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Gamer in Withdrawl

I spend more time designing games, bagging bits and reading rules than I actually get to PLAY boardgames these days. When video games wont do... now I can blog too!

Archive for Brian Cherry

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Kickstarter Exclusives, but only available to certain Kickstarters

Brian Cherry
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I'm noticing a trend on kick-starter that I'm not a fan of... the Core/Retail package vs. the Kickstarter Exclusive box for a highter pledge.

You want to pay $50+shipping you get a copy of the basic box that you could buy retail. BUT, if you want the Kickstarter extras you have to pay $25 more.

I thought the point of Kickstarter Exclusives was to reward people who kickstarted your product? Why is it my pledge can help bring you to a stretch goal, but I only benefit if I pay extra?

I don't mind when a company offers a base game and add-ons, and puts them in a deluxe edition, but to offer exclusives only to backers who pay extra for them is tacky

If you are going to take my money to invest, why shouldn't I get interest on my investment? In the end, how can you ask me to pay more than I will pay for the game retail, often get the game at the same time as the stores, and give me nothing extra for it?

By contrast, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia just delivered its Kickstarted game. They produced two versions of the game, a Kickstarter edition with all of the extras and a retail edition. The difference? Everyone who kickstarted the game above the $1 mark got a copy of the Kickstarter edition.

I know that a product will not live or die based on my involvement, so nobody will cry if I don't pledge. But I hope that more people will start to see this type of Kickstarter project for what it is. If we allow it, why wouldn't they offer us less for more?

As a side note, regarding the Steve Jackson Kickstarted Ogre. The cost for Canadians was $150 (to help offset shipping supposedly). Recently the game has shown up online for about $80+shipping. From what I've been told, the cost to them is about $55. This means that backers paid $95 more than the cost of the game - for Kickstarter extras amounting to about 6 sheets of counters. But, at least all backers got those sheets.

PS - I just noticed its been EXACTLY one year since my last blog. Wow. Time sure does fly. Thanks for reading.
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Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:08 pm
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Secret Santa Blues

Brian Cherry
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Y'know... I haven't had much luck lately with Secret Santa lately. You see, I join it to taunt and play and have some fun. Its a chance to "meet" some random geeks and maybe share some traditions. For a couple of years now, Ive gotten hooked up with geeks that dont want the same thing - and it disappoints me. Not to sound thankless to the Santas that dutifully check my wishlist and order me a game, I appreciate that, but I keep hoping that it will be more fun than that.

No amount of taunting will get my target to respond at all. Nothing has been responded to - nothing. Ive tried playing around, and they arent interested. Likewise, the only email I got from my Santa was to tell me the parcel was on its way - and I do appreciate the heads-up.

I had a great Secret Santa experience with the DT Secret Santa a couple of years back - you know who you are... I still dont, for sure. It was great - lots of fun banter back and forth, some cards were exchanged, and a Christmas memory was made, no small part due to Santas extreme generosity. Thank you. You told me to pay it forward, and Ive tried. All I can do is try and be generous. But whats the point of the rest of it when the target doesnt care. Some people just want a game I guess.

Now that is out of my system. Thank you God for my loving family, my secure job, my warm home, my health, and my full tummy. After that, does anything else really matter? Only a litte... modest

Merry Christmas Everyone!!
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Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:34 pm
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How things have changed Pt2 - Kickstarter Kickoff

Brian Cherry
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In my previous blog (Online vs In Person - How things have changed), I started to talk about how things have changed since I started gaming in 2005. But, they changed so much that my topic went off on a tangent, and I ended up speaking about online vs local gaming stores instead of what I intended to write about... Kickstarter.

With my discovery of BGG, I learned that I could find out about games in advance of their release. It was a suprise to think of "new games" - what with Risk, Monopoly, etc being around nearly forever. But now I could see the art, and read the rules to games as they were being designed. Much like listening to single to a bands upcoming CD, or watching the trailer to a new movie, I got excited about what a game might be. If I was really excited, I could even preorder a game (read, pay full MSRP plus shipping to ensure I got the game as soon as possible).

Then I heard about Kickstarter. You want me to give you money for a game you havent made yet? Even if youve never made a game, or the design isnt even done? It sounded like the Agricola preorder I did with Zman. But,Agricola was already published by Lookout, so we knew what the Zman was producing. And I cant forget the REAL reason I ordered from Zman... Animeeples. And that was the KICK in Kickstarter - they offered me extra stuff.

