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Holtidő Blog :: 8 Ways To Plan A Board Game Night (For Adults)

saabee
Hungary
Atomváros/Budapest
Tolna/Budapest
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The Ross-on-Wye Boardgamers :: Friday January 29th - Barns Macabre

Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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It was going to be one of those uncertain weeks when I wasn't at all sure who was coming. Regular JP had failed to reply, Tony may or may not bring Benedict, I had taken Harry's email address but lost it before I could add him to the list, and so on. So it was a mish-mash of games that accompanied me (sans Becky this week) to the White Lion in order to try and cater for all tastes.

With the general dithering permeating the opening collective (me, both Boydells, Dan and Bill), Dan popped Too Many Cooks on the table, declaring it to be a 'fun, light game to start'. Needless to say, he was soon forced to eat his words, along with a number of chillies, once he played his No Soup card. This misfortune manifested itself in an entertaining and prolific bout of rude words, which probably explains why the remainder of Dan's clan are not invited to games nights. He later picked up another bout of chillies on his onion soup round and finished with fewer points than he started with. All good fun. I had built up an early lead, and was pleased to pick up the trick-winning '10 Pea' card during my final (enforced) Pea Soup round to assure myself of victory over a carping Boydell Sr.

There was a bit of humming-and-hahhing over the best main-eventer for five. I had brought Chicago Express but wasn't keen on exposing my ineptitude yet again (man, I need lessons in that game), and Tony's suggestions all met with generic indifference. When all is in doubt, then, it only makes sense to fall back on club favourite, Agricola. Tony insisted on randomised seating AND start player, which put me in between the two Boydells, and we played a 10-7 from the EIK+Pi decks (including Man With A Shed, which I may or may not have palmed to the bottom of the deck during the shuffle).

I happened on one of those 'gotta try it' combos: the Master Carpenter from the Pi deck (fence your rooms for extra family growth without room) and the Fence Buyer (put a fence on an action space where you can take fencing as an additional action). Of course, putting the fence on the family growth space enabled me to cheat the whole turn order thing at will. The whole thing was fuelled by my Perpetual Student, and my 45 points would have been good enough in most games, but was rather annoyingly pipped by Tony who managed to usher out both the Chief and his Clogs in the final round for 46 points. Nooooooooo!

Dan was oddly off-form tonight, trying something based around his Slaughterman and a fencing combo that never really came off. He was threatened by Bill, who was playing well above his normal par, remembering to grow his family in good time and setting up quite the ranching operation. And a special word for Benedict, who ambitiously and determinedly went at a Social Climber + Braggart combo (what a horrendous person must the Bragging Social Climber be?), despite rather neglecting his farm development. He scored 24 Bonus points out of his grand total of - um - 24 points!

It was an epic 'Gric session, and we closed off with the latest tweakings of Tony's prototype Danse Macabre (I do prefer this over his Germanic title of 'Totentanz'). With an eminently workable Church combo, I got my revenge - indeed I don't think I can ever recall Tony winning at this. We threw more ideas into the hats for the development of the game - there are a number of card features to be balanced out, which will prove exhausting, I expect.
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Gaming Adventures of the Wandering Sysadmin :: On the Old and the New and Milestones

Adrian Koester
United States
Cornelius
OR
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Often the coolest innovations are ones that are, on their surface, very simple. The thing I am referring to is Google Cardboard.

This is something that I delayed getting for quite a while, simply because I did not relish the idea of paying money for a piece of folded cardboard that was basically a cheap Viewmaster. Then I read an article about a pediatric surgeon who used the technology to prepare for an extremely delicate heart operation. This got me curious enough to spend the money.

Now that I have one, I can say with confidence that this is FREAKIN AWESOME!!! The combination of the simplicity of the headset itself, with the capabilities of the required smartphones and the app design come together to make for a surreal experience. One note of warning for people who are no considering this. The standard Google Cardboard is not sized for the current generation of ginormous smartphones. I do recall that there are variants available online that are sized for the iPhone6 series and their (evil) Android counterparts.

A couple of milestones to mention. At some point shortly after the last post, this journal hit 500 views. WHEE! Keep reading people and pass it along. I hope you enjoy it.

