Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's no longer a very Small World, but it's more expensive and faster.

So, I got myself just enough Really Useful Boxes, of various sizes and colors, to pack up Small World in such a way that you can "just pass the race tokens over" to the person who chooses that race; should speed up the game, or at least cleanup.

All in all, my Small World storage now consists of about 40 Really Useful Boxes, including the 17-liter giant box holding everything, including the original box.
I could post some pictures, but they really won't do it justice.

But for reference, this is how big the 17L box is:
External: 18 7⁄8" x 15 3⁄8" x 8"
Whereas the original game box is more like 12 x 12 x 4

It's comically huge, but still very much portable in a single coherent unit.

Galactica has a bunch of smaller R.U.B.s now, too, but everything for that still fits inside the Exodus box.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Play Games With Josh

I felt bad about constantly attempting to schedule gaming nights on facebook and/or exploiting the vtes boston mailing list, so I went ahead and created a Google Group.

If you're interested in ever getting together with me for playing boardgames (currently, I have Wednesday Nights bookmarked for the activity), or want to discuss and overanalyze rules, and occasionally design variants or playtest new ideas, come on over and subscribe:
Play Games With Josh

Friday, January 21, 2011

Really Useful Boxes (yet another thrilling post about storage)

Really Useful Boxes are really useful.
Heard about them on boardgamegeek, found out that they have them at OfficeMax, and bought a bunch.
Not completely abandoning tackleboxes and ziplok bags, but Really Useful Boxes come in small enough sizes that it's great for pieces that get passed around (Small World races, if I really want to buy that many), or need to be "put back in the box" frequently (BSG ships).
They also come in gigantic sizes and lots of sizes in between, and they're nicely scaled. But for now, I'm sticking with the smallish ones.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Battlestar Galactica - a shaky Exodus

First game with Exodus components, played on Martin Luther King Day.
Four players, several mechanical errors, but still a great experience.

The four players were:

Me - Tory - Human + "10 raiders or -1 Population" Personal Goal
Jen - Starbuck - Human
Matt - Caprica 6 - Salvage Their Equipment
Kevin - Gaeta - Final Five (Brig for looking) + Cylon

Mistake #1: I decided to prepare the game so we could get right into it when the guests arrived. I set up the Loyalty Deck for 8 players, not remembering to re-do it after we had a Cylon Leader. So there was an extra card in there.
Which we didn't discover until the sleeper phase.
We decided to leave it alone, and just not add a YANAC card during the first Execution to follow. (There hadn't been any Executions yet, and SPOILER: no successful executions for the rest of the game)

"Luckily", the Cylon card did come up at Sleeper Phase (in Kevin's hands), but the error did cast a little bit of doubt as to whether we had a Cylon at all (other than Matt) for a long time.

I unfortunately discovered Kevin's Final Five Loyalty early on, and was sent to the brig. So later on, even though we suspected him of being a Cylon, it was less than a good idea to check on him.

Post-sleeper phase, there was also an odd skillcheck which I think I spiked with an extra yellow card by accident (although I can't confirm it). It drew suspicion on me, but I pointed the finger at Kevin, saying a clever cylon would spike the check with yellow to draw suspicion to me. Turns out I was right, for the wrong reasons.

As Tory, I ended up drawing quite a bit of Blue cards after Quorum cards got played, and I had to be the grease monkey for some of the game.
But I must say, I still don't really "get" yellow cards, except for Investigative Committee. In all of my games of BSG, I have never played a Consolidate Power.
I think I'm done playing Political characters for awhile.

I should mention that we played this game with the Cylon Fleet option as well as Conflicted Loyalties, but left the Nebula in the box; that's being saved for TempleCon.
Matt spent quite a bit of time sitting on the Basestar Bridge pushing the jump track backwards, which partially contributed to the game lasting nearly 5 hours (!). Also, even without Cylon Attacks, we drew a whole lot of crises without jumps.
We had 10 Raiders on the board a few times, but I never found the right time to reveal my Goal, and Population was never running low.

Pegasus locations, for some reason, didn't get much use, except a few airlock attempts after we were sure that Gaeta was a Cylon.

