Monday, September 29, 2008

Game of the Month

In looking at my list of games played in September, there were a couple of new games, and then in looking at them and the others to pick a Game of the Month, I was basically down to two games - Tichu and Battleball. I choose Battleball for a couple of reasons. One, it was
easy enough for my 5-year old son to grasp the mechanics of the game. That meant we could play it without having to dumb it down (though as with everything I play with him, I have to take it easy on him a little). Its also football season, so it was fun getting in a goofy game like this. and finally, it was new, so its still fresh in my head. Basically, Battleball is combat football. It could also be described as Heroscape-lite-football. Each player has the same team makeup which you put on the board. On your turn, you pick a player and roll the die that matches the player's base. There is a D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20. The player moves whatever you roll. If you move next to an opposing piece, you fight. Both players roll their die, and the low roll wins. So, guys that are fast (D20) also have much less chance to win a fight against the guy rolling a D6. Its a simple system and yet is well done. There are more advanced rules available, but the game is quick lite fun as it is.
Other games that didn't make the cut:
  • Tichu, despite a marathon classic game and other fun matches.
  • Ice Flow was fun, but not great (though it is pretty). Its just a bit long for what it is.
  • Hamburgum was decent, but I think I like Antike better
  • Sunday, September 28, 2008

    When it Rains...

    Well, in addition to my trade for Epic Duels (which is not the same as ED), I won an ebay auction for one. I had forgot about placing this bid, but doesn't matter - I won a copy for $36 - its only missing two damage markers, but is otherwise complete. Which now means I will have a copy for trade in the next MT ;)

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Ultimate Trade


    Ok, so in the bizzaro world of trades it looks like I've made a trade today for Star Wars: Epic Duels. My son has been bugging me non-stop to play Star Wars:The Queen's Gambit, so I thought it might work out better to try and get my hands on Epic Duels. In addition to ED, I'm also getting Jungle Speed - which I hated, but my kids will love I'm sure. On my side, I'm trading Pizarro and Co - a decent little auction game that I liked but never play, and Atlantic Star.

    Game Night

    Saturday Sept. 26, 2008 - Gamer's Inn
    This particular game night sounded like it might be a bit slow - a lot of folks bailed out at the last minute, so I threw a couple of lighter games in the bag that I figured had a shot at hitting the table. When I arrived Dion and another guy were playing hanging gardens and Noah was eating. Dion indicated he had to leave early, so while sitting around, Noah pulled out M. I'm not a huge fan of the game, but it is fairly mindless and quick. Joining Noah and I were Ray Morgan and Dan. The reason I'm not a huge fan of this game is that its TOTALLY random. Like Coloretto (which is also random), you score by getting sets of colors, with only two scoring positive points and the rest scoring negative. Unlike Coloretto, which has some control, there is no control in M. I played as I always do in M - randomly and was in second by 30 points (points scored in 10s, so it was close).
    Dion ended up sticking around for a game of Galaxy Trucker and another fellow set up Sword of Rome, looking for players. I didn't want to get into an epic game this evening, so ended up pulling out Wabash Cannonball to teach yet another set of newbs. This game included Noah, Dan, Ray and another fellow from the store - Eddie. With new players, the easiest way to win is to simply get a rainbow of stocks and then suggest the best ways for other players to increase their value (and thus yours). This paid off decently enough for me and I won by around $10.
    Erik VonBurg had arrived and was playing a quick two-player game of Roborally (and watching them only solidified my opinion of the game). As they finished up, Noah and I stickered up my copy of Micro Mutants. This isn't a game that would normally be a smash with this group, but I knew Erik would get a kick out of it (I had even pulled out the mat and ironed out the creases before coming over). So Dan, Erik, Noah and I played a quick game of free-for-all combat tiddly-winks. Honestly, this is a pretty fun little dexterity game. After the first couple of rounds, most folks get the hang of the flipping and controlled shots are pretty easy to pull off. Noah and I each killed off two bases, but I had a serious number of casualties and we declared Noah the winner.
    Noah took off and Matthew arrived as we pulled out Ice Flow. I wanted to play this again while it was still fresh from playing last week and my initial impression is spot on. Its a puzzle game and most people will be better after a single playing (if they are good at this kind of game). It does however suffer from the same fault we saw in the first playing - it tends to bog down in the mid-end game making it just slightly longer than it needs to be. Still, not a bad game, and it has pretty pieces. Given its value, I may try and work a trade or offer it in a MT, but won't be upset if it stays in my collection either.
    It was about 10:30, so we decided to finish the night with some Tichu. Dan and Erik took on Matthew and I. After three hands, the score was 290(C+M) to 510(E+D) and things looked like they were going to be tough for Matthew and I. Three hands latter, the score was 630-270, but Matthew and I were leading. Yes, we reversed our fortunes! Five more hands and the score was 450-650. We had literally reversed our fortunes AGAIN. This was turning into the longest game of Tichu ever. It was almost midnight, so on the next hand I was dealt a pair of aces, the dragon, the phoenix, a pair of jacks, a king and a four and called grand Tichu. I figured if we don't make it, we are down far enough to call the game. Fortunately or not, I made the GT and pulled us to within 30 points. The next few hands saw no Tichus, but a lot of split pots back and forth. We were down 840-950 and Matthew finally called Tichu. He managed it and we also grabbed 90 of the points for a crazy win at 1:15 in the morning. Three hours is a bit much I think. It was certainly fun - I had 4 tichu calls and my second ever grand tichu. I made the GT and half the other calls, so it was interesting to say the least. Here is the retarded game scorecard:








































































































































