And Now.... GAMES!!!!

A blog where I write about stuff. Mostly games. 1) Weekly game wrap up 2) Monthy New Acquisitions wrap up 3) Misc stuff

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And Now.... Game Night!

Greg Goodman
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Tuesday, November 7th
Alternate Universe Game Night. Matt arrived, and brought his brand new copy of Clans of Caledonia. I had been wanting to play this for a while, ever since I backed the Kickstarter but then dropped out of it. I needed to know if I made a huge mistake not buying it or not. Caitlyn and Brett arrived and we were off!

It was a really good game. Some people compare it to Terra Mystica, and I can see that, but it's like it took the best parts of TM and left the parts I don't like out, like the temple tracks and the magic bowls. It does take a while to set up and go over the rules, but everything made sense.

My clan's special ability dealt with whiskey production; if I let it age a bit I got more money when I sold it. I focused mostly on wheat and whiskey production, with a few sheep and some late game cheese (I love late game cheese!) I fulfilled a few contracts. Looking back I see how I could've done better, so I am looking forward to playing again.

I didn't think I was doing very well in the game but I ended up coming in second place. Good job, late game cheese!

So in hindsight, the game is really good. I really enjoyed playing and will play again if given the chance. However I do not regret not backing it on KS, for the simple fact that I wouldn't get it played much, and the thought of explaining the rules to new players over and over again is daunting. Not that it is hard, there is just a lot of rules to go over.

Play rating: 8/10.


Red sheep and cows


Roughly 2/3 of the way through he game



It was too late in the evening for another longish game, so I pulled out Rhino Hero Super Battle. The game went down a storm! We all had a good time and had a decent sized building built before someone (me) knocked it over. It was really fun and I look forward to playing it again!

I may look into buying a second copy.

Play rating: 11/10


Rhino Hero Super Battle



Wednesday, November 8th

Wednesday was Casual Gamer's Game Night. We strted out with a quick and light game, Dig from the Pack o' Gum line of games. It was cute! I liked the art, and the rules were simple and fun. Really good game, I'm interested in trying more from the series. Play rating: 7/10. Good, fun, short.


Dig


After Dig we pulled out a slightly heavier game, Simurgh. Brett won this at the Extra Life event we went to at Games Keep. It was interesting. It was basically a worker placement/resource collection game. I'd like to give it another shot, the economics of the game seemed very... strict. It seemed difficult to get many resources, and most actions required a lot of resources. So it seems slow. I am sure with more experience it makes more sense.

We played the quick game, and it was pretty quick. It was a good learning game and I'd like to give the longer game a shot. Play rating: 6/10, good but I want to play the longer game now that we (mostly) know what the heck we are doing.


Simurgh - Red Dragon vs. Yellow Spearmen (note: they do not actually fight in the game)


A Dance of Dragons



Next we played my newest game, Dice Town. I loved this game. It's fun, fairly quick, and has just enough lyin' cheatin' and stealin' in it without being overly mean. Jenn won, just edging out Brett. I think I came in a close third.

I really liked the game. I upgraded my copy with poker chips instead of the paper money, which I think worked well. Play rating: 9/10, my kind of game. I really liked it, and will look to pick up the Cowboys expansion.


Dice Town money (chips), dice and gold.


The final game of the night was Brett's favorite game, Unfair. I really like this game too, but am pretty bad at it. Brett crushed us all by some 50 points. Play rating: 8/10, I had fun but felt a little gypped by my Super Attractions and Blueprint cards. I guess that's why they call it unfair.


Image by user navvie



Summary
What can I say in a week when I played a bunch of good games?
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:36 pm
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And now.... Accessories! (pt 2 - Upgrades!)

Greg Goodman
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In an earlier blog post (located.... let's see, where did I put that post...here!) I talked about 3 of my favorite gaming accessories. Those were all general accessories that can be used with nearly any game. Today I am going to talk about a couple upgrades to some specific games that I love. I'm a fan of upgrades, and enjoy Chaz Marler's Component Proponent series.

1) Las Vegas - I love love love Las Vegas. It's a great game, all about rolling dice. So much fun. The game came with 4 sets of 8 dice, plus 8 white die for a variant, which is an essential variant in my opinion. There were two problems with this. One, it didn't come with yellow dice and I always play yellow. Two, the game is just as good with five or six players. So I found these dice that look just like the original dice that came with the game, but a bit bigger. The colors match perfectly, but now I have six colors to choose from, PLUS white dice for up to five players.

Original dice on top, new dice below

New dice in action



I can also use the purple dice for another variant that comes with the expansion, which I WOULD BUY IF IT WERE AVAILABLE IN THE US!!!! Sorry. Also, If I wanted to I could use the original small dice and one big die of each color, which is another variant in the expansion WHICH I WOULD BUY IF IT WERE AVAILABLE IN THE US!!!! Sorry again.


2)Castles of Burgundy - a few years ago I bought some small bags for the tiles in CoB. I had a green one for animal tiles, a yellow one for Science tiles, a blue one for boat tiles, and a purple on for mines and castles. I had a different black bag for the black market tiles, and nothing for the building tiles. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago the BGG Store put specialized COB drawstring bags up for sale. I bought them right away!

Old bags for Castles of Burgundy

Burgandy's got a brand new bags.



I love them. They are the perfect color, perfect size, and perfect feel. I pulled the game off my shelf for the first time in nearly two years just to play it using the new bags. They are great, and I recommend everyone get them for their copies of the game.

