Thursday, October 30, 2008


The conversion of Nathan Winchester (whose picture is HERE) continues. Last night I invited Nathan and Dion Garner over and after looking at the games, we settled on playing Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. I pulled this one in part because Mike Gingold had talked about liking the three player game over the five player game he had been in. Having only played four and five player games, I was not quite sure what to expect. I ended up being first player and grabbed two buildings my first turn - a soldier in the discovery box and an extra colonist each round. These extra pieces from the second turn on made a huge difference for me. I managed a large number of discoveries (and profited twice off Dion's failed discoveries). I also ended up snagging the Missionary almost every turn and sending them overseas, which helped me snag a huge amount of points in the majorities phase each time. Dion was making money hand over fist with every one of the money buildings and the privateers (other players pay you). Nathan was a trade good crazy fool and also the rum king of the world. But, when all was said and done, I was well out in front - Charles: 153, Dion 102, Nathan 78. Three player was ok, but I think it lacks a bit of the tenseness you get when playing with 5. Though the colonist dock is always tight, the trade goods and specialists are especially tight with more players. Because there are "more" trade goods and buildings and so forth, money seemed less important than in a 5-player game. It was also easier to score points in the new world since there was not as much competition. All of that is not to say that it wasn't fun - it was. I think I just like the desperate need to grab multiple things in a 5-player game and watching them all get taken. Something that didn't really happen in our 3-player game. Now, this is a bit like another game I really like - Samurai. A lot of people don't care for the 2 or 4-player games. I like them all because your approach to the game has to be pretty different. I think this is probably VERY true with AoE III. In a 5-player game, you simply have to be very efficient and aggressive with the turn order at the right time. In a three player game, a lot more things are available, so you have to spread out to more areas than you normally would when there is more competition.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Left Revisited

After a couple of comments from Mike and Bobby, I thought I'd do a couple lists like Bobby did. The games will be listed in no particular order and all based on the games I own that are not yet played...
Five games I really want to try
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio

Five games I won't likely ever play, but won't get rid of
Honor of the Samurai
Cosmic Encounter (which is not to say I won't end up playing this, just not likely to be this one - maybe when the new FFG edition shows up)
Axis and Allies:D-Day
Axis and Allies:Europe
These are just part of my collection at this point. MAYBE I'll play and A&A game with my son someday - maybe.

Five I'm probably just stuck with...
War! Age of Imperialism
Pirates of the Spanish Main
Ice Lake
High Bid
Age of Mythology

Monday, October 27, 2008


So, I've introduce Nathan Winchester to the world of boardgames. We chatted a bit today and I ended up showing him Samurai on MaBiWeb. We played a couple of quick two player random-hand games to give him an idea of how the game works. The first game he forced a tie on the 3-totem city and I ended the game shortly after. So now he knows about the dumb rare tie-endgame-condition. The next game was much much closer. Nathan is a bright guy and he snagged the 3-totem city out from under me (all of it) and combined with my crappy mid-game hand (I didn't see a ship until the end of the game) was just killing me. However, I was able to force the end of the game (killing off both the hats and rice) and we tied with one majority each, and I snuck out the win with more "others" even though he had far more total pieces than I. So, now that I have shown him most of the "traps" we move on to three-players.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's Left

So what is left for 2008 and gaming? There are three games in my Top Ten that I haven't played this year - Antike, Torres, and A Game of Thrones. I'm pretty sure I can get these all in during the next two months without much difficulty. My "Owned and Zero Plays Hit List" shows a number of games to try and learn still. I can probably knock out a couple of AoS maps, some of my new Winsome games, etc etc - maybe get through another dozen or so of those. I show 108 games on that list, but about 15 of them I'm not going to count for whatever reason, so lets say that leaves me a mere 80 games I own but haven't played. Sigh. Going to have to work harder at this....


Well, the Son of Oktoberfest Math Trade came and went and I managed a single trade - All Wound Up for Sword and Skull. Now I probably will play this once or twice with the kids, but mostly this trade was really about getting rid of All Wound Up. At least I'm getting another game in my AH/Hasbro collection that I didn't have yet. And its pirates - what could be wrong with that?