Also this week is the one year anniversary of my initial arrival in Australia. I have enjoyed every minute of it and it continues to be one wild ride. Looking forward to the next year with great anticipation.

Now to the game play updates -

Game report day 28 - Sequence
This is one of those simple, classic games that has a depth of thought and strategy that is not immediately obvious. What is a little different about this game is the kind of passionate following that it seems to generate. Much as people purchase fancy chess, backgammon, and go sets for display and easy play, game stores have large format Sequence boards and playmats. I can't say that I understand the fervor that Sequence generates, but to each their own. One thing I can say is that I would like to see how this game plays with a larger number of people. I can imagine things could get pretty crazy, and that is usually a good thing.

Game report day 29 - Australian Menagerie
There are times when I worry that my board game obsession, at least the collection end of it, has bled onto my wife. This was one of those times. Beginning almost with the instant that I received confirmation of my adventure down under, she has been on the lookout for Aussie themed or produced games. We now have more Aussie themed games that American themed games. To be fair, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the more recent acquisitions was this Australia Menagerie game, a card game focused on Australian wildlife and their associated habitats. This hit two buttons for my wife. Not only for the Aussie theme, but it has an educational bent as well. The play is relatively simple. In each round, cards representing animals are drawn. As populations of critters are assembled, they are placed into their appropriate habitat on the player play mat. The round is over when someone can no longer play or draw more cards. At his time, points are totaled and the next round commences. In addition to the animals, there are threats the native species (fire, invasive critters, etc) and management policies that can defend against those threats. From a thematic standpoint, this is something that I quite liked. In reality, you can almost never remove an environmental threat. You can only manage it. Three of us played and fun was had by all. Afterwards, my wife did express some regret in the purchase. There are five expansions with more animals. The completionist tendencies in both of us are going to very nearly force the purchase of all five.

Game report day 30 - Pandemic
This is seen as one of the greatest and most enduring of the cooperative games, and a must-have on every gamer's shelf. The players are acting as a reaction team, operating out of Atlanta, in an organization that for whatever reason is not named as the CDC. Four diseases had reached epidemic status and it is the job of the players to use their unique skills and teamwork to treat and cure these diseases before an apocalyptic Pandemic is reached.

This is one of my favorite games for a number of reasons. First, it was one go my greatest thrifting successes. I found my first edition copy at Goodwill for a measly five bucks. Second, it is a classic coop game that has excellent replay value. Third, the difficulty level strikes a good balance. With two players, you will the majority of the time. With four, your odds decrease substantially, but it is not impossible (unlike a particular Reiner Knizia coop that I could mention). The wife and I played through and won, though not by a lot. We were just one outbreak away from disaster, making this the closest two player session that I have played ever. It did not help that we were playing with the Dispatcher and Researcher roles. This has to be the worst combo I have ever drawn.

Game report day 31 - 6 nimmit!
This was another Goodwill find a number of years ago, and illustrates one of the problems that thrifters face when collecting board games. Many of the great games of this era are made and designed in other countries, most notably Germany. As such it is not uncommon to find games that have instructions that require translation. Thankfully, there is the wonderful community at Boardgamegeek that has most of these on demand.

6 nimmit!, also marketed as Take5, or Take 6, is a press your luck style card game. Numbered cards are played into a series of rows on the table. The specific row is determined by comparing the number of the card to the last number in the row. If a player plays, or is forced to play, the sixth card in the row, they take the previous five cards and the sixth becomes the new start of the row. Taking cards is a bad thing, as each card has one or more cow heads that become points. When someone reaches 66 points, the game is over and the low score wins.

The doublethink involved in this game is not something I am particularly good at. I am reminded of this every time I attempt to play this game online. Thankfully for me, at least on this evening, I was better at it than my wife. Either way, the predominant opinion is that the game would be much more fun with a larger group. At the very least it would be more unpredictable.

