Archive for February, 2011

Dragon Rage

February 26, 2011


Dragon Rage arrived in the mail this week.  I ordered it from Belgium.  A bit expensive, but I figured if I was to get one I would have to absorb the cost.  It is a small press game, and unlikely to be distributed in the USA.

I am attracted to this game, in part, because it was designed by Lew Pulsipher.  Lew designed Britannia – a game I own and have admired for many years.  Another impetus was my enjoyment of Stronghold – a game where the monster horde is besieging a fantasy city.  Dragon Rage has a slightly different theme – you have dragons attacking a fantasy city.  Since I don’t need to own Stronghold- I’ll just occasionally play on Alex’s copy – I thought I’d get this variation on a theme.

Dragon Rage actually predates Stronghold – it was originally released in a modest format back in the 80’s.  I never saw that edition.  (Although I do recall owning a different game from Dwarfstar, the original publisher.)  But I am much more likely to play a deluxe version such as the edition I have bought.  Looking over the game, I am happy with the quality of the components.  The counters are thick and nicely die cut, with rounded corners.  The board is double-sided, giving you two scenarios to explore.

I am still reading the rules, and here the game does show some of its age.  Lots of rules and I’ll need to pay some careful attention.  Trying to read this before bedtime has not been especially productive.  But I don’t mind old-fashioned detailed rules.  I just need to set the game up and really attempt to follow along with the game materials for it all to gel.

Dragon Rage is really the sort of game I ought NOT to buy.  I know going in that this game is never going to see a ton of use.  But I do enjoy following favorite authors, and I will enjoy presenting a game people would otherwise not get a chance to try.



February 23, 2011

Seidenstrasse Action Roster

I played a cool game this Tuesday night called Seidenstrasse.  This translates to the Silk Road.  We worked a little bit to figure it out, but it was exciting us as a worthy game.  But even as we started to get familiar with the game flow, we still struggled with remembering what all the different icons on the board meant.

So I created an English player aid.  I have attached it to this post.  I was going to upload it to BGG, but realized maybe I was not allowed to.  BGG has you promise you have all rights to whatever you upload.  Since I copped the icons from the boardgame, I cannot claim that.  So we’ll post the file here.

Rather silly, as this was just the sort of thing BGG was good for once upon a time.

Another wonderful weekend

February 23, 2011

Last weekend was one of our extended game getaways.  I played a lot of games, and enjoyed a lot of conversations with my friends.  Some of the gaming highlights:

Settlers of America – We played this twice.  I had more than one person tell me that they don’t really like Settlers of Catan, but they like this.  While I don’t really get the ennui with Catan, I agree this is a good game.

Spice Navigator – We finally played my variant for this spice-sniffing game.  I think it largely worked.  Certainly this is more of an event than a real strategy game.  But we had fun, and I am pleased.

18AL – This was the beginner 18xx game I took.  Alex and I played with 2 newbies.  I think all of us enjoyed the game.  Despite this being hailed as a shorter and easier beginner game, I thought this wasn’t much shorter or easier than 1830. 

Rallyman – This was requested and played.  Once again I finished a distant 4th.  Still quite fun, and I enjoyed the addition of using the snow and tire choice rules.

Stronghold – I requested this, and Alex obliged.  It may have been too late at night when we actually played it.  We both struggled with the rules.  I like the concept behind the game.  The game fascinates me, and I am tempted to get a copy for myself.  But rather than buy a copy for myself, I have ordered Dragon Rage, an older 2p game that is being reprinted this year where one player defends the city against the other player who controls a dragon (or two).

An den Ufern des Nils – Rob and I had played this years ago, and recalled that we liked it.  But too much time had passed for either of us to recall any details.  We gradually figured out the game, and all four of us playing kept remarking what a cool game this was.  I am inspired to play more of it.

Bean Trader – A successful romp through this boardgame version of Bohnanza.  I was pleased with the fun it generated.  I’m not so sure there is a lot of skill to be applied to this game, but the overall experience was quite good.

Hameln – I had to ask what the reference was.  Who knew the Pied Piper came from here?  This was the last game of the con for me.  Classic silly fun.  The game itself was slightly complicated, but Rob led us flawlessly through the rules, and the fun-filled gamers present made it a wonderful experience.  Honestly, I’m not so sure if the game would be as much fun again – but at that moment, it was the perfect activity.

I played many other games, but for me the above games were the highlights.  I finally tried Thunderstone, and liked it little.  My third tour of Galactic Emperor convinced me it is not my game.  Fun games of other familiar titles were pleasant.  A fine time all in all, and I look forward to our next SW Games event.

New Orleans Big Band

February 17, 2011

Zack gave me a copy of New Orleans Big Band as a present this past game night!


This is a game I’ve been curious about for a long time.  Turns out that Funagain has a copy for sale (at least as I write this).  So if you, gentle reader, need a copy for yourself, check it out!

I need to get the English instructions, but my basic understanding is that players compete to put together bands.  But the musicians are temperamental and do not always get along with each other.  So finding the right mix is a challenge.

I’m excited to give it a try!

Comfort Food for 6

February 15, 2011

I just enjoyed a nice evening of gaming.  We were six, which is always a vexing number.  We opted to play games as one group, instead of splitting into two 3-p games.  Despite having a large collection of games, I am never entirely satisfied with my options for a 6-p game.

