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  • 1D3

    So I went over to The Grid, which is where my game group meets, to try and buy 1D3. I like to buy stuff at The Grid, since they let us play there, and are super nice, but they mostly sell CCG and D&D stuff there, so pretty much I just buy dice and card sleeves, and junk like that there. They keep all their stuff behind a counter, which is kind of a pain, but makes sense, so I had to wait for someone to help me.

    Jamie, who doesn't even work there, but is there so much he is like staff, asks me what I need. I tell him I need a D3. More than one if he has it. He looks at me like I'm a little soft in the head. So I tell him I just want a 6 sided die with 1-1-2-2-3-3. I know they are made. So he says I should just use a D6 and divide by two. No DUH! 

    Nothing against Jamie, BTW. He is an awesome guy. He also has a really cute baby, that he brings in sometimes. She just sleeps in her little car seat through all the gaming noise.  The fact that is a cool for gamer parents to bring in their babies is a testament to how socially well adjusted most of the regulars are. Not to mention how clean and and well kept the place is. Although I am tempted to take a rag and Lysol to the bathroom. The bathroom itself is clean, but the light switch and door  edges are almost black from finger prints. It's kind of gross, but it is also the kind of thing that guys don't seem to notice.

    So anyway, no luck on the D3. And yes, Jamie is right, I can use a D6 and divide by 2. It's what I have been doing. The thing is that I have too many games, where you have to do this. On a 1 or 2, X happens, on a 3 or a 4 Y happens, etc. It's just that I never play any game often enough to remember these little details. So we'll start playing, and then someone will ask, "How does reinforcements work again?" or whatever. Then we have to stop and look it up.  I'm thinking that if I throw a D3 into the box, when I see it, I'll think, "What's this for?" And then I'll remember, "Oh, yeah, that's the reinforcements die."  Also, no math and fewer brain farts. Like when your supposed to get 2 dollars if you roll a 3 or a 4, but when you see the 3, you just think 3. Honestly, a D3 only costs like 30 cents. I wish game publishers would just throw one in and raise the game price by a buck. It could even be a different color than the other dice, so it looks special. But I'm an anti-demographic who notices finger prints on doors, and doesn't mind paying a bit more for convenience. Raising a game price by a buck would no doubt provoke riots and boycotts.

    So I'm still hunting for my elusive D3.

  • 2008 International Gamers Awards

    The winners of the 2008 IGA has been announced by the International Gamers Awards committee a.k.a. a bunch of really white dudes . Seriously, it looks like the reunion of the St. John's Prep chess club.

    And Frank, what is this? Your head shot from the program for your high school production of "Godspell"?


    BTW, they like Agricola and 1960: The Making of the President. Congrats to Zev and Z-man Games. I hope this means that Z-man makes piles of money to bank roll more games like Shadow Hunters and Tales of the Arabian Nights.

  • A few quick impressions

    I've played a bunch of fun stuff with a bunch of fun people over the past few weeks:

    Galaxy Trucker

    Murder City

    Bump in the Night



    Snow Tails

    Cosmic Encounter

  • America Needs a Hoverboy!

  • And Now...*I* Rant. Agri-f'n-Cola.

  • And Now...*I* Rant. Agri-f'n-Cola.

  • And where the Frak have YOU been?!?

     No, I haven't been kidnapped by Haitian terrorists.   

     This is just one of those times of year that can make finding time--any time--rather difficult. 

     It doesn't help when, on Christmas night, you're in the office/playroom and see water marks by the closet door.  Oh, you know, the closet with the water heater in it.  No big deal, right?  Except for wet walls and carpet...ugh.

     I was very fortunate in that there were no major casualties except one--one of my giant CCG boxes got soaked through.  It was the bottom box and thus the least important, but it got it GOOD.  What does this mean?  I had to bid goodbye to the following CCGs:

     -Young Jedi
    -Jyhad (yes, all seven Jyhad decks were in this box)
    -Rage (my three power Rage decks?  Gone)
    -Star Wars TCG (This was actually doing me a favor...)

     And some other odds and ends.

     This kind of ties in with my philosophy on Christmas this year.  I just didn't want very much stuff at all this year.  I'm so buried in shit to do as it is, it felt wrong asking for more to pile on.  And these CCGs hadn't been played in YEARS.  Even Jyhad--one of my all time favorites--had been gathering dust for quite some time.  Honestly, none of my friends wanted to play Jyhad with me anymore because my decks were all "The Nasty."  They had even dared me to make a Toreador deck that worked and I cooked up a nearly unbeatable Masika/Talbot's Chainsaw deck that would get in combat with vampires and TOAST them completely in one round.