Game report day 32 - Khet /w Eye of Horus expansion
I received this quite a long time ago, and it has consistently remained one of my favorites. (Yes, I know I say that I lot, but with a collection like mine, I can't help it.) What can I say, it is like Egyptian chess, but with LASERS! The goal is to maneuver your pieces such that when your (or your opponent's) laser is fired it hits your opponents Pharaoh piece. Many of the pieces are mirrored to assist with this, though most are mirrored on only one side. This means that they themselves are vulnerable to the laser. The addition of the Eye of Horus expansion added an additional twist, a beam splitter for each player. Now you have to worry about not one laser path, but potentially more. This game has the value of teaching people to think spatially and plan ahead, thinking carefully about the consequences of their next move. More than once I have seen an opponent make a move just to find that they have just offed their own piece, or worse, their own Pharaoh.

Khet has also been, until recently, the source of one of my greatest gaming regrets (follwed shortly by that same Knizia coop that was alluded to earlier). There is a third expansion to the original edition of the game called the Tower of Kadesh. This took what was essentially a two dimensional game into the third dimension. As the name suggests, a tower is added to the board and pieces and the laser can move up to and down from the elevated platform. The tower itself is even mobile. Unfortunately, this expansion has been long out of production and is nearly impossible to find for anything less than a hundred bucks, if you can find one at all. You can imagine my happiness when I tripped over one on Ebay for roughly fifty bucks. Now there is just the pain of waiting for shipping. I had to have it shipped stateside first owing to exorbitant international shipping costs. Stay tuned for another session as soon as it lands down under.

Game report day 33 - King of Tokyo, Kill Doctor Lucky, Entropy, Yardmaster Express
The weekly game meetup resumed after the Australia Day holiday, and it was back with a celebration of its own. This was the meetup's two year anniversary. One of the organizers had the quote of the night when thanking the large group of regulars saying, "We would not be here two years on, if you were all assholes!" I need to remember that one.

Now for this occasion I had brought with me The Agents and Yardmaster Express. For whatever reason there was not a lot of interest in the Agents, and we had a table of six to entertain (Agents will only play to 5). So we got out King of Tokyo first. Modern classic of a press-your-luck style dice game. As Kaiju monsters trying to flatten the "Matchstick City" the six players eagerly dove into their task. I jumped to an early lead, quickly running up to within 5 points of the win. Unfortunately, I pressed my luck just a little to hard and was the the first monster dispatched. I did not have long to wait, as one of the other players, in a massive flurry of monster activity, finished up the game with a 20 point win.

With the monsters boxed up, the players were apparently still in a destructive mood as Kill Doctor Lucky was the next box to hit the table. This is a game that has been around for a long time, originally (and now again) published by Cheapass Games. On this occasion we were playing the board game edition. The goal of the game is to maneuver yourself and the good doctor so you are out of sight and then try to send him to meet the choir eternal using any one of a series of weapon cards. The other players will do what they can to stop this, usually by playing one or more amusing Failure cards up to the value of the weapon you used. This continues until someone finally manages to off Doctor Lucky. Very fun game and fun was had by all. My one complaint is that this is one of those games where players are often put into the position of being kingmaker. I generally dislike this, as it forces someone to make a decision to give advantage to someone else and get no benefit to themselves. Games that have this tendency definitely go into the stack of games not to play with people that take games personally.

Quick break and then we dove into Entropy. This is a game that I picked up at PAX AUS. The idea is that time and reality have fractured, and it is your task to put your own reality back together. This is an action selection game. All player actions are selected simultaneously from the same list, revealed, and then resolved. Players that select the same action clash and do nothing, so there is quite a bit of multiplayer doublethink going on. Players that clash too often do get a bit of compensation from the game, just so they are not left too far behind. I found myself in that position a lot, and the compensation of drawing additional cards periodically did not keep me from losing, but it was fun nonetheless. I can also say that it was much more fun with four than with two.

Final game of the night, Yardmaster Express. This little drafting game has become one of my standby fillers. It plays very quickly (10 min. with explanation) and is easy to teach and understand. Just like its larger cousin, you are adding cargo cars to your train, matching color or number, in an effort to get the highest point total. We played three rounds with me winning two and another player taking the third. Much fun had by all.

Game report day 34 - Trivia Night
Ok, I might be cheating a bit here. Sometimes when you are in the corporate game, you have to make sacrifices. This particular evening, the Australia services team at work was gathering for drinks, socializing, and a trivia game. This was your typical ad-hoc trivia game designed for a large group, but in the spirit of the event, fun was had by all. That and we learned some useless facts, which is always useful.

