Thursday, 29 November 2007

it's Game, night, November!

There was a small crowd of us that night, only 6 people (including myself) and we played 5 different games.

The night started with four of us, we played Shear Panic, including teaching it to one other. The game was a close one, with Lenora "Ewe guys suck!" eliminated in the first shearing and both John "Panic Attack" and Tim "Ewe know ewe like it" each losing one. I eventually won the game by 4 points.

Brett and Robert showed up about a third of the way through so they played Ruk Shuk, the game of rock piling. Robert "Stoner" won, beating Brett.

We all combined into one large group and played a game that was supposed to be here for Hallowe'en but arrived the Monday after, Mall of Horror, a horror themed auction game. John "Zombie King" won by sacrificing Marked "for death"'s cheerleader on the last round to stay alive.

Gane four of the night was Munchkin Cthulhu, my favourite of the Munchkin clan. Lenora "Yog Shoggoth" won, by using the brilliant play of sacrifing her roommate to the Great Old Ones. One of the players comments about Munchkin Cthulhu is that he does not like the quick ending of the Cultists, instead he prefers the longer games because the game is not about winning or losing but instead is about the game itself.

Two players left so we finished up with three games of Formula Motor Racing. John Andretti won the first game, but Lenora "I can't drive 55" rocked the next two and finished with double the points of 2nd and 3rd. Mark "Roadkill" finished well out of the race.

The next game night is Decmeber 15th or 22nd. Let me know which date you prefer. I will send out an update email as of the 8th, so you have a week.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Christmas and gaming

I know all of you here are anxiously trying to figure out what to get your non gaming family, or your friends that you want to get gaming. Many of these games will work for gamers as well.

The BGG Gift Guide lists quite a few games, some I have no knowledge of (Kids games) and others I like (Hive) or hate (Settlers of Catan).

One thing you have to understand about purchasing games for other people, particularly non gamers, is that your giftee may not like games, or you may have to teach them it. Don't be disheartened though, you will get someone that likes the game you purchase and will want to play it with you.

A second point you should understand is what kind of game you should purchase.

If they like group activities you should purchase party games like Apples to Apples, or Wits and Wagers. These are both games that scale well to larger groups and can involve gamers and non gamers.

If they are more of a small group person (just close friends and family), look at games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride (the original), or Ingenious. These will provide both an opportunity to play a game and still socialise.

If they are the sort of person that likes 2 player games, Lost Cities is ok (I prefer Battle Line) or Hive. If they have an interest in either war or fantasy, I would suggest something from the Commands & Colors series by Richard Borg, either Battle Lore or Memoir '44 would be a great 2 player game. These games are both fast playing (30-45 minutes perside) games that use miniatures that are graphically appealing and it is fun to play.

There is also a subset of games that seems to work well for groups of non gamers as well. These are the "racing" games. The more popular ones are Formula De', which simulates Formula One racing using dice and a gear system, this scales from 2-10. I find the game drags a little with 10 though and I think the sweetspot is 4-6. Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, which is more of a card management system that still allows you to feel like you are racing, it scales from 2-6. This is a different game depending on how many players are in the game. Lastly, in the car category, there is Formula Motor Racing, a card driven racing game from GMT Games that is suited for 3-6, but using the optional rules you can play with 2.

There are some non automotive racing games as well. The first would be the Really Nasty Horseracing Game, in this game you own a horse in a series of steeplechase events and you are trying to collect the most money. You are allowed to bet on which horse finishes first and you are allowed to influence the end of the race using various cheat cards. The last race game I am going to mention is Fearsome Floors. This is a game in which I think the theme is wonderfully married to the game mechanics. You play a group of people trying to escape from a dungeon with a monster in it. The movement system is unique and this is a great game.

The whole point of this is to encourage others to learn and enjoy games, so you may want to get a game that you would be excited to teach and you think they would be excited to play. Who knows, in a couple of years you may be playing Power Grid with them

Friday, 16 November 2007

Game night in Tuscany

I tend to bring light games to Tuscany as I never know who is going to show up, but most tend to be learning the game for the first time. This time we had a grand total of 12 show up, with 9 originally and 3 stragglers.

Mark took 4 over to one table to play Princes of Florence, a game I have never played, so I will not describe it.

I took the other 3 over to a different table and taught/learned Formula Motor Racing, a quick race game that is more about card control and light strategy then actual racing. I liked the game in my first play of it, and it looks like others did as well, as it showed up as a filler for the PoF group after they had finished. I was leading until the final round and then all my cars exploded and I finished last.

The second game we played, now with 7 players, was Bang! This game was new to 3 of the players as well, so it was another teaching session game. The game went well, with 4 of the players being new. The sherriff was in an enviable position, with the renegade to her left and the deputies both to her right. The Sherriff win, with only the Sherriff and a Deputy surviving until the end.

We switched to another card game, Bohnanza, with one player dropping out to join the other group. Something about his wife being in the other group... Bohnanza was a close fought game with the final scoring being 14-14-13-13-12-10.

Formula Motor Racing was the first game played by the PoF group, switching to Fiji, which made their brains bleed, and San Juan when they were down to four players.

