Week 40!!!

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School is in session, the evenings have been consisting of getting dinner ready, kids situated and ready for bed and then rinse and repeat. We’ll get in a better rhythm as the year progresses but for now, the weekends are the only time we’ve got any gaming in and that’s shown up in August, with this month being the slowest gaming month of the year so far with only 25 plays of 17 different games. Those numbers would have been a bit lesser had it not been for this weekend, more precisely, Saturday.

Saturday started outside, hanging out with the kids, playing wiffle ball and swinging on the playground, but as soon as we went inside we threw GemPacked Cards down on the table for a play.

Preview for GemPacked Cards

After cleaning up GemPacked Cards, I threw another game on the table that’s going to be hitting Kickstarter on September 1st, Avalanche at Yeti Mountain. After wrestling with the rules a little bit and then adjusting the game for three players since Brad decided he’d join us, we were off and racing down the mountain. This one is going to get the full preview treatment this coming week while the Kickstarter is live, but I will say that the first play was pretty fun, but it’s definitely a game where all the participants need to be of the understanding that this is just a quick playing free for all, there is player elimination, but really, who cares in a 15-20 minute game, just set it back up after and race again. Green Couch Games was kind enough to send me this new addition to their stable of growing 20-30 minute filler games, so look for a longer preview next week for this one.

While we were home for a short time before dinner, AnnaBeth decided that we hadn’t played Villa Paletti, in a long time so we should bring it out.  So bring it out we did. Villa Paletti is a fun dexterity game with some really fantastic wooden pieces. In the game you set up all the wooden pieces so they are like columns, then you place a “floor” on top of those pieces, so all the wooden pieces are upright and holding up that floor. On a player’s turn they roll the die which is a 4 sided die that has each of the colors of the columns on it. Whichever color comes up on the die is the color that you remove from the building and then you place it on top of the floor above. The players can keep doing this in player order until they can no longer take a column from the bottom floor, then they place a smaller floor on top of the second one and they continue the game that way. The person who knocks the tower over loses. Everyone over on Board Game Geek has seen a photo of this game, whether they realize it or not, it’s one of the more iconic and comical photos over there. It’s the one where everyone gets the “BaSL” face for their photoshopping fun. And that’s what this one is, fun. AnnaBeth and I don’t necessarily play it to see who will win, we more or less play it to see how tall we can build the tower, and this time around, it didn’t get built very tall as I believe I got a little over confident on the second level and the tower came falling down, way too soon. There are two or three different versions of this one floating around, plus you can also find it under the name Palazzo Paletti as well. We don’t have the original by any means we seem to have the mass produced version from Wiggles 3d, but it still works just perfectly and is readily available over on Amazon. Also, just for some side knowledge, it did win the 2002 Spiel des Jahres. If you enjoy dexterity games where you are stacking and building, this one is a sure fire hit.

With our fallen building cleaned up, AnnaBeth and I were joined by Kerensa for a game of The Magic Labyrinth. This one has a lot of history in our family and was essentially the game that took us to the hobbyist side of board gaming. The Magic Labyrinth is essentially a memory game where you are trying to maneuver through a maze to reach the pre-determined destination. The bottom half of the box itself is part of the game, in it is the maze that can be built using little wooden walls to block off paths. After the maze is built, you cover it with the board so you cannot see what is underneath, spin the board around in circles saying the magic words, you must always say the magic words, “labyrinth, labyrinth, turn around, walls disappear, ways will be found!”. At that point each magician takes his magician pawn and a metallic ball and chooses a corner, with the magician pawn on top of the board and the metal ball underneath, held onto by the magnet in the magician pawns. That’s how you tell if you run into a wall when moving, the ball will become separated from the pawn and roll back to a corner. The first player draws a token from the bag and finds the magic symbol on the board that matches it and places it there, that’s what the magicians are racing to retrieve. On your turn you roll a die, it will tell you whether you get to move 1, 2, 3 or 4 spaces this turn. You then try to make your way to the magic symbol without hitting a wall. When a player retrieves the symbol, that player pulls another one out of the bag, places it on the board and play continues, we usually play till someone has five magic symbols and that person is the winner. This game is so aggravating, in a good way. I rarely remember from one turn to the next where the walls are that I’ve ran into, so the kids always get a kick out of it when I run into the same wall that I’ve ran into a dozen times before in the same game. Thusly, I rarely win the game, and I didn’t this time either, AnnaBeth did, with Kerensa actually managing to do worse than I did for once. But that being said, I love this one and it will always hold a special place in our collection as our gateway into more gaming as a family. Oh, and this one won the 2009 Kinderspiel Award, so that was two Spiel de Jahres winners in one weekend for us without even trying.

