The Semi-Amateur Gamer

A blog of a guy that loves simply being involved with board games. Whether it is playing an CCG/LCG competitively, organizing a local convention, running a monthly game day, designing games, playing games with young kids, or going to conventions.

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Ash & Foam

Adam Daulton
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Having just recently wrote about my game room, you wouldn't have thought to get a new post so quickly, but here you go! While at Gen Con this year eating dinner at Scotty's Brewhouse on Saturday night, I mentioned I'd priced out getting neoprene for my game table. My buddies Jeremy and Jason were there and they also expressed interest. A couple weeks later I got a text from Jason asking if I was serious about it, which prompted me to find and order some for us three.

I read a thread here on BGG, which I apparently cannot find again right now. It had a good list of suggestions for companies to order from and what sizes to get. I checked out a few of the websites and I've got to say, we think BGG needs a website update, these cloth and fabric websites REALLY need an update. In the end I chose to go with www.foamorder.com.

A few things about ordering from them. First, they asked when you ordered to call ahead to make sure they had what you wanted in stock. I did so and was glad I did, because they didn't have the dark gray which one of us had wanted. I confirmed they had the 3MM black and 3MM green and then made the order. It still took them 14 days to ship the neoprene out, but when it came I was very satisfied!

It comes in 53" x 81" sheets which I've cut down for my table. Originally, I was going to simply cut it to the top of the table size and lay it on top. This would allow me to still expand the table if I needed to do so, but then I got the idea to wrap the top of the table and staple it underneath. I'm really satisfied with the result! I can't extend the table, but I've never done so in the 1.5 years it has been in the game room.



Then on a side note, my wife had seen some coasters made out of cut small logs, so she wanted to make some. I cut 8 out for her, smashed my finger badly because a saw is just stronger than I am, and then polyurethaned them after she painted. They turned out really nice and will go in the game room as well to help keep the new mat nice!



I can't wait to play a game on the new mat with a nice cup of Chai tea on a meeple coaster.
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Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:43 pm
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Review: Slide Blast

Adam Daulton
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Each year we get a game or two for the kids at Gen Con. This year this was the game. Was it a mistake or did we slip into a gem? On to the review!



Game Play
Slide Blast is a simple tile laying game. Players are extending their water slide in crazy manner trying to get the longest slide by the end of the game. Each turn a player draws a tile (thus giving them two tiles with the one that was in their hand at the start of the game) and then plays one of those tiles to the end of the slide their piece is on. The tiles always match with each other, so there isn't usually a wrong way to play a tile, with the exception you can't make your slide go back to the beginning and you can't run into another player.

The key is how you play that tile to wind back over other tiles again, because in the end you win the game by your slide crossing over the most tiles. Even if it is the same tile multiple times. Another aspect of the game is helping your opponents, the more you help your opponents you score points in a pyramid fashion as well. The winner then is the person who has the longest slide plus the most helping points once the very last tile is played.

There are a few special tiles.

Extra Turn - Some of the tiles have red dashes on them. If you play those tiles you immediately get another turn. You can only do two turns back to back.

Tunnel - There is a tunnel tile that lets you "teleport" to another section of the board the players are building.

Large Tiles - There are 3 tiles that tell you to play one of the large tiles. Normally tiles are simply just a single hex, but these tiles are 4 hexes connected!



My Thoughts
My daughter happened to see this at Gen Con, we sat down and played, and then came back and purchased. Along with Kingdomino this is my most played game since Gen Con! It is very simple, plays quickly, and in I believe is one of those games that succeeds at exactly what it was attempting to succeed at. You know how there are those games that are trying to be something and just "miss it by that much"? Slide Blast isn't that. It comes across as a family game or a filler game and it is exactly that.

Most games take about 15-20 minutes. It plays up to 6 players. The pieces are quality pieces. The tiles are chunky, the sliders are nice wooden pieces, and for the price you really get a bunch of stuff for the $20 price tag. I really like this game. Really like it.

Nobody is ever going to have this game listed as their favorite game of all time, unless perhaps they are 7 years old, but at the same time I can't imagine anyone listing it as their least favorite game of all time. After you play a game of Slide Blast you are satisfied. Not satisfied in the same way as when you eat a huge steak and potato, but satisfied in the sence of having that Snickers at just the right time to get you through to the end of the day. Slide Blast will be in my families collection for a long time.



