Batting .578 & Knocking them out of the Park!

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!


3 Responses to “Batting .578 & Knocking them out of the Park!”

  1. Rob Derrick Says:

    Yes, a great weekend, and as always, didn’t get to play enough — only 25 games. But, some gems.

    Kevin, you left off Giants, sometime after Nottingham on Saturday.

    I taught Founding Fathers and Leaping Lemming twice, both times a hit, and our game of Nuns on the Run was stellar, when the Abbess stepped out of the garden door and caught two novices at the same time. Of course, they did not even know they where next to each other until that very moment.

    “Svea Rike – Rob was sooo excited to get this. The history of Sweden! … Unfortunately the Swedish language game materials made this a long game, and honestly one I didn’t enjoy as much as I had hoped.”

    Myself included. I thought I could get away with a translation nearby for each player, but that was a gross “missunderestimation”. I am now looking at sleeves and inserts for all, and I think and hope that this will fix the noticeable painful downtime this caused. I think it will be much better if it can move along, and will be a quick brutal take that game with lots of turns of fortune. I hope it will. It is a beautiful game.

    — rob d.

  2. Kevin Whitmore Says:

    Giants – How could I forget to list that! In fact the only game of the weekend that may have crept onto my “Buy” list. At least I’m considering it. What a quirky and unique theme. The game materials were stunning. It was a game with bidding, resource management, a bit of a race (both on the board and behind the screen). I want to play it again, when I am more fully awake.

  3. thegamebistro Says:

    I realized that I missed one other game for Saturday. I also played Ingenious. A fine game, and one I always enjoy.

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