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Subject: Geek of the Week - jcarvin (Jim Carvin) rss

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Luca Iennaco
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meeple Here comes the new Geek of the Week: Jim Carvin. meeple

With about 800 rated games, and a comment attached to each one, Jim Carvin is often a reference when investigating new (and old!) games. Since looking for info about games is my main use of BGG, and given a good degree of corelation between our tastes, I added Jim to my GeekBuddies and always read his opinion when I've a game on my radar.

His profile: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/jcarvin

His bio (taken from his profile):

jcarvin wrote:
I'm 35 years old and I've loved board games and games in general for as long as I can remember. With two younger brothers and two younger sisters, board games were a common gift that we could all share. They were the type of games that most of us here in America may have grown up with: Parcheesi, Monopoly, Life, etc. We loved them anyway.

Commodore-64 games were my primary gaming outlet in my teen years. CCGs were my passion throughout my 20's, mostly because though I loved board games, my 1st wife didn't...at all. I found a common spark for board games with my second wife, she re-ignited my passion for board games once again. It's was at that time, while searching for some childhood game online, that I stumbled across a little game called Settlers and this website, an all too common story here on BGG.

There aren't a whole lot of games that I won't try at least once. I really enjoy learning to play new games. Half of the fun for me is grinding through the rulebook and working out how to play a game.
My favorite type of games are "strategy Euro" such as Die macher, Princes of Florence, Acquire, and Tigris & Euphrates. I also love dexterity games such as Crokinole, Elchfest, and Le Passe Trappe. Unfortunately, I'm not very enthusiastic about most middle-weight games anymore, they seem to bore me too easily and I usually regret purchasing them and end up trading them. Give me heavy or give me fun, those are the games I'll continue to play year after year. I've also found myself recently trying a lot of war games, in fact about 75% of my new purchases in 2006 have been wargames. I've played some block and card-driven games but not enough so far. I'm starting to venture into hex based games too. I used to regularly play Magic the Gathering, Overpower, and Star Wars CCG, I still have thousands of cards but I've given up the addiction for the most part though it's been impossible to resist the new Marvel Vs game.

Aside from board games I'm also a big fan of PlayStation 2 games, especially games that I can play simultaneously with my wife such as Dark Alliance, Star Wars: Battlestations, Champions of Norrath, and Gran Turismo. I love online gaming via BSW, Ludagora, spielbyweb.com, yucata.de, and BGG. My most recent online gaming MMORPG has been Star Wars: Galaxies and I was previously an Ultima Online junkie.

After a lot of searching for opponents, consulting with gaming friends, and canvassing for new players, my friend Joe and I started a game club called Berks Boardgamers here in the Berks County (Southeast-Central) area in Pennsylvania. We don't meet weekly or even monthly, but we try to hold all-day game days every other month (12-13 hours) where we play one long game in the morning (Civ, die Macher, Titan, etc.) and then spend the rest of the day playing shorter games. I also meet up with friends every week or so for a few hours and a few games. My group heads down to the World Boardgaming Championships each year, now here in Pennsylvania, which I highly recommend whether you're looking for competition or just a bunch of people eager to play games.

Feel free to contact me if you have a question, request, trade offer, or would just like to play some games sometime somewhere.

-Jim


His two truths and a lie:

jcarvin wrote:
Two truths and one lie...

- I was once a passenger in a car that rolled twice and hit a tree. I ended up with two spine fractures as a result of not wearing a seatbelt and sticking my head through the windshield. I was playing basketball again within one month.
- I played basketball for a very prominent college that was at least at some time during the year ranked in the top 25 from 1991-1993.
- I've worked at the same telecommunications company for the last 15 years.


A few questions:
-) how often do you revise your ratings (considering how many they're, it must not be an easy task)?
-) how is your "exploration of wargames" going? what do you like (and/or dislike) in them?
-) what lead you to create a game club (considering you also play with your friends, so it wasn't a strict necessity to find opponents)?
-) what are the games you're expecting with anticipation? (Essen is almost here...)
-) which feature of BGG do you like (and/or use) the most?
-) if you could realize a single desire, what would it be? (yeah, they were three some time ago, but inflation advances )
 
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Jim Carvin
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Luca,

Thank you very much for the nomination, it's a true honor!