Random Thoughts of No Interest

I finally got my Ted Alspach map set I ordered months ago. As with all my other AoS maps, I'm interested to try them out, but it'll probably take another year to get through the maps I have not yet played. Of the most interest here is the Secret Blueprints where each player gets their own map. Its supposed to be a lot faster and I want to see how it works out.
I made an interesting trade the other day. This guy (who happened to be in the Phoenix area) offered a number of games for trade, but asked for surprise games in return (with a couple small restrictions). I was able to get the Apples to Apples party pack and the Party Pack Exp #1 (so essentially, the whole set of Apples to Apples through the 4 basic expansions). I also got Honor of the Samurai. This is a card game I had minor interest in, and it now sits in display with my other "oriental" games. In exchange, I traded my extra copy of Sunken City and I bought a copy of the Omega Virus at a thrift store for $10 to give him as well. He seemed quite pleased at the Omega Virus and neither of us had to ship anything - which was nice considering the size and weight of our trade.
I started painting some of my Heroquest stuff in preparations of playing it with my son next summer. I told him I'd teach it to him when he graduated from Kindergarten. No, I haven't finished my Descent figures. I've decided to come back to them when its more likely to be played a lot more.
Speaking of playing games, we still play Blink and Micro Mutants - those seem to be the ones asked for the most. I've been keeping my eyes out for Connect Four at a thrift shop, but no luck yet. My wife has been busy at work a lot lately, so we haven't had much of a chance to play games fully as a family (its hard anyhow, since my 3-year old daughter wants to play, but really can't yet. I did get her one little game for Christmas already - a Dora pack of dominoes and cards (crazy-8s and Go Fish! or something). My son is going to be getting Sorry Sliders!. This game has gotten nothing but good word of mouth. Mike Gingold said its a really good family game (his girls are about the same age as mine) and I'm happy to try out this little dexterity game. I'm pretty sure this will be a hit with the kids and my wife (and me). Plus, Toys-R-Us is selling it at 25% through Christmas (so for roughly $15). Though I doubt this will become scarce, I'll be buying it soon I think.
Have you seen the new expansion for Pitchcar? I love Pitchcar (though I don't pull it out often - maybe I should teach Ashton this one next :) ). I have all the current expansions and I'll get this one too as soon as the domestic retailers carry it. Hmmmmmmmm levels. Pitchcar was one of the games that was a hit with my sister and parents which is a ringing endorsement for this game. If this game has any downside, its that you need a huge flat area to play it on. I also personally like it better with lots of people trying to knock each other off the track. Justin Easley pointed out to me that if you are going to play with "poison" that if you are a lap back and knock someone off, they should lose a lap! That sounded nasty and I think I agree. Now I just need to figure out how to make the loop...
My sister and mother will be visiting in November. Whenever I see my sister, we tend to play a lot of Blokus. In fact she is the reason for my bazillion two-player plays of the game. We'll probably play a number of head to head games, as well as some Trigon. I'd like to teach her Samurai and YINSH (and I'm sure she'll learn Micro Mutants and Blink). These two games because we can then play them online...
There is another math trade going on. While I found more things to trade, there just isn't a ton of real interesting things in this trade, so we'll see what happens. I've listed loads of the gift certs, but not tons else for most of the stuff. I listed a lot of things for All Wound Up, which sounded good, looks cute, but sucks as a game. I'd pretty much be happy with any game that costs whatever it'll cost me to ship AWU.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


My friend Mike Gingold was kind enough to ping me the other day to see if I'd be interested in a copy of the Starcraft Promo. Apparently he has some friends that went to Blizzcon. This promo planet was one of the items in the swag bags and since neither of his friends have nor play the game, he was able to get a couple of these. Now, I'm not enough of a completist that I HAD to have one (I haven't even tried to get the Heroscape limited characters fetching loads on eBay), but it is certainly cool that I was able to get one of these. Now I just have to get this to the table again. Thanks Mike!


