Mostly Harmless

Print-and-play projects, thrift store finds, hidden gems, snippets of conversation, images and words. Usually about board games.

Archive for Martin Gonzalvez

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What Do I Use BGG For?

Martin Gonzalvez
United States
Cupertino
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: Level 06 BGG posterMicrobadge: Golden Meeple
1. I write game reviews on BGG, have achieved “Copper Reviewer” Status so far, and gotten some GeekGold as reward. ?

2. I use BGG Stats to log each of my plays and sync with BGG.

3. So far I’ve created two Geeklists, one to keep track of my reviews, another to track hidden gems that I’ve discovered and enjoyed.

4. I started a blog on BGG to record game night experiences in a less structured and formal way.

5. I write player aids and rule summaries as a way to teach myself the rules, because “To teach is to learn twice”. So far I’ve created a mind map player aid for 51st State Master Set, and am finalizing a mind map player aid for Agent Decker, with input and feedback from designer Manuel Correia. ?

6. I like to read reviews by other people as well as the forums, to get tips and house rule suggestions for games in my collection.

I’ve only been on BGG for about six months. But I’m enjoying the gradual process of discovery and learning how to do things. Hope this helps!
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Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:36 pm
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First Play: Apollo XIII

Martin Gonzalvez
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: Level 06 BGG posterMicrobadge: Golden Meeple
Played Apollo XIII solo for the first time last night. Components really drive the theme of the game, starting with the beautiful Mission Control game board. The cardboard Earth, Moon and Orbiter — I read someone else say they don’t do much and are purely decorative. Those are the words of a person who doesn’t get this game for what it is. Just the mere fact that I can put those pieces on the table make my pulse quicken. This is a game about immersing oneself into the story and the experiences of that fateful Apollo XIII mission, and from that standpoint, it succeeds beautifully. I lost horribly, of course, because this is not an easy game to win, and the Player Cards require some practice before you truly understand how to properly play them. But I had great fun, and have a strong desire to play again!

UPDATE: Introduced my daughter (21) to this game the next morning, and she ended up liking it so much that she immediately asked to borrow the game to play with her boyfriend over the weekend. It was fun playing solo, but even more fun playing with her because when the oxygen tank blew up, we were yelling in excitement, new problems seemed to be coming at us from all sides, and the 30-second sand timer really added a fun tension to each turn we took. I’m so glad that I took a chance on this game, because playing it with my daughter had been the most fun gaming experience I’ve had in a while.
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Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:53 am
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Playing Dragon Island at Game Night

Martin Gonzalvez
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: Level 06 BGG posterMicrobadge: Golden Meeple
Dragon Island is a tragically overlooked game. We bought it because I love dragons, it looked cool, and it was inexpensive. Having gone from zero to 50+ games in just six months, I've been trying to curb my more expensive impulses, while still scratching the itch to collect games. So I have turned to digging for hidden gems.

My daughter and I have played this game a few times at home, two players, always to great fun. She always beats me. In fact, I have never won a game of DI.

Last night I brought DI to a work game night, played with two other players who had never played it. It was hard to teach because the included rules are not that great. I'm still not clear on when buildings can be built, what's the difference in effect between a Dragon Pen and a Dragon Lair, what are the prerequisite conditions for building an Energy Spire, what is the significance of the Fame reward disparities between the three building types, etc. There was at least one spot where we had to stop play for a good 5-10 minutes while I googled the answer to a player's specific question about building effects. To be fair, this was also due to a player personality type who needs a specific answer to their question, and is unable to just roll with the ambiguity.

Anyway, after these difficulties, we were able to finish one three-player game. The player who asked the pedantic questions won the game in runaway fashion, netting 28 points. He just kept on finding one treasure after another, while myself and the other player couldn't keep up. I guess some people are just really good at visual pattern recognition. I ended up with 14 points, the other player ended up with 13 points.

Overall, I was encouraged by the experience of teaching DI to others. I'm motivated to revise the rules for myself, or write my own player aide, perhaps in mind map format, to shore up the weak spots of the included rule book. I am still loving this game, and am still motivated to keep it in my collection.

Dragon Island: a Certified Hidden Gem!
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Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:56 pm
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