Saturday, December 27, 2008

Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition OOTB

So I decided the first game I would open from my haul from Santa would be this one. The box is large, to accommodate the 3 maps boards that come with the game. The l;larger boards are welcome but I am already noticing warping on them just from the time they were out as I punched the rest of the game.

The games comes with storage containers for each nation and two catch all containers. Inside each container were the bits for each nation already punched and even the pesky infantry units were in their own baggies. From opening the box to getting everything set up took about 30 minutes, a far easier time then The War Game which I'll cover tomorrow.

All the bits and card board were really good quality and the rules are well written. I think I'll be playing this one in the coming week perhaps so I'll have more to say at that point. My only complaint thus far is the boards themselves, we'll see how they hold up.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Still here, wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. Here is some news, FFG has released a bunch of stuff recently.

TOI Scenario Book
TOI Normandy Expansion
Talisman Upgrade pack
Talisman Repaer expansion
4 Character Packs for Wow:TAG

They also seem to be handling getting the games out differently, for instance the games are available on their online store, and then a few days later at your local game shop and finally getting to online retailers. Maybe this isn't different but it sure seems to be more noticeable.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bill's Top Ten

Bill Abner has posted his top ten games of 2008, I plan on doing something like this myself soon. Anyway you should check it out Bill has good taste.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some reviews

Not board games, but a few that went up while I was away at Gameshark, one of which might be of interest to this blogs readers, the other certainly will not.

Disney Sing It

Going back to Stormreach (DDO)
Monday, December 15, 2008

A Gamers Pain

Remember when you were little and Christmas was coming and you might try and get a sneak peek at what present your parents got you because we all know you can't get a sneak peek of what Santa is bringing. Wait no one else did that?

Anyway my wife was out Saturday and I was getting ready to take the girls to lunch and the doorbell rings and two giant packages we're sitting on the porch. I take them in and they are heavy as hell, especially one of them. I look at the first box to see who it is from, the heavy one and it says Pegasus games, The War Game. the other box says Thought Hammer and it is as big as the first.

I obviously know what is in them since I put together my wish list of games, but man did I need to fight the urge to open those puppies up. So I call my wife and tell her they are there and she says well act surprised, which I will. But I mainly called her to tell her to move the damn things out of my eye sight. Here it is Monday morning and they we're still there, it's almost like she is begging me to open them.

No seriously I'm 42, I'm not kidding.

The pain of being a gamer :)
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow and Rain and Yuck!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last updated. Had Thanksgiving and then took a family vacation for 2 weeks to Disney World.

Lots has been happening on the gaming front and I've ordered a few new games one of which is Android a new FFG game that was pretty much developed in secret.

I'm going to do my best to post more here and finally get this site to where I want it. Life threw me some curves that side tracked me but it's time to get back in control.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Games

KitCon has come and gone and it was an awesome time, the day just flew by. Dominion was the big game this year many people were playing it, at times 3 or 4 games going on. I loved this game at GenCon and I still do. In fact I just got my copy today and played a quick game with the wife, she also liked it and won, always a good thing.

Got to play Axis & Allies, Conflict of Heroes and Warriors of God that day as well. It's nice to play some longer games but even I was weary after that line up. I'm hoping to get in some Combat commander this week along with a prototype play of my game (more on that later) and I also ordered a copy of The War Game which is quite possibly the most expensive and largest game I've ever seen.

It's nice to have time to game again as life is starting to get back to normal.
Thursday, November 06, 2008


an entire day of open gaming.

Saturday, November 8th, 2008
from 9:00 AM until Midnight (doors open at 8:00 AM for set-up)
at the Izaak Walton League Cabin, 899 Jay Street, Elgin IL

Food & drink will be available, including the famous BATTLEBURGER.

Several Dozen games! Including:

- TRAIN GAMES - 1830, Railroad Tycoon, Age of Steam, Crayon Rails
- CLASSIC AVALON HILL - Diplomacy, Advanced Civilization, Magic Realm,
Titan, Up Front, Gunslinger, Merchant of Venus
- HASBRO - Nexus Ops, Marvel Heroscape
- CLASSIC EUROS - Dominion, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Euphrat & Tigris, Shogun, Roads & Boats, Die Macher, Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, Ticket to Ride, Power Grid, Stone Age, El Grande, Pandemic, 1960 Making of the President, Brass
Monday, October 27, 2008

COH, Say Anything, Warriors of God

I played COH First firefight twice so far and both times the Germans trounced the poor Russians. It's a very enjoyable game and I'm holding off on my review until I've played more of the scenarios as each one starts to add other features like Smoke, Artillery and Vechicles. You really need to play the first firefight however just to retrain yourself on how you play war games as there is no "not paying attention" in COH. Also the pause between each action takes some getting used to but it really needs to be done.

I also played a solo game of Warriors of God and I will be getting this to the table soon. I have to be very careful who I play this with, there is a major luck element on when leaders die in this game and as I played I could envision several of my gaming buddies bitching up a storm because there plans we're foiled by a leader dying.

Got to play Say Anything this weekend at a Halloween party, this is the perfect party game. You're up in playing in 5-10 minutes after explaining the rules, I think you could teach a monkey to play this in about 20 minutes. Of course with any party game of this type its all about who you're playing with and for some how many drinks have been involved.

This group was perfect, I can say that with 100% certainty. You see you can't have duplicate answers so the first one to put theres in is good and the other have to change it. So as this questions was asked;

Name something inappropriate to have on your desk at work.

The fact that I stopped 2 other female players from writing Dildo because they were too slow is my evidence that it was the perfect choice for this group. Now my regular Eagles gaming group, ehh not so much.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Conflict of Heroes

Conflict of Heroes Awakening the Bear! - Russia 1941 - 1942 is one game I am geeked out to play. I read the rule last night and plan to play a solo scenario tonight. The rules are well laid out and the basic concepts sound simple. I really like that as a player you can react to your opponent so this means you have to pay attention at all times. I'll save the rules for when I do the review but know component wise this is how all war games should be made.

The box is damned heavy when you pick it up and of good stock, the counter aren't cheap and are a nice size and stock. The art work on them is also fantastic and the boards are heavy and mounted. Comparing the quality of this game to other new company release like Galactic Emperor aren't even fair as Conflict out classes it in every way.

Unless something at home prevents it, look for a solo play session recap tonight or tomorrow.

Images taken from Board Game Geek
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Order

Sometimes as a gamer you just gotta have you some new gaming love. With a pile of games from GenCon I still haven't played I was struck with the mood to spend some money. I usually order from Fair Play games but they didn't have what I needed so I went with Thought Hammer. I ordered Friday and they showed up today and that was the free shipping option.

What did I get?

Conflict of Heroes
Combat Commander Europe
Warriors of God
5 counter Trays, guess why?

Can you guess what kind of games I am thirsting to play right now? To fill out this most wonderful order I also got a copy of Say Anything because we all need some party games right?

I plan to open Conflict first I am itching to see this game. Of course I have a load of video games stacked up to review, Mines of Moria, Socom Confrontation, NWN2 Expansion and Disney Sing It! (not joking I requested it as I have a 3.11 and 5.5 year old girl)

Plus I just got Fable 2, FIFA 09 and Fall Out 3 is next week. Not to mention Left 4 Dead which I really want. I just love this time of year.
Friday, October 17, 2008

BSG Session Report - 6 Player

We played BSG again last night with 6 players and it was a totally different game then last time. It also played a hell of a lot quicker, I would like to try and 4 player game next time to test somethign out.

Dan - Helo
John - President
Chris - Sharon
Mark - Admiral Adama
Todd - Starbuck
Tony - Chief

The loyalty deck was seeded and passed out, as we would find out later the 2 Cylon cards came out in the initial deal. I started as not a Cyclon but of course stranded. The early game went pretty well since 3 of us had played before and everyone picked it up pretty fast. Our challenges were not very difficult and we made our first jump pretty quickly and moved 2 on the destination deck.

The second run was going fine, we again moved up the jump track quickly without incident although some questionable skill cards were kicked in, more then the destiny deck could screw us with. Then we got back to back Cyclon ship cards. Next thing we know we've got 2 base stars, something along the lines of 8 raiders and 4 civilian ships just sitting targets. I can't recall who did it but I'm pretty sure we FTL jumped out of there since we were one away from auto jump and escaped any combat.