Recommendations
Tsuro Fans - You should buy this right now. It adds just a slight bit to the game, but doesn't have any player elimination at all.

Family Gamers - I've played this several times with my 3 year old. The tiles always match, so even if she doesn't play optimally, she can still play. My older kids love the actual action of "sliding" down the slide they created at the end of the game. Seriously, really close to the overall best family game we've ever purchased.

Heavy Thinking Filler Lovers - I don't know if there are too many heavy thinking fillers, but this one isn't it. There is plenty of luck in it. If you get the double turn tiles a lot you are going to be in a good position. So if you want some DEEP thinking in 20 minutes, I'm not sure Slide Blast is for you.

Fillovers - You know who you are. The guy or girl who loves everything as long as it is 30 minutes or less. No Thanks! is your thing. For Sale is better than sliced bread. Sushi Go! can stay on your table. I honestly believe Slide Blast is for you.

Curmudgeons - Stay away from this. You'll have fun. It'll be horrible.
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Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:01 am
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Tichu Art, Component Organization, and a Game Room Coming Along

Adam Daulton
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It has been well over a year since I last wrote about my game room. Sorry about that! I've done a lot to it since then on it and more is coming.

First, my last post was about doing the duct and electrical work. Even with the duct work the room is far enough away from the unit (and the vents are high enough in the ceiling) that the room doesn't heat/cool too well. It won't get freezing cold or burning hot, but at the same time it isn't comfortable. To combat that I bought a window AC unit for summer and utilized an old portable radiator for the winter. Those items help keep the room about a stable temperature and make it good for gamers and games alike.

Second, we moved the shelves into the game room. I bought another Kallax (the Expedit wasn't being made anymore) and stacked it on top of the other shelves and then anchored the shelves to the wall. I'm done now, no more buying shelves. If I need room I've got to get rid of games first. (Yeah, I know I've now stacked the Alea Big Box series on top. They just look better all together!)



Third, I built/rebuilt the work bench at the end of the room into more shelves (yeah, I know I said no more shelves, but I'm a board gamer). As you can see in a previous post, it had old doors that were off their hinges, it wasn't stained, there was a big hole in the top where someone probably planned on putting a sink in. I am very satisfied in how it turned out.



Fourth, dry wall and paint! One end of the room just had installation and paneling on it. I tore those down and then had a professional come in and do the dry walling. I even had him fix some other areas that had cracks in it. Then I painted over all the old red color with a tan that we'd had left over from our kitchen. Then painted all the trim as well. I still need to repaint the green wall where where there is some white on it and some electrical pipes running over it.



Fifth, component organization. Since I dabble in game design I have a lot of extra game components. Also, I have a lot of baggies, rubber bands, pens, etc. It was all unorganized though, in several boxes, just piled on the bench. I found a nice organizer on Amazon for about $20 and now I'm organized like a mug. (However, organized a mug is)



Sixth, gaming art! My wife has taken up painting lately, doing a lot of art around our house. When was saw the cool BGG alternate art prints that are for sale now we wanted them. However, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend $100 on them. I mentioned perhaps she should paint them instead. She loved the idea and jumped on it right away. We decided to go with some of my favorite games and Tichu was the first chosen. I think she did an excellent job in painting it and love how it looks in the room!



So the game room is coming along! Here is my original 9 things that I wanted to get done, plus a couple more items I've added, with those items crossed out which have been accomplished.

1. Get all the garage stuff out of the room so there is space to work.
2. Hook up the HVAC. That is right, it is a cold or hot room and I gotta make it comfortable and nice for my games!
3. Move the game shelves into the room from the TV room and stack them. I'll need to purchase one more shelf so it'll be a square.
4. One wall is not finished, so I'll need to drywal or panel it.
5. The chandelier needs replaced badly, probably with a ceiling fan.
6. There is an old work bench in there, since the floor doesn't go all the way under it, and there is a small water heater in it, I can't get rid of it. So instead I think I'll stain it and make it look more presentable.
7. I have a 52" wide table in there right now. It is awesome for playing Railways of the World but if I'm being honest with myself, less so for smaller games. Combine that with less space in the room once I move the game shelves in, I'm planning on building a table that is 42" wide which will accommodate most games just fine. NOT GOING TO DO THIS - Instead moved our smaller dining room table into the game room and put the bigger table in the dining room.
8. I'd like to get or make board game art to put around the room. This is partially done with the Tichu art, but there are four more pieces coming, plus I'd like something over the bench that is perhaps a game photograph.
9. There are three small windows in the room, but they don't have screens, which means bugs during the nice months when I'd like to have the windows open while gaming.
10. Get a neoprene mat to cover the table with at all times and making gaming so soft.
11. Get a small fridge for the room.
12. Recover the chairs with some meeple fabric or perhaps fabric that is more stain resistant than the white stuff we have now.
13. Cover for the florescent lights above the bench.

