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Yet Another Friggin' Gaming Blog :: "Catan" - The Gaming Equivalent Of A Comfy Pair Of Slippers

David Pretty
Nova Scotia
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For me, playing Catan is the gaming equivalent of putting on a comfy pair of slippers.

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Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:03 pm
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All the Meeples of the Rainbow. :: 7 Wonders of the Quartermaster General in the Elysium AND Arboretum. Weekly Update ***WITH PICS***

United States
New Hampshire
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
Hi All,

With everything that's happened in the past week. I still managed to get in a bunch of gaming. I learned 10 new games! If anything gaming is a break from Real Life to a different mind set and reality. I think it is at least one reason we all love to game. We enjoy the time with others but it is also to get away and have fun for a while.

Monday night gaming Ron and I joined as normal. Everyone was back from the gathering and Joe R had a ton of new games for us to play. Joe H did too! He was kind and gave me (and Ron) a copy of Beasty Bar. I can't wait to give it a play. I haven't ever played Guillotine- but I hear it is very similar to that.

One table started in the other room and it left us with 6 players. We took out Joe R's new game called Quartermaster General. New to me!

This was a game that was a bit hit at the gathering. I am not a big fan of the war games but this was more Euro-ey than war-ish game. To my advantage I didn't have to know anything about history.

This game (I think they said, and seems to) play best at 6 players. There for all nations are in control and it is fair all around, in theory. I wanted red so I was auto-assigned as Soviet Union. That put me in the Allies side with USA (Marsha) and UK (JoeH). Joe H was the one who had played it the week before and he taught all of us. The Axis side was Italy (Brett), Germany (Ron), Japan (Bill).

Each nation has its own deck of cards and own military pieces. Totally unique from any other player. I thought that is was kind of cool. Japan had lots of navy ships but Soviet Union had only 1. In the beginning you have to discard cards and I discarded the card that allowed me to build my ship. Needless to say, that was the only one in my deck so I didn't end up going Navy ships at all.

While it is a team game, there is not so much discussion on what we are/will be doing. The game play is very fast and only 20 rounds. Each player gets a turn in the round to perform and action from their hand of cards. You can play an event, build troops, prepare a response card, or play a status card. After you do that you add your current score on the board to your teams points. Seating arrangement goes every other. Each deck has some strong abilities and may focus on certain regions of the board. Masha (US) was attacking Bill (japan) wicked hard. Making his discard lots of cards. Once your deck runs out that's that- so make it count. Don't waste your cards, if you can.

I had no more cards around turn 16. I still managed to stay alive since Germany was attacking me hard. But when Ron ran out of cards so did I and it was a stalemate - I suppose. I kept scoring my points though.

Ways to win: if either team gets to 400 points the game ends immediately, if a single nation defeats and conquers 2 of the opponents starting countries that is auto win, or more commonly the 20 turns are up and the team with the most points wins.

Allies (the good guys) totally kicked butt and won that game after the 20 turns were up. Brett was not bringing his best game to the table. He thought he was screwed over after turn 1 and was a Debbie downer the rest of the game.

For the most part I think everyone really enjoyed it. I would definitely play again. It requires 6 players which isn't optimal but there have certainly been times where I have needed a good 6 player game. This is perfect for that. It is not too heavy and plays really fast. Very enjoyable.

I only dislike that if I wanted to be red I would ALWAYS have to play as the Soviet Union. Which may or may not be a bad thing. I look forward to playing it again.

Joe H picked up a copy of ESSEN The Game: SPIEL'13 he wanted to try out. New to me!

I guess I can't really said I played it. But, we did walk through the rules and do the first couple turns before realizing we were playing all wrong. By that point it was getting too late to restart and play from the beginning but we did get a good idea how to play and perhaps we can play next week.

I am counting on my new to me play list because we actually spent an hour learning the game and figuring it out.

It is a VERY colorful game, which of course, I LOVE!! I also love that is has all the 2013 games and it is just plain fun. It is very exciting to see for the first time. Just looking at it makes you smile from al the board game- goodness. The game emotes a general happiness and excitement for games. How could you not love that!?

It is all about rushing through Essen to get the games on your wish list and add more games to your wish list. SO COLORFUL!

I am looking forward to playing a full game next week *fingers crossed*!

