Matt's Board Game Back Room

Join me in my cozy little back room filled with games! Ooh and ah at some new releases. Learn about some more recent games. Or, look back at some older and classic games. From Euros to Ameritrash, kids games to grown-up games, easy to intense - nothing much is ignored in Matt's Board Game Back Room! (Updates will be cross-posted from my blogspot blog - click my Blogger microbadge to go there now)

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TIMELY TOPICS: Tools you can Use (Easy Play Logging, BGG on your Android, WhatToPlay Deluxe, and more!)

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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EASY PLAY LOGGING with SPLU 5.0
In December 2013 I posted about a great game play logging tool. I found it quite handy and have used it ever since.

However, there were always a couple of issues with it: the ability to log plays from my phone and the ability to easy save/share my configuration data for the tool. I eventually took to saving my exported data to a Google docs file, then copy and paste it from there. I have this issue because I often bounce between my own computer, my work computer(s) and my wife's computer depending on where my current location in the house is (or if I'm travelling, etc)

Still, it was worth putting up with the slight annoyance for the extra convenience otherwise.

Well, back in December (almost exactly 1 year from my initial blog post) they had upgraded to version 4 and sent me a link to try it out. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try it out until the last couple of days. In testing it out I discovered they'd already moved on to version 5!!

And, I'm really loving the new version (even though I've barely used it) because they've definitely taken it a couple of steps forward in convenience.

The primary thing they have done is now your configuration data (locations, game players, even favorite games - which was added in v4) are ALL SAVED TO THE CLOUD! This means no more re-loading the data once its entered, no matter where you are!

The other key thing is that it now works on Android (and a variety of other platforms) AND it is a much simpler/smaller URL link. I won't go into too much detail here because its documented well enough here:
Taking Play Logging Improvements into Our Own Hands

But here's a quick rundown of features:
* Save your favorite locations
* Save your favorite games
* Save players you commonly play with
* Configure the interface to show/hide the fields you care about.
* Log plays for games AND expansions
* Save the current play and then immediately Duplicate it so you can record another similar/same play (i.e. if you are playing with the same people multiple times but just different games)
* Which data is carried forward is mostly configurable as well.
* Slide out panels that let you edit/enter all of your data. There is no import/export yet, so anything from previous versions will have to be carried across manually. BUT, they make it so easy to enter data its just not a big problem. Plus, most people have only a few people/locations. I have at least a couple dozen of each, but it didn't take me long to re-enter it all and it handled it all just fine.

I really love that I can enter the data on my computer with the nice keyboard, then leverage that data entry when using my phone when I'm out and about.

* L * O * V * E * * I * T * ! * ! * ! *



BGG APP FOR ANDROID
One other tool that I ran across when reading through the thread there is the BGG Android App.

The thread about it is here: BoardGameGeek for Android App and it resides here in the Google Play store (check here for better pictures of the interface): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boardgameg...

This app is great as it will pull in your game collection AND, discussions under each game, your logged plays, game information, etc. It will also let you access/read the general forums for BGG (although a more stripped down version). There is also the Hotness list and geekbuddies as well. You can also see all of your game play information, and often you can view it in ways that you cannot on the BGG website, so this is really nice too! Apparently you can also log plays from the APP but I haven't tried that yet. I'm not sure if it will meet my needs like the SPLU tool.



WhatToPlay DELUXE
WhatToPlay Deluxe is one of my favorite applications because it will load your game collection and then you can sort/filter/view it offline in a large variety of ways, easily combining different filters to get exactly what you are looking for in a game. Want to play a rated 8+ game for 3-4 players that isn't a kids game and as designed between 2008 and 2010? You can do it!

Last year I had a game weekend and we loaded the game collections of 3 different players all together at once, filtered to the correct number of players (and a couple of other criteria) and then used the Randomizer option to have it pick a game for us from the filtered list. No more wasted time trying to decide what to play!!!

Give it go NOW! WhatToPlay Deluxe: A NEW Version of the Downloadable Game Selection Tool




MORE GEEKY GOODIES
If you want to really geek out, there's a Geeklist that lists both of these tools, plus a whole bunch more!

Software Tools for Board Games, RPG's and BGG

I have not had much chance to explore it but looks like some really useful tools on there - some that I've seen before and some that I have not.

Enjoy!