D-Day dice was the Kickoff for me - and hoo-boy what a ride. I spent X amount of money, and they are giving me a game. But wait, now we're going to throw in extra cards, and dice and bags and... I was hooked.

But what really is Kickstarter to me? It fills the urge to find out about upcoming games. It often gives me a chance to talk with the designers as the game is being designed. If youve read my other blogs, you know I love designing games. Ive never gotten a game published (close, once) but I love designing - and this makes me feel like I have some say. I helped a game get made, and its awesome. Also, as a completist I want every piece available for games I own. This is a good way to get extras delivered with the game.

Lately too may companies are using Kickstarter for advertising and sales. No Kickstarter exclusives, but they will Sell you a T-shirt or such. Thats not for me. And the shipping prices have started going up. Ive noticed that when a company REALLY wants to get game made, they keep the shipping low. If a company already can fund the game but wants to use Kickstarter as a preorder service, their shipping stays high, and they dont give many bonuses. Its too bad.

Kickstarter is going the way of Ebay. Remember when you used to get good deals on Ebay? Not once it became too well known. Now, Kickstarter is getting watered down with companies using it as a hype engine. So, even in 6 months, I can see things changing again.

In 2005 I walked into a game store and asked which game I should buy... now Ive got at least a dozen kickstarter campaigns bookmarked in my internet browser. Ive bought fewer games from the Online game store because Im paying for games before they are even made now. Will the online store have to raise prices to survive? I dont know. But I am curious.
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Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:44 pm
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Online vs In Person - How things have changed

Brian Cherry
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Since 2005 this hobby has changed a LOT. I used to walk into my local hobby store and stare at the shelves for a half hour or so, reading the backs of boxes. Once in awhile I would ask the owner how good a game was and he would give feedback based on what he had heard. Once I started looking online for rules clarifications (Carcassonne interactions between expansions) I realized there were other people online giving their opinions. I stopped asking the guy in the store what he had heard, and started reading what reviewers had to say in their articles here. Then, I went into the store with a game in mind and bought it. Over time, written reviews seemed to be overshadowed my video reviews, and instead of going into the store I began buying online - the markup from the local store outweighed the combined shipping costs of several games.

Are the games better? No. Some of the best games are ones the guy at the store told me to get. But why?

I think, in many cases, its because the guy in the store often heard what several people thought of the game, and since he didnt have an opinion, it didnt dilute his recommendation. "Catan sells well. Lots of people say they love Carcassonne".

Online, I tend to take the opinion of whichever reviewer I am enjoying at the time. I can see videos of the game being played, and think to myself, that looks good. The problem is, because it has become so easy to take one person's advice I end up with a lot of games that seemed good at the time and lost their lustre after a few plays.

The guy in the store had, sometimes, years of sales to back up a claim. The only old games that get reviewed anymore are A) old favorites that always get good reviews or B) Games that are new to the reviewer and are coloured with the same new-game perspectives.

I think I might have to visit my FLGS this weekend and see what the guy has to say....

As a post-script, this isn't the topic I wanted to discuss today, but it's what came out when I started typing. Stay tuned next week for the real discussion - how things have changed Pt. 2
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Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:28 pm
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Lords of Waterdeep - a Graphic Redesign

Brian Cherry
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Well, it's been a very long time since I felt I had anything worthy of saying. Not that what I have to say it worthy of reading... I just felt like saying it.

Let me start by saying that I love the Lords of Waterdeep so far. I have not played it much, but so far it has been a fun, and interesting game. It is a good puzzle to try and figure each time based on which buildings are available. In one game I could NOT get orange cubes, and in the next, they were everywhere and my strategy had to be adjusted accordingly.

When I opened the box I was blown away by the quality of the components, and its storage tray. I will say though, I had a couple of gripes:

A. Using meeples instead of cubes for adventurers would have cranked the theme in this game to 10. As it is, it feels like a cube engine. Just making that small change (like in Agricola) would have turned them from anonymous resources being spent to aquire cards, into adventurers being sent on quests.

B. The Board sucks.

I think I'd better go into more detail for that second point. It sucks a lot.

Now, dont get me wrong, I do enjoy the color scheme used for the Forgotten Realms. It's a watercolor world, and I know that. But city could be brought to life with a few design changes.