Game report day 35 - Tiki Topple
If you look at the condition of this game, you might be fooled into thinking that it has been played constantly for the last couple years. As much as I like this game, that is not true. The damage was caused my one or more particularly attentive toddlers. Let this serve as a warning. If you have small children, invest in secure storage for your hobby, as small children are the universes most powerful sources of entropy.

Anyhoo, this is another action selection game where each player has the same set of action cards to choose from. The goal is to figure out how to optimize your actions without telegraphing them. At the beginning of each round, players are given a secret set of three tikis. The goal is to maneuver the stack so that the tikis indicated on your card are at the top, in the designated order. The better job you do, the more points you get. Even with two players, rounds go very quickly and even if one round goes poorly, one can quickly make up the ground the following round. Very fun, very colorful (hence the attraction of the toddler), very well made (hence its survival) game.

Game report day 36 - Marrying Mr. Darcy /w Emma Expansion
My wife and I were introduced to this game some time ago by friends that backed the first Kickstarter campaign. Great fun was had, enhanced by the fact that my wife is a certifiable Jane Austen nut. When the Kickstarter campaign for the expansion was announced, we quickly backed it. After what seemed to be an unusually long wait, the game arrived yesterday. As players, you are the heroines of Pride and Prejudice, doing everything that they can to marry to their greatest advantage. To that end, they enhance their character (necessary for even attracting the suitor's attention) attend parties, and avoid fumbles that may damage their chances. In the end, a roll of the die determines whether they get a proposal from their preferred suitor, or then end up and an old maid. This element, for the record is my one complaint about the game. I never like the idea that an entire game of skilled preparation can be defeated by one or two bad die rolls. After playing the base game, which my wife won handily, we swapped in the Emma expansion. This is less of an expansion and more of a re-skin. The base mechanics of the game are the same, and the goal is largely the same. What differs are the characters and the associated player abilities. As with the base game, the designers kept to the theme of the book well. There were more blunders and matchmaking in the world of Emma. This time I emerged as the victor, much to my wife's irritation, as I intentionally pursued her intended suitor.
Speaking of my wife's irritation, I could not convince her to play with the included Undead expansion. Not really sure why.

_____________
Adrian Koester is game player, collector, systems engineer, father, and all around pretentious know it all. Past and future entries of my musings can be found at http://sysad-gamer.blogspot.com.au/. Comments and discussion are welcome in either venue. All I ask is that, for the sake of my kids, keep them PG rated.
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Today 4:00 pm
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Ones Upon A Game - Adventures in Solo Gaming :: I'm Certainly No Earl Scheib, But I Don't Charge As Much Either

Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
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Growing up, Earl Scheib (Wikipedia) locations were pretty commonplace. For one low price, he promised to paint any car! I even considered getting my first clunkers done there, but even back then $99.95 was a lot of money.

So amid work and other responsibilities (like sleep), I actually have managed to start painfully painting my homemade Thunder Alley miniatures (Send in the Clones - DIY Thunder Alley Miniatures - Part I).

Started with a base primer of flat grey thinking that would work for the underside "non-car" areas and I wouldn't have to paint them. Working team by team to keep the colors consistent, I picked six cars to be the Quaker-Stubbs team (blue).


First victims: primed grey and mounted to spools with poster tack.


The first area I painted was the windshield/windscreen and windows. I mixed a light blue with some white and painted the first team, then realized it would most likely be the only mixture I would need for all the cars... so I immediately set to work painting the others the same way, just hand holding them.


I ate all the candy, and put up a parking lot.


Several coats of navy blue for the bodies, some metallic platinum for the wheels, and black for the tires. I decided the medium grey primer where it showed on the sides in some minis was not good, so I used some darker grey paint appropriately named "asphalt" to make things a little nicer. Didn't bother painting the full flat bottoms of the cars, just where it would show on the side.

NOTE: I did attempt a wash after basecoating to bring out the detail in the hood and other areas, but it didn't really do anything for me except darken the work I'd already done, so I think I will pass on that or just try to reveal those details another way.

