Archive for the ‘Collecting’ Category

Tom Wham, and stirring the pot

January 24, 2016

One game that has been getting some play of late is Feudality, by Tom Wham.  Tom Wham has several games to his credit, although most of them are now quite old.  I have owned a few of his games over the years.

Snit’s Revenge – started out as a free game in Dragon Magazine.  I guess it was a sequel to “Snit Smashing”, but I never played that one.  Snit’s Revenge was entertaining, but I eventually let it go.

The Awful Green Things from Outer Space – another game which began in Dragon Magazine.  This one I have owned, and not owned for several years.  My current copy is on semi=permanent loan to a friend.  I also gave a copy to my niece a few years ago.  Funny game.  You don’t know what will help and what will hurt the awful green things until you try.  Makes for a humorous narrative.

The Great Khan Game – Rick owns this one, and we went through a spate of playing it way back when.  I just recently bought a copy, so I hope to introduce it to the Bistro Players soon.

Search for the Emperor’s Treasure – another Dragon magazine game.  I gave Gary a “Best of Dragon Magazine Games” collection years ago.  This was the best of the bunch.  I now own this collection of games for myself.

Mertwig’s Maze – Never played this.  But it showed all the usual Wham-ish elements I like in his games.  So I bought a copy.  I have boxed it, as the folio it cam in was inadequate to the task.

King of the Tabletop – Another Dragon magazine game.  I found a free print and play edition, with improved graphics on BGG.  So I have made up a set to play.

So I’ve had a nice jag of collecting.  It’s now time to get some of these Wham games played.

Also, I did some rearranging in the Bistro today.  I have moved several of the 2-player and war games back into the Bistro.  Last Tuesday Alex, Steve and I played Churchill.  It may be that attendance has permanently faltered for game night.  But if that is the case, I am going to advocate for more play of war games or slower hobby games from a few years ago.


And the “old” keeps rolling in…

October 22, 2015

I seem to be on a game buying tear:

Caverna – Now in the collection, along with a special sorting tray.

Fresh Fish – This is the 2014 reprint.

Kohle & Kolonie – Although they screwed me out of a rulebook.

Workshop of the World – older Ragnar Brothers

Steam Donkey – I guess this one isn’t all that old.

Blooming Gardens – a whim, got only because it is an old Ragnar game.

New England Rails – en route

20th Century – en route, sounded cool and the price was right

and the one bona fide new game:  DRCongo – the latest Ragnar game that inspired me to go ahead and buy a couple of others previously mentioned.


And how many of these have I played???   <crickets chirping>  Ah well, it’ll happen eventually, right?

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.

Analyzing the collection… zzzz

July 29, 2015

According to BGG, I now own 397 games.  This is a fair amount of inflation, from the days when I was more actively chasing games out of the collection to keep the count down to 300 or so.

So why own so many games?  To play them?  Well, yes, that is usually the motivation.  But sometimes not.  This article will attempt to list some of the broader categories of complementary reasons for owning a game (besides playing it).

Historic Artifacts – Sometimes I like to own a game because the game itself is a piece of history.  A few examples:

Swastika – a game from 1907 that I found in a family cabin.  It has nothing to do with Nazism, but is used as an Indian symbol.  I just like having a game from the 1900’s, and I like that it shows the swastika was a valued symbol before the Nazi’s twisted it meaning.

Civil War by Avalon Hill – it gives me a window of how that historic company got started and what they thought might appeal to the adult game buying public of circa 1961.  This particular game pairs the use of simple plastic pawns with the famous Avalon Hill CRT chart.  It represents an evolutionary stub in conflict-simulation game development history.  As a bonus, the game is actually fun to play, if unbalanced.

Touring – I love the illustrations showing the cars of the 1920’s on my edition.  I also recall playing with these cards at my grandparents home.  So some good nostalgia value here.


Collectorism – I fall into this trap over and over.  Some examples:

Francis Tresham – I am a fan boy.  I like collecting his games.  I really do like playing his games.  But most of his games do not get played often.

franckh – I bought an entire collection of these pre-Kosmos games just because I wanted to explore a wing of eurogaming I had missed.  I then went on to scour the world to collect the few I didn’t initially get in the big purchase.  Years later and I still haven’t played many of these.  Collecting the set just to have the set seems to have been my main motivation.

Jean du Poel – I cannot seem to stop myself from buying any Historien Spiel Galerie game I find that is not in my collection.  I just love the handmade art he puts into his games.  We do play a few of them occasionally.  But owning a bunch of these games and being on the hunt for more is its own pursuit.

Microgames – I have every Metagaming microgame ever released.  I did enjoy playing some of these years ago.  But mostly they just are here as a memento of gaming done in the past.


Games that need some love – I am a contrarian.  When I see a game that I think has some merit, but others fail to see its value, I am sometimes even more inspired to own it, so I can advocate for it.  A couple of examples:

franckh – I got into collecting the set.  But I got into it largely because these games seemed largely reviled, yet quite a number were by Reinhold Wittig, who I am a fan of.  So I wanted to make my own assessment of this group of games.

