Matt's Board Game Back Room

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

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STATE OF THE BACK ROOM - Shire Games in the UK

-matt s.
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My wife and daughter took a 3 week trip to England (and a short overnight train trip to Paris) back in August. The trip was an adventure for her, her Mom (who is a UK native), and my daughter - but I'm not going into any of that here.

However, I bring it up because my wonderful wife asked me before leaving if there were any game stores that she should stop by to pick up some games for me!!!!

Well, I only knew about one game store specifically off the top of my head: Shire Games

I'm sure there are others and I might have spent time researching more stores, but I knew they probably weren't going to be making a lot of stops for games AND when I looked on Google Maps, I saw it was directly on their way from Shillington to the Liverpool/Blackpool area (a route they were already planning on taking), so it was perfect!

Plus, I had ordered from them a couple of times in the past and found Nick, the owner, to be quite friendly. I even sent a note to him to ask for detailed information on finding the store and other information about the area. His response was very helpful!

Anyhow, they arrived at the store (which is upstairs) sometime early in their trip on a weekday:

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Front of the building (store on the 2nd floor) and my daughter in front of the door leading up

Nick happened to be coming DOWNSTAIRS while they were going up, apparently off to the Post Office. Well, I presume he recognized them as my family (due to my heads-up email - he probably doesn't get too many Americans wandering in) and was very kind to go back up and help them out (although I presume he would have done this anyway being the awesome bloke he is) for a good amount of time while my wife hemmed and hawed about what to get, despite me sending a detailed list of my interests based on the online listings.

I figured she'd get one or two games that weren't too big (to fit into luggage) and not too expensive (since she always loves a bargain). I had focused mainly on sale items that I knew were harder to get or were just great deals but of course she had to consider every option!

While she was deciding what to get, my daughter snapped a bunch of photos so that I could see what the store was like. It looked like a lovely homey feeling sort of place, granted filled with only tables, chairs, and lots and lots of games

These are shots of the first room you come into. Looks like a shipment had come in recently!
From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Main first room, Nick and my wife discussing options

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

A closeup of one table near the entrance, A shot from the front area looking back toward the game room/game shelve areas


Going further into the store you can see there are 3 main rooms, one off to the left, one to the right (both with blue walls) and one furthest back (with red walls)

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

Rooms off the the left and off to the right

You can see the rooms on the left are on the street facing side and have lots of natural light as well. The room on the right is on the darker side, although all rooms seem to have been outfitted with lots of ceiling spot lights to get good lighting all around.


From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

The red room, with lots of games newly arriving and waiting to be stocked onto the shelves.


For some reason when imagining Shire Games in my head I was thinking a darker cave-like environment on the first floor of some older building. Yes, it looks like an older building here, but its certainly not a dark cave! I have to say if I lived in or near Stoke-on-Trent I'd definitely be popping into Nick's store for some gaming goodness on a regular basis as it seems very inviting and comfortable.

And, finally, here is Nick, the friendly bloke himself:
From gallery of tasajara

Nick of Shire Games


I also enjoy Nick's weekly newsletters because they are both informative (he gives brief descriptions of the latest games he has coming in, plus a review of a game that was played that week) and entertaining (jokes and anecdotes of some kind).

Thanks Nick for the friendly service and helping my wife out when she came visiting!
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Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:49 pm
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Tzolk'in Gear Pimping - A survey of what others have done (Part 2 - the Insanity Continues)

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I posted back in December all of the creative Tzolk'in Gear Pimping going on. If you missed it see: THE CREATIVE GAMER - Tzolk'in Gear Pimping - A survey of what others have done

This is a continuation of that post - I kept adding on to the other one but then it got out of hand. Also, I doubt I will do another follow-up as 1) This could keep going on forever, especially as more and more copies hit gamers' tables and I don't think I want to keep doing this over and over. And, 2) I FINALLY got my gears painted and ink washed in the past couple of weeks so I'm done painting (well.........I might apply one more ink wash, but that story is for another day) so looking at these all in more detail is nice but not necessary for inspiration anymore BUT, they deserve to be seen and I LOVE seeing them collected all together as a group - an art show of sorts I guess.

Anyhow, I'm just going to jump right in because this is going to take a while.



Exhibit 22:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
danielm
Romania
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Heavy on the black with some red and a little yellow. The outer gears are all painted with stone-like look to them. The outer ones are along the lines of what I've done except with a stone-like look at least showing through a bit.



Exhibit 23:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Patrick Nickell
United States
Bothell
WA
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Yet MORE black. LOTS of black here. Funny, this one almost looks like velvet or raised fuzzy velvet on a black background. The black definitely stands out from the board doesn't it?

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 24:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Barry Goldstein
United States
Culver City
California
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Mr. Goldstein certainly likes GOLD doesn't he? Frankly, I like the gold look too - the gold paints really sparkle in the light in person that a still photo or even video can't do justice showing. For me, this might be a little too much gold though...




Exhibit 25:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Jestin Jund
United States
Sioux Falls
South Dakota
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Jestin's AWESOME wife painted this terrific looking gear! He better have given her some good back and feet rubs after completing this - I know mine took quite a while hunched over and could have used the same after. Jestin posted a detailed comment on the image below with a general description of how his gear was painted. I like the color choices and details that were highlighted - its a good balance. Would like to see the inked outer gears as well with everything together on the board!

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 26:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Slush
United States
Keller
Texas
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Interesting - this is the only image mudslapper has ever uploaded to BGG! I really like the aged look of this gear - simple but effective.



Exhibit 27:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Angel
Spain
Madrid
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Well, this isn't the gears but some other fabulous pimping I just had to point out. macklau already had my attention with his amazing gear paint job (one of my favorites) and really went all out creating a custom storage box with decorations, AND custom player pieces. FANTASTICALLY INSANE WORK ANGEL!!! (now I know what my next project is going to be............................well, maybe not)

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 28:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Speaking of GOLD from earlier, this has some terrific looking gold as well. Simple in color scheme but triumphant in appearance.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 29:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Purple? I love purple, but not sure for these gears. According to the comments Instagram did a number on the color......hmmmmmmm.




Exhibit 30:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Mikael Vintermark
Sweden
Göteborg
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Actually, Nekau's friend painted these. I'm liking the natural look quite a bit! Although adding grass as he mentioned in the comments might be overkill....




Exhibit 31:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
David Short
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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This is another with the color-matched outer gears which is the general direction I wanted to go on mine.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar




Exhibit 32:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Michael Perez
United States
Glendora
California
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Funny, this one has some similarities to my paint job except mine is more in the gray range and this is more in the reddish range and more consistently the same color across all gears. Nice mottled coloring on this one. Wow, this is another user with only 1 image (this) posted to BGG! Quite some inspiration coming from all around the geek for this game!



Exhibit 33:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Curt Parr
United States
La Farge
Wisconsin
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Kurt, your avatar keeps staring at me! What! What did I do?! Well, I'm staring at the colors - the blue and red look metallic to me - not sure if its the lighting or what, but I'm kinda mesmerized by it.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 34:
From gallery of edelen
Dan Edelen
United States
Mount Orab
Ohio
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edelen used Gold and Silver paint pens on the details. Why didn't *I* think of that! shake The brown stone wash look on this one is SPECTACULAR!!




Exhibit 35:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Jeffrey Speer
United States
Fargo
North Dakota
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Kaworu17 says he spent the weekend with his friend painting this one. The stone look on the main gear is really nice looking!



Exhibit 36:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Marc-Andre Delalay
Australia
Sydney
New South Wales
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A nice first effort for a beginner painter! Yes, EVERYONE seems to be inspired to take up painting just for this game!



Exhibit 37:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Peter Gorniak
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Another nice straight-forward design. I've really been liking the brown-range look of these and some of the other gears. I like the turquoise color to contrast on this one.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 38:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Ken Dilloo
United States
Bothell
Washington
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Really nice detailed work on this one. When you are painting the middle gear and realized just HOW MUCH detail there is, it is both overwhelming and yet puts you into a trance sort of mode when painting as you imagine what each element is and what part it must play in a larger story around the calendar. Very very interesting to dive deep into the detail - a depth you miss unless you really spend some time with it.

(bigloo33: I'm glad you abandoned the painted sticker - I was worried about that approach so I scanned mine and then colorized on the computer. If you want my scan I can send it to you - although the simple gold center works fine as well....)

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar




Exhibit 39:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
timothée licitri
France
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I *really* like the paint scheme and color choices on this one. If you have some time, click through to the picture and look at the largest resolution version - the painted detail is EXQUISITE! I also love the lunar cycles shown around the outside of the gear - best use of the flat spots I've seen!

Would really like to see a shot of this on the board with all the other gears!!



Exhibit 40:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Star Fix
United States
Marlborough
Massachusetts
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Well actually,
Michael Salzman
United States
Massachusetts
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did the paint on this as a commissioned work. The color choices are excellent and the detail work is very nice. The mini in the center of the main gear is a great touch and matches the rest of the work as well.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar





Exhibit 41:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Björn Fink
Germany
Warendorf
Nordrhein-Westfalen
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Hey, another one that looks somewhat similar to mine!



Exhibit 42:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Kirk Bauer
United States
Smyrna
Georgia
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Nice naturally looking gears. Color choices for the worker spots are great as well!



Exhibit 43:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Cory Yates
United States
Pekin
Illinois
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This is a very brightly colored set. Nice detail work done by a first time painter, too! Painting the sticker came out pretty decent also!

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar




Exhibit 44:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
The AirBear
Germany
Frankfurt
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This one is different as The_AirBear used a special speckle colored spray paint to apply after a gray base coat. Give them an interesting granite look. The detail work in the central gear is excellent!