For finishing details, I added yellow to the spoiler to match the numbers that will be applied later. I painted the driver-side webbing a light tan color (and proceeded to paint all the other 38 cars really quick to get that part done as well). For the headlights, a simple touch of white in the right spots made that work. Though I suppose brake lights would be more important, have to add those in I think.

To finish off the front and back windscreen, I used the light blue with no white to lightly darken the top of each. Then just added a little more white to make the bottom part lighter in color, to give a gradated effect. A few hairline strokes of white to simulate reflection and voila.


Quaker-Stubbs team nearing the end of the assembly line.


When all the teams are done, I will cut the numbers for the top and doors from stickers and apply. Then I'll put a gloss finish over all the cars to make them shine. I do not plan to put the team logos on the hoods of the cars as the size will make them too fussy for me to cut out for the value added. But you might want to do that of course.



And now... on to the yellow team!



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Today 3:41 pm
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Trickylight Relief :: Superbowl 50 session: Denver 7 Carolina 31

Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
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As usual, I dug out my copy of Pizza Box Football today for a solo session in advance of tomorrow's big event. Who will come out on top: Cam Newton or Peyton Manning?

First Quarter
Carolina were first to receive the ball starting at their 26 yard line and moving it down as far as the Denver 25 before they had to settle for a Field goal.
Denver 0 Carolina 3
Unfortunately for Manning, two incomplete passes and just a handful of yards meant Denver had to punt their first possession away, giving Carolina good field position on their 41 yard line. Two first downs later and with the ball on the Denver 30, Stewart broke through the Denver defence to run the ball into the End Zone.
Denver 0 Carolina 10

Second Quarter
Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second quarter as Manning on a third and five threw an interception giving the ball to Carolina on the Denver 28. Control was the name of the game for Carolina as they kept the ball on the ground and their patience was rewarded with a five yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 17 points.
Denver 0 Carolina 17
Denver's next play saw them start on their 18 yard line but Manning at last started to make things happen with 37 and 15 yard passing plays in a drive that took them into the Red Zone. Then Hillman and Anderson took over with the latter eventually crossing the line to put Denver on the board at last.
Denver 7 Carolina 17
Carolina's running game was still working well but their advance was brought to an abrupt halt as Newton was sacked at the 41 yard line and the Panthers had to punt the ball away. Into the last two minutes, Carolina's defence proved that anything the Broncos could do, so could they as Manning was also sacked on his own 12 yard line. The resulting punt left Carolina with a couple of plays but their attempted 49 yard Field Goal attempt was wide of the mark so the score remained the same.
Denver 7 Carolina 17

Third Quarter
The Third Quarter proved to be where the two defences could show their worth. Manning was intercepted for a second time on Denver's first drive but Carolina were held around midfield and punted away. After another couple of traded punts, Manning completed a 61 yard passing play to Emmanuel Sanders to the Panthers' 19 yard line. However, a couple of plays later, he was sacked again and tragically for Denver a fairly straightforward 41 yard Field Goal saw Brandon McManus miss for the first time from that range all season.
Denver 7 Carolina 17

Fourth Quarter
Carolina finished the Third Quarter on their 24 but Newton completed a 16 yard pass on the first play of the Fourth Quarter to keep the pressure on the Broncos. Although the drive didn't count for anything, Denver again found themselves getting the ball back on their 20 yard line. Three unsuccessful attempts to move the ball forward meant Carolina picked up possession at midfield with time ticking down. Five plays later, they were celebrating in the End Zone again as things were looking increasingly desperate for Denver.
Denver 7 Carolina 24
With just five minutes left, Manning knew that something needed to happen but he wasn't counting on his next play being picked off for the third time and returned 25 yards to the Denver 8 yard line. Twisting the knife, Carolina capitalised two plays later to extend their lead to 24 points.
Denver 7 Carolina 31
Broncos fans knew it was all over but were able to cheer a 36 yard pass completion on the next drive only to see the erratic Manning throw a fourth interception and Carolina were home and dry. With no risks being taken, they ran the clock down and Denver couldn't do anything when they eventually got the ball back so the Panthers were able to celebrate what turned out to be a very comfortable victory.

