Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Beware! You've found my semi-hidden blog. So that I have an idea of how many people have made it here, please recommend the list. (I like this recommendation feature - now I can see who y'all are... B^)

Unfortunately for you, all that's here is a bunch of random ramblings.

I'd just as soon this list not be publicly announced if possible - thanks!

(Note - this is no longer active. And recommendations are now thumbs, but who's counting...)
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151. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:280]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I'm continuing to work on Jamestown, but haven't broken through the problem of just what the buildings do, and how this works when they effect everyone. The game has been reduced to 41 cards, and other minor changes have occured, but nothing definitive yet. I have finished reading a history of Jamestown.

We played Bohnanza and King's Breakfast at lunch today, as I continue to concentrate on playing favorites. The interesting (well, to me) effect of this is to push the average rating for the 81 different games I've played this year to 7.02 (and the average rating per segment of gaming time to 8.02). And this is with 27 new games with an average rating of just 5.24; this means that the average rating for games I've played in 2006 that I'd played previously is nearly 8 (7.91). (For comparison, the same number for 2005 would be 7.32.)

I have played 10 new-to-me games this month, making for the 16th straight month I can claim to have reached double digits. At a guess, I'll reach the mark again in March, and certainly in April, making May the next month I may fall short. Still, in the absence of Gulf Games I will have played fewer games; my count for the year is at 116, and my count for February just 46 (in Februarys when I make Gulf Games, my totals are 95, 95, and 106).

One other item interests me - the average length of game I've played remains high, specifically at 60 minutes at present. This isn't intentional - I'm not avoiding my favorite fillers, or anything - but stands out as higher than anything in the past decade; the next highest since 1997 was 51 minutes in 2001.

Boring today, I know. I'll see if I can get far enough with Jamestown to have something more interesting to post next time.
 
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152. Board Game: Euphrates & Tigris: Contest of Kings [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2369]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I played five games yesterday: one new, two second chances, and two favorites.

The new game was Zocken, which was OK, but nothing I need to play further.

The two favorites were Lost Valley and Acquire, both of which were every bit as enjoyable as expected.

The two second chances were interesting. The first was the E&T card game, which I've moved from tolerating to loathing. It is possible to create an interesting card game from a board game - San Juan is a fine example. But you have to make some changes to deal with cards, and there has to be some innovation. The E&T card game isn't inherently awful, but it adds nothing to the gaming scene and there's _no_ reason to play it in preference to the board game.

Shear Panic, in contrast, was exactly the same the second time as the first. Abstract, with mechanisms that don't really fit the theme, and with annoying possibilities for randomness and kingmaking. On the whole, not bad, but I don't regret letting it go.

One thing I've discovered by keeping a spreadsheet of what I play is that games that make it to a 4th or 5th play tend to do reasonably well in terms of staying in my collection. Specifically:

Of the 595 games I've played just once, I own 50 (8%). Most of those are recent acquisitions which will make a second play.

Of the 183 games I've played twice, I own 29 (16%).

Of the 110 games I've played three times, I own 32 (29%).

Of the 54 games I've played four times, I own 26 (48%).

The individual data starts getting a bit flaky at this point - but for games I've played 5-9 times, I own 117 of 178 (66%); for games I've played 10-19 times, I own 92 of 111 (83%), and I own all 60 games I've played 20+ times.

So which games have I played 10-19 times without owning?

Connect Four - Ben has a copy, and the boys enjoy it quite a bit. Played 19 times.

Taboo - I don't consider it part of my collection, but a family copy. Played 18 times.

Crokinole - I suspect the boys would like it if we got a board. Played 17 times.

Settlers of Catan card game - Lost favor with me over time. Played 16 times before that happened.

Quarto - Another game in the family collection. Played 15 times.

Unpublished prototype - not mine. Played 15 times. Will buy as soon as it's possible to do so.

Suppenkasper - much like the Settlers card game it just lost favor with me over time. Played 15 times.

Liar's Dice - I don't enjoy it much, but it's a Gulf Games requirement. Unfortunately, I seem to be getting a bit better at it, such that I've lost in the _second_ round the last two times instead of the first. Played 14 times.

Apples to Apples - another family copy. Played 13 times.

Tutanchamun - another game that lost favor with me, as kingmaking seemed too likely. Played 13 times.

