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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming: 28th April 2012

We started late on this session but in the end I managed to bring some more of my new goodies out and that made me a happy camper :)

Chateau Roquefort + Cheesy Gonzola expansion
Who moved my cheese?
After playing it once at another friend's place, I knew I had to have it. The shoving mechanism where the tiles can be shifted underneath the mice feet caught me hook, line and sinker! My copies finally arrived (they seemingly traveled to Paraguay from Germany and then to Singapore. Go figure!) and I was eager to bring it to the table. That and also I needed to know how to play the game before I taught it to my colleague on wednesday. So each player controls a set of 4 mice and they are moving around the castle trying to position 2 of their mice on the same cheese tile to obtain the cheese token. First to obtain 4 different cheese tokens wins the game. It is not that simple because you only have 4 actions per turn and one of them involves the very important Shoving action. What happens is, you can take the tile that is outside of the castle and shove it in from 12 available slots. This will in turn, push the whole row/column one direction and another tile will then pop out from the other end. This can produce very surprising results for all the players as a hole may appear under your mouse and you will lose that mouse to a "trap". This game is seemingly a simple children's game but it involves memory as well as strategic planning thus I find that its great for adults too!
The expansion adds a 5th player (yay! More to share the fun!) as well as several variants. The 2nd time we played, we played with the expansion and all the variants included. It certainly makes the game a whee bit more complicated with all the options but also makes it meatier and brings it hovering to the Medium complexity fence. All in all a very good game even for adults! I heartily recommend.

Initial and final impression: Good!

Hab & Gut
There goes the Spice price... crazy!
This is a stock exchange game where players will manipulate the market, buy and sell stocks and along the way, donate to charity and try to be the player that earns the most money at the end of the game whilst not being the player that donated the least to charity. The interesting part is the Charity because at the end of the game, the player who has donated the least will automatically lose the game. Another interesting mechanism is the cards you see slotted into the stands provided. Each player can see 2 stands of cards and during the 2nd phase of the game, each player will get to choose 1 card from each stand and choose which of these 2 cards to apply the full value and which to apply half the value on the card. Then the stock markers will move accordingly. This is where your strategies come into play. It is not a very difficult game to play but its simple and quite elegantly done. I like.

Initial impression: Good

Mission: Red Planet
If you believe, they put a man on Mars, man on Mars...
Next we played Mission Red Planet. I have heard of this game from designer Bruno Faidutti (of Citadel's fame). During the game, each player will choose a role from their set of 9 roles (all players will have the same) and then play it (similar to how Citadels resolve the roles). During the game, you are populating space ships and launching them to Mars to populate the various regions on it. During the scoring rounds (the game last 10 rounds and scoring rounds are in 5th, 8th and 10th), the player which has the majority of astronauts in a region will get score tokens based on the element found in that region and the scoring round (one token for 5th, two tokens for 8th and three tokens for 10th). At the end of the game, players will count their tokens as well as any secret objectives they may have accomplished and the player with the most victory points win. This is quite a light game for me and will be good for my lunch time gamings. However the boards are rather warped as you can see from my picture and the character card sized are odd. I don't have sleeves for them :(

Initial impression: Average

Big City
A city that has distinct zones
Another game! I do wish I will have the patience or the small size to paint these buildings like those I have seen on bgg. Its really small these buildings and so when i see the incredible amount of details being put into them, I must really take my hat off to the person that painted them. The one BIG problem with this game is the ending as it can be very anti climatic. Nearing the end of the game you tend to not have a lot of cards you can play and that may put you out of the game much earlier than the rest. There is also no "catch the leader" mechanism and its very difficult to overtake the leader. Hmm... the components are awesome though.... Anyone want to paint for me? *blink blink*

Initial impression: Average

Lettuce. Wait no, Tomato. No wait, Cockroach!
There are 3 of these Kakerlaken-type games and I have played the Poker-type and decided to get this to have a go at it. KakerlakenSalat is a agility, think-fast type of game. The cards of the game will be distributed evenly to all players. Then each player will take the top card of his/her deck and reveal it into the center pile. Upon revealing the card, they must say the name of the vegetable depicted on the card: Pepper, Lettuce, Cauliflower and Tomato. There are certain rules where you have to lie about the card and this is where the game gets interesting. This is definitely a game that can be converted into a drinking game or doing something with the penalties. Great end to a fun filled day :)

Initial impression: Average

All in all, a great gaming session!

Weekend Boardgaming: 29th April 2012

I have been waiting for this as I just got a new batch of goodies from various arrangements and was rearing to play them. It proved to be a night starting with heavy euros and ending in much lighter fare games. Very good gaming to be had right at the beginning and winding down at the end.