After that, we packed up again and headed back over to Brad and Kate’s for some good food and family time, and of course, a couple games. Even Kate got to join us for the first time since Geekway!! First game to the table was Cacao and you would think that with as easy as it is, and how many times I’ve played it so far, I’d have the rules down, but clearly I wasn’t thinking clearly as I forgot that when we are playing four players you take two tiles out of each player’s supply and we realized that rather late in the game when we all should have only had three tiles left. Luckily I don’t think it hindered us too much as all of us had the two tiles that you were supposed to remove in our hands so we just discarded those and finished the game as normal. I went heavy on the water track since it seemed to come up for me in the draw pile twice, I figured it was a sign. Kerensa and Kate were pretty heavily trading Cacao around and Brad was trying his best to secure those temples. Turns out, the ending all came down to Kerensa’s final play, and where she put it ended up adding 6 points to her score and knocking 3 from myself and 3 from Brad, she managed to take control of a Temple where I was leading by 1 and Brad was going to just finish in second around it. After that I couldn’t find a place to get me more than 4 points so I placed and we tallied up the scores. Brad came in last with 39 points, I’m going to say he was the more distracted of us four while playing, otherwise I think he would have done better. I finished in third with 48 points and still stinging a bit from the move Kerensa made. Then with 52 points, Kerensa and Kate tied and both had sold off all of their Cacao since I never think to talk about tie breakers before games, my apologies Kate. Way we figured it, if Kerensa had not placed her last tile where she did, there would have been a three way tie for first and I would have won since I had two leftover Cacao. Noooooooooooooooooo! But I kind of deserve to finish in third since I failed to fully explain the tiebreaker rule. As it was, Kerensa and Kate celebrated their shared victory and Brad set out to find another quick game for us to play before Bennett, their 1 year old son, was ready to go to bed.

That game was Murder of Crows, from Eduardo Baraf and Atlas Games. Seems that Brad and Kate had picked this one up on their last visit to Miniature Market for about 4 bucks and hadn’t gotten a chance to play it yet so we went ahead and dove in.  Murder of Crows is a lightweight story telling card game where the players are trying to spell out murder in front of them to win. On each player’s turn, they are going to draw a card and then either play a card or draw another card and pass the turn on to the next player. That in itself wouldn’t be that great of a game though, so each card has a special power when played. The M lets you take one card from another player’s “murder”. The U makes all the other players reveal their hands and the active player gets to choose one to take from someone. The R allows you to Reap, draw an additional card. The D allows the active player to drain one letter from every other player’s “murder”. Lastly the E makes everyone else discard their hands and draw back up to three cards. Now, all of these actions can be blocked by playing a card from your hand to the discard pile that matches the number of crows on the card played by the active player. The first player to finish the word Murder and read aloud the story that the cards have created, wins the game. Well, Kerensa and Kate once again won this, we played twice with Kerensa winning the first one and Kate winning the second one and Brad and I just sitting there being mean to each other. This one was a fun, light hearted game, sure it’s about a murder, but the stories and the people it happens to make it good fun.

Star Realms continues to be Star Realms. I’m up then I’m down. I split a couple matches with our first “Meet the Gamer” guest Patrick Hillier. I won my only league game this week and I lost a couple others to stick at Level 9 5/10. Just not making any progress it seems. But as always, keep those challenges coming, if I lose I will most definitely be sending a rematch request so I usually leave that up to you to rematch if you would like to as well. Vacabck on Star Realms, feel free to shoot challenges any time.

Acquisitions

Well, there were a couple big arrivals this week on our doorstep, literally big arrivals. Our copy of Mistfall arrived, surprisingly in good shape considering how the shipping company chose to pack the boxes. I’ve punched and sorted all the cardboard but I just can’t bring myself to open up the cards yet until I figure out just what I am going to do with the box to make storage of the cards easy. I’m not going to sleeve all 600 cards, so I need to find a system that allows them to stay sorted in the box fairly easy. I’m think that it’ll be another foam core project for me in the near future. Second item to show up is the one that is kind of a departure from the normal games we pick up, that one is Churchill. I had read enough rave reviews and seen enough positive information about it that I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger and picked it up, making sure to use my knees, as this one is heavy, literally heavy. I’ve got some interest in our game group for this one, plus I may have finally found a theme that may help nudge my brothers, or at least one of them, to the table for something with a lot of meat on its bones. But before I assault them with it, I need to sit down and learn it and play it a couple times, I don’t want to be fumbling my way through teaching it to them, it may be my only shot! Not sure we have anything on the way this week, still waiting on pre-orders of A Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition and Codenames from Miniature Market. Looks like FFG finally updated the status of AGoT to on the boat, so I’m guessing end of September to October for that one. And I know that some folks were receiving their shipping notifications for Codenames from CSI last week, so here’s hoping Miniature Market is this week!

