Writings about games and other stuff

A blog about my relationship with the gaming hobby and about life in general, and whatever pops into my mind.

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It's a boy!

Linda Stenström
Finland
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The title says it all.

Just after midnight on the night between Monday and Tuesday, our little son was born. Everything went really well and our little boy is healthy, so we're back home already.

We're happy beyond measure, tired, I don't even know...
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:41 am
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Still waiting for baby. Won't you come already?

Linda Stenström
Finland
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...not that I'm impatient or anything.

I haven't written in a while. My life right now seems to be all about preparing and waiting for the baby. And even if it's very exciting for me, people on a board game web site might not be that interested in pregnancy updates every day. But now I think it's time for a little situation update.

As I said, we're still waiting for the baby. The due date is tomorrow, but few babies are actually born on their due date. But it could happen any day now. So exciting!

I have been on maternity leave for five weeks now. This system we have in Finland is such a luxury, I'm really happy about it (10 months paid maternity leave, which starts about five weeks before the due date and last until the baby is nine months old). But surprisingly enough, staying at home from work was not all that easy for me. I could have worked for a couple of weeks more, but after that my work would definitely have been too hard me. But being home alone was so boring. I'm only getting used to it now, after more than a month. Also, I'm used to work, and being at home doing nothing very much useful made life seem pretty, I don't know, useless? Even if I was waiting for the baby and all. And as I said, being alone so much is boring. I tried to keep up some daily routine, and find stuff to do. But most people I know are working, hubby has been working like crazy all spring (from next week on he has seven weeks of vacation, that's going to be wonderful), almost all my friends are working... I have this one friend who is at home with her little baby girl, and we've been on a few coffee dates, but they live so far away that we can't meet every day or even every week. But still, I'm happy for the chance to stay at home and rest and prepare for the arrival of our little one.

And I must say, I am starting to get a little impatient. I want to meet our little one already! Really looking forward to getting to know this little creature. Well, shouldn't be long anymore.
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Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:07 am
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Still going strong

Linda Stenström
Finland
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No posts here for a while, oops. I've been thinking about writing about the games we have played, but I just haven't got around to do it. Also, we haven't had time to play very much lately. A few games every now and then, but hubby pretty much lives at work, he's working on some project that he wants to get ready. But yeah, we're still alive. I've been at home on maternity leave for a couple of weeks, and even if it's still a while to our due date, the baby could in theory decide it's time any day now. So our life has been about waiting for the baby lately.
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Fri May 27, 2016 9:53 am
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Mice, dice and pirates - games played April 18-24

Linda Stenström
Finland
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Last week was a slow week in gaming due to busy work schedules. But I realised I only have two weeks of work left before my maternity leave begins. I'm looking forward to that, even though I like my job. Keeping up with those six-year-olds is getting exhausting at this point.

After last Sunday's trip to Helsinki (you can read about it in my last blog post) we decided not to buy any new games for a while. We didn't define "for a while" though. But fact is, we have bought lots of games this spring, and now we need to concentrate on playing the games we have. We have all the new games, of course, but also a lot of older ones we haven't played in ages.

So, what did we play last week? On Monday hubby and I managed to get a couple of games on the table. First off was Flip City, one of the games we bought last Sunday. It's a deck building game where you try to get a certain amount of victory points to win. The twist of this game is that the cards are double sided. So your cards are always face up, also in your draw pile and when you shuffle. You can then upgrade your cards by flipping them to their better side.
Hubby was really excited about this game, and I can see why. But for me, it wasn't love at first sight. Of all the new games I have played lately, this was actually one I wasn't convinced about. I can't really point out what was wrong, it was just a vague feeling that I didn't understand the game, although at least in theory I did understand the rules. I'll have to read some forum post and see if it starts making sense to me.

The second game on Monday was Takenoko, one of our new games which has already become something of a favourite. We bought the Chibis expansion last Sunday, and decided to try it now. It adds a female panda and some other small stuff. No big changes to the rules, except that you can now also choose to move miss panda instead and have her make babies, which earns you more points. It was a good expansion. Not one of those that we will never play without again, but it adds fun variation to the game.