The next upgrade I need for Burgundy is yellow dice and pieces so I can play as my favorite color. I may use leftover dice from my Las Vegas Upgrade for part of this.


3) Dice Town - I just bought Dice Town, and as of writing this I haven't played it. But that didn't stop me from upgrading it! I don't mind the paper money that came with the game. It's plastic like in feel, and works fine. But when I found these western themed poker chips I figured they'd fit right in with the game.

$1 Gold Rush poker chips to replace paper money



I also upgraded the Sheriff Badge card with a real (well, costume real) badge.

I am the Sheriff now!



I'm looking to upgrade the gold pieces as well. I like the look of the gold cubes from Terraforming Mars, but not the cube shape. I think BGG Store sells gold colored cubes. If I can find pieces in the shape of nuggets but with the fake metal coating I will get them.


4) Storage Boxes - Back to more of a general purpose accessory. While I was buying the bags for CoB from the BGG Store I saw these small plastic storage boxes. They look similar to the ones that came with my KS version of Scythe. I haven't used them yet but they look pretty good and are fairly cheap.

Geekbox containers. Bits not included.



5) Modern Art - I don't have an upgrade for Modern Art yet, but I really really really REALLY want a small wooden gavel for the auctions. We always end up using the cardboard gavel that comes with the game, and it is not as satisfying, and also I worry about it being damaged. I've checked Amazon and haven't found exactly what I am looking for yet. ("And I Stiiiiiiil haven't found.... what I'm looking for!" - Bono)

I am the Auctioneer now! (Image by user takasan)



Summary
Sometime small touches add to the fun of a game for me. The sheriff badge in Dice Town for example, is completely useless and some may say it's a waste of $5. But it makes me happy when I play the game. Likewise having a gavel in Modern Art, while not affecting gameplay, would add to my enjoyment of the game. Give me any excuse to play with poker chips and I will take it. Replacing colored cubes with sheep, cows and resources in Glen More was essential to my loving the game.

So it's up to you, but I say if you have a game you love and there is a way, no matter how silly or superfluous, to make you enjoy it more go for it.
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Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:32 pm
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And Now.... Games Night Extra Life Edition!!!!

Greg Goodman
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Friday, November 3rd to Saturday, November 4th
This Saturday was Extra Life, a day where video gamers and board gamers and others play games all day, and raise money that goes to help children's hospitals. My local game store, The Games Keep had a 24 hour marathon from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday. I showed up a little after midnight on Friday.

There were some people there already which was great, they all said they were doing to whole 24 hours. I intended to do 24 hours, but then remembered I am not 25 any more. I ended up hanging out for about an hour. The others were already in the middle of long games, so I spent my time reading rules for some games that I had interest in learning and playing.

The four games I read the rules to were Caverna: Cave vs Cave, Sentient, Bunny Kingdom and Kanagawa. After that I hung out for a short time before I realized that my energy would be better spent coming back early in the morning so I went home for a few hours of sleep.

I got back at 7:30 Saturday morning, and the same people were still there! Good job guys! Plus some more people had arrived. I quickly got into two games that I had been wanting to try. The first was El Dorado, the recent Knizia deckbuilding game. It was fairly light, but lots of fun. I really enjoyed it, and pulled off a surprise come from behind victory with all the 5 and 6 jungle cards I had been hoarding for the final stretch. I forget which map we used, but it was one of the difficult ones I think. I'd give the play 8/10, and would absolutely play again.


Who's that all alone in the City of Gold? I do believe that is me!


The next game I got to play was also fun, but there were no late game heroics for me as I ended up in last place. The game was Whistle Stop. I liked the game, and would like to play it again. There was one strategy that seemed super strong, and the person who was dead last late in the game was able to score a ton of points and ended up winning in the last round. I think with more experience that wouldn't happen as much, but it just seemed way powerful. I'd give the play 7/10 because I liked it, didn't love it, but would play it again.


Who's that in last place and stuck behind another train? I do believe that is me!


While that game was wrapping up my friend Jenn showed up. We were waiting for others to arrive so I suggested one of the games I read the rules to, Caverna: Cave vs. Cave. It was a fun little two-player game. I would buy it except I never really get to play two-player games, and I already have a couple of two player games that I like a little better*. 7/10, I enjoyed it but not as much as other 2p games.


Early Man's early cave


Brett arrived, and while we finished up Caverna: CvC, he pulled Bunny Kingdom off the demo shelf, which I was happy with because I had been interested in the game ever since I first heard of it, but was nervous to buy it, not knowing if I could get people to play it. Plus I had read the rules the night before so it would be pretty easy to work through.

We all enjoyed the game. I got off to a pretty good start, creating a small/medium fiefdom that got me a ton of early points. In round two I built a sky tower, but made the mistake of connecting two fiefs that were close to each other, and in early round three drafted the cards to connect them anyway. Brett had a pretty big last round comeback, but it wasn't quite enough and I ended up winning.

As for complaints about the board size, I can see why people may have an issue with it, but personally I don't. I expected the game to be bigger (both board and bunnies) but thought it was fine as it was and didn't ruin the game for me. If the board was 10% or 20% bigger that would not be a bad thing.

I really enjoyed Bun Bun Kingdom. Fortunately Brett ended up buying a copy, so I will play it the next time he brings it to game night. I'd give the play a rating of 9/10, I really liked it, and want to play it again. I may buy it. If I bought it I would paint the bunnies, or at least just draw silly faces on them.