I can't think of anything else to add/get/do to the game room other than maybe one day buy one of those "real" gaming tables. Any of you all have ideas?
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Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:48 am
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What I've Been Playing

Adam Daulton
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Life has been busy, but while I've not been blogging as much as I'd like, I have been playing games quite often. I thought I'd do a quick write up on what I've been playing.

Slide Blast is getting all kinds of play around here. It is simple enough that everyone in the family can play, even the three year old, because after all you just put the tile next your person. It plays fast, it went over well with our game group as a filler, and it is just fun! Sliding your person down your slide, going for loops and through tunnels, the game seems to do exactly what it was meant to do.

The Castles of Burgundy has been coming out regularly. My wife Krista is just better at this game than me right now. Used to be I beat her consistently, she has been beating me consistently at it. We picked up some little expansions at Gen Con. The monastery expansion is just okay. It could be done on any board I think. There is just something special about this game. Looking back on my plays of it, I had a two year period where I didn't play it at all, but that hasn't been the case lately which has been really nice!

Kingdomino was one I purchased at Gen Con for $15. A great deal. I absolutely see why this has won the awards it has one. It is fun, light, yet has those moments where it makes you feel clever. The two player 7x7 grid is exceptionally satisfying. This is one my oldest daughter has played a couple times with us and has requested to play again.

Finally, a couple older euro games. Olympus is one I've only played a few times, but I've enjoyed each play of it. It has a lead/follow mechanic similar to Glory to Rome or Eminent Domain. It works well. The one downside to the game might be the 30 some cards each player can build from their own deck of cards. Another euro that came out is the now venerable Leonardo da Vinci. This is one that has been on my shelf for years, used to get played often enough at game day, but has seen the table twice after 5 years of no play. It is one that I feel like I'm good at overall. Ever since I first played it 10 years ago, it just clicked. I don't have to be good at a game to enjoy it, but it helps.

So that is what I've been playing recently. Some new hotness and some older goodness.
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Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:57 am
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Gen Con Recap

Adam Daulton
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Well, I'm back from Gen Con. I've now mostly recovered as I've had a great lazy day with the family. We played a lot of games today, watched the eclipse (sort of), and had a nice nap. I wrote about what I thought of all the "new to me" games on my annula geeklist: My Gen Con 2017 Experiences - With Pictures. However, for you readers of the blog, I'll give a bit more details.

First, let's talk numbers. In the 5 days at Gen Con I played 34 unique games a total of 43 times. Out of those 34 unique games 25 were new to me (really 27 since the BG Stats app doesn't separate unpublished prototypes). I played games with 59 different people. 20 of which I named in the app and the other 39 I marked anonymous - because likely we just sat down together in exhibit hall or pick up and play area. 44% of my games were four player games with two player games coming in second at 20%. Got to love the BG Stats app! I got 5 of my 13 games played on my anticipation list. That isn't as good as I thought I'd do.

Second, my hidden gem of the convention is for sure Slide Blast. When I wrote the geeklist last night I had only played it once. We've played it four times today alone! It is a really fun and light tile placement game that reminds me a bit of Tsuro, but with no player elimination.

Third, my general thoughts on Gen Con 50. Not my favorite Gen Con I've ever been to, but still a blast. The crowds were big, they always are, but except for a few intersections in the exhibit hall they were manageable. I loved playing games in Lucas Oil, but I hated the walk there and back. Thursday I stayed in the exhibit hall from 10am to 5:30pm, because I simply didn't want to walk back and forth for breaks like I've done in the past. Volunteering to teach games, while fun, is always something I'm on the fence about. It is great we save the money (which we then spend on games!), but at the same time I would love the freedom to do either more events or simply play games with folks that may not have a pass to the library area. This year I felt that especially with our friends visiting from out of town. I'm convinced you do not need a pick up and play pass to get a lot of gaming in if you've got 3 other friends and a few games. Tables are available in the evenings.

