Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lesson Learned

We played Battleground: Fantasy Warfare at Game Night last Wednesday. We played 3 on 3 with 2000 points per player.

I posted a session report here.

Lesson learned, however: It's a great game, but will eat your entire evening if you're playing 3 on 3 with 2000 points per player. And it's not quite as much fun with six simultaneous players. I hope to actually host/run a tournament at some point in the not-too-distant future.

I hope to play more tonight, but there are also some other games on my plate for this evening. Pizza Box Baseball looks to be a lot of fun, and I know the group enjoys Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game.

I'll be hosting a Dungeon Twister tournament at the store this weekend (On Sunday). I'll be teaching people to play starting around noon, and will start the tournament one-ish. Let me know if you're interested or have any questions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm Not Kid-Friendly

I'm just not a very kid-friendly person. I lack the patience necessary.

For the last few weeks, we've had some young'uns showing up for my regular Wednesday gathering. Not astoundingly young - just young enough that I doubt the wisdom of their being out after 9:00pm without a parent or guardian present.

I guess it speaks volumes for how well Brian has established Phoenix Games as a Safe Place.

Last week, I was not mentally prepared for kids, and so my attitude was not as good as it should have been. In my defense, it'd been an unusually stressful day of work which included evacuating the building due to a gas leak.

Fine, I thought, I have to play games with kids, but I don't have to make it any fun!. So we played TransEuropa, which is a very underrated game. But I changed the rules - we played until all but one player shot off the track. It made the game d-r-a-g. And the kids lost interest pretty quickly.

Then we played Lord of the Rings, which the younger kid had been foaming at the mouth for a chance to play. The Fellowship was dead in three turns (Frodo met Sauron on the corruption track). The older brother lost interest when we didn't have enough players to add a Sauron player, as he wanted to be Sauron.

Don't get me wrong: These kids are reasonably well-behaved. In a chat with Brian last weekend, I realized that they were there to play games - something that even some of the grown-ups who show up at Game Night don't always realize is the goal. In this respect, they are the ideal of the Game Night participant. Even if they're a bit obsessed with Lord of the Rings and Nexus Ops.

Tonight, we're playing Battleground: Fantasy Warfare. I've had several requests from a number of the regulars (some of whom have purchased decks). I've got enough cards to cover at least eight players - and I'm not the only attendee who owns the game. (If you're a member of the Wednesday group, you can find the latest version of the rules here)

It's not a game I think these kids could handle. I can't let them just run loose in the store, so I'll probably wind up playing games with children while Battleground is played on another table.

I know that some of you who read this have children. Any suggestions for games that I can play that won't bore me to death that they can handle? Their ages range from ... um ... eight to twelve, I think.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What's Coming?

I never know for sure what's going to make it into print in English and what isn't, but here's what I've seen in English that I feel safe discussing:

Sharur: Evolutions didn't make the cut. I first saw this one more than five years ago and, while I enjoyed it, my group had a lukewarm to cool response. This response appears to have been fairly typical.

Rattlesnake City didn't make the cut (although the English rules are available on the publisher's website). I'm not sure if Asmodee was going to publish in English or just distribute. Either way, the game was ... okay. I'm a bit of a game snob, so take that with whatever amount of salt you feel you need.

Renaissance has disappeared from Asmodee's website. This means that it may not make the cut, which disappoints me. I very much enjoy the game. I may have to dig it out tonight, in fact.

Asmodee US is showing Ca$h'n Gun$: Yakuzas as a new release, so it may be available already. This adds throwing stars and knives to the game, as well as including the card for the shotgun (but not the shotgun itself).

Serge Laget and Bruno Cathala have teamed up once again to bring us Senji. I've seen the translation on this, and it looks like a lot of fun. Asmodee US is claiming a summer release, so I expect this will be a GenCon launch - I have been wrong before, of course. Either way, it's a solid game with multiple paths to victory. There's some preview information up on the Asmodee US website.

Death Wears White (A "How To Host A Mystery" type of game) is reportedly enroute.

Don't give up on Hell Dorado. It's coming. I'm craving this one after having run demos for it at GenCon a few years ago.

Three Hero: Immortal King games are enroute. The Infernal Forge, The Lair of the Lich, and The Den of Dementia (Don't hold me to those translations as the final English titles). All three are non-collectable two-player card games. You can mix and match components - One player has a party of adventurers, the other is the dungeon the adventurers are exploring. The game is a great deal of fun, and I can't wait to play it with my English-speaking friends.

The new edition of Formula De is still in progress. I don't have much to say on this other than that I've liked the tweaks I've seen so far.

Of course, I'm craving Dungeon Twister: Fire and Water. Most people find this to be the most difficult of the expansions released for the game. I understand their argument. I really like the expansion, and will be playing it more soon (I'm hosting a DT tournament on the 27th). I hope to have a "Multiple Use" post up at about the same time people start looking for strategy advice.

There's only one other game I've seen the English for - I don't want to be the one to spill the beans on this one, however, so I'll let it slide for now.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

In the groups with which I game, I tend to be everyone's target of choice. As Jay said last night, "Never trust the guy who knows all the rules."

This means that, in many games, I find myself fighting against alliances. Even in games where this sort of thing is tricky to handle (like Formula De).

Because of this, I've been trying to find good cooperative games to play with my groups. Or games where team-ups are extremely difficult to pull off.

Thankfully, there are a fair number of decent cooperative games out there:

Shadows Over Camelot is a decent game, but I find myself liking it less and less the more I play. I think part of it is because the game has been solved. There are other threads on the 'Geek with solutions, as well. Either way, there are a few ways to play in which the game (and traitor, if any) will lose to the players every single time. In other words: Why play? I hate saying that about any game, as I really love to play games.

From there, we went to Arkham Horror. I thought it was ... okay. There wasn't really any player interaction and the random factor of the game was really high. And there was a lot of downtime between turns. But it goes up to eight players. The end will either be nailbiting and tense or a total snooze. I enjoy the game, but it's low on my list of games I'm likely to play.

We also played The Lord of the Rings. There was not a lot of player interaction on the board, but there was also a lot of discussion. "If you move along the hiding track, then Katie won't be able to get her Sun token. We can't afford to have her gain much more corruption." It's a fully cooperative game, with no traitor. There's a high random factor, but it keeps the replay value up rather than making the game feel chaotic. I really like this one - even with the Sauron expansion, which changes the game so that there is one adversary vs. the Fellowship players. With Sauron, it can handle up to six players. It's also very challenging. In six years, we've beat the game a total of ... um ... once. Last night was the fastest loss I've ever seen - The hobbits kept triggering events. One of the Bree events moves Sauron a number of spaces equal to the number of Hiding spaces that haven't been used, yet. For this group, that was seven spaces. And they had no way to prevent it, having used their event blockers earlier in the game.

A few weeks ago, Brian brought Pandemic to Game Night. Pandemic hit the spot: It was a fully co-operative game that was fast-playing and featured a high degree of player interaction. The rules are simple and accessable. It has a fairly high random factor, but it has the same effect as Lord of the Rings: It keeps gameplay from getting stale. Lest you rely entirely on my word: Not everyone has enjoyed it. Oh - and I haven't beat it, yet, either.

I know there are other cooperative games out there, and I'm looking for some good ones. Anyone care to suggest any?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And ... We're Back!

I had company last week, followed by a visit to NorWesCon. My internet connection was temporarily down over the weekend, as well.

But all of these situations have returned to normal, and I will be resuming my normal posting schedule this week.

This Saturday, if all goes well, you can expect some actual content! :)

Thanks for reading.