Archive for March, 2011


March 26, 2011

Chester loaned me his copy of Poseidon last Tuesday.  I have been reading the rules, and tonight I set the game up for a solitaire affair.  Interesting – and in a good way.  I suspect I will be buying this game for my collection.  Another friend of mine is reporting playing this game in 90 minutes – and it really does seem like a chip off the ‘ol 18xx-block.

I’m hoping to play soon.


Buying Games I already Own?

March 23, 2011

Redundant?  Why would I buy a game I already own?  Yet I have two cases that are being seriously considered:

1830: I have the old Avalon Hill edition.  I even upgraded the tiles with nice Deep Thought tiles.  Alex gave me some nice alternate stock certificates too.  So really I have a nice custom set already.  But I am still tempted to buy the expected Mayfair edition when it is released.  I could say it is for the extras promised – and that would be partially true.  But another part of me wants to buy it just cause I love this game and would like to own the new edition.  But I am torn – and this purchase is not a sure thing.

Ogre – Steve Jackson Games has announced they intend to do a giant-sized deluxe version of Ogre + GEV + Shockwave.  Yowza!  This is the edition I’ve moaned about for years.  Looking over at BGG I see this entry for my comment on GEV:

This is a good game.  It is the sequel to Ogre, and adds several more rules to the Ogre system.  Because of the added complexity the design is less clean.  While Ogre was re-released as a deluxe boardgame – GEV was not, which is too bad.  The small components of all GEV games prevent it from getting played much by me.  If I could have the same size components of the Deluxe Ogre boardgame, I’d like this game even more.

So this one I am much more certain that I want it.  The frontman for SJ Games seems to have his hands full coping with snarky comments from several game players who seem to believe they can tell him how he is screwing up and how it would be all better if he only did as they say.  Geesh!  I guess the publicity is worth it, but how irritating.  I will buy this deluxe edition, and while I might not have made some of the same decisions they seem to be arriving upon, I will be thrilled to finally get a copy of GEV and Shockwave in a format I would like to play.

Age of Steam is in the house

March 20, 2011

Recently I sold my copy of Steam to a friend, and promptly bought a second-hand copy of Age of Steam.  I have to say owning Steam didn’t work out.  I believe I played it twice.  Once with the Bistro Players, which was a miserable play for me – nearly going broke and merely in the game due to the impossibility of completing a death spiral.  That particular play was also unfortunate as we played the advanced game, rather than easing into it with its base game. 

My second play was on a Monday night with the old guard gamers.  We did play the standard game, and it went over pretty well.  But we never came back to it – a decent game that failed to ignite enough interest to come back to it.  And on Tuesdays, Steam was never again considered.  So after nearly two years of ownership and just 2 games played, it was time to ditch it.

But then I turn around and grab Age of Steam…  This might sound nonsensical – and indeed it might be – but I have hopes that Age of Steam might actually be requested occasionally.  And truth be told, it was the game I originally wanted.  A rather ugly fracas between Martin Wallace and FRED was going on prior to the publication of Steam and the 3rd edition of Age of Steam – and like a bad car wreck, I couldn’t help but watch it.  I decided to support Martin Wallace and buy Steam.  Also pushing me into this decision was the fact that 2nd edition copies of Age of Steam were quite scarce, and commanding prices upwards of $100.

2 years later, I was able to buy a secondhand copy of 2nd edition Age of Steam for $30 -which seems like a reasonable price.  And while I could get a new 3rd edition copy for about the same price, I do like the spartan style of the Warfrog release.

Trains, Automobiles, Bicycles and Beans

March 15, 2011

Last weekend I played 2 different 18xx games.  Friday evening was devoted to 18NEB.  I rather liked it, and I was a bit surprised that I was able to manage a win despite it being my first play.  One interesting variation in this game is that there are hardly any cities.  Instead you gradually build service to towns and then upgrade the towns into cities.  It also uses incremental capitalization, which gets you rolling quickly.  A fun game, and one I’d happily agree to play agin.

Saturday morning/early afternoon was devoted to a round of 1830 – still my favorite 18xx game.  One great thing about 1830 is that there is enough game there to support multiple plays.  I am still learning from this game. 

Monday I taught Rallyman to a friend.  We started the Corsica set of races.  We just did the first segment, and will resume the second segment at a later time.  Of our group I think the game fell a bit flat with one of the players.  So I am not so sure if this series will endure.  Too bad, as I am still eager for more plays.  We finished up our Monday night gaming with one of the shorter routes for Um Reifenbreite.  What a great game!

Tuesday had me and four others exploring the mysterious Isla Dorada.  Pretty good!  I doubt I ever play much of it, as I don’t own it.  But I enjoyed it and would play again.  We finished up with a game of Bean Trader, which has been getting a fair bit of attention lately.  I think it went over reasonably well.  Bean Trader is a tougher game to teach than it is to play.

Black Friday

March 9, 2011

Tuesday evening Alex brought his newest game, Black Friday, over.  We played it, and it got a pretty warm response.  5 players, three said “excellent” while two said “good”.  I was one of the “good” voters.  After thinking about it for a little while, this is what I entered as my initial comment on BGG:

First play was good.  There is potential for this game to go up or down.  I found the flow slightly fidley.  I guess we played correctly, but the transfers and holding back of black cases seemed strained.

The market is basically programmed to climb, plateau and then crash.  Certainly there is room for wild variations, but on average it seems like this arc is predestined.  So you need to ride the stocks up, hop out at the top of the bubble and buy silver whenever you can.

I don’t see how I would try anything much different from game to game – which makes me question how much staying power this game might have for me. 

Which sounds somewhat harsh for a game I enjoyed.  Heck I even won!  And oddly enough, that may be part of my hesitation about the game.  There is a lot of manipulations you cope with in the game, move suitcases here and there.  But the reason I won was because I jumped out of red when it got as high it did for the entire game.  Did I play better?  I doubt it.  I chalk it up to luck.

Black Friday is definitely going to get more plays.  I’ll be curious to see if it offers a varied experience from game to game.

String Railway

March 6, 2011

Yesterday I assembled a copy of String Railway.  Looks amusing.  Each player gets five strings.  On your turn you draw a station card.  You lay it somewhere inside the border string (which defines the playing area) and then drop a string from your home station to your newly placed station.  Score points as appropriate.

But there is a bit more.  One person gets to place the “mountain” string.  Another player lays the “river” string. and crossing these features may cost or gain you points.  Also, you can visit another player’s station, which may make them points or lose them points, depending.

After five turns the game is over.  I’m guessing this game may take all of 30 minutes.  Should be good for a laugh.  I bought some nice string from Hobby Lobby to make the game.  This is the first time in my life I’ve ever ironed strings in the pursuit of my boardgaming hobby.