Our table had a couple of more players leave, so Brenda and I taught Poison to Greg. He is not big on math games, but I think he enjoyed it just the same.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Planning for Mayday

Mayday is in May, appropriately enough May 2nd and 3rd, and I have agreed to run a mini-tourney for Commands & Colors:Ancients. The current plan is to allow 6 people to play, with them rotating between boards and scenarios. When Mayday arrives I will have the Expansions 2 and 3 for it as well.

I am not really sure if this is a tourney with prizes or a tourney for fun, as I only agreed to do this as of today.

My current plan would be to run a tourney using one of two options; either a scenario from each expansion, or a string of linked scenarios. I created a series of linked scenarios for BattleLore at Fallcon, but I am not as interested in doing it for Commands & Colors. This is mainly due to my desire for it to be accurate and in a fantasy game like BattleLore, anything you do is accurate.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Tide of Iron

Jay came over tonight and we played a game of Tide of Plastic Iron, a WWII game by Fantasy Flight. The game is less complex than serious wargames like Panzer Grenadier, or ASL, but it is more complex then the current crop of Card Drive Plastic (CDP) games like Memoir '44.

I had originally purchased ToI to game with my brother-in-law and his son, both of home are interested in the bigger style games. They were down in Sepember, but I was unable to play much due to work demands. I am glad I finally did get this played!

We played the first scenario as a learning game and boy did we ever learn! The second turn we learn that you should bunch your units together for concentrated fire, on later turns we both realised that for the Germans to win they need to rush the barriers. I had thought that I was doomed by the third turn, Jay was pounding my units everywhere. My strength was that I had 7 reinforcements by the end of the 7th turn and two more to play on the 8th. My total count of units at the end of the game was 6, which means Jay had killed all my units at least once! Jay's advantage was that he got 2 initiative markers/turn and always went first after the first turn.

Suppressive fire works well, Jay used the staggered approach. What he would do is use either his mortar or his tank to supress a block and then hit it piecemeal with other units. When you first supress a unit, the next unit to supress them disrupts it and a third unit will cause a rout. This means it takes a minimum of three hits to kill a unit using supression and a maximum of 5.

The reason I think Jay lost was because he was agressive in the first 4 turns and then got too defensive as he realised I kept pulling units out as reinforcements. I think if he had maintained his agression he could have won on the 8th turn.

I like this game, I think it has plenty of replayability and is good to look at, I will take a picture from the next time we play to show you the immenseness of the board. The time it took for Jay and I to play, from cracking the box and reading the rules to taking the game down in about 3 hours. I think when we are both comfortable with the rules we can play it in about 2.

The downside of the game is that the pieces are a little hard to click together, it is fiddly in that respect. On BGG it has been suggested that you should drill out the holes a little, but others state you only need to wait and play the game a few times and they will click in and out easily. I guess I can wait a while...

I would rate this game a 7.5 out of ten after the first play. Once I am comfortable building units and the pieces click together, it could go up. If you are ever interested in playing it, the rules can be downloaded here

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

National Games Week

is the 18th-24th of November. I think we should get together to play some games... a lot of games.

I would like to have at least two days/nights/ periods of times where I (or any of you) game that week, plus the games night (which is the 24th).

Since the magazine that formerly was the major player behind Games day, I doubt there will be much in the way of emphasis put on it this year.

Is anyone interested in maybe a night (or two) of games? I would like to crank out some of the longer ones, maybe A Game of Thrones or one of the Soldier Kings games?

Friday, 2 November 2007

It was a dark and stormy night

when the witches coven met.

No wait, it was the Hallowe'en gaming spectcular and we had a total group of thirteen people arrive. Yes that is correct, 13 people!

People arrived in a staggered format, so as I explained the rules to Werewolf to the first group even more arrived, so I explained them again.

We did play 4 games of Werewolf to start the night, and since the group was so much larger than normal we took longer then the usual 20 minutes, well except for the first game where the wolves mowed down the villagers like grass. The villagers pulled it together later and with some brilliant play by Brett as the seer they killed the werewolves in short order. I introduced the little girl, the witch and the sorceror over the course of the games. Brendan used the "I can't be the werewolf because I have a magic (candy) ring" defence which worked for him as the warlock, Brenda tried it as well, but the villagers didn't believe her. The games balanced out to two villager wins and two werewolf wins. I guess we should have had a tiebreaker but we didn't.

We split into two groups then, with the upstairs group playing Munchkin Cthulhu and the rest of us heading downstairs to play Fearsome Floors.

The Fearsome fivesome plus one played with Brenda "I am not sending Furunkulus after you" winning after Rick managed to get his man killed right at the exit. There was a fascinating flood of fleeing fugitives fighting for floor to freedom when the game ended. The game ended in the first round, so no one was permanently removed.

Munchkin Cthulhu went considerably longer and ended about an hour after the Fearsome fivesome (plus one) finished fleeing. Steve "Son of Shub-Niggurath" won after prolonging the agony of his competitors.

Then he ground their bones to paste and ate them...