Exhibit 45:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Matthew Fisk
United States
Spanish Fork
Utah
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This one has an different dark-brown color which makes the gold and silver highlights really stand out.





Wow! 45 different custom painted gear designs posted to BGG (well, ok 44 as one was game piece pimping). And, every gear had its own look and flavor. And some looked vastly different than all the others. There are just so many different directions you can take this.

But, I DID finally get my gears painted. And I'm very happy with them. I got a lot of good compliments about the work on them at the local convention a couple of weeks ago. There's a little more tweaking I could do, but I'm pretty much done with them at this point. Well, except that one last go at inking it again.......I think it needs a bit more to highlight the colors and look a little cleaner.

What do you think so far though?

From gallery of tasajara


This isn't the best picture as its hard to see the shininess of the gold and silver paint. I might also need some final touch-ups to a couple of areas that ended up a bit lighter than expect and then try to take a better picture of it before I officially post my pic. Its allllmooooost there....


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Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:15 am
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Tzolk'in Gear Pimping - A survey of what others have done

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Tzolk'in, the game I'm most obsessed with from Essen 2012. I've played twice and now am ready to play some more.

In the weeks since its release I've seen several creative types painting and washing the gears in their copy of the games to help bring out the details to the amazing artwork on it. The central wheel has a tremendous amount of detail that is very hard to see unless you do something to highlight it and make it stand out.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Now, I have painted oil paintings and done other artwork before, but I've never painted any miniatures, etc, for games, so I'm quite excited by the prospect of pimping out my game by painting the gears! I've started to do some research into what others have done and also started to look up painting techniques that I might want to try.

Being that I'm new at this (although I do partake in other artistic endeavors) I figure I want to go for something relatively simple. My idea (for now) is to go with a simple wash and then maybe apply some detail paints to bring out certain features of the wheel. I don't want this to be a huge/crazy project (although I'm very detail oriented so I will still probably fall into the trap of it being at least a medium sized project). I don't want to take a super long time, but I also don't want it to look like crap either.

Anyhow, this list is a look at all of the cool and interesting ideas other gamers have had in pimping out their gears and my comments on what I like (and maybe a bit of what I don't like)...



Exhibit 1:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Scott Ferrier
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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I like that the gears blend in and have a similar feel to the board. I also like how the worker spots are a darker color to bring out where they can be placed. The extra bit of color on a couple of elements on the main gear is a nice touch as well.



Exhibit 2:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Mario Markiefka
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


The black gears are definitely striking! I love the overall look and how the details stand out nicely against the dark background.



Exhibit 3:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Manuel Vila Rodríguez
Spain
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is one of a couple that made all of the smaller gears a matching color to the board area they represent - something I've been considering for mine as well. I really like the detailing on the main gear and the shiny gold highlights are terrific!



Exhibit 4:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Renaut Stephane
United Kingdom
Horsham
West Sussex
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I like the simplicity of this one - a nice solid color, not too dark, but not too light that it completely blends in. The slightly mottled look with certain elements highlighted is great. It looks like something that has been sitting in the jungle for a long while.



Exhibit 5:
This was posted by one of the game designers, but according to the comments I think Paul Grogan actually did the painting...?
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
daniele tascini
Italy
Porto San Giorgio
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United Kingdom
Cullompton
Devon
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I love how the details are brought out with the darker background. The gray stone look is very nice and yet simple as well. I wish there were more pictures to see how it looks on the board.



Exhibit 6:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
André Nordstrand
Norway
Jørpeland
Rogaland
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The depth of color on this one is excellent - really brings out the texture. Again, gold highlights here are terrific. Also wish there was there was a pic of this one on the board.



Exhibit 7:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
David Berry
United Kingdom
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The ink wash on the main disk looks nice and you can see the design showing through but is still a bit subtle at the same time. The color is a good choice as it matches parts of the board.



Exhibit 8:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Chris MacLennan
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This has an interesting wooden look to the outer gears although I think I'd like to steer more towards either stone look or just something that looks aged/highlighted. The main gear (when viewed at higher resolution) really shows the details with a very simple one-step wash job.



Exhibit 9:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Patrick Draad
Netherlands
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

1477113

I really like this different take of green and blue giving it a sort of mottled jungle look. This one also takes the colored smaller gears to the extreme which I like although I'd probably want to tone mine down a bit if I go that direction.



Exhibit 10:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Alkis Moraitis
Australia
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is an interesting take using red on the main gear only and just in the center disc area to highlight the design. I really like how well it shows the design and doesn't go too crazy with color (other than the bright color choice - not complaining though as my favorite color is red!)



Exhibit 11:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is one of my favorites just because of all the detailed painting and colors involved. It is certainly the most complex and it really looks great. Again, I love the gold highlights here - they just seem to go with the look of the art really well. The two different colors of blue is nice although very bold. I'm not sure I would want to go that bold or put in that much work, but I certainly wouldn't complain if mine looked as great as this when done!



Exhibit 12:

(Not sure if Mouseketeer actually painted this, but listing as the person who posted the pic at least)
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This is a good example of the stone look - it is subtle but looks great on the board as it contrasts with it well but also doesn't overwhelm it.



Exhibit 13:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Michael Kröhnert
Germany
Aachen
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This is a really nicely done wash - it really brings out the details but does it very subtly. The white and black highlights on the outer elements look good too. A very nice, simple amount of work but looks great at the same time. This is probably closer to what my ideas aspires to, but ultimately I will probably end up doing a bit more with some of the other elements I've seen elsewhere.



Exhibit 14:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Evan Dunn
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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This is the ultimate minimalist pimping - just highlighting the numbers and nothing else. I think I'll definitely want a bit more than this (I think the arrows should have been done as well), but it does show how even a small amount of work can help enhance certain elements.



Exhibit 15:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Kai Teo
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Brooklyn
New York
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I like how different details were brought out on this one than on other ones. Its funny what will catch each person's eye. The stone look again looks great here and the details really pop with the white and yellowish, copper and bronze colors.



Exhibit 16:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Mark O'Reilly
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Another one with a gold/bronze look - this one is heavy on the shininess with some red to highlight. Also notice the colored outer gears as well - I really like the shade of blue on the Chichen Itza gear.




Exhibit 17:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Eduardo Cruz
Portugal
Arcozelo - Vila Nova de Gaia
Porto
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


I like the details on this one. The all black (or is that very dark blue?) is a nice contrast to the color.




Exhibit 18:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Brian McCarty
United States
La Crescent
Minnesota
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Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


This one is very gray with a wash but only in the center. The wash looks ok but I think it needed to cover the whole gear.




Exhibit 19:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
N/A


Another all black one with highlighted details. I like the blue arrows and the brown highlighting on the two figures on the wheel. I'm becoming a non-fan though of bright highlighting on the central odd-shaped feature. Bringing it out is interesting to a point, but not too much as there are other more interesting features on the gear I think.



Exhibit 20:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
The Dave
United States
Ogden
Utah
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whattheproblemis describes how he did it in the comments of the photo. Just basic acrylic paint for the colors, then rubbed an antiquing color to give it a darker look.




Exhibit 21:
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Just basic gold spray paint does the trick on this one. Looks pretty good just by itself, although I think I still want a bit more color/detail on mine than just a simple solid color.





Well, I will keep adding to this list as more and more designs come forth. However, as more designs are put out by users the harder it is for me to decide what *I* want to do. I think here's what I want to do:

* Brownish or Grayish wash/base to give it a stone or earthen look.
* Gold highlights on the raised design in many areas.
* Some red highlights of certain details.
* White or yellow highlights on the gear teeth details.
* Scan, color on my computer, then print out the central gear sticker to match whatever my design ends up looking like.

The central sticker is something that was only addressed a couple of times: by monolovia on Exhibit 3 (detailed painted or colored) and alkis21 on Exhibit 10 (lightly tinted) and macklau on Exhibit 11 (detailed painted)

I've had in my mind to color it on the computer which will give me some control and flexibility (and opportunity to fix it if I mess up)

Anyhow, that's the plan for now. Hopefully I have some time in the near future to work on this, perhaps on my time over the holidays. I've REALLY been wanting to play my copy but want to get this painting project done first and it as been languishing after everything else I need to do....

EDIT: 31-DEC-2012 - ADDED Exhibit 17 + commentary
EDIT: 02-JAN-2013 - ADDED Exhibits 18 & 19 + commentary
EDIT: 04-JAN-2013 - ADDED Exhibits 20 & 21 + commentary - just about every day there's a new pic!

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JUST GAMING AROUND - First Impressions of 2012 Essen releases: Tzolk'in and P.I.

-matt s.
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I'm lucky to have friends that go to Essen and pick up the latest and greatest. Thanks to Lorna for me being able to try these ones!

As a result I've been able to play a few of them, although there are several that I still really want to play such as Myrmes - just missed out playing it yesterday - and Keyflower - although my copy arrived recently so hopefully I can get it to the table soon.

Keep in mind I've only played P.I. only once so far and Tzolk'in I've only played twice, so these are just first impressions.



TZOLK'IN
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

This was the game I was most excited to try! As soon as I saw the gears and that it was a worker placement game, I knew I had to play it. After reading the rules it solidified my belief I would love it. I even carved my Halloween pumpkin to match the box cover:

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


From gallery of tasajara
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

The basic game play is on your turn you either place workers to set them up for future actions, or you take them off to perform the actions. When you place workers you place them on 5 outer gears, each of which gives different sorts of abilities: one is for food or wood, one is for any of the resources or crystals skulls, one helps you improve your technology or build buildings and monuments, one allows you to trade goods, get a new worker, and do special actions with corn, and one of the gears has special one-time abilities that primarily give you VPs and also advance you in the temples.