Legion of Bunny


As I was walking around the store between games I saw people playing Terraforming Mars. It looked like they were playing two separate two player games, but it turned out they were playing one game using two boards! I was intrigued. I think that would be too much for me, but bully to them for doing it! I'm not sure how long the game took, it seemed like it took a while. I wish I got a picture of it.


An artist's rendering of dual-map Terraforming Mars


We were joined by Moe, who we met last year at either the Extra Life event or at TableTop Day, I forget which. Nice guy. I pulled out one of my all time favorite games, Castles of Burgundy. I think it has been nearly two years since I had played it last (edit: last play was May 2016, so about 1.5 years). Moe had never played it, Brett and Jenn had, but only once a long time ago (probably the last time I played it!)

At first it looked like Jenn had a comfortable lead, and the rest of us were in a close fight for second. As often happens with CoB, she ran out of steam and ended up in third. Brett had a big final round and trounced the rest of us by 40 points. I came in second, just ahead of Jenn. Moe was in last, but with a respectable score for a first time player. I think we all enjoyed it. I give the play 10/10 for still being a great game.


Castles of Burgundy of Mad King Greg


Brett and I selected Sentient next, another game I had just learned the rules of last night. Even though I didn't have them 100% down, it was easier to figure out while playing since I at least had a basic understanding of them. I liked it a lot. I liked the thinky puzzlyness of figuring out which cards to play where, and how to manipulate the dice. I ended up winning a close game, 76 to Brett's 75 and Jenn's 69. Play rating: 7/10, I would play it again but maybe not select it. I did enjoy it.


Sentient


DINNER BREAK! We went to Las Vegas Pizza for some slices at 15% off. I had two delicious slices of mushroom onion and cheese pizza, Jenn decided to ruin her cheese pizza by putting tons of black olives on them. She said they were delicious but I know she was lying.

After dinner we went for some lighter fare. First up was Rhino Hero: Super Battle. This soon became the hit of the day, as every other gamer was watching us and talking about the game. It ended fairly quickly, but with a satisfying collapse. Brett, not the steadiest of hands, knocked half of it down while Moe's piece was highest, giving him the win. I was hoping the building would get epically high, but still had a great time with the game. Everyone playing and watching seemed to like it too. Play rating 8/10.

Moe's fiancé joined us and we played a five player round of Campy Creatures. Five players was better than two players, but I think three or four is still the sweet spot. Again, I think we all enjoyed it. I'm not sure what happened score wise, as Jenn lapped some of us and dominated with a score of 62, the rest of us were between 20 and 30. Good game Jenn! Play rating 7/10, really good for a filler, I would play it again in that capacity.

Jenn took her domination victory trophy and left for the night. Brett and I stuck around for a while, and played a few rounds of No Thanks with Philip and Adam, two gamers I had never met before. I have wanted to play NT! for a while, and I love little card games like 6 Nimmt so I was happy to give it a try. I think we ended up playing 3 rounds.

In the first round I got destroyed. I think I ended up with 118 points, which I was informed was not good. I got better though. The second round I scored 46 coming in third place but close to second place, and the last round I actually won with 23 points.

I really enjoyed No Thanks and can see why it is popular. I'm not sure I like it as well as 6 Nimmt but I might pick it up so I have both and add it to my small card game collection with Tichu, Cockroach Poker and Dead Man's Draw. Play rating: 9/10, lots of fun, great way to end a game night. I would happily play again.

Finally we ended the night with a game of Set, another small card game. I always thought Set was a mass market game like Uno, Skipbo or Rook, and it kind of is. I liked it, it was fine. I am apparently very good at it as I ended up with way more sets than anybody else. I would play it again, but again it's not one I would choose to play, or play very often. Play rating 6/10.

Well, that was it for the game playing portion of the night. I think I ended up leaving around 10:30, meaning I was there for roughly 15 hours, plus an hour or so Friday night. I felt great at the end, not too tired at all, but I think I made the right decision leaving and coming back Saturday morning. If the day started at 8 in the morning then went until 8 Sunday morning I think I could've stayed longer.

I expected to buy a couple of games but only ended up with one. I was looking to buy Meeple Circus, The new Mysterium expansion, Dice Town, and maybe Cottage Garden and Whistle Stop. I would've bought Bunny Kingdom if Brett hadn't. Meeple Circus was sold out and I decided Whistle Stop wasn't quite great enough to buy.

So I ended up only buying Dice Town which I am very happy with. I hope to play it this week.

Summary
I had a great time! I enjoyed every game I played, and got to play with some different people. I got to play three new games I was very interested it, Bunny Kingdom, El Dorado and Whistle Stop and liked them all. I even got to play one of my all time favorite games, Burgundy and still love it.

Thanks to Karl of Games Keep for holding the event, I'd say it was a huge success!



*
Two-player games I own that I love but never get to play: Rivals for Catan, Agricola ACGaS, Bottom of the 9th and Fugitive. I also like Targi quite a bit, but haven't bought it for the same reason.
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Tue Nov 7, 2017 1:01 pm
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And Now.... New Games October Edition!!!!

Greg Goodman
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Wow, this was a slow month for acquiring games (that's probably a good thing!). I only made one Amazon order for two games that I got fairly cheaply.

Oct 11th, 2017: I bought Rhino Hero: Super Battle. I'm a sucker for this dumb game! It looks a lot better than the original Rhino Hero, hopefully I will get this one played more often.



Update: I played Rhino Hero: SB and it was indeed great.

Oct 12th, 2017: I also picked up Castelli, an old Queen Games game. It looked okay, and it was one that Amazon had listed for really cheap. I got it for $10.25. It looks like an okay game, nothing special. If I play it once it'll be worth it. I do like all the bits it came with.