For the third time this year, I got to play Indonesia. This time with 5 players. Joining me were Matthew Frederick, Amelia Boli, Mike Gingold, and Nathan Winchester. Mike and Nathan had not played before while Amelia, Matthew and I had just a couple games played of this. After a quick cover of the rules, we were off. I started out with a shipping company, then promptly screwed myself by not taking slots for additional companies, nor extra hull space. While this shouldn't kill you, these early mistakes put me behind and I never recovered. Mike joined me early in shipping while Matthew played strongly with rice and spice. Amelia had a combo with shipping and rice, and Nathan also had shipping and spice going. We moved into the B phase almost immediately, and I managed to NOT snag anything but more shipping which sealed the deal for me. Matthew and Amelia looked to be taking over the game, but Matthew made a couple critical errors in bidding for turn order and fell apart mid to end game. He gathered himself together, but by then had lost a HUGE shipping line to Nathan who prospered by shipping spice and rubber at will while Matthew's SIAP FAJI company was formed too late to bring him back. The last round was particularly painful as Nathan made huge chunks of cash AND extra cash from others having to use his crazy shipping lanes. Final scores were: Nathan 1582, Amelia 1485, Matthew 1157, Mike 955, Charles 881. I got screwed in the last round by not being able to ship 3 of my oil, costing me another 240. Not that it would have helped at all, but it was typical of how the game went for me :)
So, how did this 5 player game go? Its interesting, but I think 5 players played out faster than the 4 player game. There seemed to be more cities on the board and the companies disappeared faster. The game was about 3.5 hours with rules (and slow Matthew - ha). My previous 4 player games were about an hour longer I think. What also seemed to happen (probably due to the speed of the game) was that companies didn't grow into huge beasts. Thus, shipping was not really as viable as way to make cash - the longer shipments really just didn't happen because the short routes, once taken, were all that was needed. We had a couple cities become yellow (sized 2) immediately and then nearly no growth until the end of the game when one of those became red. Again, not much of a surprise with the speed with which good types were hitting the board and the lack of company size keeping some goods from spreading out across the map. Really, quite different with five players from four. Some things still held true (and were more important with the smaller companies) - rubber and SIAP FAJI are key. The ability to make more cash quickly is killer. Oil had two rounds to make money, the last being the double round, so it was almost required to grab a viable oil company, but it wasn't in play long enough to be as critical as the other ones. We didn't see SIAP FAJI until a bit later in the game as mergers didn't come into play early on, but with 5-players, I think this was probably a good thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I pulled out another game to teach my son - Blink. I'm pretty sure I got this about 3 years ago from my sister and the only reason I held onto it, was because I remember playing Speed and having fun with that (though I'm not great at it). I explained how the game is played to my son and slowly we went through a first game. At first he'd only match the colors and miss the shapes or numbers, but he started catching on to that. He seemed to get it, so I gave him 20 cards to my 40 and we played. I went fairly easy on him, often "cleaning" the piles to make it easier for him to clearly see the stacks. We also played with our three cards face up and we'd call out what we play (green, green, four, stars, etc). Well, that didn't last long. Pretty quickly he caught on and started whipping through his pile. He's pretty good about seeing numbers, symbols, or colors, though you can tell when he fixates on something. And if you beat him to a pile and it switches on him, he has a hard time letting go of whatever he "thought" the card was - if he was planning to do stars, but I switch the shape, he gets a little stuck. However, in staying with the 20-40 card split, I can play as fast as I can go and we split games pretty evenly. I'm sure it won't be much longer until he gives me the handicap.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kids Are Fun

Yesterday I taught my son a new game - Micro Mutants:Evolution. This game is best described as combat Tiddledy Winks (yes the BGG has an entry for that). Basically, you get a set of plastic disks that have different powers (there are 4 teams of unique bugs). You roll two dice, which indicates which two guys you can attack with. Each side has three cardboard hex bases which the other team tries to get. It sounds really dumb. Its actually pretty fun and takes a bit of skill. At any rate, I simplified it a bit for my son (no special powers, just land on three bases to win). Surprisingly (or not) he figured it out in record time and "killed" a number of my guys - not before I captured his three bases of course. Today, he asked to play again, and so I happily pulled it back out. This time, he wasted no time in both getting the first kill and capturing the first base. His aim was surprisingly good and I was shocked at how often his touch was perfect. I managed to win again through one lucky turn where I nailed two bases, but he was in position to easily get his second base and he was picking me off at a surprisingly good clip. The most interesting thing about this game though was his approach. He made great tactical choices. He picked the guys with the best shot each time. Yesterday was all about using the first piece he saw, or the one closest to him. Today was completely different as he chose the guys that had the easiest chance for a kill, and he didn't waste his chance to jump on a base. The best part is that even though he really wants to win, he still cheers when Dad makes a good shot and kills his guy (though not as loudly as he cheers himself when he makes a good shot) and he doesn't get upset when he doesn't win. I don't know how long it will last, but he really enjoys playing as much as anything else and it makes playing with him even more fun.

