Monday, June 28, 2010

Dream of a "gaming store"

Today, the death of Your Move Games truly sinks in; it is Monday, the day for our weekly VTES meeting. We'll be in Pandemonium which won't feel like "home" yet.

It got me to thinking; one of the reasons Your Move closed down was that it was not profitable as a store. Makes sense, actually.

So what if there were a "gaming store" that wasn't a store at all? If I had the capital, I wonder if this would make money. Here are my dream features of My Game Store:

* We rent tables. From the round ones all the way up to The Sultan. Cost depends on the tables; we can also supply tablecloths or you can bring your own.

* We have clean and well-maintained bathroom facilities.

* We have quality Air Conditioning and Heating.

* We have demo games available for people to play.

* We can host special events, and we allow you to advertise.

* We have (non-free, but secure) wifi, and possibly a small bank of Internet Cafe style computers.

* We have at least one soundproof room with a door that closes.

* We are open as early/late as local laws allow.


* We do not sell games ourselves, but we will special-order items.

* We will ship your gaming things or allow you to ship things to us. (This led me to think, maybe there's a UPS Store inside the place that is a source of income from the general public)

Is this a realistic fantasy? For now, it's just a dream; I don't have money or time to open a new business, but I wonder if it would work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dominion triple session report

The following is a session report that I'm attempting to post on geekdo:

So, I had played Dominion once before, at a con: 2 sessions, once with the basic cards ("hmm.. interesting") and once with a random choice from everything including Black Market ("ack! no! make it stop! what the heck is going on?!").

Months later, the Father's Day present "from my 2 year old son" would include Dominion and Seaside.

So, naturally, I was thankful and willing to give the game a try, and so was my wife who didn't really know anything about the game except that it was on my amazon wishlist. She has played and enjoyed several eurogames with me in the past: Settlers, Carcassonne, San Juan, Bohnanza, to name a few.

For our first game together, we used the basic ten cards. Neither of us had much of an early-game strategy, but I was coaching her along without railroading her. By mid-game I had a little engine of Mine + Remodel going to be able to have 3 gold in my hand pretty consistently, so I won that game: I had 6 of the Provinces, and the final score was 46 to 29. Really not that much a blowout.

Our second game was a random selection of Kingdom Cards just from the basic set: Chapel, Feast, Festival, Gardens, Mine, Moat, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Witch.
With 3 Attacks on the table, the Moat was definitely a popular choice. And we were both quick to pick up on the nuances of Throne Room. Throne Rooming the Witch was a popular gambit, of course. We both bought a few Chapels, but neither of us used them.
My wife ended up buying a few more Duchies than I had realized, so the game ended with us both having 4 Provinces, but she won the game 42 to 36.

For our third game we finally opened up Seaside. Still using the cards for randomization, I was a little worried I hadn't shuffled the randomizers well. Witch.. Throne Room.. this looks familiar.
But the other eight Kingdom Cards were all from Seaside.
Ambassador, Caravan, Cutpurse, Embargo, Fishing Village, Ghost Ship, Haven, Island (plus the aforementioned Throne Room and Witch).
We were rightfully worried about no defense and some annoying Attacks.
I started with 5 monies (Side note: we keep calling the units of currency "Gold", which is confusing with the actual "Gold" card; what is the common word for the currency?) and so I bought a Witch, then an Embargo, and was able to immediately Embargo Witches, which never got bought again. And Throne Room + Witch many times throughout the game.
After my wife's Ambassador served some Curses back to me, I ended up Embargoing the Ambassador as well. But my wife ended the game with eight curses.
It was my wife who correctly ruled on Throne Room + Island before I went to look it up (I thought maybe the Throne Room got set aside too), so it made me a little proud of my rules lawyer :)
Unfortunately for her, the game did not end well. I had 52 points; she stopped counting out of (friendly, in-game) frustration as her Curses started dropping her below 20.
And incidentally, this was also our first game to end with the "3 empty piles" rule: Curses, Islands, and Duchies.

In the end, most importantly, we both enjoyed the game.
I can't wait for some sessions with 3 or 4 people (with my wife or otherwise); should get a chance at that soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Last update about Dominion sleeves, I swear

I placed an order, with "in-store pickup" at the store around the corner from my house.

As a thanks, here's a plug for them:

Hobby Bunker
33 Exchange Street, Malden, MA

Generally speaking, from my few times in the store, they seem to specialize more in Miniatures War Gaming than in the types of games I focus on. But by all means, please check them out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

That poll up there

So that was partly a test of how polls work in blogger, but very interesting results. An overwhelming majority are suggesting sleeves.
Even though I am not a big fan of sleeving cards for CCGs, I can see how they'll help in Dominion; a lot of cards that have to be carried around to everywhere you play, a larger variety of greasy hands on the cards, a giant variance in the amount of use/wear goes on to different card types, etc.

I'm surprised at how many votes there are for the "expensive" sleeves, though.
Cheap sleeves can split, but my plan is to buy enough extras that surgery can happen in realtime.

It does look, though, like the next "expansion" I'm going to get for Dominion is "2000 penny-sleeves" from Mayday; not quite a penny each (about 1.7¢ each plus whatever shipping is*), but close, and enough sleeves to cover all the existing expansions plus the next one that isn't out yet and the promos, with leftovers for that surgery.

