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.

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