Final Score
Denver 7 Carolina 31

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Today 2:34 pm
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Every Man Needs A Shed :: I got a job making money for the man throwing chicken in the bucket with the soda pop can

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
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Sometimes you just can't fight the overwhelming urge to jump right in, feet first, and see what happens. Since Monday's introduction to the beautifully-punishing, as-smooth-as-Fred-Astaire Food Chain Magnate, I've been thinking about it...and thinking about it...and thinking about it some more. I'd made a mental note that Food Chain Magnate was going to be a Jobbers-breaker and that we should only play it in the safety of a Wednesday night at his place - ie. when we all understood it would be pretty much the only game of the night - rather than bogging down the friendlier, lighter Friday night Ross-on-Wye crowd BUT...when I peeked in to the games for the night bag and saw some fillers, a couple of prototypes and a Rococo promo I've been carrying around for Norm since Christmas (will he EVER return?), I said "Far Kit!" and pulled FCM from the shelf and stuffed it in. Before I could change my mind, I kissed la famille au revoir and got on my way.

Having it 'with' was only the first step to success, however, as I needed to find enough people to join me without destroying the possibility of a second table. Luckily, very (very) occasional attendee Gary plopped himself down with Boffo and Smudge while the bouncy duo of Harry and Suzanna completed the set. Jobbers was up for FCM like a shot - he was worrying at the box like an in-season Terrier - but the Batesons were a little more reticent and with Gary 'out of practice' it was deemed better for them to keep him company. They would have a packed evening, as it turned out, while we would settle for 3 hours of delicious Splotter Spellen pain: it hurts SO GOOD!


Ready to start!

Unlike Monday, my copy of FCM was still unpunched so there followed a good 20 minutes of de-sprewing and card pile sorting; already feeling a little daunted at playing again, I also ran through the rules as I remembered them. Figuring in for a penny, I included Milestones too - none of this 'Introductory Game' crap, folks; time to get exceedingly jiggy with it!


Going!


It's not a complicated game, it's just difficult and - as expected - the start was tentative: H and S decided to beef up their middle management capability and trainers, while Jobbers and I warmed up the hotplates to prototype some pizza recipes. Within a couple of rounds we were all smiling contentedly at our personal collections of varied Milestones; I was particular pleased at my Freezer and my Eternal Marketing.

Jobbers got in to burgers to compete with a burger-obsessed Harry and the latter's friendly Business Manager cultivated (pun intended!) a lucrative series of gardening projects to help pump up the income. Suze, rattling about the suburbs on her drinks-laden Carts, decided that EVERYONE needed to know about her bubbly waters and built an aeroplane (see below); this, of course, diversified the requirements of the residents for which Harry and Jobbers were both late to the party...frantically scrabbling about to recruit errand boys but it was too little, too late. Suzanna's luxury artisan beverages and some cheap meat 'n carbs earned her a fine fortune in the final rounds while I fulfilled (or should that be 'filled full') the customers that she couldn't!


These folks have eaten so much food in the game that they can no longer
fit back in their houses and must now reside, permanently, in their gardens!



CocaEbola gives you wings! And stomach ulcers.


The Batesons and Gary were finishing another (they played a few) Glass Road, with Concordia avec Salsa already under their wings, as we bled the Bank a second time and totted up the final scores:
Suze 306 (a smooth glide to victory aided by being the only one in liquids for most of it)
John 248 (high churn, beaten off by expanding customer demands)
Anthony 216 (better than Monday and only one serving off Jobbers!)
Harry 141 (lots of Corporate activity that ground somewhat to a halt)

Universally hailed as a big success, FCM will be back again at The White Lion; I'm extremely pleased to have taken that last minute packing gamble after all!


A bijou satirical swipe: gain an Employee of the Month token when you use the University
Graduate. On receipt of the second, s/he promotes to a Junior VP immediately.
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Today 11:20 am
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Omaha Blitz Football: age 8+, 2 to 4 p, strategy board deck-builder :: New box art

Lance Johnson
United States
Kansas
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New box art:



I just made this and had to share it. criticisms are welcome.
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Today 9:10 am
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The Game Shelf :: Week 37:- Castle Panic

Fiona Dickinson
United Kingdom
Southampton
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"We were foolish in our hubris. We built a castle in monster lands, but thought we could fight them off. We were attacked by small forces, but we knew they could never organize an army. We shunned the barbarian tribes, knowing that we would never need such unsophisticated people. Now the monsters march in a grand army to retake their home, they are angry and we are hopeless. There isn't much time left for us, but should you find this letter then know this: You need weapons, you need allies, you need strong walls. They aren't just savage monsters, they are organized, they have leaders and they are coming!"