Backpacks & Blisters – Alex brought this over recently, and it flat as a pancake.  yet I enjoyed the style of game play, and found myself thinking this game is misunderstood/under-appreciated.  Alex was kind enough to give a copy of the sequel game “More Backpacks and Blisters”.  I will proudly have it available on the game shelf.

Old “Grail” Games – I was so happy to lay hands on certain games in the past that were darn hard to track down.  To be sure (some of) these games have been played.  But the owning of them was its own reward.  A few examples:

  • 1829
  • 1853 (1st edition)
  • 6 Tage Rennen
  • Auf Fotosafari in Ombagassa
  • Ave Caesar (Ravensburger edition)
  • Big Boss
  • Broadsides & Boarding Parties
  • Extrablatt
  • Full Metal Planete
  • Global Air Race (the game you play on a Replogle globe)
  • McMulti
  • Supergang
  • Tante Tarantel

There are others.

If a fella isn’t careful he can fill his shelves with games that are there for reasons other than getting them played frequently.  My friend Joe, prides himself on playing every game in his collection within a 2-year period.  That is not me – I have games I have never played, and have never considered getting rid of.

I do see the merit in having a collection that is actively enjoyed on the game table.  But I am not prepared to cut away games that I value for reasons other than their viability as entertainment.

So if you are ever find yourself staring at my collection of nearly 400 games, and find yourself wondering why you don’t see a game you want to play… this blog may explain why I own the “wrong” games.




Back at the table

May 31, 2015

I was pleased to return to gaming this past week.  I had been on a long business trip, which meant I missed two weeks of gaming.

Monday night the boys agreed to give Silverton a whirl.  I was very pleased to see they were enthusiastic.  I expect we will play again this coming session.  We halted out first game, as now that the boys had seen the game, and would enjoy a fresh start.  I imagine we might play over a couple of weeks before we end the game.

Tuesday night saw the return of Michael to gaming – he had not come in months.  Steve and Zack were present making us a foursome.  I suggested McMulti, and with no objections I taught the game.  Not so long ago I played the reprint, Crude.  So it was fun for me to compare and contrast.  I won’t detail all the reasons, but I am glad I kept the McMulti version.  I like the greater variability of the economic situation.

Over the past two weeks or so, I have purchased two games:

Rails through the Rockies – It arrived while I was away.  I knew going in that this was likely a hard-to-play game.  But I wanted to look it over, and now it is on hand.  The game deals with a similar subject as Silverton.  It has a crayon rails aspect to it.  I am not sure if this will be played.  But I am enjoying reading it.

Rails of New England – Joe Huber introduced this to me a few years ago.  I didn’t immediately warm to it, and went on to explore other games.  But with my more recent interest in rail games, I decided I was now interested in a second look.  It does seem a worthy game, and I am looking forward to checking it out.  Unfortunately the New England location does not fire my imagination as much as the Rocky Mountain location used for both Silverton and Rails through the Rockies.  On the bright side, Rails of New England has handsome production values, while Silverton/RttR are Spartan.


Why do new games suck?

May 5, 2015

Am I just buying the wrong new games?  Seems like all new games end up failing around here.  A few examples:

Mythotopia – One play from Zack and it is on the veto list.  Known end-game problems going in, multi-player bash the leader game.  I have had more fun with it than I might have expected, but I am doubtful this one has much more to show me.  The Monday night boys have enjoyed it, so I will likely play a little more of it.

Viticulture – It works.  But each game feels very same-y.  Alex suggested we cut the number of workers again.  Might help, worth another try.  But while the simulation value is decent, the novelty value is wearing thin, and I don’t see much else to keep me coming back.

Palaces of Carrara – I sold this one after it cratered at the club, and TG had a terrible time with it.  Definitely a game you can do yourself in.

Russian Railroads – Zack hated this one, Alex is ambivalent.  Why own a game no one wants to play?

Baseball Highlights – Whiffed with both Zack and TG.  I liked it and so did Alex, but I don’t need another 2p game, and this one loses utility if it won’t please the other players enough to see table time.

My track record with newer purchases is really sucking.  I am finding more enjoyment in exploring older cast off games that I don’t really expect to play much.  Like Silverton, which I would love to play, but don’t have much hope for ever playing very often with others, however, I may get some solitaire enjoyment out of.  Or Blackbeard, which I have been studying and may eventually play on Monday night.

The problem with the old games is my play shelf just appears to get more and more stale.  Power Grid, Princes of Florence, Puerto Rico, Ra, Agricola – lots of good, old, games.  But when everyone has played them a couple of dozen times, there just isn’t much zip in playing them again.  Oh we do, and we have fun.  But the zest isn’t there.  I suspect this is why attendance has been slipping at game night.  We’re no longer on the cutting edge of new games.  Nor do I really want to be – the state of the hobby has moved away from my sweet spot.  But I admit I do miss some of the excitement of trying new cool games.