Since we cut that last game short we had time for a quick trick-taking game called Nostalgia. New to me!

As I said it is a simple trick-taking game, though I am not sure if it actually qualifies as trick-taking.

You start the game with 2 cards and the start player plays 1 card. If you have the same suit you have to follow. That is really the only thing in the track-taking family.

There are certain "special" cards of each suit. The valuable, and the variety.

The object of the game is to collect all 7 animal types then the round will end.

If someone lead with the bird card and you had just a valuable bird- then you would not have to play a bird and you can play off suit. The valuable cards allow you to keep the card in hand and play a different one. If you play off suit then you get to take a played card from the playing area. Those cards get ADDED to your hand. If the bird card was lead and you have ANY variety card you can play any of those for your turn instead.

The variety card do not allow you to take cards from the played area. After the turn then all players get dealt another card and added to their hand. Start player moves to the next and you do another round.

It was a cute game. Now I know how to play I could play better next time, though I did get to 6 animals and was doing perfectly fine when Bill showed us his 7 animal cards.

I enjoyed it. It has some interesting art too.

Tuesday night Ron and I had time for a game of 7 Wonders. We have to, of course, play with all the expansion. Why bother without.

They way we have been playing 7 wonders for years now is each take on 2 boards and work from there as if they were not built next to each other. I am very excited for the new 7 wonders duel game that will be released - hopefully this year.

This game I played as Halicarnassus and Olympia. Back when I was keeping stats on the game Olympia was the board that won the most games. This was with the general base boards- but still continued to do its part when looking at expansion boards as well.

This game I didn't really have a plan. I wasn't focused so much on the projects. I ended up getting all my babel tower pieces out- just cause I didn't like the pieces Ron was supplying.

I didn't feel like I was doing well. I knew I was doing better with Halicarnassus but it was actually a close finish. final scoring for my boards were Halicarnassus 70 and Olympia was 69... Ron's boards which were Ephesus and Byzantium scored 56 and 64. Apparently, I crushed Ron. Sorry Ron! devil

There is a lot to think about with all the expansions going on. I love it!! This still deserves a spot in my top 10. I don't know why people don't want to play it so much anymore. It is just so great!

I do recall a time where we were playing non-stop for months and I was tired of it. But, now I miss that!

Thursday was Fun Group. I got in my gaming with those Funtastic guys!

I walked in when they were starting up Hearts of AttrAction.

The game is just fun to play. They were all learning from Joe R who had played with me at totalcon.

I consider it a win when I don't come in last. Even after the first game where I missed a few turns- I did pretty well. The second game I was just repelling everywhere and getting no where. I didn't have fewest with 4 - so I consider that a win! laugh

It is a pretty great game. You have to have 2 copies, imo.

I was thinking Mysterium when someone suggested it for the next game. Great minds?

It had been a long while since I got to play this one. It is so much fun! I love it! I definitely consider it one of my favorites from last year.

This time we let Victor be the ghost for the first time. He was pretty great! He only discarded 3 times and we won on day 6.

Why don't the cards ever fall my way when I play the ghost. hahaha

It was great to play again. I love it! I want an expansion

I will play this whenever. Over and over again. At the moment I am just not sick of it!

my rejected photo... too blurry I suppose- that's a cell phone for you.

We followed that up with a 5 player game of Top This! A Pizza Flicking Game. New to me!

My immediate first thought was- Why hasn't Riley brought this game to play. It is such a Riley game!

It is a dex game about flicking pizza toppings onto the pizza. You have to try to get the right toppings on a slice to complete the objectives and potentially get some tips. Those are all points and most points at the end wins. Once a stack of cards runs out.

It was a cute game. I definitely think 5 players is too many. We ran out of discs and it was too long in between turns and seemed to play slowly. It could also be because we were playing with thinkers who wanted to do the best they could and not taking the game lightly, as it should be taken. Hahah

It was still fun and I would certainly play it again! I came in 3rd with 14 points. Joe R rubbed it in my face that he beat me with 15 points... mmhmm... Whatever Joe! cool

The final game of the night was many rounds both playing and watching of Loopin' Louie.

I ended up playing in 3 rounds of this game and destroyed in 2 of them. 2/3 rounds as champ isn't so shabby!