In the Year of the Dragon

Finished another game of In the Year of the Dragon on MaBiWeb. I had a whole log going of the game, then I got sick and missed some time and didn't finish it and so on. Anyway, I won, blah blah blah ;)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Game Night

Friday Oct 10, 2008 - Gamer's Inn
I started out gaming Friday by teaching Bobby Warren (and others) to play Glory to Rome. Bobby had a copy, but wanted to try it before cracking his open. I made him a deal. If he didn't want it after we played, I'd take it off his hands, so away we went. Now, having only played it once back in June, I had to go through the rules, picking it back up - and while it is not hard to do, I was having a hard time remembering anything until the first round of play. Joining us were Dion Garner, Chris Schraml, and Matt Cullinan. Now, I don't think I bad butchered the instructions, but there were a handful of conversations going on as I went over the game, so I know a bunch was being missed. As usual, Matt declared he hated the game about 1/3 of the way through and then easily beat the hell out of us. Final scores were Charles:16, Dion:12, Chris:10, Matt:23, Bobby:17
There were enough folks milling around for three games to get going, so I grabbed Dion's copy of Galaxy Trucker to try out. I had seen Dion and others playing a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to give it a go. Dan Brugman and Erik VonBurg joined Chris and I and after a quick run through of the rules, off we went. Now apparently, I am terrible at this game. That didn't make it one I disliked any less though. In fact, this is one of those games that is fun despite being a load of random chaos pretty much the whole time (unlike say RoboRally, which is chaos and no fun the whole time). Erik was kicking our butts until the slavers showed up after the pirates used up all of Erik's batteries in the third round. He ended up with nearly nothing and quickly went from first to last. I managed to have a decent third round to stay in front of Erik by 5 points. Final scores: Erik: 28, Charles: 33, Dan: 57, Chris: 41.
We ended the night by pairing Erik and I against Steve Bauer and Rob Smolka in Tichu. The hands were pretty average for a long time (I had a Tichu call early in the game I botched), and bad as the game progressed. Erik and I were already getting killed (I think we swapped queens with each other no less than 3 times because our own hands sucked to badly) when Rob called Grand Tichu with a Dragon, Phoenix, + 3 aces. His hand actually got no worse, as Steve passed him an ace (he didn't have to play the ace bomb) and we couldn't slow him down at all. I need to check with Steve, but we might have broken 300 by the time Rob and Steve finished hammering us (maybe).

Catching up.

Was sick earlier this week - ugh. Just slept for most of three days. So...
I had three trades in the math trade, with Micropul, Ice Flow and MBT going out, and me getting PÜNCT, YINSH, Modern Art, and California. Was this the best Math Trade evar? No, but I'm ok with the results.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Math Trade

I keep saying I have nothing left to trade, then I find something to trade...
This time around I have thrown in Ice Flow, Star Wars:Epic Duels, and my Memoir 44stuff. Ice Flow should be fairly tradeable, so lets see if we can't get something better. I just got two copies of Epic Duels so maybe I can get something decent for the extra. As far as Memoir goes - I'd just rather play C&C:A than Memoir or BattleLore. I'm also keeping BattleCry (which I like better anyway) so I still have a "minis version" of the system. Memoir is just taking up a lot of space that I can use for other games that I won't get played ;)

**UPDATE- I added a homemade, but wooden copy of micropul to the list. I ordered enough wood squares to make at least 3 sets, so I'd like to see if this gets traded or not.