Alaska - moved to Ben's collection, as it lost favor with me after 12 plays.

Auf Heller und Pfennig - I came to seriously dislike the game after 11 plays; a twelth later did nothing to help.

Bamboleo - Never a favorite of mine. Played 12 times - all in 1999 - anyway.

Sticheln - Too chaotic in feel for me, such that I never request to play it, though I don't mind it. Played 12 times.

Der Schatz des Pharaos - a pleasant enough distraction, but there are just other games I prefer. Played 11 times.

Mole Hill - I let it go, and then reacquired a copy for Ben. Played 10 times.

Roller Coaster (MB) - I acquired it for nostalgia, and then passed it on to the boys. Played 10 times.

Savannah Cafe - was never my copy, really. Played 10 times.

Venice Connection - you know, I'd love to know where the copy I originally bought is now. I traded it to Mark Johnson, who I know passed it on. I thought I'd heard it had moved on at least once more, but I haven't heard word of it in ages.
 
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153. Board Game: The Great Game of Visiting Williamsburg Virginia [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I spent a fair time last night thinking about Jamestown. Things are firming up; I hope to put together a copy starting tonight. I still have 12 cards to figure out, however. What I have currently:

16 VP cards. (1-2-3-4 VP in 4 different categories)

Selfish action - may either hire a worker or take VP from a worker already present.

Unselfish action - may both hire/rehire a worker and take VP. Other players may do one or the other. (Rehiring is particularly advantageous, as it doesn't use up a worker.)

(1 VP cards are in the initial setup)

4 Basic goods. Used to hire/rehire workers.

Selfish action - 1 good for you / nothing for others

Unselfish action 3 goods for you / 1 for others

All values +1 with the presence of a worker.

(in the initial setup)

4 Advanced goods. Used to hire/rehire workers. Same selfish/unselfish actions as basic goods.

(not in the initial setup)

Council (center space in the diamond). At council, players earn votes. Votes may be used to force other players to make unselfish choices.

Selfish action - 1 vote / 0 votes
Unselfish action - 3 votes / 1 vote

(In the initial setup)

4 special buildings (all in initial setup):

* Dock - where additional workers can be brought in.

Selfish action - 1 worker for free / nothing

Unselfish action - 1 worker for free; 1 may be hired (using basic goods) / 1 worker may be hired (using basic goods)

* Laborers - may hire workers to improve basic good production

Selfish action - hire 1 laborer / nothing

Unselfish action - hire 2 laborer / hire 1 laborer

* Craftsmen - may hire workers to improve advanced good production. Same selfish / unselfish profile as with laborers

* TBD

This leaves 12 cards (from the new total of 41) to be sorted out. I'm naturally falling into the same trap I did with my original Jamestown design - thinking in terms of hardship elements that fit thematically, but aren't particularly fun. (Unless, of course, you think having 75% of your population die, and then later 1/3 of your population killed in a raid, is fun.) The biggest problem I'm having is finding interesting objects that make interesting selfish vs. unselfish actions; that said I can't convince myself to drop that feature, as I'm quite fond of the idea.

Some of the ideas I'm currently contemplating (feedback on these would be most welcome, btw):

Native American Tribes - would have to be appeased over the course of the game to avoid raids. Doesn't fit in particularly well with the selfish/unselfish action model.

Cleared land / housing - instead of paying for workers from the boat, houses would have to be purchased. Downside - these would be largely one-use cards; I really want to avoid creating too many such cards. Also would require additional components, though could be cardboard.

Trading posts - actually, this might be the final special building in the initial setup; the unselfish action allowing trading an item for any good (even trading to advanced goods).

Fools gold - places along the board to collect iron pyrite, which is required for occasional taxes. Fits in reasonably, but requires a timer element in the game.

I think the biggest problem I have with adding tribes or gold is that they lengthen the game, without (IMHO) adding to it. I'll probably add cleared land and the trading post, but that still leaves 8 cards to sort out. Well, maybe by tonight I'll think of something.

=====

The other random thought in my brain right now is setting aside 6 hours at the Gathering of Friends in April to play card games. I can picture getting four people together and playing Bridge, Hearts, Spades, partnership Cribbage, Rook, Canasta, Pinochle, Pitch, Euchre, Control Nut, Flaschenteufel, Twilight, maybe even Tichu all in a row and having a blast with it. Maybe even limit it to partnership games...
 