    CH MFEVB  Dan
    T170   30 
     50   150T
     =220   =180 
     0   300T
     =220   =480
     70   30 
     =290   =510 
     85   -85T
     =375   =425 
    T180 T -80 
     =555   =345 
     75   -75T
     =630   =270 
    T-50   50 
     =580   =320 
     -10   210T
     =570   =530 
     55   45 
     =625   =575 
    T-75   -25T
     =550   =550 
     -100T  100 
     =450   =650 
    GT235   65 
     =685   =715 
     45   55 
     =730   =770 
     60 T 140 
     =790   =910 
     60   40 
     =850   =950 
     190T  10 
     =1040   =960 

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Its Like I Went to Essen

    but I totally didn't. For the first time, John Bohrer made his normally Essen-only Winsome games set available to folks not going to Essen (most of us). I forked over the cash. Now, I went into this knowing full well that I was likely being mostly ripped off. While I did get two full games, an Age of Steam map, and the "expansion" for Wabash Cannonball - it cost me $135. Now if you just look at the picture, your first reaction is likely to be - yep he TOTALLY got ripped off. The thing is - Wabash was so good. I really like it. And the early things I've read about Preu├čische Ostbahn and Gulf, Mobile & Ohio lead me to believe that they will not be much differently liked by me than Wabash Cannonball was. But still, I agree - the production values are <cough>LOW<cough>

    Happy to Trade

    There is currently a WARGAME Math Trade going on - which would normally elicit no response nor participation from me. This time however, I have an entry. Not even an entry that is a non-wargame! No I have an entry in the form of MBT. Now, not everything in the trade is a wargame (though the vast majority is). I put together a list of stuff - some reasonable, some not. I don't care at all - I'll be happy with anything on my trade list. I really have no clue if MBT has any value at all, even with the true GROGNARDS. I just think about it as paying $10 to get something I want :)