Check out the full reviews here;
http://thegameshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/dont-panic-mr-man...
http://thegameshelf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/thoughts-from-yel...

@game_shelf posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays with two different opinions from two halves of a gaming couple.
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Today 8:56 am
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It Beats Watching The TV :: Need Some Hot Stuff Baby This Evening?

Stuart Burnham
United Kingdom
Abingdon
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Dicht dran (Nearly There or Comes Close) is a little numbers game played with cards. It feels kind of familiar if you've played 6 nimmt! but has a unique way of making you take cards; which you may or may not want to do...

The deck is numbered 1-100 and each card has between 1 and 3 Chillies upon it. Each player receives a hand of 8 cards and 6 are played to the table in a circle including the 1 at the "12 o'clock" position and the 100 at the "six o'clock" position. The other four cards are drawn randomly.



The card to the right of the 1 is pushed towards the centre of the circle creating a "target" and a "gap". Players will each then select a card from their hand and play face down, all revealing them together. The closest number to the "target" (higher card breaks ties) wins that card and places it upon their score pile. All other players discard their cards BUT must check if they played in the safe discard zone or "gap". If they did, no further action is necessary but if they did not they must draw cards from the deck equal to the number of Chillies on the card played. The card that was closest then replaces the one that was won and removed from the circle. The next card to the right of that then is slid into the middle, forming a new "target" and "gap" and play continues.



The round ends once a player has run out of cards in hand. At that point all players score positive points for the number of Chillies depicted on the cards in their score pile and subtract the number of Chillies depicted on the cards still in their hand. You play a second round and then final scores are tallied.

I find this game to be a quick and fun little game with a good mix of randomness and smart play. The game has some great decision points especially when the target card is say 85 and the safe discard zone is 20-56. Do you just dump a card safely from your hand or do you risk playing the 80 that you have? You want the positive points or you can't win but if you "come close" but not close enough you're going to feel the pain of having to draw more cards into your hand. But then maybe the card you play is only a single chilli and is worth the risk...?

It is in those moments when Dicht dran most reminds me of 6 nimmt! (when a row is full and the high card is 41 - can you get away with playing a 60something? will someone else be forced to play a lower card and take all the bull-heads?).

I would recommend this game to anyone who has enjoyed 6 nimmt! and even if you had played that game and not liked it I would say that this game is unique enough to warrant a play just to see.
It's an inexpensive, quick and fun game that is easily obtainable from Amazon.de if your local stores don't stock any of the myriad of great little German card games that are available.
Give it a go!

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Today 8:31 am
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Gaming Adventures of the Wandering Sysadmin :: On Cheating

Adrian Koester
United States
Cornelius
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The act of cheating is one that comes with a variety of assumed consequences depending on the scenario. In the relationship sphere, the consequences are dire and generally keep most intelligent people from even considering the act. In gaming, too, cheating is generally regards as taboo, unless the game specifically allows it (Thank you Munchkin). There are also scenarios in games where a participant either through annoyance or ignorance makes cheating so tempting that the gamers who notice may not fully condone the act, they do understand. In realm of new year resolutions however, cheating is often regards as an inevitability. The only question is how long will they last before willpower fails them.

Fortunately I have not had to resort to this yet, although I can say that it has been close. There was the discussion on whether playing the iOS version of Exploding Kittens with other people in the room counted (no), or whether the afternoon spent online playing 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons with the group back stateside counted (also no). I am taking as an early warning sign that the gap between my log entries seems to be increasing. I will endeavor in the future to keep no more than 2-3 days between posts.

Now, for the last week of games.