At one point, Starbuck held all 3 titles.
Starbuck as CAG felt like playing Dominion, with all of her different sources of extra Actions.

Gaeta's Reveal power was "put a Centurion on the track", but he never Revealed. He spent several turns in the Brig (after he had used his OPG and gone back in), knowing he was a Cylon; he had some sort of plan he was never able to pull off.

In the end, with Morale and Fuel at 1, and Food somewhere in the red, but with Population in the blue, we Humans pulled off a win at a cost of 4 Pop. (-3, plus my personal goal failure).

I can't think of any other interesting moments; it was a 5 hour game, and lots of stuff happened (slowly), but I will add to this post if I think of anything else.

I will definitely say, the Cylon Fleet option is way better than the randomness of Cylon Attacks, and keeps both Pilots and Repair Monkeys much busier than they were before.

Exodus gets a GRRRRR for sure!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Battlestar Galactica - Storage

Oh boy this is going to be an exciting post! Hold on to your hats!

Back when I first got the Battlestar Galactica game, I was also starting to go through my "tacklebox phase". I was convinced that I needed a way to more-conveniently travel with a large amount of boardgames in tow.

So I purchased a fishing tackle bag that came with 4 Plano 3750 boxes inside.
Moving Small World to this kind of box made sense; with Galactica, it was somewhat forced.
Originally, it looked like this.

When I got Pegasus, I continued the paradigm and rearranged the bits some more. (no picture for this one).

I got a little bit of flak for this, mostly jokingly I think :)

When I got Exodus, I found out a terrible truth: While there was still enough separation of compartments, the Crisis Deck was too tall.
So I decided to un-tacklebox it.

Now, I moved all of the cards to 2 old white card-storage-boxes (one for "Large" and one for "Small" cards; incidentally sleeving the cards along the way), the Cardboard Bits into a VTES 10th Anniversary Tin (to double as a bits-randomizer), the plastic bits in ziploc baggies, and all shoved into the Exodus box.

The box doesn't really close perfectly, but everything does fit in one place now.

By the time the game gets played on Monday, or by TempleCon time, I may have changed my mind again; it makes me a little uncomfortable that the box top doesn't come down so tightly (off by more than an inch), so I might move things to a different sort of 2-box solution.. I might even try to find some Really Useful Boxes instead or something; but still, it looks like the Death of the Tacklebox for this game.

Yeah, aren't you happy you read this? :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Battlestar Galactica - "Title Cards"

Yes, Exodus has arrived!

I just wanted to share what I have done with the Title Cards.
It's simple, but I think it is neat.
Exodus rounded the idea out nicely.

So, I have 4 clear sleeves set aside for the Title Cards; each one is double sided.

1) President: One side Base Game, one side New Caprica.
Not really necessary, since the New Caprica President card covers everything, but good for newbies to have the option of the Base Game President Card to avoid confusion.

2) Admiral: One side Cylon Fleet (with the improved nuke), one side New Caprica Admiral.
With this one, if you happen to be playing Cylon Fleet + New Caprica, you can flip the Admiral card over when you reach New Cap, since the information about the Nukes is irrelevant during that phase.

3) CAG/Admiral: One side CAG, one side Base Game Admiral (the corrected version, printed out).
You'll never need the CAG and the Base Game Admiral in the same game, and once again, you can use the Base Game Admiral card as a reference for how nukes work alongside the New Caprica Admiral card.

4) Cylon Leader: One side Infiltration Reference Card, the other side You Are A Sympathetic Cylon.
This card is meant to flip back and forth, as you Infiltrate and Exfiltrate (?). I have no plans to ever use the Sympathetic Cylon mechanic, since I think it is far more deeply flawed than the base game Sympathizer (an argument for another thread), but it serves as a clear reminder of whether the Leader is in Cylon Player Mode or Human Player Mode. And, well, it really does what it says. You get it pre-game, reveal it immediately, don't get a Super Crisis, and may Infiltrate as a Cylon Leader does.

How do you like that?

Friday, January 7, 2011

In League with ... who, exactly?

I got myself caught up in an argument about something I don't know much about, so I'm gonna dump my thoughts into a slightly-more-coherent form here. Especially since it's game-related.