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Tue Jan 6, 2015 2:00 pm
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JUST GAMING AROUND - My current tendancy towards Good + Short + Small games

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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I've really been into small, shorter games with some interesting decisions.

Here are some current favorites from the past year or so:

Sushi Go! - The theme of Sushi Go is great, the art is fantastically cute, and everyone has fun no matter if they win or lose. It is a quick and easy drafting/set collection game with some interaction/planning. It has become my go-to game with the kids before bedtime - we can usually burn through a full game in 10-15 minutes (or less) - we played twice tonight in about 20 minutes.

Star Realms - This game snuck up on me as it was published in 2013!? but didn't notice it until I saw a post about it in July 2014 as a great small deck builder. The space war theme didn't completely excite me, but looking at the artwork closer really started to draw me in. I kept looking at it and I finally bought it without trying it and boy did we love it! I taught it to bobm174 who loves Dominion and he got super excited about it to the point of writing me a note the next day about how much he liked it. I taught Count Von Luckner the following game night and that's all we played all evening - 4 or 5 back-to-back games! That NEVER happens with a new game! My son and Dad also really enjoyed it. You'd think it might get boring but so far, not for me! Some games it really comes down to the wire (although sometimes its a blowout). I even made some score counters to make scoring easier!

Love Letter - I've played this off and on over the last couple of years and it really kind of helped explode the trend of small, simple, fun games. I remember playing it with 4 dudes at a local con and had a great time playing it. My son, daughter, son and even wife enjoy playing it. Yes, the decisions are simple but this one really shines because of the meta game - from round to round, can you guess what the other players are going to do? Can you get in a lucky guess for the win? Cheers, groans, laughter and fun always seem to accompany this game, and isn't that what gaming is really all about?

Valley of the Kings - This is another game I heard about around the same time as Star Realms. I love the Egyptian theme. Its a great deck builder that plays with 2-4. The game always ends the same way with the deck running out and all cards being used in some manner. It effectively is a set collection game but the interesting this is all cards can be used as money OR an action, and can eventually get you points. The key, though, is you have to 'entomb' a card to get points for it which means removing it from your deck into your tomb where you no longer have the points or money value, so there is a balance you have to achieve of WHEN to entomb. You also need to get them in the tomb in sets (mostly) to maximize points. Really nifty game. It plays a bit longer until you get the hang of it and learn what the cards do (each is a little different so you have to parse all the cards until you learn them), but definitely fits the good, small criteria.

Ok, thats it for now. There are some others that I might write about later.


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Mon Jan 5, 2015 1:00 pm
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TIMELY TOPICS: Happy New Year! Here's to more gaming in 2015! Congrats for BGG supporter drive (SOOO CLOSE to 11,000!!) and my item Winner Announced...

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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Happy New Year!

First, I got in nearly 400 FTF games in 2014 (394 that I logged at least - I think I missed a few though) and a ton of online gaming on Yucata.de as well. Here's to more good gaming in the coming year! I have so many games I haven't played yet that I own - I'm hoping to get more of them to the table this year!

Well, the BGG supporter drive easily cleared the goal of 9000 and nearly broke 11,000 supports in December (short by 9!! doh!!) Way to go supporters. I really love this site and truly appreciate it enough to support it each year. I am on it literally every day, several times a day! Its hard to stay away!

The main reason I love this site is there are so many great people on here that keep it generally positive. There are pockets of negativity which is still frustrating but probably unavoidable entirely. But it spurs healthy discourse so in that regard it has its place. The key is the swearing/shouting and general crappy behavior of people is usually kept to a minimum unlike so many other sites out there where people just yell at each other in the comments, call each other names, etc.

Also, there are just so many positive things that I love including insightful reviews, important rules clarifications, game designers and publishers interacting with gamers, useful files, fun contests and events, geeklists, the ability to sell and buy games that are otherwise hard to find, etc.

In past years I have only supported the site by contributing on January 1st so I could immediately get the the latest supporter badge. However, I felt like I was missing out on helping during the December supporter drive. So this past year I changed it up so I could do both - I contributed both on January 1st and in early December after the drive started so I could help then as well. And, I still am able to have adblock and all the other benefits even with splitting it.

I also contributed Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line as an item in the Item for Geeklist "2014 BGG Supporter Badge Drive / Rummage-O-Rama Give-Away - Free Games (some with Free Worldwide Shipping)" and just pulled the winner as:

Kevin A
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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I will send a GM shortly (or you can send me one as well if you notice before I get to it)

CONGRATS!!!