Game report day 22 - Coin Age
Perhaps the most micro of the microgames in the modern era, Coin Age fits quite a lot of fun into a small package. The game itself is a pretty basic area control game. The more territories you control, the more points you get. The coin mechanic that has smaller coins being able to take over larger coins makes things marginally more complicated. The fact that endgame is triggered when all territories are occupied is a strategic component as well. I used to be able to carry this around and play with pocket change as the designer intended. Now it is more difficult as I have to keep a selection of American coins around just for the purpose of this game. Aussie coins just don't work right. While I still have the cardboard coins that shipped with the game, I never use them. I get far more enjoyment using real coins, even if I have to keep special ones around just for this game.


Game report day 23 - Viticulture plus Tuscany
Viticulture, along with the Tuscany expansion, remains one of my favorite worker placement games. The theme is fantastic, the mechanics smooth, and the play consistently enjoyable, regardless on the player count. I have played everything from solo games up to full Meetup tables of six.

When Tuscany was released, it was the designer's intent to have players add the additional content modules slowly and incrementally. I was like may players that played along, and then just got impatient and added the set of 6-7 modules that have proven to be the most popular. My standby setup now includes the following: Mamas and Papas, New Visitors, Advanced Visitors, Extended Board, Properties, Structures, and Patronage. Leading up to this last play, I decided to go crazy. Basically I wanted to add everything that I could that made any sort of sense. As such, I added the special workers (Professore and Oracle came up) and the Formaggio Tier 3 expansion. Mafia was still left out as it really does not make any sense with two players.

What followed was a seriously epic game. My wife took advantage of early structures and visitors to take a 10 point lead. My engine was slower to get going, but ultimately proved more profitable. The addition of cheese production did garner a noticeable amount of points, though if memory serves, I likely would have won anyway. Final score 35 to 21.

Game report day 24 - Labyrinth the Card Game
Pocket version of the Ravensburger classic. Despite the fact that tiles do not slide around to shift the maze, the feel is very similar. In this version the maze shifts as tiles are picked up and replaced. When a player plays a tile, he checks to see if a treasure on the played tile connects with a treasure on the field. If it does, and the player can demonstrate the path, the destination tile is picked up and scored. Play continues until the draw pile is exhausted. I won a close game by one tile.

Game report day 25 - Tsuro and Qwirkle
Tsuro is another game that can be added to the list of games for which my eldest son needs no coaching. Three of us played an enjoyable game, with my son strategically dispatching both mom and dad. Definitely no more kid gloves against this boy.

When Qwirkle came out, there was understandably more coaching. With this one there are just too many things to look at for the 8 year old brain to process. In the initial play, he rarely played more than one or two tiles at a time, and usually on the first location he saw. Perhaps after a few more plays he will get to see some of the possibilities. My wife on the other hand, spent much of the game annoyed as I had one tile turns getting one Qwirkle after another. Needless to say, I won handily.


Game report day 26 - Australia Map Game
Happy Australia Day! This city knows how to party! This public holiday was spent watching a fantastic international parade followed by some decent food, classic cars, good music, and an excellent fireworks show. In the middle of all of this was a Designer Faire. One of the stalls housed an artist that had created a simple roll and move game highlighting the interesting locations throughout Australia. While the game itself was pretty simple, the execution was beautiful. The board was screen printed on canvas and the game tokens were etched and printed on to nice hardwood discs. The playing pieces were even sized correctly for the spots on the game board

(something an irritating number of professional publishers mess up). The whole family got a round in while we were waiting for the fireworks to begin. Fun had by all. And I won again.

Game report day 27 - Pagoda
I am getting increasingly attached to this wonderful little two player game. I wavered more than a little before picking this one up at PAX AUS and I am glad that I let the impulse win out. This particular round the cards were not nice to me. I always seemed to be one card short on any given turn to be able to accomplish anything useful and establish a lead. As it was the game was close until the very end. We each had topped one pagoda and were consistently within a point or two of each other. Then I drew a had full of cards that I could do nothing with. This was the opportunity my wife needed to open a small lead and end the game. Well played.

Kinda makes me wish I had cheated...

__________

Adrian Koester is game player, collector, systems engineer, father, and all around pretentious know it all. Past and future entries of my musings can be found at http://sysad-gamer.blogspot.com.au/. Comments and discussion are welcome in either venue. All I ask is that, for the sake of my kids, keep them PG rated.
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Today 8:29 am
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