     But I digress.  Tossing soaked cards out sucks, but it really made little difference in the final analysis.  Thankfully the CCGs I still care about and have played within the past two years were OK--including Raw Deal, Star Wars CCG, and Lord of the Rings.


    All I got for Christmas--all that I asked for--was Guitar Hero World Tour, The Dark Knight DVD, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game.  My youngest brother also surprised me by giving me his copy of Guitar Hero III and wireless guitar for the Wii.  Okay, so that's where I have to confess that while that's all *I* got, our sons got a Wii from Santa.  Yes, I realize that this is somewhat like cheating.  They also got a mess load of games, including one that has barely left the Wii since we got it--Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

     They should just call it "Nintendo Fanservice: The Game."  You want to talk packing a game full, I don't think I've seen one this full of stuff to do in quite some time.  A story mode, event mode challenges, a billion ways to brawl, a stage editor to make your own level (to go with the 35+ levels already in the game) and all sorts of junk to collect...incredible.

     Guitar Hero: World Tour is also pretty frickin' incredible.  They've adopted a "gig" system sort of like Rock Bands where you can play through the game in a pseudo non-linear fashion.  What's great about the game is that even the songs I wasn't really looking forward to playing are actually fun to play.  I mean, I'd rather gouge my eyes out than entertain the prospect of a Blink-182 reunion tour, but their song is enjoyable to play.  Who knew? 

     My brother got Rock Band 2 for his 360 and it's also fun, so either way you go you're going to have fun.  And what I've found is that by playing the songs you actually get to know them better...hear little guitar and musical ticks you never's pretty cool, actually.


    Only squeezed in one game day this break, but it was a good one--two games of Battlestar Galactica with five.  I'll talk more about BSG in my "2008 in review" column that will go up in early January, but man I gotta say that BSG is one of the few games this year that did not disappoint me.  It's a game that has pretty much everything in gaming that I like--variable player powers, a hidden traitor mechanic, space combat, card play, backstabbing and paranoia, it's just a hodgepodge of everything that's good and (in)decent about gaming.  It's definitely on my shortlist of "game of the year" candidates in a year that was unfortunately filled with mostly disappointment after disappointment....but again, more on that in my year in review column that's yet to come.

     My brother and I also set up Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage after everyone had gone, and we played through a turn just to get a handle on the game.  We were sort of staggering through getting the hang of it but it's easy to see the game is likely going to be a GOOD one.  I got a unpunched copy of the AH version in trade this year and debated whether I should punch it or not...until the gamer in me pimp-slapped the collector side HARD and I dutifully sleeved and punched everything. 

     Speaking of gaming, my brother and I are a lock for Atlanta Gamefest on January 9th and 10th.  We might make it too late to attend on the 9th but we'll definitely be there all day of the 10th.  I think we've agreed to take Hannibal with us to play late Friday and wait until the next morning to go to Gamefest.  Either Hannibal or Twilight Struggle.  Everything I want to play these days seems to be card-driven, and that's okay with me.


     Anyway, we're looking at the direction of F:AT over the next year.  The first year was all about just getting the blog going, the second year was all about the website, and now we've got the website (with more bangs and whistles than I'd ever dreamed) and an established readership that we are always looking to grow.  In that regard, we'll probably be fishing for feedback soon about some ideas we have, and even allow you to give us a report card grade for the past year--what's worked for you, what you've enjoyed, what you'd like to see more of, what things you could do without.  I'd love nothing better for us to double our registered membership.  As we've grown and continue to get more of a "professional website" feel, we'll need you guys (and gals) more than ever to keep us straight and continue to improve the site.

     I think from a technical side we're pretty solid--user profiles, recommendation/ranking system, forums, member blogs, regular front page updates, a much-improved user submission system, and more.  It's now more about solidifying the direction of the site in terms of much boardgaming content, how much pop culture content, moving forward with cementing our regular features (news, photos, comics, reviews)...


    2008 was all about "How."  Hopefully, in 2009 we can focus more on "Why."



    Anyway...that's where I've been, what's going on with my world, and a peek at some stuff that's to come.  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that everybody has a supremely awesome New Year.  Thanks for 2008, and I'll see you guys again in 2009.



  • Android - the mystery game

    Puzzles are solved. Mysteries are revealed.

    Even when you can't find the right answer [to solve a puzzle], you know it exists. Puzzles can be solved; they have answers.