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Thu Jan 1, 2015 7:56 pm
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JUST GAMING AROUND - My son helps push to a 'most games played in a month' with Dominion, Diamonds, Love Letter and Splendor

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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This was a good month of gaming for me. I got in 54 FTF games this month! The last time I did that many (exactly in fact) was August 2013. And my son definitely helped reach that goal as he really wanted to play games a lot.

The month started out at Lebanon-a-con, a smallish local convention run mainly by two gamers in Lebanon, OR. I got a few solid games played, mostly longer, but definitely good.

Key games for me were: Madeira (which as pending for many months for me), Lewis & Clark(btw, don't play this game 5 player unless they are all VERY fast players - slooowwww snore), Tzolkin (always a fav), and Five Tribes (nice game, might need to pick it up), and Würfel Bohnanza (yet another interesting dice game) among several others.

Then, another friend that goes to Essen every year had a game day and I got a few more good (NEW) games in. Yay! One of my favorite times of year. Games played were: Aquasphere (I messed up one important part teaching - opps!), La Isla (definitely will pick this up), Colt Express (played 3 times! great fun!), and Deus (great civ building game that plays smooth and relatively quickly)

But the primary gaming for me was driven by my son. Almost every day for at least 2-3 weeks he was asking to play a game. Most are shorter but we had a great time playing all of them.

The games were mainly:
Splendor - played a couple of times - he seems to really like this and even plays it at scouts when camping.

Dominion - he has always 'liked' this game, but for some reason he just asking to play it over and over, sometimes 2-3 times in an evening! We mostly just use my a phone app to randomly choose sets (I have all Dominion expansions so we have a lot of variety to choose from). He or I will keep generating sets until we get something that looks interesting, maybe tweaking it a bit. He consistently plays well and he LOOOVES the attack cards. Anything that gives a curse to me and other players is a total joy for him.

I have tended to win more than him, but he definitely holds his own and it is interesting to see his unexpected strategies work for him - he also loves picking up lots of coppers - he will frequently 'buy' them if he has nothing else to buy. He had at least two games where he had 30-40 coppers in his deck! Ill-gotten gains is one of his favorite cards.

We have also had some interesting sets where we randomly ended up with a bunch of cards that make you look at the top of your deck in various ways with interesting effects. We have also had others where most cards trashed other cards and/or generated cards and we ended up with a Trash full of dozens of cards.

Dominion continues to amaze me on how many different interesting interactions and combinations can come about. I will say, though, there are definitely some terrible, horrible combinations that drag the game out for WAY too long no matter how hard you try!

Love Letter - For some reason he is really taken by this game. We've played a couple of times with my daughter and had a great time. But mostly it has been 2 player. This game isn't necessarily the best with 2, but there's still something fun with it, plus its quick. There are a couple of 'better' variants for 2 but we haven't tried them yet - vanilla is still fun for us and tends to generate at least a few good laughs every session.

Diamonds - This has also been a pretty decent 2 player game for us. We have also played 3 player with my daughter and 4 player with my friend Bob (who got us started on it). We don't actually own Diamonds (yet) but have been played with a Clubs deck, using similar plastic gems (large and small in clear rather than clear and red - works better my opinion) and we use the player screens from Rampage which lends it an interesting thematic twist - instead of putting gems into your vault you they are being guarded by your monster/dragon instead. Actually, in Rampage everything behind the screen is 'in the stomach' of the monster so we tend to think of it as the dragon eating the gems for permanent protection

(Side note: Here's a good memory trick for remembering the suit action: Diamond is easy because you get a diamond behind your screen. Clubs is easy because you are hitting another person over the head with your 'club' and stealing a gem Heart you love the diamond so put it in front of you so you can look at it. Spade you are shoveling the diamond in front of you into your vault (or stomach in our 'themed' version)

Anyhow, 2p definitely plays differently since you play 2 cards every trick. You have to play differently than in a 3 or 4 player game because you HAVE to follow your own suit - you can set yourself up nicely sometimes and sometimes you are just stuck. The passing becomes even more important in trying to set yourself up.

Well, we've had a lot of fun with this game as well.


So, overall it has been a great month of gaming, even if many games were with my son playing shorter games - sometimes the interactions in the game and the fun, joy and laughter of my son and myself is what makes it all worth it. AND we're spending time together and keeping him away from his video games and youtube zombification.


