Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Game Night

Friday Sept. 18, 2009 - Gamer's Inn
I started off this gaming night with Dion Garner and I declining to join in a game of Battlestar Galactica. Though I want to try this out, I just wasn't in the mood for this sort of deal this evening. Dion had a couple different games available and pulled out Mr. Jack for the two of us to try out. I knew this was a two player deduction game, but nothing else other than it got good word of mouth. I was surprised to find a game that was pretty fun and I recently traded for this. Dion played Mr. Jack and I was actually able to figure out the truth of the matter in about 4 turns, which was just about when Matthew and Amelia showed up.
Next up was another new game to me - Medieval Merchant. I've had this for a while, but hadn't gotten it out before. Matthew Frederick and Steve Bauer went through the rules for everyone (myself, Amelia Boli and Richard Aronson) and we got started. This was one of Jason Sato's favorite games and I can see why. It is hard to describe the game - it is something of a push your luck, area control (but not quite), investment (but not quite) euro. I sucked at it of course, not optimally using my special power token early enough. Final scores were: Charles-33, Amelia-32, Richard-40, Matthew-42, Steve-43
Since the 19th (the next day) was Talk Like a Pirate Day, I had brought along Pirate's Cove. Richard left for home, so Steve, Matthew, Amelia and I set about to plunder the seas. The two times I've played this, I have gotten just killed - either I pick the same as someone else, or the Dread Pirate Roberts (or in this case Blackbeard) follows me around beating the crap out of me. This night was a good example and I started with three moves to the same island as Steve and Blackbeard. I somehow managed to shake Blackbeard and he then managed to hit Matthew something like 4 times in a row as he tried to bury his treasure. It was pretty funny really (mostly because it wasn't me for a change). We ended the night with scores of Matthew-16, Charles-17, Amelia-18, Steve-26.

Tunnel Add-On For Carcassonne

If anyone cares, you can get a small expansion in Spielbox magazine for Carcassonne. I'm not sure it is worth the price, but there you go (be warned, this is a German magazine and the content is in German). We need a magazine like this in America - there are always great expansion contents inside. C3i is great like this, but I don't tend to play that type of game much.

Publisher Hans im Gl├╝ck and spielbox have co-produced the new Carcassonne add-on “Tunnel” which will be a supplement in the upcoming issue of spielbox. It consists of a cardboard sheet with 4 tiles and 2 types of chips in 6 colours.

Secure your copy early (as a reminder: the “Katharer” add-on has been sold out for a long time and the demand is still high!). Please use our new web shop for your order. You can find a banner to the shop on our start page. Here is the direct link: http://www.nostheide.de/webshop/xtcommerce/index.php?language=en .

Subscribers receive the add-on in their subscription copy as usual.

With kind regards as always
Yours Barbara Nostheide
spielbox

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trades of No Interest

Apparently any imbalances in the gaming "Force" have been restored. 3 for 3 in this last math trade. I managed to trade off: Dixie - Bull Run (unplayed, two-player card game), Wits & Wagers (un-fun group "trivia" game), and Tier auf Tier + Goodnight Moon game (two kids games). In exchange I'm getting: Mr. Jack, Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation: Deluxe Edition, and a mini digital camera for my kids. Mr. Jack was surprisingly fun, so I was happy to start adding it to my math trade lists. My wife will hate it, but I imagine it'll be good for my kids as they get a bit older. My son loves Stratego Legends (it is his number 2 game!), so he should like LotR:The Confrontation - I've been eying the Deluxe edition for a while now. The kids had outgrown Goodnight Moon game and I have a load of dexterity games, so Tier auf Tier was no real loss to me. They have wanted their own camera for a long time though, so this little camera should be fun for them. I'm also working on an order or two for some games. I really want to try Munchkin Quest (which I've read is actually a decent little dungeon crawl with Munchkin humor tacked on). I think I may finally spring for Metropolys, which I enjoyed a lot, but is kinda pricy retail. I think I'm finally breaking down to get CE and the expansion too. I have the original Winsome version of the Erie expansion - maybe I'll geekgold auction the sucker :). What else? A Game of Thrones LCG: Kings of the Sea is out (it adds the 5th house - Pyke). Yep, I've played like twice and yet I feel the need to have the whole set. More realistically, I may get a few Runebound expansions, as my son says this is his favorite game.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Musings of No Interest