After 4 hours we are finally DONE!
We decided to go ahead and tackle the behemoth in the room and that is Vinhos. I manage to get my copy the night before got it ready for our gaming night. Explaining the game is quite tough as there are SO MANY parts to take care of and explain. I think I (being this my first time), took about 30-45 mins to explain the game before we finally begun. There are certain parts where we were unclear and a lot of referring to rules had to be done. Luckily the rules are rather well written so the game did not falter and we trudged along. Basically you are own vineyards and produce wine and make it do a variety of actions to earn points in the end. You can also perform actions which will allow you to improve the value of the wine you produce which in turn may translate into big point payouts. As this is our first game, we made many mistakes. But everyone agreed that its quite a good game and would like to try it again another time. Just not so soon in the future ;p

Initial Impression: Good

Quick make babies! Quick marry them off!
After that heavy monster that is Vinhos, we decided to try Helvetia. Our gaming buddy very kindly spent a lot of effort to translate the rules into English himself which made it easier for us to understand. After a refresh of the rules, we jumped in, eager to try something which we think is lighter than Vinhos. In a nutshell, you are trying to develop your village and be the first to reach 20 points (which will signal the end of the game). The center portion is where the score track is. It also contains the goods that had been produced and traded by your village as well as a school and the 5 roles you can select. This portion reminds me of Vanuatu in how the majority will gain the role card which provides a free action as well as 1 VP. The complicated part is the chaining of goods to produce a better good. Furthermore, because your villagers can be in other villages (due to marriage), you will need to take note of their status (either awake, which means you can use or asleep which means they are disabled for now) because perhaps that player may have already awoken him/her and ready for you to utilize. This portion is a bit difficult to track as there are so many pieces and colors to track. I enjoy the game quite a bit (granted that I won with a came from behind win) and would like to see if it will be as fun after a few more plays.

Initial Impression: Good

Be very very careful!
so after 2 thinky games, we decided to play something lighter to refresh ourselves. We played Hamsterrolle which is an agility game involving a big round circle. Objective is to try to clear the pieces in front of you (all players have the same set and no two pieces are the same) by placing the your piece (during your turn) so that your piece is the furthest along the row. If any pieces drop while you are placing your piece, then your turn is over and you have to keep all dropped pieces. The winner is the player who has cleared his/her set of pieces first. Not bad, had a lot of fun but I am not really for agility games like this.

Initial Impression: Average

Beware of the pirate!

Next we tried a lighter game that is Batavia. You score points by having majority in each of the goods available as well as trading in the hexagonal tiles that are different from each other in a set. The player with the most points will win. Its quite a straight forward game that is surprisingly quite light and fast to play given the components and how much production value this game has. Knowing when to secure majority and thus being able to then move your player token to that hexagonal tile belonging to the majority country is vital to the game. Ok for me.

Initial Impression: Average

Junta: Viva el Presidente!
My little landed property
Junta is a game which requires a lot of negotiation and banter to make it fun. You play a powerful member of this nation which seems to be changing presidents quite easily and you can force that to happen with your own private militia which are represented by dice. During a turn, the reigning president (which incidentally will have 1 VP) will choose to pass cards to the other players in order to punish them or to bribe them. After that players will reveal the number on the dice they have selected to declare what action they are taking that turn. During this reveal and resolution phase, the president may face a coup and relinquish his/her title. Otherwise, players may also attack each other using their militia and defend themselves using their own militia as well. It requires a lot of bantering and negotiation from the group otherwise it will not really make a lot of sense thematically and may drag on for far too long, especially if the players are very good at guarding each other.

Initial Impression: Average

All in all, a great long gaming session and I am glad I finally manage to get my copy of Vinhos and play it. Helvetia was also a good play for me..
Great night, great games!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Boardgaming podcasts

To entertain me when I am driving or my journey to office, I often listen to podcasts. Right now my podcasts cover only 2 main topics: Computer gaming and of course Boardgaming. Computer gaming wise I listen only to IGN's family of podcasts (Beyond, Game Scoop and Knockin' Boots). Boardgaming wise I listen to much more. Namely:

The D6 Generation - Awesome podcast with very entertaining hosts. My opinions on the games they review don't often coincide though.

The Dice Tower - Another very entertaining podcast with a lot of reviews as well. Still my opinions on the games they review are usually different.

Gamers with Jobs - Conference Call - Mostly on video gaming but recently they started to talk about boardgames.

How To Play Podcast - Very good podcast on how to play games. Sometimes I wonder if I can just play this so that my fellow gamers can understand how to play the game instead of me explaining :P

The Little Metal Dog Show - Podcast from the UK. He uses adjectives to great effect. I feel a bit... overwhelming sometimes.

Ludology - A good indepth discussion podcast on the technicality of boardgames like mechanisms and psychology.

Myriad Game Presentations - A set of different types of podcasts from session reports to reviews from the good folks at Myriad Games.

On Board Games - Interesting and funny podcast. I wish Scott Nicholson will be back more often! :P

The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast - Very good production value podcast and quite entertaining to listen to as well. Again my opinions on the games they like differ (I am sensing a trend here....)

