Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dominion with Lee

Lee and I have gotten in 3 games of Dominion this year so far. In the most interesting game, we did an odd setup with Gardens and no Mines or Festivals, and the game lasted quite a while. Lee beat me by a large margin, by outbuying me on Provinces.

The other two games were interesting because we used the two BGG promo cards, Envoy and Black Market. The Envoy is almost certainly undercosted, and I'm still trying to evaluate the Black Market.

Beyond that, I still haven't unwrapped the Seaside expansion.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Paying down the reading debt...

Finally managed to get my Google Reader down under a thousand unread articles. This is possible only because I am a speed-reader. Found this gem on being a nerd dad, and being a grown-up.

Today we should get several of the teaching methods books from Amazon (also Dominion: Seaside). We also have a fascinating book on parenting that I've barely skimmed.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Blogs I read #1: The Blog Of Michael Mindes

(This is the opening post of my new 2010 series of gaming blog reviews.)

Why are board game publishers so interesting? I'm friends with several. They're smarter than the average bear. They have a dream, and are following it. They tend to be high-energy, hard-working folks who have a broad range of disciplines at which they excel. They're self-starters and usually brimming with ideas. They have a critic's eye. With thousands of dollars invested in a high-risk, low-return business, they've got to be self-aware to succeed. Best of all, the vast majority of them understand that they're building a brand, and do their best to be friendly and nice.

Of course, you can't get far in the publishing business without being a half-decent editor and writer. All of this leads me to my next point:

Publisher Michael Mindes has a great gaming blog. Of all the gaming blogs I read, seeing a new post from Mindes is the surest way to start my morning with insightful, funny, and novel ideas on board game publishing. He's a Seth Godin advocate, which means Mindes cares about the way his message is received, and is in the world to build long-term value for everyone involved.

He's cranking out high-quality posts at an amazing rate, as well as giving away free games, in order to build himself and his company Tasty Minstrel games into a household name, at least in the Eurogaming world.

A confession: since I was laid off at the end of September, I haven't had any business buying new games, so my acquisitions have been meager and guilt-inducing. Thus, I haven't bought and played either of the Tasty Minstrel offerings yet. That last word is key. Both of his company's just-released games, Terra Prime and Homesteaders, are getting good reviews and commentary, and are on my to-try-soon list. I'm actively reading the buzz on them, and definitely am intrigued. Would I have gotten around to them without Mindes' blog? Maybe, and maybe not.

The only drawback to reading Mindes' work so far is that he's limiting his RSS feeds to not show everything, which is a major irritant for me. Thus far, he's publishing such interesting material that I still am willing to click through; of all the blogs I read, only about 3 get a pass on that.

Overall, The Blog of Michael Mindes is a fantastic study in how to promote games, with a clear understanding in switching up your message to appeal to as many facets of interest as possible.

The next post in this series will sing the praises of Brian Bankler's The Tao of Gaming, and after that, I'll wave my hands in an equivocal manner about Matt Drake's snappy Drake's Flames.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My (gaming) goals for 2010

  1. Figure out what my buddies want to play, and get 'em to the table! Chris B. found his old copy of Rail Baron, and Jonathan wants to learn Agricola. Kevin Nunn wants me to blind-test Rolling Freight, as well (2-3 hours as a 3, I think). I just gave my brother-in-law Dominion, so that'll be rockin' as well.
  2. Move forward on 18IA, my train game, for a variety of reasons.
  3. Play everything I am running at OwlCon at least once again before I go.
  4. After OwlCon but before July 15, play everything I acquired last year, which is a scary lot of stuff, really. The Cattlemen, The Powerpuff Girls Game, Twilight Imperium, Acquire, Titan, Railroad Dice, Goa, the Dominion series, Duck Duck Safari, Bazaar, Gloria Mundi, Power Grid using the new plants deck, Havoc, and Renfield (did I already slip Renfield into a package going out of the house? I dunno, I get hit in the head a lot).
  5. Re-write rules and complete prototypes for at least 2 of the other designs I have been nurturing. I have some sketches and they need to become playable so I can start hammering on them.
  6. Put at least one game up on The Game Crafter by my birthday in October.
  7. Write one gaming blog post a week, and review one gaming blog a month from my RSS feed.
  8. Limit myself to buying only 6 games this year.
  9. Do not participate in any Math Trades this year. Last year's set of trades got me a ton of stuff, for which I also worried way too much, procrastinated on sending, and spent way too much in postage.
  10. Have fun.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Oh bother, where art thou?

Seriously, I have only 2 New Year's Resolutions:
  1. Find that one CD I can't find.
  2. Find that one DVD I can't find.
Other than that, I'm still travel-trashed-out and will resume thinking in a couple of days.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Out of town gaming summary

Florida: Roll Through The Ages x3, Dwarves and Dice x4, Beowulf: The Legend, Dominion, Puerto Rico, For Sale. North Carolina: Dwarves and Dice x 3.

All the girls really liked Dwarves & Dice, a cute little pattern recognition game where you roll 3 dice with different colors on them, and try to find the corresponding dwarf.