Kickstarter

Well, sooner or later someone was going to get me to back something that wasn’t a card game or board game, just didn’t figure that it was going to be a website for playing board games and card games. Tabletopia launched last week. Currently the project sits at $46k with 24 days to go, already doubling the goal of $20k. This one is fascinating for me, on one hand I wanted to pledge on it to play games with folks all over the world, games that aren’t available to play on many gaming websites, but also I want to see what game developers do with this as it’s really a great tool for testing of games. You have a huge pool of gamers to try out your games and it’s all done live online where you can watch and get immediate feedback on, so I really think this one is fairly important. Right now, I am backing at the $25 Game Geek Gamer Tier which gets me 6 months of access to Tabletopia and also access to the catalog during the month long beta. We’ll see how much it gets used during that 6 month time frame and then we’ll see if it is worth paying a monthly subscription fee. Right now if you have backed you have access to a couple games, Keltis and Viceroy. I am hoping to get on and try those out this week, but I have used the website before in playtesting Vital Lacerda’s newest game Lisboa, so I know a bit about how it all works and I did really think once you got used to the interface it would be wonderful to use. The only thing that worries me is that some folks won’t like it as you do still have to track everything yourself through the interface, this isn’t like Board Game Arena or any of those other sites where scoring and everything is updated automatically, this is like playing a board game on your PC.

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Dingo’s Dreams campaign ends in 24 hours, or 9 PM Central time on the 31st of August. It’s kind of starting to climb a bit, but still projected short of $60k and the upgraded wooden faction tokens for City of Iron. So time is of the essence, if either of these interest you, be sure to check the Kickstarter page soon!

Over the past week or so over on Twitter and other social media spaces, there has been a lot of talk of inclusion in gaming, mainly about women in gaming in particular. I’ve stayed out of the fracas for the most part, as I don’t really have much to add to the conversation, but I have read along and listened. I have isolated myself gaming wise it seems perfectly, I don’t get to see the unsightly underbelly, which I have no doubt exists, I just don’t get to see it. My main game group is my family, which is comprised of 4 females, my wife, sister in law and my daughters. My outside game group is predominately male, but I don’t believe that is through any nefarious acts of exclusion, the group is wide open for anyone who wants to play games to play, it just so happens that’s mostly men it seems. My favorite convention is Geekway to the West, which I have to believe after being there the last three years is one of the most inclusive conventions in the country, they welcome everyone with open arms and I’ve not heard a negative word about how women or anyone has been treated while attending that convention. Once again, I need to re-iterate, that I don’t doubt that any of this is going on, I just haven’t seen it or been part of it to my knowledge and I would never willfully do that. So, where is this leading? Well, I’m not really sure, I am not going to go on some big tirade, nor am I going to openly scold those who tried to rebuke what others were saying, what I’m going to do is what gamers and geeks do best, I’m going to make a list. A list of things that I will hold you to, if you sit down at a table and game with me. Whether that’s my table, or any other table around. I will stand for these rules and if you don’t follow them, I will call you on them.

  1. Be respectful of everyone around you. This should go without saying honestly, and it really sucks that I feel the need to make this the number one rule, but honestly, if everyone was following this, we wouldn’t have a lot of the troubles that we have in the gaming community, or even the world for that matter. Be respectful of the people that you share the same air with and they’ll be respectful of you.

2. See rule number 1, and don’t be a jerk. Really, we’re all equals here, no one is below you and no one is above you, get over your petty beliefs and just respect everyone and give everyone the opportunities that you would expect for yourself.

3. See rules 1 and 2 and have fun, play hard, work hard and just enjoy our time together as human beings with shared interests. It’s a big world out there, there are a lot of things we can learn from each other if we open our minds and let it all soak in instead of thinking we know everything.

4. Actually stick by these rules and don’t be a Wheaton.

Geeklist and Thread

It really saddens me to say that I wasn’t able to keep up with the Geeklist and Thread as much as I have been, it was a busy week at work with impromptu meetings and being short staffed four out of the five days. I barely had time to think. I will catch up with everything and try to keep up this week.

Alright folks, I think that will wrap it up for Week 40 of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast, I hope you all enjoyed it. I did get a couple responses to my call for contributors to the show and I’m hoping to see a few more. As I said, I really don’t have any idea where I want this to go, I just want to give anyone a voice who wants to have one on the show. I know Eric Booth has jumped in head first and is currently working on another review for everyone, and also he’s working on a little talk about theme in gaming, so I look forward to hearing those when he gets them to me. Which is whenever he has the time, there are no time constraints, no deadlines, just let me know what you want to work on and send it this way whenever you have a chance. If you want me to edit it, I will do my best, if you want to edit it, by all means go for it. I’m easy.

With that, I’m out of here, I will see you all on the Geeklist and Thread Monday morning on Board Game Geek and over on various other social media throughout the week. Have a great one!!

 

Avalanche at Yeti Mountain Preview

GemPacked Cards Preview