Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Backyard 24/7

Just a picture this time:  As the weather improves, the backyard boardgaming becomes more frequent.  Friday after work it was 24/7: The Game (designer Carey Grayson, publisher Sunriver Games).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Undiscovered Carthage?

(c) Z-man.  Used by permission
Last Friday, I wrote about the underappreciated game Alexandros.  I remarked that I never run across any mention of it in blogs, podcasts, or anywhere else outside its boardgamegeek entry.  This evening, Kathy and I played another game only slightly more recognizable, Traders of Carthage (designer Susumu Kawasaki, artists Peter Gifford and You Satouchi, publisher Z-man).  The whole time we were playing, I kept remarking on the tight, agonizing decisions, turn by turn.  Nothing is obvious in this game; every choice has two sides - risk and opportunity, benefit and consequence.  I wondered whether ToC, like Alexandros, might qualify as a little-known gem that deserves more recognition.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Birthday dinner gaming

Yesterday was my beautiful wife Kathy's birthday, and we celebrated by having our good friends Glenn, Jeff, and Rebecca over for dinner and boardgames.  We customarily get together every few months or so to socialize, most recently in November when we played Tsuro and Settlers of Catan at Jeff's house.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Who loves you, Alexandros?

Today, Kathy and I played Alexandros (designer Leo Colovini, art by Grafik Studio Kr├╝ger, publisher Rio
Kathy's green generals govern some
high tax-earning provinces in the west
).  I'd blogged some time ago speculating that this game might have a runaway leader problem, but that was not in evidence in our game today.  Although I jumped to an early lead and tried to continually levy taxes to open my advantage, Kathy gamely and gradually caught up to me.  She accumulated cards to knock me out of my high-earning provinces, one by one.  She timed it perfectly, so that she passed me on the high end of the scoring track and maintained the tax-collecting momentum to win by a substantial 120 to 97 points.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Romance on the train: Love Letter and Ticket to Ride

Sunday afternoon, Kathy and I played Love Letter (designer Seiji Kanai, artists Andrew Hepworth and Jeffrey Himmelman, publisher Alderac Entertainment Group) for the first time.  This microgame poses some neat little logic challenges and opportunities for second-guessing, although in our first play, we didn't find it quite as "brain-bending" as Citadels, our favorite hidden-role game for getting inside each others' heads.  As it happens, we played two rules incorrectly.  First, in the two-player game, we failed to turn three cards face up at the start of each round to reduce the size of the playing deck and gain early insight into which cards were already out of play.  Second, we thought (incorrectly) that the Guard could target another Guard in an attempt to eliminate an opponent.  Since there are five Guards in the deck (as opposed to one or two of any other character), that made the Guard extraordinarily powerful in our game.  I've written before about my propensity for getting the rules wrong the first time I play a game, but fortunately, we still had fun, and the game was over in less than half an hour.  LL is a quick little diversion that I expect will get more play - and that I hope will become more intricate in the tactics and counter-tactics of anticipating each others' cards.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Love Letter arrives in the mail

Love Letter: A good thing in
a small package
Kathy recently placed an order with amazon that, by itself, would not have qualified for free super saver shipping.  So she asked if there was anything I'd like to add to the order.  I went straight to my boardgamegeek wishlist and picked out Love Letter (designer Seiji Kanai, artists Andrew Hepworth and Jeffrey Himmelman, publisher Alderac Entertainment Group).  I'd heard some very interesting hype about this little 16-card microgame.  Not every review was positive, but many were enthusiastic or at least intriguing.  I am most fascinated by the concept of a game of so few components that carries so much player interaction, logic, and second-guessing.  Coup falls into this category and, in some respects, Citadels.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting serious about East India Company

I've had some time over the last few days to start really stepping out on my plan for "East India Company."  I've completed a survey of candidate publishers.  I've decided that I should have a second prototype in hand ready to ship in the event that I get a positive response from a submission letter.  So my current effort is geared toward making a second prototype that reflects the lessons I've learned from my first printing foray and from the playtesting I've done with it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday afternoon Probe

This afternoon we had a family game of Probe (Parker Brothers, 1964), an old stand-by that we played way back when we were kids and that we have since passed down to the next generation.  I managed to guess Kathy's diaphragm under the "Interruptive Rule" with five letters unexposed, which gave me a 100-point bonus.  The 17-year-old's fax lasted a long time, until his having to expose blanks made obvious just how short his word was.  The 12-year-old's toxicity lasted the longest; Kathy managed to guess it at her very last opportunity before the end of the game.  My wishful was guessed the earliest in the game, but I ended up with the high score and the win.