I thought that was going to be it for October, but a few Kickstarters arrived earlier than I expected. First I received Merlin and Pioneers from Queen Games. I'm really excited about Merlin. I'm less excited for Pioneers, but it at least looks good enough to give it a shot.



I also received the Vegas mat for Wits and Wagers. It looks like a lot of fun, next time I get W&W out I'll give it a spin. It's hella big!



Well, that's it for October! I plan on picking up a couple games at Games Keep's Extra Life event in early November to kick of next month. For some reason Dice Town really interests me recently. I was hoping Meeple Circus would be out, but it looks like not until next year I guess. The other must Buy is the new Mysterium expansion, Secrets and Lies. Oh, and Bunny Kingdom looks interesting. Too Many Games. Sigh.
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Fri Nov 3, 2017 10:06 pm
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And Now.... Halloween Games! (Mostly)

Greg Goodman
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I love Halloween.... in theory. I like skulls, and bats, and ghosts. But I like them all year round. I like horror movies, but I'll watch them anytime. I do not like dressing up in a costume and going out. I spend too much time on the costume, am never happy with the results, and take it off within 15 minutes of arriving at a party.

This year I was looking for something simple that I could put together with stuff I already had. I chose Negan, knowing that there would be at least a few Walking Dead fans there. I took 10 feet of black wire and tied knots in it every few inches, then wrapped it around a wiffleball bat. Lucille: Done. I wore black jeans and my old leather motorcycle jacket. Outfit: Done. The hardest part was growing a beard, and that's just because I hate having a beard, but I let it grow for 8 itchy days. Face: Done. The only bit I had to buy was a reddish scarf for $14. Full costume: Done.

I got to the party, got a few appreciative comments from other partiers. Then within 10 minutes I took it off. Because wearing a leather biker jacket and a heavy scarf inside with a bunch of people is hot. Very hot. So now I was just a dude scratching his itchy beard in a tee-shirt.

Anyway, any excuse to play Halloween themed games is fine by me.

Friday, October 27th
The first game we played was my copy of Witch's Brew that I bought six months ago and held back on playing until now. I was going to play it no matter what.

The game went well. I really liked it, and everybody seemed to have a good time. I did get one rule wrong (well, two small rules) but it didn't affect the game. We were originally playing three players so I put out 2 "curse cards." A fourth player joined us, and I forgot to take one curse card away. I also missed the part in the rules where it said to replace the cursed cards at the end of each round. So we played with the same two all game, which seemed weird, but that's how I thought it was supposed to be.

Anyway, everybody still enjoyed the game and I'm sure it will get played again, this time with correct rules.


Swelter'd venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!




We then played Fury of Dracula, which I have been wanting to play for a long time. I will go into more details in a different post, so long story short I LOVED the game, but we found it very hard as the hunters. Like, impossible. I want to play it again, I'm sure with experience it will be easier.


We got you Now, Dracula! Wait, where'd he go? He was right here! Dammit Gordling!


Tuesday, October 31th
Ah, Halloween. All Hallow's... Day? Night? I went to my Tuesday group at Alternate Universe. I was wearing a black t-shirt with a bright green Frankenstein face on it. I love the shirt, but can generally only wear it around Halloween. Or Valentine's Day.

It was a slowish crowd. I took Campy Creatures, Witch's Brew, and Rhino Hero: Super Battle.

One group had already started a game of Tokaido, a game I generally enjoy. I think they were playing the collector's edition, which is cool. Another table was setting up Arkham Horror, a game I've played once but wasn't interested in that particular night.

I was hoping my friend Matt would arrive with his newly acquired copy of Clans of Caledonia but he never showed. So I played two of the games I brought with Kyle. I wasn't sure either game would work as a two-player game, but they both did.

We played a quick game of Campy Creatures, a simple card game with awesome 50s Horror art. It reminds me of Guillotine but better. With only two players the Mortals deck is really small, but it makes sense because it runs out just as players are running low on monster cards. The three rounds went quick, I lost by two points.

It was fun! I enjoyed it with two players but think it'd be even better with three or four. Definitely a keeper, especially to play with my non-gamer friends who like horror stuff.


Creature Cards



End of the game


Next we played two games of Rhino Hero: SB. This version is much better than the original, I just wish it came in a slightly smaller box. Oh well.

The games were fun, even with two. The first game we had three pretty even towers going until someone (probably me...) knocked it down in spectacular fashion. The second game we had one really high tower flanked by two smaller ones. Trying to play it safe, I built on one of the lower ones and promptly knocked it over. Since the main tower and both of our figures were intact we continued the game. The main tower grew higher, and again, I knocked over the second small tower. We continued. Finally the middle tower got to a precarious height, and on my turn it toppled. Good fun.

My only mistake was playing against someone who went to ophthalmologist. When you have trained to touch people's eyeballs, you tend to have pretty steady hands.


Bat-Peguin vs. Rhino Hero


That is my arm putting the proverbial final straw on the proverbial Camel's back. I think the tower lasted .63 more seconds.


After that I went home a little early and watched Re-Animator. It was fun.

Summary
Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween. Dead cats hanging from poles, little dead are out in droves. I remember Halloween.
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Thu Nov 2, 2017 2:23 am
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And Now.... Game Night!!!!

Greg Goodman
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The week started off slow, as far as games go. I thought I'd only have one game to talk about! But as I always say, "A week with only one game is still better than a week where I don't play any games!" Okay, I never say that. That's an awful saying. But it's true. Anyway, thinks picked up at the tail end of the week.