Race games were not an option as we had one player who is vocal about his apathy for them.  We have played too much Power Grid, so that wasn’t going to be selected.  We briefly considered a few games, but enthusiasm was low for most of the ones mentioned.  I proposed Stimmt So, which had the advantage of being a game some did not know/recall, allowing it to be given a whirl.

Response was mildly positive.  Which is basically my reaction to the game as well.  It garnered 1 “OK” rating and 5 “Good” ratings.  For me, it is just a mildly good game.  I keep it in part because I received it as a gift, and also for its utility in handling up to 6 players.  The luck factor is large.  On the bright side there are interesting decisions, and it plays in about 60 minutes.

We then moved on to Medieval Merchant, perhaps the best game Goldsieber ever published.  I don’t play this game all that often, but it is a favorite.  I wonder if Friedman Friese played this, and was inspired to write Power Grid afterwards?  While different games, I feel they occupy similar game space.  For us, clearly Power Grid is the preferred game.  But we’ve played so much Power Grid that fatigue has set in, giving Medieval Merchant a second chance at table time.  And it was well received tonight, garnering several “Excellent” ratings and a couple “Good” ratings.

A nice evening of gaming, and played on slightly older games!

Unfocused Rambling

February 12, 2011

I played London last week with two friends.  It was sort of odd.  I can hardly believe it is a Martin Wallace game.  Usually his games covey the theme through mechanisms.  In London the theme is very present, but it comes from the cards (and the nice illustrations), and only somewhat from the effects those cards have.  I cannot say London is a light game, but it didn’t have that usual Martin Wallace feel.  Based on my single play, I’m willing to play again, but not burning to do so.

In other news, I have been reviewing an old Uwe Rosenberg game, Bean Trader.  Jay brought it by years ago, and for some reason it popped into my head that I would like to try it again.  In a Math Trade a while back, I got a copy.  In fact, I goofed, and ended up with 2 copies.  I am going to teach it to Rick Monday night, and give him a copy if he has any interest.

My recollection is that Bean Trader fell flat the first time we played it.  But we didn’t really know what we were doing until the game was mostly over.  I am hopeful this game might do better on this second chance.  I am going to strongly encourage everyone to use the rule that allows you to invite someone to the city you are in.  This will increase the interaction, and also help people avoid hastening the game’s end due to rapid cycling of the travel cards.

On the 18xx front, I’ve been thinking about the innovative rules in 1860 regarding how different tiers of companies enter the game.  Initially 2 companies are available.  But the next two companies become available after 1 of 2 cases occurs:

  1. One of the first 2 companies sells out completely
  2. One of the first 2 companies operates.

It’s this second case, that I especially like.  We’ve played 1825 a few times, and one of the complaints about it is the processional aspect of which companies can open.  In 1825 the 1st rule is the only way to gain access to the next tier of companies.  I’d like to try porting this additional case from 1860 over to 1825.

Of course, I don’t really know when I might get a chance.  The local market is flooded with lots of new 18xx games.  I have a whole shelf myself.  My current pecking order is probably: 1860 then 1825, then 1861, then 1830.  But I would likely accept any 18xx game I could get into.  I have a vague hope of getting in an 1860 this next weekend at a game con I will be attending.

The last time I played 1825, we played a variant – with alternate track upgrades and variant Private Company rules.  I was not satisfied with this, and have rejiggered my set back to basic rules.  I like the basic game 1825 is.  I now store it as a complete, yet modular, game.  I am of the firm opinion that Units 1 and 2 were never meant to be played separately.  I think it is a much better game combined with 2 units.  The processional aspect of Unit 1 is greatly reduced.

I also reset my 1829 games back to square.  I had borrowed several components from them for 1825.  I just got the most recent expansion for 1825, which provided the tiles I wanted, which had been on loan from 1829.  So the Francis Tresham wing of my 18xx collection is now fully sorted.  I hope we can play on some part of this collection again.

Wind & Games

February 1, 2011

Much to my surprise 3 gamers came to game night tonight.  The weather here in Albuquerque is about as bad as it gets.  We got 3″ of snow, some wind and temps were 10 F when folks departed.  I’ve seen far worse, of course, but for ABQ this is bad weather.

So once again gaming attracted a gamer or two despite inclement weather.  I’ve been hosting games on Tuesday nights since 1999, and NEVER have I failed to get at least one guest.  In fact, only once did it come down to a single guest, and even then we had some late arrivals come in after a bit.  Of course I am flattered by the attendance, but it sure is convenient for me too!

It was Amy’s birthday, so she picked Carcassonne as her game of choice.  Char was not familiar with the game, so I taught.  Even so, the game was completed in under an hour.  A good game that has stood the test of time.

A bit aimless, I asked if folks might be open to playing an obscure older game I’ve been wanting to try, Meteo.  It is a Portuguese edition, the German edition is titled Wind und Wetter.  Considering the bad weather, I thought it might be amusing to play a game about changing the weather.

So we played it, and while it sounded cool – the actual game play was a bit problematic.  This is pretty much a “once and done” game for me.  Glad I got to try it.  But probably not worth revisiting.