I'm heading out for a bit this morning(to the vet) and I'll be answering any questions as soon as I get back.

-Jim
 
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Lyle Wenger
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Hi Jim,

Congratulations on being the geek of geeks for a week. I'm sure it's a prestigious honor, and i can only hope that someday i can attain such status. To work my way up to this honor, i need some info. How much time do you think you spend a week, researching games, writing about games, playing games, and doing other game related activities a week?

Congratulations again.
 
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Sterling Babcock
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fishlikejc wrote:
Congratulations on being the geek of geeks for a week. I'm sure it's a prestigious honor, and i can only hope that someday i can attain such status.


Yes, congratulations as well.

I always wondered how one became geek of the week. I guess I do not know enough people!!
 
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Luca Iennaco
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sbabcock wrote:
I always wondered how one became geek of the week.

Each GotW chooses the next one (possibly someone (s)he doesn't know, even better if from another country).
 
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jbrier
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sbabcock wrote:
fishlikejc wrote:
Congratulations on being the geek of geeks for a week. I'm sure it's a prestigious honor, and i can only hope that someday i can attain such status.


Yes, congratulations as well.

I always wondered how one became geek of the week. I guess I do not know enough people!!


I know how you mean! It's depressing soblue


Anyways... nice to see you Jim as GotW. I feel like there was a period you weren't as much on BGG but it's nice to see you back around posting frequently.

I'm also interested in knowing how the exploration of War Games is going.

I was looking over some buddies ratings the other day and I noticed that Amun-Re didn't "click" for you. Have you given it any chances since? I mention this because for me Amun-Re has become the "new Princes of Florence", at least insofar as it is my second favorite game after PR (and of course PoF and Amun-Re have some structural similarities, and they both only truly shine with 5 players, so they can be compared).

I would highly recommend trying Amun-Re on spielbyweb.com if you haven't yet.
 
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Andrew H
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huh hmm...actually the current Geek of the Week is not supposed to nominate someone they know, particularly not someone they know from f2f gaming who lives nearby. This hasn't stopped some people taking liberties with this rule in the past but the reason behind it is to prevent the GotW from staying in the same area and to prevent it from homogenising as it would if it stayed in one game group for a while.

My suggestion for anyone who wants to be nominated is be patient and try to be more involved in the BGG community. Post some forum threads, make up some original geeklists, comment on other peoples forums and geeklists, pm people, play BGG werewolf, write quality reviews or session reports...the opportunities are pretty broad.

Jim,
What are your favourite places and why?
If you were a superhero what would be your superpowers, what would be your achilles heel, who would be your sidekick and who would be your archnemesis?

Edit: oops I didn't realise the explanation for the nomination of GotWs was already done. oh well. I will leave this post as it is because it explains a bit of the reasoning behind the process.
 
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Jim Carvin
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Luke the Flaming wrote:
how often do you revise your ratings (considering how many they're, it must not be an easy task)?


I'm constantly revising my ratings actually, at least the rating number. The comments are a little more difficult to keep up with though. Basically, if I play a game I register it here on the geek as a game played. If it's a game that I don't play often I look at my rating and revise it if necessary. BTW, I use the literal rating system set up here on the geek, not my own system. I do use a decimal point though if I can't decide between two ratings. Sometimes though (usually when I'm having a boring day at work blush) I will look at my entire list of ratings from highest to lowest and be sure that all games in each ratings category are up to snuff and then move them up or down accordingly. Revising my comments is much more random, sometimes I'm surprised when I read a comment that says something like, "after playing this twice now..." when I've since played it a dozen times. Time to revise that then too.

Quote:
how is your "exploration of wargames" going? what do you like (and/or dislike) in them?


I'm really enjoying it actually, I just wish I had the time to play them all! I reality I far too often don't even have the time to read through some of those lengthy rulebook, especially with a 6-month old in the house. I'm lucky enough to have asome friends who enjoy not only euro games but war games too. Or at the very least I'm able to convince them to try out one or two. What I like about wargames so far is the history, complexity, strategy, tactics, and combat. What I dislike is the time required to learn the system and actually play the majority of them. While I don't mind playing one game all day, it's definitely hard to find the time to do that. My friend Joe and I are about to play a multi-session game of Battle of the Bulge(81) over a few weeknights.