Fourth, Sunday was really fun with Kaylee this year. She is reading and doing math so much better and so was able to play a lot of games. It is just going to get better as we go on. She really liked the event and already said she can't wait for Gen Con next year. Same for me!
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Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:56 pm
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Gen Con 2017 - Most Anticipated Games

Adam Daulton
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My life has been busy for the last month. Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been working a lot, working on the house a lot, focusing on game design, playing a lot of games, and actually getting to go canoeing and fishing a couple times!

My Gen Con vacation has officially started as of yesterday around 4:00. I worked this morning on the house (that is how you know you are an adult on vacation), but today we went to the Indiana State Fair (I've never been there before) and I'm obviously writing a blog which is nice. Got some deep fried Oreos, deep fried Reese's, deep fried cookie dough, a funnel cake, chocolate covered bacon, grilled cheese, milk shake, and a slight sun burn.

So on to my most anticipated games of Gen Con 2018! I don't know how long this list will be. I'm also not sure there are any must have games for me that will be selling there - but still I'm excited to go! So in no particular order except for number 1:

1. Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn
Just announced this week - I'm very pumped! Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game is in my Top 5 favorite games of all time. I love the computer game. I will do whatever I can to buy this (should it be available at all) or at the very least demo it. I'm a sucker for the theme, I love the idea of a new take on the classic style game, and without a doubt was very excited to hear this announced!

2. Downforce
Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix is one of my all time favorite racing games. This seems like it has taken that and made it even better. I really do want to play it and there is a good chance I'll buy it. It looks to be available widely the week after the convention, so I'm not sure how much of a must buy it is for me since I'll be able to get it later at a slightly better price, but we'll see.

3. Indulgence
I am a sucker for a good trick taking game. The Bottle Imp and others that add a nice twist to the mechanic have been mainstays in my collection. This one seems like it will be as well. I'm sure my dad would especially love it. The $80 deal intrigues me on Restorations first three games - Stop Thief! being the one holding me back. Krista likes deduction games - so that might be a hit with her. I could easily see us coming home with all three games.

4. Ex Libris
The art is stellar. The theme really intrigues me for some reason. I'm sure it'll be a solid one for both our family and our game group. However, if enough other folks are buying this one, I think it might just remain on the try level for me.

5. Dracula's America: Shadows of the West
I love it when genres are smashed together and smashing the Old West with Dracula seems cool. I have no idea about this game other than that, but I want to try it! Dracula has always been an interesting story for me - at least the original - because I like the rules in his life. You know fearing daylight, mirrors, etc. I'll at least stop by and see this one.

6. Summit: The Board Game
All the podcasts have talked about how mean this game is and that makes me want it. The high price tag though makes me hesitate a whole lot as those "mean" games only go over with a select group of people in my group. For sure would like to try it though with some of my Gen Con buddies like Patrick, Dave, and Troy who enjoy a good Take That experience.

7. Bard Saga
For some reason the art drew me in on this one. I don't think it is very good, just unique. Looks to be a bit of a trick taking style game. There are only going to be 20 copies there. Probably won't have opportunity to get it elsewhere. Considering this one quite a bit.

8. Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks
This is on my most anticipated list of the year and so it should be on my Gen Con list as well! I love Doctor Who, my wife loves it as well, for sure want to get it demo'd so we can see if we'll purchase it in the future.

9.Ancestree
I'm a big Eric Lang fan. I'm a big drafting fan. The family tree interests me. This one is on my list. Not a must buy by any means, but really want to give it a try at some point.

10. AFFLICTION: Salem 1692
I really like this that they are taking this one on from a pure historical perspective with real historical people. There aren't any witches, just family members you need to protect. I'm not sure on the art direction of it, but do want to give it a chance.

11. Photosynthesis
A unique theme. A great production look. This was played at my game day last week and I was jealous. I do want a chance to try it, grow some trees, and see what I think.

12. Viral
Again - unique theme. Draws me in. I love area control. However, some of the reviews I'm hearing about on this one has cooled me a bit. This was at one time a must buy for me, but now it has fallen to a like to try. I really do love area control and I love the idea of something attacking all the players.