I found this site which gives information on boardgaming podcasts. If you are interested do check it out here!

Which Podcasts do you listen to? Any other recommendations for me?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Check out these inserts!

So after playing Big City that my friend had, I decided to get one copy for myself. After scouring high and low, I was pointed to a nice shop in Holland that had copies (In Dutch) left! I finally received them today (there is some drama behind this but I will spare you the details) and got to crack the box open. 
Lo and behold, what do I see? The components stored in very very nice inserts. Take a look:

The Businesses, Shopping centers, Post offices, Banks and Player markers

The residences, Parks and Street cars

Businesses, Churches, Factories and estate cards

Simply awesome. I have never really seen inserts this good before and they lay out all the buildings in a very neat manner. Unfortunately though the inserts are quite tight so during game play they will wear off after a lot of plays (from taking out and putting back in). So I have kept them aside and repackaged everything into card sleeves and little baggies. Very good production value I must say!
When Lords of Waterdeep arrives I will take some pictures as well as I have heard it is awesome too!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dice Tower awards 2011! Part 1

I have been listening to the Dice tower podcast for some time now and following their video reviews. I am even contributing in my little way to their site and I am hoping to have a game or two with Tom and the gang at Gencon 2012!
Recently they have announced their nominations for the Dice tower awards 2011! You can find the link here.
Lets take a look at the awards and my thoughts shall we? :)

Game of the year
Nominations are:
A Few Acres of Snow - Haven't played this yet so I cannot comment on this. But I've heard a lot of controversies. Its available for online play too as well.
The Ares Project - One from our gaming group has it but I haven't had the chance to play it as well.
The Castles of Burgundy - Played this. Its quite similar to Kingsburg in terms of using the dice to purchase tiles and resources. Lots of tiles to manage and they are not of very good quality. Still not a bad game.
Eclipse - One from our gaming group has it as well and I haven't had the chance.
King of Tokyo - Great filler. I did a review on this before. Quite a nice game.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - Never played this before.
Mage Knight - Ah managed to play this once. Did not complete it but have good feelings about it.
Quarriors! - Loads of dice but the gameplay needs tweaking to make it fun. Still not too bad for me.
Risk Legacy - This is a very unique game and its main attraction is that the board will change as players make permanent changes to the board and game. It also means that no 2 games are alike! Not too bad after a few plays. Our group has yet to complete 15 games!
Star Trek: Fleet Captains - Ah I have this! I Do! But I have not managed to bring this to the table yet :(

My Choice: Risk Legacy. Not really for the game play, but the innovation that it brought forth. I wonder if there will be other games that will mimic it. We shall see....
What I think people will vote for: Eclipse. From all the podcasts that I have listened to and the reviews so far, this has the greatest appeal and publicity. Everyone wanted a Twilight Imperium light and in Eclipse, they have found it.

Best Family Game
Nominations are:
Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Haven't played this but it is a co-operative game which I have very little interest in.
Kingdom Builder - This is actually quite a light game but with the different variations of cards that maybe brought into play as well as the modular interchangeable boards, there is quite a lot of replay value. I have heard the expansion makes it a 5 player game and adds a lot of fun! Hope to be able to play this again.
King of Tokyo
Say Anything Family Edition - Never played this.

My Choice: King of Tokyo. With the fun art and large sized dice, this is a great family game.
What I think people will vote for: King of Tokyo. I have heard Tom mentioned about it in the podcast before though not sure if the other podcasters (or voters) will also like it as much.

Best New Game Designer
Nominations are:
Jason Little for Blood Bowl: Team Manager - I have this game and played it only once. I need to get it out more often. I am quite drawn to warhammer universe so I will be holding on to this a while.
Kevin Lanzing for Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Brian and Geoff Engelstein for The Ares Project - Father and son team. Quite cool their back story.
Christopher Badell and Paul Bender for Sentinels of the Multiverse - Haven't played this and I have heard very mixed reviews.
David Gregg for Nightfall - Haven't played this as well but heard quite good reviews on this. The iOS version is out.

My Choice: David Gregg.
What I think people will vote for: David Gregg. Nightfall has had very good reviews and now with the iOS, I am sure the reach will be increased exponentially.

Best Game Reprints
Nominations are:
Can't Stop - Haven't played this but its a push your luck game. The new version looks to have good components.
Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War - 2 player game with mahjong looking tiles. Haven't played this though.
Evo - I have this new version and I have played the previous version. The new version has nice components but some of the pieces are a bit too extra. Not a bad game but the previous version is cuter.
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2nd edition) - I have this and signed by the designer as well because I bought it from the Jack Vasel Auction. I love this game. Lots of intrigue and backstabbing. A good group will definitely help in making the game exciting.
Puerto Rico: Anniversary Edition - Haven't played this edition yet.

