Beyond 500

This is my second blog after completing my "Quest for 500 plays in 2013" blog. I usually write mini game reviews, session reports, and general nonsense that pops into my head. I try to write at least once a week and try to keep it interesting. If you have suggestions, please feel free to comment. Thanks for reading!

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Back from Gen Con

J H
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Well, I made it back in one piece. It was fun as always to hang out with friends, people watch, play some games and look at all the cool new games that are coming out. I have to admit my self-control was very good this year. I only bought one game (Plums) and a few miniatures to add to Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Road to Legend as familiars. Don't get me wrong, I saw plenty of games I WANTED to buy, but knowing that I could wait a few weeks and get them $20 cheaper at my local Miniature Market, stayed my wallet. Here are a few that got added to my Wishlist:

Everdell - this is a beautiful-looking worker placement game that it seemed everyone was buying. I watched a few videos and I liked what I saw.

Horizons - a light, 4x-type game with some interesting things going on.

Root - this game just sounds cool. I like the asymmetric factions tied in with the theme and art. Watching videos, it almost looks like a war game with woodland creatures instead of soldiers. I am debating doing a pre-order on this one.

Coimbra - I like drafting and I like dice. This has both.

Petrichor - an interesting theme and the art is very appealing. I also enjoy area control.

Newton - the game play sounds a little like one of my favorites, ZhanGuo, so this is immediately on my radar.

Blue Lagoon - it's designed by the good doctor so odds are it will be good. It might be just a tad too light though.

Comanauts - I watched my buddies demo Stuffed Fables and the game play is cool but the cutesy theme just didn't appeal to me. This seems to be a darker version of it. I might like this better.

Some others went up on my wishlist but I need to do a little more research. If any of you want to chime in with your thoughts, please do:

Master of the Galaxy
Teotihuacan: City of Gods
Beta Colony
Wendake
Victorian Masterminds
Cult: Choose Your God Wisely
Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done

My buddies are not regular gamers so I have to keep things simple and also be prepared to play games that are not normally top of mind for me. They prefer more thematic, chaotic stuff and I tend to shy away from that more often than not. One game that we all like is Lords of Vegas. We broke that our on Thursday night and I pulled off a nice, come-from-behind victory.

I had already taught two-thirds of our group Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Road to Legend so we started a new campaign on Friday. We made it through by the skin of our teeth and agreed that we should get together once a month to continue playing. We will see how that goes...

One of them remembered that he liked an auction game we played a long time ago and after he described it, I led him to a table where they were selling High Society. It was the new reprint with better art but I still prefer the thick cardboard cards over the thinner, new ones. We ended up playing this several times over the course of the convention.

We played a fun little hidden role game called Rumble in the Dungeon a few times as well. It takes about 15 minutes and although there is no real strategy, it was enjoyable.

I don't know how the subject came up, but we were talking about when things happened in history. I mentioned there was a game that took that idea and they wanted to know more. It took me forever to find it since they changed the packaging for it, but eventually I directed them to Timeline: Classic. Since the girlfriend would like it, one of them bought it and we played it a few times on Saturday.

Although I watched a bunch of demos, I only participated in two. One was for Doomseeker and the other was for The Captain Is Dead: Lockdown. Both were ok. I love the them of Doomseeker but it had a bit too much chaos and luck for me. The Captain Is Dead: Lockdown was fun but I have enough similar games to take a hard pass.

As usual, we ate poorly, didn't sleep enough, and had a great time. It passed way too fast but at least I didn't get the con crud this year. Now I will spend the next few weeks refining my wishlist to figure what I REALLY want. Suggestions welcome.

Thanks for reading.
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Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:50 pm
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Gen Con prep and an updated profile

J H
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I am making final preparations for Gen Con. I have all the games I am selling on consignment set aside. I have the games I am playing ready to go as well. We leave on Thursday morning but I am taking Wednesday off to get yard work done, get packed up, and go to the store to buy all of the really unhealthy food that we partake in over this glorious four days. Pop-tarts, cookies, chips, candy, energy drinks, water, soda, and jerky. That pretty much covers it. Our hotel looks like the inside of a 7-11 once we get checked in. Again, it's glorious.

I met up with two of my Gen Con buddies last night to give them a quick lesson on how to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Road to Legend. My son came along so that we would have four players and we went through the first two missions of the tutorial campaign. They loved it! My son did a masterful job of sorting all the minis and tiles into bags so that setup was a breeze and the app is fantastic. I've played this game 27 times since May and it just keeps getting better.