The destination deck afforded us another 2 which meant we we're at the halfway point and the loyalty deck made another run. I got the sympathizer card and since all system were in the Blue I became the lame sympathizer Cylon. I call it lame because you get no Super Crisis card but you can still deal some damage.

The third leg got a little hairy part way through as I was able to bring in ships from the crisis cards, but the players managed to jump again this time getting a 3. I was wondering how long it would be before my 2 cylon brothers revealed, as it turns out not much longer. Not far into the 4th leg the two other cyclons revealed (John and Chris) and while all that was happening two of the 3 players we're in the Brig only the chief was roaming free. We got a base start on the board and ships we're every where.

It looked grim for the humans as they weren't in a position to FTL jump, their fuel was at 1 and actually one of them wanted to just end the game, to which we all said no. The humans managed to get out of the brig, nuke the base start and get to the ftl jump. But the destination cards weren't in their favor as both of them called for a loss of fuel and it was game over.

Again the humans failed to win a six player game and like last game their situation ramped up the later in the game we got. This is definitely in line with the theme of the show, the question arose if the humans could actually win. I think a 4 player game would give them a better shot, but i still think it is achievable.

While I still love the game, I think reactions we're a bit mixed afterwards. Some liked it and wanted to play again and others were on the fence. I'll say this if you don't enjoy cooperative games then you won't like this game, there is some downtime when it is not your turn even though you're always involved.

What tends to happen during a 6 player co-op game is side conversation start up, not only between players but onlookers who want to see a game that's technically not released yet. These conversations can extend the play time, I think we could of finished 30 minutes earlier if we didn't have to deal with distractions. You''ll also need to be able to get into a game like this, some game players just aren't into the theme of a game, they just play it an evaluate it like a text book instead of getting into the theme / setting.

All in all I think BSG is a fine game and I would play it whenever someone asked me to, I just think you need to know what the game is before you site down for a 2-3 hours game that may not be your cup of tea.
Thursday, October 16, 2008


Some of this may be old news and some of it new. Talisman was canceled for XBLA back in August apparently. Twilight Creations Zombies!!! is going to be making an appearance on XBL and PSN in 2009. Also in the works as previously mentioned is Tide of Iron, Wings of War and Blood Bowl.

I picked up the recent XBL title Age of Booty last night and only played the tutorial and came away less then impressed, more on that as I delve into it.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coming out of my shell and I'm doing just fine...

I can't believe it's been over a month since I've updated. Life has taken it's huge sacks of stress and tea bagged me with them repeatedly. I haven't played a game since that BSG game, that's a long time.

I should be attending Eagles this week which is the local group and hope to get in some gaming time, then there is KitCon coming up November 8th and if you're in the Chicaog land area and want to get in on a day of great open gaming let me know.

News wise I'm out of the loop but now that the dust has apparently settled I plan to get back into the blog and gaming, winter is coming after all what else is there to do.

On the electronic gaming front I've been picking up more assignments from Gameshark, money is tight right now so every bit helps.

Last but not least I am looking for people who would like to help out on this blog and take it from blog status to website status. I'm looking for someone to monitor news items and of course reviewers. Just so we're clear no money is involved, you would be doing it just for the sheer joy of it.

Talk to everyone soon
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Checking In

I wish I had something to blog about, we've got two big sits launching next week in Australia so I have been pulling double shifts for like 3 weeks. I haven't played a game since that BSG post, I still have unopened stuff from GenCon.

Light is ahead next week when these launch.
Friday, August 22, 2008

Articles Up

My GenCon Part 1 report is up on Gameshark, this is video / pc game related only so you can check it out if you want. Also and interview I did with David Gaider is also up on Gameshark, David is one funny guy and if you don't buy Dragon Age will come to your house and beat you with a severed arm.

Can I say again I so want to play another game of BSG right now. I wish I had 4 clones of myself.

BattleStar Galactica FRAK YES!

Consider this a teaser because I have so many thoughts in my head after last nights first play of BSG that it's going to take me a while to write them up but here is one for you. The BSG board game is one of the best games I have played.

Not this year.

Not recently.

Pretty much ever.

How can I make that claim after one playing you ask, well I'll pen that post later. I'm also quite sure that not everyone will feel this way, in fact I bet of the 6 player game last night there might be some who didn't enjoy it, but if you enjoy a co-operative game with a twist element like Shaodws over Camelot then I can't see you not liking this game.

Kudos to Mark from Eagles for pretty much blindsiding me and I think the other human players last night when the shit had hit the fan. It was much like watching a sci-fi flick, you know the good guys up against incredible odds, the tension builds and the hero's barely escape.

We had all of that last night, except thanks to some excellent playing we didn't escape. No quite the opposite I felt like I got punched in the stomach, someone ran over my dog and ran off with my wife.

When a game can get those kind of emotions out of me, well then it immediately goes to the top of my internal lists. The game also is very true to the show and it's atmosphere with the added benefit of getting to say motherfraker a lot.

As the title says, BSG FRAK YES!

Battlelore to FFG

Most of you have probably heard by now that Battlelore has been sold to Fantasy Flight Games, you can see the FFG press release here. I'll have more to say about this at a future time, anyone who reads this blog knows I am a big FFG fan.

I think what Days of Wonder has done here is nothing short of crappy. They have misled the Battlelore community for over a year know. Promises of expansions and taking the game new ways was nothing but a lot of hot air apparently. For their part anyone who pre-ordered the Troll expansion is going to get it for free, but that didn't stop them from selling them less then a week ago at GenCon for full price.

As I said once I see what FFG does with the line I'll comment more, but transitioning to a new company and then formulating a road map for the line is a time consuming thing. So for Battlelore fans we're looking at another long year with nothing new.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TOI and WoW to XBLA and PSN

Somehow I forgot to mention this upon my return from GenCon but both of these games are coming out to your console service of choice. Wings of War was on display at the FFG booth and it looked decent. With no one around to tell me what was going on though I gave it a brief look. This is due out winter 2008.

Tide of Iron was not on display and is due Spring 2009, I really can't comment much more. I assume a press release will be on the FFG sight soon or on other services. Actually it was the guys over at the Nut and Feisty Weasel who posted something earlier and reminded me this was announced.
Monday, August 18, 2008

Gencon General Wrap Up

In a word GenCon was a zoo this year. I have boat loads of pictures, saw a lot of games as well. Because i was covering for Gameshark as well my first two days were loaded with electronic game appointments.

I'll be doing more on the games I picked up but consider these general notes.

Well aside from surprising everyone with a limited release of Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones Card LCG, Tomb of Ice the new descent expansion, the new Arkham Horror Kingsport Expansion and the Moto GrandPrix game not much else happened.

Actually FFG was out in force, demoing pretty much everything they could and several proto types. The crowds at their booth was larger then normal. Conan was on display, TOI Normandy and huge demos of AT-43 and Confrontation: The Age of the Rag'Narok.

In fact they werre giving away 2 copies of AT-43 and Confrontation every hour and I was lucky enough to score Confrontation. Despite many efforts I could never hook up with Jeremy from FFG for some interview time, GenCon being what it is it happens.

Flying Frog
I got a little time to speak with both Jason and Scott and look at A Touch of Evil and of course I picked it up. I had a feeling I could of scored a review copy but I feel supporting a smaller company like this is warranted. Flying Frog has several games in the works and they are not all Horror related, I hope to get some follow up time with the flying Frog Team in the future. I am looking forward to playing this one soon.

Days of Wonder
DOW flew under my radar, frankly I forgot they were there until Day 3 and I missed some pre-con notifications. Both TTR Nordic Countries and Battlelore For Troll and Country where there for sale in limited quantites. I am really disappointed about missing the Troll expansion.

Valley Games
While I didn't pick up either one of these games, one of my gaming buddies scored both Titan and SuperNova from the show. Each one was there in very limited release. I did get pictuers of Titan that I'll get around to uploading.

Surprise Games
Dominion - This card game doesn't come out until Octboer but let me tell you it is instant crack. many people were inside Rio Grande games room (smart move having their own room outside the hall) playing this repeatedly. The game is going to coem with 500 cards and because you can use 12 different buildings (out of 36) in each game being adaptable is going to be a key. This is a sure fire hit, I gurantee this is going to be popular.

Tomb - I knew little about Tomb but it was a Dungeon Crawl where each player controlled a party of adventurers and is advertised as playing in 90 minutes (a stretch) and the first play didn't disappoint. There are 84 characters which you build your party from meaning it has a lot of replayability.

