Archive for September, 2010

Obama jostles my gaming schedule

September 29, 2010

President Obama was in town Monday evening this week.  I noticed when it took me 50 minutes to get to my destination Monday night.  Normally my commute is 15-20 minutes.  Fortunately I was finally able to arrive, and as it happened one of the other players was also delayed.

We had intended to play the new Agricola expansion: Farmers of the Moor.  But with the late start and the need to parse rules we demurred, and we shifted to a known game,  Primordial Soup

Years ago someone brought the first German edition, Ursuppe, to my house a couple of times.  The game club played it to generally good reviews.  But I missed both sessions.  Years later I have finally discovered this gem, playing it 3 times so far in 2010.

But I will add that I did not enjoy Primordial Soup as much the second time I played.  On that second play we had added the 5-6 player expansion.  This really burdened the game with longer waits for your turn, and a lot more gene cards to be considered.  This week we played the base game with 4 players, and it really clicked well for me.

In our game I decided to seek movement advantage.  I grabbed Movement 1 right away, and I did not spawn a third amoeba initially.  This gave me the cash to invest in more genes more quickly.  I got the gene which makes movement free, and then I upgraded to Movement 2.  I found this combo amazingly good.  While other players got some cool genes, I was generally able to travel on the board to wherever I needed for feeding.  Inevitably I did have a few amoebas die, but I ensured my survivors were on hand to enjoy the new food source.

I pretty much had my way in our game, and the other players took note of my success.  I am sure they will strive to prevent me from doing this same combo again in the future.  After this game of Primordial Soup, I find myself very happy that I was able to grab a copy of this fun game off the prize table at our Game Fandango earlier this month.


Throwing a party!

September 23, 2010

It’s early, but it is now official, I will be hosting a game party in mid November.  I’ll be celebrating a half-century of breathing this year, and I can think of no other sort of party I would like to have than a game party.  So – you know who you are – plan on some gaming on Saturday November 13th!

McMulti & the Eagles

September 21, 2010

From Desperado:

“You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?”

So we played McMulti tonight.  First time at the club, and one of the players requested the “variant”.  While still fun, I ultimately felt the variant was a mistake.  In the original game rules, and the way I’ve played both times prior to this session, there is a game mechanic that whenever anyone rolls doubles the economic situation immediately changes.  This can cause some abrupt changes between any single player’s turns.

The variant, stops this from happening.  Instead the game is much more stately in its economic game changes.  In the variant, a marker is put in the middle of the game board set at 6.  Whenever any die on the pair rolled is a 6 or higher, the marker is degraded down to a 5.  Then, when a 5 is up, it degrades down to a 4, whenever any de rolled is 5 or higher.  etc.  If BOTH dice are equal to or higher than the marker, then the economic situation changes.

While the variant does stabilize the economic situation, I was less convinced it really helped the game.  We sat around discussing the game for several minutes.  We agreed to play again, but with the original rules next time.  Not bad for a game published in 1988.  It has held up well. 

We did take some issue with the final turn rules, which seems to favor the player going out to a high degree.  We’re contemplating ignoring the rule that players can only sell activated buildings after the player has declared their winning cash level (1 Billion Deutschmarks).  Another suggestion was to prevent the player from freely selling off his buildings on the turn he declares. 

So we may still tinker with the ending,  But the heart of the game is very good.  I am glad I bought this expensive and rare game.

A pending project and a few new games

September 17, 2010

I was excited to see another 1825 enthusiast uploaded a nice set of company charters and artwork for tokens.  I have produced the new company charters on 110-lb cardstock.  They look great!  But I have not yet gotten the tokens done.  I bought an 1846 game from Deep Thought Games earlier this year, and have really admired their wooden station tokens.  So I contacted Deep Thought Games, and the proprietor is sending me 300 of the wooden plugs he uses.  (Nickel a piece – seemed like a reasonable charge.)  Oddly, finding a 7/16″ hole punch/circle cutter proved to be an impossibility.  After some scouring of the internet I did find a 1/2″ hole punch, but worried that it might lap over the edges of the 1/2″ tokens.  So I found a 12mm hole punch, which ought to be ideal.  Once the tokens arrive I will get the project complete!

