Recent gaming: Unpublished prototype, ¡Arriba España!
Mark Johnson
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Santa Clarita
California
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January 9-15, 2017

Ok, I said I'd try doing these lists weekly again in 2017, so this is what happens. Not a lot of gaming last week. But what I did was good, and for two very different reasons. Read on...

-Mark


My recent gaming geeklists (2017)
Boardgames To Go podcast, Season 13 (coming soon!)
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1. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2793]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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No star rating, because that's not very meaningful or appropriate for an unfinished design you won't know about. That's not the point of me writing this up. The point is that I went to a new (to me) game group.

I created a Light/Short game group in Paris in order to have some nice outings with my wife and a few new friends. Also, for as much public gaming there is in Paris, none of it happened on my best nights: Mondays. That's still a going concern (tonight, in fact), but we only meet every couple weeks, and only manage to squeeze in 2-4 short games. That's a lot less than I'm used to, or would prefer. I decided to try joining another game group on the alternating weeks. My wife is skipping this one, so it can feature longer, more gamer-y games for me. From my podcast you may know that I honestly prefer the light stuff, but even I like the chance to play something more than fillers once in a while. At least a superfiller, please!

That's the idea about these alternate weeks. Also that I'd be going to a nominally French game group. Everyone here is so polite that they readily switch to English for my convenience (this also happens at work), but my hope is that I'll gradually get better and more confident about speaking French. At least gamer-French. (That's jouer-français, kind of.) Who knows? Maybe I'll someday get invited to a private group that meets on Mondays. That would be parfait.

http://joueurs-anonymes.org/

So there I was, the newbie speaking the wrong language, walking into yet another Parisian boardgame cafe. Well, it was pretty great. I was welcomed right away--this is a larger group and they seem to know to have someone in charge of greeting newbies and making sure they get into a game. Even so, when someone eager to playtest his game looked at me as his 4th player, I said yes. Even though playtesting isn't my favorite thing, I figured that was a super easy way for a newcomer to start. They were honestly very happy to have me. The designer also played. One of the guys had played before, and the other guy & me were new to it. It wasn't my kind of game, it went overlong, and it needs more polish. None of that really mattered. It played well enough (I guess), I was welcomed, and the company was pleasant. I'll be back. (And maybe then I'll get in a regular game or two.)

What did I see getting played on other tables? Camel Up, Tash-Kalar, and a few more I'm now forgetting.
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2. Board Game: ¡Arriba España! [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:8914]
Board Game: ¡Arriba España!
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
flag msg tools
designer
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
badge
http://www.WargamesToGo.com
Avatar
Microbadge: Vae Victis Magazine fanMicrobadge: Strategy and Tactics Magazine fanMicrobadge: Battles Magazine fanMicrobadge: Minden Games fanMicrobadge: C3i Magazine Fan


The Spanish Civil War is my subject in the month of January for my wargame podcast. As I typically do, I'm diving into books, movies, and games. I'll also have an interview on the episode later this month. It's confusing and fascinating. Even more than other episodes, this could be one that non-wargamers appreciate. The war is more about politics and ideology (failed or sincere) than tanks and rifles. The book I'm reading is Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. The film is the adaptation of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. My interview will be with 2-3 Spaniards. It's tremendously exciting.

The game itself? Well, it's got some fiddliness, and every edition--there have been three--has had some limitations in its physical production (I think--I don't recall what's wrong with the magazine version). But wow, does it do an interesting job of modeling the politics as much as the war. Really fascinating. I've owned this game for 20 years, and only now managed to play it. I think I'd like to try a more euro-wargame hybrid treatment of this game conflict (there's at least one out there), yet I have no regrets about playing ¡Arriba España! Just the opposite--the combination of reading the history made the game come alive...and vice versa. That's the wargaming hobby at its best.
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