Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gaming with the Work Crew (AKA Smell the Glove)

This past week was our company Kick-off meeting. My employer flies everyone into town for a couple days of meetings and activities. A group of us pulled together a bit of time on Thursday night for some gaming and we started off with Telestrations - which is easily my favorite party game. We had our usual laughs (like the drawing of Italy that was backwards and thus looked like a sock yet was still "recognized" as Italy).
After a good number of belly laughs, a few people left and I pulled out Medici. I was the only person to have played before and joining me were - Steve Wicklund, Danielle Reader-Jolley, Robert Bolan, Deborah Allwes, and Bruno Bernard. I slow-played the first round to simply conserve cash. I was not quite prepared for Deborah's willingness to throw goods away left and right though. In the third round of the game, I had only four goods on my ship and with only three tiles in the bag. Robert was drawing and needed two tiles. He choose to be greedy and take two tiles out - hoping for the golden 10. He didn't draw it though, and I got the 10 which made my ship the top ship in the last round and scored me enough points for the win. Whew!
After our Medici adventure, we found a couple of other company folks and played another quick game of Telestrations to get in a few more laughs.

Through the Ages (for 2)

Nathan Winchester, Robert Bolan and I finished another couple of games of Through the Ages. Except, it was more accurately, I finished two player games with each of them. Nathan basically raped me the whole game being a bully with his military forces. I tried going the "more advanced" route with Robert, but that didn't help in the end. This is such a good game, but it really becomes mediocre with only two players. I think I'll stick to three player (possibly four).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finishing a Few Descent Figs

With a three day weekend and some free time, I broke out the paints and Descent figs for some finishing. These skeletons were done, but needed to be "dipped". They look much better than my pictures convey. I tried a mahogany brown and I really like the effect.

For these manticores, I used the black (ie - Tudor). The one thing I did see with the brown was that it really shaded the guys "brown". the Tudor tends to darken but not really muddy the colors. For the giants and skeletons, the brown worked well, but I will not use it for the dragon or demons.

 The giants are sooooo much cooler than these pictures show. They are really amazing looking. One thing I did was spend too much time on them. I dry brushed their hair a bit, but you can't tell in the least (the blue pants guy had MUCH lighter hair). The other thing I realized is that I need to use much much more bright colors. The orange pants for the one giant looked retarded before the dip and they look great now.

Of course, I just got done dipping all of these figures, so they are still shiny. After they've had a few days to dry, I'll cover the bases in black and give them all a spray with the flat clear cote spray.

Still left: regular skeletons, dragons, demons, ogres, and of course, all the heroes.

Through the Ages (again)

Nathan Winchester, Robert Bolan and I finished another game of Through the Ages. I am getting a little better at the pacing, though I still didn't win. I had a lead through the game, but knew it wouldn't be enough at the end - it wasn't. Nathan killed me in points at the end of the game I was back of him by 36 points. Robert stagnated in the last third of the game, which didn't help slow Nathan down. I imagine we'll be playing this one quite a bit more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


With some recent nice weather, some of the boys in the neighborhood have broken out the footballs. along with the upsurge in football interest, my son dragged out Battleball for us to play. He chose the Iron Wolves and I had the Black Harts. We played four games and with the same end result each time - a victory for the Black Harts. The first game I showed Ashton a few tricks with throwing the ball around. After that, nothing was working for the poor guy. I was able to roll under his rolls and crush his guys again and again. I haven't seen rolls that bad since Robert and I played Combat Commander! Still a great little quick game.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday Game Night

This week, Nathan Winchester and I planned to head over to Rob Smolka and Michelle Zentis' house for a bit of Friday night gaming. The two of us arrived about the same time as Jeff Claussen and the group decided to start with a shorter game while we waited for Matthew Frederick and Ameli Boli. Our choice was Through the Desert - a game I enjoy a lot, but don't tend to play very well. This night was different as I managed to weave in-between folks while Michelle and Nathan used all the purple camels. I ended up able to take a pretty good amount of 3-pt tokens and hit a lot of the oasis which, at the end of the game saw me ahead by 9-10 points! The game was over incredibly quickly which was probably to my advantage. If we had gone on much longer, I'm guessing that Michelle would have block anything I could have done to score points.
Matthew and Amelia arrived and had brought 7 Wonders along. This is a hot new game for me - I enjoy the pace and length of this little card drafting / civ game. Rob suggested we all play since it supports 7 players and Nathan was the only new player, so we quickly went over the rules for him. I didn't really start with great choices of materials, but I was able to start getting science (green) cards, so I grabbed those and spent the next few rounds collecting the cards that built off those for free. I somehow managed to get three triplets of science buildings and one other to score 25 points in science. That and a little more military than the players next to me at the end of the game pushed me into the second win of the night!
My streak would come to the end though as I pulled out Cyclades for the first time. This is a little war-euro-game I've had for a while that I've really wanted to play. Erik Von Burg had arrived at Rob and Michelle and joined Matthew and Nathan and I. Don't let the descriptions fool you, this is a well themed EURO-game. There are dice for combat, but the amount of randomness is pretty low, really the game is about the auction for turn order and the ability to do something on that turn. The auction is ala Amun-Re, where you bid on an item and if outbid, you must bid on something else. It took us a few turns (and lots of mistakes in tactics) to get into the flow of the game and then it went pretty well. At the end, Nathan and Matthew both needed to win the Neptune auction to win while I needed to have Ares and go before either of them to win. At the cost of all my money, I was able to hold of Nathan for one turn, but the next turn Nathan was loaded with cash and could win with either of two powers and he won. Unfortunately, we all kind of felt that the end game was a bit flawed - the random ordering of the powers and the fact that the one you needed might not be there didn't feel quite right. The game wasn't bad, but wasn't great (like Chaos in the Old World) either.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Through the Ages

