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3 Months: An Eternity in Internet Years?

Um, so, what happened while I was gone?

Please leave a comment summarizing the last three months on boardgamegeek. So that I can catch up all at once. Only the really important stuff. Thank you.

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Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:31 am
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Now try the Crates Challenge, laugh out life jocosely, and the like which he had heard from the lips of Diogenes, desiring nought but how to kill desire.

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
-T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Hence it was that Crates the famous Theban, after throwing into the sea a considerable weight of gold, exclaimed, “Go to the bottom, you evil lusts: I will drown you that you may not drown me.” But if anyone thinks to enjoy keenly meat and drink in excess, and at the same time to devote himself to philosophy, that is to say, to live in luxury and yet not to be hampered by the vices attendant on luxury, he deceives himself.
-Jerome, Against Jovinianus

Diocles relates how Diogenes persuaded Crates to give up his fields to sheep pasture, and throw into the sea any money he had.
-Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
-Proverbs 23:5, KJV

To reach satisfaction in all
Desire its possession in nothing,
To come to the knowledge of all
Desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
Desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
Desire to be nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
You must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
You must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
You must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
You must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
You cease to cast yourself upon the all,
For to go from the all to the all
You must possess it without wanting anything.
In this nakedness the spirit finds its rest,
for when it covets nothing
nothing raises it up and nothing weighs it down,
because it stands in the centre of its humility.
-John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel

The same may be said of the poetry of Crates; and it would be well if you were to read the ‘Praise of the Lentil’ in a party of free-livers. The Cynic humour is, for the most part, of this character. Such jests, in fact, play the part of maxims and admonitions.
-Demetrius of Phalerum, On Style

Thou blind man's mark, thou fool's self-chosen snare,
Fond fancy's scum, and dregs of scattered thought;
Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care;
Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought;
Desire, desire! I have too dearly bought,
With price of mangled mind, thy worthless ware;
Too long, too long, asleep thou hast me brought,
Who shouldst my mind to higher things prepare.
But yet in vain thou hast my ruin sought;
In vain thou madest me to vain things aspire;
In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire;
For virtue hath this better lesson taught,—
Within myself to seek my only hire,
Desiring nought but how to kill desire.
-Sir Philip Sidney

But Crates with only his wallet and tattered cloak laughed out his life jocosely, as if he had been always at a festival.
-Plutarch, Moralia, On the Tranquility of Mind

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.
-attributed to G.K. Chesterton (but I've never seen a source)

Hail! divine lady Simplicity, child of glorious Temperance, beloved by good men. All who practice righteousness venerate thy virtue.
-Crates the Philosopher

These arguments and the like which he had heard from the lips of Diogenes, together with others which suggested themselves to him on other occasions, had such influence with Crates, that at last he rushed out into the market-place and there renounced all his fortune as being a mere filthy encumbrance, a burden rather than a benefit. His action having caused a crowd to collect, he cried in a loud voice, saying, 'Crates, even Crates sets thee free.' Thenceforth he lived not only in solitude, but naked and in perfect freedom and, so long as he lived, his life was happy.
-Apuleius, Florida

John here. Are you still with me?

Probably everyone reading my blog is also reading Demetri's blog. If you're not, you should be. I've been inspired by a lot of people, ideas, things, over the past few years. One of those people has been Demetri as he has embraced and explored the Cardboard Diogenes Club, pursuing less things instead of more things. If you read that post, you'll see that Demetri was inspired by others (and you should follow the link and read Michael Heron's post, then after reading that, follow the link to the post that inspired Michael; keep in mind that none of this is new, but an impulse for depth that is deeply human, seen throughout the centuries). A positive chain of inspiration. I have also been inspired and challenged by the BGG Minimalism Guild. I've been a member since the beginning, over two years now, yet my K-Index is still 0 (or really double digit negatives). How can this be? Am I so slow to learn?