My Choice: A Game of Thrones. Definitely. Positively :)
What I think people will vote for: Can't Stop. Everyone loves a filler and this is easy to pick up and enjoyed by a lot of people.

Phew... a lot to go thru. I will continue in another post :)

Monday, April 23, 2012


I am very perplexed at the state of my deliveries from overseas.
I have a batch of orders from a german site that seems to have found its way to, you will so laugh, PARAGUAY. Why is it there? I have no idea and neither does DHL.DE. Worse, it is marked as delivered. The german site is now trying to find out for me whats wrong but it seems other than raising a request, that is all they can do. Now i have to wait.
Next, I have another batch of orders from Holland that is already in Singapore. But it seems that the delivery courier that Speedpost has engaged has delivered it to the WRONG address! So now they have to raise another request to retrieve my package and then deliver to me. How can it be a wrong address? Worse, who on earth accepts a package not intended for you? Shouldn't you have checked it first before accepting? Also were you expecting a package then had it mixed up with mine? HUH?
Surprisingly, the orders I had placed (sites from USA) after these 2 arrived first. I am quite flabbergasted at the outcome of all this and I am sensing a pattern here... hmmm.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Boardgaming: 21st April 2012

so I organised a boardgaming session for my friends on saturday. With this group, I had played Quebec previously but had made 1 important error (you can contribute to your own building but cannot activate the power) and I eagerly wanted to try again. Here's what we played:

We were waiting for 1 more to arrive so the 4 of us started off with a light game. I chose Pergamon as it has very nice components and is light and fast enough and provides a good warm up for the longer games later in the day. In Pergamon, we are archaeologists trying to secure research funds to dig up artifacts and then decide when is the best time to display them in the museum. The components are of good cardboard stock and easy to handle and hold. Gameplay wise, its fast, easy to teach and learn. It is definitely a light game and the randomness of which artifact tiles will appear at each turn lends a lot to the replay ability. However if you want to  "break" the game, you can memorize the research funds cards and the artifact tiles and from there win the game (i.e. card counting). Still, it is definitely a light game. I am not sure if I will keep it around though since while its light, it is not that fun for me.

Initial Impression: Average

Quebec again!
When our 5th player arrived, we started Quebec again. Explaining Quebec is not easy as there are many things to take note of and the way to score points can be quickly covered up by the different things that you can do during your turn and what they all mean. Still as the game went on, the players manage to get what is happening and the game really shined for me. This is a med-heavy game as it requires a lot of thinking and strategic planning. If you prefer tactical decisions only, then Quebec will be a challenge for you. I especially enjoyed how you are trying to choose buildings which will entice all the other players to help you by contributing to it but at the same time, by doing so, you are also helping them. Thus you are trying to find a way to make you benefit more than the benefits you are handing out to the other players. A very fine game I feel. The components are very colorful, bright and of good quality as well. All in all, a very good buy I feel. I cannot wait to try this with my other gaming groups!

Initial Impression: Good !!!

Before dinner, we played a game of Vineta. Now I cannot remember what made me decide to buy this game but I am so glad I did. I have already done a review of this game so I will not go into this but it is a fun little game with a lot of backstabbing and sabotaging. I realize I do enjoy cut throat games but at the same time I can play and will enjoy pure economical games as well. Just I prefer the banter and conversations that will arise from all the backstabbing, intrigue and sabotage. One strategy I tried was at the beginning when placing the houses, I decided to target just 1 color. This serves to trick others into thinking that I am of that color and also confuse the player with that character. Alas the color I chose did not belong to anyone. Another player decided to make half of his play random so as to confuse the rest of us (which he did!). So for a small game like this, it provides quite a punch in terms of fun!

Final Impression: Good

After an awesome dinner, we had 1 final game of Olympos before we called it a night. it is a great little game with an interesting "time spent will determine your turn order" mechanism which is similar to that found in Red November. This time I decided to go all warfare and started acquiring the Discovery tiles with swords. The rest of the players quickly understood the traveling Discovery tile (only 1 time is spent when moving across land) and were spreading all across the map. But because I had more swords (and thus only 1 time is spent when i conquer an opponent), I can take my time and conquer their starting settlements while they spread all across the map. I did not manage to get my wonder in time though as it was snatched out from my hands but I did get the achievement which gave me 2 points per Sword I had as well as an extra 1 point for each settlement of mine on the board. At the very end, I also purchased the Discovery tile that gave me 3 victory points and won the game. Not sure if I'll get the expansion though but if this sees more play I probably will!

Initial Impression: Good

All in all, an awesome weekend of boardgaming. I just wished my packages that are suppose to be here are actually here then I will have new goodies to share with everyone. As of now, I think on monday I will have majority of it but the package that I have been anticipating has mysteriously been shipped to PARAGUAY! Of all places...... *shake head*....