The really interesting mechanism is that after each round of players placing workers or removing them to take actions, the central gear is rotated once, thus turning all the other gears and moving the workers up to better functions/abilities.

The key to being successful in the game is getting your timing correct - placing workers to get you the resources you need at the right time to perform building actions or advancement actions on the other gears. The buildings in turn advance you on the technology or temple tracks, get you resources or help feed your workers during the feeding phases (which occur 4 times in the game)

There are multiple ways to score points so there is a lot of flexibility in what you can do. This is the type of game I really like - placing workers, gathering resources, and finding ways to leverage those to get the most points possible.

The gears make it interesting here because you have to be able to see how you are going to get your timing right and really plan ahead well. And, its very difficult to be patient and let your workers make their way up to the better actions - the temptation is always to 'get something now'

The gears are also a fantastic timer mechanism (it IS about a calendar after all) in that you see exactly when the next scoring/feeding phase is coming up - usually sooner than you realize. This is especially important in the end-game because if you don't time things correctly you'll have nothing left to do on the final round when other players with better timing crank out a bunch of extra points!

I'm really excited about this game and hope to pick up my own copy soon - its tough to get now due to importing of the original printing, thus making the cost high, so I might have to wait until the English printing comes out (unless I can come across a good deal somehow). My first play I scored only 21 points but my second play was something like 58 points. I'm reading that strong winning scores are closer to 90-100 points, so there's definitely more play in it for me.

Some gamers will definitely see this as 'just another Euro' and write it off as being too similar to some other worker placement game out there, but this is the type of game I really enjoy and the gears mechanism provides enough of a change to keep it interesting for me and different than other similar games. There are enough layers/elements to it to keep me coming back to try different strategies including the gears, the technology tracks, the temple tracks, the gear that gets bonus points, the buildings and monuments, and even the crystal skulls themselves are worth points.

Verdict: 9 / 10 -

(and it might be a 10 for me if it keeps my interest with more plays)



P.I.
Board Game: P.I.

This game is one of several new Martin Wallace games this year. I was interested in it as I'm always up for a good deduction game. This definitely fits the bill if you like deduction. The goal is to 'solve' the 'case' held by the neighbor on your right. The only real interaction is that all cases are solved on the same board and information from the others' case evidence can help you solve your own case, and you can somewhat interfere (or indirectly affect) other players by selecting evidence cards that might be more helpful to them if they could select them instead.

First, the board is seeded randomly with suspect and crime tiles at each of the 14 locations. Some tiles are No Suspect or No Crime. Then, 9 evidence cards are drawn and laid out for display at the top of the board. Also, each player is given a 'case' which consists of a suspect, location and a crime (sort of like Clue).

Board Game: P.I.


You attempt to solve the case to the right by making 'guesses' using either the evidence cards or one of your detective tiles.

You only have 5 detective tiles to use in solving 3 cases so you must use them sparingly. Thus, you usually will just be selecting an evidence card. Evidence cards represent locations, suspects and crimes - there is only 1 card available for each.

Once selected, the person to your right gives you information as to how close (in proximity on the board) that item is in relation to itself and the other 2 items of the case. Disc(s) are placed for exactly correct guesses and cubes are placed if the item is directly adjacent to the location of the evidence card (sort of like Mastermind)

Then, the game comes down to deducing from the evidence which suspect, location and crime are involved with your case.

In a way, this game is multi-player Mastermind but with a different sort of spacial element and a bit more depth. The two things that raise it a couple levels above Mastermind are the Detectives which give you (potentially) more specific information but are limited in number and have to be managed (i.e. you have to be careful how many you use on each case since you only have 5 for 3 cases) and the deck of evidence cards. The cards come out randomly but in a fairly significant number. They control where you can make good guesses in trying to get more information.

Interestingly, selecting an evidence card and getting NO specific clues also helps you in determining what is NOT part of your case.

Eventually, you have enough information to uncover your case elements and make a guess if you've solved your case. If you're right you get more points if you are first to solve your case and less points if you are after other players. If you guess incorrectly you are penalized.

Overall I really enjoyed the game trying to efficiently solve the puzzle of my case before the other players solved theirs.

The only major issue I really had with the game was that some cases seemed easier or more difficult depending on how close together the elements were for each case. Also, the board can be a bit busy as there's a lot going on with the artwork and then you add the element tiles and finally the player cubes and discs during the game.

I suspect that it is probably best with 2 or 3 players, because any more and you might be waiting a while as others puzzle over their case evidence.

We felt the rules were a bit dense and hard to understand for what really boils down to a very simple game mechanically.

Overall I really enjoyed it as I do have a soft spot for deduction games (Mastermind was actually a favorite growing up). Its not anything that really wowed me, but at the same time we found we were pulled in more and more as we played as the cleverness of it was certainly appealing and ultimately it was challenging trying to deduce your own case.

Verdict: 7.5 / 10 -



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Timely Topics - MY ESSEN PRE-PREVIEW - What I'm interested in (and a couple I'm scared of)

-matt s.
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Eugene
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It's almost time for Essen! ... less than a month away!

But, no, I don't get to go and don't expect I ever will get to go. But, I have a couple of friends that are going. And they always bring back a bunch of games to try out. But I still like to window shop anyhow and see what I might be interested in - and eventually get (or at least hopefully get to try out)

I've been picking through the Spiel 2012 Preview list (which is well over 800 games this year!) for a while now and have been tagging games of interest - mostly games that immediately seemed interesting to me, and a couple that 'looked' interesting but probably are not in my range of 'want to have'.

Now, I have other things I should be doing now in my personal life and at least one thing a couple of people have been nagging me about here on BGG, but I figured I'd spent the time looking and wanted to get my thoughts down. Note that more games have been added to the preview list and I just don't have any more time to go through it all again, so there are some others I'm interested in that aren't actually here. Also, I'm biased towards certain games so certain segments may be lacking here. Sorry.

I tend to be long-winded when writing so I'm trying NOT to be here (actually, I think I did pretty good, except that I had a LOT of different games to write about). EDIT: Looking back now I see I still wrote a lot - ah well.

If you want the 'quick list' here's a link to the games I've tagged so far (this may get updated after I post this so you might check back in the future to see any changes)

So, I'm going to group these into a few categories to help qualify my interest. Here goes!



GAMES THAT ARE A MUST BUY
(or at least a LIKELY BUY)

Note that I'm trying to cut back on my game buying and trim my collection as well. No really. In fact, I've sold off 150+ games in the past 2 months.

Still there are some games I might not be able to resist getting.

Board Game: Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes
The Ladies of Troyes - I love Troyes! (although I don't get to play it too often). This expansion adds 3 new character cards (the ladies) that offer alternative options for getting end-game points. You also get:
* The ability to move a guard along the walls to access 16 different activities outside the city.
* A purple die per player which is rolled and cannot be bought by other players - and it counts towards any activity color/die grouping.
* 27!! new Activity cards!!
* 6 new Event cards.
INSTA-BUY FOR ME!!

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - Terrific art, worker placement and a great theme! Of course, the most interesting aspect is the 'calendar' that progresses through the game as a giant turning cog that, in turn, moves the surrounding resource/action cogs. You place your workers on the cogs and, the further along they get, the more/better resources and abilities you get. This element of time passing in a physical way on the board is very intriguing. I predict I will really like this game...

Board Game: Keyflower
Keyflower - A new game in the 'Key' series with the original core auction mechanic developed by Sebastian Bleasdale and further expansion of that work by both him and Richard Breese into a full game. A game takes place over 4 seasons with certain tiles only coming available in the appropriate season. Each season new workers arrive on boats and new buildings come available. The innovative auction mechanic is where your are bidding with your workers which new tiles you want to add to your village. Bids can only be made with workers of one color type and the same color must be followed on each bidding tile. At the same time, you must place workers to get special actions, so you must balance the 'bidding' part with the 'action placement' part. When you are outbid you can move those workers to other bids or actions but you cannot break up groups of workers that were used in bidding. Finally, you then get tiles you won and can build out your village. I haven't fully absorbed the rules yet and probably need to see it in action, but it's intriguing and I've always liked all the 'Key' games. Also, I have an interview I am working on with Sebastian that will be published in the near future, so stay tuned. NOTE: Pre-ordered!

Board Game: Myrmes
Myrmes - Ystari games have generally been interesting games for me. The artwork on this is spectacular and I love the idea of ants building a colony. OK, I already have Antics! and really love the 'hive' building mechanic, but I also always felt there could have been a bit more to the game and perhaps this is it.

Board Game: The Cave
The Cave - I used to have a game on my old Atari 800xl when I was a kid called Spelunker. This game brings back fond memories of that. I love the idea of exploring a cave and having it be different every time. Ironically, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of exploring real caves at all - thus, I want this game to be able to do it safely in my own home.

Board Game: Town Center
Town Center - An interesting looking puzzly 3D stacking game with strategy. Reviews have been glowing. Unfortunately, 2nd edition (using Lego type blocks) is sold out. Sending email to the designer might secure you a 3rd edition version if enough people show interest. See this thread. I have a friend locally that I believe has it so hoping to maybe give it a go before I decide for sure.

<no image> Bora Bora - Yes I'm a big fan of Feld games. No, there isn't a picture or even much information about this game other than mention of Islands, Gods, Supergods, Villages, People, Shells, Sea Animals, and Tatoos. Still, I must have it! Problem is, it may not be ready until after Essen...

Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
The Great Zimbabwe - A new Splotter Spellen game with network and monument building in Africa. Similar to Antiquity it has a feature where you choose in-game what your victory requirement is which I find very interesting. It's maybe at the lower end of 'must buy' for me, but I really like Splotter Spellen games in general so if I had an opportunity I very likely would pick it up. Thing is, my 'opportunity' is likely also very low since the cost is going to be very high. Maybe I should move this to the 'want to try' section....nah, I can still dream a little, can't I?

Board Game: Dominion: Dark Ages
Dominion: Dark Ages - Yes, it's another Dominion expansion. I have all the others, so I need this one, too, right? And, it has Donald's favorite card: RATS! Seriously, this does look like a pretty decent set. And the family loves Dominion. So, it is a 'must buy' -- at some point in the future at least.

<no image> Rialto - Another Feld game, this time 'lighter' (if comparing it in weight to Strasbourgis considered lighter) where players select a set of cards (6 known, 2 unknown) and then each character is played during the appropriate sub-phase. The idea is to build buildings, gain influence in districts and then use the buildings to generate points, but also gain points from majorities in the districts. You can also build bridges and gondolas between districts. It actually sounds a little like San Marco but without the 'pie splitting' aspect and with buildings that do stuff. Another that might not be ready for Essen though

Board Game: Salmon Run
Salmon Run - You are a salmon trying to get up the river. Salmon!? Racing!? Interesting take on deck building. This is still on Kickstarter and has reached double the initial goal...but I might still wait until later to get it as I think it will be fun and definitely want to get it, but I don't that I have to be one of the first to get it.

Board Game: Milestones
Milestones - This is a new game by Stefan Dorra, a designer whose games I've consistently enjoyed. In this game you are helping colonize new shared territory. Each player has their own personal board with hired workers and action spaces. This board is a sort of rondel with hired workers at the top and action spaces at the bottom and I find this board/mechanic very interesting. You use the various workers to acquire resources then use the actions to build roads and buildings on the board. Finally, there is a castle that, when you reach it you must reduce your resources to 3 AND you lose one of your workers. So, you must plan ahead quite a bit on what you are going to do each go around the board. This game seems to fall right into the type of game I enjoy so I'm really hoping to get my hands on it. Also, I think this game is likely a strong contender for a SdJ award or at least a mention.



THE BUZZ
These are games that seem to be getting a lot of buzz, although I'm not sure how interested I really am in all of them myself...

Board Game: Among the Stars
Among the Stars - The 7 Wonders 'killer' (even though it doesn't currently play 7?) It's funny, despite having a decent interest in Science Fiction in general, for some reason space games rarely excite me just from the theme. There's no denying the artwork is fantastic in this game. And the comments are glowing for it based on PnP plays saying it is like 7 Wonders with the card drafting, but better/more strategic. I'm interested...but not highly interested myself. I predict this game will be very buzzy after Spiel though. I also predict it won't have impact on 7 Wonders in the slightest.

Board Game: Love Letter
Love Letter - This is a game with fantastic art themed around The Tempest. The gameplay is centered around only 16 cards!!?? with a hand size of 1, and involves deduction and bluffing. Rounds only take a few minutes, only 15 minutes for a game. It's crazy and its portable and apparently it makes people laugh hysterically.

Board Game: Copycat
Fremde Federn (aka Copycat or False Feathers or....) - Friedeman Friese's latest game which is part of the Series: Freitag-Project (Friedemann Friese) where he only works on the games on Fridays. It is a game which is both mocking and praising at the same time - it is about trying to become president by leveraging the influence of others. The game itself leverages mechanisms from some of the top rated (on BGG) games using deck building with hand of 5 cards (Dominion), limited setup with action reveal over the course of the game (Agricola), a selection of 10 cards to buy from (Through the Ages), added VP to unused actions (Puerto Rico), and others. It sounds really interesting. But, will it be a top 10 game? If so, will the sequel have to copy itself?

Board Game: Doctor Who: The Card Game
Doctor Who: The Card Game - It's a Martin Wallace game and it is based on the more recent incarnation(s) of Doctor Who. I never have watched that program which is probably why I'm not buzzing about it myself other than this snippet. Initial buzz is that it's got just enough theme/flavor and the card game is decent, but not terrific, as well.

Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game
VivaJava: The Coffee Game - I'm not a fan of coffee but this game got a lot of interest on KickStarter earning almost 4 times the initial goal. Try to find the perfect blend of coffee, sometimes working with other players and sometimes going it alone. This game plays up to 8 players, too!

Board Game: Hanabi
Habani - Another Antoine Bauza game getting enthusiastic reviews. However, it's been out for a while now so not sure why it's on the Essen list. I will admit a cooperative game about creating fireworks displays does sound interesting to me...

Board Game: CO₂
CO2 - This is a game about converting from polluting power plants to clean power plants. If conversion is not done successfully, EVERYONE loses the game (this is not a co-op game though). Otherwise, the winner is the person who met their goals and gained the best reputation. This is a unique game theme and seems to have a fairly deep level of complexity to it. It is also getting a lot of attention not only for the game itself but also for the artwork.

Board Game: Snowdonia
Snowdonia - This game by Tony Boydell is also getting a lot of attention. It is a train game of another sort - players are 'working together' to complete the rail connection through the Snowdon Mountains to the summit. You must do the hard work of excavating, building the rails, and contending with the weather. As your own team meets contract goals you get bonuses that get you further along in winning the game. You can also purchase trains that give you extra workers and special abilities.

Board Game: Crisis
Orion Inc - This game won the 3rd Annual Greek Guild's Game Design competition getting both the Judge's and Public's award! The initial artwork is really nice. This is a worker placement game of a slightly different nature in that its possible for no one to win the game if all are unsuccessful at meeting appropriate goals (wow, this seems to be the 'new' hot idea in games this year).

Board Game: Terra Mystica
Terra Mystica - A game about terra-forming in a fantasy land seems a bit strange to me. There seems to be a lot going on in this game including expansion, resource gathering, terraforming, increasing your abilities, upgrading buildings, etc. I'm surprised to see there isn't conflict though other than indirectly getting into someone else's way. There is a lot of attention for this game, probably due partly to the fantasy theme although the mechanics are a mix of some familiar with some new. I think it will be very popular for a while as there seems to be a lot of variability in the play. It is well produced and does have some interesting elements such as the 'Bowls of Power' where you move power tokens between 3 different bowls based on what you do and these give you special abilities by spending the power tokens in the 3rd bowl. Also, there are 14 different factions that can be in the game, each with their own ability. I guess I'm somewhat interested in trying it, but it might not be one I'd ultimately want to buy.



GAMES I DEFINITELY WANT TO TRY
(BUT NOT NECESSARILY BUY)


Board Game: Urbania
Urbania - Hand management game where you are building buildings in an urban environment and trying to achieve hidden end-game goals as well as score points along the way. City building/architectural games always appeal to me but the jury is out based on early descriptions. Also sounds like muddled colors might be an issue...

Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Escape: The Curse of the Temple - I'm not a huge fan of co-ops or even real-time, but this game sounds really fun. Try to escape the temple before time (10 minutes) runs out! Everyone is frantically rolling dice and running around doing things trying to collect treasures and find a way out. All players play simultaneously! Sometimes someone might get 'stuck' in a room and need to be 'rescued' by another player. Sometimes you need to work together to get enough symbols to complete a task. The more I describe it the more I'm inclined to move it to my 'buy' list...

Board Game: Spellbound
Spellbound - Not the best name for a game (since there are already several with this name) but it's from Fragor Games so you know it will sell out. So, the Lamont brothers? Check! Fantasy Adventure? Check! Deck building? Check! Co-op? Hmmm. Maybe.

Board Game: Saint Malo
Saint Malo - Another game by Inka and Markus Brand (KdJ winners for Village). This time you roll dice and then draw (literally) on a wipe-off player board. Neat!

Board Game: Qin
Qin - Yet another game from Knizia. Seems to be another tile laying game in the vein of T&E where you are connecting province areas of the same color and taking ownership of them. Then, provinces can grow and absorb other weaker provinces. In addition, connecting to villages also allows you to conquer them and take ownership. The scoring is simple in that whomever is able to place all their Pagodas (ownership markers) on the board wins! It is yet another thinly themed Knizia game, but one that sounds like it has potential based on a quick reading of the rules.

Board Game: Ginkgopolis
Ginkgopolis - A new game by Xavier Georges where you are building a sustainable city. The tricky part here is that everyone plays a card simultaneously, plays an appropriate tile, then passes the card to their left. Thus, not only are you trying to make strong moves yourself, you are trying to prevent your neighbor from doing the same. The information is sketchy beyond that though, but I find the concept intriguing.

Board Game: Sunrise City
Sunrise City - This is a Clever Mojo game (Alien Frontiers) that achieved 2.5 times the funded needed on Kickstarter and looks quite interesting. You are building a city and bidding on areas where you can build. Then you gain points based on what you did. However, there are two score tracks - one for points and one for 'benchmarks'. You don't win with points but with the benchmarks. The key here is you get more 'benchmarks' by hitting specific point values on the point tracker. Love the artwork!

Board Game: Tahiti
Tahiti - This looks like a beautifully produced pick-up and deliver type of game. You sail around in your long boat picking up resources and bringing them home. Get points at the end for complete sets of resources, plus bonus points for picking up the most of your favorite type (hidden goal).

