Monday, December 29, 2008

Formula D New Tracks Preview

A quick update to my previous Formula D post:

Asmodee France has posted images of the new tracks.

Sebring is primarily a speed track - with some very short one-stop curves.

Chicago East Park is ... brutal. Intersections, a jump, and long stretches where there are only two lanes make this a particularly interesting track. These are the tricks to which I alluded in my previous post.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Game Store In Trouble

Earlier today, I received this e-mail from Brian, who runs Phoenix Games (My FLGS of choice):
I apologize in advance if you receive this email more than once. Some of you may be on multiple email lists and I may not have caught all of the duplicates.

This is not your usual email from Phoenix Games. This one's a little different and was not easy to write. However, over the last few days I have been reminded that this store is not "my store" anymore. It truly has become "your store" as well. So, pride aside, this is a plea for your assistance. I need your help.

For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, you know there have been many challenges that we’ve been able to overcome and survive over the years. Never has the fate of this local game store felt like it was as uncertain as it does as of this writing.

The economic downturn left fewer shoppers coming in on a regular basis, but it has still been manageable. However, this recent deluge of snowstorms on what are supposed to be the busiest shopping weeks have kept nearly everyone away, rapidly depleting reserve funds and preventing the collection of the income necessary to finance Phoenix Games through the slow months of the first quarter.

This revenue likely will not be recovered and quite simply, the fate of Phoenix Games is dependent on this email.

My plea is simple-

If you venture out to do some last minute holiday shopping, please keep us in mind. We’d love to see you and your patronage will significantly help. Plus, a new game is a wonderful way to spend a day with family and friends over this winter break.

If you’re not venturing out at all, may we suggest calling us and placing an order over the phone? We’ll include free shipping on orders over $100. We’ve also got plenty of gift certificates that we can mail out same day. The US Postal Service can have each of these options delivered next day all around Puget Sound.

Please consider helping to keep us around just a little while longer.

We still have many contributions to make to this community and many new ideas to implement like our new board game rental section which is now available. With a little bit of help from you right now, we can still do it.

For your patronage past, present and future, thank you.

Special Holiday Hours
Tuesday 10:00am- 10:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am- 7:00pm
Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm
Sunday 12:00-8:00pm
Monday through Friday 11:00-9:00pm


J. Brian Cobos
Phoenix Games
11811 Mukilteo Speedway, #110
Mukilteo, WA 98275
(425) 353-5584

Business Hours
Mon-Sat 12:00p- 9:00p
Sun 2:00p- 8:00p

Get tournament and event schedules, product release updates and more at:
Sadly, I don't think this problem is atypical. And it's probably not limited to game stores. And, unfortunately, Phoenix Games isn't likely the only game store being impacted by the weather.

It seems like the entire country is currently having a particularly harsh winter. Here in the Seattle area, we have had a long stretch of snow - normally, it sticks around for one to two days before going away. And snow in Seattle is especially bad - it tends to hover around freezing, so the snow will thaw and re-freeze as ice and thaw and re-freeze. It leads to sheets of ice on the roads with an infrastructure designed to handle rain.

I suspect that a number of local businesses are struggling, but I don't have the same level of personal investment in the other businesses that I do in Phoenix.

In addition to the hours above, I'll be hosting our weekly Game Night on Friday. It'll be my first chance to spend Christmas Money and I plan to spend some. I don't think I'll be able to afford much, but every nickel helps.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Formula D

I've now played Formula D a few times, and have even had the chance to try the street racing.

As you may not know, I was a fan of Formula Dé, and I own several of the tracks.

Because of this, I was initially skeptical when Asmodee told me that they were doing a new edition and were changing the rules somewhat. I knew it would sell, because Formula Dé had been out of print long enough that it was commanding disturbingly high eBay prices - even with their one-shot reprint of a few years ago. What I was uneasy with were rules changes. When they mentioned adding illegal street racing to the mix, I was concerned. I didn't see how to make it feel different from the basic Formula One racing, so I didn't see any added value to it.

I'm very glad to be proven wrong. The improved components are nice, and I really like the street racing. The differing abilities of the drivers are nice, and make for a very interesting race. Admittedly, not all abilities are created equal - and some of them are dramatically less useful with fewer players. The addition of Nitro and the different repair rules give it a different feel, as well.

And it's worth noting that the included track has three different special rules. The next street track (which I've seen) also has a few new tricks up its sleeve.

I hope all future releases include at least one street track, as it brings a lot to the game that I had not expected.

We'll be playing again on the day after Christmas. And probably again over New Year's Eve.

Next year, I will be tracking my games played online as well as in person, so expect that I'll show more plays of Neuroshima Hex, The Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Wits and Wagers in my Games Played.

If I don't post again before then, I wish a very merry Christmas to those of you who are reading this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How To Lose at Dungeon Twister

Game One
Originally uploaded by GameThyme
This image is only a few turns into a Matched Forces game. I've used my Combat +4 and Combat +5 cards, and my General fell to my opponent's Assassin.

I'm in Yellow.

This is an Equal Forces game, as you can see. Here are the teams, items, and room pairs:
Weapon Master

Scroll of Inversion
Ring of Teleportation
Ring of Weakness
Dragon Slayer


It is (by far) my favorite style of play, but I'm not very good at it. And there are some characters in here that I very much enjoy using.

In fact, I have an excellent grasp of the theory of DT strategy, but I'm not so good at putting that theory into practice. I still have questions, however. For example: Why did my opponent choose the Dragon Slayer when there are no dragons in play? Was it to deny me access to a potentially useful item? Or was it just to confuse me?