Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday gaming

The holidays provide plenty of opportunity for gaming time with friends and family.  (Sadly, for all the gaming we did in the last week, I have no pictures.  What's wrong with me?)

(c) Lookout Games.  Used by permission
Last Friday our friend Theresa H. came over for a game.  We had several options, and when I described Le Havre (designer Uwe Rosenberg, artists Klemens Franz and Uwe Rosenberg, publisher Lookout Games [website in German]) as a "deeper version of Agricola," Theresa chose that to play.  We played the three-player shortened version, which has a few different buildings from the two-player that Kathy and I usually play.  This time Kathy really got her coal-coke-shipping engine going and made all kinds of money, but I was hot on the building strategy and constructed enough high-value buildings to eke out a win by five points.  Theresa made a good showing for her first game and had a good time.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Boardgames by candlelight

Early this week a sequence of winter storms came through northern Virginia, and my house lost power for about 45 hours.  My kids were pretty bored without their usual sources of electronic entertainment, but one nice thing about boardgames is that you don't have to plug them into the wall.  So as we sat by the fireplace trying to stay warm, we broke out the games and had a reasonably good time by lanterns and candlelight.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Qwirkled

Susan McKinley Ross at Speil des Jahres 2011
Recently I've been catching up on podcasts, including Tom Vasel's Boardgame University.  Back on Episode 16, he interviewed Susan McKinley Ross, designer of 2011 Spiel des Jahres winner Qwirkle (Mindware Games).  I was fascinated by the evolution story of Qwirkle, which started in "specialty toys," evolved through the "gamer market," and ended up in "mass market games."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday afternoon Triumvirate

Joe C. (l.) and Frank H.
My friends Joe C. and Frank H. joined me this afternoon for my favorite three-player game of all time, The End of the Triumvirate (designers Johannes Ackva and Max Gabrian, artist Andrea Boekhoff, publisher Z-Man Games).  Frank had played twice before, but it was Joe's first time.  We went over the rules, and he picked it right up.  Joe drew Caesar, Frank was Crassus, and I played Pompeius.  Joe keyed on the significance of the political competence and pushed himself immediately down that track, although Frank kept up with him and bought votes early.  I tried to bolster my military position and thought I'd left my civil servant adequately defended.  Joe proved me wrong and took it from me on, I think, the fourth turn, and I was never able to recover another one.  Frank maintained his political lead and won the first election.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dice Tower News Interview - the uncut version

Chris Kirkman (l.) of Dice Hate Me Games is introduced
to Brew Crafters for the first time by designer Ben
Rosset at UnPub 3 in January, 2013
On Dice Tower News Episode 180, I included a severely edited version of an interview with designer Ben Rosset and publisher Chris Kirkman of Dice Hate Me Games to talk about their current Kickstarter project, Brew Crafters.  But I didn't want anyone to miss out on the rich experience I had speaking with these two enthusiasts just because of the time constraints of a news podcast.  So I have posted the entire interview on boardgamegeek so that everyone can hear Ben describe the experience that inspired him to design Brew Crafters in the first place.  Also not to be missed is Chris waxing on the passion that he brings to every game that Dice Hate Me Games publishes.  I always enjoy every minute I spend with these guys, and I hope you do, too.

[Update:  I'd previously tried to post the interview here on this page, but due to technical difficulties, I am just including a link to the interview posted on boardgamegeek instead.]

Friday, November 8, 2013

Latest micro-game addition - Council of Verona

Earlier this week I received my Kickstarter reward copy of Council of Verona (designer Michael Eskue, artists Darrell Louder and Adam P. McIver, publisher Crash Games).  I was intrigued by the description of this game as soon as I read it, both for the Shakespearean theme and for the apparently tactical gameplay in such a small package.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Boardgame marketing in the 1960s

3M edition, 1968
A few weeks ago, our friend Jeff invited my wife Kathy and me over for dinner and a boardgame along with our friends Rebecca and Sheila.  Rebecca had expressed an interest in playing Acquire (designer Sid Sackson), and I had obtained a copy on eBay of the 1968 edition published by 3M, so after dinner, we pulled it out and started to set it up.  When Sheila saw the box, she commented on the atmosphere that the cover art conveyed, a sophisticated 1960s image.  The connotation was very strong - almost like a Sean Connery 007 film - and very different from the typical boardgame published today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Revisiting Brew Crafters

Ben Rosset and Kathy Owen in a
three-player round of "Brew Crafters"
Last January, at UnPub 3, Chris Kirkman (Dice Hate Me Games) and I had the opportunity to playtest Ben Rosset's beer-brewing themed worker-placement game, "Brew Crafters" (at the time under the working title "Brewmasters").  About a month later, Chris and Ben reached agreement to publish "Brew Crafters" under the Dice Hate Me label.  Ben has continued to playtest "Brew Crafters" throughout the year in anticipation of a Kickstarter campaign later this month to fund the initial print run.  A couple of weeks ago, my wife Kathy and I participated in a playtest of the most current version of "Brew Crafters" with Ben.