13. Custom Heroes
Another trick taking game, but this one you customize the cards! I bought Mystic Vale earlier this year and I really want to see the further use of the card crafting mechanic. This might be a unique way to use it without stilling going very deep yet. I'll be stopping by AEG for this one.

There are quite a few others I really would like to try - but I'm just not sure there is anything worth getting at the "running of the nerds" on Thursday morning (unless the new Civ is there). See you all tomorrow!
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Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:45 am
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Rating Systems

Adam Daulton
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Rating systems always intrigue me. For years I've kept a rating system of opponents competing against each other in board games. For a long time (well maybe a year) after playing a game with folks I'd ask them what they rated it. This got annoying to them and to me so I stopped. However, I continue to rate games and talk about how games are good, great, etc. So far on this blog I've done that on a 1 to 10 scale with no real explanation. However, I wanted to examine some of the rating systems I've come across and my thoughts on them and then see if there is one that might work for the blog.

BGG
10 - Outstanding - will always enjoy playing.
9 - Excellent - very much enjoy playing.
8 - Very good - enjoy playing and would suggest it.
7 - Good - usually willing to play.
6 - Ok - will play if in the mood.
5 - Mediocre - take it or leave it.
4 - Not so good - but could play again.
3 - Bad - likely won't play this again.
2 - Very bad - won't play ever again.
1 - Awful - defies game description.

First, I didn't realize this had changed. I'm pretty sure that at some point a 10 said something like "don't expect this ever to change" or something along those lines. This isn't a bad rating system. It is one I've been using for 15 years now (or at least something close to it since it changed a bit). I do find myself putting games in the 6 or 7 area a whole lot.

A simple 1-10 scale
No description for each level, just 10 is good and 1 is bad, and where do you put the game. I like the flexibility of this rating system - as it does allow others to make it personal. The problem is it can be too flexible. Your 10 and my 10 - though they are nice for each of us - aren't so useful for others because we think so differently. Ratings will always be subjective, but at least with a definition I can no a bit more what you think exactly.

Dukes of Dice
1 = Poorly designed but playable. Not necessarily fun.
2 = Game has some merit, but has significant detractors.
3 = Game is okay, not exciting. Will play in the right situation.
4 = A good game. Worth playing, just not all the time. Belongs in the Duchy.
5 = A great game, will rarely turn down a play of it.
6 = An all-time favorite that is a contender for the top 10

The Dukes of Dice Podcast is one of my favorite podcasts. Part of the reason is their great rating system. I think it laid out well. It puts emphasis on different things at the different levels. This isn't consistent throughout, but it does really allow others to know what they think. I especially like the "belongs in the Duchy" on 4 which essentially means I'd like access to this game. I don't have to own it, but I want to make sure I have access to it.

The Semi-Amateur
So I started writing this with no idea of where I'd go with a rating system for the blog. As I've been writing it though, I think I am coming to more of a conclusion. First, I want to put it on a five point scale. Second, I do want definitions and move away from what I've been doing with a simple 1-10 scales. Third, I want to be sure it matters for my readers so they can know exactly how I feel about it, using that rating, a review, and my recommendations to make a determinations. So - having not thought this through nearly enough...here we go:

5 - An outstanding game that very enjoyable & fun and should be absolutely be owned if possible, and will be considered for my Top 50 Games of All Time.
4 - A great game that is enjoyable most of the time and should be in my group's collective collection.
3 - A good game that is enjoyable, has interesting parts, but also has some negatives and I would be pleasantly surprised if it was in my group's collective collection.
2 - An OK game with something enjoyable in it, but I could care less if it was in the group's collective collection.
1 - A bad game that simply isn't enjoyable and should not be in the group's collective collection.

I'm sure I need to tighten it up, but really trying to focus on how much I enjoy something and how much access I think I need to it so I can play it again. It is tough, because so many games rating changes for me based upon the scenario. For instance, I just bought Time's Up! last night. I enjoy the game quite a bit. On the above scale I'd give it a 3, but for last night's situation it was a 4 for or maybe a 5 (which is why I bought it because I knew the crowd).