Rattlesnake - A bit on the lighter side but a game with magnets has to work to go wrong. Definitely something for the familty and perhaps a nice two player for a break from the serious.

Jamaica - Really not worth $60, very disappointing. Beautiful to look at though.

No Shows
- Scenario book for TOI
- No Gears of War demo
- No Tales of the Arabian Nights reprint (Novemeber is the word from Zed)
- No Hannibal Generals (haha had to get that in there)

Overall GenCon was as expected, no real show stoppers or exciting news that I saw or heard. For whatever reason the show seemed more crowded then last year and I didn't get as many games in as I wanted.

Oh and congratulations to fellow Eagle Todd Sweet who won the Catan Champions Tournament, no small feat I tell you. I heard he pocketd a nice bunch of prizes including the insane 3D Catan game worth about $400.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

GenCon Day 1 Notes

I'm bushed after a whole load of appointments todayo just some general notes for now.

- FFG had the Battlestar Galactic game for sale, scored a copy. Also Tomb of Ice Descent expansion, Game of Thrones Card game, Arkham Expansion and some others. Many upcoming games on display and prototypes as well. I'm meeting with them tomorrow.

- Touch of Evil the next Flying Frog game is also here in limited supply. I scored a copy of that as well.

- Tomb from AEG is also here and I got one of those.

- Meet with maqny PC companies for Gameshark, Turbine has a strong showing here.

Haven't eaten since 7 am.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Galactic Emperor Impressions

I've only manage to play Galactic Emperor once this far and it was a 4 player game. Game time was around 2 hours or so. I can see that once everyone knows the game that this can be played in 90 minutes easily.

First impressions upon opening the box weren't great. The chits are made of some really cheap card board, the ends frayed just from punching the pieces. We'll see how long they hold up, the game board and the ship miniatures were fine however. I also was not crazy about the printing on the chits either, some of the color choices are very hard to read. In fact I could find the purple home sector, I thought I was missing a piece. Luckily the manual shows the names for all the home sectors, only by seeing the name and then closely examining the tile did I see the icon to indicate the purple home world.

The rules are simple enough that you should be playing in 20 minutes, some of them are open to interpretation (I made an FAQ on the Geek) and other important rules are found in the sidebar of pages. However once you know how to play none of that really matters.

So all minor quibbles aside what do i think of GE?

It's one fun game

I was actually surprised to find that I enjoyed GE much more the WOW:TAG. The game definitely has strategy involved and knowing what the roles do and when to play them is the key to success. Through proper use of roles i was able to win the game easily and I fought only 3 battles.

Early game is a bit on the slow side as empires expand and start planning for conquest, by mid game skirmish start and by end game is usually a dash for Victory points in any way possible. The role mechanic is straight out of Puerto Rico , the combat Nexus Ops or Starcraft but it all works very nicely.

The main complaint I have seen is the lack of theme and here I would concur, the different empires are nothing more then a color choice. Much more could have been done by giving them unique abilities, bonuses or even weakness.

As it stands after one playing I really enjoyed this game, sure it's not original in any way but it sure is fun, in the end isn't that what gaming is about?

WOW:TAG Initial Impressions

World of Warcraft the Adventure game is certainly a departure from the WOW: Board game. I've had a chance to play this game three times so far. The first was a 2 player game, then a 3 and finally a 4 player jaunt.

I won't be detailing the rules as this isn't a review and the rules can be found on FFG site. The goal is WOW:TAG is to be the first to acquire 8 Valor Points. This is done primarily by quests although there are certain space on the board which allow you to acquire these points as well.

The board itself has an Arkham Horror feel to it in terms of layout and art direction. In every game we've had a hard time finding various places, something that will change with added play I am sure. The art itself is very good on the cards, board, ability cards, my only complaints is the text on the challenge cards is very small. My eyes aren't even close to perfect but I've played with people who do have great eyesight and they have trouble reading some of the cards.

So the game has an adventure game feel, Talisman and Runebound come to mind although I think this game is better then both of those. On a turn each player moves, explores, does a challenge (event) and then manages his character. Most turns take 2-10 minutes, with the average turn about 4 or 5 and this includes combat.

In terms of downtime there certainly isn't a lot unless you get a player who doesn't look at their abilities during his downtime. My 2 player game was a learning game and it only took about 90 minutes. The 3 player game took just shy of 2 hours and with rules explanation. The 4 player game however took over 3 hours, there was rules explanation but the main culprit was over character management from a single player. This game should never take 3 hours, granted a lot of it comes with quest draws and knowing the way to win the game is to finish quest, not gather loot.

The characters have a good variation and I found playing some a lot easier then others, it's hard to speak of balance after 3 plays but each time a different class won the game. The quests are interesting enough to keep the game enjoyable after multiple plays but there is a good amount of luck involved in draws. In game two we were all around 3 or 4 valor points and a player happened to draw a quest card to eliminate another player, which is no easy task unless the other player is currently hurt which he was. So just through that random draw and luck he won the game out of no where.

On the whole WOW:TAG is a decent game, I will continue to play it and see how my feeling change on it. It's definitely primed for expansions, not only charcter expansion but Map ones as well.

Is it the perfect Adventure game? For me no I am still looking for that but right now WOW:TAG is a solid game that will see a lot of table time at least for a while.
Monday, August 04, 2008


I'll be heading down to GenCon next week and my schedule is fast filling up with meetings. I'll be spending some time with Turbine to learn about the LOTRO expansion, new D&D content and some information on my first MMORPG Asheron's Call. It's amazing that product is still going strong.

Also should be meeting with Bioware for some DragonAge, hopefully Some Champions online coverage and there are a few others on the schedule. Publishers of computer / video games are pretty active when it comes to setting up interviews, I've heard from exactly zero board game publishers about coming by their booths. In fact I actually had to pursue them in order to set up meetings.

I don't want this trip to be all work, in fact wasn't the intent at all so I'll hopefully be reporting from down their on much board gaming news. If anyone is going down and wants to play a game give me a shout via email.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That didn't take long

Well both Galactic Emperor and WOW:TAG are her, punched and rules read. I hope to play both this Thursday and I am having a gaming session at my house on Sunday. Will post some impressions, possibly a review then.

But file this one under the "moo moo" department. Boardgame news is reporting that 4 expansion character packs for WOW:TAG are on the way at $12 each. I guess i can see how these can turn around so quick, the miniatures and some tokens are right out of the wow boardgame, characters and classes identical.

Your thoughts, feel taken advantage of with this news?
Friday, July 18, 2008


Well I finally got my copy of Galactic Emperor and I haven't even punched it yet. I also have Wow:TAG on the way, probably Monday and the 4th edition D&D books just to read.

If this was the dead of winter not only would I have punched GE, I would have soloed it by now at least once in preparation for playing. But it's not winter, it's beautiful summer and I have two little girls. So besides playing golf on the weekends I am spending time with them, going to the pool. Playing "monster" in the back yard, watching movies.

I'll tell you what my 5 year old has a mean play mobile collection, when we set up the whole thing we have two castles, enough guys for an army of 20 for each side, horses, catapults, pirate ships and dragons. Her collection is so good that they are going to feature it on display at the local rec building, she is so excited for that.

So gaming time might seem on the down side, there is always GenCon next month, but I'm enjoying my summer. Here is hoping you're doing the same.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008

GE on the way

I saw a post that indicated Galactic Emperor should start shipping the end of this week. I really can't wait to give this a try along with the new Wow game.

Other then that I don't have much on my radar, GenCon is coming up next month and I'm not sure what I'll be looking to score down there. Overall it has been a quiet spring, I guess last year saw so many releases I wanted that this year seems tame in comparison.

I played a game of Marvel Heroscape with my 5 year old the other day and she beat the living daylights out of me. She is really into superheroes right now so it is cool to seem here enjoy this game, too bad I doubt there will ever be any expansions.

If you have any news or game suggestions please drop me a line as my work is eating up my time to scour the internet for news.
Saturday, July 05, 2008

Some games just require you to be uncomfortable.

I'm a big computer role playing gamer, I just love all the old school games like BG2, Icewind Dale, Eye of the Beholder and a lot of the newer titles too. I think I got 4 good years of play out of NWN1, don't get me started on NWN2 which is a steaming pile.