    Game Night

    Thursday Sept. 18, 2008 Dion Garner's house.
    Dion gave me a call to see if I could make it to his place to play a couple games. I had a couple of games that I needed to get him (new copies of Settlers and Hey! That's My Fish), so I told him I'd swing by to get those at least. I ended up being freed for the rest of the night, so headed over to play a couple of games. I brought over Ice Flow, which I had purchased in an auction for $30 (its a UK import that usually runs about $50+) which I wanted to try out. When I arrived, I found Dion, Linda Sadusky, and Dion's neighbor Morgan Burt involved in some short game. When they finished up, we pulled out Ice Flow and went through the brief rules. The game itself is 2-4 player game that is almost a puzzle - use items to navigate from one side of the board to the other while avoiding the trouble (polar bears) and using the moving board pieces to help you and hinder others. All in all, a lighter game that looks pretty and is still bit of fun. Morgan jumped out to a quick lead and I was last to get my second of three guys across the board, but was able to pretty quickly get my last guy across for the win (despite Morgan and Linda's gang up on me attempt to stop me). Our game bogged down a little in the middle, but as expected it ended quickly. For what it is, I can see where AP could be an issue for some people.
    After we finished up, Dion, Morgan and Linda felt like something a bit heavier, so they agreed upon Hamburgum. This is another "rondel" game ala Antike. In fact, though thematically different, this one felt a lot like Antike without the direct conflict. This one also felt easier to pick up. Basically, everyone is building churches, so you have to gather resources to get money to get building materials to build churches and to augment your personal ability to make more $$$. As with Antike, you need to be able to score points in lots of ways, and you have to really pick one particular one of those ways and score a ton of points. If you only pick one, you will lose by a lot. If you spread yourself out over all of them, you will lose. Having not played before (against the three of them who had), I was not not surprised to come in fourth (Linda, who ended the game right before my turn, snagged the 10 points that I would have on my turn. If she hadn't ended the game, we would have swapped places, but still would not have be close to the winner). After having played this, I think I'd rather play Antike. This was good, but just not as engaging to me as Antike. Morgan managed to quietly go about her thing for most of the game and snuck a win in over Dion. I really need to play Imperial.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    In the Year of the Dragon

    Finished a 4-player game of In the Year of the Dragon with Mike Garrett, Justin Easley, and Jason Easley via MaBiWeb. The game is another good game for MaBiWeb and is nearly perfect for online play. Mike won. Blah blah blah

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Seriously?

    I recently acquired my first true war game. It was not on purpose. In the last math trade, I got a group of games Blood Feud in New York, The Collector and MBT (that is not some short reference that people give to the game - that's the name of the game). So anyway, MBT is some sort of tactical ground combat game. Little itty bity chits and hexes. And rules, oh the rules. I scanned a page out of the rules. Um, as you can see - they suck. And there are 50 pages of them. Not only are there 50 pages of tiny print rules, and chits, but there are also some 20+ double sided reference cards for the different units. You can see how fun they look too. Now, to each their own. I love Age of Steam and lots of folks hate how unforgiving it is, or how boring it looks or whatever. But come on. Who makes a game like this? Even in a hobbyist market like AH used to publish to, why in God's name would you buy this sort of crap? SNORE!!!!!! Where is the fun in this game? For anyone?

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Tsuro

    My son Ashton has taken in interest in playing games, so I'm slowly feeding him new games to see what he'll take to. Pretty much, he likes anything I put in front of him and so far, I've kept my own enthusiasm in check to try and let him come along at his own pace. Today, while his sister napped, I taught him to play Tsuro. Tsuro really is a game that a 5-year old can play, as you draw a tile and play it and if you go off the board, you lose, so don't go off. The real rules have you play a hand of 3 tiles, but I found out that all this does is keep you from getting hosed on the second tile of the game (which happened to me). The game plays out in 5 minutes regardless, so the whole draw then play thing is nearly the same. We played about 5 games, and he loved it. He kept asking to play again, win or lose. In fact, he seemed to be just as happy for me when I won as he was when he'd find out that I had lost and he'd won. I doubt that will last forever, but its nice to spend time with my son just watching him learn a new game.