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154. Board Game: Diam [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:5180]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Played one semi-new game and one truly-new game yesterday.

The semi-new game was Numeri, which is close enough to Fröscheln that I'm combining them in my spreadsheet, regardless of the decision here. Fröscheln improves the game and has cooler pieces and a better theme, so it's the keeper.

Diam is a boring abstract. Michael Tsuk has introduced me to the term "sharp" as it applies to games, indicating that the difference between doing well and sucking fumes is small. With Diam, I'd apply the same term, but in a different way - the game goes from progressing to over too sharply. Now, it's possible that with experienced players the game isn't so sharp. But unless you foster a local collection of Diam experts, I'm not sure you'll ever see this. (In contrast, Lines of Action is a hit with me because of the feeling of progress - it helps to provide an arc to the game, and losing doesn't feel so bad as a result - while winning feels more like and accomplishment and less like an accident.)

I finally printed out the first Jamestown card last night, along with the second. Now I just have to find a way to get 39 more done and the bits assembled tonight...
 
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155. Board Game: Highland Clans [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:7114]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Don't believe the hype.

Be wary of the buzz.

And don't trust the naysayers.

I played Mac Robber at lunch today. I played Caylus last November.

I had more fun playing Mac Robber, and am more anxious to play it again than Caylus.
 
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156. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:172]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I wasn't able to get Jamestown ready before my trip. However, it doesn't look like I'll get much playtesting in anyway, so no great loss.

I played a bunch of games with my brother when he was in town this past weekend, including Fjords (which still interests me enough to hold onto - I was worried it wouldn't), Lines of Action (which I still really enjoy), Scrabble (because my brother loves it), and a big family game of Settlers, plus some Spinball.

Last night I played Trump, Tricks, Game (which likely won't get a third play - it's not bad, but there's just not enough control in the game to play seriously and too much obsfucation in the system for casual play. Also played Friesen-Toern again; good fun, though I'm not sure it's a long term keeper, as I'd rather play Autoscooter.

Finally, played Indonesia - my fifth play. And I still really enjoy the game; I made two major mistakes and one minor one late, and they cost me the game by $8. Very enjoyable game - and it unfolded very, very differently than any previous one I've played, a good sign.
 
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157. Board Game: Bread [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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For those looking for thoughts on games or gaming, best to skip this one.

I love bread. I'm the pickiest eater I know aged 18 or older, and there are far more foods I don't like or won't eat than those I do, but I definitely love bread. Now, even there there are limits - I'm fond of white (including italian and french), wheat, and sourdough, not so fond of multi-grain, rye, or most fancy breads.

I just wish it was easier to find good bread.

Warm bread is nearly always good. What really makes a bread stand out for me is (1) how it eats plain, and (2) how good toast it makes.

My very favorite bread is Pane Pugliese, from AG Ferrari Foods in the San Francisco area. It's great to eat fresh - it manages the rare trick of a nice crust, a soft interior, and enough heft to it to know you're eating something. And it makes incredible toast. I'm in Sunnyvale at present, which is (of course) how this topic came up.

Probably my second favorite bread is Orlando Bakery's Italian Twist, which can be found in Northeast Ohio. It's not _quite_ as good for eating, but makes a fantastic toast.

That's enough on bread, so I'll get on to what few thoughts I have on games today...

If I look at days of the week and the gaming event(s) I associate with them, it's an odd assortment. Ignoring the week or half-week long events (which don't really associate with a "day"), if I'm gaming on a:

Monday - I'm probably at Joe Rushanan's, in Bedford, MA. I've been going to Joe's about once/month for over a decade now, and it's still the most likely group for me to be playing train games with. I might also be at the Neutral Ground (Mountain View, CA) for the Monday version of SVB.

Tuesday - These days, I'm probably at Game Castle in Loveland, CO. Sheila & James Davis introduced me to the group; they help make my Fort Collins trips easier. Historically, I'm probably at Don Woods' group in Mountain View, CA. A great private group that I've always enjoyed joining when out.

Wednesday - I'm probably at SVB in Mountain View, CA. I've attended many, many times; being a public group with changing attendance, it's not as steady an experience as others, but still fun.

Thursday - I'm probably playtesting with Tom Lehmann and Matt Leacock in Sunnyvale, CA. Great fun - it's where I played Tom's recently-released Jericho game.