Its a fun game. I suppose I don't quite understand why it is so crazed about. I would happily play, I mean the game lasts a minute. Its enjoyable but I don't think I would ever request it. hahah

All good fun!

Friday night Ron and I managed to get in some games. A couple new games at that!!

We started with Polarity. New to me!

Joe R said I should give it a play since it is 2 player and MAGNETS! He lent it to us to try out.

The game is simple- try to get the most points by getting towers of your color on the board and have no magnets in hand at the end.

So Ron was destroying me all game. Well I was really messing up and attracting magnets when you really want to be balancing them and not attracting them. This causes for stacks of towers in the opponents color. if you end up holding them when they attract they go back to your hand of magnets.

Ron wasn't good at letting them go and ended up with as many point as he had in his hand for a net total of exactly 0 points. I managed to get rid of all my magnets and I scored my 2 small towers of total of 5 points. I won though! Yay for sucking. I nearly lost all my colors on the board in which case Ron would have won because of that.

Cool game. I would definitely play again. I, apparently, rock at this one!

I also got a recent shipment of awesome games. I got a couple copies of Arboretum. New to me!

I got a couple of them because my best friend, Simon, is a tree fanatic. He just loves trees- more than anyone. He is also a botanist and loves all general plants.

I wanted to learn the game before he visits next week so I can teach him.

The game is beautiful and rainbow! It is a simple game. Not so easy to figure out before the start of the game but come mid-end game it all becomes clear on how you want to be playing.

It is a really clever card game. The scoring can be a bit swingy at the end and I can see a bunch of players not enjoying it because of that. Each turn you draw two cards to add to your hand of 7 cards. You can take from any discarded piles or the draw deck. The final turn will be when the last card is drawn from the draw deck.

Players are building a tableau of cards to form paths of trees. A path must be low # to higher number not counting doubled up #s. It must start and end with the same colored tree in order to potentially score. You need at least 2 trees to score of the same color as well. There are ways to score bonus points as well.

In order for a color tree to score you must have the majority of that colored card remaining in your hand at the end of the game. If you make an awesome red path worth tons of points but you have no red cards in hand at the end of the round you won't be able to score it.

It is all about what you might want to save and how you can score what you want and screw people over.

My game with Ron didn't go in my favor. Ron won 20 to my 17.

I have a feeling this game will see a bunch of play in the next few weeks. A lot of good choices in a fast game. Very enjoyable.

Saturday was gameday in Topsfield, MA where we gathered to play at the local library.

Bob is the kind of guy that just has a lot of hot new games that don't seem to be readily available in the states yet. I noticed and HAD TO PLAY, that he had acquired Cacao. New to me!

I was reading about all the gathering reports last week and this showed up on most of them. Some players enjoyed it and some did not. I am one who does, of course.

If you have looked into the game at all you know it is a pretty light tile laying game. Players have tiles that get played 1 at a time. If 2 villages can't be next to each other so once they form a corner then a goods tile gets placed. It might be collect coco, sell coco, work the river or some other end bonus for majority and additional tile placement.

That is basically it. Definitely on the lighter side of games but will be in my collection for sure. Reminder not to sit next to Ron to his left next time. Ron wasn't leaving anything opened for me.

I didn't manage to make it up the river far enough to score points but I did make it up enough to score 0 points. Everyone else was maxed out. I was getting my points from selling coco.

I ended with the lowest, however, with 48 points. Ron scored 50 and then Mike and Bob scored 54 each. Left over Coco was the tie breaker for Mike to win. All in all a pretty close game. I would happily play whenever.

Riley showed up with his shiny new copy of Elysium. New to me!

I have been eyeing that game for a while now- since I learned about it anyways. Beautiful games I am automatically drawn to.

The game didn't disappoint either. It was interesting to see it play out. The overall game is really about best managing potential set collections in your tableau- specifically the Elysium where nothing can be moved or taken from.

The game happens over 5 rounds and with 4 players we were using 5 decks. We choose the initial recommended starting decks. Each deck is a different focus primarily. I forget all the fancy names but for ex. Yellow deck would be focused on getting money. The blue deck was really all about screwing over other players- some of the cards were right out cruel!