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Wed Nov 5, 2014 4:48 pm
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CLASSICS CLOSET - There is more merit in older/classic games than you might expect

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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Sometimes the older or classic games are just what you need. The rules can be read and learned in 5 minutes. The game play can be relatively quick. And they can just be fun for that time you are playing. You may not want/need to go back and play them 10 times in a couple of days, or every day for a month, but you definitely can get some quality enjoyment out of them while they are on the table.

This weekend I had taught a couple of new games to my parents when they were in town visiting for the usual birthday for my son and father's day, plus the added bonus of 'graduation' from elementary to middle school for my son and from middle school to high school for my daughter.

I taught some more recent games including Morels, Love Letter and Qwirkle Cubes (my preferred version of Qwirkle). We also played Carc with a couple of expansions (Catapultand Princess & the Dragon - my son's choices, a couple of his favorites).

But, I could tell that all the new games were burning my Mom out a bit as she wanted something simpler.

I looked through the cupboards and found Sharp Shooters - a more 'classic' sort of game from 1994 (hmmm, thought it was older) along the lines of Yahtzee or Can't Stop. I originally thifted it for $2, mainly for the plethora of dice it has (and maybe the dice tray)

To play, you roll 5 dice to try to match patterns on a shared board for the current round. If you are the person that completes the last die of a row you get that amount of money/points (or lose points in some cases if it is a negative row). You roll 5 dice and MUST place at least 1 die if possible; your turn is over if you can't play any. If you match exactly one you must place it. If you match more you can place any/all of them. You could possibly even fill out a full row in one go or one turn if you rolled the dice for it. After placing you can stop or keep going to try to place more dice.

The trick is determining when to push your luck, when to stop to make it harder for others to complete lines, and what to place to avoid leaving too many lines open for completion for the other player(s).

I thought it might be a bit dull, but we actually had a great time playing with groans when the dice failed you or cheers when the dice rolled your way.

This reminded me that games like this are sometimes all you need for a bit of fun and entertainment. A great way to get together and interact without requiring a ton of effort or heavy thinking.

It also started me thinking about how many people write off games like Yahtzee. But, as I recall, the last time we played it we had a great time. Same with Pictionary last year - my kids had never played and we had a blast. It reminded me of when I was a kid myself playing it with my family and friends in the evenings or during lazy summer days.

(And remember: King of Tokyo is really just an update of Yahtzee but with a few more features and different sorts of 'patterns' you are trying to match depending on your 'goals' - a classic made better, but the same sort of tension just applied in a different way)

This weekend we also played Pictureka- it is a kids game where you are searching for specific pictures of items across a series of 9 boards (sometimes you bid to see who can find more, sometimes there is a specific picture to find, sometimes you must find a certain amount of a type of item). I thifted a copy of it a couple of years ago and had a great time playing with the kids and even took it to a scout overnight event and they enjoyed it as well.

My son and I got my Mom and Dad to play. My dad tends to hate speed games (which is what this is) but he genuinely enjoyed it for the 20-30 minutes we played. We had a lot of interaction, a lot of laughs, and it didn't require any electronics of any sort. Just good old fashioned fun.

Recently, a couple of us local thrifters have been trying to play some of the older games we've been finding (see this list for some of the plans and results: Eugene Thrifty Games To Try). Surprisingly, many of the older games we've brought to the table have been great fun (or at least entertaining and somewhat interesting).

My favorite was Situation 4 from 1968. It is a game that involves quickly solving a puzzle in a speed game with another person (you could also play in teams). One twist is that each team has a different version of the same puzzle but each starts on an opposite edge. You must place connecting pieces and try to complete features and place flags on them to gain the points for that feature. The additional twist is it is somewhat of a war game in that you can infiltrate the other person's side of the board with tanks and paratroopers giving you the ability to interfere with what they are doing on their side, or protect your own side from invasion.

It is a really clever and interesting game and we had a blast playing it.

Anyhow, the thing I got out of this weekend was remembering how good the older games can be - just as entertaining as many of the more modern creations, and often not so difficult to learn to boot. It is easy to write off a game because it is old or a classic, but that doesn't mean it can't be good.