I think I felt a disturbance in the force. I realized that I haven't purchased a new game, nor traded for a game in quite a while. Oddly, I haven't felt driven to run out and get something new either. Have I reach some sort of equilibrium? I still have stuff I'd rid myself of in Math Trades, but I'm not overly concerned about getting rid of them either. I have plenty of project things I'd like to get done, but probably won't anytime soon. I do believe I've really knocked out a lot of my unplayed games this year. I even like a few of them. Still have a load of them to try though - Steam, Khronos, Medieval Merchant, Bus, Die Macher, Thebes, Scepter of Zavandor, Magna Grecia, and Imperial to name a few (oh there are more to be sure). I've also managed to get in a few older games that I haven't seen hit the table in a while (like the rcent playing of El Grande). I look around my game room and see a number of games sitting there that I'm sure my son could handle now, but I'm also starting to get greedy and wonder when he'll start grasping basic tactics and not just the mechanics of the games. I realize that my daughter asked me to play a game with her too tonight (Blink) and we didn't get to it. I have to make sure to play with her when she asks. One gamer is fun and two would be great, but mostly a guy needs time with his baby girl - especially time that doesn't involve sitting there and talking about shoes (seriously, she is 4 and can talk about shoes forever if you let her). Don't get me wrong, we can do whatever interests her, but she is pretty perceptive and knows I'm about to fall asleep when she starts talking about the skeetchers she wants. Geez, I just found another 5 games I need to play. Time to cut this commentary short...

Ashton's Favorite Games

I asked my son Ashton about his 10 favorite games. We listed all his games that he knows how to play and then picked his 10 favorites. Just to be sure I checked the list against the remaining games and this is what we ended up with. I was a bit surprised with Jungle Speed and Amazing Labyrinth, but the rest sound about right. These are in no particular order. I asked for his reasoning for liking each game.
  1. Heroscape - because you can chose the amount of characters for the amount of points you have. And you can like move and fight.
  2. Stratego Legends - because you move and fight and go diagonal, but not on water spaces
  3. Sorry Sliders - because you can slide your piece and wherever your piece goes you get points
  4. Star Wars - Epic Duels - because you move and fight and attack people
  5. Pokemon - because you have evolution people and do strong attacks
  6. Runebound - because you can roll dice and see where you can go and fight different things
  7. Ticket to Ride - because you get tickets and whoever has the most cars out on the field wins
  8. Zooloretto - because you buy things
  9. Jungle Speed - because if you have the same thing you have to grab the thing before the other opponents gets it
  10. Amazing Labyrinth - because you move and get stuff and whoever has all the things on their cards wins
Interesting... Games not making the cut that I thought might: Micro Mutants, Battleball, Kinder Bunnies, Ubongo, Ghost Party and Booby-Trap.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Runebound with My Son

My son asked to play Runebound the other night. He got it out and set it all up, picking a character (largely at random) and waiting for me to come play. I sat down, and he dove right in. Now, he just turned six and has played this (not to completion) once, yet he remembers nearly all the rules and a lot of the encounter cards. I've played 3-4 times, and I still can't remember all the rules, nor do I remember any of the encounters. We've been playing for two nights now and are nearing the end of the game. When he earned enough experience to get a heart, I warned him that he couldn't do the green encounters anymore then - he told me he didn't care and they were too easy anyway. He then promptly trounced a blue and red encounter. We aren't done with the game, but probably will be in another night. I don't know if he'll want to play again or not, but I suspect he will. One of the interesting and rewarding things about playing games with my son (and any child) is the discovery. That euphoric feeling of playing something new and cool. Not just the game, but the whole experience is new to him. Not to be jaded about my game collection or hobby, but my collection in a lot of ways is a lot of games that have similar experiences. I've worked to have a fairly good spread of games - dexterity, party, card games, light games, heavy games, thematic and abstract. Classic and newer classics. Yet whenever I play a game, I usually have that - "oh yeah, this game is a little like XYZ" moment. When I play or teach my son a game, he doesn't have that yet. He still has that sense of wonder that comes with a new game. The kind of excitement that makes a player want to keep playing a game over and over. He isn't jaded. He doesn't know that there are 100 cards and that only 1 of them is cool and that you will probably only get to see 10 of them a game and we'll have to play another 30 hours of the same game if we ever want to see that one cool card again. Nope. For my son, all he knows is that he played this one game and something soooooooo cool happened once that we have to play again. For him, that kind of effort is worth the payoff - because it isn't effort. Nope, its simply doing something cool and fun. So rather than thinking about how I'd rather be playing Combat Commander, I enjoy the experience. We read the flavor text on the cards. He digs the excitement of a scary encounter. He is jealous that I got a quest that will net me some coin just for walking to a nearby city. He loves that he had enough cash to buy a really bad-ass weapon (though he doesn't know that it is awesome until he tromps his next encounter with no effort at all). It isn't a game for him, it is a cool story that he gets to control. And you know what? That's what this game is supposed to be.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Journeys In The Dark