Tuesday October 17th
So Tuesday night at Alternate Universes Brett, Matt and I decded to play a quick game of Alien Frontiers. We were joined by a fourth which slowed things a little bit as she hadn't played before. But as I always say, "A slow game of Alien Frontiers is better than not playing any games of Alien Frontiers!" Geez, that saying wasn't good either.

I was yellow, natch. I was doing pretty well, then the same thing happened to me that happens every time I play this game: I got off to a great start, had a lead near the end of the game, then lost. There is always an "attack the leader" problem with this game which only annoys me because I am often the leader, but then never win. This game I think I would've won on my turn but the game ended with the player before me and knocked me back a few points. I always enjoy AF. I think I have to learn to not take an early lead in games like this.


In games without frontiers, war without tears


Me (yellow) before things went... a bit pear shaped.


Friday October 20th
On Friday I went over to a friend's house to watch Blade Runner, in preparation for Blade Runner 2049. Did you know BR is set in 2019? which is almost next year? In fact, Roy Batty was born a year ago!

Anyway, I also brought along Exit: The Game - Secret Lab because we enjoy escape room stuff. I had this for a while but had never had the chance to pull it out, I figured tonight was a good night for it. We had played the Escape Room games, and to be honest we were a little "meh" about them. I was hoping Exit would be more to our liking, and boy was it!

We loved it, I really liked the card system for determining if you had the right answer or not. The clues were just about the perfect level of fun and difficulty (actually maybe a smidge too easy, but in the right range) and we both look forward to trying the other two that are out, and any new ones that come out.

We finished in 59 minutes, 59.6 seconds without using any clues!

I took two pictures of the game, not realizing that there was potentially a small spoiler or two in them, so I'm not showing them.


My picture had one or two minor spoilers. This image courtesy of user Gil Melo.


No joke, this was the time on my iPhone stopwatch when we revealed the final card. We had less than half a second to win in under an hour.


Sunday October 22nd
I thought that was the end of my gaming week, but on Sunday I did something I don't often do anymore, I went to an unknown game group. I'm glad I did it, and had an okay time, but it's not a group I'd go to again.

One of the members had just received a bunch of Gamewright games so we ended up playing those. We started to play Slamwich, but (thankfully) decided not to. We decided on Loot, which ended up being a pretty decent light card game. I enjoyed it. I was a little surprised to find out it was a Knizia design. I would play it again.

Meanwhile another table was playing Skiwampus which looked interesting.

After Loot our table played Go Nuts for Donuts. I'm unsure what to say about this game. I didn't like it, but I guess I can see its appeal. I rated it a 3 meaning I would not play it again unless I had to. I feel that Sushi Go does everything this game does but better. Disclaimer, we played a rule wrong (I knew we were playing it wrong but didn't want to/care enough to point it out and disrupt the game.) but I don't think I'd like it any better even if played correctly. The selection process was interesting at first but just became annoying trying to second guess everybody else, and often not getting anything.


No thank you, I will not "go nuts" for you. Good day sir.


Finally we played a quick round of Sushi Go which was fun.

I left a little early to watch the Cowboys/49ers game which was a mistake because the Cowboys ran right over the 49ers. I knew it was going to happen, but was hoping the 9ers would at least put up a fight. Nope. Hopefully my Eagles win Monday night and put a little cushion between them and the rest of the NFC East.


Summary
This was a pretty good week of gaming. Alien Frontiers is always fun, the Exit game was GREAT, and going to the new group on Sunday was a better alternative to sitting on the couch all day eating potato chips and watching football. Finding and learning a new game like Loot is always nice.


And now.... THE END!!!!
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:14 pm
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And Now.... Game Night!!!!

Greg Goodman
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I didn't have much of an opportunity to play games last week so I didn't post. Instead I will combine it into this week's play list.

Tuesday October 3rd
So on a whim I took Near and Far with me to Alternate Universes. I haven't been able to get a campaign game in recently and was maybe looking to recruit people into the campaign to replace our fourth player.

Anyway, someone said they'd like to play it and two others agreed, so I pulled it out of my bag. We played one of the early maps since three of us had played the intro game. I wasn't sure about doing a campaign game as a standalone, but it worked out great.

I tried the heavy threat strategy, defeating four pretty early on, while still going on quests. It worked out okay, I ended up in second place and could've won except I failed my last threat on the final turn of the game. I had six hearts left, and needed three of those to build a camp. If I rolled a 2 or higher I could beat the threat, If I rolled 5 or 6 I could beat the threat, move a spot and build a bonus tent for a total of 10-11 additional points. I rolled a 1 and got nothing, losing the game by 5.

It was a really fun game, and it was good to play it with a different group and have it hold up so well.


Near and Far and Up Up and Away!


After that we played a quick game of Chrononauts. And I mean quick, I think 10 minutes tops. Now, I enjoy Chrononauts and would like to play it more often, but this one was a little anticlimactic as the winner won because two other players just happened to flip the lynchpins she needed, and on her turn she was just like "boom" and won. I still enjoyed it but I like when it goes a little longer and gets a little more chaotic.


Chrononauts


Sunday October 7th
Sunday I had a chance to play a game with two non-gamers so I selected Splendor. It went over great with both of them, we ended up playing three times and having fun. I generally enjoy playing games with non-gamers and introducing them to new stuff, so I was glad it worked out so well.


Splendor. Image by gavmeek.