I like the new games as well, but I discovered something the other day. For me a crpg needs the "C" and by that I mean I need to be sitting over my 27 inch monitor and playing on the computer. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I have a 9 foot 1080p screen in my house and when I play a game like Mass Effect on it I fall asleep. Actually some of the best sleep I have ever gotten was playing Oblivion on my 360 in my recliner.

So on a whim I picked up ME for the PC and I have been loving it, and not once have I nodded off. Then I started thinking I burned through the Witcher, played BG2 for the 10th time and even started playing Fallout 2 again. But put me in front of a huge screen with 7.1 sounds and I am going night - night.

I just couldn't figure out why and then it hit me, i need to be uncomfortable. Maybe I need to be shifting in my old PC chair which creeks and sounds like it is gong to give way every time I shift my weight. Maybe the worn plastic on the right hand arm that scratches me every 5 minutes is what keeps me going through the endless banter.

So with Fall Out 3 coming out this fall I've decided I am going to PC route, my ass may hate me when were done but at least I know I'll finish it.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008

WOW:TAG More Info

I'm going to guess that World of Warcraft The Adventure Game is very close to hitting shelves. Every day this week FFG has been posting a designer article on the game. I recall this happening right before the Descent Road to Legend Expansion, and I have not played that yet for those wondering. I have a habit of buying games no one wants to play.

TOI - Have one friend who will play it
Descernt - Nope can't get a regular group
WoW - Get this on the table about once a year and never finish a game because it is too long and tedious.
Hannibal - Can't get a frigging sole to play this and it is a fantastic game as I have played it by myself several times and force my wife to play it once. (still waiting for the payback on that one)

Anyway I pre-order WOW:TAG even before these articles were posted because I was looking for something better then WOW The Boardgame. Someday I'll write an article why WOW:TBG failed.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Are you feeling Evil????

Last year at GenCon I stumbled upon a game that was relatively unheard of called Last Night on Earth. The guys who produced it were super cool and while the booth was very crowded, probably due to the hot girl who was one of the characters in the game being there, I wanted to try it out because of course it had Zombies.

I instantly liked the game, I had several friends who had wandered by tell me they thought the game was weak however and for some reason this prevented me from buying it right away. Each day I came back to the hall I wandered down there until on day 3 I finally bought the game.

Today LNOE and it's expansions Growing Hunger are hits and I can't find anyone who doesn't enjoy the game, including said friends who thought it was weak. So it was with great interest I read this report from origins about the companies next game A Touch of Evil, the Supernatural Game (don't judge it by it's title)

What little I read up to this point had me thinking it might just be a simpler version of Arkham Horror which is one of my favorite games. I'm glad that the game, while having some similarities doesn't sound like a knock off and Flying Frog has earned a must buy from me.

Here is hoping the game is on sale at GenCon this year.
Monday, June 30, 2008


Finally some information. 4 characters sounds kind of small but the rest of the game and also some of the reports on the Geek have me excited.
Friday, June 20, 2008

The Opposite of Hype

Raise your hand if you've read anything on World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game.

Anyone...anyone at all?

Here is a game that is scheduled to arrive in July according to the FFG website and the only information that can be found is a single forum poster on BGG who played the game for about an hour.

There is nothing about this game anywhere, I can't understand that. The cynic in me thinks that speaks very badly for the game. People are speculating that Wow:TAG is just a Runebound clone in Wow clothing.

I could write a whole article on whats wrong with the first Wow game produced by FFG and I actually own it and all the expansions. So you would think that FFG would need to knock this second one out of the park. Spread some information, build some hype, let people know that combat doesn't consists of endless die rolls trying to emulate the online games combat mechanics.

The lack of information is alarming, at least to me. My instincts tell me to stay away, as my old pappy always told me. If it sounds like a Murlock, looks like a Murlock and God forbid smells like a Murlock... well you know the rest.
Monday, June 09, 2008

Little Bit of This & That, Plus a descent Painting Contest

Sorry for the lack of posts, last week was my birthday (6th actually) and it was a crazy week. My daughter who is 5 was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz school play. I had a golf tournament on Friday and Saturday and one nice case of the stomach flu Sunday. All things considered a wonderful birthday weekend.

I was hunting around for some news to break tonight and frankly it is pretty quiet. FFG has updated their upcoming products page and finally the BSG and Conan board game are up there. They also are having a Descent painting contest which I will enter only because I painted my figures.

On the gaming front I haven't played much of anything with the exception of Boom Blox on the Wi, great game. I see MGS4 drops this week, not sure if I will get it way too many cut scenes for my tastes.

I await my copy of Galactic Emperor, I was discussing it with Michael Barnes from F:AT and Gameshark briefly and I'm sure he will be posting a review if he hasn't already over at F:AT. Someday I dream of being on the reviewers list :)

Other then that the only game on my radar is the WoW Adventure game due in July, thing is there is not one lick of information on it from FFG which makes me kind of worried.

Anyway I'm going to start pulling the content I have been working on and finish it off for posting shortly.
Friday, May 30, 2008

Time Agent

Last night instead of playing multiple games which is what I typically do on a Thursday night I hunkered in to do my best
Sam Beckett impersonation and played a game I'd never heard of called Time Agent.

In Time Agent you take on the role of one of the races and you're going back in time to try an alter events to make your race the leaders of the galaxy. Once you've done that then you want to shut off time travel by altering it's discovery.

Each Race varies in their start position. We did a random dram and I got the Bulrati who happen to be the current masters of the universe. Which makes playing them a bit of a challenge your first time out, and also a bit annoying.

Each race has a starting resource point and victory point position on the track. Victory points are simple enough you want the most and when you have it you want to turn off time travel. Resource point allow you to collect income each turn, which you spend on time machines, time agents or squads and a few other special things that you can do. The most important things you do with your cash is flip event. For example there are 3 time travel event, to shut them all off requires 125 credits, plus paying for the agents, time machines and of course sending them back in time costs money.

So the goal fore everyone else but me was to go back in time, find event pertaining to your race and alter them. So altering the outcome of a war for example would give someone more RP and VP and remove it from the other person(s) involved. I think you can see where this is going, as the Bulldogs everything flipped is against hurts me. With events spread out all over time and space it puts you on defense and it is really hard to cover every event.

If I played this game again I would have a better strategy as the Bulldog people. Looking at the board and the chits this game can look intimidating, but in truth the rules are simple and make sense on the first run through and there is a good deal of strategy too it.

My only complaint is the game seems to grind at the end, as all the events get turned and each race is then trying to disable time travel the game can drag. Because you really need to protect those event you've reversed with your squads . seeing how this was a first game for everyone I think a future game would eliminate a lot of that. It's also very nice their is little to no down time during play.

I would recommend that most people try this game at least once, I'm not sure if it is something you would play a lot. But I could see it being played 1-2 times a year.
Photos courtesy of BGG.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I'm back, did anyone miss me. Vacation love it, hate it when it ends. Spent the better part of 3 days just trying to catch up with work, haven't even looked at a game (board, video) in about 2 weeks. Luckily I've got game night tomorrow and I'm looking forward to playing something.

I've got plenty of vacation stories but none of them fit for this blog. Although I did get a flat just a mere 100 miles from my house in the middle of bum lick Indiana. couldn't fix the tire and apparently every place closed at 5pm. So I needed to stay over night in South Bend, wasn't a great way to start the trip.

The best part of the story is the object which causes the flat was a bone, think on that for a minute. Animal dies, decomposes on the highway and a piece of bone breaks of and bounces around for who knows how long. Then right before I get to the spot it's at it ends up angled at the exact degree it needs to impale itself in my tire. I gotta say that is some impressive luck.

Lets see whats on tap, I've got a Singstar review coming up. I've got a few video reviews i am going to try and finish off in the upcoming weeks. The first being on Pandemic, my video reviews are going to have a little twist to them so stay tuned for that.

Oh best thing yet, I got turned down for a press pass at Gencon. Yep I have this blog and write for several sites and nope no luck. Considering the "press" I saw at last years event I am quite stunned by this.

Alrighty enough ranting for now, I'll be in touch.
Monday, May 12, 2008

On the road

Things are going to be pretty quiet here for the next few weeks as I am traveling and won't return until around months end. I think once I am done with this trip I should be able to resume a normal posting schedule.

I've got a lot of content that is just a few edits away from being posted on this site, some of it written and some of it video / audio related. Hopefully June will be the month I can get back into the site full swing.

As any good gamer knows a hobby remains a hobby until it pays the bills.