So tell me what you think? Any other rating systems you use?
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Tue Jul 4, 2017 3:10 pm
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An Appetizer: Onirim

Adam Daulton
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As much as I love board games, I don't often play them on an electronic device. I have an iPhone and an iPad and we own several games on them. Including Patchwork, Le Havre, Stone Age among others. My wife plays them much more often than I do, but we've occasionally sat at the kitchen island on a Saturday morning and played a game on the iPad while we drank a warm drink and ate some breakfast. However, when Onirim went on sale for a grand total of $0 I downloaded it on a whim. I've now played it more times than any other iOS game since Ascension: Deckbuilding Game. Here is what I think about it.

Game Overview
Onirim is a solo game where you are trying to unlock 8 doors of 4 different colors to win. On your turn you must play a card or discard a card. If the deck runs out before you unlock the 8 doors you lose the game. There are sun cards, moon cards, key cards, and door cards of four different colors along with nightmare cards in the game. Whenever a nightmare card comes up you have to either relock a door, discard a key from your hand, discard your whole hand, or discard 5 cards from the top of the deck. When playing cards you play it to a row in front of you, trying to get three cards of the same color played back to back to back. However you cannot play the same symbol consecutively. Key cards are powerful, because not only can they be discarded when a nightmare comes up, but you can discard them willingly to see the next 5 cards in the deck, discarding one of those cards (hopefully a nightmare) and rearranging the order of the others.

Interface, Art, Graphic Design
I've been playing this on my iPhone 6 for reference. The art in the game is a bit dark. Not dark as in gruesome, but dark as in color hue. The graphic design makes perfect sense though when playing and I have zero difficulty distinguishing colors. The tutorial was clear and concise. Everything seems to work well and make sense what you must do in order to discard a card, play a card, etc. I think they did an excellent job on all the visual elements of the game!

My Thoughts
If you've read this blog before, you'd not see any evidence that I'm a solo gamer. That is probably why I don't often play ports of games either, since it still feels like I'm just playing by myself (in addition to the fact that I like the tactile nature of cardboard on my table!). However, like I said in the introduction, I have played this game more than any other game on my phone with the exception of Ascension. It plays really quick, is very challenging, and is fun for me. It can be extremely frustrating as luck does play a big factor, but after starting off winning only one game in my first 6 (that win being the tutorial where they tell you what to do half the way through). Now I've played 16 games of it. I've one 6 of those games. My best finish I had 11 cards left in the deck and on average I have 5.5 cards left in the deck.

Who Should Buy This App?
People Will Never Play A Game Solo - That is me! I just don't have any desire to pull out a game solo (at least thus far in my life), but if it is an app why not? Seriously, I was pleasantly surprised by this one and don't understand why anyone would even want to own the physical version.

Solitaire Fans - By this I mean those folks who loved playing Solitaire on Windows 3.1. Onirim is a simple and quick solitaire game that has a lot of challenge. Now you don't have to use Windows 3.1 to get that.

People Who Want Have a Quick Poop - Let's be honest. Smart phones replaced the text on the back of a soap dispenser for reading material while on the throne. Get Onirim and play it while you poop. It plays very fast, so you won't have your leg fall asleep, it doesn't take so much concentration that you can't focus on what you are really there for, and it won't take you 15 visits to find out if you win or not like it would with Le Havre.

Final Rating:
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Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:43 pm
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Three Plays Series: Honshu

Adam Daulton
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Krista (my wife) and I have committed to playing games three times together and then I (or she) or both will post here about the games. We rotate picking games, they must be playable as 2-player games, and then we'll finish with our ratings as a 2-player game.




Overview
Honshu is a landscape building card game. Some folks have described it as a trick taking game, but I disagree with that description. It is more of an auction game where what you are bidding for is the first choice of what card to add to your landscape. There are essentially two phases of the game. The first phase is to play a card from your hand in turn order that have 6 sections on it that you'd find in a landscape (woods, houses, production squares, stores, lakes, and deserts). These cards are numbered 1-60. The person that played the highest card gets to choose from those cards played the one they want to add to their landscape. They then take that card and place it in their landscape ensuring that one or more squares are covered up, either from the card they took by sliding it under an already existing card or placing it on top of a card already there. There is some more nuances to the game, such as your production squares add wood cubes, which you can add to your bid, to try and get first pick. Then after a total of 12 rounds you score points for your landscape based upon congruent lakes, largest connected houses, matching production and stores with cubes still, etc. Person with most points wins!