Like a lot of people, I'm overwhelmed by stuff, metaphorically (and often literally) fat and lethargic with over-consumption. I need to make changes. Even this year, when I've been "mindful" of my spending on games, what it has taught me is that I'm still buying too many games, mostly games that I do not need, that are not bringing me any greater happiness than the games I already own. I know this, and yet I still want more games.

Making the mental shift towards enjoying a standard deck of cards has been beneficial (though it has also led towards increasing desires for the newer games that build off of traditional games). The same is true of playing more abstracts with a printed and laminated hexhex board.

Discovering Babylonia has given me the multi-player "Euro" (does this word have any meaning any longer?) that I want to explore far into the future. I might go so far as the gonzos who are saying right now that it replaces T&E for them. Because maybe it does? So much is dependent on game groups and circumstances. I've played T&E 19 times in about 14 years. I've already played Babylonia 14 times in about 6 months. T&E was for me the perfect Euro/German game for a long time, tied in my affections only by K/K's Tikal, which is another game that I love that I also kinda see being replaced by Babylonia. Is this merely infatuation? Madness? Some sort of infectious disease that I've caught from lionel_ritche? Then why was I already feeling symptoms before he began the outbreak?

In 2018 and 2019, I had already begun the process of giving away games locally. I gave away a lot of games. I have tried to continue that process. I've sent out games to fellow users in the last year when I've thought that it would be a good thing. I have been giving away games here on the blog. I'm going to continue to do this. As a pathetic modern day Crates, this is my attempt at "throwing into the sea [of BGG] a considerable weight [of games]."

This "Crates Challenge" that I'm making up right now is to simply continue doing the same. Throwing games into the sea. Today is October 5th, 2020. I am announcing my intentions to purge my collection of all unloved and unplayed games. I intend to do this by October 5th, 2021. I need to do another in-home games count, but I'm fairly confident right now saying that my number of unplayed games in the house is 60+. "A considerable weight of gold" indeed. The priority is the unplayed (reminding me that I should also give a shout out to Sam's Great Unplayed, which you should not take as a model in how to get rid of games). I'm making the crazy promise right now that the number of unplayed games in my collection on this day next year will be ZERO.

Here are the rules of the challenge.

I. In order to get rid of 60 games in a year, I'll need to get rid of 5 games a month. I will do this.

II. I need to be more restrictive regarding new games coming in. I am not prohibiting all new purchases. I'm not even going to follow Diogenes in limiting purchases to a maximum of 1 per month. What I will do is:
a) I will not purchase any of the following: wargames, Cole Wehrle games, cube rails games, 18xx, Magic and/or Keyforge, DCC modules, Hollandspiele games (with the exception of the Xmas sale and specifically a purchase of TFotCoG; and maybe Russel's new train game? kinda breaking the no cube rails above). These are the games that I really do enjoy, but that I just don't have the groups to play regularly. If public gaming opens up again, I'll be able to play 1846 a few times a year, and Pax Pamir 2e a bit more regularly, and Soo Line and Irish Gauge, etc. I still won't have a group to play Age of Steam because for whatever reason, no one here in my local area has ever been half as enamored by it as I am. The point is that I do not need to buy more iterations of games that I like but that I already have limited chances to play. Why buy new games that are competing with the old games that don't get played enough? Even when I'm back out at public gaming, I'll just be happy to try others' new games instead of pushing my own newly purchased games.
b) I will cancel my Button Shy subscription in December. That will have been a full year of supporting Button Shy (and getting great stuff in the mail for doing so). I still think that Button Shy is one of, if not the most, exciting publishers working today. If less is more, Jason Tagmire and his small crew are currently the reigning champions of design in the industry, which I believe they are. I will definitely miss this subscription because some of the best Button Shy games have not been their big hits, but the little "throwaway" micro-games that have come in the packages, stuff like Adder and Earthshine, that I would have never played otherwise.
c) Here's where I get wishy-washy. I'm leaving myself broad discretion in purchasing whatever I want to purchase in the next year, but all purchases must be according to these guidelines:
1. The game must be good first and foremost for family play. This can mean abstracts or card games, but there is no universe in which I live in which this ever means war games or heavy economic games.
2. I'm always allowed to purchase family-friendification versions of traditional games, like Boon or Doublehead Kids, or Anglicized/Internationalized versions of Shogi/Xianqi/etc.
3. Following #1 (family friendly), I'm allowing myself a free pass in obtaining any new Knizias, but also games by other classic German designers (such as favorites Kramer/Kiesling), even classic American designers (it's rare that I can resist trying a new Garfield), and even new games that look like they are designed in the same spirit. I will still attempt to be pretty strict with this, spending a lot of time researching a game, reluctant to make any purchase. For example, I have not pre-ordered K/K's Renature, even though it looks pretty good. I'm not convinced that I need it. But if it continues to get a good reception from others whose opinions that I trust, then I may end up picking it up. So, to be clear, this point does not mean that I necessarily will buy every Knizia game or game by other designers that I love. It only means that I may.
4. I will always keep in mind that the ideal month means giving away games and playing the games that I love. It is not ideal at all to bring in new games. Strive for the ideal. I am allowing for my weaknesses and my confirmed designer loves above, but this buying of no new games is still the ideal.
5. If I do buy a new game, I will play it immediately upon receiving it, within two weeks (and I'm only giving myself two weeks as a generous allowance for the fact that sometimes life is so busy that to do anything immediately is difficult). If I don't play it within two weeks of receiving it, I give it away unplayed immediately, driving to the thrift store that day if I have to.
6. Trades are still allowed, following the same guidelines as purchases outlined above.