TTR XBLA Press Release

Vancouver, Canada (May 12th, 2008) – In a few weeks the railway adventure game, Ticket to Ride, pulls into Xbox LIVE Arcade – the premier destination for digitally distributed, high definition, original and classic games. Based on the internationally renowned board game, Ticket to Ride features simple rules, fast play and is expected to be a great offering for the growing casual games market which draws over 200 million online players per month worldwide.

Ticket to Ride challenges players to plan cross-country rail routes across North America and visit all the city stops in-between. Although the game can be learned in under five minutes, players face strategic and tactical decisions that vary with every turn as they connect distant cities and race to complete the most routes.

Ticket to Ride will support play with up to five people on Xbox Live or four people on the same console and supports the Xbox LIVE Arcade Vision Camera for hours of family-friendly fun.

Ticket to Ride is based on the board game by noted game designer Alan R. Moon. Days of Wonder released the game in early 2004, becoming the youngest game publisher to win the world’s most coveted game prize, the German Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year Award. With a following in over 30 countries and availability in 11 languages, the board game has an international following.

Ticket to Ride is the debut title for Playful Entertainment, BC’s first independent console video game publisher. Started just under a year ago, CEO Sean Murch saw an opportunity for a small company to challenge industry heavyweights for a piece of the interactive action.

“The industry has been dominated by the big players, but digital distribution and alternative financing are leveling the playing field,” notes Murch. “It’s a David and Goliath story.”

Working with local investment companies, Playful started building a multi-million dollar fund in April, called the Vancouver Interactive Entertainment Fund. The fund will finance video game titles. It's the first of its kind in the country and one that allows individual investors to participate directly in video game revenues.

Murch, a 15-year veteran of the traditional & interactive industry, got his start as a film & game producer working with Francis Ford Coppola, Nelvana, Radical Entertainment and Electronic Arts. His goal was to create a company that could operate quickly, fairly and decisively in the fast-paced world of gaming

Monday, May 05, 2008

The eye is upon you. (unless I am in control)

Last Thursday I had my first chance to play War of the Ring thanks to my friend Todd. We had planned this for a week so i was able to briefly look over the rules which made Todd's explanation a lot easier.

I concluded from my read and Todd concurred that playing the dark forces would be an easier attempt for my first game. As he went over the rules and some basic strategies with me, he made it pretty clear that the good guys usually win by getting the ring to Mt. Doom and that while them only needing 4 points by conquest as opposed to my 10 made it seem and easy task it wasn't.

I was pretty slow in getting my special characters into play and also didn't spend a lot of early game time mustering forces. It was certainly a mild disadvantage not having a general idea of the event deck cards as well.

For the most part I thought I was doing pretty well, I was keeping the Ring from moving and my dark forces were slowly capturing cities. What I failed to comprehend is that while it certainly felt like there was no military threat I should not of left my cities and keeps undefended.

Todd built a force in the Shire and also one in the Elven wood and I had nothing to stop his forces coming out of the shire and I made the mistake of bypassing his held up forces in the wood for an easy 2 point victory spot.

This left me wide open and pretty much powerless to stop these two forces from moving into two of my locations and securing a military victory. So what did I learn about War of the Ring.

1. I simply loved it and I think I'll end up buying it, I doubt besides Todd I will find anyone else to play it but it would pain me not to own that game.

2. You can't play conservative as the bad guys. Unfortunately that is the way I play most of my war games and in this case it doesn't work. You need to eliminate Rohan fast and then move your forces up from the South.

3. Get your special characters out asap and start using their abilities.

All in all I had a lot of fun even though I suffered an embarrassing loss. I can't wait to play it again.
Monday, April 28, 2008

Still here

Don't think my lack of postings means I have given up blogging, nor sir. Work has been overwhelming of late and I'm just plain out of energy when I get home. News has been a tad slow as well, the GOW board game I mentioned is definitely in the works however.

This weekend my local gaming group had their bi-annual convention known as Kit Con which is not really a convention at all but just a day of open board gaming. I had a golf tournament in the morning, which my team won, and didn't arrive until 4:30 in the afternoon which meant my play time was going to be limited.

I stared with a game of Mare Nostrum and the Mythology expansion. I was a little worried how this game would play since no one I know has said anything positive about it. Truth be told I loved it, as did the people I played with. The end game was a bit of a let down as I tied with another player for the win. But all things considered it is a very easy civilization game to get in to. I can't wait to play it again.

After we finished we were waiting for a game of Struggle to finish, and I am none to happy I missed out on playing that. So while waiting I played a game of Capes and Cowls with Dave. I really like this game but It's so hard to acquire I'm pretty certain i could make a nice chunk of change if I sold it. Dave beat me as we drew random Heroes and I ended up with nobody with ranges attacks.

Next up was Game of Thrones the Storm of Swords Expansion which I think makes the base game a lot more enjoyable. The problem with GoT is I always want to play it and by about 5 turns in I remember I don't like it that much. It's really odd that I continue to want to play this game.

At about 1 am we started playing a game that I can't recall the name of but which was a bit original. The goal of the game is there was a story and that we needed to each create a character in it and speak a sentence of the story, take short hand notes of what we wrote and by games end see if anything we said scored. I made it to about 2am and then I realized if i didn't leave that instant I wouldn't make the hour drive home.

On the whole it wasn't a great Kit Con for me because I am used to getting their at 9am and playing games all day. I was glad to get to play Mare but there were a ton of games i missed out on and didn't get to play.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gears of War Boardgame?

I wouldn't exactly call this confirmed since I haven't seen a FFG press release but I saw this posted on the Geek. Apparently FFG has gotten the rights to create a Gears boardgame and have it out by fall in time for GOW2. There are a lot of things that don't add up, for example how is FFG going to design and get a game published by Fall. Anyway more information at the link below.
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Days of Wonder news

Got this on Friday and haven't had a chance to post it yet.

Images here.

We are excited to announce two new products in anticipation of next week's GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas - The Memoir '44 Campaign Bag and Merlin's Company - an expansion for the popular Shadows over Camelot board game.

The Memoir '44 Campaign Bag is the definitive storage and travel solution for the Memoir '44 Game System. The Memoir '44 Campaign Bag is specifically designed to accommodate even the most demanding Overlord player, and will hold up to 2 complete copies of the board game, plus all current expansions; or a single copy of the game with all its expansions, with room to grow.

Merlin's Company is an expansion for the popular Shadows over Camelot board game. It introduces a host of new characters - including 7 new knights and Merlin himself - to the Shadows over Camelot epic. The wise old wizard is now a full-blown independent character in the game, complete with his own figure. He travels the board lending guidance and a helping hand to the embattled knights.

The Campaign Bag is expected to be available in June, while Merlin's Company will ship in July.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gameshark Review

My review of Rocketmen is up on GameShark, I really didn't like this game much at all. Plus the edited out my great parody of the Elton John song at the end, which was probably for the best :)

TTR Card Game

I'm a big fan of Ticket to Ride and I love some of the expansions but as I've previously stated I'm not too thrilled that the only announcement I've seen from Days of Wonder has been a card version of TTR. How about some Battle Lore news?

Anyway I received an email today about pre-ordering this one. See below.

As much excitement, fun and nail-biting tension as in the original Ticket to Ride board game, but now in a portable card game format ideal for travel.

The Ticket to Ride Card Game is for 2-4 players ages 8 and older. It includes 96 train cards, 6 Big Cities Bonus cards, 46 Destination Tickets and a rules booklet. Playing time is approximately 30 minutes.

The Ticket to Ride Card Game is now available for pre-order at the Days of Wonder Web Store. It is expected to ship and be in stock at your local game store around June 6. Order yours today!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Play with yourself

I've been on a little bit of a mission recently to find some solo games, specifically war or fantasy themes. I just order Field Commander: Rommel and I hope it arrives this week. As any war gamer knows it's sometimes hard to find opponents so when a good solo game comes along it's like come early. By all accounts FCR is a very good game so I'll let you know once I get it.

In other news I see that War of the Ring is now shipping again. I'm ashamed to say I have never played this game, although I have wanted to for so long. I've got so many new games I haven't played yet it seems a little crazy to order a new one. Someone let me know how good it is so I have an excuse.