So, the game in question is "Chaos in the Old World".
All that I really know about the game is:
* It plays with exactly 4 players, no more, no less.
* Each player plays a character (a Warhammer Universe god) with distinct mechanics and win conditions.
* There is one winner to the game.
* You don't get through much of the "event deck" (whatever that is) during each play, so there's high variability to each game.

I've been wanting to try the game out for awhile, and will get my chance soon.
But the discussion amongst the group led to the idea of a "league".
And discussions therein about how to keep people ranked in that league in a most balanced way, break ties, etc.

So, sure, great, it sounds like a game that you can get together once a week to play. Maybe even more interesting than VTES or Galactica, or at least "different enough".

The conceptual problem I have is calling it a "league" and tracking progress over the extended period of time.
If, for example, the loser of each game has to buy the beer, that's great.

But if we start a game well-aware that "John" is a certain number of points ahead, and it (for example) benefits me more in the long run to "make John lose" than "make me win", that seems to take away from the casual enjoyment of playing a game. To me.

On the other hand, maybe there isn't a way to do that in the game, or maybe the group is relying on the "Don't Be A Dick" rule to avoid it. (The group itself is very capable of nondickitude). And maybe they just enjoy collecting statistics.

I dunno, that's about it. Just realizing that I should stop arguing on the email list for 2 main reasons:

1) I know not of what I speak; have only seen people play the game from a distance, don't know anything about how it works. I'll get in at least one game of it at TempleCon, so I can pass judgement on how addictive it is, and how much of my speculation is unfounded.

2) I wouldn't have time to participate in a regular "league" even if it sounded like the Best Idea Ever to me.

Before I start hypocritically taking a tangent into "how would a BSG league work?" I'm just gonna stop.

Monday, January 3, 2011

BSG Pegasus *minimal* integration into Base Game

I'm just really excited about getting Exodus (although I haven't ordered it yet; online places still list it as a "preorder" and I'm not falling for that trap again, and I also don't want to place a "preorder" at the FLGS in case I can't make it there for awhile, so I'm waiting until I can get it within normal shipping time).
So I'm spouting random ideas about the BSG game.
Not really expecting any sort of epiphany here.

One of the things about the Pegasus expansion is that it is too tightly coupled to its own new rules in a lot of ways.
Which makes it difficult to teach new players the game, or to "fall back" to a base game without removing a ton of components.

Here is just an idea of how to use a minimum amount of the Pegasus components, with only a few modifications, but still have the feeling of playing the Base Game:

Please note that some of these are generic-sounding rules because I don't care enough to actually go through the decks and name cards. :)

1) Use the Plastic Basestars. This is an easy one.

2) Destination is always Kobol.

3) Don't use the Pegasus ship.

4) Don't use the Cylon Leaders.

5) Modify the other new characters in the following way:

Kat - no change, other than her official errata

Dee - Her penalty is changed to this:
"If Morale is 2 or less at the start of your turn, you start that turn in Sickbay." (Harsh, but better than being dead, and a Cylon Dee will still have incentive to reveal)

Ellen - She draws 1 Piloting skillcard instead of Treachery, and can not pilot a viper or use the abilities printed on Piloting cards. (Yes, this means she can hump pilots to enhance their firepower, but that seems thematically appropriate :) )

Cain - Is second in line for Admiral title (between Adama and Tigh).
Change her "Intolerant" ability to "Cannot contribute skillcards to the check for other players to exit the Brig".
Use your choice of House Rules for Blind Jump however you feel is necessary, as usual.

6) Any other reference to "Execution" is replaced with "Send to Sickbay". Any card which refers to a player previously being Executed is removed from the deck(s).

7) Use the Pegasus replacements for Investigative Committee.

8) Do not use Treachery cards. Any card which refers to Treachery cards is removed from the deck(s).

9) Maintain balance within the Skill Card decks; that is, if a card was removed from one deck because it referred to Treachery or Executions, remove the equivalently-numbered Pegasus card from the other decks.

10) Acknowledge the "Movement Step" as part of the rules, for the cards that refer to this.