Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cranium Cariboo session report, from Cori (age 2) and Alex (age 3 1/2)

My aunt and uncle gave us Cariboo for Christmas. Here's the snack time interview.

Cori: We play this new game in the dining room. We get the key, we open... we open the door, and aget the balls.
Alex: The balls go in the hole.
Cori: The key lock unlocks.
Alex: It unlocks the doors.
Cori: The key lock unlocks the doors.
Alex: The up and down game is way up high.
Cori: It's way up high. I wanna color. I want a piece of paper.
Alex: I'm done.
Cori: I'm done.

I'm not sure I could have done a better job of summarizing it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Home network now consists of

... two pcs running Windows XP and one laptop running Debian minimal install, connected to the router, and one PC running Windows XP, connecting wirelessly from upstairs. I also have the 5th computer that could hypothetically be running Debian on the 48 mb of ram, but I elected not to plug it in after I got the laptop working.

Anyone need a very, very minimal Debian server?

Fists of Fury

More Daria pictures:


The 2007 Gamecount

... is 172 (or thereabouts) plays of 69 individual games. Notable and fondly-remembered:
  • Magic: The Gathering - 17 plays. Got all these in at the beginning of the year with Tim. I gave away most of my Magic cards to a younger friend of mine who has used them to good effect since then. No regrets (okay, the 5-honden deck. I miss that.)
  • Blue Moon - 12 plays. Short and sweet, this Reiner Knizia beauty features plenty of tension and that "oh, just one more game" urge.
  • Ra - 11 plays. What can I say? I got a copy of it, and I played it a lot, with a lot of people. I even managed to convert Larry into a grudging fan.
  • Blue Moon City - 11 plays. Wife-friendly, plus Larry and I dig it. I have printed but not mounted the promotional expansion tiles.
  • Attika - 9 plays. Yes, yes, yes. One of my best buys, except that Lee doesn't like it.
  • San Juan - 7 plays. Falling a few from last year, also notable for making Race For The Galaxy easy to understand.
  • Power Grid - 6 plays. Ohh, Power Grid. I'm not good at it, but I like it.
  • Enemy Chocolatier - 4 plays. Last of the Cheapass Games line I really liked. A cute little abstract.
  • Race For The Galaxy - 4 plays. This is going to see a lot of play in 2008, guaranteed. My favorite new release.
  • Merchant of Venus - 3 plays. I miss having this hit the table regularly. Lee and I got in 3 games in May, if I remember correctly. Space pick-up and delivery at the pinnacle of awesomeness.
  • Prizes of War (prototype) -4 plays. Chris was the reason this got to the table. Interesting, if frustrating, real-time mechanics that never quite jelled for me, but still tantalizing enough for repeat plays.
  • Zhong Shi (prototype) - 3 plays. Kevin Nunn's design is to be published by Face2Face, if my information is correct. Fun, and I will buy a copy as soon as available.
  • Memoir '44 - 2 plays. A decent WWII wargame, glad Chris has a copy and will play again.
  • Phoenicia - 2 plays. Having Tom Lehmann's name on the cover got me interested, and tracking backward through his designs inspired me to try and make my own game.
  • Pizarro & Co. - 2 plays. Nobody in our group liked this as much as I did, sadly.
  • Tim's cyberpunk game (prototype) - 2 plays. Always glad to get in other people's designs.
  • To Court The King - 2 plays. Notable because I got obsessed, and then didn't buy it, although it took me a bunch of index cards and scribbling to figure that out.
  • Kevin's Animal Racing card game (prototype) - 1 play. Notable due to prototype status.
  • Kevin's Hamster Racing game (prototype) - 1 play. Like an adorable RoboRally, roughly.
  • Kevin's The Great Migration (self-published) - 1 play. I am buying a copy of this soon.
  • Mission: Red Planet - 1 play. Part of the "Dave Lartigue's review is right" series.
I played 27 titles that were new to me. As part of my year-end wrap-up, I contributed some money to BoardGameGeek, so I could get my 2007 patron badge for the third year running.

What a year. If I play anything more, I'll post an update, but with Lee recovering from the birth and being at home with two pre-schoolers to care fore, I doubt much will happen.

Kevin Nunn's playtesting all New Year's Day, too... I was hoping to have a version of 18IA done in time to send for opinions, but I don't think that'll happen. If Daria had been born a week later, maybe.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

First pictures of Daria

We got some good pictures of the girls, and here they are.

Wasn't sure this was still online - game design humor

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Baby #3

Daria Jeanne was born at home today at 3:15 am. , weighing 9 lbs, 2 oz. Mother and baby are doing fine. Older girls are very excited about the new sister-baby.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Still no baby

We are going to CompUSA to check out their going-out-of-business sale and buy some printer ink. Other than that, still no baby. We also are headed to the grocery store for our traditional Christmas Eve cheeses.

I have a list of all the games I played this year, and plan to have a post that covers my "Fives and Dimes" for 2007.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

BGG recommendations

Boardgamegeek introduced a new "personalized recommendations" system. Here's a link to my current recommendations. Here's a partial list as of December 12th, with commentary:

McMulti - very expensive grail game, I think one of the Houston Gamers owns this.
High Society - Reiner Knizia filler
Showmanager - Didn't like Atlantic Star
Louis XIV - interested
Fresh Fish - interested, it's by Friedemann Friese, so that's a point in favor.
Age of Steam - actually played this once but not confident I can rate it accurately.
Caylus Magna Carta - interested
Die Macher - longer game about Germany's elections, the first game to be added to BGG.
Diceland - Deep White Sea - tried it once, not interested
Board And Table Games From Many Civilizations - hmm. Maybe...
Santiago - Interested.
Hex - abstract, not interested
Piecepack - Do-It-Yourself kit
Shogi - could take a lifetime to master
Code 777 - generally deduction games aren't my thing.
Go - could take a lifetime to master

The other ones I don't recognize off the top of my head. To get new recommendations, change the ratings on your games rated 8 or higher, add or remove an 8+ rating to any game, or rate a recommended game.