Next time we got to play games was on Saturday. Hubby and I started the gaming with two games of Dead Man's Draw. Hubby has played it a lot on the PC, and at some point this spring I decided to buy him the tabletop version. We have played it a couple of times or so before, but now I felt I'm really starting to get the game. In short, it's a sort of push your luck card game. It's quick and the rules are simple, and it might seem like a game that is a lot about luck, but there are actually a lot of choices to be made. I like it, and I think it will get a lot of table time.

Then hubby's brother arrived, and we sat down for a session of Mice and Mystics. And in case you didn't already guess, it's also one of the newbies in the collection. Mice and Mystics is a co-op role playing board game, where you can advance through several chapters in a story. The rules are pretty easy, but it seems like the story telling is very good. We started with the first chapter, obviously, and well, didn't get any further than that. We were close to losing the game all the time, and when we were pretty close to the end of the chapter all of us got captured which meant we lost.
It was a fun experience and I look forward to playing again. This session was a little affected by the fact that two of three players were a little tired, and it was also a new game to all of us. I think when we play again we will enjoy it even more, hopefully the game will then have a better flow when we are familiar with the rules.

Hubby's brother only stayed for one game, so hubby and I continued the day with a game of Quarriors!, which has quickly become a favourite. I like deck building games and the feeling when your deck of cards grows, but adding the dice to your bag in a dice builder is even more fun. It's just such a cool feeling to shake that bag with all those dice.

Then it was time for the last game of the evening, Port Royal. This time we decided to play with the expansion, which was new to us. Port Royal is a pretty new game in the collection, but we have played it a few times. I got a recommendation to get the expansion from someone here on BGG, and when I saw it in the game store last Sunday, I decided to buy it. I wasn't sure whether Port Royal really needed an expansion, or how good the expansion would be. But the expansion is very good, even so much that it felt it should have been part of the game to start with.

On Sunday we didn't have much time for gaming, but we managed to squeeze in a two player game of Mice and Mystics. Since we failed the first chapter on Saturday, we decided to replay that. This time we managed to win, but only barely. Playing now that we were more familiar with the game made the experience better, it was easier to get immersed in the story when we didn't have to check the rules all the time.

Not a lot of games hit the table last week, but we had fun (mostly) with the games we had time to play. Hopefully we will have time for some gaming this week, too.
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Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:40 pm
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Games played April 11-17 - Quarriors, Coal Baron and more

Linda Stenström
Finland
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The first week in the new apartment went pretty much to get everything moved and organised, so no time for gaming there. But this Monday hubby went game shopping with my brother, and of course we had to try some of the new games. (We have been shopping a lot lately, but on the other hand we had a long period when we didn't buy any new games. It's so nice with our new library, now there's space for new games. And of course we have to fill that space right away...)

The first game we played was Quarriors! Light vs. Dark. I had only heard and read the name Quarriors! before, and didn't really know what the game was, but hubby was very excited about it. The base set is very expensive though, and since the cheaper Light vs. Dark set also works as a stand alone game, hubby decided to buy that first. Apparently, Quarriors! is a dice building game. I have played several deck building games before, but dice building was new to me. It was a very fun game, and definitely worth expanding I think. Actually, one of the game stores around here had two of the expansion sets on sale this week, so we ordered those and they arrived the other day. They should be compatible with the Light vs. Dark set, but we will probably have to get the original base set at some point. One thing I noticed was the rules. In the base set, there are rules. Then one expansion had revised rules, which override the old rules. And the rules in Light vs. Dark overrides the old rules... What a mess, it seems. Perhaps it makes sense when you play the game and expand it, but in my opinion it's not the most customer friendly solution. Anyway, a very nice game, and I look forward to playing again.

Next we played Coal Baron. Also a game that I had probably heard of, but had no idea what it was. Well, it's a euro, no mechanisms that were completely new, I guess, but the combination of mechanisms was nice, and the game was pretty quick. Hopefully this game will also get a lot of table time.