Finally if you're in the greater Chicago area the club I belong to is holding it's Spring Gaming day called KitCon on April 26th. It's a great time and lots of games are played. If you need further information go here.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

D&D for a Fee

D&D Goes Online

This actually sound fairly interesting to me but I can see possible problems. The main one is charging MMO prices for a product you can only use when you get a group of people together and only when one of them has created an adventure.

When I played RPG's pretty heavily we often got together once a week, if I'm paying $15 a month for 4-6 uses a month is it worth it?

Also why go through all of this effort if you character model isn't a true representation of your character? According to the article I can create a male fighter, give him a giant ass two handed sword and dwarven armor but he has none of that in the game session I am playing.

It's a crying shame that Neverwinter Nights wasn't given a true expansion from Bioware, instead we got NWN2 from Obsidian who delivered a toolset that was harder to use and had less built in features. It was awesome that we could create outdoor environments in NWN2 that weren't tile based, but they made the simplest of task from NWN1 like creating a creature or items very difficult. NWN2 was a failure on many levels and it will never even sniff the jock of the NWN community but I digress.

So while I like the concept of what they are doing with D&d 4th edition and the online aspect it sound sort of half assed. I'll still check it out but there are already programs out there that allow you to do what they are attempting and some of them are free.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Where have I been, I'm actually happy that some people have emailed and asked that. Don't worry I am not pulling a disappearing act I am in this blog for the long haul. Frankly put work has been kicking my ass, I'm so stressed out when I come home I've been feeling sick to my stomach.

Whats odd is I have found a nice outlet for my stress and that is figure painting. I'm almost through all of my Decent figures and when I want a break from those I hop over to my Battlelore figures. I'm not very good at this and the last time I painted anything was back in the late 80's, but I am getting better with each figure I do.

I'm not sure why painting is so relaxing to me, it shouldn't be trying to get everything just right, all the details. Perhaps the key is their is a reward at the end, no matter how bad or good the figure ends up. I invested my time, worked through it and it had an ending.

That's something I can't say about my current work situation as i have several clients that require so much attention and their is no end in sight. I'm not talking figuratively here, I mean literally as one client is just going to require daily attention until they leave us which could be never. While that is a good position for my company to be in, that's not what I signed up for and it certainly doesn't fit my personality.

In other news I just submitted by review of Rocketman Axis of Evil for the 360, in short stay far away, very far.
Friday, April 04, 2008

Review - Key Largo

I've previously written on the tale of Key Largo before which is the last game designed by Paul Randles one of the designers of Pirates Cove. Last night was my first chance to play Key Largo with my gaming group and we had a full five player game.

The Object
The object of Key Largo is simple have the most money by the end of ten days. You acquire that money mainly from sending divers down for buried treasure and selling them at the market. You can also make money by taking tourist Dolphin Watching but the real money is made through salvaging the wrecks on the ocean floor.

The Components
The game comes with some rather large wooden pieces to represent your boat, a number of chits of items you can buy like hoses, weights and Tridents. A nicely illustrated board, lots of fake money and then plenty of cards to represent the treasure you find on the bottom of the ocean. I didn't find any of the components cheaply made at all.

The Theme
The game is set around the islands you pillaged during Pirate's Cove, or at least it is loosely based on that concept. The theme of being a salvage captain and sending your divers down works pretty well. I found it odd that the obstacle chosen for the divers were Sea Monsters and that the Trident was used to fend them off, I would of expected possibly a spear gun and Sharks perhaps. It's not a big deal and the art of the divers and the board represent that fun, humorous family ton so it works.

How it Plays
The dynamics of Key Largo are simple enough to get up and going fast. A first time game with 5 players and rules explanation only took about an hour. I think this game can be played in anywhere from 40 minutes to just over an hour depending on the size and group.

Players start with $100, a boat and a single diver. They also have a set of cards which allows them to do various actions, more on that in a minute. Then depending on the number of players you place wrecks down around the board of varying depths (shallow, medium and deep) in a 3 player game for example there are 3 shallow, 4 medium and 4 deep wrecks. Wrecks are stacks of 5 cards placed face down.

So the game is runs over 10 days, that's how much time is left before the hurricanes roll in and wash out all diving for the season. Each day is broken into a morning and afternoon, so effectively you have 20 turns of game play.

Each player has a set of cards with actions on them, you must choose two of these cards and place them face down on top of each other. The top card is your morning action and the bottom your afternoon action. What this means is you can only perform one of your actions once a day. After ten days you count up your money and unsold treasure and whomever has the most is the winner.

The Action Cards
Search a Wreck Card
Your diver goes to one of the wreck decks and draws the top card. Each wreck can only have one boat so there is a start player token and it passes each turn. If more then one player chooses a wreck action then they place their boats clockwise from the start player. You can also hire up to 3 divers, so you could be drawing 3 cards from a diving expedition.

You might remember the different wreck depths? Well in order to dive at medium depth each of your divers needs a hose, to dive at Deep depths each of them needs two hoses. So if for example you have 3 divers and two of them have 2 hoses but one of them has none you can only dive at a shallow wreck.

The wreck decks consist of either treasure or a monster. Treasure comes in the form of goods, gold, artifacts and jewels. When you draw these they simply go into your hand, a monster card just means your diver found nothing. There is a way to counter a monster, it's called the Trident. If you have one of these you can simply ignore the monster card and then draw another card from the wreck depth.

Finally each diver can have a single diving weight which allows him to discard it to draw another card off the wreck deck. When that's a lot to cover, but its best to explain everything here as searching a wreck is the key to the game.

Go Dolphin Watching Card
This card has you take tourists out to see Dolphins and collect some meager cash, how much depends on the day of the week but Friday - Sunday pay the most. There is an optional rule that frankly must be used for this card or else the Dolphin watch card will almost never get played and it's called encounters. Each time you go Dolphin watching you draw an encounter card and can keep it to use later. All encounter cards are beneficial, for example you may draw a card that allows you to immediately sell the last card you drew from a wreck deck.

Buy Equipment Card
I pretty much explained what the 3 different pieces of equipment did under the Wreck card. Just know you can only buy two items on each visit to the shop and each diver can only have 2 hoses, 1 Trident and 1 weight each.

What I am going to do is use this spot to explain the one dynamic that is going to come into play for this card and the remaining two and the one that makes the game interesting and it is the changing market. The number of people who visit the shop at the same time determines the price of goods. A hose might be $30 if you're the only one there, but if two people visit its $40 and if 3 visit its $60. In other words try and shop when people aren't around.

Sell Goods Card (ie visit the market)
This is how you make your money and of course making money is the key to the game. Up top I mentioned the 4 types of treasure goods, gold, artifacts and jewels. Well of those four only three of them can be sold at the market, jewels are never sold.

Each treasure card with the exception of Jewels has two numbers printed on it. The number of crates and the end game scoring value. As an example I might draw a Gold card and it will say 5 crates of gold and have an end game value on it of $100.

Much like the shop, the markets values for selling go changed based on the number of boat captains selling their haul. Gold always sells for $30 a crate, Good sell for less when there are more people an oddly enough Artifacts sell for more if there are more people.

Getting back to my example if I went to the market to sell my card which had 5 crates of gold i would make $150, 5 crates multiplied by the market of $30. So whats the other value you ask, the $100? There is a good chance you will not sell all your goods at market instead of them not counting towards your final score you get the value on the card, in this case $100. Jewels only have a value on them and it is usually a nice sum like $200. I should also mention that you can only sell one type of good per visit. So if I sell Gold I can't sell goods, but I can sell as many gold cards as I want.

Visit the Tavern Card
This is where you can do any of 3 things, the most important of which is buy another diver. Much like the shop, more people here means it cost more to hire a diver. Each boat can only transport 3 divers and no more.

You can also buy the tavern a round of drinks for $20, this allows you to pick two treasure decks, look at whats in them and then reshuffle them. Finally another option rule is hiring a thief, which allows you to steal a card from another players treasure hand.

Key Largo is a decent enough game, there is a pretty good theme here and the rules seem well balanced. The one thing I really love about it is the lack of downtime, everyone is doing their things at once and the game moves. The optional encounter rule should always be played with, while the thief rule I could live without. The game lacks any kind of drama really short of pulling a monster card and most late game strategy revolves around trying to out guess your opponents and be the sole visitor at the market.

Who is it for?
Pirate's Cove fans, people looking for a nice family or dinner party game which plays fast and has no confrontation.