Yet another way to get board game madness - set out to play games on this list!

Angelfire: To vanish or not to vanish?

I have an old blog on Angelfire. Delete, shift selected entries to Blogger and delete, or leave alone? All seem like reasonable actions. I don't like the idea of manually goofing with a hundred or more entries, but I do like the idea of moving everything to a single source (especially since I haven't updated that page in almost 4 years).

Thoughts, comments, opinions?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gamecount for the year...

I've started totalling up my gamecount for the year. I tracked my number of games played on this blog, although I seem to have missed a couple of gaming sessions, most notably the Merchant of Venus games that Lee and I played on our vacation.

This is important for me because it's a way of being grateful for the games I get played, and reflecting on the year's progress in gaming.

Looks like it's a Reiner Knizia year, given the sheer number of Ra, Blue Moon, and Blue Moon City plays that went on.

Board game madness: ebay madness

I bought 2038. That's crazy:

1. I like the game designer, but...
2. I don't have time to play it.
3. I haven't played it before.
4. I'm not even 100% sure I wanted it, except in an abstract "I want to own this" way.
5. I bought it because it was a "good deal" on ebay.
6. I've read strategy articles on the 'geek for it, because of #1 but in spite of #2 and #3.

Worst of all, I'm playing around with designing an 18XX train game myself, so playtesting my design would come before playing this in my order of preference. (In our regular Thursday group, Chris is president of a small game design company, Tim's got a cyberpunk game prototype, Larry is an enthusiastic prototype player, and R.J. doesn't like testing games.)

Last gaming of the year?

Friday afternoon, Chris and R.J. came over and we played Race For The Galaxy 3 times in a row. This game is definitely a solid 8 out of 10 for me right now. R.J. won all three times and declared, "This is the best game ever!" In the last game, he scored a total of 56 points, with four 6-point development cards in his tableau. In other words, we were annihilated. There are a couple of strategy articles over at that I've read since then that suggest I may have had the cards I needed to counter his strategy, but misjudged them and threw them out. At least one game, I was also doing a terrible job of picking roles.

After Chris left, R.J. and I got in 3 games of the Blue Moon card game (Aqua vs Pillar). We had a great time, and I won at least one of the games. R.J., again, "I hate those caterpillar cards!"

This was a great gaming session, and if I really don't get in any more games this year, this was a fine way to end things.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Final Thursday Gaming of the Year

Chris, Tim, R.J., and Tim's friend Elizabeth joined me on Thursday for the last gaming before the baby (sigh). We played Ra and 6 Takes, and after Tim left, we played Can't Stop.

The Ra game went quickly - the first two epochs had Ra tiles come out fast, so the rounds were low-scoring. I think the high scorers were in the low thirties, and I had 23 points for the entire game. It came down to a tie decided by the Sun tiles.

Overall, this was a great finish to the two years or so of regular Thursday gaming, and I hope we can pick it up again after the baby's born.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Busy Sunday plus musings on finality

This afternoon, I took Alex over to Tim and Catherine's housewarming party. Each of them have their own room for creativity, Tim with his guitar, and Catherine with her piano. (Tim's cyberpunk game prototype is in his room, as well.) Alex ate chips and I had brisket and many other delicacies.

After that, Alex and I met Lee and Cori at church. After getting Alex situated, I headed over to Larry's place, with my copy of Blue Moon City. As it turned out, he had just downloaded Puzzle Quest on his XBox, so we played that instead. I'll probably buy the PC version when it comes out early next year, since I don't have an XBox.

Other than that, it was a quiet weekend. I am working on two game designs, both likely to expire in the pre-prototype stage. Generally, I take notes and do diagrams until I get bored with the topic, or realize I'm not interested enough in creating a physical prototype. I am noodling around in Paint.NET with maps for one. Both games are roughly about Iowa, so even though I moved to Texas a decade ago for school, it's still on my mind a lot of the time.

Of course, with new baby on the way soon, I'm compiling these notes half-frantically, trying to get to critical mass on them, where the project will have enough well-formed ideas to withstand the hit of adding baby #3 to the mix.

This Thursday is the last regularly-scheduled game night at our place before the Baby Break. We've had a lot of fun, and it's been a good way for us to keep in touch with friends and had many drop-in visitors as well. Game Night forces us to stay social and keeps the dining room table cleared at least once a week. It's also been great to keep in touch with friends on a face-to-face basis weekly, rather than just by email or phone.

I took the time to revise my wantlist on BoardGameGeek and dropped out anything with a rating lower than 6, except the niche game "ad acta" and Formidiable Foes, which is what I should have bought, instead of Fearsome Floors. Anything I didn't recognize from the title, I dropped, and anything collectible, I dropped. That leaves me with a mere 30 games on my wantlist, few of which are likely to appear in my collection in 2008, due to the time factor. Other than a preorder of Agricola and buying Kevin Nunn's self-published The Great Migration, I doubt much is going to happen to expand my collection next year. That's still two great games to anticipate. Also, I expect R.J.'s copy of Race For The Galaxy to see a lot of play.