III. I will keep a sense of humor throughout all of this. I picked Crates as a role model, not because of the reports of his unashamed copulating in the streets (my wife would disapprove), but because all of those who commented on him, positively or negatively, commented on his good sense of humor. When the giving away of games becomes a drag (throwing games into the sea would be so much easier than dealing with modern shipping), I will remember to be of good cheer. I will remember to be satisfied with lentils. The other obvious reason that I picked Crates was that he was a student of Diogenes, which I thought was appropriate. Also fitting is that his name is Crates, fitting right into the "Milk Crate" challenge that was all about identifying the "essentials" (esslentils?) that would be great at any time, covering any gaming occasion.

IV. I have already commited to the Babylonia Century. Part of this next year will be an intensive effort to play through the unplayed games in the house, but I will also strive to do much more playing of the games I already know I love. This will be obviously be easier once I'm no longer weighed down by new games I "must" try, but I want to do as much of it as I can right now. At the very least, it would be nice to finish all 100 plays of Babylonia by next year. That's something that I wouldn't have even considered as possible a few years ago. The fact that I can now think of it as a very real possibility means that I've made some progress along this path.

V. I'll figure out a way to not be on BGG so much. It's undeniable that time spent on this site inevitably leads to time spent thinking about new games. Earlier this year, I did a full month logged out. I may return to that idea. Right now, the fall, is my favorite time to be on BGG, so I won't be leaving any time soon. I'll probably continue to be on more frequently. But maybe I'll figure something out for the winter solstice. Maybe an entire winter break (Dec 21 to Mar 20) logged out from BGG? Could I do that?

Unrelated to gaming, but related to self-discipline and eliminating excess, I'm also going to eat better and exercise more. As a matter of fact, instead of refreshing this page ten times in the next hour, eagerly looking for your thumbs and comments, I'm going to go out for a long walk right now. See you later.

Unbound, unbent by
Pleasure's servitude,
Their queen's immortal
Freedom whom they love.
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Mon Oct 5, 2020 4:37 pm
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Discussing Moderation.

I was "moderated" for the first time today. I don't believe that anything I did was a personal attack or antagonizing. I took user comments and commented on them, highlighting dissenting voices and mostly saying that the opinions were fair. As far as I can tell, someone was just upset that I used the word "sucks" in the title, a title which was meant to be a stupid, ironic joke because, you know, I actually do love the game!