Who is it NOT for?
People looking for a very strategic or heavy game. If you scoff at games like TTR, Pirate's Cove or That' Life stay far away from Key Largo.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Contest Winner

Congrats to Mike P. I'll be shipping your expansion pack out tomorrow. I ended up with only 41 entires for this contest. My site traffic is significantly higher then that, which I consider pretty good for a blog who I didn't officially start investing time in until this past January. Maybe people just don't want free stuff.

Anyway I hope to get some reviews up really soon on Key Largo, Pandemic and a few other titles.
Monday, March 31, 2008

Last Day to Enter

Today is the last day to enter the contest, I've had a surprisingly low number of entries despite some real good site stats lately. Perhaps no one wants Battlelore expansions which is too bad as I have a bunch of these to give away. Regardless if you want a pretty good shot at winning this, currently 1 in 25 or so, then get your entries in by the deadline tonight.

I'm starting to see a let up in my daily workload which will hopefully allow me to get some content I have been working on up on the site. I've been spending my spare time painting my Descent figures, which is something I started a while back. I'm about 90% done and I am by no means a master painter of miniatures. Whats weird is something that should be stressful do to the details involved is a huge stress reliever for me. I think that is due to the fact that there is alwasy an end in site, which is something I don't have with a few of my current clients.

I'm behind in a review for Gameshark, I'm not going to say the name of the game yet but I'm having a hard time with it because I don't like it very much. There are so many issues that I would consider things you would find in the last decade of gaming. For example its a isometric shooter on rails and forget about it if you accidentally go too far to one side of the screen and miss and item, there is no going back.

I've been playing some Rainbow Six Vegas 2 lately, a game which I enjoy and I just picked up Viking for the 360 as well. There is some joy in slicing limbs off of opponents I'll admit. Because I got stuck in Cleveland last Thursday do to a snow storm in Chicago I missed game night so I didn't get a chance to play any of my new games. Here is hoping nothing happens this week.
Friday, March 28, 2008

Question #6 & Contest Entries

Today is the final question of the contest, I'll also be opening up entires today through midnight CDT on March 31st. Remember the title of your email must be Goblin Contest Entry and then just list the answers as follows:

1. Answer
2. Answer


If you don't submit like that you won't be entered.

Question 6: Battlelore is part of the Command and Colors System. Who is credited with designing this system and what was the first game published in the system? Hint: It was published in 2000

Good Luck
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Busy Week & Qestion 5

Unfortunately this week is going to be light on postings as it's crazy busy at work and I am traveling for business again. I'll try and make up for it next week with some good content.

Regardless here is question #5

There were a few promotional creatures released for Battlelore, name one of them.
Monday, March 24, 2008

Question #4

Going to be an extremely busy day at the real job so here is question #4.

Name one of the roles a player can be in the upcoming Galactic Emperor game.

Also a reminder, please don't send me any answers yet, I will be opening up the entry portion of this contest this weekend. if you have previously sent me an entry it is not valid.
Saturday, March 22, 2008

Descent in the House

As you can see by my recently playing list I received the Descent expansion along with a few other games I just ordered. No, I have not played them yet that little mistake in my recently played list comes courtesy of Board Game Geeks forms.

Anyway I now have all the Descent expansion and main game and let me tell you transporting this is going to be next to impossible. I also picked up Mare Nostrum and the Mythology expansion for it based on some positive feedback by Bill Abner.

Bill and I have know each other through the inter webs for a long time and I find that his tastes often run in line with mine so if I hate this game, which I doubt from my reading of the rules, then I'll be sending him the bill.

Also scored a copy of Key Largo which was designed by Paul Randles and was his last game before passing away. There is an interesting post on BGG about how this game final got completed and made it to print. I'm a fan of Pirates cove and so is my wife so I decided to pick this up, alas it needs at least 3 to play. It looks like a very fun game so I'm looking forward to getting it on the table, I can't wait until my oldest daughter who will be 5 in May can start to join us on some of these games.

Now for the most important news of the week, we beat Pandemic on Thursday night. Four player game with only 4 Epidemic cards but hey I'll take a win. Strangely winning the game didn't do anything to lessen my desire to play it, which is a good thing.

Currently the only game I have on pre-order is The Last Night on Earth expansion called Growing Hunger and I'm not even sure when that is going to ship. I'll also be putting an order in for Galactic Emperor as well. It's going to be an expensive summer, I should have stuck with video / computer game reviews as you got those copies for free, but you have to do what you love.
Friday, March 21, 2008

Question #3

What new nation is joining Axis & Allies in the upcoming Anniversary Edition?

Adam West Interview

Today we have an interview with Adam west who is the designer of the much anticipated Galactic Emperor. This interviewed occurred a few days before Adam announced that pre-orders are now open for the game.

OBG: Today we're talking with Adam West, one of the founders of Crosscut Games, about his upcoming board game Galactic Emperor. Crosscut games has created some real quality computer games in the past like Runesword 1 & 2, even a game called Bronze Dragon which I recall playing on an Apple computer back in my teen age years. Adam thanks for taking the time today to discuss the game with us.

Adam: Happy to be here!

OBG: Can you tell us a little about yourself and crosscut games?

Adam: Sure. I'm the President of CrossCut Games, a tiny game company located in Indianapolis, Indiana USA. Dan Schnake is the co-founder and all around great guy. We're long time friends and have been running CrossCut for over 10 years now. Prior to that, we were called Commonwealth Software. So we've been making games together for about 25 years. We've published several computer games and are now getting ready to launch our first board game.

OBG: How long have you been designing games?

Adam: Since grade school. Well before I had a computer. My friends and I use to play home made games after school. Dozens of the things. Some I still have in my basement.

OBG: How long have you been into board games?

Adam: I can remember playing Panzer Leader in the late 1970's. I played Risk. I played D&D for the first time about then as well. I still have an original copy of the Chain Mail rules! Man, those were good times.

OBG: What was it that made you make the transitions from coding computer games to designing a board game?

Adam: I've really been back into board games for the last 7 years or so
and the games today are incredibly fun and very different from games
many of us played when we were younger. So after getting back into board games, I began thinking about board games again. Really, all my computer games were made so I could play board games by myself - specifically D&D by myself. So in a sense, I'm going back to my roots.

OBG: Is Galactic Emperor your first board game design?

Adam: It's my first intended for retail sale. But I've designed zoodles of board games.

OBG: How would you describe Galactic Emperor?

Adam: It's a very fast playing 4X board game of galactic politics and conquest.

OBG: I like the concept in GE on roles and how every player gets to take an action with each role, but only the player with the throne can use that roles special action. Can you gives us a quick run down on one or two unique roles in GE and which one is your favorite early in the game?

Adam: There are 7 roles in the game: Explorer, Steward, Merchant, Engineer, Warlord, Regent and Scientist. The person who chooses the role gets to use the special ability - a bit of a bump for the chooser if you will. That's just an incentive to pick a role rather than letting someone else do it for you. So the optimization here is deciding which role benefits you the most at different points in the game or hurts others if you choose a role they are not ready for. Early in the game, Explorer is pretty much a no-brainer since getting good sectors early (those with a nice amount of resources) is important. That depends a bit on what sectors are available of course. Also, Scientist is important early since there are limited technologies and Scientist goes out of the game about 2/3's through. A Regent is a good choice (if you didn't get the throne) so you can control the flow for a few rounds.

Hmm. I guess it depends!

OBG: If GE were a computer game, would you consider it a 4X game? If not what kind of game would you equate it too?

Adam: Yes, it's a 4X game - but without the micro-management. In fact, while we were making the game we looked up 4X on wikipedia and we meet all the attributes very well. Think of GE as a lighter 4X game - all the X with less fat.

OBG: Is there a lot of combat / conflict in a typical game of GE? Can you briefly describe how conflict is resolved?

Adam: That's something we worked on through out development. Early on, combat didn't happen too often - maybe only at the end of a game, some gigantic clash. So we had to tune the game over time - loads of play testing - to get combat to happen at the right time in the game. Now the economy is turned up so you can afford to have combat and you can get all your ships into play if you work it right.

Conflict is resolved by rolling dice - the big dreadnaughts roll 3, crusiers roll 2 and fighters roll 1. It's resolved in phases - dreadnaoughts fight and remove casualties, then crusiers fight and remove casualties, etc. So if you've played for example Nexus Ops or Axis and Allies or other American games, you'll quickly pick up what happens. But a given battle resolves in just a few rolls - it doesn't go on and on.