Fridays - I'm probably playing Bridge in Westborough, MA. Friday has never been a regular game day for me; Bridge is about as regular as anything. Unless you count Cookie Mue at work...

Saturday - I'm probably hosting gaming in Westborough, MA. I first hosted in 1995, and have been the only host for ~5 years now; it's become about a 8 time a year affair due to work, but still is great fun.

Sundays - I'm probably doing family gaming in Westborough, MA.

There are lots of other game groups I've joined once or twice, including a half dozen in MA and nearly that many elsewhere during my various travels, but the ones listed above are the most frequent.

Of course, having said that - there's no day of the week I _always_ game. Most of these groups I visit less than once/month.
 
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158. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1047]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Sorry - I've had too little time. Thankfully, gaming has been a part of the reason for this...

Last Friday I played Lines of Action and Hive (four times) with Tom Lehmann. This was my first try of Hive; I'm impressed by the game, but not sure just how much I like it.

Last Saturday I played Bumparena and Eichhornchenbande with Mark Jackson and his older son. Both are cute, reasonably enjoyable kid-friendly games. We then moved over to non-kid games, playing Um Krone und Kragen (twice), Antike, Stunt Academy, Res Publica, and Showmanager. My opinion of the last three games didn't really change (I enjoy all three). My opinion of Antike slipped some - there are things I like about it, but I'm not sure there's _enough_. And the box was somewhat damaged on the flight home; for a close case like this, it might be enough to push it out. Um Krone und Kragen I'd only played once before, a few years back, as a prototype. The only thing that kept it from rating higher then was that I'd only played it once; it's now moved up to an 8 for me, and stands a chance at rating a 9.

On Monday I played Nottingham for the first time. I enjoyed it quite a bit - it's interesting to have everyone on the side of evil for a change.

And today I got to try out Aquaedukt for the first time. I was worried, after reading the rules, that it wouldn't be particularly good - but it was in fact rather enjoyable.

Which means I'm now up to four 2006 releases played (counting Jericho, which I haven't played the released version of yet), with each of them rating 7 or higher with me. And I'm hopeful that California will continue the trend....
 
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159. Board Game: Nottingham [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1790]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I tried Nottingham a second time at lunch today with 7, which is not the ideal number for the game - but it still worked fine. I doubt this game is destined to be a keeper in the long run, but for now it's good fun.

We also tried two prototypes of mine for the first time - two dice games I'm trying to get ready for Erik Arneson's contest, for no particularly good reason save the fact that I like the challenge. Gerrymander, a two player game about (yes, you guessed it) gerrymandering, worked quite well; I expect that I will submit it once I've cleaned it up a bit. Drafting Dice, wherein players draft dice to form poker hands, is just OK - it works fine, but it isn't really enough to my taste to want to spend too much more time on. Which might or might not be enough to submit it - we'll see.
 
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160. Board Game: California [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1779]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I've played a number of games lately. Brief thoughts:

Um Krone und Kragen - on the verge of a 9 rating for me.
California - I really enjoyed it with 3 players; I'm worried about it with 5.
Jericho - still what it was as a prototype - fun but too destructive to be a favorite.
Bus - oh, my - I now remember why I didn't like this game.
Outpost - every bit as much fun as always - even though I was the one left behind this time.
Shipwrecked - yuck.
Master Thieves - slipped on my second play.
Funkenschlag - still more fun than Power Grid.
Quanta Costa - my second play was enjoyable; sticking around for a third.
 
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161. Board Game: Die Erbtante [Average Rating:5.17 Overall Rank:10201]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I got to try Die Erbtante on Thursday, the 10th new game I played in March. My pile of owned but unplayed games is staying fairly light, and I have no more games I'm waiting for at this point, so I strongly suspect that May will break my streak of playing 10 new games each month.

Speaking of Die Erbtante, it's one of a type of game that's now well loved here, but which I enjoy - I think of them as 70s German Games, because they're very much of that nature. But having labelled them that way, they continue to be made - Indus, for example, is a very good game of the genre. They are typically simpler games, but still offer the players real and meaningful choices.

While I enjoy heavier games - complex games with a very high correlation between player actions and results - I also enjoy games such as Indus where good play may or may not be rewarded. What tends not to do well with me are games which only have the illusion of rewarding good play - I'm happy with a high random factor in a game so long as the game realizes this
 
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162. Board Game: Indus [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:7667]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Sorry for the lack of updates this week - it's been crazy...