I really don't get it. I was not saying that these individuals were stupid to rate the game low. I really was just posting dissenting opinions and interacting with them in what I thought was both a positive and fun way.

I did respond to the moderation, asking for more details. I'd love to know more specifically what was so offensive and why.

It is pretty disturbing and also a wake-up call to realize that at any moment any BGG admin could lock my account and wipe out my 15 years of contributions to the site.

From gallery of trawlerman
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Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:16 pm
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Trying something new - The Great and Terrible Games Give Away of 2020

I bought another game the other day. Fine. Fine. Whatever. It's not a problem. Really, it's not. Except it kinda is. I know that I don't need any more games. I have already spent too much on games this year with very little to show for it. Probably my best gaming purchase of the year was not a game, but the card table that I'm sitting at right now while typing this.

Last week, I did another big trade. I'm pretty happy with the result. I'll keep trading a few times a year.

From gallery of trawlerman

I'm sure that Paths of Glory, Sekigahara, and Lincoln are all good games, worthy of time and attention. They're just not right for me at this moment in my life.

Onitama is a game that I tried to like, but just couldn't do it. Some card combination of powers were more interesting than others. Some just led to cautious and circular play that made the game drag out. I did slightly prefer the game the time that I played with the wind expansion with a friend.

I played Hunt for the Ring once with my oldest daughter because she's a LotR fan. She liked it more than me. The 1 play was enough for me. It's a neat cat and mouse hidden movement game. Just not my thing. I offered it to my daughter for her to keep as hers, but she ultimately didn't like it enough to care to keep it. She has played very heavy Euro games and can play anything, but when she is playing with her friends, she tends to default to social stuff. She's a mean Werewolf moderator!

Rheinlander was good, but uninspiring. I'd rather play something else.

The games I got in exchange?

A few more Knizias. A few Kanais (yes, that's three copies of Braverats). The meatier games are LYNGK, Ethnos, and Monolith Arena, three games that I have wanted to try since each were released. I've never played Neuroshima Hex, so Monolith Arena sorta counts as that for me as well.

As evidenced by my parting with a few war games, I'm going to try to start being more ruthless in culling the games that are not getting played, that have been sitting on the shelf entirely unplayed for longer than a year. If I couldn't find the time to play them already, it's not likely that I'll make time to play them in the next year or into the future. Certain games that I have played are grandfathered into the collection even though I haven't played them in many years. Yes, I can see Unhappy King Charles on the shelf as I type this.

Trades are still good.

But I've also got games and game-related stuff that are not really trade material, but I still no longer feel the need to hold onto. So, I'm getting rid of them. By giving them to you!

Here are the rules for The Great and terrible Games Give Away of 2020.

I'll name a game in a blog post. I'll tag the game in the post. You'll see the post.

If you want the game, leave a comment below stating that you want the game. By leaving a comment that you want the game/item, you are pledging that you will play that game sometime within the next year. If you fail that pledge, you must pass the game on. Honor system. I'd love to have people come back to this blog and leave comments about the game played, but that is also completely unneccessary.

One week after the post, I'll randomly choose a person to give the game to by rolling a die.

The person who wins the game agrees to pay shipping. This helps me from losing lots of money in being too stupidly generous. It also allows me to ship games internationally without being afraid of those shipping costs. If you're willing to pay for international shipping, I'm willing to otherwise send the game to you for free.

After I choose the winner out of any comments, I'll send a geekmail to get a shipping address. Once I've shipped the game, I'll send another geekmail with my paypal info so that the new game owner can pay whatever the actual shipping costs were.

If no one leaves a comment wanting the game, then I'll just throw it in a box for the thrift store. No "backsies" for me. Once I say I'm going to get rid of a game like this, it's gone.

That's it, I guess.

Let's start today.

Today, I'm giving away two game-related books.
From gallery of trawlerman

The Ricky Jay book is used and has been read a couple of times by me. I bought it new, so it's almost embarrassing how beat up it is now. It's still in good shape. It's just not in great shape. The Knizia book, on the other hand, is still in Very Good to Like New condition. I browsed and skim read passages, but mostly it has been safe on a shelf since I bought it.