Board Game: Fleet
Fleet - This is a hand management card game with some boardgame elements. It was successfully Kickstarted (yet another common 'feature' of games this year) and I ALMOST bit on it. I think I'll wait to play it. I'm very interested in this due to the beautful artwork and the interesting gameplay. Also, it reminds me of watching 'Deadliest Catch' and so seems timely to that TV show.

Board Game: Suburbia
Suburbia - Sadly, I missed playing this while Ted Alspach was attending our local EGG (Eugene Games Gala) con earlier this year. It sounded interesting and seemed to get good feedback. In this game you are trying to build up your city to gain higher reputation which then gains you more population (the measure of who wins at game end). There are goals that you try to achieve to further increase your population, plus the buildings will vary from game to game so strategies will have to change accordingly. I'm hoping to get a crack at playing this game as city building is one type of game I usually enjoy quite a bit.



GAMES THAT LOOK GREAT
(AND I WANT TO TRY, PROBABLY)


Board Game: Pyramidion
Pyramidion - Hand management card game with a board. And it has Pyramids!

Board Game: Fallen City of Karez
Fallen City of Karez - Wow, amazing artwork (go look!) Dice rolling! Worker placement! Modular board! Might be a Must Buy for me... (Note: You can still get in on a Kickstarter copy if you want via the main game page)

Board Game: Chicken Caesar
Chicken Caesar -This game was Kickstarted and well funded. Really nice chicken art on the cards. I'm not a fan of negotiation/backstabbing, but if you are....

Board Game: New Amsterdam
Nieuw Amsterdam - Nice art, great components (lots of nice wooden bits). Build your colony by trading with the natives, gathering/generating resources, and building businesses in the different districts. Auctions for actions combined with area control sounds interesting.

Board Game: Medieval Mastery
Medieval Mastery - Well, this was released in 2011 but it's being re-released/re-printed with new art and such. The cover art is fantastic and the rulebook is well laid out. I also like that it has a variable board, variable player powers, and lots of dice (60!) which lends itself to a lot of potential replay-ability. In fact, they state you can play multiple games simultaneously (I presume they mean 2+ tables of the game can be played from one box of components)

Board Game: Tweeeet
Tweeeet - That's 4 E's in TWEEEET in case you're searching for it later....I like Cwali games but this I'm not sure about. Is it a kids game? Adult game? The box art is cute but just OK for me, however the components are really cute!
Board Game: Tweeeet


Board Game: Fantastiqa: The Rucksack Edition
Fantastiqua - Yet another deck building game with a 'fantasy' type of theme where you are trying to complete various quests. You will encounter creatures that can be 'subdued' when playing cards with certain symbols from your hand, then you can add the creature to your deck to give you additional abilities. The flavor artwork is taken from original pieces by famous artists so looks quite nice for the most part although the iconography I'm not sure about as it seems kind of clip-arty. Interestingly, there are varying levels of play so it can be a 'family' game or a more challenging game.

Board Game: Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill
Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill - This game got some good buzz, but not enough apparently as the Kickstarter funding failed. However, the game is still going to be produced and is accepting pre-orders on their website. I'd really like to try it - I suspect the theme is off-putting for some, but the artwork looks spectacular and those that like the game give glowing reviews. The game is you are a sheepdog trying to get your flock of sheep safely to the top of the hill. You can play actions that affect you OR other players. There is also a wolf that can come out and eat or scare away your sheep. I'm looking forward to trying it and maybe picking up a copy eventually.



GAMES THAT I HAVE A PASSING INTEREST IN

Board Game: Foundation
Foundation - An interesting looking abstract with simple rules. The pieces look Blockus-y although commentary suggests the game play is more Scrabble-y.

Board Game: The Great Museum
The Great Museum - By Richard Denning (The Great Fire of London) is giving us another 'great' game I like the idea of gathering artifacts to create good exhibits and get scored based on the exhibits. However, it sounds really familiar.....

Board Game: Connections
Connections (aka Kreuz & Quer) - New game by Dr. Knizia. In the vein of Take it Easy! but trying to get the LEAST number of points ala FITS. Rehashes with a twist! I love me some puzzly games though...

Board Game: Spice Merchant
Spice Merchant - Commodity speculation game from Korea and has a similar feel to Jaipur in art, but is for 3-4 players and plays like a filler.

Board Game: Ragami
Ragami - Players are Guardian Angels helping out people in a city. You can get points in a variety of ways by helping people, helping other Ragami, scaring off demons, etc. You can even move other people's pieces which may (or may not) help them in some way, but may also earn you VPs as well.

<no image> Nehemiah - A different twist on worker placement where labor cards change and, when you activate a card you can activate others in the same row by paying gold but possible better resource utilization. It sounds interesting, but not sure if the religious aspect will turn players off. And, no pics or other reviews and such.




GAMES THAT I'M SCARED OF
There are a few games I ran across that I feel I need to stay away from for one reason or another...mostly due to scary art or scary theme (or both):

Board Game: Roll to the South Pole
Roll to the South Pole - Honestly, this game really does look interesting. But, the demon dogs on the cover frighten me...!!

Board Game: Mayan Sun, Aztec Destiny: 500 BC – AD 2012 – Beyond∞
Mayan Sun, Aztec Destiny: 500 BC – AD 2012 – Beyond∞ - The end of the world is nigh!

Board Game: Czech Pub
Czech Pub - Do I really need to write why I'm scared of this game??? surprise

Board Game: Wind Runner
Wind Runner - "A race where only skinny people can compete. Problem is, the stadium that holds the race has incredibly strong winds that can blow skinny people like you in directions you don't want to go. Can you win this race against the competitors and the devil winds?" Whaaaaaaaaaat??????

Board Game: CLASH: Jihad vs. McWorld
CLASH: Jihan vs. McWorld - I realize the 'original' box art is now rejected, but that is what really scared me the first time I saw it. The title still scares me. The game scares me in general. The tiles scare me, too:
Board Game: CLASH: Jihad vs. McWorld
(running away now....)




SPECIAL MENTIONS
Well, there are a couple of games that deserve special mention.

First, here's a list of reprints for those that are interested:
Homesteaders (master print edition with upgraded artwork and components), Luna, Crude: The Oil Game, Wilderness (with an actual printing rather than being hand-constructed in limited numbers) and Goa (ok, it already came out earlier this year, but I'm excited as now I can get a copy!). There were a couple of others but they didn't make my list and I'm not going to go looking for them now...

Also, earlier this year I won an early copy of
Board Game: Madeira
Madeira from the donor drive for BGG and have been watching the game's information with great interested. Disappointingly, but with hopefulness, it is being delayed as they are re-doing some of the mechanics of the game after having struck on a new (better) idea and did some initial tests to determine, yes, they want to delay the game to re-work it. So, I am eagerly awaiting it's release sometime next year (hopefully).




Well, that's my 'list' of games of interest from Essen 2012. There are SOOOO many new games coming out this year. There's a lot of 'seen that' in the mix, a lot of kids games I completely skipped, and, well, a LOT of deck building variations. Honestly, I'm interested to see where these deck building games are headed as I think there's a lot of potential there. I I know some people are tired/wary of it, but I am not...yet.


And to those of you going to Essen - have fun! Good luck finding the games you really want! Hopefully I've thrown some in here that will make your list just a little bit longer. And, if you want to send any my way that you don't like (or are just feeling generous) feel free! laugh



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Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:01 pm
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JUST GAMING AROUND - Worst gaming month EVAR! (well, in the past 3-1/2 years) - I blame it on good weather....

-matt s.
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Well, it wasn't a HORRIBLE month exactly, but my FTF gaming count in August was the worst on record (in terms of total games played) in the
3-1/2 years I have been recording my game plays.

This is what I played:
Set - 2
Dominion: Prosperity - 1
Lords of Vegas - 1
Ninjato - 1
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League - 1
Railways of Europe - 1
San Juan - 1
Ticket to Ride - 1
Walnut Grove - 1

I'm not at all unhappy with what I actually played - in fact the games of Lords of Vegas, Perry Rhodan, Railways of Europe and Ticket to Ride were all really interesting plays of those games. Ninjato was a new game for me so that was great (looking forward to playing again, too, now that I understand it better). And Walnut Grove is always fun for me. Dominion scratched an itch where I haven't played it in a while and with the new set coming out I wanted to get it to the table again.

I will say my online gaming has been steadily going up since I started playing more early in the year but I almost never log my online plays. I HAVE logged a couple of Words with Friends (aka Scrabble) plays when my wife and I played full games in one day, but when they are spread out over days or weeks, I just don't bother.

It seems many times the only gaming I can get in is during my 'in-between' times and online play is conducive to this. 'In-between' time is: The time between dinner and the kids going to bed. The time between getting up and taking a shower. The time during my lunch breaks (I work from home most of the time, not that that particularly matters).

However, I am sad that my FTF gaming was so low as I really enjoy that time much more than the online gaming time - I THOUGHT I had more gaming opportunities, and in a way I did, but they were rarely fully capitalized on for one reason or another. When at Scout camp, the scout leader is someone I game with sometimes. We got in one game of San Juan later in the first evening after the kids were all tucked in. But, the following evenings I was either too tired or my son was too scared to be left alone in the tent <sigh>

When visiting my parents I thought we might have some time for gaming in the evenings. We ended up being very busy most of the time so gaming was limited to Walnut Grove with my dad (his first time playing it) when my mom and wife went out shopping, and then Ticket to Ride the last evening before we left. My dad seemed to really enjoy Walnut Grove although it probably helped that he won (I blame it on my tile draws and on focusing helping him see what his options were instead of my own game )

Funny, I always have plans (in my mind) that I'll be able to play a lot of games during the summer when, in fact, it seems summers are the worst for me - I blame it on the good weather!