Some new games have arrived.  One of them is actually an old game, and will merit its own entry on the blog.  But pictures must be taken first.  I now own Giants – the game Rob taught me at our recent game party.  Something about the game and its quirky theme haunted me.

I also received a shipment from Poland this week, with my copy of Boże Igrzysko, the Polish language edition of God’s Playground, expanded for up to 4 players.  Sadly, I am now thinking that getting this was a mistake.  After comparing the original Treefrog edition to the Polish game, I am finding it hard to want to shift over to the Polish copy.  While it is a reasonably nice edition, it does not have the lovely wooden tiles used in the original Treefrog edition.  Further the board is a 10-piece puzzle cut, not my favorite technique.  The map has been redrawn, but the cheerful yellow colors of the first edition are the one I find more appealing.  So, instead of punching and playing this 4-p edition, I am cribbing as many notes as I can from it, and will leave it unpunched for maximum trade value.  I suspect someone will snap it up, as importing it from Poland was not cheap.

Batting .578 & Knocking them out of the Park!

September 6, 2010

I’m just back from our annual Game Fandango – an extended weekend of gaming.  42 of us gathered at the Circle A Ranch for the annual party.  Lots of new faces with a high amount of enthusiasm.  Old friends return to New Mexico for this event, and we love meeting the new friends too.

This is a real highlight each year for me.  Of course I love the gaming.  But I also love the friendship and tradition we have built.  This year I took special glee in seeing how many of the games I donated to the Prize Table were quickly snapped up off the prize table.  I especially enjoyed seeing the glee of the winner who nabbed the inflatable 20-sided polyhedron!

This year I packed 19 games to take to the event.  I know that 11 of them were played, giving me a .578 batting average.  This felt good.  And I especially enjoyed introducing McMulti to a few folks. 

Here is my game journal for the weekend:

Thursday evening:  Rob and I have begun arriving one night early.  This allows us to play a few 2-player games, which we enjoy doing, but almost never have an opportunity to do.  We also do a bit of set up work for the party.

Pond Hockey – Rob brought his handsome self-made edition of this PnP game.  I am a big fan of StreetSoccer, so Rob had been mentioning this to me a few months back.  I very much enjoyed it, and can see how some will prefer this over StreetSoccer.

Crusader Rex – Our second play of this great game.  But it had been so long ago that we had to carefully go through the rules.  Even so we still realized we made some notable errors.  Nevertheless we had a fine time, and greatly enjoyed the variant.

Friday – The “real” start to the Fandango.  Rob and I played one 2p game to start, and before we were done, friends were beginning to arrive.

Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal – This one surprised me.  I had easily agreed to play it based on Rob’s request, but will admit to coming in with lower expectations.  I have enjoyed Axis and Allies over the years, but had thought my interest had waned.  Guadalcanal was a fun event, and the pacing and duration were crisp.

Inotaizu – I somehow learned about this game earlier this year.  I really like it, and was pleased to get it on the table.  I had brought a spare copy for the Prize Table, and I was angling to get a bit of buzz started for it.  Inotaizu was well received.

Take It Easy – Our annual group game.  Years ago I attended Gulf Games, where they throw a massive welcome party the first night.  One component of the party I attended those many years ago was a Take It Easy game for over 100 people.  So I have carried this tradition back to New Mexico.  I own enough sets for over 30 people to play at the same time.  I have also learned that this is a convenient way to make announcements to the group, as I have their attention.

Vegas Showdown – A fine game, and one I had only played a couple of times before.  I was reminded that I really do like this game a fair amount.

Nottingham – Rob had bought a case of Nottingham games off Tanga a couple of years ago, and has been putting a few copies out on the Prize Table.  A couple of friends brought their copy, so I taught the game.  It was very popular, and I saw it in action a couple more times over the weekend.

Clippers – The hour was late, but several folks were up for “one more”.  Folks were tractable, and I was successful in getting Clippers to be played.  Despite some general confusion due to learning a new game after 11 pm, we did well.  One player asked (unsuccessfully) for a second match of Clippers later in the weekend.

