Archive for August, 2015

280 out of 400

August 31, 2015

The other day I decided to split my collection.

I have noted on this blog that my games owned was steadily inflating.  I had maintained my collection to around 300 games for quite a while.  But I then decided to start listing all the games tucked away in drawers and found the game collection was really 350 or so.  Then I decided I wanted one game shelf inside the main house – a shelf I would store the games I might study, or perhaps play solitaire.

This additional shelf inspired me to buy a few games I wanted to study.  Voila!  The game collection was really 400 games.  More than I imagined I owned.  But some of the games I own are hardly for playing.  I have some purely decorative games, displayed as game art on high shelves.  I have others that are still mainly art, but could in theory be played.  But this almost never happens.  So my copy of Square Mile or Broadsides and Boarding Parties mainly serve as art, even if they are within reach.  Another case is my copy of Touring, which has the box top and the cards displayed in a frame – we’re not really going to play it.

Then there are the games that could be played, but likely need some prearrangement.  I’d love to try my 1961A version of D-Day, the very first hex and counter wargame commercially released by Charles S. Roberts.  But in reality, I don’t play it.  I set it up and study it, and idly think I may try it solitaire.  Or all those microgames – all 2-player games – which will never be requested by the club, and never thought of when I have a rare 2p game opportunity.

After considering these, and other cases where I want to own the game for non-playing purposes, I decided I was diluting the main purpose I keep my collection details on BGG – which is to keep track of the hobby games I own that are suitable for social gaming.  So recently I opened a second BGG account.  I am going to mark games I own, but don’t expect to figure into my social gaming, on this account.

And with that division, my collection size dropped from about 400 games down to 280 games.  This feels about right, as I am used to having roughly 300 games in the Bistro fro folks to choose from.  I like this size of a collection, as it has nice breadth, but not “too” many games to select from.

My collection does exhibit a lack of newer games, but that is the topic for another entry…


By the numbers

August 20, 2015

A friend of mine commented on his game blog that he has played every game in his collection at least 6 times.  He qualifies this by omitting games that he has for trade, and any games held as his children’s games.  Even so, I am no where in the same mode with my collection.  Here is my breakdown:


Never Played: 101

One Play:  43

Two Plays:  43

Three Plays:  24

Four Plays:  24

Five – Nine Plays:  67

Ten – Nineteen Plays:  35

Twenty – Forty Nine:  21

Fifty Plus:  4

Of course all of this inaccurate.  I have only tracked my games played since 1999.  Lots of games in the “unplayed” zone were played way back when.

But as a (slightly) larger point, I don’t always buy a game to play it.  For example, earlier this year I bought a copy of Rails through the Rockies, with no intention of playing it.  I just wanted to look it over.

Sometimes I buy games with a goal of eventually playing them.  But I don’t always feel an immediate need to get them on the table.  My collection of franckh games comes to mind.

Joe, my friend, ensures he plays every game he owns within a 2 year period.  This works for him.  But I enjoy having some strata to my collection.


August 17, 2015

I had a chance to play Alex’s latest new game, Nations, over the weekend.  Interesting game, and one I enjoyed more than I would have guessed.

After playing it, I did a bit of reading on BGG.  Quite a mixed bag of reactions to it.  Also, it seems that this game initially attempted to retail for $100.  But I saw folks selling their copies for <$30.  I was tempted to buy one myself.  But I decided I should play Alex’s copy a few more times before I spring.

So what did I like?  A number of things, actually.  I enjoyed how everyone recruits the cards most interesting to themselves.  A big array of cards are on display.  You can go for domestic improvements or a more powerful military.  Each card choice is distinct, there are no duplicates, so your culture will be unique as you craft it.  Player interaction is present – you affect other players with card selection priority and with the period war.

I enjoyed balancing my needs for building materials, food, gold and additional workers.  The game imposes a wide-ranging array of events.  Each epoch will have two events – but the deck they are drawn from is pretty thick – so each game will have different demands.  The theme is carried off nicely with lots of interesting cards.  You can recruit a leader, whose special ability will help in varying ways.  You can establish up to two colonies, and you can build wonders.

The game did take a while to play.  I’d guess it took 3+ hours with explanation.  This could speed up though, we were playing late at night, and we were all newbies.  The biggest pressure I noticed was the threat of war.  There is almost always going to be a war each round.  And there is always going to be at least one player who goes after a strong military force.  The war mechanism is abstracted – there is no board, so you never have to worry about invasion.  But as a weaker military force, you will be punished if the strongest player forces the war to happen.  Further, if you want to claim the best colonies, you will want a strong military.  So the game encourages a stout devotion to military strength.

Overall, there are lots of balls to keep in the air.  Yet each player’s turn is relatively brisk.  I was impressed.  I look forward to a second play of Nations.

California Gold

August 14, 2015

I received my latest new game recently.  It is California Gold, a game about orange ranching in southern California.  I took it over to Rick’s Monday night, and we eventually got around to playing it.

I’m pretty high on the game, although we did not finish.  But.  We chatted for 30 minutes, and then I explained the game for about 30 minutes.  We were close to finishing after 2 hours, but probably 30 minutes were yet to go.  So we saved it.  And we will finish up this coming Monday night.

This is not a gentle game.  Players can adversely affect each other, if sometimes taking it on their own chin as they do it.  Competition is brutal.  And the game is a bit hard to master – I felt like I was struggling mainly against the game system the entire evening.  Add in the adversity from the other players, and a fellow starts to feel pressed.

So of course, I really liked it, and the boys all exclaimed how much they liked it too.  We like picking on each other, so direct “puss” games often work on Monday night.  California Gold is not like a 4X game where you can just reach out and mess with someone.  It is more like Brass or Age of Steam, where you can upset someone else’s plans with a swift act.

A real highlight of the production are the numerous cards featuring artwork that was originally used by the various orange growers of the time period depicted. A low light is the uneven production values.  The cards are great.  But the use of plastic chips to depict ownership was ill-advised.  I have an order in with a game parts company, and will be upgrading my components as soon as possible – hopefully in time for Fandango.

I need to finish our first play.  But I am already anticipating my second play.  I see a few things to try differently.  I like demanding games, and this one feels like it might be a good one.  Fingers crossed.