Each round has potential to take 3 cards and you must take a turn order position. Each player has 4 action markers in 4 different colors. The cards cost requires 1-2 of those colors. Each turn players choose to take a card provided they have the color marker in front of them. After that the player must remove any of the remaining action markers ultimately all 4 actions will be used to the full potential. If you end up with a red action marker but can't use it you will have to take the downgraded position (less benefit income) or just a citizen card to your active cards domain. Citizens can be useful but are negative points at the end of the game. It would be better to get the full benefit of the position and cards.

After the 4 actions players go in turn order to move the active cards down to the Elysium depending on how many transfers they have (given with the position income or potential active card bonuses).

In our game we were all learning. Riley kindly read the rules before hand and was able to teach us no problem.

It was very AP at the beginning and sorta of got faster as the rounds went on. There is a lot to analyze so be for warned.

Our game played out with Matthew collecting a couple blue cards that were attacking the other players when he got any new blue card added to his tableau. He owned us all game. Pat on the other hand was collecting all the end game scoring cards and ultimately was the dark horse and won the game with 58 points to Matthews 50. I think I got around 42 points and Riley was high 40s. Overall a pretty close game and very enjoyable.

There is a lot to consider when getting cards and when removing the action marker. Tough decisions are always welcomed in my book. I wonder how it will play with 2 players. I don't suspect it will be all that great. I will just have to wait and find out!

I can't wait to play again!

We had a 6 player game of Pictomania. New to me!

I have been itching to play this game since I learned about it, even without knowing anything about it. It is a party game with drawing- but it is amazing!!!

Scott had his copy so I didn't end up opening my newly acquired copy. This game is so much fun. Probably plays best at 6 players too.

In 5 rounds players each get a different symbol and number. Splayed for all to see are 6 lists each very different consisting of same type things. There are 4 levels of difficulty and we started with the easy ones and worked out way up to very difficult. Below is the easy drawing I did of my snail and the very difficult drawing of my Consultant.

All rounds players find their thing and draw it on the board in front of them. Then all players have to use the numbered cards in the hand to guess which line everyone else had. It is a mad dash to do this because first correct guess gets more points. If you are wrong it could lead to potential negative points.

It is so fun- I can't even explain it. I lost horribly. Really really horribly. I got 4 points! Ron destroyed us all with 51 points. It benefits if people guess your drawing correcting and give away the points in your color otherwise they are negative points to your score. No one was guessing mine correctly and I wasn't guessing anyone else's correctly in the later rounds so I was just not doing very well. Ron was guessing all correctly and everyone was guessing his. He is just amazing at that game I suppose.

I can not wait to play it again!

Scott, Riley and I got to playing Viticulture with of course, Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture. We all are loving this game.

This time I got to planting some vines and made some wine. On round 3 I managed to fill a 6 point order for $2 income every round. That was awesome and gave me a pretty big boost. With a few more orders filled and some good structure cards I pretty much killed it this game. I got the structure card called the restaurant (below) and the one that allows you to move the stars on the minimap and still gain benefit from the move.

I had ended it with 27 points and got 7 more from the area control of the map. Probably one of my best games to date. Scott was on my heels and would have pushed the 25 mark in the next round had I not done it that round. Riley wasn't so far behind that. Everyone still loves the game and had a great time.

Super fun!!

Before dinner we played a 3 player game of Arboretum. I taught both Riley and Scott. Scott didn't grasp the rules and was playing rather poorly. Sorry Scott. I think he figured it out by the end and will play better next time.

Riley played better beat me in the final scoring. We were both going for red cards and he had the majority of points in the end. That was sad for me. He also took away my Orange scoring by having more value there too. Grrr! Good job!

They left for food and Joe C showed up and I then played a 2 player game with him and explained the rules. He caught on a bit sooner and somehow managed to beat me. I didn't play my best game admittedly but it is hard to worry about others and about your own. he enjoyed it too and would play again

I am really loving this simple card game.

After we ate we had 3 rounds with 5 players of Abluxxen.

I really don't know who won but I think it was me by a landslide- potentially! I kicked butt in round 3 and did decently well in 1 and 2. I went out with 8 cards in the final round though and managed to get a bunch of points. I think Ron did equally as well since no one was putting him to stop his winning.

Still enjoying this card game and would happily play whenever. I did just pick up a copy as well! I love all the colors and the cute lynx.

We broke off into different groups after that and I found myself playing with Scott and Riley for the rest of the night. We started with 3 player game of Loony Quest.