Although, in July I had one of my BEST months ever with 66 games played! This was helped by the Oregon Cup weekend (which I will be posting about soon in another entry and a detailed geeklist) AND a different camping weekend where we had a lot more downtime (and thus opportunity to play games, albeit mostly lighter games).

I'm looking forward to the school year now as, even though it presents its own challenges, I'm more likely to be indoors and want to set up games nights (and perhaps have more opportunities to do so)

Its funny, for the past 3-1/2 years I've been very consistent about logging my game plays. Sometimes it seems almost pointless, but then I seem to run across opportunities for learning something from my game play logging such as when I last played a particular game or remembering whom I gamed with in the past or, if I recorded details about a game, what happened during the game and what I may have learned about it. Its also interesting to see trends over time of when I have opportunities to play and when I don't.

I'm curious how it is for others on two fronts:
1. Do you log game plays? If not, why not? If so, what benefits do you personally get from logging them?
2. What times of year are more active and less active for you? Is there some consistency to it (such as weather or situations) or just it just naturally go up and down for you?

I'd love to see your comments on game play logging and when you are more likely to be actively playing.


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Wed Sep 5, 2012 6:22 pm
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STATE OF THE BACK ROOM - Insanity in the game room (TOO MANY GAMES!)

-matt s.
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My game room has been a horrible mess for the past 2-3 months. Probably longer. And I seem to have acquired a good number of games (I've been trying to cut back, but it just doesn't ever seem to actually happen!) And, they have been piling up to the point where I was getting stressed about it.

Piles of games on side tables, on the game table, on the floor! Even worse, they were piling up in my garage as well! Earlier in the year I cleaned up the garage and got a bunch of stuff out (or re-organized) such that I had some extra storage space for my thrift finds! Boy, those shelves sure filled up fast!

As I mentioned before, this was all stressing me out and I finally bit the bullet. GASP! I was considering cutting back on my game collection. GASP! I was considering selling some of my games off!

Well, first steps in June involved setting up a BGG auction. I put up 50 items and sold nearly that many! YAH! Cash in my pocket! YAH! Games cleared out! YAH! And I didn't even miss them. Not ONE!

I have to admit I made some tough decisions in some cases. My criteria became: what is my excitement level when I think about this game? Am I excited about it enough to want to play it? If someone asked me about getting it to the table would I really want to, or would there be something else I'd want to play instead?

And, interestingly, I found some games to get rid of. Quite a few more, in fact, than I thought I would. It became easier as I thought about it more. It was freeing in fact!

Unfortunately, the tide turned again. I was hitting the thrift stores. Then my wife was hitting the thrift stores for me (without my prompting, I might add). And she actually found some really interesting games! Heroscape! The Omega Virus! Squad Leader! Axis & Allies! We even hit a bunch of stores on our way home from Portland, OR, and found some decent games.

Now, mind you, often times I'm not just looking for games for me to keep but with the intention of re-selling them. The right games can bring in some decent cash if you know what to look for!

However, it got to the point that I was (almost!) dreading her calling from the thrift store asking about games and finding more good stuff to bring back! I had too many games!!!

The real problem here is that it takes time to list games. At least, it does for me. I'm a perfectionist and detailed oriented about the whole process. I have to take several pictures, weigh them, measure them (to ensure proper shipping costs and such), then I have to research the potential price, then write up the listing (which involves inspecting each game, sometimes counting dozens or hundreds of components) and decide when to list them and for how much. Phew, it's a lot of little things that add up to TIME because I'm not going to do it half-assed!

So, earlier this month I determined it was time for ANOTHER auction. I set up a 6-foot folding table and started piling it with games, and more games, and MORE games! Dozens of thrifted games that I hadn't 'gotten around' to selling. IT WAS TIME!

I then started going through the game room and pulling games I decided I didn't need anymore. Some kind of hurt (Age of Steam plus a bunch of expansion maps), some hurt a lot (American Megafauna/Origins combo which I had pimped out but NEVER even played! ) There were several others as well. Some that I even surprised myself with in choosing them to sell. These games I piled up on a separate card table.

Then, I rifled through all the games, made value choices on the thrifted games and got everything listed in another huge BGG auction. I sold a good number of them, too! It also took me a while to get it all shipped out. A few went on ebay and a couple of those sold as well.

While the auction was still running, the neat piles on the tables had become a jumble, plus a couple more had been added from more thrifting (AGH!)

The good thing was, I realized I had more shelf space again in my game room! So, I pulled EVERYTHING from the shelves and started sorting by box size (exact sizes as much as possible). Oddballs were set on a separate side table or on the floor. Eventually, everything was sorted. Then I carefully started stacking them back onto the shelves. I was a little extra OCD at first with the boxes that had several all of one size - I sorted THOSE by color as well. I know.......don't say it.......

Anyhow, I eventually got everything back onto the shelves, more neatly organized than before. Well, ALMOST all of it. A few still had to go on the ledge below the shelves. But, it was DONE! It looked great! And I didn't feel embarrassed to have friends over for games again!

Here's how it looks now:
From gallery of tasajara
"The Wall o' Games"


From gallery of tasajara
"Collection o' Dice"

Coincidentally, right after I finished cleaning up my game room, I got a message from my friend Andy (Count Von Luckner) stating he was cleaning out HIS garage and he had a set of plastic drawers he didn't need anymore and asked if I wanted them. It was EXACTLY what I needed:
From gallery of tasajara


The old drawers I had were relegated to 'box' storage:
From gallery of tasajara


Here's a few of the games ready to ship out!
From gallery of tasajara


I was sad to see them go but happy to have the space and the $$ in my pocket!

I still have some insanity to tackle in my garage (that 6' table is still there and stacked with games), but my game room is no longer driving me crazy.....for now.


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Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:58 am
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HOT BOX - 'Walnut Grove' (What's in the box?)

-matt s.
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You may have heard of the game 'Welcome to Walnut Grove' or more specifically how it's most commonly known and listed: 'Walnut Grove'

Or maybe you haven't....?

Well, just before Essen 2011 I did a blog post listing games of interest to me coming out around Essen: TIMELY TOPICS - ESSEN release games that look interesting to me & why

Near end of the long list I had a 'theme' section of games that I was interested in due to...ah...theme. Interestingly, the game at that time was the former longer name I listed above. Somewhere during or after Essen it seems to have been shortened to just 'Walnut Grove'

Anyhow, Walnut Grove was on my 'theme' list for a couple of reasons. One was that it represented 'small town' life, much like in Village and Helvetia which represented 'village' life, so WG seemed to be in that same range. Another reason was it was the location of the American TV Series 'Little House on the Prairie' about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life living in early pioneer America. I watched the show and also read the series of books as a child, so it had special meaning to me.

Well, I have a friend that goes to Essen and I got to play several Essen releases in the months following Essen, mainly due to her, although I never quite got to play Walnut Grove (looking at her game list, I'm not sure if she even had it actually)

Regardless, I didn't get to play it right after it came out, but it seemed to keep bubbling up in my mind. Then another friend of mine played it and really liked it. So, without me actually having played it, I ordered it (along with Hawaii) from funagain.com and had my friend Chris bring it with him to EGG (Eugene Games Gala) so I didn't have to pay shipping

During EGG, we ended up playing someone else's copy of WG as 4P and I loved it (even though I did pretty terrible - we all did fairly poorly as I recall since we had all just learned it)

Anyhow, I was glad I'd picked it up as it is relatively fast but also has lots of interesting/hard decisions to make. This isn't a review but an opening of the box to see what it is that you actually get. Hopefully I'll have time to write a review soon to go into more detail.

So, here goes, in my usual fashion of taking you through the wonderful goodness of cracking a game and smelling the wonderful smell of fresh cardboard. Enjoy!

Here we have the box, ready to be opened:

From gallery of tasajara


You can see the lovely artwork showing a covered wagon hauling a couple of workers/farmers (Is that 'Pa' driving the wagon? Doesn't quite look like him...), with Ma on the left holding baby Carrie, and it looks to be Laura there carrying a couple of buckets of water or perhaps grain.

Very nice artwork on this box. And somehow it looks familiar...why is that...?

Here's the side (notice the picture wraps around):

From gallery of tasajara


Oh, there's Pa! Now HE certainly looks familiar...can't quite put my finger on it.....

And here's the back of the box:

From gallery of tasajara


Hmmm, down at the bottom it says it was designed by Paul Laane (who also designed and did the art on Toscana and also runs Aqua Games). In addition, it says it was designed by Touko Tahkokallio (who also designed Eclipse, a game I have sadly not played yet)

And, the Illustrator appears to be Klemens Franz. Clicking through to his page I see he also did art for.....ah, wow, Agricola, Le Havre, Bohnanza - hmm, I sense a common EWE thread here - plus Automobile, Endeavor, Glory to Rome!? - ah, the German version, and a bunch of other well known games. Well, no wonder it looks familiar! And, no wonder Walnut Grove is getting some comparisons to Agricola (although that's not really the reason I think)!


Well, let's get cutting and tearing....

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara



Ah, the lovely smell of a freshly opened game....

From gallery of tasajara



Lets see we have the rules sheets:

From gallery of tasajara



The resource cubes - wood, dairy (although I think they look more like sheep than a blog of milk), grain, fish and stone.

