Cold, rainy winter days are upon us, which means staying inside and playing games. So far we've played Murder City twice, an aborted game of Bump in the Night (called on account of headache), and now we are taking a short break from Return of the Heroes. The Spawn has finished her heroic deed, is a 10 in archery and has her archery experience at max, but the big bad hasn't come out yet. I am so losing this game. I got stomped in Murder City too.
After the game we are going to watch Iron Man on DVD.
Boardgaming used to be an inexpensive hobby. Even as starving grad students, the Man and I could scrape together enough money to buy a new board game now and again. Once we graduated, and were both working, the cost of a board game became almost trivial. When friends or family commented on the money I spent on games, I could easily point out that it was far less then they spent on ice skating, or quilting, or even going to the movies twice a month.
The perfect way to get back into Magic: The Gathering.
I was rather disappointed in Runebound. I gave it many chances, tried different varients, but it always left me feeling underwelmed. It was just kind of long and repeative.
But then Mr. Skeletor wrote the Runebound Shopping Guide. After reading that, I decided to add Walkers of the Wild (market deck) and The Dark Forrest (adventure deck). I also added a second set of movement dice to seed up that part of the game.
Walkers of the Wild adds a bunch of inexpensive weapons and armour. This really sped up the beginning of the game, allowing us to advance faster, so the game didn't bog down at the beginning and over stay it's welcome. The Dark Forrest added a bunch of Challenges so your turn isn't always just fighting dudes. The rewards are also more varied. For example one is to steal an item from another player. There are others that allow you to mess with people's movement. There are also a few quests in there.
I 'm really glad I didn't give up on Runebound. I think it will be getting much more play now. I may even have to get another expansion to add some more characters to the game. However, I'm waiting for Mr. S's next Runebound shopping guide to decide which one to get.
Last day of school for my little spawn. We looked over her report card. Told her how proud we were of her. Gave her a little gift, and then packed her off to camp Granmama's for the week. WOO HOO.Tonight was dinner and games with Francie. Tomorrow is a suddenly planned and hastily thrown together game party at Francie's. I'm making my special recipe chip dip. You dump this bag of powder into a bowl of sour cream and stir it. Al is on beer run duty. We still don't know who is coming, but we think we'll have at least 6 of us.Francie was trying to get Al to call J to find out if he was coming. She wouldn't call herself, because she was afraid the wife would take it the wrong way if some strange woman called and asked if J could come over and play. Are we still in Jr. High or what?
After dinner we taught Francie Glory to Rome. She thought it sucked.
"Too many cards. Not enough bits," she said."This from the woman who was playing PR last night. Real nice cardboard chits in that one.""It has cubes," she replied."You want cubes, baby. I'll give you you cubes. Where's that old RISK set?"But she took a pass on the RISK and we played Rails of Europe instead.
Francie started fading around 9pm. By the end of the game she was sleepy and stupid. She just let me steal cubes from her. Al won anyway. His winning move was humping the bag for two yellow cubes. Francie said that she knew we were going to make fun of her after she left. I told her that we wouldn't. I'd just blog about her so everyone would know how lame she was.
Just kidding , you know I love you.
Hopefully Francie will sleep in tomorrow. If she doesn't, she may start kicking us out at some unholy early hour and we will have to have the after party over here. That means I would have to clean the kitchen . Bleh!
The WBC starts in less than one week. Everyone should be busy figuring out how to pack all those games, ice down that much beer and worrying about who's room they are crashing in.
To get us all in the mood I wanted to link what is perhaps the best article ever written on this blog. Go re-read this one and get your head in the right spot for next week.
Fear and Loathing in Lancaster. A Savage Journey into the Heart of the Ameritrash Dream
I used to spend some time over Thanksgiving weekend editing my game wish list. The list used be long, filled with games about which I knew only a little bit, but which sounded interesting.
I was looking for something. I wanted something like a game I already owned and loved, but different or better. Maybe my best loved game had been over played, or maybe I needed something that had a shorter play time, or could be played by a different number of players, or maybe we were just tired of a certain theme. Throughout the year, when ever I heard about, or read about, or even saw pretty pictures of a game that might possibly fit the bill, I'd put it on my "maybe" list.
When I sorted through the "maybe" list, I always hoped I would be able to recognize one or two wonderful, perfect games. However, I kind of already knew that I was looking at a list of "good but not great." Over the years we settled for a lot of games that were almost what we wanted. Often times we would open our overflowing game cupboard, looking for something to play, and conclude that "there was nothing good ." Sometimes we might settle for something, like when your hungry and settle for that yogurt, when what you really want is a sandwich. Sometimes we'd just close the cupboard and go do something else.
Over the past couple of years however, that has changed. My cupboard is now full of really good stuff. We open it and can usually pull out two or three great games that we really want to play.