I have to say I think it plays better with more players so you can "attack" multiple players haha. Nah, it was still super fun. We are up to world 5 which is getting to be very difficult. I do have to say I enjoy the look at the level for 30 seconds and draw from memory best you can. I think that is fun and super hard.

This game I was neck and neck with Scott and then I lost a round and Scott took the win at the end. Poor Riley was sleeping and didn't do so well that game.

I am excited to move onto world 6!

Next up was a game Riley just got in from the KS campaign called Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. New to me!

This is one I saw being funded but didn't actually bite the bullet. I love tile placement games and colors- but this one just didn't grab me.

Game play is very light and you are looking to build sets of colored lanterns for points. The game is repetitive and there isn't much depth.

It is a beautiful game. I would definitely play again but at this time I don't think I need to own it. We just played with 3 but it felt to be a bit too long for what it was - I think we also used too many tiles so it would have been a few rounds faster I suppose.

Ozzy brought to my attention Coal Baron from a past blog entry. I brought it along incase there was interest and both Scott and Riley said they would play with me!

This is another great game from K&K 2013. I love that the game play is fast and there are a lot of tight/tough decisions. The little elevators is pretty neat too.

In this game I was all over the place. I wasn't getting the resources I wanted and Riley kept ruining my life. I seemed to always be 1 short. I was 1 move short of getting my goods onto the order cards or I was one guy short of shipping my order cards. It was happening all over the place. I got screwed out of shipping 2 orders on the first round and that set me back 20 points from everyone else. Scott totally had us that game. The tie breaking rules for all the mini scoring is what killed me. The other 2 guys were tied for 1st or 2nd and would always leave me behind while they both got the benefit of tying.

Really fun interesting game. I hope to see more plays of this soon.

The final game of the night was 6 player Deep Sea Adventure. Scott brought his pimped out version of the game. I was so mad I forgot my camera that day cause I wanted to get some awesome shots with this game. He has amazing fish tank scuba divers and a huge sub with water play mat and gold treasures.

It is BOSS! Really awesome. Maybe if I see him again soon I can get in a few more plays of this and snap some even better pics.

This game I wasn't rolling well at all. I managed to make it back to the sub on round 2 with 13 points. That was all I managed to get. I am pretty sure everyone did better than me. They were all being wussy. I don't remember who had won that game

Anyway, still awesome fun to play. I just got my copy of the game so I have it now too.

Sunday Ron and I got in a only a couple games. Since we hadn't played in a while I suggested Crokinole.

The game play is getting longer and longer as Ron and I become more evenly matched. Eventually I just get tired and start playing poorly and Ron ultimately wins.

So unfair. Why can't he get worse and worse. I start strong then we have a few even matches and then Ron destroys me. It is a pattern with all game always. He is so frustrating!

Oh well, it will only make me a better player, correct? I like to tell myself that anyways.

Still lovin' it, for now anyways... It just lives on the table- it is hard to not want to play it all the time.

I caught a cool shot though

Finally, the last game we played was Patchwork.

This was also a game in my recent shipment that I picked up. I first learned it in prototype form at GenCon last year. It was just hanging out with no real teacher around. Ron and I plopped down and just figured it out. It didn't change at all from the prototype game except there is now a bonus for whomever completed 7x7 first. Which, of course, I didn't know about but Ron did since he re-read the rules before playing. Not cool Ron, not cool.

The game is a pretty straight forward abstract game. You can purchase the 1 of the first 3 pieces from there the marker is and it will cost buttons and time. The time track calculates how much times has been used and when you get to the center of that track the game is over.

Meanwhile, you are patching these pieces into your player board and covering the full surface as best you can. Ever empty spot at the end is -2 points and each button is +1 point.

As I recall I kicked Ron's butt in GenCon and he creamed me yesterday. I think I ended with 11 and he had 20 something. Fun little game I hope to play some more. It is strictly 2 players so that is always good since that is usually what I end up playing during the week anyways. It reminds me that I want to play Le Havre and or Le Havre Inland Port.

So happy to have learned a whopping 10 games this week. It is a good way to close out April. I am excited for Simon's visit this weekend. He doesn't play much outside of when he is here. Everything is new and pretty to him.

I am most excited to teach him Arboretum and Tash Kalar. But, he remembers and loves Abyss so I am sure that will get played as well.