Weekend Boardgame: 20th April 2011

Friday night, our regular gaming group met up again. This time however we had only 4 and later on 3 as one had to leave. So what did we play?

Lords of Waterdeep!
The new hotness, Lords of Waterdeep ! Been wanting to try this out after hearing all the hype and almost every podcaster exclaiming its brilliance and fun factor. We played a 4 player game and true to what I have been hearing so far, it plays rather fast. There is just enough tactical and strategic decisions to make this worker placement game keep our interest throughout the game. There are not many opportunities for direct confrontation though except through the Intrigue cards, specifically the Mandatory quest cards. Still its very pretty, good component quality (except the cards, you will need sleeves) and is a good light/medium game. I want to try this during my Lunchtime boardgaming and see how it goes.

Initial Impression: Good

Siena - not very highly rated in BGG..
Next, we decided to give Siena a try. One of our group had bought this in an auction previously and has not had the chance to play it, so we decided to give it a go. The game itself is a combination of mechanisms we all know (auction, push your luck, worker movement) and at the same time it distinguishes itself with new (at least to us) little tricks. The painting you see is actually the playing board where you can place the generic wooden cube and it will represent different types of items (i.e. Courtesans to Corn to Wine). The 3 steps that you progress (from Peasant to Merchant to Banker) and the different areas of the board you will concentrate on as you progress. The money track on the board which also doubles up as a turn tracker. It is definitely a medium game and requires a few plays to get the hang of it. However when we played, it took way too long (almost 3 hours) and I felt the enjoyment vs the time spent turned me off from the game. Granted we learnt the rules there on the spot, I feel that I will not want to play this again.

Initial Impression: Average

Mage knight! Finally!!
Finally, I manage to try Mage Knight! Another latest hotness on boardgamegeek, I have been yearning to play this for some time before deciding if I want to get it for myself. So after one from the group left, the 3 of us continued to play this. In Mage Knight, you are a hero, and depending on the scenario, you will explore lands, rid the land of monsters, explore dungeons and even attack castles. The scenario we attempted was to conquer 3 of the 4 castles available on the map. Even though the theme is not new, the way the different mechanisms was waved into the game does make it quite fun for me. There is mana involved which uses dice to determine the mana available in the day and is used to activate the special versions of the spells you have. There is deck building which determines what your hero can do during your turn. There is a character progression which will improve the health and strength of your hero and will in turn improve your deck and the number of creatures which you can hire. All in all, as one from my group puts it, its "Heroes of Might and Magic" the boardgame version. We did not manage to finish it though as i think Siena sapped the strength and the time from us but I think I had a good grasp of it (except the combat portions) to think that I will get it when its 2nd printing FINALLY arrives on our shores.

Initial Impression: Good

So that was my friday night. Worse thing was my iPad had the left half of its backlight spoilt so I was frustrated at the end. Saturday morning, before my next boardgaming session, I brought it to be replaced. Luckily it was within the 90 days warranty so it will be a one-to-one replacement. I will just need to wait about a week or so.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lunch Time Boardgame: 19 April 2012

For today's lunch time boardgame, we tried Last Will. This is a kickstarter game that my colleague got and was pretty excited about. In her words, there is not a game where the objective is to lose money so that and the components were what drew her to it.
I must admit I was not too good at teaching, having only played once but I think all of us got the hang of it halfway through the game.
We did not manage to finish it though as halfway through took us about 1 hour (about 15 minutes of setup and explaining I reckon...). I think with a few more plays, we will be more experienced and have a better grasp at what we need to do.
I played this with 5 previously and now playing with 4 i think that is the sweet spot for this game. Lets see if we will get to play more of it in the future. For now though, components look good. Very nice art on the cards. There are a lot of little wooden bits which I am not sure if they are necessary and some of them aren't too obvious at first (the little circles to represent Chef, Dog, Horse and Lady) and I especially do not like the little House token used to mark a property's depreciation value. Very often one can forget about this portion during the game.
Still its a interesting game and I would say its a medium euro style game without much direct conflict except when choosing the sequence of play during the planning phase and when choosing where on the board to send your "minions".

Initial Impression: Average

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Discounts on iTunes!

2 items that are now discounts on iTunes!

Tigris & Euphrates - discounted from USD4.99 to USD1.99
Tikal - discounted from USD3.99 to USD1.99

I have not played any of them before but I will after I download these to my ipad. Then I will give a review of them.

Go grab em! :P

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lunch Time Boardgame: 17 April 2012

Quarriors! That's what we played today during lunch. We played 4 players, 3 being new to the game. I have played it twice i think. We played with the following variants:
- Players can buy up to 2 dice per turn
- No dragons
Its not too bad i think. Components wise is very awesome as there are so many many many pretty dice. Love them. Gameplay wise I think the players felt it hard to keep the creatures alive as they get killed so easily. I did not win though but I had some fun. I think the rest had fun as well.
I wonder how we can improve on this though. I'll try to give it a few more goes before I decide if the hype is really just hype.
There are 2 sets of expansion (I already have one) and well all those new dice sure make it attractive to just buy them and keep them. Especially if the new expansion has nice trays to keep the dice.