    Game Night

    Friday Sept. 12, 2008
    I headed out to the Gamer's Inn for a bit of gaming. The store has moved since I last was in Arizona, but was only another mile or so down the road. About all I can say is that they had a better selection of snacks. The gaming area has shrunk (though to be fair, in a couple of weeks, the store will have taken over the area adjacent to it, so there is supposed to be much more gaming area available. The area was so tight this night, that we stuck 11 folks (two games) on one table, and had no other tables for the remaining people as they came in. At any rate, I got there and joined Amelia, Dan, and Grant for a game of Qwirkle. Despite turning in tiles on a number of turns, I was scoring well and in the lead most of the game until the end, when Amelia kept leaving rows of 5 for Dan to finish off. I was first loser by a couple of points.
    By then, we had a number of folks and we setup Wabash Cannonball. We actually ended up playing with 6 players (which I didn't mind, since the more that know the game, the better for future plays). Joining Amelia, Grant and I were Matthew Frederick, Scott, and Jake. The game was over about 2/3 of the way through, when Jake (who hadn't won any stocks in the initial four), grabbed his second share of red (Penn). With the rest of us spread out, he was making money that the rest of us couldn't match. He won with $86 - about $10 in front of everyone else. Nobody made it to Chicago either. I thought I'd dislike it with 6, but I thought it was ok. You have less control, but you also have more chances to make careful and tactical plays that will pay out.
    I had hoped to get the new China/Korea Power Grid map, but despite the enormous amount of games available at the store, this map wasn't available. Still, I had Power Grid with me and we had 5 players, so Scott, Grant, Amelia, Matthew and I played PG - on the France map. The game was pretty tight overall, and this was one of those games where coal was in high demand - bad for me since I needed 5-7 coal each round. Despite that, I was still in good shape as the end approached. I was sure Grant was going to win (so was he), until we realized we could keep him from winning by keeping him from getting enough coal to power his plants. Sure enough, there were only 2 pieces of coal come his turn to buy and he stormed out off the store pissed off. I was the only player who could hit 15 cities to end the game, and realized I'd lose in a tiebreaker. However, since Grant had walked off, and I wasn't positive I could win if the game went another turn anyway, I opted to end the game. Scott beat me by about $5-10 in the tie breaker.
    To end the night, Amelia and I teamed up against Matthew and Erik VonBurg in Tichu. Ameila had only played once before, but accounted herself well and in fact, we killed Erik and Matthew. I rattled off 5 Tichu calls including the last one where we went 1-2 to end up with 1100+ points to Erik and Matthew under 400 (maybe it was 300). Either way, a good way to end the night.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    I Bang! Frank


    Sorry, but I love when a comic that is not directly about boardgames really hits it on the head....

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Game of the Month - August 2008

    Hahahahah - Agricola, you don't win again. No I have to say that the game I found most interesting this month was easily Metropolys. So basically, everyone gets a set of buildings 1-13. Each player also gets a secret bonus goal and board space type to try for (it becomes fairly obvious quickly what your goals are). The first player places a building on a spot and the other players can pass or bid. If they bid, they place a bigger building on an adjacent spot to the last bidder. The highest bidder leaves their building in place and the rest take theirs back. Rinse and repeat. Sounds simple, but much like Ra, there is an art to the bidding. Its not just about bidding though - there is some consideration as to where you want to place - if you start bidding expecting to be outbid, you don't want to start on a spot you truly want. At any rate, I had not heard anything about this game and I was very surprised to find a new gem.

    Other games that missed the cut - the aforementioned Agricola was a close second and really the only other game that stayed in my mind.

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Final Results

    BAH I say! The results shifted over the course of the day and I lost Epic Duels and then at the end, lost any trade for Atlantic Star.
    I ended up trading my BattleLore expansions for Feurio, Clans and Basari. Beppo Der Bock for Blood Feud in New York (and some other sweeteners I don't care about). And Midnight Party for Risk:Godstorm. Overall not bad, but not as good as I would have liked if I had got Epic Duels.

    Prelims on the Math Trade

    Ok, apparently since all the want lists are being posted, someone is running the results every 15 minutes. So while not official, here is what I may be currently receiving (and dumping).
    All are a trade up as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure where in my limited shelf space those will land, but that's another story...