Last game on Monday for my part was not one of the new ones, since I felt I wanted to play something familiar. So we decided to go for a game of Dominion. We have played that game a lot, but it was actually so long since the last time, that we had to check the rules for starting hands and winning conditions... This time we decided to mix the base set with the Guilds expansion. The Guilds has been in our collection for a while, but I don't think we had ever used that set before. It is a nice set, no complicated new rules or mechanisms, but a good variation to the original kingdom cards.

Later that evening my brother came over and he stayed up late with hubby and played some more games. I had work on Tuesday, so I went to bed early. But my brother stayed for the night, and when I came home from work on Tuesday, we played a little more.

First game we played on Tuesday was Lost Legacy: Flying Garden, one of the new games hubby bought. It's a Love Letter spinoff, and very much like it, but with it's own little twists. Not much to say about at this point other than that it's a nice addition to our collection.

Next in line was The Grizzled. This also was a game we had not played before, it's one of the games that has moved in with us this spring. It's a co-op card game where the players are friends who try to survive the Great War. Basically, you try to play as many cards to the table as possible during several missions, without playing too many cards sharing the same traits. When I read the rules I was a little worried that the game would be too easy and not have great replayability. Boy, was I wrong. The rules were simple, alright, but the game was definitely not that easy to win. We failed mission after mission and evetually lost, at no point were we even close to winning. Hopefully this little game gets played a lot, I think it will present us with much challenge yet. Also, I really liked how card texts and such were so well made and really fitted the theme.

After this my brother had to leave, so hubby and I decided to play one last two player game for the night. We went for Fairytale Gloom, also a recent addition to the collection that was yet unplayed. We also own Gloom and like it very much, it's a pretty unique game system I guess (transparent cards). So we decided to get the Fairytale version as a variation. There are a few differences between the versions. The biggest is of course that the theme in Fairytale is fairytales. Also, some rules and stuff that are part of expansions for original Gloom, are added to the base game in this version, stories for example. But all in all, it's Gloom with a different theme. We thought that fairytales as a theme would make it easier to come up with funny stories and such, but after playing we were not so sure. It felt like the theme rather limited the story telling. But still, a good game.
Fairytale Gloom should be compatible with Gloom and the expansions, so maybe combining them might be fun. I actually ordered a couple of expansions for Gloom when I ordered the Quarriors! sets. The game store had some copies of the first edition of the Gloom expansions a bit cheaper than the new ones.

Then we had a break in gaming for a few days due to our work schedules, but on Saturday our friend J came over to play games. I had spent several hours at the Child Fair at the convention centre in Helsinki, so I was pretty tired, and the guys played two player games for a while. But then I joined them and we played a few games. First we played The Grizzled. This time hubby and I had a better picture of how it was wise to play, and we actually managed to win the game (on rookie level). It's definitely a game I recommend.
Next up was Coal Baron. It works very well with three players as well, and I really like it.
Last game on Saturday was Lost Legacy: Flying Garden. This time we played several rounds instead of just one. It's fascinating how only 16 cards can make such a good game. I mean, the game doesn't sound very interesting when you just look at the basic idea - draw a card and play a card.

On Sunday hubby and I had some quality time and played a lot of games, just the two of us. First game was Morels, also one of the newbies in the collection. It's a two player card game where you collect mushrooms (cards) and cook them to earn points. The game seemed very easy when reading the rules, but it was actually more difficult and "thinky" than many similar games. That was actually very welcome, since many smaller games and/or two player games are very easy.

Next up was Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, yet another newbie. I'm not going to try to explain the game, but I would definitely recommend it.
After that we played two games of Quarriors! Light vs. Dark, one game each with the two expansions that arrived in the mail. While we were playing, we discussed the fact that we would have to get the base set at some point. Even though Light vs. Dark works with the expansions, it still isn't optimal as a base set. But the base set was sold out at the store.
And now comes the funny part. Of course we had to check the online store, just to make sure it was still sold out. But. It wasn't sold out anymore, apparently the store had received more copies since we last checked. Ok, well, it's still expensive, and we would have to wait a few days for it to arrive if we ordered it. If only it wasn't Sunday, then we could go to the store and pick it up right away. But the store isn't open on Sunday afternoons, we'll check that too, just to make sure. But of course, the store is open. We looked at each other for a while, then packed our stuff and jumped in the car and drove to Helsinki to pick up the game. And a couple of other things...