These books are yours if you want them. Follow the rules above. Leave a comment. Agree to pay shipping. I'll randomly select someone in a week.
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Mon Sep 7, 2020 9:19 pm
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    Cindy's Milk Crate Challenge Accepted

    Milk Crate Challenge

    The background and the rules to this challenge can be found here.. Basically, I came across Demetri's old post and thought that the challenge looked like fun, so I went ahead and did it.

    Here's my full crate:

    From gallery of trawlerman

    Size of the crate is roughly 15x12x10.

    Here's an overview of what's in it.

    From gallery of trawlerman

    And here's the itemized breakdown:


    From gallery of trawlerman

    A few years ago, I was gifted a full 19x19 board (with nice bowls and stones) by an old friend after he found it for a good price at an estate sale.

    My first thought was to fit the 19x19 board into the milk crate, but it wasn't meant to be. It wouldn't fit. I already knew how large the board was, but I guess I wasn't fully aware of how big it was until I tried to stuff it in a milk crate and it wouldn't fit. 19x19 boards are definitely meant for those settled in one place, not for traveling nomads hauling a milk crate full of games from place to place.

    So, no 19x19 board. That's okay. I've only ever actually played a couple of games on that large board. I'm still very much a beginner, and, as such, am happy to play on a 9x9 or 13x13 board. Fortunately, I have one of those and it kinda fits into the milk crate. It sticks out over the top, but as I understand the rules to this challenge, that is allowed as long as I don't try any crazy balancing of games over the height of the milk crate walls. I've got stones for this board separate from the slightly nicer stones in the bowls, stuffed inside plastic baggies inside of a cloth bag.

    Why Go? Because it really is the perfect game. If I have one other player who also wants to play Go, then I would rather play Go than any other game (except maybe Shogi).

    Before the current, ongoing social restrictions, I had looked up what I would need to do to start a local chapter of the U.S. Go Association. It's not much money and not much work with the reward of establishing a local community of Go players. I've already put in the time and energy to start one local public group. What's one more?

    The 9x9 board (which is, of course, 8x8 square) and stones also gives me access to many games played on an 8x8 square board (excluding the stacking games; edit: see below):

    Yavalath (really, a HexHex5 board)

    Those go stones will also be serving double duty. I printed out and laminated this hexhex5 board last month and have already seen a lot of use from it.

    Here are the games I have played:

    Here are lists of many more games available to me with the same components:

    And eventually I'll print out larger hexhex boards. I haven't done so yet because to get the sizing right, I really need to go to a professional print shop instead of printing at home on 8.5x11 paper.

    From gallery of trawlerman

    Sometimes I'm in the mood for Go. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Chess. I'll still happily play western chess, almost anytime, but I think I'd always prefer to be playing Shogi, which is why it gets this space in the crate. My Shogi set is nothing pretty to look at, but I love its functional aesthetic and I'm happy to have a set with the moves printed on each piece. It takes away a huge barrier to entry in teaching new players how to play. Almost anyone could get started immediately with this set after learning a few rules (promotion, drop, pawn placement restrictions). I recently listed Shogi as my #1 game of all time. It was definitely true the day I made that list. If, today, I'm giving a slight edge to wanting to play Go more at the moment, that's still no slight to Shogi, a desert island (milk crate) game that I adore now and always. Having a full Shogi set will also give me access to smaller Shogi variants that I also enjoy.

    Traditional Card Games
    The Penguin Book of Card Games
    Stick 'Em
    High Society

    From gallery of trawlerman

    A deck of cards. I may be late to this party, but I'm happy to be here. I love playing cards. I'm also throwing Parlett's book in the crate because I love it. I just think of it as a huge rules omnibus for my tiny deck of cards.

    This deck gives me access to many games that I played for the first time this year, ranked in order of preference:
    Duck Soup

    And, of course, hundreds more to explore.