One of my favorite new games from last year was Through the Ages (of course the game wasn't new last year, just new to me). I had only played two player games of it though, and I wanted to try this one with three players. After teaching it to Robert Bolan, we agreed that we needed to try it with three (Nathan Winchester being the intended third of course). As luck would have it, I remembered finding an online implementation of the game at Though there were a few things we discovered we had missed or played slightly off, it really isn't a bad PBEM implementation. There are a couple of times when you have no action but to pass (for example - in bidding) and you still have to "take your turn", but that's a small complaint I think. I started with Homer as my leader and was scoring a good number of points and thus started with the early lead. Also due to my more militant take on things, I received a number of colonies through the game. However, I stagnated in the mid-game and haven't played enough to grasp the pacing of the game well enough to recover. Nathan came on strong in the mid-game and crushed Robert and I at the end.


Nathan Winchester had suggested that we try Torres online. Since my friend Robert Bolan hadn't learned this one yet, I offered to teach him while we were watching a football game. I don't know that I had ever played this two player but the goal was to try and teach Robert all the nasty tricks that Nathan would try to use. I showed him how I was going to put the game out of reach after the first turn by building a sprawling castle that prevented his biggest one from growing. Then I started climbing. Robert figured out placing two levels next to my climbing stack to prevent my advancing, but a card allowing me to place under my knight remedied that situation and made the score that much worse for Robert. We played quickly and while the game wasn't that close, I was again reminded how good a game this one is.


Robert Bolan and I fired up a couple of games of two-player Oregon on recently. This of course after introducing the game to Robert in a 3-player game with Nathan Winchester. In our three player game, Nathan kicked our butt by getting a good number of the same areas for the first 7 turns or so and managed to place nearly all his people in groups! After easily beating us, Robert and I tried a couple games as two-player. I wanted to see if the luck was mitigated head-to-head and we each ended up winning a game. As a two-player game though, it was about as luck filled as Ballon Cup - which is to say: VERY. As a three or four player game, this one is ok, but not great. It seems a little too complex for a family game, and too luck filled to appeal to the euro-game crowd.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Power Grid

I have a confession. I almost lost a game of Power Grid against newbs. Some people I work with got together for a little bit of gaming the other night. Danielle Reader-Jolley, Tim Baker, Robert Bolan and I all sat down to play some PG. Robert has played once before and the game was new to Tim and Danielle. We played the US map with the standard deck of power plants. The game started out normally and Robert decided to slow play his hand by staying back of everyone a couple cities - that didn't work out so well for him. Luckily for him, EVERYTIME he chose to get out of an auction he got a really good plant at cost. Danielle ended up with some "green" plants and cheap fuel plants and spent the game hoarding money while Tim and I plodded along. As we hit the third step of the game and I realized I had no chance to beat Danielle, I did the only thing I could - I guessed that we'd have another turn, and I didn't buy into every city I could afford. My hope was to get cheaper fuel in the last turn and have enough cash to power as many cities as Danielle (though I was sure if it was a tie, I'd lose to cash). In the last round, Danielle made the mistake that cost her the game - she didn't buy a new plant and could only power 17 cities. I had to get a new plant and had the ability to power 18. Only Robert was before me in claiming cities, and he couldn't keep me from grabbing cities until I had 18 of them. As the only player who could power 18, I won.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

New Look

That was surprisingly easy and annoying at the same time. I applied a new template and played with the colors a little bit until I found something I liked. I played with the CSS a little to try and get the corners rounded on the posts and side items. Looks good in Firefox, but not IE - too bad. I'll probably spend a little time and see if I can't do something with the page banner, which I think is a bit too tall and looks fuzzy. Banner updated. Welcome to Things of No Interest 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011


Ashton and I busted out Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements and did a little gaming. Our mix included Golems, Pain Elementals and the Horde. We had a mix of heroes: Seleurian Wizards, Outland Warriors, Chalice Questers and Amazons. We also had a good mix of weapons and spells making the Amazons the least effective and desired hero. We had Goodberries, the Feast, and Ambrosia as well, so the Outlanders were the obvious choice - even though I forgot and didn't notice the VPs on those cards. My son was going for the big bangs and had a good number of wizards and magic missiles and fireballs. Though he ended up with an Outland Khan in his deck, my deck was far faster at bashing baddies and in the end I was killing anything I wanted at will. Even though I beat Ashton, the best part was how quickly he picked the game up even though it had been over 6 months since learning to play it.

New Year, Same Story

My son and I played in the last city championship of the season for Pokemon down in Tucson over the weekend.We did - poorly. Poor Ashton went 1-3, with his only win from a bye in the action. He was pretty even-keeled about it, so I was glad to see him handle it without dampening his enthusiasm for the game. As for me, I also went 1-3. My single win was almost pure luck, as my opponent had 4 chances to knock me out, but ended up on the wrong side of a coin flip each time while I held out. Next up? The next set of pre-release events are the end of January.