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Cindy's Milk Crate Challenge Accepted

Milk Crate Challenge

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

Here's my full crate:

From gallery of trawlerman

Size of the crate is roughly 15x12x10.

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

From gallery of trawlerman

And here's the itemized breakdown:


From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yavalath (really, a HexHex5 board)

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

Here are the games I have played:

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

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

From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

And, of course, hundreds more to explore.

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

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

Irish Gauge

From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

Dungeon Crawl Classics
The Legendary Guys

From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

Nytelyfe Solitaire
In Vino Morte

From gallery of trawlerman

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

Push It
Cockroach Poker
From gallery of trawlerman

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


From gallery of trawlerman

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

From gallery of trawlerman

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

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

From gallery of trawlerman

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

That's all of the games. And they all fit in one milk crate. Nothing left to do with my evening but stare contentedly at this milk crate full of games.
From gallery of trawlerman
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