    Then, in addition to the standard deck is the Sticheln deck. I've only played Sticheln once. I liked it, but didn't love it. But maybe I will love it after more plays? It doesn't matter. It is here in the milk crate because of its versatility. I mean, with this deck, I immediately get two more of my favorite Knizia card games, Lost Cities and Schotten Totten, without either one of their bulkier boxes. Elements is another game that I enjoy that could be played. Plus, many other games to try, though my version is the German fifth edition, which has the reduced suits (0-14).

    High Society is currently my favorite auction game. I have now played it at all player counts, and think that it's just fantastic. I was surprised by how well it played at 3.

    Irish Gauge

    From gallery of trawlerman

    Babylonia is my 3 or 4 player game of choice right now (and I also enjoy it 2 player). It is a satisfying amalgamation of everything I love in a Knizia game, with bits and pieces from his previous games, definitely, but also feeling fresher and more original than anything else. There is no crud on this design. 'Elegant' used to be a word that I would see more often here on BGG. I guess it has fallen out of favor. But I don't know any simpler way to describe Babylonia. It is an elegant game.

    There are several other "big box" board games that I could have picked to jam into this crate. I picked Irish Gauge to deliver my train/cube rails fix and Bus to deliver all the meanness I can possibly lovingly share with my friends and family. It might be a little bit of a cheat, but I also get The Soo Line with Irish Gauge because I threw away the box to that one and store it in Irish Gauge.

    Dungeon Crawl Classics
    The Legendary Guys

    From gallery of trawlerman

    I almost cheated by only throwing in a set of dice, but then relished the challenge of fitting DCC into this crate, edging out other worthies for the sake of imaginary dungeon deaths. The rulebook is huge, the large majority of the text being page after page of spell tables. I love it for this, but it also means that most of the book is rarely needed most of the time. For convenience, it is much easier to print out all relevant tables and any known spells. And even though I have the print rules and many modules, I also have it all as pdfs on my tablet. I considered just putting my tablet in the crate, but decided that anything battery-operated is excluded from my tabletop crate on principle. Anyhow, for the purpose of this challenge, I included the print core rules, and the "trapper keeper" I use with printouts and two modules in it that I'm planning on running next month, . I'm not putting every module I own into the crate. I've been trying to make this as close to a 'my absolute essentials' crate as possible, but I'm also assuming that the challenge allows occasional access to a bookshelf back home where I can swap out modules. I could also put a few more in the "trapper keeper" without bulking it up much more.

    The Legendary Guys could have been photographed with the other 'party' games. It's essentially a very light party rpg game. Stupid storytelling fun from rules that fit on a postcard.

    Nytelyfe Solitaire
    In Vino Morte

    From gallery of trawlerman

    These are my favorite Button Shy games and there is no reason not to include them in a challenge like this. They take up hardly any space at all while offering big fun in small packages. Sprawlopolis and Nytelife will take care of any rare solo itches I have. Hierarchy is a great 2p puzzle match. Adder is silly realtime table slapping for 2, while In Vino Morte is the only party game I need (though I would have also included Telestrations if the crate were larger).

    Push It
    Cockroach Poker
    From gallery of trawlerman

    People love dexterity games. I must give the people what they love. Push It's box is just its bag now. Cockroach Poker just barely made it in the crate because there was a snug Cockroach Poker sized hollow in the top corner of the crate. It was meant to be.


    From gallery of trawlerman

    The original Milk Crate Challenge rules state no games inside of other games, everything in its original box, and I've tried hard to abide by that. So, this is a bit of a cheat, maybe? My Hnefatafl set actually came packaged with a book about Vikings that I purchased almost twenty years ago. I don't know what happened to that book. The glossy folded paper board and the plastic/rubber Hnefatafl figures made their way into my copy of Bladder, a game that I love, that I will still sometimes name as my favorite game of all time, because it's just true that I always want to play it if someone else around wants to do so. The problem is how rarely this happens! So, Bladder is a must. Hnefatafl, even if it weren't bundled with Bladder, would probably make the crate on its own merits and also because my set just does not take up much space. I love that there is no single codified set of rules for Hnefatafl, that instead many folk variations have been allowed to flourish. Any tafl set is almost its own games system at this point, with many variants available.