Initial impressions: Average

Monday, April 16, 2012

Table Top at Geek & Sundry

so in case you don't know, there's a new Youtube webisode called Table Top and its hosted by Wil Wheaton.

What ? Who? Wha.....? Huh....?

K Wil Wheaton shot to fame when he played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek The Next Generation. He was also a well known figure in the Celebrity poker scene. Subsequently he gained a cult-geek stardom and is now widely seen as THE celebrity geek in a lot of areas. He is also an avid gamer too and plays a variety of games including table top games (i.e. boardgames etc).
Table Top is a new webisode where each episode, Wil will host celebrities to play boardgames. Think of it like Celebrity poker meets boardgames.

In the first episode, Wil, (in case Wil is watching this, HI WIL! BIG FAN! :P ) along with a host of other celebrities (I unfortunately only recognised Grant from Mythbusters) played Small World (one of the earliest games I owned I think but have since sold it since I now have the iPad version :P). Now the production value and all is very top notch. Even the table they are playing on ( is very nice, very droolable and super expensive! Cheapest I saw was about USD2k or so. So essentially, Wil and his friends (as they do know each other!) play a game and along the way, explain how the game is played. It is essentially inviting the viewer to sit down and watch a group of friends playing boardgames together. Wil is very entertaining as the host, making all sorts of sounds and special effects and helps to make the whole session engaging and fun to watch. There are snippets of interviews of the players during the game play and after to capture their thought processes as well as how they feel throughout the game. All in all, a very top notch production and I can't wait to see what other games they have played. Seems they have already shot 20 episodes but Small World maybe their more complex games. Hmmm..... next up is Settlers... so lets see....

This brings to mind an important point when I boardgame and why, as of now, boardgaming for me is so fun. Its the people. The people make all the difference. Sure the boardgame itself does play a part but the people will make the entire experience bearable or downright fun! The banter, the laughter, the ribbing and the negotiations will all add to the gaming experience. For example, Colosseum for me when I had it was a meh game. But that was quite early on in my boardgaming "life" when I had it. Recently though when I played it with my regular friday gaming group which can be rather cut throat most of the time, I had a blast! The way we negotiated with each other and then back stabbed, it was truly an experience to remember. For me though, I often feed off the energies of others. Thus while I have enough energy and "oddness" myself to create laughter and fun in the sessions I host, I do depend on the feedback and back-and-forth. Sometimes though it can be tiring to be always hosting and you just want to sit back and play the game. Still, its the people that makes the boardgame sessions enjoyable and having a good boardgame will definitely be the icing on the cake! :)

You can find the first episode here

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Boardgame: 15 April 2012

Been waiting for this session since i missed my usual friday session. Group dynamics was definitely fun and a lot of bantering to be had, however nearing the end of the night (about 7 hours of gaming with a dinner break in between), we all got kinda tired and with the impending monday looming, we decided to call it a night.

Games we played are:

As I have reviewed this game before, I will not go into too much details again.
In summary, this game is always a hit (especially with the female players as I have discovered) as it provides a suitable amount of strategy and tactics in the right amount of time. Shows a rather good clean design and does not try to do too much and knows its place. A very good buy for me.

A kickstarter game that I gotten recently for review from This is my 2nd play with 5 full players and I am liking it even less. This time t
hough there is sufficient usage of fighters and bombers though mostly from me. This only served to prolong the game though and when we finished, we have taken almost 2 hours to play this game. The winning also seems to be anti-climatic. A friend commented that perhaps we should play at most 4 players and I will have to try and see how this goes. There are a few interesting points of the games and a few weaknesses as well. So far the weakness seems to be more glaring than the good points. I will play a few more times before I do an detailed review.

Initial Review: Average

A game by the famous Reiner Knizia, which is similar to most of his other games that is, it involves maths. Simple to learn, easy to play, it is a great filler. It is easy to teach and surprisingly fu
n to play. Essentially, there are 3 cauldrons which allows for only 1 color in each of them. During your turn, you must play a card from your hand (of 5 and draw back up to 5 afterwards). If a cauldron reaches or goes over the sum of 13, you have to take all the cards from that cauldron and place it in front of you. The round ends when all cards have been played. If you have cards of a particular color in front of you AND you do not have the most of that color, then those cards will penalize you. In addition, there are Poison cards that will also count against you. After a certain number of rounds (depending on the number of players), the player who has the least points (or closest to 0) will win the game.