I haven't played much this week. Tuesday in Loveland I played Caylus and Jenseits von Theben. Caylus wasn't, as I feared, worse the second time around. It also wasn't, as I hoped, better. I won handily, though to the game's credit I don't think it was a particularly repeatable strategy. I still love Jenseits, even if I was crushed, but the general reception wasn't very good - I think people aren't forgiving enough of randomness in some areas.

Wednesday I introduced Ethan to Praerie, the Alex Randolph abstract, and this went over well - though Ethan didn't key onto it as quickly as he does with some games. Does make me want to explore the game more...

Yesterday I played Indus (along with Pompeii and a few others, recent additions to the work collection), Ark, Geschenkt (twice), Um Krone und Kragen, and Don't Fence Me In (my game - previously Gerrymander). I still love Indus, and don't understand why it received such a bad reputation...
 
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163. Board Game: Friends [Average Rating:4.32 Overall Rank:10724]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I leave for the Gathering of Friends tomorrow, and will likely be posting very little this month - after the Gathering I'm spending a week with my family in Williamsburg, and then when I return I expect to be buried.

So, a bit before I go...

I've only played six games this week (counting Bridge twice). Thoughts:

I played Campanile for the first time in quite a while, and wasn't greatly impressed. It's leaving the work collection (I need to pare things down anyway), and may even leave my collection. Rating drops to a 6.

My 50th game of Mamma Mia was as enjoyable as those that proceeded it.

Schützenfest remains a great game for three players. I even discovered something new - the rules for Hallo Pauker specify that players can not score less than 0 for a hand. I think this is actually an improvement...

And last but not least, I played Saint Petersburg for the first time this year. Not for lack of desire, really - though I suspect it will be a 5+ game this year, rather than 10+ - but it just hasn't snuck onto the table I was at.

I've now played 11 of the 14 games I rate a 10 - every game save Fresh Fish, Freight Train, and Advanced Civilization. I'm not doing so well with the 9s (14 of 32). My average rating among the games I've played remains just shy of 7. And, oddly, my totals are _up_ year-over-year: at this point in 2005, I'd played 111 different games (vs. 127), 213 times (vs. 221), with 37 new games (vs. 38). But April won't be as good as last year - I'll play a lot of games next week, but few the rest of the month, and I've got more of a jump start on the new games this year.

FWIW, I've written two more German Game Author articles, but need to get them cleaned up before sending them on to Rick. I also need to _write_ some game book reviews. On the other hand, I've acquired a replacement copy of the 2000 edition Old Town, so maybe that article will show up...
 
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164. Board Game: Scoozie [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Thank you gentle readers for not complaining about my 2.5 week absence in updates here; both Columbus and Williamsburg were lovely, though I'm glad to be back now.

And, since I should probably post a Gathering report somewhere, here it goes...

Favorite moment: Meeting Mike Siggins. I really wish I'd found a way to get in more games with him - I only played one, Lunatix Loop, the last game I played at this year's event.

Favorite new to me game: Scoozie. Yes, coming in from left field, in an abstract sports-themed game, which should be a recipe for disaster - but instead is the only new to me game I've actually gone out and purchased.

Prototypes: Not counting announced and finalized games such as John Silver and Fiji, I played 11 different prototypes a total of 21 times, not including 3 of mine (for 7 more plays).

New to me:

Expect to add to my collection permanently:
Scoozie

Expect to add to my collection:
Thurn & Taxis
Nacht der Magier
Cherubim (actually added before I played it)
Aton
Times Square

May add to my collection:
John Silver
Lunatix Loop

Would play again:
Die Dolmengoetter
Darter
Crystal Faire (though I may purchase it to speed along production of one of the aforementioned prototypes)
Chinesische Mauer
Augsburg 1520
Seeraeuber (I prefer Safeknacker)
Zig-Zag
Cleopatra (with the right crowd)
Aqua Romana
Hart an der Grenze
In10sity

Not for me:
Il Principe
Mauer Bauer

Previously played games played again:

Um Krone und Kragen, 10 Days In Africa, Airlines, Aquaedukt, California, Wildlife Adventure, Jericho, MacRobber, O'Kudos, Smarty Party, Bridge, Wizard, Indonesia, Hey That's My Fish, That's Life, Scream Machine, Ice Cream, Outpost, Jenseits von Theben, Ubongo, Nobody But Us Chickens, 2038

(For what it's worth, I'm certain Um Krone und Kragen is a keeper, California probably is, and Jericho might be; Aquaedukt and Nottingham will likely reach my trade list eventually.)
 