1. Move the unbuilt buildings off the board, or at least out of the city boundary. In our games, it often looked like the built building at the bottom right, and the 3 unbuilt ones were in the same row, and therefore the same status. Having them in a special space decorated as a blueprint would have added clarity, and theme for me.

2. Add a small piece of artwork of the building each tile represents, which works together with...

3. Utilize the unused space within the city by placing the 10 avalable building spots within the city. This would a)give the city a sense of growing as the buildings are aquired, and b) make the board look different with each play.

How many times have you finished Carcasonne and just enjoyed seeing how the "board" youve created looks entirely different each time. I loved that A Castle for All Seasons had you transforming a town with each game from unbuilt to finished, but was disappoined that it turns out to be the same town at the end of each game.

The Lords of Waterdeep had an opportunity to have players bulding a unique City of Waterdeep with each play.

Just a few thoughts upon opening, and a couple of playthroughs. Please, tell me what you think.
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Thu May 3, 2012 3:51 pm
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Memes - the Big Mac of humor

Brian Cherry
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Please.

For the love of God.. or whatever...

can we stop with the My Little Pony stuff?

It wasnt funny when it was Chuck Norris

Neither was the Rick Roll

Or the Trololol - okay... maybe the Trololo was kinda funny.

That is all
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Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:59 pm
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Our Now is Only How We Perceive It - A Discussion

Brian Cherry
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If you have not had a chance to read yesterdays blog, you may want to catch up before reading on today: [geekurl=http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/5976/time-is-not-an-object-that-can-be-travelled-a-di][/geekurl]

An now, on to today's topic:

OUR NOW IS ONLY HOW WE PERCEIVE IT

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the phenomenon we call as "Time" is merely the property of an action.

We can state the properties of an object - The ball is red.
Ask an interior designer, and she might say it is Scarlet
Give the ball to a colorblind person and they might say the ball is grey.
If a child is raised being taught that the color red is called blue, he will say it is a blue ball.
Since color, time, and length are all measurements made by observation they are all subject to error, and interpretation
which is it? It is called whatever you perceive it to be. It IS what it is - the property does not change - merely the perception of it

I propose, that like the observation of color, the observation of time is what is perceived to change (slow, lengthen, stop near light speed, etc)

Furthermore, the Fabric of the Cosmos suggested that all of time is laid out past, present, and future where an observer can slice "now" in whatever way they perceive. However, I believe that it is not a function of other times existing, but merely our perception, which is modified my movement and distance.

Light from far away takes longer to get to us, and therefore we are seeing back in time. If it’s across the room, it’s only a little, fractions of a second. If its across the galaxy we are seeing years into the past. Looking at the stars in the sky shows light that has left at different times for different stars. Some of the stars we see don’t exist anymore, they’ve gone out, and we havent observed it yet. However, the NOW hasn’t changed, merely how we see it. Now, is the action everything is currently doing. It doesn’t matter what it looks like you are doing to me, what you are doing now is now. The problem is, we cant share the information fast enough to know.

The cosmos seems, to us, to move very slowly. But any astronomer will tell you it moves very fast. But the distances are so great, that we can’t perceive it. Were we to sit above the galaxies and watch, we wouldn’t see them move. But, I propose that if we were very large, we could perceive them moving. To someone my size on earth, this large person would be moving too slowly to see. But to the large person the small people would be moving very quickly. They have less space to cover, for their movement, their blood to flow, their breathing. Everything takes less distance to complete, so it appears to move quickly. When our sizes are in synch, our internal-clocks appear to be as well - but only because our clocks are just our perception of the distance we travel through space.

Moving closer to the viewer appears as time changing because the light is arriving, while the mover is moving. Since the speed of light is constant, and not pushed ahead by the viewer, while I walk forward towards the viewer you see me as I was when the light left me when I started AND as I am fractions of a second later when that light left from my next step. You see me at two times - the distortion we see affects the way we perceive time.

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise? No. Because noise is what we call the frequency of waves given off that create a vibration in our ears - tuned to only respond to certain frequencies. Therefore, no ears, no sound. There are still waves though. Bats can "see" sound. They visually respond to the waves we call sound. They are different perceptions of an unchanging property. The light we see is waves too - our eyes are just tuned to "see" different waves than our ears are. If we could tune-down our eyes like we can tune a guitar, we should be able to see the waves we hear as sound.

Since the color of an object is determined by the color of light reflecting back into our eyes, someone with different eyes perceives it differently.
To a person with no eyes, is there color?

