Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tabletop Day 2014 Wrap Up

This past Saturday, April 5th, was Tabletop Day.  I spent my afternoon at Gateplay in Hilmar California and had a good time.  I didn't have the best personal health day, but I had a blast getting out and playing games.

I showed up a bit after the start, but managed to get into a game of Zombie Fluxx.  Now, Fluxx isn't my favorite game, mostly due to the fact that the game can take forever to finish.  Fortunately Zombie Fluxx has enough crazy going on that someone is going to put things together and win, and fortunately I was that person in this game, also my only win of the day.  After Fluxx, I managed to get into a game of Love Letter with two people who had never played before.  We all enjoyed it as the light filler that it is.

After Love Letter, I taught 5 people how to play No Thanks.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  I sat down to a game of Concept, which is kinda like Pictionary for people who can't draw.  It was an interesting game, though not really my style.  I'd certainly play it in a party situation, or if other people really wanted to, but I doubt I'll buy it.  At this point I was in the mood for a good co-op so I broke out Hanabi.  I only had 1 taker, but we managed a 21 out of 25, which is pretty good.  Then I started searching the game shelves for something short that I'd never played and found "The aMAZEing Labyrinth" which was interesting.  The game got easier as the game progressed, but it was a slow start.  At this point I was hungry, so after a quick break, I decided to play BITS, which is a kind of a boardgame version of Tetris.

This marked the end of games at Gateplay, but when I got home, my family was up for Shadows Over Camelot.  We finished that around 11:30pm, which was the perfect end to a wonderful day of gaming.

Some thoughts about Tabletop Day

  • I love that we as board gamers have a day to be nerdy and play games with a lot of people that might normally play games.
  • It's not as big of an event for me since I get to play games on a fairly regular basis.
  • I really enjoyed teaching some games and helping people make some informed buying decisions for new additions to their collections.
  • I'm looking forward to Tabletop Day 2015 and many more years to come.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March 2014 Recap

Welcome to April, and no, there's nothing April Fools about this post.

March was an excellent month of gaming for me.   I logged 35 game plays and got to play 2 games I've never played before.

I ended up pulling out a win in my Star Trek Attack Wing Month 6 which gave me the overall win.  I'm really looking forward to the future of the game.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in February

5 Times
  • Resistance: Avalon
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
4 Times
  • Hanabi
  • Love Letter
2 Times
  • Betrayal at the House on the Hill
  • Coloretto
1 Time
  • Bang! The Bullet!
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Dixit
  • For Sale
  • Kingdom Builder
  • Marvel Legendary
  • Qwirkle
  • Screaming Eagles
  • Shadows Over Camelot
  • Suburbia
  • Takenoko
  • Ticket to Ride: Europe
  • Tiki Topple

Game Acquisitions
I bought a couple of Star Trek AW ships, as well as Imperial Aces for X-Wing.  No new big games though.  I'm rather intrigued by Marvel Dice Masters, but we'll see what happens.

A reminder that Tabletop day is coming up on Saturday.  Find a place to play, or hang out at home. Either way, have fun playing games.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

International Tabletop Day 2014

I wanted to let everyone know that Geek and Sundry's 2nd Annual Tabletop Day is coming up on Saturday April 5th.  There are events all over the US and the world.  Tabletop Day is all about getting together and playing all kinds of games.  Board games, card games, CCGs, LCGs, Miniatures, War games, basically anything that gets you in a room interacting with other people and having fun with games.  I had a lot of fun last year, and I'm looking forward to another great year.

I'll be hanging out at Gateplay in Hilmar California.  If that's nearby, please stop by.  If it's no where close to you, go to http://www.tabletopday.com and find an event near you.

Do check out the blog section on the website.  I had a chance to write an article - http://www.tabletopday.com/matter-perspective/.  It was a great opportunity to get the BoBG name out there alongside a lot of other great bloggers.

Mark your calendars for April 5th and play some awesome games.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Space Playmats

Applied Perspective Mat
The folds are only because it wasn't on a flat surface.
 I wanted to take some time to look at a few different playmate that I've purchased for Star Trek Attack Wing and Star Wars X-Wing.  I don't have a ton of pictures of them in game use, since I'm focused more on playing that pictures.  I started off with black felt from a fabric store.  That was quick, easy, and relatively cheap.  The problem, it didn't really add anything to the experience.  Sure, it was great for marking borders, but that was about it.  In the summer of 2013, I decided to buy a mat from Applied Perspective which was $35-40.  I got the mat, and it looked great.  It was exactly what I wanted, and it does a good job of staying on the table, providing a great surface, and not letting things slide too much.  There is a bit of slickness, but far less than a standard table.

Then, in late November, I saw a link for a kickstarter by 2 astrophotographers (people who take pictures of stuff in space) that had really reasonable prices.  One mat was $30, more mats were less per mat.  I ended up buying 4 for $100, so $25 per mat.  I got them early of all things, and I absolutely love the mats.  The art pops off the mat, and really gives a new dimension to space battles.  Since I'm a tournament organizer, it's great to have 5 mats for people to play on.