Quote:
what lead you to create a game club (considering you also play with your friends, so it wasn't a strict necessity to find opponents)?


Good question, I hadn't really considered that before. I believe it was the desire to find others in the area with similar interests and to draw in new players. Just thinking about my own experiences with rediscovering board games makes me want to open the eyes of other adults who are under the notion that board games are for kids unless they're party games. Unfortunately the club hasn't been all that sucessful in that area. What we've managed to do though is gather many existing gamers in the area into one day-long gaming event which is a lot of fun. We've had a few people join us who saw our sign and dropped in or saw our newspaper add, but most of them are not regulars.

Quote:
what are the games you're expecting with anticipation? (Essen is almost here...)


So many to choose from...I'm probably most excited about Marvel Heroes even though the board isn't all that exciting looking. I was a big time comic collectors as a teenager and I still have thousands of comics, so the theme is near and dear to my heart. Leonaro da Vince looks great and I excited to try that out. The Fast Action Battle systems looks as if it'll be right up my alley. It's WWII themed and the scenarios are very short. Some other games I'm really looking forward to playing: Die Drachenbandiger von Zavandor, Yspahan, Gheos, Washington's War, reprint of Big Boss, Midgard, Khronos, Medici vs Strozzi, Tide of Iron, Null & Nichtig, Cowboys: Way of the West, Taluva, Star Wars Miniatures Starship battles, 1861, Marvel Heroscape and all upcoming Heroscape expansions.

Quote:
which feature of BGG do you like (and/or use) the most?


Most often I use it to track my games played, my ratings, and to preview games. I really enjoy the seemingly endless number of games to explore. I always find it very funny when I stumble upon a game that looks fantastic and I have to wonder how I'd never heard of it before. I also find it interesting that the games I most often like the most do not always correlate to the games I've most often played. I like looking at my games played list on occasion because I'm always shocked at some of the games I've played the most (usually the fast and simple games).

Quote:
if you could realize a single desire, what would it be? (yeah, they were three some time ago, but inflation advances


Wow...world peace? Naw, that would be boring, especially as I'm getting more into wargames! I'd wish that my daughter would lead a very happy, healthy, successful life. That's all I want. Though it would nice if she were a gamer too like her old man.
 
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Jim Carvin
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fishlikejc wrote:
How much time do you think you spend a week, researching games, writing about games, playing games, and doing other game related activities a week?


Thanks Lyle! BTW, Lyle is one of my local gaming buddies. Part of what I call the "core group".

It's very hard to say exactly, every month is different. Sometimes between live, online, and solitaire games I have played over 200 games in a month. Sometimes it's under 50. I play a lot of games a work though. I have small group at work (4 of us) and we play games on each break and lunch. I always bring in a new game on Monday to play over lunch and we usually play very fast (15 minutes or less) games over breaks. So that alone can easily get me 15 games played each week. I play a lot of online games too, usually by email notification on websites such a yucata.de and spielbyweb.com so I'm usually checking to see if it's my turn at least once or twice daily. Research is different everyday. I always take the time to log in my games played here on the geek. Of course once I'm here I'm easily distracted to read the latest rant or geeklist or new game review. All in all, probably a few hours each week is just spent reading things here on the geek.
 
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Jim Carvin
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verandi wrote:
Anyways... nice to see you Jim as GotW. I feel like there was a period you weren't as much on BGG but it's nice to see you back around posting frequently.


Hmmm....when was that? We just had our first child 6 months ago, so my time has been limited lately but not that much. It's actually affecting my live game playing time more than anything.

Quote:
I was looking over some buddies ratings the other day and I noticed that Amun-Re didn't "click" for you. Have you given it any chances since? I mention this because for me Amun-Re has become the "new Princes of Florence", at least insofar as it is my second favorite game after PR (and of course PoF and Amun-Re have some structural similarities, and they both only truly shine with 5 players, so they can be compared).

I would highly recommend trying Amun-Re on spielbyweb.com if you haven't yet.