Tuesday October 10th
Small gathering this week at AU. Travis Brett and I were actively avoiding playing with a certain person, once she got into a game with other people we decided to play Tikal and Glen More. Not at the same time. One after another. Geez, use your common sense!

I was looking forward to playing Tikal as I've heard good things about it and I really enjoyed Mexica when I played it.

The temple pieces were amazing and I loved all the little meeple explorers. I can't imagine playing the older version with cardboard tile temples. I mean, I know the game was just as good, but the resin temples were so much fun!


Temples. Those are my orange dudes guarding the level 3 temple in the corner.


Glen More is one of my favorite games, and I am so bad at it I want to cry. I would like to use the excuse that I am teaching the game, and can't focus on my game when I am making sure everybody else is playing correctly, but that is BS. But it does stink that every game of Glen More I play is a teaching game, sometimes I just want to sit with people that already know the game and JUST PLAY! That being said, the other two players are really quick at games so teaching it wasn't hard and it was still a lot of fun.

The part that really killed me in the game was that the smallest village was 7 tiles smaller than mine (not sure how...) costing me 21 points and dropping me to last place. I still would've lost to the leader by about 20 as he had a damn good engine going and mine stalled halfway through round two.


Early village with plenty of cows.


Late village, after slaughtering most of my cows.


Wednesday October 1th
On Wednesday the Casual Gamers got together again for biweekly game night. Again it was a smaller than normal crowd, but 4 players was perfect for most of the games we brought.

The first game was Downforce, the much talked-about racing game from Restoration Games. I enjoyed it, I would play it again, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure why exactly. I like Camel Up better.


Here he comes, that yellow racer, he's a demon on wheels!


Next we played Modern Art, a game I continue to love despite being awful at it. I cannot wrap my head around the logic of it. But it is a great game, super fun and one of my favorite games I bought this year.


I love love love this game. I just wish I knew how to play the $%^$ing thing!


Thirdly we played Ryan Lauket's new game Klondike Rush. I was interested in it, as I am about all of Ryan's games, but not enough to pick it up myself. Dave brought it though, so I really wanted to try it out. I have to say, sadly, that I was disappointed. It wasn't a bad game, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a great game. I think that with a few tweaks it could be really good.


Klondike Rush



Summary
I like games.


And now.... THE END!!!!
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Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:20 pm
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And Now.... New Games September Edition!!!!

Greg Goodman
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I started off the month without acquiring any new games. I was tempted by a 75% off Barnes and Noble sale, but by the time I got there the pickings weren't great. Smuggle, Tumult Royale and Warehouse 51 were there but I decided to pass. I was hoping to run across a copy of Five Tribes for 75% off, but I figured that wasn't going to happen.

I hit up two separate B&Ns. I would've gone to a third, but I'm pretty sure I would've gotten the same selection. Oh well, I've come to the conclusion that I will never get any good game selections at B&N or Target sales.

Sept 9th, 2017: I received my preorder for Bottom of the 9th Clubhouse Expansion. I like that it gives you more players to choose from, and I REALLY love that it came in a bigger box. I'm not super excited about the equipment/manager addition, but still look forward to giving the game another try. I'd love to play it more but as I mention often, 2 player games just don't get played.



Sept 14th, 2017: I bought Kingdomino. I played it once at Alternate Universes and enjoyed it. For only 17 bucks or so it's definitely worth getting, since I bought it I have probably played it 10 times already.



I saw the giant version of Kingdomino at Complete Strategist. It looked kinda cool, but for $40 not worth it. I think the small size adds to the appeal of the game.

I also backed two games, totally violating my No Kickstarters policy. They are both from Queen Games, a company with a not-too-great reputation on KS, but who has made several games that I enjoy. The first game I backed was Merlin by Stephan Feld. It looks really good and I like several of Mr. Feld's games so it was a no-brainer to back.

The reputation that Queen has though isn't with the games themselves. The issue is that the KS backers don't always get the games on time, often receiving them after retail buyers can get their copy for cheaper. I strongly considered not backing Merlin and waiting for retail but I decided to try backing it. I hope I don't regret it.

The second game I backed was Pioneers, also by Queen games. The two games came bundled together, which leads me to think that this is a lesser game riding on Merlin's coattails. I do like the theme, but have a feeling I will regret buying it, especially for the KS price. Oh well, we shall see.



Sept 28th, 2017: Another Queen game. I saw the new version of Metro on Amazon for $25 and enjoyed the game when I played it, so for that price I bought it. I'm a little disappointed that the wooden train cars have been replaced by cardboard tokens, but will look into upgrading them with nice wooden or plastic pieces if I can.




Sept 29th, 2017: Look at this box:

LOOK AT IT! It is awesome. As an amateur classic horror buff, I could not pass this game up. Even if the game turns out to be awful (I don't think it will) it is still worth having. From reading about it, Campy Creatures seems to be similar to Guillotine in that you play cards from your hand to grab "mortals" that are worth various points. In Creatures everyone plays from a duplicate hand of cards and that determines who gets what. It looks light but fun.

Overall a moderate month for acquiring games. The games I purchased I am very happy with, the KS games I either ordered or received I am a little less pleased with, but that is okay.
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Mon Oct 2, 2017 4:18 pm
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And Now.... Game Night!!!!

Greg Goodman
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This last week was a fairly good one for games.

Sunday Sept 24th
After watching my Philadelphia Eagles win a close, sloppy, exciting game against the hated NY Giants, I started off my gaming week with a solo play of Tiny Epic Quest.