Initial Review: Good

I had this game previously but after 1 play i decided that it was not for me. M
y friend brought his and taught us to play with a few variant rules added. The variant rules certainly added a few new dimensions to the game but I still feel that its not my cup of tea. It does not really have a way for the leader to be caught up in the game. In addition, it is very easy to be ganged up upon and usually there is no way to catch up or neutralise or even have some fighting chance as often people will go after the easy targets unless players are very aware of each other's score and target the leader. Even then sometimes the leader's creatures are hard to damage or kill. Definitely not my cup of tea.

Initial and Final Review: Bad

Our final game of the night is Tomb. I always wanted to try it after seeing the components but after playing through it I quite regretted my decision on this. You play an adventurer gathering a group of adventurers to go into the tomb to investigate the various crypts, fight the monsters and traps and search for treasures. Essentially, it all boils down to the dice to determine outcome of the encounters. But I found that there is a lot of downtime between players and some of the rules were not too clear. In the end, the group kinda splintered as a few players were concentrating on their moves in the tomb while the rest were zoning out and no longer paying attention or have made their moves as it does not really impact the others. A few times, players found their ENTIRE adventure group wiped out and they had to start at the inn again. Overall, I did not enjoy myself. There are a lot of characters to cycle through should anything happen thus replay value should be quite high. There are a lot of encounter cards as well which also adds to the replay value. Components wise are nice thick cardboard pieces and a lot of dice so that is fine. But the gameplay is not particularly innovative or engaging for me. I doubt I will play it again soon.

Initial Review: Average

All in all, it was a good night and great fun with a lot of laughter and jokes. Most of the time when you are in a group playing games, its the banter, the chit chat that makes the session very worth the time. Of course, having good games certainly adds to the enjoyment. I hope to try Quebec playing properly this time but I am sure I will have time to try it again next time. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lunch Time Boardgame: 12 April 2012

At least once a week, I will organise a boardgame session during lunch hours with my colleagues. This has been happening for I reckon at least 2 years now and has been quite successful in meeting new colleagues, team building and also introducing modern boardgaming to them and their families. I do wish I can do more though like maybe organising a company-wide competition or party games like Aargh!tect but I am quite contented for now :) I will talk about this in a future blogpost.

So today's game is Station Master from Mayfair games. This is a game from 2004 and was first introduced to me when I was in Amsterdam and I daringly traveled to Rotterdam by myself and met up with a very nice gaming group via boardgamegeek. I say daringly because it was my first time in Holland and I have met these very nice people via an online site. Usually in movies these are recipes for horror or crime related movies. I will talk more about meeting local gaming groups in different countries in a future blogpost.

So what is Station Master? It is a card game that is quick to play, easy to teach with just enough tactical decisions to make it a light-medium game and quite a fun filler. There will be a number of locomotives on display on the table. Each of these locomotives will have a number which indicates the number of train carriage cards that can be lined up with it as well as the number of passenger chits in total that can be placed on it.
During each player's turn, they can choose to place a passenger chit on a locomotive of their choice (as long as the locomotive still have space) or play a card (and draw again after they do so). When a locomotive has its full set of train carriages or is complete due to action cards, the locomotive is scored using the passenger chits on it. Calculate the score for each player based on the total of their passenger chits on the locomotive multiplied by the total sum of the train carriages of that locomotive. A new locomotive (if available) is drawn to replace the completed locomotive and the game continues. The game will end when all locomotives have been completed and the player with the highest score wins the game.

Now different groups of players will experience this game differently. For example, my regular friday group are quite blood thirsty and the game became very interesting in trying to cajole others to join your locomotive or setting up traps so as to purposely cause a locomotive to get negative points to bring down another player's score. Other groups will try to be a bit more cooperative while playing the game and never really jeopardizing a locomotive too much. Overall, I feel that this is quite a light and easy game to teach and a good filler at the start of a gaming session.

Final Impression: Good!

Oh now to keep track of the scoring, I have an app that i use from iTunes called Scorepad. When i got it, it was free so I am not sure about now. It allows me to add 6 players and keep track of their scores easily. Lucky since Station Master requires a lot of score tracking as you can see.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Free on iTunes!

Blokus for iPhone and Blokus HD for iPad are now FREE on iTunes!
Blokus is a fun simple game for 2-4 players with surprising depth for what is provides. You try to place as many of your pieces (all players have an identical set with different pieces) and at the same time you try to prevent your opponents from doing so. Simple, elegant and fun!
Go get it while it's free!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Speaking of reviews...

I have only recently started writing reviews of the boardgames I've played. I would ultimately love to be receiving review copies to review so if anyone is interested to send me review copies, do let me know!

Here are the links to the reviews I have done so far:
Light hearted game, good for party-like group or after a day of heavy gaming. Average for me.

Light game but provides a rather deep strategy aspect. A lot of opportunities to sabotage each other. Must buy for me!

Light game with awesome components. Who can resist such a cute Panda figure? Good for me.

3rd in the Dixit series involving creative thinking and great for big groups and parties. But very much dependent on the group. Average for me.