I play Amun Re on spielbyweb.com every once in awhile. I'm actually in two games there right now. I still enjoy Princes of Florence way more, AmunRe just never struck a chord with me. It's a good game, it just doesn't excite me for some reason. Of course, I won't trade my copy of the game either!
 
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Jim Carvin
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Critical Mass wrote:
What are your favourite places and why?


My favorite place to be is, quite simply, my home. I love living in Pennsylvania and I'm within walking distance of the Blue mountains and the Appalacian trail. My wife and daughter are here which is the reason my house is a home. Plus my favorite room in the whole world is here...my game room! I'm truly not TRYING to sound like a geek here, but I just love looking at my bookcases of games. In fact, my daughter loves to look at them too, mostly because she's 6-months old and there are plenty of colors!

Ok, besides that...I haven't traveled nearly enough to really know. Mexico is awesome, Canada is beatiful, and I've been up and down the east coast but that's it. The forests of Virginia and the beachs in North Carolina and Virginia are some of my favorites. I love being out in the woods, hiking and fishing, so those places are natural for me. But still, the most best place I've ever been to would have to be Turks & Caicos, the reefs there are spectacular!

Quote:
If you were a superhero what would be your superpowers, what would be your achilles heel, who would be your sidekick and who would be your archnemesis?


While I've never been a big fan of Superman, flying and super-strength would be awesome. Realistically though (???) I wish I had the power to heal. This way my fantasy football teams would always be healthy! The achilles heel though would be that there are so many sick people out there that I couldn't keep up with it and I'd never be left alone to the point that I'd have to gather up all the games I'd received as gifts (for all that healing, y'know) and go into hiding somewhere. Archnemesis? The Marlboro man, of course, and his sidekick Joe Camel.
 
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Jim Carvin
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Critical Mass wrote:
My suggestion for anyone who wants to be nominated is be patient and try to be more involved in the BGG community. Post some forum threads, make up some original geeklists, comment on other peoples forums and geeklists, pm people, play BGG werewolf, write quality reviews or session reports...the opportunities are pretty broad.


And a good avatar helps too. Not that mine is cool or anything(it's a caricature of myself), but people will eventually start to remember your avatar if they see it enough. I'm afraid to change mine now. I did it once a few years ago and a few people later commented to me that they had wondered where the red dragon had disappeared to, not realizing that I was still here.
 
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Sterling Babcock
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jcarvin wrote:
And a good avatar helps too. Not that mine is cool or anything(it's a caricature of myself), but people will eventually start to remember your avatar if they see it enough. I'm afraid to change mine now.


So true. It is odd how you become attached to your avatar, both being known and getting used to it. Then you get attached to it.

Sterling Babcock
 
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jcarvin wrote:
Critical Mass wrote:
My suggestion for anyone who wants to be nominated is be patient and try to be more involved in the BGG community. Post some forum threads, make up some original geeklists, comment on other peoples forums and geeklists, pm people, play BGG werewolf, write quality reviews or session reports...the opportunities are pretty broad.


And a good avatar helps too. Not that mine is cool or anything(it's a caricature of myself), but people will eventually start to remember your avatar if they see it enough. I'm afraid to change mine now. I did it once a few years ago and a few people later commented to me that they had wondered where the red dragon had disappeared to, not realizing that I was still here.


Definitely true... How many people would actually recognize me if I didn't have the Lighthouse...

Congrats on being GOTW, Jim... You're a person I chose as a GeekBuddy cause we had a lot of similarities in the games we like...

As for the gaming time with the daughter, once she's about 2 1/2, you'll be able to start teaching her to play some games... You'll get lots of gaming time in, if she's anything like mine...

Now for my questions, two of them, which I try to ask of everyone lately...
1) If you could travel to anytime in history to see one historical event, what event would you choose?
2) The same premise, but travel to the future, what (possible or probable) event would you choose?

Have fun!
 
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Mike K
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1) Have we met?

Seriously, you're not far from the Philly area. If you like, you can always make a trip to an EPGS meeting (two Saturdays a month), held in beautiful Bucks County. It would not be that hard for us to meet in person, if you like.