    From gallery of trawlerman

    Tak made the cut because there was room for it and because I really do like it. It's probably my favorite connection game, a type of game that I'm not very good at and often get frustrated by, but still keep exploring. Having this Tak set also gives me stacking pieces for the 8x8 board above as well as providing a 5x5 board for even more options:

    Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges
    Morgan's a' Comin'!
    The Fury of the Norsemen
    Battle for Moscow

    From gallery of trawlerman

    This is my small collection of small wargames. Each of these has a small footprint with low counter density and fairly simple rules. All of these were ziplock games except for Fury, which does still have its small box. I keep all of these games together in a single ziplock bag.

    That's all of the games. And they all fit in one milk crate. Nothing left to do with my evening but stare contentedly at this milk crate full of games.
    From gallery of trawlerman
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    Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:46 am
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    100 Ranked

    I did 20 two years ago.
    50 last year.
    I figured I'd finally go for the 100. The ranking is almost arbitrary, but it is based on desire to play again right now and not some notion of how objectively great the game is. Yes, this year I once again include games that I haven't played in a decade, but I think I'm getting better about this. They're on the list to prompt me to play them. If I repeatedly don't play them, they'll likely leave the collection and leave the list.
    The Compleat Gamester - trawlerman's Top 100 Games, May 18th-19th, 2020 Edition, to be completely revised on the morrow, weather permitting, and if he gets out of bed.
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    Tue May 19, 2020 10:06 pm
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    Mancation 2019 Addendum

    (I've posted every day this week. Crazy. It's time to take a break. But first....)

    More videos and photos will surely surface.

    I share this video to show the darkness beneath the cool report.

    This was from a late night Yogi play. We may have been a bit unfair in our judgment. Parthe may have responded a bit too heatedly.

    But it produced this video. Thanks, Mike.

    Warning. Parental advisory. Etc. Repeated f-bombs. Play this video at your own risk when there aren't any little ears around.

    If that doesn't make you instantly buy a copy of Yogi, I don't know what will.

    If you need more convincing, here's my favorite Amazon review of Yogi:
    this game may have dislocated my ear plus my right rib. do not recommend. i am also a divorcee as a result of playing this game.
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    Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:00 pm
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    I had left up a thread about the new Struggle of Empires KS reprint from yesterday morning's browsing. This morning, I woke up to the BGG redesign. Here's a screenshot of the old and new side by side. The background color really needs to be changed back to the previous light bluish-grey, but otherwise I like the left sidebar being removed (and being able to optionally be displayed) and the lack of right sidebar advertisements (though I find it hard to believe that these will disappear; maybe they'll pop up inline? That would be much worse). It's definitely a tighter, cleaner look now.

    Okay, here's an edit before I even post this. It looks like the ads disappeared on the forum thread because I had re-sized the browsers to go side-by-side. In the redesign, if you narrow your browser, it edges out the two sidebars. The ad at the top is always there, but disappears as you scroll to read the thread.

    From gallery of trawlerman

    The logo change? It shocked me at first, but I understand why it was done, and it kind of amuses me when I look at it now, so I guess I'm happy enough with it.
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    Wed Aug 7, 2019 11:51 am
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    My 1st controversial post..... on the new AoS KS release.....

    "John Bohrer then took my game away and bashed it into a proper rail game."

    -Martin Wallace,

    The rules were written by John Bohrer and are therefore copyright Winsome.

    -James Hamilton,

    I'm not qualified to make any judgment on any of the legalities on all that has led up to the present AoS reprint. I've been following the back-and-forth for longer than 10 years now. All that means is that I'm less sure of who is right and who is wrong than ever in the past. It's a mess. It seems as if all parties have behaved badly.