May 4, 2015

Over the years, I have only played Silverton a couple of times. I have had a good time with it. But I didn’t care for the cramped board of the Mayfair edition.  So eventually it left my collection.  Last year I bought a bargain copy of the original Two Wolf edition.  I’ve decided this is the edition for me.  While the board is rather Spartan, even drab, there is actually room to play the game.

A fellow on BGG posted a set of replacement Claim/Train cards to be used with the 1st edition, and I just finished printing them out, and cutting them down to size.  They are a big improvement to the game, and tonight I gave the game a solitaire test run.  I thought the new cards elevated the game a bit.  I also used the advanced rules for shipping freight.

I really enjoyed my solitaire game, and would love to actually play this game with an opponent or two.  I worry about the game slowing down too much with 4 players.  I also have a computer assist file for playing the game.  But tonight I was enjoying just doing the rolls manually.


BGG Top 25 & February round up

March 1, 2015

A friend of mine posted a quiz on BGG.  She took a photo of each of the games in the top 25 – the components, and challenged people to identify them without peeking.  This was illuminating.  I could only identify 8 of the games on first effort.

Further, of the top 25, I have played just 12 of them.  And of those, there are a few I have no intention of getting back to.  Of the 13 I haven’t played… well, I have a someday date to try Caverna with Rob… I’d be willing to try Terra Mystica… I hear Mage Knight might be a worthy solitaire game… which leaves 10, that I am either ambivalent about or certain I don’t care about.

February was a bit light on gaming for me.  I did attend part of Juegos, which helped my game count considerably.  Apart from Juegos I managed to play 13 games in February.  At Juegos, I played 15 games, for a grand total of 28 games for the month.

New games tried in February include:

Fief – A reprint of an older wargame from Europe.  I liked it, but our play with 3 players felt a bit off.  I noticed it got played at Juegos, with a higher player count.  But the playing time swelled to several hours.

18FR – We haven’t finished this one.  But we have a 3p game going on Monday nights with Rick, Chris and me.  Basically 1830 on a French map.

Jumpin – Older 3M game that Zack and I tried.  Very abstract, and I doubt I spend much more time with it.

Die Bremer Stadtsmusikanten – I insisted on reading the overview of the fairy tale (Brothers Grimm) before we played it.  Highly tactical game, but actually a bit of fun.  I even had a request at Juegos to play it again later by Randy, who never wants to play games.  Probably more fun as an event, and won’t see much action going forward.

Camel Cup – Which I gather from BGG is really Camel Up.  This won SdJ?  Nice game, but the SdJ has scaled back in ambition it seems.

Baseball Highlights 2045 – We played it 4 player, and I think it really wants to be a 2p game.  I liked it, and so did Alex.  Zack and TG gave it a thumbs down.  I note it has solitaire rules too.

Speaking of solitaire games, I’ve found myself hankering to play some solitaire board games lately.  I’ve been buying a few older AH and Victory Games that are for solitaire gaming.  I haven’t actually been playing them yet.  We’ll see…


November 7, 2014

I recently decided to buy a few games off of eBay.  One game I let slip through my hands a few years ago was D-Day.  I think D-Day is a historically interesting game.  It was released in 1961 by Charles S. Roberts/Avalon Hill.  It was the first WWII war game that featured the use of a hex grid.  Obviously this was a big step forward for the “ConSim” hobby.  Countless games took this idea forward.  The original D-Day was quickly revised.  In 1962 several rule tweaks were made to it.  In 1965 another designer heavily reworked the game again.  Lots of changes in a short amount of time.

Personally, I’ve been curious to see the original rules.  So I bought a copy off eBay, but I learned that I had missed the mark.  I ended up with a 1962 edition.  So I bought again, and now have the 1961 original edition.  it is in horrible shape.  But between it and the 1962 edition, I think I can make pretty good copy to play upon.  The various differences are fascinating to me.  I’ve begun to try to correct a number of errors on BGG.  Pointless, I suppose.  But there is so much misinformation about the early editions of this game that I am sure it causes many people to misunderstand which edition they own, or are offering for sale on eBay.

The differences are fine points.  The 1961 and 1962 editions are nearly identical.  Only once you see the reference guide included in the game do you know which one you have.  The 1965 edition is nearly identical.  the cover is very slightly changed.  The map has been slightly changed.  But the rules are heavily tweaked.  Then in 1977 the game got another edition.  This one is the easiest to spot.  The cover is still much the same, but the block of text is much smaller and cramped than before, making it easy to spot.  Nevertheless, the BGG entry has the wrong edition shown…

So my goal, is to catalog the various differences and post a guide on BGG.  I doubt that anyone will really find it useful.  But sifting through all these details is right up my alley.