From gallery of tasajara



The farmer and hired hand pawns (nice wooden pawns, but it's hard to tell which one is 'Pa'):

From gallery of tasajara



Two cloth bags (one for the coins, one for the tiles):

From gallery of tasajara



The coins:

From gallery of tasajara



The town board:

From gallery of tasajara



Here's the back of the town board with the same art from the box cover:

Board Game: Walnut Grove



Some of the various tiles (mostly landscape tiles here):

From gallery of tasajara



More tiles (in particular season discs, bonus tiles, houses and sheds, and neighborly help tiles):

From gallery of tasajara



And finally the player boards:
From gallery of tasajara



I will say I really like the look of this game - the colors, the pieces, etc, although it might be neat to replace the resource cubes with appropriately shaped tokens. Perhaps even with some of the special Agricola tokens.

Finally, here's an overall shot of all of the components:

Board Game: Walnut Grove


I want to do a full review eventually, but my initial impression so for is that the game is very intriguing because it is extremely tight - most times you feel like you're barely sustaining yourself and your workers, let alone trying to go for a lot of points. The scores tend to be fairly low, especially in the first couple of times you play. These facts, for me, make me want to play it again and try to do better. And, because it's so short, you're likely to be willing to play another game right after.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed looking into this box as much as I did!



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Sat Jun 2, 2012 2:00 pm
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession - Planos, Gift card tins, and Boxes within Boxes (Roads & Boats, Factory Fun vs Factory Fun)

-matt s.
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Well, since I'm on a game bit storage kick after writing about my new Dominion storage setup recently, I decided to pull out the pics I took a few weeks ago and show what I've done for Roads & Boats and for Factory Fun.

I'm always looking for interesting storage boxes for bits, especially if I can get them inexpensively.

Last year I was able to purchase a copy (finally!) of Roads & Boats along with the & cetera expansion from a friend who was looking to sell it and an auction buyer balked after winning. I offered to buy it and it soon became mine.

He had a really nice largish Plano for storing the bits from the base game, but some of the bits were doubled up where I wanted them separated, plus the expansion was unpunched and it seemed I was going to need more efficient storage that was going to fit in the box and be handy for game play at the same time (and meet my OCD game bit storage needs)

I decided to break out the expansion to take a look at it (the chits and tiles all came unpunched in a largish baggie along with the new rules) and took some pics before I started punching. As I was looking through everything, I noticed that one of the boards was mis-printed (i.e. mis-aligned).

From gallery of tasajara

Misaligned copy

Gah! I fired off a note to Splotter Spellen and, much to my surprise, received new bits sheets a couple of weeks later! Wow!

From gallery of tasajara

Replacement copy

Anyhow, before I started actually punching I made a visit to a couple of hardware stores - Jerry's which is local to Eugene/Springfield area where I live here in Oregon, and Home Depot. At each store I found a somewhat limited variety of Plano type boxes (not actually Plano brand) but they were pretty darn cheap - only $2 to $3 each depending on size (maybe one larger slightly more expensive). I wasn't sure what was going to fit most efficiently into the R&B box so I chose a few of the really cheap smaller ones and a couple of the slightly larger ones figuring whatever I didn't use would still be useful for other games.

----Ok, before I go on I just have to make a bit of an aside - I REALLY enjoy going shopping at hardware stores, craft stores, office supply stores, art supply stores, etc. I love looking at all the interesting tools, gadgets, storage items, rulers, different papers, pens & markers, etc.....I'm in heaven when I go to these stores. I love the smells. I love the shiny things. I love the possibilities that everything suggests. I can spend hours just looking at everything. Of course, I have to limit myself going or else I'll come home with way more stuff than I really need, but those types of stores are very exciting to me----

My goal in getting boxes was to maximize the space usage in the game box, have as many separate compartments as possible for all the different types of chits and pieces, and ultimately make it easy to set up and tear down when actually playing the game. 100 baggies was NOT going to cut it here, and mixing of different bit types wasn't going to work either.

Here are the different sized boxes I picked up:
From gallery of tasajara


It's funny, as big as the R&B box is, it really takes some work to get everything crammed in there, especially with the expansion. At least its more or less an appropriate size for the game! And no funky insert or anything....

Anyhow, here's a comparison of the box size in relation to a more standard sized box:
From gallery of tasajara


Walnut Grove shown here is approx 12.5in x 8.75in x 2.8in (roughly same size as Thurn & Taxis, Taluva, or Finca) and R&B is over twice as big at 20in x 12.5in x 2.6in. It doesn't fit very well on my game shelves with everything else so I'm always struggling to find a proper location to store it. Someday I'm going to build new storage shelves and I think I'll have to build a special shelf just to store this game....

So, I tried out several of the different compartment boxes that I'd picked up and ultimately decided on 4 of the thinner, smaller boxes (they were actual Plano brand, too) each having 9 compartments (more were possible in them, but I didn't want the spaces to be too small to get chits out of). This gave me 36 compartments to work with, plus if I organized it right I figured it would be easier to get the different boxes spread around the table to where they would work most effectively during a game.

I decided that three of those boxes would contain the components for the base game and 1 would contain the additional components for the expansion - this would allow the expansion stuff to just be left in the box out of the way if we weren't using it and there would be no confusion. Ideally, a few more compartment spaces would be nice for the expansion because there are several different types of luxury goods, but the compromise seemed reasonable since they are all very similar.

Here's the detailed breakdown...

From gallery of tasajara

This box contains all of the player Wonder bricks, the neutral Wonder bricks, the geese and the paper.

From gallery of tasajara

This box contains all of the resources/goods like clay, bricks, coal, fuel, trunks, ore, gold, etc.

From gallery of tasajara

This box contains all of the base producers combined by type.

From gallery of tasajara

This box contains all of the &Cetera components, both resources/goods as well as the producers.


So, that took care of all the chits. But there were still the player pieces, the mines and the tiles.

Well, the tiles were easy as all of the base tiles and some of the expansion tiles fit into a neat row along the short end of the box without requiring a special insert, baggie or band. However, a few tiles still didn't quite fit in the one row, so I kept the special expansion tiles separate and bagged them in varying stack heights to stick where I could fit them in.

From gallery of tasajara


The plastic overlay sheet for the tiles fits along the long side of the box (and obviously dictated the overall length of the box). Unfortunately, the plastic is kind of a pain to use (due to it being curled up and having to tape it down to the table, and still you have issues keeping it flat, PLUS it's actually a little too small for the bigger maps) so I store it in the box permanently and ended up buying an inexpensive poster frame from Michael's when they were 50% off and use the plexiglass from that instead.

For the player pieces, I used some round metal tins I purchased at Albertson's after Christmas for $0.25 each! These tins were actually gift card tins with the inserts removed. I discovered a couple of years ago that if you look closely you can find these tins cheap when they go on sale and they make great game bit boxes. It's easy to overlook them but usually they are found near the checkout counters of a variety of stores and often come in rectangular shapes and all sorts of different designs. For instance, I found some nice rectangular ones with leaf patterns on them that I used in American Megafauna.

From gallery of tasajara


Here are some examples of different tin styles:
From gallery of tasajara


The ones I found for R&B are round and have a snowflake design on them. Ok, doesn't QUITE fit the theme, but it's nice looking so I'm happy with them. Of course, you can buy tins with weird designs then just print out nice stickers and apply. This will be more or less successful depending on if the design is flat (good for stickering) or is 'embossed' to follow the picture (like they are with these snowflakes). I like the snowflakes and stickers would look kind of crummy on the raised design anyhow.

From gallery of tasajara


Anyhow, the wooden player pieces (including the extra expansion pieces), wooden disks, wooden wall sticks, the cardboard home tile, plus the glass beads all fit fairly comfortably in the boxes. Then, when you you are playing, you can take the lid and put the most used/active pieces in the lid and use that to hold them ready for action. AND, the tins are nice and thin - thick enough for the pieces to fit in, but thin enough to be able to stack them up on top of the compartment boxes inside the box and still fit within the height of the box.

From gallery of tasajara


With the expansion there are a total of 6 sets of player pieces. Unfortunately, I only bought 4 tins (at $0.25 I should have known to buy more when they were so cheap - lesson learned) because I didn't actually know what I was going to use them for at the time. For the other 2 sets, I pulled out two of my plastic hinged boxes which also hold the full set of pieces nicely, AND, they fit properly into the box along with the other components with the space I had left around the chit boxes.

Finally, the wooden Mines all fit comfortably into a long jewelry box (also purchased on the cheap from Michael's) which fit nicely into the narrow gap between the Plano type boxes and the rolled up plastic sheet and it left just the right size gap for the mine baggies rolled up and tucked in beside it. Also, the gap was just right to squeeze in the technology boards and pen as well.

From gallery of tasajara


Well here's how everything fits neatly into the box. There's even room for all of my player aids and rules summary cards along with the original rules. It's a bit of a puzzle to get it all back in, but it fits nice and snug. I'm thinking of taking a picture and including it in the box so I don't have to figure it all out again each time I play.

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, this one will be quicker. Hopefully....

Factory Fun. I decided that the insert for the new Z-Man version wasn't going to cut it for me. Too much work getting the pieces in and out, plus it doesn't stack on it's side well as everything goes all over.

Well, I found this nifty box set at Michael's:
From gallery of tasajara


It has really nice little boxes of different size inside a larger box.

With my 40% off coupon it was around $6. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could get all the FF pieces into this box set.

Wow, look, it all fits!
From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Well, almost.....
From gallery of tasajara


Well, almost, almost....doesn't QUITE fit back into the box despite it being rather tall...the player boards are just a BIT too thick, and I can't fit them side-by-side with the box set

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


You can see the lid just doesn't quite fit:
From gallery of tasajara


Ah well, the boxes themselves fit in nicely - just wish the set would have fit in directly.

