, they were starting up Oh Hell!, so they started over. They shouldn't have. It was 4-5 rounds before I broke into double digit score :(. We played a second game and I faired much much better, leading by a point in the last hand. I made my bid and won. It was already late, but I had brought over a couple games and they asked what I had, so I taught everyone No Thanks!. This is a game that takes only 30 seconds to explain and the game really doesn't take more than 10 minutes, so it was a good ending to the night. They must have liked it, as we played it twice and then Luke and Annette asked me to pick up a copy for them.


Yea! Finally got to play Heroscape! Justin Kosec came over to get in a game or two. He recently got the fever due to cheap master sets (original and Marro) being available. I dug out a map for us and started putting it together. It had a good number of nice elevations and something of a canyon through the middle. Justin arrived while I was working on it and started looking over the troops. As neither of us had played, we jumped into the draft and started the experiment.
We were playing 400pt armies and I ended up drafting for my army: Microcorp Agents, Nakita Agents, Gorillinators, and then added James Murphy to fill out my points. I was going for the ranged guys, and was hoping to keep Justin's ranged guys from hurting me with the "Charlie's Angels". Justin grabed Iskara Esenwein and the Rechets, then nabbed the Deathwalker 9000. He then filled out his troops with the Blastrons and Gladitrons. Things were back and forth most of the game, though it started poorly for me, losing most of my Gorillinators. The Nakita Agents weren't doing much but being in the way. James Murphy went after Iskra as Justin was having no luck getting the Rechets into play. I hoped to kill him before they could come out, but he fled back across the field. After a lot of killing, it all came down to the fact that I didn't have enough force to take down the Deathwalker. With only one unit each left, the Deathwalker 9000 was more than a match for my last Nakita Agent.
Justin had time for a rematch, so we drafted again, each going a different way. This time, Justin went for the Grut Orcs, specifically the archers and the Swog Rider. He added Krug as his "beast" character, to bond with the archers. He finished his army with a group of ninjas and the Izumi Samurai. I decided I still wanted some ranged guys, so I went with Syvarris and the Aubrien Archers. I also figured I'd try to get Syvarris into combat quickly by getting him carried or teleported, so I also drafted Saylind. I took the Minions of Utgar who would give me a "trick" chance to move Saylind an extra time if I needed. I had a few points left, so I also threw in Theracus who could carry. My plans started out well enough, as I managed to get Syvarris to the highest peak in the game and he immediately sniped out Justin's Swog Rider. Justin was none to happy, but he managed to kill off Syvarris and another of the Aubrien Archers with Krug - the bane of my existance. Krug proved to be a huge issue, until I brought my Minions to bear on him and wiped him out. The Minions and Saylind then made short work of the rest of the orcs. With their high defense and double hits, Justin wasn't too happy about his chances with his Samurai and Ninjas, but I was only able to wipe out the Samurai. The Ninjas got on a roll and managed to kill all of the Minions and Theracus in short order and then finished Saylind. It was an exciting finish in a game where the momentum kept on flowing back and forth.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Memoir Charles vs Jason Maxwell

We finished up our PBEM-Vassel game of Memoir '44 live and I had a bit of luck in the end and won Carentan 5-1. I needed that badly being down 18 points for the war. This one made it Axis: 136 - Allies: 122.

Next up was OPERATION VERITABLE - MOYLAND WOOD, which we continued live. Memoir really plays fast when you don't have to dork around with the bits! We finished in like 7 minutes. Jason killed me and I gave the points right back 6-3. Axis: 142 - Allies: 125.

Having finally gotten through all the official scenarios, we moved into the Terrain Pack set next, playing [BATTLE OF GAZALA] KNIGHTSBRIDGE. This one is a N. African tank fight with no infantry. Of course, the Allies had a handicap as the sand apparently slowed them down, but not the Axis. Back and forth until it was 4-4, each of us needing only 1 more kill. Jason got the last tank ending it 5-4. Axis: 147 - Allies: 129.

We then moved to our 35th scenario [MARKET GARDEN] NIJMEGEN BRIDGES. This one is a nasty Allied assault on heavily dug in Axis troops. Jason got out to a 2-0 lead as I pushed forward, but I nailed two of his units with a tank rush of sorts. We then traded kills to go 3-3. Jason got up 5-3 and I fought back for one more infantry kill. However, it didn't look good, with Jason having lots of my guys out in the open to try and kill. His General Advance card (2 units each section) was overkill as his artillery took me out. Jason won 6-4 and pushed his lead to Axis: 153 - Allies: 133.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Memoir 44 Charles vs Jason Maxwell

Jason and I renewed our Vassal Memoir games tonight. Picking up where we left off was the Carentan (Causeway) scenario. This was a quick 4pt battle that favored an aggressive allied assault. I was aggressive, but not very assaulty as the dice continue to hate me. Jason wacked three of my units before I could claim the victory. That was it 4-3 for the Allies. War totals to date are Axis: 135 - Allies: 117.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Yet another 2007 post.

Recap of 2007 for me

47 different games played - 20 were brand new to me in 2007. I acquired 89 new games, though I traded 8 of those away. I had 3 dimes and 6 nickels (games played at least 10 and five times respectively). All the dimes were online games against live people via MaBiWeb, Vassal, or the computer version of the game's interface.

Gaming Goals For 2008

I don't typically put out goals like - play game X at least 5 times and such, as I recognize that something else may come along that captures my attention. That being said...
  • I want to get the following played this year: Die Macher, Game of Thrones (4 and 5-6 player versions), Shogun, Mare Norstrum, Notre Dame, Age of Steam (of course) and Conquest of the Empire (new version). Sadly, Justin Easley is leaving in another couple of weeks which will likely diminish the chances I have to get through all of those games.
  • Play a game of Age of Steam on Vassal - live or PBEM.
  • Finish writing reviews for C&C:Ancients and BattleLore
  • Finish painting Descent
  • Mount all the BattleLore figures
  • Play more of my unplayed games
  • Play more games with my kids
  • Get my office/game room better organized and decorated.
  • Play Heroscape