Note: For two players the game changes a bit. You flip to cards up from deck and then each of you add two cards from your hand. Person who plays the highest card takes one of those two groups of cards, chooses one and discards the other.

How We Obtained It
I'd seen posts about this on Twitter back around the Essen time frame. Since I'd started designing a game last September about placing and tucking cards in your own area like this, I was immediately interested and wanted to try it. Then Geekway rolled around and it released that same week. I played it twice on a friends copy, enjoyed it, so bought my own from Miniature Market while I was at Geekway.

Our Three Games
I'm writing this post quite awhile after our plays, so I don't remember much, but I do remember one thing. There are cards you can play with that tweak the scoring slightly, such as deserts are with points (normally they aren't). For all our games I really focused on those scoring tweaks and it worked!

Game 1
Adam 67
Krista 60

Game 2
Adam 87
Krista 68

Game 3
Adam 82
Krista 70

Our Thoughts
I really enjoy this game. It reminds me a bit of Carcassonne if Carc let you build your own little landscape in front of you instead of letting others mess with your perfect masterpiece. Probably my least favorite part of the game is the bidding in the beginning, especially in a two player game. It feels mostly pointless, though at times it does seem important. The importance of cards are so dependent on the landscape you've already built that just because the card is a 60 or a 1 doesn't mean it is a bad or good card for you. Like I hoped, Krista does enjoy this one. There isn't any meanness in the game, she loves building her own little landscape, and it is one that she'll be playing in the future. My final rating drops one point though for a two player game - there is too much flexibility in getting two cards and choosing one.

Final Rating
Adam: googoogoogoogoogoogoo
Krista: googoogoogoogoogoogoo
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Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:54 pm
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Three Plays series: Mystic Vale

Adam Daulton
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Krista (my wife) and I have committed to playing games three times together and then I (or she) or both will post here about the games. We rotate picking games, they must be playable as 2-player games, and then we'll finish with our ratings as a 2-player game.




Game Overview
Mystic Vale is a card crafting game. The first of its kind as far as I know. In the game players take a deck of 20 cards and customize what those cards can do by sliding clear plastic cards in to sleeves. They then use those cards by purchasing more clear advancements or vale cards. Advancements go into your deck of 20 cards and vale cards give you points or abilities. There is also a push your luck element to the game, where if four cursed symbols show up you bust and have to wait until next turn where you can get a bonus money to spend. The game ends after a set number of VP chips are gone and points are scored for those chips you have, points on the advancement cards, and points on the vale cards.

How We Obtained
This was one my purchases this year at Geekway from Miniature Market to thank them for sponsoring both IndyCon and Geekway. I'd been wanting this ever since I'd played at Gen Con last year, I knew it would likely go ever well with my wife as a two player game, and so on Saturday night ordered it and they had it waiting for me on Sunday morning!

Our Three Games
It has been awhile since we played the games, so I don't remember the first two as much, but I do remember the last one. I made it my goal that game to get a lot of vale cards and I carried that strategy out scoring 17 points from vale cards alone!

Game 1
Adam 36
Krista 31

Game 2
Adam 32
Krista 30

Game 3
Adam 40
Krista 31

Our Thoughts
As you can tell from the three games we played, there isn't anything that jumps out in this game for me as memorable. I have a good time, but similar to Dominion I don't remember individual games. The game is very much multi-player solitaire. You are engaged the whole time, because you are drawing cards while you opponent is playing, but you really don't care what your opponent is doing. I haven't looked at all the cards in the game, but in the 5 total games I've played, I haven't seen anything that attacks an opponent. The sleeving and unsleeving of the cards is a bit annoying, unavoidable though, and that mechanic is why I picked up the game. I love customizing each card individually. For example, in our last game, Krista had one card that scored her 8 points every time she played it. She got it played twice. Krista thought the concept of the game is very interesting. She did like the building up of the cards and the quick play for the two player game. Both of us agree we need to get an expansion for it though. I'm thinking the Mystic Vale: Vale of the Wild is the one to go with.

Final Rating:
Adam: googoogoogoogoogoogoo
Krista: googoogoogoogoogoogoo

P.S. This is the 100th post on the blog. Thanks for all of you who have been reading, commenting, and making writing this enjoyable!
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Mon Jun 5, 2017 12:52 am
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