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Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:00 pm
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TIMELY TOPICS - The future is now! 3D Printing Game Pieces for Morels

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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So, last year a friend of mine introduced me to Morels. I had seen it before but never played it. I really enjoyed it and picked up a copy direct from the publisher. Unfortunately, it didn't have the nifty hand-crafted foraging sticks and plastic pans that came with the original Kickstarted versions:



The wood foraging sticks were originally made by hand by the designer, Brent Povis! Hundreds and hundreds of them! I missed out

My version came later and just had the cardboard chits:



I had thought I would make fimo ones like others had made, or make my own wood ones, possibly like these:


Then, last October, I saw these nifty little pans 3D printed by someone with access to a 3D printer at work:


That wasn't QUITE what I wanted out of mine, but it definitely inspired me to look into 3D printing further. I started reading more about 3D printing and online 3D modeling applications.

Then, I started out playing around with TinkerCad and really found it intuitive and easy to use (note that I used to do CAD, including some 3D, many moons ago, so perhaps was more intuitive to me than for some, but I have heard of kids using it fairly easily, so it really isn't THAT hard).

There are many 3D drawing applications out there and available. The thing I liked most about TinkerCad was it had a really innovative way of making things where you didn't worry so much about dimensions but more about choosing basic 3D shapes from a palette, crossing and merging them together to make new shapes, then adding in other shapes as 'holes' to create void space! Merging holes and solids together caused it to calculate and draw all the intersecting faces and such for you automatically. Really REALLY neat piece of software!

BTW, there's this other amazing application that is quite fascinating to play around with called Shapeshifter - try both this and TinkerCad, you'll really like them! Both applications are actually owned by AutoDesk, makers of AutoCad and such. They actually took over TinkerCad last year when it was about to be tanked by its owning company - I'm really glad they kept it alive!

Well, after getting up-to-speed with the tutorials, I then started on my project by first creating the pans which were relatively straight-forward, although I took a non-traditional approach and intersected a large parabola (well, two actually) with a squat cylinder to make the pan, then merged a long round ovoid piece to make the handle. Not much detail, just playing around a bit.

First 'cut' before merge:


Second 'cut' before merge:


Final version:


And, this is how the printed version came out:


Then I started messing with the sticks. I wanted to have a 'carved' feel to them, just like the hand-made ones. So, I started with a simple long, thin cylinder, then added two more smaller ones to make a 'Y'. Finally, I used a series of individual and grouped parabolas and cylinders of various sizes to 'carve out' areas along the edges.

Here's a late step of doing some of the final 'cuts':


This is a detail - see the dark areas on the orange stick? Those are the areas being 'cut away' when I do the merge:


The dark shaded areas are object 'holes' that, when merged, 'remove' material from the 'solid' object.

This is the final 3D model:


And, here's the final printed stick:


Because they are white its hard to see all the detail - I tried to highlight it against the dark pan and you can see some of the detail there.

These are how they look sent directly to me after printing at Shapeways which is an online 3D printing service where you can print in a wide variety of materials (depending on the size of the object, and the depth of your pocket book) ranging from plastic to chrome to gold to multi-colored ceramic, plus a variety or other metals and plastics. The great thing is you generally only pay for the amount of material used, plus shipping! (The shipping is the gotcha unfortunately when only printing small, cheap items). I paid close to $30 for my 12 sticks and 2 pans. OUCH!

BUT, I did it at Christmas time during a special promotion and got a $10 credit for future prints. AND, I didn't have to shell out thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time to build, test, and calibrate my own 3D printer. In all honesty, it was truly a proof-of-concept for myself to see what it looked like, felt like, and what the entire process was, so was definitely worth it for me to get that experience.

I should note that Shapeways does a really great job of checking your work for holes or areas that are too thin and sending you feedback if there are problems. I should have started out right off with their recommended tools to check myself though - would have saved me a bunch of time 'debugging' my pieces in terms of thickness. They post all of their tolerances for each material type and you MUST look at those and figure out what the requirements are or it won't be printable.

As to the pieces themselves, the plastic has a sort of rough feel to it (which works well for these items) although they have some plastics that are smoother (or they put them in a tumbler to smooth them later). It can be painted which is my plan for these in the near future so the sticks will be in the brown/tan range. I may add some highlights to the pans as well to give them a more metallic look.

Well, that's my first look at 3D printing. I have been wanting to write this piece for a few weeks now and, because I JUST today received my 3Doodler it has got me thinking about 3D printing and the future that it holds. The 3Doodler is certainly NOT going to produce anything like this, but I think it may have some other applications such as with storage or simple custom on-the-fly made pieces. I'm also looking forward to just creating some neat 3D art pieces in general.