Dear Dungeon Diary,
Today a new group of hero/fools ventured forth into my domain. Andira Runehand (Nathan Winchester), Silhouette (Niece Westmoreland), Mordrog (Matthew Frederick), and Battlemage Jaes (Ameli Boli) dared to wander the home of Narthak. Despite their newness to this whole adventuring thing, the group made quick work of those denizens that called the halls of Narthak home. My own powers were weakened by Silhouette who's skills limited my ability to gather power (threat). Coupled with my inability to actually find monsters to spawn, and the group often was able to impose their will on those poor creatures within Narthak's home. I only managed to extract a VERY small amount of revenge when I was able to take control of Andira Runehand and use their power to create a huge fireball. Watching them all burn for a couple turns was quite entertaining and eventually allowed me to smite Andira. The others were quite a bit more trouble though. I certainly hope that should the group decide to continue their questing that they prepare to despair! The shall surely find the Brothers Durnog to be a significantly more challenging time.
-- Overlord

Ok, so we played some Descent. Since everyone was new, we played the intro scenario, to which we found the heroes much too powerful. Almost all my spawn cards were near the bottom of my deck, and since I was short on gaining threat, I had a harder time doing much to slow them all down. Matthew's tank was wasting everything and at the end, Niece long range attack was devastatingly powerful. Everyone seemed to enjoy the romp, so hopefully we'll play again - I'd really like to be able to play something other than the first scenario for a change. I even made custom dice for the occasion. One thing that has always been a pain is sharing dice. The FF dice are $7+shipping for another set. I was able to get a load of old Yahtzee junior dice on ebay for $5. A couple coats of paint and some time with paint shop pro and I was able to create labels. They turned out pretty decent I think.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Game Night

Friday August 28, 2009 Well, if you teach a game enough, you are bound to win it at some point. Such was the case with the first game of the evening - Chicago Express (or Wabash Cannonball as we technically played my version of the game). This evening I taught the game to Steve Bauer and Greg Perschbacher. Nathan Winchester and Noah Antwiller filled out the game (each has played before). I went into the game with no plan at all and ended up being the only player without a share to start. Lucky me, Noah sat to my right and began the game. Unfortunately for him, I stole the next share of red for $10, which was more than anyone else had left (we started at $24 each). Of course, that left me with enough cash ($14) to take any other share I wanted in any other company. Nobody left felt like null capitalization, so I got my second share of red immediately. Noah and I easily kept red from getting killed by anyone else, and it felt obvious that I was going to be able to win this game pretty easily. I pushed the game to its conclusion after about 4 rounds and won. Steve immediately saw that the opening bids had been much too high and I hope we get to play this again soon.
Next up for the evening was the old classic El Grande. The five of us sat down for this and added a couple of the expansions since I brought the Decentennial edition. I made the mistake of roaring out to an early lead after the first round and got a beat down from everyone after that. My only hope was an event card from one of the expansion stacks, which never materialized. Of course, I finished about as far back as one could. Noah and Steve appeared to be in good position for the end run, and Steve pushed ahead for what I believe was his first El Grande win.
Erik VonBurg had come in while we were playing El Grande, and when we were through, he and Nathan and I sat down to play a game of Torres. Nathan pointed out that I had taught him a rule incorrectly. He said that unused tower pieces rolled over all the time - phase to phase and round to round. I was sure that wasn't the case, but the rules indicated otherwise. Looking it up later, I discovered that the rule had changed. Honestly, I'm not sure why. The game was better when you felt like you had to use the tower pieces before you lost them. I got just enough of my good cards and was able to feed off both Nathan and Erik's castles for the win.