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165. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:2199]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I tried two abstracts yesterday at lunch - one new to me, and one I was giving a second chance to.

Santorini I became interested in based upon Stephen Tavener's comments; I'm happy to have had the chance to try it, and look forward to further exploration, but I'm not sure exactly what I think of it.

Axiom I was glad to try again, but it's not for me. It's on my trade list now, if anyone's interested...
 
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166. Board Game: Canasta [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2150]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Lots of thoughts rattling around today, but only time for one right now...

I enjoy videogames. I have for years - I still remember when my family got our Atari 2600 (and even have vague memories of our Pong system before that), and retain a large collection of videogames - 150 or so for the 2600 and ColecoVision; 30 or so for the Intellivision, Playstation, and 5200; 10 or so for the Odyssey 2, Microvision, and Playstation 2. And some unknown number of computer games. But over time, my tastes have largely narrowed - the only games that tend to get played are (1) classic arcade games, back when originality and gameplay mattered more than secret tricks and interesting controllers, and (2) board and card games. My latest find on the latter front is the German computer edition of Loewenherz (Domaine), which seems to play a decent if _very_ aggressive game.

But the videogame I've played most in the past year is that classic Gameboy Advance cartridge, Ultimate Card Games. And, at that, there's only three games I really play on it - Euchre (annoying, as it defaults to including the Joker), Cribbage (quite nice - I'd really like to learn to play Cribbage better someday), and Canasta. I've now played 116 full games of Canasta on the machine (it's nice enough to keep count of these things) with 81 wins. And it's really turned me on to the game - while I enjoy many traditional card games, Canasta's captured me far more than most.
 
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167. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:40]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Recommended listening: King of Spain by Moxy Fruevous.
 
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168. Board Game: 1 Stein + Co. [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6971]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I played two games for the first time yesterday. While they each earned the same rating from me, one seems far more likely to move up than the other.

1 Stein & Co. was simple and not bad; with 3 or 4 it's probably better with the variant rules, which I look forward to trying.

Cityscape isn't bad at all, but I'm not convinced it will hold up well.

I also played Scoozie a second time, and it began working on relieving my one remaining worry (not enough possibilities to remain fresh). This could end up as my favorite abstract, and could move up to a 9 rating for me.
 
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169. Board Game: Celtica [Average Rating:5.56 Overall Rank:8124]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Statistics day...

At the end of April I'd played 181 different games (21 ahead of last year) 329 times (2 behind), with 71 (3 ahead) that were new to me. I played 33 new-to-me games in April, the second highest total for a month since I started keeping track (behond April 2002 - 39).

And, after a run of 18 consecutive months in which I've played at least 10 games I've never played before, I'm likely to fall short of that mark this month. I played 8 different games yesterday, some for the first time this year, but only one (Celtica) I'd never played previously. Celtica is an inoffensive game with pretty graphics, but one lacking in decisions or control; I almost vetoed it, but Dan wished to try it and I figured it wouldn't hurt too much. It didn't, but I don't need to repeat the experience.

The other games played:

Transportation Tricks (which I still enjoy)
Morisi (my first play in a while; still fun)
Africa (only my second play this year, which isn't enough)
Zauberschwert & Drachenei (continues to do what it does well; very much like a good Krims-Krams Kiste game in many ways)
1Stein + Co. (which I enjoyed again, but am coming to realize isn't going to be a keeper - if you want it, let me know)
Lucky Loop (which is still fun, but Um Krone und Kragen fills the same space better, so I don't know how long it will stick)
Musketiere (still fun)
 
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170. Board Game: Industria [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1223]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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The second half of my week featured little gaming, but some good fun - including Ark (one more play and it's to 5+ again) and Industria (less likely to make my 5+ list again this year).