All of these mats are great, and each time I have to decide which one to play on.  It's a nice problem to have. One of the things I wanted to do was to make the things I have look nice.  I play a lot of STAW and X-Wing, so it makes sense to have nice play mats.  Now, I fully admit that I don't need 5 of them, but it's really nice to have the variety.  All of the kickstarter mats are on vinyl, which really stays put on a table, and keeps the ships from moving around too much.  They're not perfect by any means, but they do their job of keeping ships there.  At this point, the black mat is but a low cost memory.

I know storage on something like this is an issue, so here's what I've done.  I have a poster tube, where I keep my mats.  They're all rolled up together, with the images face out.  Every time I roll them up, I roll in a different direction so I don't crease the mats, but I'm not too worried about that.

My personal favorite

Close up of two ships on my favorite mat.
You can see how the ships standout, as do the tokens.
A battle that I wasn't in.  This mat kinda absorbs the
dominion ships, but it's still a great play surface.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Recap

Welcome to March!

February, while short, was a good month of gaming for me.   I logged 35 game plays and got to play 2 games I've never played before.  I came in 2nd (again) at STAW in Hilmar, and now I'm back in 2nd, by one point.

I started the Bits series, which I think is fun, so I'll be doing more of that.  I'll try to do some other articles, but I'm not sure what to talk about at the moment, so if you have any ideas, feel free to comment.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in February

12 Times

  • Resistance: Avalon
4 Times
  • King of Tokyo
3 Times
  • Love Letter
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
2 Times
  • For Sale
1 Time
  • Boss Monster
  • Catacombs
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Dixit
  • Eldritch Horror
  • Escape: Curse of the Temple
  • Hanabi
  • Incan Gold
  • Munchkin
  • Takenoko
  • Tsuro

Game Acquisitions
I bought Suburbia and Suburbia Inc, as well as an expansion for Dixit, and some more STAW ships.  I'm trying not to buy too much, life expenses loom, but we'll see how things go.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bits 5 - Social Games

Social games like Mafia/Werewolf and Resistance have been around for a few years, and they're here to stay.  With further development of these games with activities like 2 Rooms and a Boom, social games are making an impact.  But are they really games?

I think the answer is "it depends on the people."  I know that's not a satisfying answer, but it really is true.  Some people will consider them games, and some people won't.  Personally, I think they're both games, but they're different than games like Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Small World.  Mafia and Resistance both fall into the "group think" mentality, meaning that a group starts having expectations for the way loyal people should behave in the game, and anyone who does something different is under heavy suspicion.  These types of games often require people to have good poker faces, and learn to lie well in game.  I'm not saying that you should learn to lie well to people, but I will say that what happens in these sorts of games needs to stay in the game.

Observation and an ability to read people is crucial in social games.  Everything that someone does or doesn't do can give a little clue about them.  That's the main reason that I love Resistance: Avalon.  It's one gigantic puzzle that everyone is trying to figure out, where most people will get close, but it's hard to get perfect.  There's a lot of discussion, and sometimes it's impossible to know for sure. That's where you just take a guess and go for it.

Social games may not be games in the eyes of some people, but they are often a lot of fun.  I've spent a lot of hours playing Avalon and Mafia/Werewolf, and most of them have been a blast.  That being said, these games aren't for everyone.  You really have to be involved in the game, and when you're not, it's hard to have a good time.

TL:DR - Social games are games. They're not for everyone, but with the right group, they're a blast.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bits 4 - Tournaments

As a Tournament Organizer (TO) for Attack Wing and X-Wing, I have a bit of experience running tournaments, albeit rather small ones.  Still, I think there are some valuable lessons that I've learned both in running and playing these that I think are worth sharing.

First, we'll start with advice for running things.

  • Show up early, plan to leave late.
  • Over prepare, meaning, bring pens, paper, copies of any FAQ's/or be able to look things up.
  • Have a timer of some kind.
  • Be flexible. Random stuff happens and it's best to go with the flow rather than impose your will.
  • Encourage having fun.
  • Try to have some random prizes so that everyone walks away with something.
  • Create an environment that people want to come back to.
Now, some advice for playing in a tournament
  • Do not try to win at all costs.  Gaming is about having fun, not necessarily winning.
  • Listen to and respect your TO/Judge.
  • Respect your opponent, say something like good game or well played afterwards, win or lose.
  • Be grateful that you get to spend some time with fellow gamers who enjoy the same thing you do.
  • Bring something to do in case you get a bye match.
  • Bring extra stuff, you never know when you might lose something, or be able to help someone out who forgot something.
  • Be a gracious winner, and a gracious loser.
  • If you don't win, try to find something positive about the experience.
Hopefully none of these things are groundbreaking, but you'd be surprised how much a little bit of common courtesy helps things flow.  I've had a lot of fun winning and losing tournaments.  The only major issue I've had are with some people who don't know the rules/take far too long on their turns.  While I enjoy winning, I've learned that it isn't everything.  I'd rather have a lot of fun and lose than have no fun and win.