I think I played a very good game, and got a little lucky with my rolls.
Unfortunately the layout of the map wasn't great for me. I couldn't get to the 3rd level magic spell so I settled for the second level. Luckily one of my Legendary Item temples had a quest associated with it so I ended day one with level two magic, the flute item, and one temple towards both the shield and staff.

Days two and three were better. I completed both temples to get my shield and staff, completed two quests and killed two Goblins. I also got my magic level up to five boost my magic to five and get through the first temple for my sword. So far I had been very lucky with my rolls.

Days four and five went the same. I rolled well, got all three legendary Items, killed a total of four goblins, got to level nine magic and completed four spells. I really don't think I could've done any better, and I still only ended up with 39 points, one below winning.

I really like TEQ, and enjoy the puzzliness of the solo game, but it is a little annoying that it is a minimum point system, especially when that depends quite a bit on the layout of the map and when quests come out. In multiplayer games it is mitigated by everyone having the same limitations. I wish it had more of an autonoma enemy like Tiny Epic Galaxies has. I'm going to keep playing it solo.


Close to the end


My green boys come home after a hard night of fighting goblins and raiding temples


Tuesday Sept 26th

Tuesday at Alternate Universe I played Terraforming Mars. We played on the Hellas map. I played as The Mining Guild. I was yellow. I got off to a pretty slow start and had a bad feeling I was going to do horribly in the game. I couldn't get any cards to synchronize with each other, and my corporation's power was useless to me. I think the power was that if I placed a tile and got steel or titanium bonus then my steel production would go up. Yeah, I didn't do that very much. I did claim an award and a milestone, so that was nice.

It turns out I didn't do as badly as I thought. I mean, I lost... but not by much. I was actually tied for third in a five player game, but was only six points behind the winner.

Overall I still really enjoy TerraMars. I don't think that the new map we played on was anything special. The changes on the map were minimal, I don't think we really noticed or played differently. Th Awards and Milestones are different, but I like the original ones better. I'd still play the new map if it came out, and maybe if I played more often I would appreciate the changes more. I am looking forward to trying Venus Next.


Mining Guild. In all it's rusty glory


Final score


Wednesday Sept 27th
Wednesday was Casual Game Night at Jenn's. There were only four of this this time, which was nice to not have to only play games that work with five or six.

We started out with Terraforming Mars. This time I was Teractor corporation, who had no special powers but lots of starting money. Two of my starting cards increased my money production by five in round one so getting money wasn't a problem. Getting anything else was, my steel and titanium production was quite low, and I struggled with energy too (but not heat. I had plenty of heat).

This was another game where I felt like I wasn't getting great or useful cards, but at least I was doing stuff. I got forests out there. I had a city. I got the builder Milestone for building buildings. I think I tied for the Landlord Award. I was one turn away from getting the Terraformer Milestone. In the end I was tied for second, 4 points behind Brett the leader.

I do really like Terraforming Mars. When it first came out I had no interest in it even though I heard nothing but good things about it. I'm glad I was talked into playing it a few weeks ago, it would've been a shame to miss out of it.

The next game we played was my copy of Samurai. This game is notorious for being in my collection the longest without being played. I bought it in 2013 and for various reasons just never got it played, it seemed like there was always something newer and shinier to play first. After I wrote my Shelf of Shame blog, I decided to make an effort to get those games played so I threw it in my bag and when the opportunity arose I took it.

We all enjoyed it. I think it took about 45 minutes including rules, which was perfect. The end game scoring went smoother than I expected. Craig and I tied with one statue majority each, but he had 1 more non-majority statue than I did so won the game. Another close call!


Me (yellow) trying to conquer southern Japan


After Samurai Brett pulled out Heldentaufe. I played as Mathian again, but this time instead of going after a big sword right away I went after boots, since as I learnt the last time we played, it doesn't matter if I can hit for damage every time if I always run out of actions before I deal a killing blow.


Mathian


The strategy almost worked. I got level 2 boots early and had a quest card for Zibbler, the middle monster. I went underground, got a few blows in but couldn't kill Zibbler. On the monster's turn, instead of attacking me back he ran away. Coward. On my turn I cut my losses, set off a trap (and got two teeth thanks to a quest card) grabbed the treasure and headed back above ground to heal.

So I tried to get a bracelet and then a healing potion but it was taking too long so I soon headed back underground figuring I'd either kill Ziggy or die trying. I killed the monster but Jenn snuck in and stole the treasure before I could get there. In all the chaos I forgot to reveal my Ziggler-killing quest card! I missed out on two teeth, which would've put me at twelve, one away from winning. Instead I was at ten.

So there I was, low on hearts, and no way to heal. I couldn't fight monsters to get my final teeth and there were no more spots to explore. My only chance was to trade my level one sword in for a bracelet and make a potion, then go back underground. Meanwhile a few turns later Jenn got her final tooth and teleported to the starting spot winning the game. Foiled again!

Our last game of the night was Cockroach Poker. I explained the rules in two minutes and we started playing. At first it was a little lackluster and I was afraid that it wasn't going over very well. But then it picked up and we all enjoyed it.

Craig had three toads and three rats so I tried (and failed) to get him a fourth or either. I also tried to get Jenn out with bats to no avail. Finally I had three stinkbugs and three flies and it was Brett's turn. He claimed that he had one of each, then announced "I am giving you... a stinkbug!" Was he lying? If I said he was lying and he wasn't I'd lose. If I believed him and he was lying I'd lose. I didn't want to pass it because I needed to control the round, and even if I did there'd be a 50% chance they'd call my bluff and I'd lose.