I've been working - or trying to work - on game design a bit these last couple of weeks. I always end up with post-Gathering projects, and I've made some progress on them. Cycladean Isles has actual written rules now, and Gerrymander is on it's way to them. I'm most excited about getting back to my long (3+ year) dormant Civ-in-30-minute game. And I'm trying to get Jamestown to a first playtest, but mostly have additional reading material (from Jamestown, of course).
 
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171. Board Game: Flußpiraten [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6341]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
I played a bunch of games on Saturday:

Sabotage
Fast Food Franchsine
That's Mathematics (my proto)
Flusspiraten
Timbuktu
Geschenkt
Sequence x2
Finish
New England
Big Boss
Scoozie
Aelpler Stafette
Loopin Louie x5
Can’t Stop
Saint Petersburg
Schnaeppchen Jagd
Hey That’s My Fish

Five - Sabotage, That's Mathematics, Fluspiraten, Sequence, and Finish - I'd never played before. I'll keep working on my prototype, but of the published games there weren't any keepers, though each was pleasant enough.

This does bring me to 6 new games in May, but I still don't expect to hit 10.

More interestingly for me, it leaves me at just 8 games I own but haven't played - only 7 if I don't count Big Manitou, which I expect to count the same as Manitou once I've played it. Of those, I hope to try Flinch soon, and _might_ get in Kontor.

I also have a bunch of games I've re-acquired, at least one of which I should actually try again some time...
 
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172. Board Game: Big Manitou [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:5769]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Can you believe it's been a year now that I've been entering items here? I can't.

I haven't managed to average an entry a day, but I'm not _too_ far under one every two days, and it's been rare that a week has passed without something.

I played Big Manitou for the first time at lunch today, and realized (1) I prefer Manitou, in spite of some real improvements, and (2) I don't really still need Manitou, either.

I also played Sisimizi, my first play of the game since 1998. Still fun; still not fantastic. And the inspiration for a list - all the games I've played in one year, skipped for five or more years, and then played again:

…und Tschuss!
Axis & Allies
Black Box
Borderlands
Bus
Clue
Connect Four
Cosmic Encounter
Das Regeln Wir Schon!
Die Mauer
Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle
Formula Dé
Hallo, Dachs!
History of the World
Lang lebe der König
Monopoly
Nanuuk
Ole!
Quarto
Sisimizi
Sixteen Thirty-something
Spartacus (from Neue Spiele im Alten Rom)
Stratego
The Wheel of History (from Neue Spiele im Alten Rom)

And finally, a request - I'm curious how often people read what I write here. So, if you would please, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd add a comment here when you first read it. Thanks!
 
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173. Board Game: Blueprint [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Ethan begged to play this last night, so we did. For what it is, it's rather cute, I must admit. Made me want to play the arcade game.

We played Sextet at lunch today; I tried a gambling 3NT bid for the first time. Not with great success, unfortunately.

I took 5 minutes and cleared out a _lot_ of games from my work collection today, cutting back to "only" 70 games at work. There's a bunch of good games, and likely to be a few more when I do the same at home shortly. If there's something you want, let me know - for nearly anything that's listed as "used" condition I'll be happy to give them a good home cheaply. Or offer a trade, or offer .

I've got a few too many games on order at present, but in a number of cases I have no particular intent to play them - I bought them to check out, and then use them for pieces or add them to the trade pile as makes sense. I also tried to order 25 copies of Crocodile Pool Party from FunAgain for my own nefarious purposes, but unfortunately (and somewhat surprisingly) they were sold out. I wonder if any of them will end up in the hands of Tom Vasel.
 
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174. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:626]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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This is apparently my week for getting in games I haven't played in ages - I played We The People tonight for the first time since 1996. And it was just as good as ever; unlike many games I leave too long, I'm glad still to own it.

I also played Kontor for the first time - the 8th new game this month - and was underwhelmed. The other 6 games I own but haven't played aren't particularly likely to get played this month, but you never know.
 
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175. Board Game: Lost Valley [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:856]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
I went through the home half of my weeding this weekend; please check out my trade list, many of which (particularly used games) I'd be happy to sell at reasonable prices rather than trade if preferred.

Played Lost Valley at lunch today, making the third straight year I've played it twice - a good sign, as those are the games that stick around.

I'm listening to Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold as a book on tape, having finally thought to look for her books on tape on Ebay - there are a lot of things that take me forever to look for on Ebay, for reasons I don't understand. In any event, it's a great performance of a great book - the only problem is that I now wish to drive more.
 
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