Hopefully I'll get it to the table soon and then show what some of the capabilities of it are in a future post.

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Thu Feb 6, 2014 1:30 pm
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STATE OF THE BACK ROOM - Time to clean up and clear out - Why is it SOOO Hard? (Plus, SUPER FAST AUCTION link - 2 days left!!)

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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In 2012 I sold a good number of games to clear some stuff out. I actually went from 700+ games down to 400 I think. Well, I'm cheating a bit on that - I removed all the kids games and put them on a different account (except a couple I happen to really like) which dropped the count by 71. Out of sight, out of mind, right? (Besides, they only take up a couple of cupboards in the family room...they aren't REALLY there because you mostly can't see them....)

And, I removed many of the smaller expansions (there are still many on the list). Actually, I just checked - I 'own' 544 games, but excluding expansions brings it down to 471. That's still 73 expansions ferreted away somewhere. Most times I combine with the base games which helps with space. Right?

Regarding the SOLD games, the Marketplace shows I sold 118 games. I've also traded a number of games, but that didn't actually help with the totals too much (in fact, probably went up a tad as a result). Oh, I *did* also sell some games on ebay....but not sure how many. I'm sure it was a lot! Really! whistle

Oh, and I donated a bunch of games - to a couple of local schools and also to a Scout camp.

Again, I'm cheating though - because of my thrifting I don't always list those as 'owned'. In fact, I have quite a few now that I 'own' but are not listed. If I decide to keep them then I'll own them....later. So, many donations and sales were thrifted games. But many WERE games I decided to get rid of, even ones that I sort of, kind of, liked and ones that I actually liked.

It was a real struggle to get myself to sell off some games the first time through, but the more I looked and was honest with myself, the more I realized I didn't like them as much as I thought, or I just wasn't that interested in playing them, or no one ELSE wanted to play them.

The interesting thing is, once I started finding things to sell and they ACTUALLY STARTED SELLING, there was a bit of an adrenaline rush and I kind of wanted to find some more to sell!

Lately, I've been thinking of selling more off. Again. So I finally did it, I pulled all the games from the shelves, re-sorted them, weeded out a few, and put them back on. Well, the REAL problem I was having was games were starting to pile up everywhere including all over the game room table and I couldn't even play in here! I would think "Gosh, I really ought to go in there and clean it up so I can have some friends over again".

Well, last week I invited my friend Bob over. That was the motivation I needed. I had already 'cleaned up' earlier in the month for my birthday gaming weekend, but cleaning up meant 'setting up a table in the garage and stacking everything on it that was in the way so I could see and use the top of the DAMN TABLE AGAIN!!!!'

And I'm yelling because I'm overwhelmed - it's the problem of gamers like me who like a lot of different types of games and so I buy and buy and trade and buy some more until I'm OVERWHELMED with the sheer volume of games! There are SO MANY GOOD GAMES! And I want to play them ALL!

But you know, you don't have to OWN them all to play them all. At least thats what I tell myself. And then I look at each game and try to assess it. Have I played it? Will I play it again if I have? Do I want to even play it if I haven't yet? When did I last play it? Is it worth money? Is it worth a LOT of money?

All these things roll through my mind as I look over each game. And I desperately want to play them - ALL OF THEM. And then I slide slowly into the trap of thinking about how much time it would take to learn and play each and every game that I haven't played yet. Then I think about playing ALL of them - every SINGLE game I own. And I keep sliding into that time pit, that gaping hole of time that is required to get them all to the table! And my mind explodes! And I'm sad. Sad that I may not even get to play them all. May NEVER get to play them all. But I MUST keep them because I *might* play them again. Sometime. Very soon. I JUST KNOW IT.



AUCTION BREAK! Please help me out of my dire situation! Buy a game! Please!

[CLOSED] SUPER FAST AUCTION - With Global Shipping OR Pick up @ EGG in Eugene, Oregon [ENDS JAN 30TH]

(ok, I know its only 12 games - a small dent - but its a start ---- again)

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Villa Paletti (Zoch Verlag 2002)
The Settlers of Catan (Mayfair 2007)
Fresh Fish
Silverton
Empire Builder
Ever Green
Mykerinos
Sagaland (original 1st edition German version of Enchanted Forest)
Platoon
Cathedral WORLD (resin version with nice architectural pieces instead of simple blocks)
Yacht Race (rare/hard to find)




Anyhow, I have climbed out of pit of despair. And I'm happy again. Because I look around and I'm surrounded by games.