So this year my list is short. The one game on it, Cosmic Encounter, I already know is great. This is not a sad a thing, or a call to stop buying games and play what you already own. This is a happy thing. The realization that really good games, at least by my standards, are being published. I don't need to buy three "maybes" and hope that with a few house rules and a little tweaking, one might become an almost satisfactory game. Instead I can get ONE great game, and ignore all the almosts.
This however, means my wish list is kind of short. So I've started eyeing juicers. Anyone have any opinions on commercial grade juice presses vs electric extractors?
Yesterday I overheard three guys on the other side of my cubical wall arguing about the John Carter movie. Two of them had read the books.
Let's take a gander into the future.
We had a couple of hours to kill while the Spawn was at a school function, so we went to a nearby Barnes and Nobel to hang and drink over-priced coffee. I was sitting near the games, listening to people as they shopped, because I'm nosey like that, and discovered something interesting about why people buy games and how they make their choices.
First, every single person that purchased a game bought it as a birthday gift for a kid. Saturday is a big birthday party day, so Friday night is the last minute, desperate birthday shopping night. The first criteria for the gift was price, with $15-$20 being the sweet spot. The next was size. Parents vetoed some pretty good games suggested by the children in tow because they were, "too small." The game has to be a standard shape. Games in tins, bags, or oddly shaped were vetoed as too difficult to wrap. Finally, box art was a major factor. Cartoony graphics were vetoed as looking "too young." Crude art was vetoed as looking "too cheap." An awardsticker on the package was a big plus. I only saw one mom actually flip a box over and read the back of a game to see what it was about.
The big seller was Camp which looks like a really boring camping trivia game. However, it was the right size, shape, price, didn't have goofy cartoons on the cover, and had a gold sticker on it.
The Spawn related the following story to me today.
This morning she noticed a boy on the school bus reading a comic book.
"Whatcha' reading," she asked?
"Manga," he replied.
"I like X-men and Wonder Woman," she told him.
"Those are comics. This is a graphic novel."
The boy then explained to her how superior Manga and graphic novels were to American [sneer] comic books. Also that his life's ambition was to attend PAX, the biggest video game convention in the world.
"I've been to a board game convention," she told him, "Is it like that?"
He then explained to her why video games are superior to board games, and why PAX is superior to her dumb [sneer] board game convention.
"My mom's going to PAX," she told him, "She said I can come if I wanted"
Boy's jaw drops.
"She also said I could invite a friend."
She then flounced off to another seat.
After relating this to me, she asked me why the boy was so mean to her.
I told her not worry about it. He was destined to spend his life on internet forums complaining that girls don't share his interests. Also, points to her for turning the screw.
"Whatever," she replied, "Wonder Woman is not dumb. Wolverine could totally take those skinny Mango dudes. And boys are just flippin' stupid."
Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work
Had a chance recently to play a review copy of Summoner Wars, and I came away fairly impressed with it.
On Wednesday (June 20th) I did a gay super hero wedding in NYC. It was pretty awesome.
If I were a superhero, I wouldn't wear tights, or a unitard or anything like that. I'm thinking sweats or fatigues would be the way to go. Unitards give you wedgies. Tights itch and are hard to get on. When you run in them, you end up with the crotch at about mid-thigh. They get runs in them. Plus panty lines.
I don't buy that close fitting clothes make it easier to fight and climb and run. If it were true, Danskin would have a military contract.
Also, how do superheroes get their uniforms cleaned? Do they have a bunch of them and just toss them all in the wash at once? And who makes them?
Francie had a game party at her home yesterday. We usually meet in a dank cellar that smells like mildew and paint thinner, has shitty plastic chairs and is full of loud mini players. Or we meet in a small, stuffy meeting room which also has hard plastic chairs and hardly enough room to squeeze between tables to walk to the powder room. It was awesome to be lounging about in Francie's big, gorgeous Victorian house, with comfy chairs, a fridge full of beer, and a pool table. Some of us even spent part of the day talking in the living room, or out on the deck, like it was a real party and we weren't socially challenged geeks who needed a game board between us to interact with other humans.What perplexed me, however, is that any game with a playing time of over 90 minutes was shot down as "too long." Most of us were at the party for 8 hours. Some stayed for 10 hours. WTF! A 2-3 hour game is too long??? Also, the games I suggested somehow managed to get shot down for simultaneously being "too easy" or "too light" AND for being "too complicated." Most of these comments came from people who were new to the hobby and had never even played the games.
Railroad Tycoon is no good because it is just an easier version of Age of Steam, so lets play Darjeeling, GemBlo and Crokinole instead. Again I say WTF!
I was eventually able to get a three player, learning game of Valley of the Mammoths together. This game really needs at least four, or five to play well. However, this did give us a chance to flail through the rules (third time for me, first for the other two players). I decided that I need to make player copies of all the little charts, and a season wheel marked with the special events that happen on certain turns. Since the two first time players liked it, we may be able to convince a couple more to play next time.
BTW, Darjeeling is stupid.
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