It has been said that if you reverse the velocity of an object breaking apart, then its theoretically possible to un-break an object. However, this does nothing to rebond an object that has broken - the glass wont fuse back together, its bond is broken.

Again, I would love to hear input from anyone interested in joining in.

Brian
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Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:34 pm
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Time is not an object that can be travelled - A discussion

Brian Cherry
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Ok. This is WAAAAAY off topic. But, I was watching a very interesting program entitled The Fabric of the Cosmos the other night and it made me think about things I had not thought about in a long time.

I have long been an armchair philosopher-and-theoretical-pysicist, as I'm sure many of you are as well. So, please take what I say with that in mind. I am not educated in these subjects, and would welcome the opinions of those who are. I am merely stating the conclusions I have drawn from the information I have been given. I think these discussions are better suited for an entire site, as these questions run deep, but I'd like to start here with a group of intelligent, open-minded thinkers, such as yourselves.

TIME DOES NOT FLOW

Here's what I think: Time is not an object. Time is a property.
It cannot be travelled like a river. One cannot flow through time, get out of the water, walk upstream, and hop back in at an earlier time.

Here's why I think that:
A Minute is to Time what a Centimeter is to Distance
and
Time is to a Clock what Distance is to a Ruler

So, if a Ruler measures Distance using Centimeters
and, a Clock measures Time using Minutes
then, the Ruler/Clock are tools, measuring properties, using units

More specifically, if Distance is the property of an Object, then Time is the property of an Action. Time is the system of measurement we use to determine the Distance of an action or its "movement through space".

Nor is time an arrow. It does not move forward any more than the color red (another type of property) can move forward. Our measuring system suggests that time moves, but only because the clock does. More accurately, I would suggest that every action would have its own clock - one that starts when the action does, and stops when the action is over (if action ever truly ends). Time that runs continuously is just more convenient than starting a timer whever we do something. Time appears cyclical because it is based on the sun, and seasons - weve given it cyclical properties. The clock and calendar are both cyclical - they start and end, and then restart. They are like stopwatches, timing the day and the year.

We are never static, we are always moving. Even if I sit very still, I am spinning around on the earth. The earth circles the sun, which in turn is circling the galactic center of the milky way, which in turn is moving among the cosmos. We percieve time as moving forward, because we are always in motion.

Next up: OUR NOW IS ONLY HOW WE PERCEIVE IT

Please, add to this discussion. I am curious if I am the only one who feels this way.
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Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:40 pm
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Scripted Opening Moves

Brian Cherry
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I was playing A Castle for All Seasons with the Happy Wife yesterday, and noticed something that I hadnt before. Every time we play, our starting 2 cards is the Messenger and the Trader. Both of us, in every game. Why? Because you dont start with enough Resources to build, or enough money to buy a spot at the beginning. So the Stonemason and Bricklayer dont provide much benefit. We could have started Messenger for money and a Worker for the resources, but it makes more sense to us to start with a helper at the carts right away.

This is a similar situation to the beginning of Navegador I discovered with my friend Bill. With 2 players, each player navigates to one of the 2 open zones in order to colonize the next turn. Player 3 has more options, but essentially the first 2 have a very clear optimal move.

These are both games I really enjoy, but each time I play I feel like I would like to skip the first few turns and get to the "real" game.

Luna is similar, in that there are certain moves at the beginning that make sense, and ones that have no purpose in the opening round of the game, but this is compensated by the fact that there are many choices.

I think that ACFAS could have avaoided the opening problem by providing more resources, and money at the starting. While I realize that this may have given starting players and advantage, it could be offset by providing more to the later players.

The map is Navegadors weakness. There is only enough room for a certain number of ships. There are other points in the game where I have very few options because if I do explore a territory that starts Act 2 or 3, then an opponent in a good position can sweep into the lead very quickly. But this is less apparent than the opening moves. It just comes down to "ok, Bill. Which one are you going to?"

Its not a big thing. Just something I noticed. Have you noticed any others? Please comment.

thanks for reading.
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Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:49 pm
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I'm really pissed off with this blog system...

Brian Cherry
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I spent the last half hour writing a really great "Can games be too easy" article, only to have it deleted when I hit the enter key at an inopportune time (while I was trying to add a game to the "topics discussed").

It was really good too. You'll just have to take my word for it. I'm too pissed off to write it again.angry

I think I'd better add "rant" to my category list...
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Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:21 pm
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