Saturday, December 19, 2009

Goal achieved

Today I hit logged game number 31 and 32 on BGG. My goal for the year of logging a game a day for every month has been fulfilled. I am happy to say that these games were Stone Age and they were against my dad online. It's a different experience playing against my dad online than it is face to face, mainly because we're usually on the phone - but since I play online so much without the social aspect of gaming, playing with my dad is always more fun. I made sure that he was playing when I hit game #1,000 logged and that game was Cuba. Stone Age is another favorite, so I'm glad that was the game that finished my gaming resolution for 2009.

That brings me to another point. Is online gaming, gaming? I log all my online plays because I like to keep track of the games I've played. If I were to only log the face to face games, I would be around 60-70 or so, mainly on the weekends. Being able to sneak a few turns in over lunch and finishing games throughout the week bring the number way up. I consider online gaming log-able because even though the game isn't live and in person, it's still a game and the online portals I play at do maintain the consistency of the table version -- and many times it's so much easier to calculate scores - and let's not forget how great clean-up is!

This is a screen shot of game #32 for the month of December - Stone Age on

It was actually closer than the final score indicated. I was able to end the game by building a 1-7 resource hut worth 41 points. Granted, dad was just getting the hang of the game back - the last time he played was in June according to my BGG play list. So, he hung in there pretty well.

For 2010 there will not be a similar goal of hitting a game a month. I'll try my darndest to play as often as possible, but in the Fall semester I will be student teaching and I know a lot of my time will be spent writing lesson plans and prepping for that. So my goal for 2010 is to play and rate all of my unplayed and unrated games. The list is around 21 right now - here is the geeklist where I'll keep track.

The games I'm looking forward to the most as of right now are Princes of Florence, Havana, Tulipmania, and Louis XIV. The entire list is full of games I should've played by now - but those four stand out.

Have a great Holidays, a Merry Christmas and a great new year full of good games, good die rolls and lots of fun!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

WBC Review

I made a geeklist of games I played at WBC in 2008. I'm bummed that I didn't find a way to write one up about 2009, but this year is a transition year for me.

I lost my job in April and in the meantime I was able to pick up some contract work with Drexel. I also decided to go back to school to earn my certification to teach elementary school. Teaching was something I had thought about back in 2002, and again in 2004 - so losing my job was the final push I needed. I took summer classes that conflicted with WBC, but I was still able to make it to a few days worth of gaming.

Back in January, I made a few gaming resolutions. Some have been updated. One eliminated.

My resolutions were to log a game for every day in a month. We're in September and I've still good. There were a few months that came down to the last day where I was able to play enough, but for the most part this will be easy (especially since I found Uno on facebook).

I resolved to play each game I owned at least once. I still may try that, but after thinking about it - I didn't want to waste gaming time on games like Killer Bunnies or whodunit when I could use that gaming time for good games like Cuba, March Madness, Acquire, etc. So that was updated to "play as many games as I own that I can/I like". I'm good there too. I do have a few that I'd like to get out again, but I have time.

Finally, the resolution I eliminated. I wanted to reach the finals of Air Baron at WBC. I was able to win my opening heat - getting me into the semifinals, but again I met a semi table with bad luck and was unable to win. I did have a much better time playing in this years semi because I played with some people I know, people I consider friends. I told one after that it was more fun to lose that game than it was to win some games I'd played in the past. It's true too.

WBC was a good couple days of gaming. I was able to play some favorites like the aforementioned Air Baron, Power Grid, March Madness, Vegas Showdown, Stone Age, Acquire, and Superstar Baseball. I didn't get to try out too many "new" games though. I only learned one - Paydirt. A long football game in the same die rolling style of baseball.

I made a few semi-final tables. Air Baron was mentioned, and Vegas Showdown. The Vegas Showdown semi would've been a win if I had one more turn, but alas it turned into a 2 point loss.

I met up with some old WBC friends (from 2008 - it's amazing how quickly you make friends at conventions like WBC, and how good it is to see them again the next year) and made some new ones.

Mostly, what I'll remember from WBC is being able to hang out with my dad and our friend Johnny. Breakfast at the diner before hitting the gaming tables and winding down after a long day of playing usually book-ended our days.

I started looking forward to WBC'09 on the ride home last year. I started looking forward to WBC'10 on the ride home this year.

Shakeup in the Top Ten

I decided to update my top ten and there is a new #2.

Thanks to the El Presidente expansion, Cuba has moved into the #2 slot behind perennial top pick Air Baron.

Cuba has always been a game I enjoy and I'm going to start pushing to play this more at home. I'd like to get my play numbers up with this.

Power Grid stays at #3 for now, but with the lack of playing it's going to be tough to justify keeping it there. I love this game with 4 players, and it's .....ok for 3, but it's so rare to get 4 players to play this and I'm not a fan of the BSW system for some reason.

New #4 - Stone Age. Thanks to the Yucata implementation I've been able to play this a lot. 28 plays and counting. When I did my 1,000 logged geeklist, Stone Age sat ranked 23rd in terms of games played with 7. Now it ranks 10th. I expect this game to be the highest jumper when I put out my 1,500 logged list.