Look, here's what my game room looked like in May 2011...


then August 2012....


...and finally this is today. Now. January 2014.


Well, I'm cheating again. Because it actually looks like this:


Or rather, like this:



WHY IS IT SOOOOOO HARD? Oh yeah, because they're fun!


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Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:30 pm
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ADVENTURES IN THRIFTING - Thrift Report #4 for 2014 - Quicksand (fail?) and Inside Moves (aka Camelot...by George S Parker)

-matt s.
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Oregon
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I stopped by the Seneca GW last Friday as I was heading to Funagain (the local Eugene store - THESE GUYS ARE AWESOME BTW!!!!!! If you're ever in town, you have to go visit them!) to pick up Rampage stickers for the meeples that fortuitously appeared in a shipment the day after I asked if they had them available! WOOT!

Anyhow, I went into GW and first spotted Quicksand. It looked interesting, but maybe a little sucky. Looking up on BGG confirmed it wasn't rated high. I was still intrigued....but I passed.

I roamed down the shelves and didn't see too much. I wandered by the Hot Wheels to look for something for my son. I spotted a couple that looked decent and a stock car for me for Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game that I've been collecting cars for. But, I was just in an 'iffy' mood and usually I don't pick up the cars unless I find something bigger of interest. And I didn't really need another stock car. But I held on to them and went back to grab Quicksand.

While deciding if I was dumping my 'finds' or not, I went to the back end-cap near the board games and spotted Inside Moves on the top shelf. It looked like a potentially interesting abstract. The box was terrible condition (water stains and such). I was still iffy.

I decided to pass. On everything. I dumped the cars and Quicksand and left.

But Inside Moves was still nagging at me. Sitting in my truck I did a quick search on my phone (lord knows why I didn't look while in the store....I'm funny that way)

It turned out the alternate name is 'Camelot' which is a tweaked and republished version of the original Chivalry game - the first official game designed and published by George S Parker, founder of the Parker Brothers company was back in 1888! Hmmm, my interest immediately went up! And, the BGG rating looked pretty good too.

Drat!

Back into the store I went. I grabbed everything including the Hot Wheels.

The 'haul':


Lovely.




Well, Quicksand is 'ok' but kind of a bust even at $0.99 (half off) - I tested the timers and only 2 of them work properly - the rest look like they're working but I left them set up for several hours, came back and........well, they still hadn't emptied.



TWO...HOURS...LATER:



FAIL!!!

Not sure why I even grabbed in the first place. Such is the life of a Thrifter I suppose.



Inside Moves proved to be a bit better (well, because of it's rating). The box still sucks:



The game pieces are nifty except it is missing one small light colored piece. The board is ok.



I can't decide if that woman on the cover is hot or frightening....




Well, it was an 'ok' thrifting day. I'll give it only because of Inside Moves (aka Camelot). But that may go down after I play it......at least I'll have some unique/interesting pieces for displaying if nothing else whistle


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Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:30 pm
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ADVENTURES IN THRIFTING - Thrift Report #3 for 2014 - Hits & Misses: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Capsela 400 and Pig Mania (aka the Makin Bacon game)

-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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Last week on Wednesday I made a stop by the Greenacres GW and found a couple of 'maybe' items including a Star Wars Clone Wars Monopoly and a Pirates of the Caribbean Life. However, I decided to pass...I've got a bunch of Star Wars stuff already I need to deal with and it didn't seem worth the effort for value. The Pirates game had some nice plastic pirate ships but at $2.99 didn't feel worth it just for those. I guess I'm going all soft.

I did notice a 'vintage' Capsela 400 (building toy, not board game) which immediately put me into NOSTALGIA mode since I had a set almost exactly like it when I was a young boy (why does it make me feel old thinking toys from my childhood are 'vintage' now.... ). And yet, I wasn't sure I was interested....until I checked for potential value on eBay and saw they sold pretty consistently and for $20 (low) to as high as the mid $50 range (and possibly higher) making it a potential HIT.

I was a bit worried since the box was bulging and one of the metal axles had migrated out of the partially opened box, but held in place by the GW added shrink....



Still, it was worth taking a chance so I picked it up for $2.99.