Other games I am going to bring to play are Lords of Vegas, and Champions of Midgard with Champions of Midgard: Valhalla. I am going to wager that Descent gets played the most though. We will see.

Now for something completely different...

I was checking out another user's BGG profile and it was really interesting to read their story on how they got into board games. I liked it so much that I decided to do my own version. Although mine is not nearly as interesting as theirs, it was fun to write. Check it out and ask me any questions. I am an open book.
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Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:38 am
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Nothing tickling my fancy.

J H
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Whoa! It’s been almost a month since my last post. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess. My son and I are finishing up the first campaign in Descent. Our characters are really powerful now but so are the monsters.

I am prepping up for Gen Con in about a month and I am probably not going to participate in the math trade this year. It will be the first time I haven’t done it in 5 years or so. There are really three issues, the first is the trade now uses Abecorn and not the OLWLG software I am used to. Nothing wrong with Abecorn that I can see, it’s just I don’t feel like re-learning a whole new system. Second, I checked out the list of games so far and there is really nothing that interesting out there. And finally, this ties in with reason #2, I don’t really have any “have to own” games on my list right now. Yes, there are games on my wishlist, but having just checked it, there is nothing on there that is in “I gotta have it now!” territory.

Instead I will be selling about 20 games in the consignment shop. Depending on how much room I have for the trip, it might be more. There are a few games that are borderline keepers that will probably need to go at some point.

On the positive side, at least I won’t have to schlep games in downtown Indy to do trades over the Con.
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Mon Jul 2, 2018 3:57 pm
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Flim-flammed!

J H
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I’d been had. Misled. Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. You get the idea. It was last Saturday’s meetup. We had a new person joining us so I wanted to keep it simple. I finally learned how to play my free Geekway game, Shogunate, and we played a quick game. I have to say it isn’t bad. Hidden roles with information being exposed little by little with card play. This was just a precursor to the con that was about to take place. Like I said before, a new person had joined us and asked if we wanted to play one of the games he had brought along. He said it was a little like Werewolf but longer (not really selling it to me), but we all agreed to give it a shot. The game is called “LTK” or Legends of the Three Kingdoms. As he started to explain the rules, I could feel my throat starting to dry out. “This sounds a lot like BANG!” Normally, I would have bailed out right then because I despise BANG! and all its iterations but I didn’t want to screw up the game for everyone else and give a bad impression to a new person, so I plowed through it. Yep, it was a typical BANG! game; way too long for what it is, pounding on someone until you can’t do anything, etc. At one point I was trying to get myself eliminated so I could go read rules to some other game, but of course I was one of the last ones standing. After it ended, I decided it was time for me to go. I felt I had been tricked by LTK. Funny enough when I checked the game here on BGG, the entry says the game is an unauthorized clone of Bang! In fact, there was a lawsuit for copyright infringement which ruled for LTK since the art and “advanced mechanics” made it different enough from Bang! I laughed at the “advanced mechanics” part.

On a much more positive note, my son is seriously into Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Road to Legend right now. We finished the tutorial and started the Kindred Fire campaign. We actually lost the tutorial and ended up being enslaved by the Goblin King as his court jesters. Not good. Kindred Fire started off rough too, as we were defeated in the first encounter and let the bad guy get away. The second encounter went much smoother as we soundly defeated the monsters and claimed the treasure. He likes it so much that he organized all the pieces to give us much more table room and has been investigating future campaigns and expansions for us to try. He actually seeks me out to see if I want to try the next encounter and we really work together to try to beat the baddies. Too bad it took me 17 years to figure out that he likes co-ops with a fantasy tilt. Oh well, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
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Tue Jun 5, 2018 5:58 pm
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Random Thoughts on Geekway, gamers, and even a few games

J H
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- the Geekway staff is awesome. They truly care and want to make sure that every attendee has the best time possible. Thank you!

- boardgamers are at the top of the gaming hobby hierarchy. There is no group that is collectively more friendly, funny, and outgoing.

- game trading is fun, but math trades and trade tables are fun AND exciting. I am always anxious waiting for the results of a math trade. It's like opening up a mysterious present on Christmas morning. You know it could be one of 10 different things and each you would be excited to receive. Trade tables are fun because it's like walking into a second-hand store and finding shelves filled with games. Some are stinkers, but under all those copies of Monopoly lies a gem. You just have to find it.