2) How have we not played against each on SbW yet? We need to get into a 5pl game of Amun Re at some point!

3) What are your favorite C64 games? (I know that Luke mentioned 'Impossible Mission', which was a personal fave of mine.) If 'M.U.L.E.' is on your list, have you ever tried the emulator at atarimule.com?

4) Ever play Age of Steam? (Currently, my personal favorite boardgame.) If so, what maps (if any) do you prefer?
 
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Jim Carvin
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janiera wrote:
As for the gaming time with the daughter, once she's about 2 1/2, you'll be able to start teaching her to play some games... You'll get lots of gaming time in, if she's anything like mine...


Well, I have to admit that she already has a growing collection of games. I even traded away some of my own games for a few good children games.

Quote:
1) If you could travel to anytime in history to see one historical event, what event would you choose?


That's a tough one especially since some events can last years. The other problem is that aside from American/Europe history, everyone would be speaking a language I didn't know. My first inclination would be to say the last three years of Jesus Christ's life. I mean, who won't be interested in seeing that? Even non-Christians I would imagine just to see one of the/the most famous man in history in action. Again, there's the language barrier. So I'll stick with English-speaking events then and say the formation and signing of the Declaration of Independence. This way I would have a chance to understand the intent of our forefathers and end so much of the speculation.


Quote:
2) The same premise, but travel to the future, what (possible or probable) event would you choose?


The first manned mission to Jupiter and it's moons. Wow, that would be exciting!
 
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Joseph Betz
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Congratulations Jim.Another proud moment for the Carvin family.
 
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jcarvin wrote:
janiera wrote:
1) If you could travel to anytime in history to see one historical event, what event would you choose?


That's a tough one especially since some events can last years. The other problem is that aside from American/Europe history, everyone would be speaking a language I didn't know. My first inclination would be to say the last three years of Jesus Christ's life. I mean, who won't be interested in seeing that? Even non-Christians I would imagine just to see one of the/the most famous man in history in action. Again, there's the language barrier. So I'll stick with English-speaking events then and say the formation and signing of the Declaration of Independence. This way I would have a chance to understand the intent of our forefathers and end so much of the speculation.


Does this mean that I have to add that you could understand any language that was spoken?
 
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Jim Carvin
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Coyotek4 wrote:
1) Have we met? Seriously, you're not far from the Philly area. If you like, you can always make a trip to an EPGS meeting (two Saturdays a month), held in beautiful Bucks County. It would not be that hard for us to meet in person, if you like.


Possibly, I've been the EPGS numerous times, to game shops in King of Prussia, Abington, and Conshohocken, the WBC, and to various people's houses in the Philly suburbs. I haven't been to the EPGS in a few years though since we started our own club since it's about a 110 minute drive, not exactly close. I do work in Conshohocken though and there's a game store on Fayette street where the play board games on Wednesday nights.

Quote:
2) How have we not played against each on SbW yet? We need to get into a 5pl game of Amun Re at some point!


I'm not sure if we've ever played on SbW yet. So I started games of Amun Re, Reef Encounter, and Hacienda (with a map I created). Anyone is free to join, the game names are "Geek of the Week Game 1-3" password for each is "geek".

Quote:
3) What are your favorite C64 games? (I know that Luke mentioned 'Impossible Mission', which was a personal fave of mine.) If 'M.U.L.E.' is on your list, have you ever tried the emulator at atarimule.com?


Some of my favorite C64 games were Ultima 3, Ultima 4, Hardball, Jordan vs Bird, Questron, Jupiter Lander, Amazon, Mindscape, Eureka, and Archon. I had tons of games, mostly there were pirated copies from friends. Never tried, M.U.L.E. or atarimule.com and I don't think I ever played Impossible Mission,

Quote:
4) Ever play Age of Steam? (Currently, my personal favorite boardgame.) If so, what maps (if any) do you prefer?


Absoutely! I love the game. I'd have to go with the original maps though as my favorites, thogh I do have a lot of different AoS maps. I still haven't played Railroad Tycoon though believe it or not. I just keep missing my chances to play it.
 
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Jim Carvin
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janiera wrote:
Does this mean that I have to add that you could understand any language that was spoken?