Game with varying degrees of difficulty and the expansions allow up to 8 players! But many players can mean the game will drag on. With so many alien races to choose from, replayability is high. Good for me.

Game by the creators of Magic the Gathering! Dice rolling, push your luck, light game that is quite fun but because of its lightness is intended more as a filler than anything. Average for me.

Beautiful artwork and easy to play and teach. The expansion is a must for seasoned gamers as it adds an additional element to the base game. Great for a short game session that does make the brain think a bit more than your normal fillers. Good for me.

What Eric played on 8 April 2012

Now boardgaming has always been a group activity but there are boardgames out there that can be played solo or with only 2. Today I decided to have a 2 player session with a friend. This is the first time I have done so and it does require a good chemistry between the players to be able to play through several games and spending the time together.

So what did we play?

This is currently rated #1 in and so I decided to get a copy after trying it once (without completing yet) at another friend's house. You can purchase the Deluxe version which gives you better components (box, board and tokens are sturdy) and better graphics.
Gameplay reminds me of chess, as most 2 player games will be I guess, with the USSR and USA players playing 1 card each as the "headline" and then taking turns to play cards to either utilize the events depicted on the cards or the operation points on the card. Little by little, players will change control of the countries on the map all the while keeping an eye on the DEFCON status as well as occasionally dabbling in the space race. The game ends in 10 turns (and the player with the most victory points win)
or when a player reaches 20 victory points or if a player triggers DEFCON status 1.The card themselves are the main content of the game as they drive the decisions that you make. However the cards themselves are rather plain and not terribly exciting. Wish they had more exciting artwork.
I, playing USA, won by turn 6 with 20 victory points but I was lucky because if the Europe scoring card was played then I would have instantly lost because I had been almost kicked out of Europe. Overall I find that the game is certainly very interesting in a good way. However, as you can see from my picture above, it seems that Central and South america locations are quite underutilized. I will definitely want to try it again as USSR and see what happens. Look for a review after a few more plays.

Initial Impression: Good

City Tycoon is a 2-5 player game where players will be building different types of buildings and then supplying resources to activate these buildings. It relies heavily on symbols (as you can see from the picture) and reminds me of a combined Alhambra or Carcassonn
e in its tile-laying mechanism.
Gameplay involves an initial drafting mechanism where you get to choose the building tiles followed by a building phase which is the main action phase of this game. This is followed by supplying phase where you get to activate the buildings and finally cleanup. This ends the round and at the end of 4 rounds, the player with the most points win.
Initially most players will be quite overwhelmed with the icons as they are not exactly intuitive like other games nor is the way to score points obvious thus this game will require more plays to better appreciate it. With 5 players, all the buildings will be used. With 2 however, not all tiles are used (only 6 from each "age") and this can severely hamper what we could do and score points. Those tiles that provide additional effects if you connect the right buildings to them are very useful and helped me to win the game. I hope to have a few more plays before a proper review and see if this is a keeper.

Initial Impression: Average

Last game of the session is a new kickstarter game. Its a 2 player game involving using cards to manipulate the cubes on a board to try and secure them into your corner. The player who manages to secure his color cube at the end of the track (denoted by the white star) OR 3 of the white cubes will win the game.
Gameplay wise is very simple. Its all about the cards and how and when you play the cards which will either shift the cubes or to stop your opponent from shifting the cubes. That is pretty much it. Very straight forward and simple.
However there seems to be some issues as we quickly found out in our first game where in the very first turn I lost! After scouring boardgamegeek and finding no real issue with it, we decided to play a few more games. As we got more experienced with the cards and what they can do, the game began to take a little bit longer. Still, the randomness of your card draw and the imbalanced track for the outer countries (Poland and France), there seems to be some issues with the game that I am not sure if it surfaced during play testing. Apparently there is an expansion already out but I have not read much about it to see if the issues are fixed. Overall I feel that this can be given a miss and not a must play or must buy for me.

Initial and final impression: Bad

So that was my Sunday. We are planning to perhaps arrange a few more sessions of Twilight Struggle and I hope to finally get my Star Trek:Fleet Captains broken into! Its been sitting on the shelf for way too long without a play yet :)

Comments? Suggestions? Feedbacks? I welcome them!

Thanks for reading!

What is this what is this... ?

I've been playing boardgames for almost 5 years already but have only recently gotten more active in playing boardgames. In addition, I now have at least 2 regular gaming groups which enable me to play a lot of boardgames and even the latest hotness thanks to members of these gaming groups. Finally, I have also had a hand in hosting regular meetups at my place, lunch time in office or at other locations.
I have started writing reviews and am planning on other exciting opportunities with regards to boardgaming and so, given all of this, I have decided to share my thoughts on the boardgames i've been playing and hope you the reader will enjoy my reviews, opinions and share yours as well with me!
Its a Small world after all :)