Still on-going with the Star Realms leagues. Those have been lots of fun!

As always thanks for reading

Until next week-

Happy Gaming!!!

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Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:02 pm
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Worker Product Placement :: Wind Stopped Play

Marcus Boyce
United Kingdom
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The Day Star, it burns me. BURNS!

Ok, so it is that time of year; Hay fever season. However, the wife who has a lot less allergies than me - not hard to achieve - likes beer gardens and beer. I do too, I just have runnier eyes and do more sneezing.

Anyway, I sat down in the beer garden of one of our nice real ale locals to a glass of Broken Dreams. This is referred to as a 'breakfast stout' although who'd drink a heavy 6.5% stout at breakfast...oh you want to read about games, right?

Eager to get Fleet played again, the last time me and Mrs. B had played this was in August last year, I reached into my rucksack (don't drink and drive kids, drink and cycle!) and pulled the game out. Setup and rules reminder was quick and we started to settle in to the game. Just as round four was about to start and the fishing get serious a gust of wind rushed through the sheltered beer garden and flung cards and cubes asunder. Five minutes of frantic chasing returned the cards and cubes but the game was bust. Sad times.

Seeing the clear disappointment on my face, and after fetching some more drinks, Mrs. B suggest we play Harbour as "There's less stuff to blow away" and we finished that game without further wind issues.
*insert Frankie Howerd sound effect here*

My first win against her in five games. Not bad but I'm still itching to play Fleet...
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:49 pm
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Ones Upon A Game - Adventures in Solo Gaming :: Board Game Photography: The Pursuit

Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
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My main career is a software developer, but one of the side jobs I have that stemmed from a hobby is that of photographer. I love shooting events and portraits, but also taking photos of objects, especially board game components. So from time to time I'll share some of them here. Hopefully you'll like them as well.

This one comes from the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game core game and the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – TIE Fighter Expansion Pack expansions. Set this up with a black game table and wrapped black cardstock around all the bases to prevent them from showing as much. Controlled the flash to only light certain areas and simulate some stellar light source in the darkness of space.

Some of you may have seen this before as it was uploaded via my previous account and thus removed when I switched over to this one.

The Pursuit
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:59 pm
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10x10 challenge for 2015 :: Added my 10x10 list to BGG Geeklist

Eric Buscemi
United States
New York
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I didn't realize there was an official BGG Geeklist for the 2015 10x10 challenge, but I recently stumbled upon it here. So I added my challenge list here and am now eligible for a Geek microbadge at the end of the year if I successfully complete it.
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:36 pm
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qzhdad's thoughts on gaming :: Thursday and Friday of Gathering

Scott Russell
United States
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I got to the game room after the usual bike and cheap cappucino/banana patented breakfast. Jay asked me to come help carry a box if it had arrived. It had and it contained a few copies of Dominion: Adventures! Jay had conveniently brought along some base card boxes, too. So while we were setting up the game with random cards and two random events, Vlaada Chvatil stopped by and looked interested, so we invited him to join. Adventures adds more duration cards (which may be my favorite "type" of card) including a reaction/duration. It also adds the Tavern to which some cards are played as an action. These cards are then removed later, usually on a later turn, to give an effect. One of the attacks that we played with forced a player to lose his next draw, while another forced the other players to discard their hand (typically all VP cards) to the top of their deck instead of the discard pile. Then there are the events. These have a cost and can be activated for a buy and do various things. One that we played with allowed a player who hadn't played any treasure to gain a card costing four or less, for example. Another allowed Estates to act as an action card of the player's choice. I've deliberately not looked at all the cards or events so that I can experience them over time and look forward to it. I liked it so much that I recruited Eric Brosius and Jeroen Doumen to try it with me again.

It was a lot of fun meeting Eric as I'd known his name for a long time. Back before there was an Internet (or at least before access was common), Eric ran a postal Diplomacy and Railway Rivals 'zine that I played in. I'd signed up to go to Canada to participate in an Escape Room activity that Scott Nicholson had organized. The escape room concept is that a group is locked in a room and has to solve puzzles to figure out how to escape. Scott had run a morning session, too with about forty gamers in each session. It was a lot of fun. I've not decided whether my family would like it or become frustrated. The facility where we played aims at a 25% solve rate within the allotted one hour. It had three different challenges, the bunker, the castle and the attic. I did the bunker one and it was kind of neat because there are two identical ones running at the same time. We finished slightly behind the other team, but still with twelve minutes to spare. The owner and Scott also did a question and answer session afterwards that was very interesting. After that we headed back to the American side.