Just imagine getting all geared up for Jesus to speak with you. Wait a minute! Whatdaya mean he don't speak English! Doh'!! laugh
 
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Nello Cozzolino
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I played basketball for a very prominent college that was at least at some time during the year ranked in the top 25 from 1991-1993.laugh

btw can you tell us ...about...the best baseball board game simulation ever made(produced) ?..well if you know

thanks in adv. Nello
 
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Jim Carvin
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Hamburg
Pennsylvania
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Ah, the diabolical Dice … a word of caution; don't throw them when you're alone. The fiends lack loyalty, and their notion of nourishment is quite disturbing.
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nello wrote:
btw can you tell us ...about...the best baseball board game simulation ever made(produced) ?..well if you know


I never was much of a baseball fan and I can't think of any baseball board game that I've ever played. Only video games or fantasy baseball.
 
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mrbass
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Congratulations Jim....I like your ratings and generally agree with your picks.

You mentioned in one of the posts you were getting Le Passe-Trappe for Christmas 2004. Now do you wear ear plugs while playing this game? Also do you have the petite or grand version? Thoughthammer has the grand version for $100.00 and I'm thinking about it. Is there a big difference gameplay wise between the big and small edition? I really wish I could see video of this in action because I can't quite figure out the rubberband thing. Do you always put the disc in the middle of the rubberband and pull it back and let it go? I'm guessing this is a hoot and hollering game from the description.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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Charlottesville
VA
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Plate of Shrimp.
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'Grats Jim!

One of these days we'll get some serious gaming in. Good news on the squab, I hadn't heard about it until just now. Huzzah!

Ok questions:
If you could have any job at a carnival what would it be?

What makes a dexterity game good?

What haircut would you never have?

What is the laziest mechanics in games?

What game have you most recently reconsidered buying from reviews (bad/good)?

If you could have any song played at your funeral what would you like it to be?

Which is more important Happiness or Satisfaction?

What game is bothering you the most that you haven't played it?

 
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Jim Carvin
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Hamburg
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Ah, the diabolical Dice … a word of caution; don't throw them when you're alone. The fiends lack loyalty, and their notion of nourishment is quite disturbing.
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mrbass wrote:
Congratulations Jim....I like your ratings and generally agree with your picks.


Thanks.

Quote:
You mentioned in one of the posts you were getting Le Passe-Trappe for Christmas 2004. Now do you wear ear plugs while playing this game? Also do you have the petite or grand version? Thoughthammer has the grand version for $100.00 and I'm thinking about it. Is there a big difference gameplay wise between the big and small edition?


Oh yeah, now we're talking! I adore this game. Unfortunately I have a hard time getting anyone to play this anymore. I'm not bragging, but lets just say I'm still waiting to get beat. It is VERY loud and obnoxious, people complain about it all the time at game nights. They call it the "noisy game" or "oh, THAT game". surprise I love it though and real men don't wear earplugs(we use pencils). I have the grand version, I've never played the petit. So of course I have to recommend the grand version. It's more than paid for itself between my own hottin' and hollerin' (plenty of it), teenagers seem to really love it at our youth groups(though they like Crokinole better).

Quote:
I really wish I could see video of this in action because I can't quite figure out the rubberband thing. Do you always put the disc in the middle of the rubberband and pull it back and let it go? I'm guessing this is a hoot and hollering game from the description.


I could probably arrange a video for this and Crokinole which has been asked for before. Let me explain the board...it's not a plain old rubber band, it's more like a cloth elastic band similar to a bungee cord(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bungee_cord). You generally have the disk laying flat on the board, you pull the disk back onto the middle of the band and release it. Some people trying bouncing the disc off the band or not pulling it back all the way but that doesn't work so well. You can move away from the middle of the band but this causes an angle shot, which can be useful if you can pull it off. The key to the game though is straight shooting and FAST play. I always tell people to play very fast but they just don't play fast enough. Also you can play a little defense by timing your shots with your opponent's shots to block. Ummm...I'm probably giving way too much strategy advice here for a dexterity game but there are definitely tricks to it.

I'll have to see about that video though I doubt it'll be anytime soon.
 
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