Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farm Animal Meeples

Farm animal meeples on Tanga if anyone is interested!

I tried... but gaming tomorrow...

I tried to make it to the game night last night (with the local meetup group) specially because they were trying out a new locale (cafe express)

I will be hosting tomorrow 10/30 at 7pm. Let me know if you can swing by.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Essen report

All I can say is wow. I thought I was prepared for how big the Essen game fair would be, but I was wrong. Throngs of people is the only way to put it. The Messe where the fair is held is very large; scarily, the Spiel doesn't even fill it. Unfortunately, the layout of the place left something to be desired in my opinion. Food choices were much better than I expected and prices were not too bad, except for the drinks. 3€ for a 1/2 liter soda bottle or water bottle is really gouging, especially since I saw that they had a couple of vending machines around that were only charging €1.80. On top of that they also charged a 20 euro-cent deposit on the bottle (which you could get back if you turned it in of course). Enough with the complaints, though. On to the games...

The night before the public could get in I was lucky enough to get in a game of the new cooperative game Ghost Stories at the hotel. I liked that quite a bit; the system reminds me a lot of Panedmic but this theme is much more to my liking.

When Mark and I arrived, the buzz was certainly heavy towards Le Havre, the new game from the Agricola folks. People were waiting in line an hour plus sometimes to get the English verison of the X-deck and the veggie and ani-meeples. Also a lot of Le Havre copies exchanged hands. I spent a lot of time just wandering around and being amazed at how many different booths and how many different games were around. It was hard to know where to start. I ended up at the Rio Grande Games booth and we played Fast Flowing Forest Fellers. A nice quick racing game with enough interesting decisions.

Next I ended up at the Gipf Project booth playing Zertz twice against my friend Russ who now lives in Poland. It was great to see him again and kick his butt in the first game. :)

Most of the rest of the day I spent wandering around the convention. Russ and Anna and I ended up going out for Thai and Chinese food and playing Forum Romanum at the restaurant which was one of the games I really wanted to get if I could at the used game stores at the Fair.

Without getting to wordy, here are my thoughts about the new games:

Dominion: solid game which I'll play if someone requests it
Vineta: okay game, won't refuse to play
Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas: great theme, I think the cards might be a little unbalancing, but I would play again
New World: Carcassonne: didn't like it at first, but by the end thought it was fine. would play again.
Der Schwarm: odd game that I liked better than other folks
Zack & Pack: don't need games like this, if you can call it a game at all.
Diamonds Club: fine game, better balanced than I thought at first, would play again if requested.
Princes of Machu Picchu: good game, think I need to play it again before rendering a final judgement.
Steel Driver: interesting mechanic for victory at the end of the game. definitely would play again.

Comuni: The find of the fair. I really liked this and managed to get it signed by all 4 Italian authors. Definitely will be playing again. The theme seemed pretty integrated to what you are doing in the game and the external attacks that get folks to form the comuni of the game name are definitely an interesting mechanism.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fantasy Flight is taking over the world...

It seems like Fantasy Flight just won't stop growing. From taking over euro games originally made by other companies (Battle Lore, Kingsburg), to reprinting true classics (Cosmic Encounter). There's just no telling where they are going next....

On 10/18 I finally got to play Starcraft, a massive (but a bit smaller than their usual MASSIVE games like Descent and World of Warcraft) space race to develop your tech to conquer planets, while impairing your opponents' plans to do the same with battles. Grant, Mark, and I duked it out and had a blast while doing it. There are so many ways that you could develop your particular race that will determine what kind of strategies you will focus on for battles, that I don't see myself getting tired of it any time soon. For my Zerg race (think a cross between the classic Aliens and the insects from Starshio Troopers), I focused on developing super strong Queen units that could make battles pretty deadly for my opponents... Unfortunately I didn't get a good chance to use them. I could have focused on strengthening other unit types. In general, there are probably 4 different 'paths' in the tech tree that you could follow for each race, that will determine your fighting style (and they all fall in the sprectrum that goes from 'brains' to 'brawn'). Cool stuff. I'd love to play it more...

Then this last week, JD, Lance, Andy and I took a trip to the town of Arkham. In this game, players are investigators that move around town trying to control the invading horde of monsters, and sealing the portals they use to enter our world. You do all this while trying to prevent a big bad monster from waking up and wreaking havoc. There are many expansions out there, including a Penny Arcade one!. We played with the Pharaoh expansion. Well, we tried our best gathering spells, weapons, sealing portals, but alas, that wasn't enough. The big daddy woke up, and decided to have us all for dinner. We probably scored about 5 hits of 12 on it before we were all reduced to a bloody pulp. Next time, I'm paying more attention to what the requirements for effectively fighting the big boss are. Some of use were caught with our pants down when it woke up...

These types of games are a nice change of pace. I haven't recently laughed as much as I did while playing Arkham Horror this past week. Just because some call them Ameritrash, it doesn't mean they are bad games. Heavy-theme-with-a-dash-of-luck/randomness games like these are not bad. The euro may be king in my book, but these games hold their own... just in a different kind of way.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Newbie needs help.....

Has anyone ever ordered a game from Essen? This year they are featuring a game that is suppose to be better than Agricola and is already rated 8.50 by boardgame geeks. My concern is trying to get the rules in English. Am I better off waiting until there is an English version?