    But a mystery offers no such comfort. It poses a question that has no definitive answer because the answer is contingent; it depends on a future interaction of many factors, known and unknown.

                                                                    - Gregory F. Treverton



  • Andy's Industrial Opinion Factory #1

    Hi! Welcome to the factory. Here’s your station--now get to work.

  • Andy's Industrial Opinion Factory #3 - Arkham Horror 3rd Edition, Heroes of Terrinoth, Keyforge

  • Andy’s Industrial Opinion Factory #2

    Howdy there, underlings! Go ahead and put down your tools, wipe the soot off your brow, and come hither. Your deep-pocketed, hard-fisted supervisor has some thoughts about board games, and guess what? You’re gonna listen to ‘em. You will, of course, need to make this time up later.
  • Arkham Horror with the Girls

    The Spawn invited her cousin, Ghost, and her friend, Kindle Girl, over for Arkham Horror and a sleep over on Friday. This kind of took me by surprise, since The Spawn has never played Arkham Horror, and doesn't like games that last more than 30 minutes.

    The first thing she asked when we sat down to play was if the game was really going to last for 8 hours. The game did last 4 hours, with a break for pie, and The Spawn spent a good deal of it standing  up (she just can't sit that long). I tweaked the game a bit so we were playing in easy mode. It was pretty much a cake walk for the investigators. For veterans it would have been a rather dull game, with few tense moments, but the girls didn't realize this. They spent most of the game in fear of their characters dying a horrible death, although none of them ever got close to it. I think this game wins the prize for the most time spent in the Hospital and the Asylum, as whenever the girl's characters where down even a couple sanity or life points, they went directly for the heal up. 

    I was getting a bit worried that the girls were going to decide that Arkham Horror was a bit long and dull, as despite my love for the game, it was beginning to feel that way to me. But, no, once they sealed that last gate, and did their victory dance, they all declared the game awesome. They decided, however, it would be even more awesome to play with just their friends, rather than us boring grown-ups. Ghost, who is an experienced player, was the voice of reason and explained that the rule book was about a zillion pages long, and there was no way they could run a game by themselves without a bit more practice. So, yay, I get to run at least one more game for them this summer to teach them a few more rules before they abandon me.       

  • At the Gates of Loyang - Why do I hate it?

    At the Gates of Loyangis a game about getting vegetables and exchanging them for other vegetables and then exchanging those vegetable for money which is used to buy points. That should be explanation enough for why I hate it. But it isn't. 


  • B.O.B.

    I'm doing the B.O.B. on T.O.S. It's not Christmas themed, and sounded like a Yankee Swap, where the idea is to send people stupid crap, so I decided it would be fun. When I signed up, however, I was only thinking that I would get to send someone some crazy shit. I totally wasn't thinking that someone would be sending me some crazy shit.

    So now it looks like whomever pulled my name found his way over here to F:AT, and now knows just about all anyone needs to know if their intention were to send someone some crazy shit. 

    I, on the other hand, get some dude that owns like 700 games, but is totally invisible on the internets.  He doesn't even have an Amazon wish list for goodness sake. I like trying to find people's amazon lists. 



  • Balancing My Fun and My Family

    I assumed that as The Spawn got older I would have more time for my own personal interests. It makes sense, doesn't it? At 13, she doesn't require constant supervision. She can entertain herself. I can leave her alone in the house without being arrested for child neglect. She spends most of her evenings doing homework anyway. Unfortunately, I have found that I seem to have less free time and am generally more exhausted than when she was 8 - 10 years old.

  • Barnes on Film - Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

    Nicholas Cage is...good again?

  • Barnes on Games #1 - Colt Express, Century: Golem, Tea Dragon Society, Gaslands

    Like a Rainbow in the Dark.

  • Barnes on Games #11 - Trade on the Tigris, Raccoon Tycoon, Stephenson's Rocket Reviews

    One is co-designed by a longtime TWBG member. One has dogs in hats. One is a Knizia classic. All are excellent.

  • Barnes on Games #2: CYOA: House of Danger, Warhammer Champions, Root, Shifting Realms, and More

    "You suddenly regret playing the worst game of 2018. THE END."

  • Barnes on Games #3 - Tasty Minstrel Games Edition: Harvest, Exodus Fleet, Pioneer Days

    The fine folks at Tasty Minstrel games sent over a package of some of their most recent titles so let's have a look at Harvest, Exodus Fleet, and Pioneer Days, shall we?