As for the arduous task of doing the sleeving, it can be a gradual process. You can pop a card into a sleeve as you draw it, so that's how a good portion of it will probably get done.

I will let the poll go to completion, but I think I've already made this decision.

Thank you for your input.

I suppose there's still an open question about laminating/"sleeving" the big pirate ship playmat things from Seaside, but I feel like that's significantly less of an issue.

And as for card storage of multiple sets, I'm going to come up with something; most likely I'm going to cut my own dividers and put them in the base box. I'll post a picture if it works and looks nice. I just want to maximize portability.

* "Whatever shipping is" apparently is a whopping $10.. or free if I can pick it up from a game store. I'm trying to get in touch with the "hobby/game" store around the corner from my house (Hobby Bunker) or Pandemonium to see if such an order is OK.

No more moves available. Game over.

Just spent my last time ever at Your Move Games. It's the "end of a chapter", but I'm not gonna get all sappy on you again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A man's home is his Dominion

Played my first game of Dominion together with Talita last night.
My third game ever, but I don't think my second-ever game counted (the Black Market was involved and I just wasn't ready for that level of complexity). We used the "suggested" 10 basic kingdom cards.

I don't think either of us had any sort of early strategy; I coached her along on some basic advice coming from my gamer/CCG/drafting background, but we made some very different decisions.

By mid-game, I realized that Mining and Remodeling were both strong (including Remodeling the Mines into Gold when I didn't need them anymore), along with increased hand size; increased Buys didn't seem to be that useful, and I never bought a Copper, feeling that it would dilute my deck too much.

In the end, I had bought 6 Provinces to my wife's 2, and total score was 46-29.
The most important thing was that she liked the game and is willing to play again; the scores surely won't be that lopsided over all of the games we play.

I'm thinking that our next game might be "all-random from the base set" before we start involving the next level of complexity from Seaside, but I'll see what we agree to.
And of course, looking forward to playing the game with 3-4 players at some point.

Dominion: Definitely rates a GRRRRR

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nerd Father's Day

Father's Day presents from Eli; these are truly awesome!
Power Grid, Dominion, and Dominion Seaside.
I am excited to try them out later. Not sure Eli will be playing any of these for another couple of years, but maybe mommy will.. and something to plan for my next "board game day" for sure.

Now, of course, I'll have to start succumbing to my OCD and figuring out storage solutions for the Dominion cards... :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Game lost and found

When I had my little gaming gettogether, one of my friends reminded me of a game I knew I had and never played.
The game was "Succession". I won't even link it or put a box scan here partly because I'm feeling lazy.
But it's a game by the guys who used to be the owners of Your Move Games, and started a game design company of the same name.
I played through their demo, and bought it to support them and also because it theoretically looked fun.
But now I'm bewildered about why I can't find it anywhere.
It's not going to kill me if it's lost forever.. or if I gave it to someone and forgot.. or something like that.
I wasn't going to play it anyway, probably.
But it's definitely annoying to not remember/know where it is.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Session Report: The Stage is Set!

I bought this game for Eli after seeing a review from Games with Hayden, a few months ago. I thought it would be a nice family activity, and eventually he would understand. It's a very simple "match the animal on stage to one of the pictures on a chip on the table" game.

Tonight was the third time we've ever taken the game out. He hasn't seen it for weeks.

To our absolute surprise, we went through the "stage" one time, and he picked up every single correct match -- without hesitation!

So then we reshuffled the animals, went through it again, and played more closely to the "actual rules" (a race to see who matches first each time). Talita and I made some false matches at first, as he kept matching them correctly.. But then he started making wrong matches *on purpose*, obviously joking along with us and then picking up the right one.

I am so proud of him; he's really smart and knows what's going on. Before you know it, he'll accusing me of being a cylon across the table :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Board Game Day

My first -- well, second kinda -- attempt at a "board game day" at my house was something of a success.
We ended up being 2, 3, or 4 gamers depending on the time of day.

Games played:
Ninja vs. Ninja: in which Eli would not stop playing with the 2 Ninja Master figures and making them fight each other. It makes me happy when the reason my son is crying is to say "MY NINJA! MY NINJA!" unwilling to let them go. It's adorable.

Mag Blast, twice. The John Kovalic illustrated version, not my own game. Once with 3, once with 4 players. It's still fun.

Small World, with 3. I lost with Mounted Elves->Seafaring Amazons->Wealthy Kobolds, but not by much.

Chrononauts (with 3). I hadn't seen the newest edition of this, and haven't played for a million years. Some new cards in there, but same old game. Kinda fun.

Sorry that my recap isn't all that interesting, but the games played aren't that deep.
But all in all, I enjoyed it, and I appreciate the ability to do it (special thanks to my wife of course!)

Hoping that next time (when?), we have more people and more opportunity for deeper games.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Searching for the Dollhouse on Caprica

A few months ago, I decided to sign up for the waiting list for a Battlestar Galactica board game "Play by Forum" game. And finally over the weekend, my number was called.

Of course I (voluntarily) chose the character who is least good for impatient page-reloaders: Helo, whose penalty is that he can't do anything (more or less) for a whole turn.

Anyway, due to the secrecy nature of the game I shouldn't say much about it here until it is over, but I've already got my thoughts before the first turn has even gotten to the crisis phase...

In case you want to voyeuristically watch my game in progress, here is a link.