    My personal position is that Wallace admits that Bohrer took his design (at his direction) and made it a different, better game. Hamilton (who was the other half of Warfrog at the time) admits that the rules copyright belongs to Winsome (as is clear on original box and rules, so cannot be denied). If this were work for hire as Wallace and Hamilton insist it was, then why in the name of everything cardboard would the rules as written be allowed to be exclusively in Bohrer's name and not copyright Wallace or copyright Warfrog? Why is there a clear statement at the end of the rules that the rules are copyrighted by Bohrer? Copyright means that this individual HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE COPIES AND LICENSE COPIES TO OTHERS. My understanding is that rules are the only things that can be copyrighted in game design. If Bohrer owns the rules copyright, he effectively owns the design. This fact, coupled with the clear fact that (for whatever reason, good or bad,) Warfrog did indeed slap a statement on the original box declaring license and copyright belonging to Winsome, is enough to make me feel no remorse in purchasing this new edition of AoS. Without any signed contracts between Wallace and Bohrer detailing who owns what, it seems like the public record made by Warfrog's own game box and rules testifies against their own position, whether they are in the right or not.

    It should be noted that Bohrer explicitly names Wallace as designer at the end of the rules. I don't think that has ever been in dispute. My understanding is that Bohrer, right or wrong, as developer with copyright, believes that he can license these rules, and that he has always offered to pay Wallace. Based on the copyright and licensing statements, I'm inclined to side with Bohrer (and yes, I've read the claims that these were done "as a favor," etc., and that's probably true, but, if true, it was an incredibly stupid favor). My further understanding is that Wallace does not want any royalty payments from Bohrer or EGG because he believes that they don't have the right to print the game at all without his permission. Maybe so, I don't know. All I know is that it makes for a strange situation in which one company is trying to publish a game that I love while the designer is trying to stop this game from being published. The designer is happy with his re-designs (Steam, Railways) and no longer wants anything to do with the original rules-as-written design. As a fan of the original game and not the re-designs, I feel like I have to stand firmly on the side of those who want to reprint the original game, the version of the game that I feel strongly should NEVER go out of print.

    What is important to me in any artistic medium is the text. I'm all for authors and editors getting paid, but what I really care about is the survival of texts that I love. I love reading Gawain and the Green Knight. I don't care that I don't know who wrote it. I don't care that I don't know the names of the guys (and maybe gals) who added to the history and development of chess. I don't know who first thought up the core idea behind Hnefatafl. I don't know anything about the first person who placed a stone on a grid. 1,000 years from now, I hope that the names Wallace and Bohrer are remembered in board game history classes (in the session on the importance of carefully worded contracts!). More importantly, I hope that the rules of Age of Steam are still remembered and that a physical copy of the game can be easily printed out at the corner print-on-demand board game kiosk (one can dream).

    I'm a pink box owner. I never felt the need to buy the last 3e reprint, as I considered it a downgrade. This new version, however, is lovely, and is the Age of Steam reprint that so many of us have been waiting many years for. It's sad that all of this nastiness around it exists.

    There is bad blood all around. I wish that all involved could be at peace.

    I guess that my only purpose in writing all of this was to maybe help those few persons who have been on the fence about whether or not they should back this new edition of this great game. I would encourage these persons to do so with a clear conscience.

    I fully expect some backlash. So be it. I guess I should add that I'm a big Wallace fan. I just played Wildlands last week and it knocked me out by what a fun design it was. I was a Treefrog subscriber back in the day. I used to seriously tell people that Wallace was my favorite designer. I tried to get my wife to name one of our daughters Martin. I've never met Wallace, but I've had brief positive email interactions with him. I've had no interactions with Bohrer and have only played a very small handful of Winsome games. If anything, my overall sympathies lay with Wallace. It's just that in this instance, I find myself leaning toward Bohrer's case, and I definitely find myself in support of any original Age of Steam reprint, especially one as well done as this one is.
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    Sat Mar 9, 2019 1:43 am
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