Everything else moved down with the exception of Vegas Showdown. I bumped that from 10 to 7. Tikal will overtake Air Baron in terms of plays shortly, as they are tied at 157 - but I've grown kinda weary on Tikal. I didn't think I could burn myself out on a game, but I'm pretty much there. I'll still enter the SpielbyWeb tournaments, but I'd rather play Stone Age online right now.

The updated top ten is on the right hand column with links to each game.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Just got back from WBC. Will have some write ups later. I was just doing some reminiscing and re-read the WBC primer. This section really stood out to me.

Despite our themed background of championships, laurels and wood, WBC is about having fun. No game is worth winning, if in the process you antagonize your opponent(s) and cannot walk away from the table with the respect of those you've just played. PLEASE, if ever you find yourself about to chastise someone for "blowing the game" or playing poorly, I urge you to reconsider. Taking a loss out on an opponent with a verbal tongue lashing will not change the outcome, but it will brand you a "jerk". Dealing with subpar play in multi-player games is part of the landscape you've chosen to cultivate. It comes with the territory. Live with it - don't ruin someone's day. Above all, WBC admires sportsmanship. Be someone we want to welcome back - not someone we hope will stay away.

I still have some bad memories of games where this happened. Sometimes the wrath was in my direction, other times it was not. Either way, those game events are rotten memories now. I will come away from this year's WBC with one particular memory. My Air Baron semifinal heat - I am now 0-3 in ABN Semi's, but this year was a little different. It's always fun to play with my buddy Fred - and this year was no different. I made a bad open, wasn't lucky with the chits even after taking a loan and taking Detroit and most of New York, and despite my best efforts to attack the leader I wasn't able to compete for most of the game. I told some of the guys at the table that it was more fun losing that game than it had been winning a game where the "table-feeling" was uncomfortable.

In the end, it really is just a game. Enjoy the playing of it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

1,000 logged games

For the last couple years, I've logged each game I played at No real reason why, but it's nice to look back and see the new games I've played. Well, since I started logging a few years back, I have now hit the 1,000th game logged.

I created a geek-list to commemorate the occasion. Basically, it runs down the games that I've logged 5 or more plays of. There are 29 games listed.

The 1,000th game was a 3 player game of Cuba. I really like this game and it was the first time we were able to use the El Presidente expansion. I explained the rules of the expansion and re-explained the base rules to my wife and father and we started off. Jen took an early lead, but it didn't take my dad and I long to catch up. By the time our scores were in the 30's and 40's, it was a very close game - within 5 points of each place.

My dad examining a move in Cuba

In the end, with a shrewd sale of Rum for 6 dollars, and the parliament passing all the bills - I was able to steal more bonus points than either my father or wife and pulled out a 118-111-110 win. I don't care as much about the win as I do about being able to play #1000 with my dad and wife. I'm glad we played the new expansion - I really think it makes a better game. There are some expansions that don't, but that's a blog for another day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review of El Capitan

Normally, I struggle with rule books. I usually have my father or brother-in-law read the rules and explain them to me. I'm a kinesthetic learner - meaning, I need to DO something to learn it. Video reviewers like Scott Nicholson and Tom Vasel have taught me games like Agricola, Le Havre, Vegas Showdown, Pillars of the Earth, and more.

During the 2008 WBC, I purchased a copy of El Capitan. I decided to bull through the rules and figure it out on my own. I figured it out well enough that I wanted to help other players learn about it, so I made a video review of the game El Capitan.

I uploaded it a while back. Click here to view my video review of El Capitan.

Welcome Message

Greetings! I am a second generation board gamer. My dad started playing board games with my sister and I and I've enjoyed playing many different style games over the years. I'll try any game once as long as someone is patient enough to teach me.

My top ten is a list of my top ten favorite games to play. Click on any of the links in my top ten to view it's page.

Why do you game?
ah, the eternal question why. Honestly, I don't think I can give a fair answer because there are so many reasons. The feeling of doing something fun with your family and friends, the tension of "will I get that tile or piece I need, will so-and-so buy into that land before I can, if this happens and I do this I may win", but mostly because it's a hobby that continues to grow and hopefully continues to get better and better.

What types of games do you prefer?
I prefer economic games and am mostly a Eurogamer, but I've always said I'd play anything as long as someone was patient enough to teach me. That said, I don't think I'll be playing ASL or POG anytime soon. War games just don't appeal to me. That's not to say I don't enjoy combat games. I think Air Baron is the closest hybrid to a war game/eurogame that I've played and it was the game that broke me into the hobby.

Where do you game?
Wherever. Online, at home, on the road. I've gamed at friends houses, at my parents house, at my in-laws houses, anywhere I can.

Who do you game with? etc.
Pretty much whoever wants to play. Mostly friends and family. I started out playing monopoly, Clue, Scotland Yard, etc with my sister and dad. My mother would play party games like Charades but had no interest in the boards. In High School I got some of my friends to meet up with my dad and I for Air Baron night. In college, I introduced some card games like Family Business to my Fraternity brothers and after college I continued to game with my dad. I am married now and my wife is a gamer as is most of her family, so we'll play together. I also met a few new friends through BGG who get together as well.

Then there's the whole online world, where I'll play Tikal, Carcassonne, Power Grid, Notre Dame, etc with people I've never met before.