OBG: From reading the rules it sounds like every game of GE can play out differently. By that I mean there is not set opening strategy and a player could win by brute or diplomatic force. Would you consider that a correct statement? If so how much time was spent in play testing GE to make sure if had that dynamic nature?

Adam: Yes, I think that's right. That's been my goal too - to allow for various strategies to be viable. It starts pretty easy - find sectors, take them over. But as the galaxy unfolds, things begin to settle in, you need to start on a path that will work for you. For example, maybe you have several food sectors. Then playing the market is your best bet - since you get money for food and can control prices. And then you have to think about technologies that fit that strategy. In general, you have to always watch out for a balance in economics, warfare and politics. I've seen players win without a single combat, I've seen them win with loads of combat. The best strategy is playing what's in front of you - and figuring out your opponents.

OBG: So would you consider GE a streamlined alternative to TI?

Adam: Absolutely! You know this has come up many times now and I really do like what TI has done in board gaming. It's really epic - and there's a place in my heart for those types of games. Unfortunately, I can almost never play them. Partly because I can't find the amount of time that a game like TI requires and partly because my patience is shrinking over the years. So yes, GE is trying to fill my need for a galactic conquest game in a reasonable amount of time. It's epic in scale without an epic time commitment.

OBG: I know many of my readers might want to pursue getting a game published someday wit that in mind. How long did it take you to go from original concept to sending the game to the printer? How much play testing did you do with GE?

Adam: Hmm. I think it was about a year. The original concept was put together in about a week. But then we went into play testing. And that's where we've spent our time - a year of play testing. Hundreds of games with loads of different people. Game clubs, conventions, strangers - gamers from all over the world. I love the internet!

OBG: Did you do all the art work yourself?

Adam: I did everything but the box cover. That beautiful box cover is from Hugo Award Winning Stephen Hicks. Amazing and perfect for our game. I love the box.

OBG: Was there some information out there to get you started down the right path to self publishing a game?

Adam: There's been a few other pioneers, so I drew from their experience. On Board Game Geek (BGG), several folks have posted their experiences. And then there's Peter Morrison, the designer and publisher of Viktory II. If you haven't seen his web site, you really should. He poured himself into the effort and describes every part of it. So that was really inspiring. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I wanted CrossCut Games to have a top tier product with high quality production values. If we're going to do board games, we need to have the components that make it lots of fun. So that's why I went with a complete outsourcing of printing. No regrets at all. The game will be of the same quality as any AAA game - something I could never hope to do in a computer game.

OBG: What was the one thing that surprised you the most in getting a game self published?

Adam: Many folks have heard I made a board game and say, "You know, I've got this idea for a board game...." And really, it's a ton of work. It takes far more than a great idea. It's not like you can just send the stuff off and everything is done. And marketing, distribution, selling the thing - that's also a ton of work. I like it all right now - but it's so very much more than just a good idea and a color printer.

OBG: How did it feel to get that final production copy in your hands?

Adam: I don't have that feel yet! I'm still awaiting that feeling - and I long for it. I hope it's really as good as I think it will be. I'm pretty certain about parts of the product - but other parts - we'll just have to wait and see!

OBG: Many board games are making their way onto Xbox Live and doing quite well. Catan and Carcassone have been pretty big hits and there are rumors of more games on the way. Do you think this is a good thing for the hobby? Do you think a game like Arkham Horror for example could be put into that environment?

Adam: I do think this is a good thing. It exposes more players to the games, it explores interactivity, it gives players opportunity to play with lots of other people. It's fantastic for the console market - hopefully, console and computer games designers will wake up to what's going on in game design! I think a game that is more heavy on theme will translate less well. The mechanics are part of those games, but really, they are about the feeling of the game. So something like Arkham Horror or Descent - they have to compete more directly with other classic computer games. And you can get that same feeling with other computer/console games.

But Catan, Carcassone - these are perfect choices. They are simply great games.

OBG: When do you expect GE to be available?

Adam: June? I really hope June. I actually hope for sooner. But let's stick with June.

OBG: At what price?

Adam: $54.95 MSRP.

OBG: Will it be a limited print run?

Adam: It's just a very small run - 1,000 copies. I have a sinking feeling those will sell out too fast - that's actually one of my worries right now.

OBG: Will you be selling it at Origins or GenCon?

Adam: Naw, it didn't seem like a reasonable thing to do just yet. First, I don't want to be stuck in a booth during those conventions - I want to be playing games! Second, we only have the one board game right now - so it probably doesn't justify the booth cost. I do hope somebody else will have us on the shelf at those venues. We'll see!

OBG: Finally top 5 board games you enjoy right now that weren't made by Adam West?

Adam: Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, Memoir '44, Age of Empires III and up and coming is Race for the Galaxy. Age of Empires III came out of nowhere for me and I really love it. Race - I wanted to hate it, but dang it, it's just a flat out great game. I admire it - let's put it that way. I enjoy playing anything new too, so maybe "any new game" is #1 for me.

OBG: Anything else you would like to add?

Adam: If you want a galactic conquest game that plays smooth and fast, go get Galactic Emperor!

I'd liek to thank Adam for taking the time to answer a few questions and if you interested in Galactic Emperor you should head over to the cross cut games site and pre-order a copy now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Question #2

If you've followed my recent links to the Descent:RTL previews this one should be easy. In case anyone is confused all of these questions will be board game related and the Geek is a good resource. Anyway...

What is the name of the town that you Heroes have been visiting in Descent when taking a town action?

(I have to start making these harder.)
Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview Upcoming and Hints

I'll be posting an interview with Adam West creator of the upcoming Galactic Emperor game. Adam and I discuss the game and a few other various topics.

Also a hint about question #1, it's a game i recently discussed in a new brief.
Sunday, March 16, 2008

Question #1

In what game can you find a nurse named Becky, a drifter named Jake and a farmers daughter named Jenny?

March Contest

This month I'll be giving away a copy of the Goblin Skirmishers Battlelore expansion. For the next two weeks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will be posting a trivia question. I will then be taking entries from March 29th - 31st.

Only one entry will be accepted per email account, I will then take all the people with the most correct answers and randomly select a single winner from those people.

I want to be perfectly clear, I will only be accepting answers on those 3 days. Your single entry email should contain all 6 answers, have your name and return email and be titled Goblin Contest Entry. Any emails sent before or after that date, will not be accepted. Bottom line folks is if you don't get all 6 right, chances are you won't be in the random drawing. Also you need to be located in the United States to enter this contest.

Good Luck
Friday, March 14, 2008

Descent:RTL on the way

FFG has changed the status on their upcoming and I must saying highly anticipated expansion pack for Descent to shipping. That usually happens once they have it in their warehouse. Figure it will get to distributors next week and then to retailers, I'd say if you're lucky you may have it by the end of next week but more then likely the following week.

There are only 3 days left to get in on the Cuba give away contest over at BGG. I've played this game a few times already an to be honest I am unsure how I feel about it. but the giveaway is for a special Cigar box edition which gets the collector in me interested.
Thursday, March 13, 2008



Check this out, I don't think it is associated with the board game of the same name, but a new game is coming this summer called Plunder. Sounds right up my alley, Abner book me for the review!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008


One of my favorite games of Last year was Last Night on Earth something I stumbled on at GenCon. At the time my friends thought I was nuts to drop $50 on this little game but I'm always on the cutting edge.

Anyway the game is pretty popular now and the first expansion is on its way. The company who makes it Flying Frog has opened it up for pre-orders. I was kind of hoping to snag one at GenCon but it seems like this will be a limited quantity shipment so I may have to order one.

Another title I'm excited about is called Galactic Emperor by Adam West. I don't know Adam personally but I have played many of his PC games and did some testing for one of them back in the day. It sounds like a shorter and frankly more enjoyable alternative to Twilight Imperium.

I didn't forget about the contest I am just working something out, look for it this week.

Nvida kiss my A@#

Well after 3 nights of trying to figure out why Civ IV would reboot my system after playing it for 5 minutes and give me Blue Screens turns out that one of my nvida.dll files was corrupt. After much research I see this is a common problem.

Removing this and reinstalling yourself has a smaller success chance then me running off with Jessica Alba. After hours of troubleshooting I spent $10 on a little utility called Driver Cleaner and followed the instructions provided in its helps file and now my system is back to 100%.

Anyone who knows me realizes I can't put a problem down without some kind of resolution to this was my entire night time existence for the last 3 days.

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