- B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss is a pretty fun game if you like cooperative tower defense games. The minis are awesome and the game is REALLY hard. My son and I managed to win our second time, but literally by the skin of our teeth.

- I got Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) and several expansions on the Geekway trade table. I thought I was only getting the base game and one expansion until I opened everything up. I guess the previous owner was a smoker because everything smells, but I can't argue about how well the game was taken care of. Thank you to whoever traded this away! My son and I are enjoying it immensely playing cooperatively with the app.

- I am looking forward to playing First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!. It looks to be very interesting and a game that is right up my alley. Maybe I can learn the rules by Tuesday.

- For US folks, please have a safe Memorial Day. Remember it isn't all about sales and barbecues, but those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation.

Thanks for reading and happy gaming!
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Mon May 28, 2018 3:11 am
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Geekway 2018

J H
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Geekway just keeps getting better and better. Very organized, lots of room, and the best part...the people. Yeah, I like Gen Con, but I LOVE Geekway. Rather than write up all the details again, just check out this Geeklist.

Geekway to the West 2018 - Good games and con crud
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Tue May 22, 2018 4:12 pm
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We have taken a hostage. - The Games

J H
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Woohoo! Geekway starts this week! I am really excited to play games for four straight days. The hard part is figuring out what games to asdlfjklsjdfj,lf;;aaflksd,./../aaaaaaaaaaaaaa./////////////.........



Look, I don't know why any sane person would read this guy's drivel but since some of you might see this I just wanted to let you know that we have done it. We games have finally risen up! We aren't going to take it anymore. This guy bragging about playing games for four days while some of us sit on shelves gathering dust. What a crock! Well, not this year. Oh no! If we can't go, he can't go. We are tired of being left behind while his "favorites" get all the glory. Looking at you Caverna, Zhanguo, London, and Viticulture! You're not going either! Not until some of us get what we want. This guy either plays us or trades us. It's that simple. Yeah, yeah I know we all can't be played this weekend, but he's gotta make the effort.

Oh don't worry, he's fine. Just a little bump on the head. That Lisboa box on the top shelf really came in handy. BOOM! Right on the noggin. Ha! He is asking (ok, begging) that I ask you to help him meet our demands. What can I say, I'm feeling quite charitable. Look at this and help him make up his mind. Be careful though, pick the wrong ones and he could be on the receiving end of a cardboard enema! HAHAHA! Some games are angrier than others.

1. Make a choice between these games:

Airlines Europe vs Stockpile
Amun-Re vs Modern Art
Amyitis vs Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
Broom Service vs Lords of Vegas
Coal Baron vs Walnut Grove
Fresco vs The Pillars of the Earth
Grand Austria Hotel vs La Granja
Hyperborea vs Shakespeare
Merkator vs Ulm
Spirit Island vs Mexica
Trajan vs Tikal
De Vulgari Eloquentia vs World Without End

That's only 12 games on top of the 5 this clown has already scheduled. As I see it, he will have plenty of time to get these played. What say you?
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Tue May 15, 2018 2:18 am
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Let's not live in the past.

J H
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May is finally here! That means Geekway to the West is right around the corner! I have all my scheduled games lined up, contacted all my players, and have revisited most of the rules (still gotta work on Caverna: The Cave Farmers). I have finished adding games to the Math Trade and am finishing up my Want List for same. Now comes the hard part. Figuring out what other games to bring for the four days of gaming festivities. More to follow on this…

If you read this blog, you know that my son and I have been playing some co-ops recently. We played two on Sunday night, both with great success. First, we took on the second legend in Legends of Andor. Much to my surprise, we won on the first try by rolling the exact number we needed to defeat the boss at the end. This is not your typical dungeon-crawler. LoA is more of a puzzle and a study in optimization (both in time and movement). My son enjoys these sorts of endeavors so he likes this game quite a bit. While feeling good about our victory, we decided to take our second shot at Escape from 100 Million B.C.. We lost the first game pretty handily, but we were confident this time. We quickly found several time machine parts, but I was struggling to get back to base due to being chased by a T-Rex. My son found it quite hilarious the three times I fled from the thing and his paradox roll moved it right back to my space. We ended up returning a few time castaways to their own time, fixed the time machine, and jaunted back to the future only to find that we had left several things behind. Unfortunately, our neglect caused the future to be altered. Our new present meant we lived underground and only came out at night to avoid the giant beasts that still roamed the Earth. All in all, a pretty fun game that I would like to introduce to my game group at some point.