I'd mentioned to Eric that I really liked Race for the Galaxy, so he suggested that we get a game of that going. While looking for a set (eventually we settled on Joe Huber's set which includes the base and some cards from some of the expansions, but no goals), Adam Ruprecht decided to play, too. We played four games with Adam, then he had to leave for the poker tournament, but David Grainger stepped in. Altogether, we played eight games in about two hours with Adam and Eric winning a little more than their share, but it was a blast. Certainly one of the high points of the con for me, playing my favorite game with other fast skillful players!

That's all the games that I have logged for Thursday, but I feel like I missed some. If I check my handwritten notes and find more, I'll come back and update.

Friday, I skipped working out, but took a walk out to Goat Island and took a picture of the fog over the falls and stopped at the Culinary Institute for some excellent breakfast pastries. When I got back to the game room, Walter was looking for a game, so I offered to teach him Imperial Settlers. I'd only played once and readers may recall that I'd not learned under ideal conditions (teacher was a little fuzzy and it was the last day of MittenCon), but with much consulting of the rule book, we got started and played my Romans against his Barbarians. After we started playing, the game only lasted around 40 minutes which made it a really fun game. Folks were walking by and predicting a couple hours by which time, it definitely would have worn out its welcome.

Next Heli was teaching Julie Luxenburg Orléans and looking for a couple more players, so Walter and I readily agreed. Orleans is a bag (rather than deck) building game. Each turn players draw a number of citizens of various colors and openly program their moves and then take turns executing them. Moves include recruiting new citizens often with a side benefit of moving on a track for immediate and/or long term effects, moving or building trade depots on the board, sending citizens to other cities or gathering knowledge (on the book track). Moving on the board, gaining farmers and some special actions gain commodities which are worth VP. The other main way to gain VP is adding the depots plus citizen markers (gained on some tracks and for finishing cities with departing citizens) are multiplied by a factor based on how far along the book track a player has gone. Heli demonstrated that experience (along with skillful play) is rewarded. I am really happy that I Kickstarted this one!

Next I saw Ravindra walking around and offered to show him Matt Leacock's 2-6 player game and we played a quick game of that before he moved on to his next event. I saw a game of Ciúb setting up with a spare seat and joined Mik Svellov, Stephen Glenn and Dominic Crapuchettes (all names I'd seen, but who I'd not yet met) for a game of rolling dice and claiming goal cards. Stephen rolled the best. We weren't playing quite correctly, but by allowing dice to remain in the pool from turn to turn (and only rerolling the ones not desired), Stephen got to claim the six of a kind with six skulls.

Next, Tom, Christine and Sterling were looking for a fourth for Tichu and promised to be patient with a relative newbie. I partnered with Tom and it was a very exciting game that we won 1010-990 despite Sterling making his Tichu on the last hand! I told Sterling that it had broken one of my con traditions, he was my fourth blind roommate at a con, but the first with whom I'd actually played a game.

Next I saw Friedemann Friese and his 504 game sitting idle and asked if he was planning another game soon. He was, but before we played that, Joe, Jeroen Friedemann and I played a prototype micro game that he'd spent five minutes designing. It needs some development, but shows a lot of promise. Next we played a four player 578 (Explore, Race, Privilege) with guys whose names I didn't log here (will check notes and hopefully add them). I think from the description I was expecting a fairly formulaic game, but I would not have been disappointed with 578 if it was alone in the box. This play moved it from a novelty that I might pick up to a game that I really want to get.

Remember when homework assignments were due in class? I do and fondly! My son was working on a research paper and wanted my input, so I did a telecommute couple hours proofing and making suggestions before it was due at midnight. After getting that squared away, Tucker, Eric and I got in a couple games of Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition before calling it a night.
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:33 pm
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Hero's Journey Home: Updates and Development :: Website updated; now actually usable on phones.

Graham Cranfield

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Spent some time this weekend updating the site, basically taking it out of the style of the overall site and making it more of a standalone. Also made it way more mobile-friendly because, well, it's 2015. Added some big images, styled it up right, etc.