From gallery of tasajara


Speaking of FF, here's my original version, showing how everything is crammed in there. Putting it all back in is like playing FF all over again! This is a really nice, small sized game box and, honestly, the original version is still my favorite version - I just like the cut-out pipes because they feel like REAL pipes, plus I love the hand-drawn artwork - which seems odd for such an industrial/precision suggesting game. Ah, nostalgia

From gallery of tasajara


From gallery of tasajara


Ok, one VERY VERY last thing to show you: the clear discs are sometimes hard to see on your machines when you're playing, so I found these nice industrial looking 3/8" (2mm) antique brass rings to use instead...

Original clear disc:
From gallery of tasajara


New brass ring:
From gallery of tasajara


In case you're wondering, I bought them off of ebay from a company in China. Later, I spotted some similarly sized aluminum chain-mail links at Michael's that come in a variety of colors. I've thought about buying some, but I'm not yet sure if the brightly colored rings will be worth the extra expense, plus the metal rings I have present a nice industrial look....


Well, those are my latest game storage ideas. Of course, I wouldn't normally put this amount of storage work in for just any game, but these are games I love and don't mind spending the extra time and expense to make the games that much more enjoyable for me when I bring them to the table.

So long and have fun hunting for your OWN storage ideas. If you find anything particularly interesting or useful, feel free to post them here!



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Thu May 31, 2012 10:31 am
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession - Dominion re-organized, PLUS PNP game storage idea

-matt s.
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Eugene
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So, you may have seen my other posts in the past about game bit storage and my obsession with finding the right storage for the right game.

Here's a recap if you're interested (WARNING: These links go to older BGG blog posts which ultimately link to my off-site blog. Not everyone likes this and I have since stopped doing that. But if you don't like that sort of thing, please ignore these links - I may move the post entirely here some day but for now don't have the time. Sorry):
* THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 1/3
* THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 2/3
* THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 3/3

The Part 3 post has some details about how I had my Dominion cards stored. Note that I am NOT heavily obsessed with Dominion, BUT, because my family really enjoys playing it (and I certainly enjoy it, just not all the time), I want to be able to tote ALL the cards around when I want them without having to carry all SEVEN of the expansion boxes and have to open each one up to find what I want.

If you didn't/don't want to follow the post, here's a recap:
* I purchased old Trivial Pursuit games from thrift stores and used the card box bottoms to store the cards in.
* I wasn't completely happy with the existing dividers on BGG so I created my own (although I admit I borrowed a bit from some of the other I saw):
Tasajara's Dominion Base dividers (vertical) - Includes Rules and Clarifications on Dividers
* I placed the cards in the boxes and put the boxes into a photo box I purchased on sale at Michael's craft store.

This was the result:

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara


This was before Hinterlands came out. So, prior to that, EVERYTHING fit in there including all player boards and Intrigue set of money and VP cards, plus promos up to then.

When that last expansion came out I ran out of room so had to pull the extra cards, the Prosperity player boards and a few other things (even the randomizers I think)

I was thinking about it recently and it was kind of bugging me that I had to split things up - OCD was setting in. And, I know there are 2 more expansions planned (supposedly the last - plus a couple of Promos I'm guessing). That cardboard photo box was running out of space fast, plus I'm always worried carrying the thing around that it's going to rip open or something due to the weight of all the cards.

So, I was at Michael's with a coupon that gave me $5 off a $25 purchase. And, most of their 'storage' merchandise was on sale for 40% off. That alone was beckoning me to check out what was available. I spent a lot of time wandering the store looking at the various storage options and my various needs:
* Small bead storage boxes that I like to use for bit storage.
* Scrap-booking boxes that I've been considering for storing Heroscape stuff.
* Photo box storage - looking for a larger version of a photo box like what I already had, but not finding what I wanted for Dominion (they have bigger, but not tall enough)

Then when wandering through another area of the photo storage section, I noticed the plastic storage cases. I'd seen them before but nothing ever really stood out to me as being useful for games (or they were too pricey to be worth it)

But then it struck me - the larger photo storage cases were about the same height and width (well, 1/2 the box) as the cardboard storage box I was using for Dominion already. Hmmmmm, could I make a plastic one work? Would it hold everything? Would it be too big? Would it be too bulky to lug around?

So, let me describe what I was looking at in a bit more detail: It's a larger case that holds 16 smaller plastic cases in slots inside it. The 16 cases were each about 1" thick and slightly larger than a 4x6 photograph (of course!). I got one of the cardboard boxes and compared volume - seemed to be about the same size - slightly larger due to the slots and the need to accommodate the size of the small storage boxes.

Even better, here's a pic of the case:

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara


I hemmed and hawed about getting it. Partly because the darned thing was $40.00 normal price and even with the 40% off sale it made it $24.00. Then I realized that you can buy the small cases inside for $1.99 each which made those alone worth $32.00. I figured worse case I could return the whole thing if it didn't work out. So I got it, along with another small set of plastic bead boxes and got $5 off the entire total with the coupon.

Here's the label in case you're interested in finding it yourself:

From gallery of tasajara


(NOTE: I found the same case later on Amazon here)

When I got it home I started transferring the cards into the case. If you remember I put the cards into Trivial Pursuit card boxes inside the other photo box. When I put these boxes with the cards in, they fit perfectly! In fact, the fins that are in the case to separate the smaller cases from each other were just the right size to grip the card boxes and hold them in place. Nice!

From gallery of tasajara
From gallery of tasajara


After getting the 4 boxes in I started searching for all the cards that previously hadn't been able to fit including the Intrigue set of money and VP cards and the randomizer cards. I realized I needed at least 2 more boxes (which there was more than enough room for) - time for another trip to the local Goodwill!

I decided to use 4 of the small cases to hold some of the other bits and the various player boards from Prosperity and Seaside, plus the randomizer cards:

From gallery of tasajara


The next day I found a Trivial Pursuit Baby Boomer expansion (which contains 2 card boxes) for $0.99 from Goodwill. I decided to put both sets of VP and Money cards into one box by themselves to keep them separate from the rest of the Kingdom cards. They fit really tight, not leaving as much room as I would normally want to be able to pull cards out, but its not really a problem since I can grab them from the sides and searching for what I need isn't going to be an issue here.

Here's a shot with everything in there, including the small cases with the player boards and bits, etc. As you can see, there is one empty box that should be enough room for 2 more expansions - hopefully it's enough room:

From gallery of tasajara



I even like how the side of the box is shorter than the older box as it makes it easier to read the dividers and get to the cards:

From gallery of tasajara


I'm happy to have it all in one place now with enough room to grow. Worst, uh, case, is I can take 2 of the small cases out, put in one more card box and still probably fit it all in.

AND, the Dominion cover labels I created for the first photo box should fit nicely onto this box as well so that will probably be my next task.

Note that the manuals still don't really fit in, although I could probably fold them in half and put them across the 4 cards boxes, but because I have all the card details and rules clarifications on the card dividers, it's one thing I'm willing to leave out.

Here's how the case looks with everything in it ready for travel:

From gallery of tasajara



I'm a tad concerned that the box latch looks like half of the handle and, if someone didn't know what they were doing when picking it up, there might be a BIG messy problem as a result. I'll just make sure no one else EVER touches it

Here's a size comparison with the original photo box, the new box, and 4 of the 7 expansion boxes (I seem to have destroyed/mis-placed the other 3, but you get the idea):

From gallery of tasajara


Yes, the case is somewhat large, and it's heavy when you are trying to move it around, but I think ultimately it's going to work out well.

Finally, for those that have concerns about the cards spilling everywhere when carrying the case, notice that as long as the card boxes are full, the cards shouldn't ever fall out and wander around the box:

From gallery of tasajara

(upside down!)




Ok, that might be enough for one post, but I still have 12 of the small picture cases left over. What to do with them?

Well, I found a couple of interesting uses.

A set of 14 Crokinole disks fit in nicely:

From gallery of tasajara


I have several sets and they were previously stored in a mish-mash of various containers. Ah, much better now:

From gallery of tasajara


I started thinking about what else could go in the boxes. I remembered I had a Print-and-Play version of Inspector Moss: House Arrest stored in a box for another game that I hadn't had a chance to re-label yet. Perhaps one of these small cases would work well.

Ta-da! Perfect fit:

From gallery of tasajara

Before

From gallery of tasajara

After

I still need a label though....

I don't do a lot of PnP stuff, but I imagine getting one of these cases and putting one game each into one of the small cases would make a really nice storage system for a bunch of games. I love the idea that the boxes all being clear would make it easy to find the game you're looking for.

Note that 2 decks of cards fit very nicely into the small cases and still have room for some dice and/or bits and even a rules sheet, so there's lots of possibilities here.

For instance, I can put my Decktet card deck ordered from Artscow along with some dice, cubes and some sets of rules all in a nice portable case (sorry, no pic but you get the idea)

Well, not sure if you like this idea or not, but I was pretty excited about it! Note that cost may be prohibitive depending on your needs, but seeing as how the small cases are usually $2 buying the larger set for less per isn't too bad of a deal. Also, buying them as one-off might be useful as well, especially if you can get some coupons.

Phew! That was a long post. Longer than usual (and I usually write long stuff, even when I try for something shorter).

I haven't written anything in a while...I've been thinking a lot about writing something, different things, but it hasn't been clicking for me lately. I guess this storage box gave me something I really wanted to write about

Thanks for stopping by - let me know what you think about this box and if it's something you might use for storing Dominion or Thunderstone or PnP stuff, or any other ideas you have.




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Mon May 21, 2012 12:05 pm
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