Also, does anyone know how to get the seasons expansion for Agricola that is being given away at Essen? Im Wandel der Jahreszeiten (Through the Seasons). Because it is a giveaway, does that mean that the gaming store won't be selling the expansion? I have only gotten to play Agricola twice and I am hooked!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gaming last night... Agricola makes a come back...

Ignoring our patriotic duty to watch the debates once again, JD, Andy, Lewis and I met at my place to play some games.

Andy, JD, and I first played a game of Notre Dame. We had fun fighting each other to have the best 'developed' borough in Renaissance Paris. This one is in my personal top 10. The game is short (<1hr), but shock-full of painful but interesting decisions for such a short game. It combines some interesting, and not overused mechanics like card-drafting. It has something like worker placement, where you place a marker on a spot on the board, and it triggers an effect which we've seen before (Agricola would be the latest game sporting this mechanic). The twist lies in that the benefit gaines from said spot on the board is multiplied by the number of markers you already had on that spot. Sweet. At the same time you are allocating resources to prevent the rats from infesting (lose 2 VP's and a marker from the board) your burough (like the beggar card in Agricola, this is terrible, but not necessarily game-breaking).

Then we played Zooloretto when Lewis arrived. It was all the game is meant to be... fun, light. We used the 'disaster tile' expansion which makes the game too nasty for this kind of game, but it was still fun.

Then we pulled out Agricola. We played with the Interactive deck. That deck has some intersting cards. I squeeked a victory (although Lewis is doubting my math) with some interesting card combos.

Last but not least, we played San Juan. I think I can conclude that Race for the Galaxy, its close cousin, has jaded me. I can't play San Juan anymore. I'm terrible at it, because I'm trying to play it like Race for the Galaxy.... by giving priority to things that don't apply in San Juan. Oh well...

When Lewis left, JD and I played a quick game of Voltage. It's an interesting quick 2 player card game that combines 2 other quick and interesting 2 player card games (Lost Cities, Balloon Cup).

'til next time...

LEGS Location

So last Tuesday was our last game night at Coffee Culture, for the League of Extraordinary Gamers(LEGS).

We just don't bring out enough people to warrant Mark's staying open just for us. Although he offered us Thursday nights since he is open late anyway on Thursdays, but Thursdays are not good for the most consistent attendees.

So we are looking for possible locations....any suggestions?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gaming Wed 10/15

As usual now, I won't be able to go to the League City Meetup tomorrow night. This time the excuse is that it's my wife's Bday, and she really is not much of a gamer (I probably would be fine with a game night in my Bday).

So I'm hosting on Wednesday at 7pm. I go in to work on Thurs at 1pm, so I can sleep in that morning.

Oh, and last week we had Marty, Joseph and JD show up. We played non-Agricola games: Monastery, and then JD and I played Tannhauser, and San Juan.
-I still think San Juan has its charm, eventhough it's essentially Race for the Galaxy without the steroids. JD pummelled me: my Race for the Galaxy skilles proved futile for San Juan.
-Tannhauser reminded me of Doom (the other dark scifi shooter game), but it is lighter in rules, and quicker. The dark alternate WWII sci fi world theme works really well. I might get this in the future, or I might pick Doom up finally (which I enjoy a lot).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gaming Thurs 10/9

I'm hosting once again, on Thursday at 7pm. Now that I have over 12 games of Agricola under my belt, I wouldn't mind playing something we haven't seen in a while (LEONARDO, Monastery, Tribune, etc...). That's what I said last week as we opened up Race for the Galaxy.... which I've played almost 20 times now. :)

Oh, and if Joseph buys "climb" (see below), I'd be willing to try it.

Link to a novel game: Climb

I thought some of you might be interested in knowing about this different and innovative game.

I heard of it on Steve Jackson's Game site

Here's the link to a review with PICTURES

Friday, October 3, 2008

yeah for lighter games...

I love Agricola, don't get me wrong. But like I was telling the guys last night (Joseph, JD, and Lewis), this is one of those games that I agonize over. Every painful decision has to be measured carefully. There are few actions available per round, and just 14 rounds... definitively not enough to do all you wish you could do.

We played our first game using the K deck (the hard deck). To me, it felt almost like learning Agricola all over again. The powers are just a bit more complex, but not by much. The issue really lied in the fact that they were completely unfamiliar to all of us. By now, after 10 games or so using the easy deck, I recognize a large group of the cards, so formulating a plan isn't much of a pain any more (with the easy deck). Using the new deck was very challenging (ask Joseph who played almost all of his cards, but still had a hard time scoring points.... he was blinded by the sheer power of all the cards in front of him). I look forward to trying them out again at some point. I am glad to see though that they won't necessarily replace the easy deck: they K deck has nothing to offer that would make the easy deck look obsolete. It'll then just be a matter of being in the mood for either one of the decks. Fun stuff.

Then we played a bunch of lighter stuff. Race for the Galaxy (ok, not THAT light), Fairy Tale (as I've said before, my favorite filler), No Thanks (getting tired of this one given how much we've played it lately), Ra, and a game that JD brought that combines Crokinole with the game Sorry. It didn't seem like Sorry at all though, but it was fun and simple....perfect to be playing late at night. It definitively felt a bit more like Crokinole.

Someday I'll get a Crokinole board (Marty, where did you get yours?), and Pitch Car.... probably my 2 fav dexterity games. The only dexterity game I own is Bausack, but I haven't tried it yet....