Well, back home we tried playing a game of basic Quarriors!, and it was absolutely worth the trip to Helsinki. But we did feel a little geeky, acting like that.

Well, that was my week in gaming. Hopefully we will have time to play this week, too. We agreed that there will be no more shopping for a while. We should play the games we already have.
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Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:36 pm
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Games played March 27-31

Linda Stenström
Finland
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Due to the move, we haven't been able to play a lot lately. But I noticed I haven't written about some games we played before the move. On Easter Sunday, three of our friends came over to play some games. Unfortunately, they were not at our place all at the same time, so we got no five player games going, like we had hoped to.

First one to show up was my brother. He played a two player game of something, Star Realms I think, with hubby while I was still trying to wake up. Then another friend, D, arrived, and we decided to play Dead of Winter: A crossroads Game. This is one of our recently acquired games, and this was my second time playing it. This time the scenario was much more difficult than the first time we played, and not surprisingly, we lost. This time we also had a traitor among us, but both hubby and I thought during the game that D might be the traitor, if there was one, but actually it was my brother. This is a fun game and I'm looking forward to playing it more.

After this, hubby's brother arrived and we all had a cup of coffee together. Unfortunately, D then had to leave. Now we decided to go for an older game in the collection, Darjeeling. It was not as difficult as I remembered, probably because it's ages since I last played it, and I have played so much after that and develop as a gamer. Anyway, still a beautiful and clever euro.

And now my memory deceives me. I clearly remember hubby's brother staying for more than one game, but I have not participated in those. Perhaps I was making food while the guys played something I wasn't interested in? Anyway, he left at some point before the next game I participated in, which was Tikal, also an older game in our collection. I had only played it once before, many years ago. Funny thing, I knew I had played it but I didn't remember the game at all, and when we pulled it out, it could as well have been new to me. Well, it's a very nice euro, and hopefully the next time we get to play it won't be so far away in the future that I forget the game again.

Last game for the night before my brother left was Powerboats, also an older game, and one that we have played a lot before. Still very fun racing game, and this time we ended up with lots of exploding boats. Oops.

The week after Easter went very much to working and preparing for the move, but on Thursday that week, when we went to my in-laws to borrow their van, we also played a game. My in-laws like playing games, and trick taking card games are their favourites. Wizard is a game we have played a lot with them, so much actually that at one point we had to buy a new deck because the cards got worn out. This time we didn't play Wizard, though, but Diamonds, a new game in our collection. It's also a trick taking game, but with the benefit of being much quicker. First they thought it sounded complicated, but when they realised that you don't predict tricks, but use suit abilities to collect diamonds, they liked it.

After that it has been quiet on the gaming front. We moved, and even if we have spent a lot of time arranging our games in our new library room, we haven't played anything. Yesterday hubby went game shopping with my brother, though, and we played a couple of the new games. But more about that later, hopefully we will get to play a little more tonight when my brother comes over.
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Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:18 am
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How do you feel about lending your board games to other people?

Linda Stenström
Finland
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This is more of a question to you, than an actual blog post. But I'm very curious, how do you feel about other people borrowing your board games? Do you lend your games to family and friends? If you do, to whom? And if you don't, why not?

This is a question that comes up every now and then. We have loads of games, and sometimes people ask us if they can borrow a few games. Now that we moved to a bigger apartment and built a sort of library, people even more realise how many games we have, and ask to borrow them.

I'm not going to tell you my opinion on the matter just yet, but I would love to hear what other people think.
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Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:59 am
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First post from the new apartment (and pics of our home library)

Linda Stenström
Finland
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Finally I get to sit down by my computer for a while. It's been an intense week. Last Friday we got the keys to the new apartment, and since that we have been working on moving everything and getting the new apartment ready. I've been sooo tired, it was wonderful to get to sleep today. Poor hubby had to go to work today, though.

The old apartment is emptied and cleaned, and yesterday we gave back the keys to it. And even if it means we're really tired, but working hard payed off. The new apartment is basically ready, baby's room is still a mess of boxes and trash, but the other rooms are finished. Of course there are small details, like finding the most practical order in the closets, and installing all the lights and stuff. But it feels like a home already.