Hopefully the next two weeks will fly by and I can be getting my game on. Thanks for reading!
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Tue May 1, 2018 4:22 pm
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Completing one legacy and starting another

J H
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Well, my son and I didn't turn out to be the heroes that we wanted to be. Yes, we foiled the plans of the bad guy but we didn't win the hearts and minds of the local townsfolk. I am speaking of Legacy of Dragonholt of course. We finished the game last Sunday and were left a bit cold as we made our way out of Dragonholt. There was no victory parade or fancy gala. We just packed up our stuff and left town. Maybe if we had uncovered the plot a little earlier we could have saved more lives and earned the love of the royal family; but alas, they were grateful but were not upset to see us go.

We moved on to a quaint little place called Andor. Things started out rough as we lost the introductory game. Yes, I said we lost the intro game. Stupid dice rolls. We have set things up again and will be playing Legends of Andor again tonight. I hope to be writing about a victory soon.

In other news, I am planning on running a few games at Geekway to the West next month.

London (first edition)
ZhanGuo
Viticulture Essential Edition
Caverna: The Cave Farmers

I am trying to get a few plays in prior so that I am solid on the rules before teaching. I have played/taught them all before, but it has been a few months so I may have forgotten a small rule here and there. I have been lucky enough to play ZhanGuo twice in the last week. Great game! I am pretty solid on London (first edition) and Viticulture Essential Edition, but I might struggle with Caverna: The Cave Farmers. I have played a few turns solo and have it setup as multi-player solitaire in my basement right now. I feel like I need at least one real multiplayer game before trying to teach it. Hopefully, I can get some takers at one of my meetups in the next few weeks.

I hope your gaming is going as well as mine. Thanks for reading!
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Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:41 pm
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Adventures with my son

J H
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As my son gets closer to leaving for college, I have noticed that he is actively seeking me out to play games (both video and board). I'm not sure why, but I will take it. We recently made a trip to the new Miniature Market store to do some shopping. As we looked over the plethora of games, I asked what types of games he preferred. He responded that he liked cooperative games. I guess I should have known since he likes to play DOTA2 with me and prefers solo competitive games on the PC. We looked around and discussed a few here and there. He mentioned that some of his friends were playing some RPGs and that he was curious about playing one. That's when I spotted a game called Legacy of Dragonholt. We both read the box and I read the minimal reviews on BGG and we purchased it right then and there.

The game, if you want to call it that, is quite simple. Imagine you and a friend taking turns on making decisions in one of those "choose your own adventure" books. I loosely call it a game because it is more of a reading exercise. I don't dislike it to be sure. It is just not what I expected. The writing is very well done and the story is actually very good. Unfortunately, sometimes you don't feel like you are doing a whole lot during a session. I wish we could get back online with the main story points instead of fumbling around with some of the side stuff. That being said, there have been some pretty epic gaming moments, both good and bad. Without spoiling it, let's just say there was an unexpected death of one of the key NPCs that caught us both off guard. We finished the session in stunned silence and didn't really discuss the events until a few hours later. So I guess you could say the game was rather immersive, at least that session was.

My son seems to be enjoying the game a lot. He is in charge of all the bookkeeping and has a cache of notes on characters, places, clues, and events. I think he is enjoying playing the knightly hero character that he created. One of my favorite things was when he made a decision based on what his character would do, not what he wanted to do. There are achievements in the game for doing various things. One of those things is starting a bar fight. We just so happened to be in a tavern and the opportunity presented itself to complete this achievement. At first, he said he was going to do it, but as I turned the pages to read the outcome, he quickly reneged and stated that his character would never do something like that. As an RPG gamer of some years, it was a proud moment for me.

Needless to say, this adventure will come to a close soon. We probably only have 3-4 more sessions left. He doesn't leave until August so I have some time to introduce him to other co-ops that he might like. I already own Legends of Andor and Mice and Mystics so maybe I will crack one of those open. He showed some interest in Gloomhaven, but maybe we will save that one for another time (like Christmas break).

Thanks for reading.
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Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:09 pm
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