With that it was bed time.  I toddled off to bed for some much-needed sleep.


Palermo – I enjoy seeking out older German games and giving them a whirl.  I became introduced to German games after Settlers was released in the USA.  Settlers was originally released in 1995, but I have always been fascinated by the earlier “modern” game efforts that preceded it.  Palermo is such a case.  I think it was released in 1992.  Palermo is a tile-laying game where you build a city, following a few simple rules.  You want to build as efficient routes as possible for the race to collect tokens you laid on the tiles you placed.  Palermo is not going to become a cult-classic anytime soon.  But it is a nice brisk game that offers several interesting decisions.  While eventually you may see someone has the game won, the game is polite enough to finish within the next ten minutes after your realization.  I think eveyone who played had a nice time with it.

Snow Tails – I love this game.  Not much new to say about it, but it was fun introducing it to a couple of the new folks.

Svea Rike – Rob was sooo excited to get this.  The history of Sweden!  It is a huge “take that” sort of game.  You need to play this with the right folks.  I recall noting that I had started the game with 2 fiefs and 20 bucks.  After 2-3 hours I found myself with 0 fiefs and 7 bucks.  Ouch!  I can enjoy this sort of game, so long as it speeds along.  Unfortunately the Swedish language game materials made this a long game, and honestly one I didn’t enjoy as much as I had hoped.

Aaarg-i-techt! – Wow.  Hilarious.  I gave it a whirl, much to the amusement of everyone.  It is so ridiculous that you have to watch it being played.  I realized as the weekend went on, that this is a game that punishes new people.  As a few folks kept playing it, they became pretty proficient in the ridiculous language used.  I found myself thinking I was glad I tried it on the first go.

Settlers of America – My wife, Peggy, came up Saturday.  So I was eager to play a boardgame with her.  She is a Settlers fan, and I had asked a friend to bring his new Settlers of America game.  I was impressed.  Very fun, and not at all painfully slow as I had heard from some sources.  Peggy enjoyed it too, which made me happy.

Nottingham -Yep a second time!

Times Up: Title Recall – Peggy and I played together.  We are often very good at Time’s Up.  This was our first crack at the new Title Recall version.  It was a blast, but we didn’t win this time.

Elfenland – 6 of us wanted a game, and Elfenland fit the bill nicely.  We omitted the tree logs, making the game a bit more friendly.  But with 6 players there is so much chaos that making a good route is maddening.  Nevertheless, one of the players managed to visit all 20 of his cities.  Well done!

Sunday –

Golfprofi – Our traditional game.  I started out horribly, seeing my score swell to +4 by the 5th hole.  But eventually I managed to start rolling some decent dice, and ended up at -4 for the round.  TG carried th match with a -7.  Ian once again dazzled us with his ability to hit the hole from every angle, but faltered just a bit at the end, to finish a couple stokes back from the lead.  Kyle had a rough day, finishing right around par.  Several of us improved our handicaps gaining more dice for the next match,

I wanted to get a game in with Peggy, so we found a couple of friends to play In Teufel’s Kuche.  Fun and silly game!

Then it was time for our annual Memoir ’44 grand battle.  I am always the Axis, and Rob is always the Allies.  This year we played an East Front match where I got to use some Tiger Tanks.  We had several new recruits this year.  The pre-printed battle map was nice, eliminating a whole lot of set up time.  I have determined that the Russian Commissar chip is the German’s best friend.  It was a mighty struggle, but Gerry beat Ivan this year!

McMulti – Sunday night, after dinner – folks were flagging.  But I had really hoped to get McMulti on the table.  So I made one more attempt, and – yes  – I found the right group.  What a cool game!  There are now three new fans in New Mexico (I already was a fan).

So tired!  But still wanting to find the fun.  We played a couple old favorites: Die Maulwurf & Co. and Igel Argern.  Finally it was time for much-needed sleep.

Monday – the sad day.  Filled with goodbyes and some site clean up.  But you still need to play a couple of games!  Our good-bye games were:

Day & Night – Rob schooled me at this interesting asymmetrical 2p game.

Nottingham – Yep a third play, this time with 7 people!

A truly great time.  I can hardly wait for next year!