I looked Brett square in the eyes. Did he just flinch? is that a trickle of sweat on his brow? Did I just catch him in a lie? "You sir, are a liar!" I proudly proclaimed as I turned over.... a stinkbug. A damned smug stupid stinkbug with a stupid face.


Look at that dumb smug face!




Summary
So, it was a great week of game playing. I mean, I didn't win any of them, but I came pretty close. I was one point from winning Tiny Epic Quest. I was very close to winning not one but two game of Colonizing The Red Planet. I was one Buddha away from winning Samurai. I made one mistake and came in second in Heldentaufe. And I had a 50% chance of not losing Cockroach Poker. Even though I didn't win, I still had fun. Although I think I only had the second most fun.

And now.... THE END!!!!
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Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:30 pm
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And Now.... Books!!!! And Games!!!!

Greg Goodman
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So I have been trying to read more. I used to read quite a bit, but in the past few years this has tapered off. There are a few possible reasons for this.

The first reason is that reading puts me to sleep. This means it takes longer to read a book than I would like, and also limits my reading during the day when I don't want to get drowsy. I've tried to combat this, but I like to get comfortable when I read, and the combination of comfort and reading puts me right out.

The second reason is that there is SO MUCH GOOD TV! Maybe not a great reason, but it's true.

The third reason is that I am pickier about books than I am about other things. If I am going to put that much time into a book I need to really like it. A show or movie, I can waste 1-2 hours on and who cares. But a book requires time every day, and if I lose interest and stop reading for even a few days I am not likely to pick up the book again. So I need interesting books. That' not to say every book needs to be brilliantly written Nobel prize winner. It just has to interest me.

I've also given up on Kindle. I appreciate it, it should be great for me in theory, but for various reasons I won't get into now it doesn't work for me.

So, with that long preamble behind me, here are a few books I read or am currently reading, with some game talk mixed in.

Sorcerer to the Crown
A novel about magic users (sorry, thaumaturges) in oldie England. Magic levels are precipitously low and the current Sorcerer Royal is under attack from all sides by those who oppose his position based on the color of his skin. Zacharias Wythe attempts to raise England's magic, survive both personal and physical attacks towards him, and also attempt to teach a woman how to use her magic, a practice which is verboten among the gentlemen of his society.

SttC was a decent enough book, but in my opinion it got off to a bit of a slow start. About a third of the way in it got more interesting and easier to get through. I am interested in books about magic users and this did a fine job, although I like more details about the magic learning itself than was given here. I think I liked The Magicians by Lev Grossman better, and would like to eventually read a Jonathan Strange book.

SO... are there any games that match the theme of learning and using magic? There is certainly no shortage of games with magical themes. There's... well... Magic... not really what I want. Trickerion is (I think) more about stage magic, and doesn't interest me very much. Epic Spell Wars is silly fun but not what I'm looking for.

I'm going to go with Seasons, a game where magicians go off to learn new spells and compete to become the new archmage. You also summon powerful familiars, which is an element of Sorcerer to the Crown. Seasons is a bit lighter and sillier in tone than the book (and doesn't deal with racial and gender biases like the book does) but overall fits the theme and plot of the book fairly well.

I've only played Seasons once a few years ago but enjoyed it and would like to play it again.

Are there any better games out there that fit the book?

In my head he perfect game would have all players compete to become the Sorcerer Royal. They would need to work partially cooperatively to raise the level of magic in the realm, learn new spells, raise and train familiars and fight off enemies and/or each other. I would like the learning spells part to me similar to Alchemists where you have to experiment to find out what spell does what. I'd like there to be some sort of influence or back stabbing involved, then it would all culminate in a frantic melee of magician on magician violence.

The Woman in Cabin 10
The Woman in Cabin 10 is more of a moody thriller, that I assumed was similar to Gone Girl in tone and nature. I'm only halfway through it, but enjoy the growing paranoia and mystery it creates.

Not Alone is a good small game that has that paranoid feeling, but the theme isn't right.

I'd like a solo game where a player has to survive a fixed length of time in a confined space to win. Friday is a good game about surviving, but I'd like to add the anxiety that Legendary Encounters: Aliens gives me. I swear sometimes when I play LE: Aliens my hand shakes with fear when I turn over the Alien card to see what is attacking me. Not really, but I do get a bit of a sense of dread that I enjoy, like with a good horror movie.

So I'm picturing a game about someone trapped on a boat (or train, maybe a cabin in the middle of nowhere), they have 10 hours before it docks and they can get off. If they stay still something will kill them. If they move they may find help, or an even quicker death. I'd love to combine turning over cards with real time dice rolling (oooh, I actually think I had a good idea just now...) for the paranoia effect.




Well, that's two books with some game ideas. Does anyone have better games to go with the books I chose? More importantly, any good books to read? Let me know in the doobly-doo (shout out to OneTAR).

[ImageID=xxxxxx]


Up Next: Leviathan Wakes and American Gods
These are the next two books on my nightstand. I wanted to read American Gods before the series on Starz so I rented it from my library. I got ten chapters in before I had to return it but I enjoyed I enough to buy a copy. I haven't restarted it yet, and also have no way of watching the series currently so I put it on hold.

Leviathan Wakes is similar to AG in that there is a TV show based on it (Expanse) that I really wanted to watch, but I didn't get hooked. I want to give it another shot so figured I'd try the book as well thinking that may suck me in. Plus there is an Expanse game out now too, so easy tie in.
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Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:37 pm
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