Once opened it was a bit of a mess, but not bad really.



Its missing a couple of connectors and the battery case is corroded and needs some cleaning, but I think its definitely workable/sellable.

So, I got it counted out, then sorted....


And finally back together properly:


Just need to do cleanup on the battery pack and test it out a bit to see if it works before selling. No, I'm not keeping it for me or my kids - there's some nostalgia but not enough to keep it at this point.



For some fun, thought I'd mention a couple of MISSES other than the two mentioned earlier.


First was Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon - I thought this was just a fun pastime (ah, more NOSTALGIA) but, no, they actually made it a board game (read the wikipedia link - pretty interesting actually)! If it was NEW in SHRINK it might sell but, other than being a fun novelty....not something I need cluttering up my game room. Sorry Kevin, I still love you!



(Personal side note: Our pastor at the church I attended as a teen took our youth group to see Footloose!)




I also spotted Pig Mania, another NOSTALGIA item for me. Funny, I've found several Pass the Pigs versions in the past year, but not Pig Mania which is the actual version I had as a kid. It is (as far as I know) the only one to have the 'Makin Bacon' roll where if the pigs are touching you have accomplished this. Get it? HA! Its in the 3rd column on this image of the box back:



As kids we thought that was HILARIOUS!

(Oh, Piggy Back is pretty funny too! Oh dear!)


Later versions renamed 'Makin Bacon' to 'Oinker' which isn't nearly as funny! They also got rid of the 'Piggy Back' roll....darn censors!

Anyhow, I mentioned Pig Mania being my favorite in one of my Pass the Pigs Thrift List posts last year and someone was kind enough to send me their Pig Mania version!!! Love the Thrifters in this community! Anyhow, I didn't really need another copy of it. I suppose maybe I could have passed it along to someone else but decided to, erhm....PASS.




Well, that's it for this report! I think my hit is pretty solid but all the misses/passes distracted so I'm giving it a


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Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:30 pm
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ADVENTURES IN THRIFTING - Thrift Report #2 for 2014 - Pokemon Master Trainer and Villa Paletti

-matt s.
United States
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Last Wednesday, Jan 15th, I made another thrift run, this time to the GW in the opposite direction on Greenacres road. This is one of two primary sources of good games.

It was the first one I would visit in my area as it is directly off the freeway I would take to work. So, it was an easy target and perhaps my 'favorite' due to a large game section AND a large toy section, plus I also like perusing the 'wood' aisle (all manner of wooden bowls, boxes, display cases and such) and also the 'frames' aisle that has various sorts of picture and wall art frames in a large variety of choices...perfect for my (non-existant but in-my-thoughts) projects - I *really* do have projects in mind, but never seem to get to them.....

Anyhow, this particular day was pretty good. Here's a quick peek at the 'haul'





First up, I spotted a Pokemon Master Trainer game for $2.99.



I am not much into Pokemon but my kids are. I thrifted a pile of discs from this game late last year (thinking they were something else) and gave them to my kids. I also later learned that this game can be somewhat valuable (much to my consternation after having passed on it in the past)

Looking inside it was a bit of a mess with the cards, but the tokens were mostly sorted properly:


Well, this copy is probably not so valuable - it has obvious fading on the right side of the box (a light yellow/white Pikachu....) and it is missing 1 token, 5 character cards, and a few other cards. Drat!

Here's the game after my sorting and cleanup:



The components are actually in really great shape, including the board, so hopefully I can eventually complete it....or maybe it will have to go onto the 'project' pile. Whatever that means...




Next up is Villa Paletti for $2.99! And its the German version!?



It ALWAYS surprises me when I find good games on the shelves. Its that excitement it generates that keeps me coming back. This game was no exception. I saw it and it was an immediate grab! I'm thinking: "I'm sure it's missing something since it is taped shut and the lid is protruding up higher than it should - maybe its just stuffed full of kids blocks or somethings..."

Well, looking inside and checking it out in detail shows it, in fact, is NOT full of kids blocks but actual game components.



It actually has ALL of the game components! Well, all but one lesser important one - it is missing the wood block (aka 'Seal') that is used for tracking the current 'leader' during the game. Yes, its 'important' but, it's not 'critical' to actual game play in the sense that it is something I can easily make a substitute for! Woot!

I still need to make the replacement block, but at least it wasn't a missing pillar or floor.

All-in-all, this was a solid thrift day:

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Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:30 pm
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