Moving is an experience of it's own. We're really happy about this new apartment. It's bigger and more spaceous, and we finally have a dishwasher now, that's something I have been dreaming about for years. And we turned the walk in closet into a library, that's so cool. I'll try add some pics of it. If I manage to get the pics from my phone to here...

That was by the way one of the biggest stress-causing things. My computer broke during the move! Hubby managed to save my files from the hard drive, but all my programs and stuff are lost. I'll have to re-install everything at some point... Argh!

Ok, here we go, our library:









But now I will go and have a cup of coffee and just relax and enjoy my beautiful home. Have a nice day all of you!
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Sat Apr 9, 2016 7:01 am
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Really stressed out by the upcoming move

Linda Stenström
Finland
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It's Thursday morning. Tomorrow, we will get the keys to our new apartment, and we can start moving. Of course, I'm at work tomorrow, but hubby has the day off from work. My brother and one of hubbys brothers has promised to come and help hubby out, they will probably get most of the big furniture moved tomorrow, and then we will move the rest in the weekend.

I'm so stressed right now, there's so much going on. Baby on the way, and now the move. Too much for my poor head to keep track of. And it feels kind of unreal right now to know that the next night will probably be our last night in this apartment. The decision about the move happened quite fast. And one thing, which makes the move super easy, but makes it feel more unreal right now, is the fact that the new apartment is in the same building, so we don't have to pack barely anything. We can just empty the cupboards into IKEA bags, carry them down two flights of stairs and put everything in the new cupboards.

I'm really happy about us getting a bigger apartment, but dear goodness I feel stressed right now. I just want the move to be over...

But hey, the new apartment has a walk in closet. We will finally have a little library room for our games.
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Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:59 am
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Re-organizing Dominion

Linda Stenström
Finland
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After writing about expansion monsters, what would be better than to continue the rant about storing one of them?

So, Dominion. I've said before in this blog that storing that game is a nightmare. But let's start from the beginning.

When I played Dominion the first time, I loved it. I still like it, but the rating has gone down a bit. And I'm sad to say, but the size of the game compared to how short and light it is, affects my opinion in a negative way.
First there was one box, then another. I started realizing that there would be many more. Pulling out two boxes in order to mix between the sets was OK, but when the third and fourth boxes arrived, I started thinking about a storage solution.

I had a few criteria. I wanted to be able to store all sets in one place, so that they would be easy to pull out, to transport, and it would be easy to mix the sets. Well, my first solution was to pull out the insert from one of the boxes and store the whole game like that. I also tried making my own dividers and stuff to keep the cards in order, but the box was always in a mess. And with more sets being published, soon one box wasn't big enough, anyway. And it became really heavy.

The next idea was to get a big ring binder and plastic card pockets. So we did that. At this point we have nine boxes of Dominion (all sets up to The Guilds), the Base Card Set, and some promos. Well, everything still didn't fit in the binder, but the kingdom cards did. The rest of the cards, and all the other stuff, we put in one of the boxes.

Here's a couple of pics of the binder.





This solution wasn't flawless. Ok, so instead of nine boxes we had one box and one binder. But:
-The game had long since ceased to be transportable. The box and the binder were really heavy. They took up less space, yes, but carrying them any longer distances than from the shelf to the table was almost as much work as carrying the nine boxes.
-The cards kept falling out of the card pockets. Even when putting the binder down on the table, like in the pic, cards would start falling out from the pockets.
-Finding the right cards in the binder basically took as long as just pulling out the right box and taking the card from it.

So a couple of days ago I decided to put the cards back into their own boxes until we find a better solution. One reason was the upcoming move. I don't even want to imagine the nightmare it would be, having thousands of cards falling out of the binder while moving to a new apartment. So now the cards are back in the nine different boxes (and there are at least to sets we don't have yet), and I'm still looking for a solution that will work.

Also, completely off topic, but hubby brought home four new games yesterday. Again. Has the guy won the lottery without telling me?
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Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:54 am
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