It'll stay like this for now, and then when the expansion gets closer to being ready I'll be able to update it much more easily. Hooray for efficiency!
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:11 pm
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Pulsipher Game Design :: Video (screencast): Games, Puzzles, "Contests"

Lewis Pulsipher
United States
North Carolina
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Here is the text of the slides. Obviously, I say much more in the video.

Games versus Puzzles versus “Contests”

As said early in this course, the big difference in game design is between games with human opposition, and games without – two or more players versus one player (or “one and a half”, person and computer)
Uncertainty and unpredictability
Almost always a part of games with human opposition
Rarely a part of games without human opposition

Pure puzzles have always-correct solutions
There may be more than one, but each one is always correct
There’s always a “perfect move”
And once you’ve solved it, you’ve “beaten the game” and don’t play any more
Pure games never have always-correct solutions to the whole game
Though there may be occasions when there’s just one “best move”
You can play a 4 to 5 hour game 500 times and still enjoy it
When you can “speed run” through a video game, it’s usually because it’s puzzle-like, though it may not be a pure one
When you solve it, you “beat the game”

In a puzzle, the creator provides the challenge through the game
You cannot lose to a puzzle, though you may give up
In a game, the creator arranges ways for human opposition to provide the challenge
But the presence of humans means the “content” is never exhausted
Replayability is the opposite of “I beat the game”
This means there are winners and losers
Co-operative games (all players against the system) are usually puzzles

Parallel competition, competitors cannot directly influence one another’s performance
Many Olympic sports such as diving, traditional speed skating, figure skating, traditional downhill
Any activity that can be measured in some way can be turned into a contest
Typing speed
Throwing distance
Hot-dog eating!

Contests versus races
Parallel competitions can be conducted sequentially (figure skating) or simultaneously (marathons, swimming)
Some races are contests, some aren’t quite
E.g. auto racing, a driver can block another from passing, or (NASCAR) tap his rear end to get him out of the way – not a pure contest
Description of a game as “Multiplayer solitaire” is a reference to a contest.

A Huge Topic . . .
I could talk for an hour about this (draft of 8,000+ words)
In your game design, keep an eye on where the challenges are coming from, how players can affect one another, and on replayability (which pure puzzles entirely lack)

If you read Gamasutra, you might have seen this recently.

This is an excerpt, one of 160+ videos, from "Learning Game Design", a 12-14 hour audiovisual course available online. See pulsiphergames.com
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:08 pm
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Holtidő Blog :: Pandemic 18 Custom Meeples

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House Rules
United States
Overland Park
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Don't follow me! I'm lost.
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:00 pm
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Sleuth of a Seuthe: An Investigative Review on Games :: The King's Men - Kickstarter Preview Review

Frank Zazanis
United States
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THE KING’S MEN by ALT MODE GAMES By Frank ZazanisThe King's Men

Game Type: Semi Co Op

I discovered The King’s Men at Wondercon 2015 in Anaheim, CA. I was impressed as a former game company owner at the sheer size of their demo team, to me that tends to signal a game that enough people enjoy that they will come demo for a weekend. I decided to stop by for a quick demo. I was immediately engaged by this simple yet thematic and deeply intriguing game. If I had not been doing demos for another company at the time, I would have played this game for the rest of the night.

Quality: 9/10 with final art that will boost to a 10/10. This game obviously got a lot of love pre kickstarter as half the art work is done already. It has a very beautiful comic book meets medieval art that I am quite fond of.

Components: 8/10 The component quality is quite high for a final prototype. The coins I received were plastic but I assume they will be of a better material in the final product.

Game Play: 10/10 I really like games where you can either get your hopes dashed or dash your friends hopes in a moments notice. This game provides that. It has a super high level of interactivity and many, many, laugh/oh you jerk moments happened over my 15 (yes that is right 15) games since receiving my review copy. It reminds me of a simpler version of Cutthroat Caverns only in the semi co op backstabbing sense. Basically you are recruiting knights of varying skill level to help you complete quests in order to be the first player to 8 victory points. I will not bore you with a full rules explanation here…. Because I want you to head over the games kickstarter page to get an overview, Oh and while you are there BACK THIS GAME.

Overall Rating: 27/30 - This Game belongs in my collection
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:34 pm
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