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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mish mash

A whole bunch of little stuff this week

First off, what's up with this blog? Doug has missed two weeks in a row and now Dave has missed as well. Harrumph. (Ah, I've just noticed that Doug posted on Sunday. Flew beneath my radar. [Update] I guess he changed the time-stamp and has moved it to yesterday.])

My copy of Railroad Tycoon arrived Tuesday and it went straight onto the table at our regular gaming session. I'd played this a couple of times at the weekend, at Doug and Mimi's, so I was happy to teach. It's a pretty decent game, although after the weekend playings I was concerned at the time it took. However, we blasted through the game in just over 1.5 hours, which took me totally by surprise.

Anyway, I didn't get around to tidying it up immediately, and when I came back from work today I find the board is all warped to buggery. Even with the plexiglass on top it was up all over the shop. What is up with that? $60 for a game, just to have the board all warped. I sent off an email to Eagle to complain, so we'll see what happens.

I played through part of a game of Big Kini this week to learn the rules. Seems to be a pretty interesting game, although I'm not sure it is deserving of almost taking the Fairplay Essen award. Another action picking game, which is fine as I like those sorts of games. I was hoping to play it Tuesday, but RRT took the table instead.

At the library on Monday we had a photographer from the Oregonian, the local paper. There's going to be a feature in the 12/29 edition, Family section, on games, and my mugshot will be there. Kinda scary to be up front and famous. So to speak. I was trying to make sure that KC, Havoc and Sunriver Games got mentioned, but I don't quite know what their focus will be.

I've got the winter sessions all lined up for the library. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from 1-5pm. I'm hoping for the same sort of attendance as last year (about 50 over the 2 days), but I'm less hopeful of achieving that this year, given the relative lack of publicity and weak attendance at the regular bi-weekly events. We'll see.

SimplyFun has been interesting. So far I've done 4 parties and 1 lunchtime event at work, and sold over $1400 of games. Not a bad total. Getting some of the people who've come along to hold parties has been a challenge, but in speaking to those with more experience it appears that other consultants are in the same boat, which makes me feel slightly better, as it means it's not just something I'm doing wrong. Anyway, that's a lot more people who are going to be playing games over the Christmas period, and I'm happy with that. Once they want to find out about other games they'll maybe come back and ask for other recommendations, as they know I have a large collection of games, and I'll be happy to show and play other games with them.

One thing I do like about the games that SimplyFun sell is that it's not just no-name designers. They have games from messrs. Moon, Weissblum, Teuber, Schacht, Dorra and Borg. Names that are very recognizable to the 'Euro' gaming geeks reading this, I'm sure. Of course, that doesn't automatically make them good games, but it helps.

There are also some new games being released in January, and I'm very excited to see what they are. One of the factors in deciding to get involved was the future possibility of more 'serious' games being brought out. They already have Drive (Schacht) and Zing! (aka Die Sieben Siegel, Stefan Dorra), and I'm hoping that they will continue to push in that direction. I'm not expecting to see Age of Steam any time soon, but you never know.

Overall, I'm very much enjoying being a part of SimplyFun so far, and I'm glad I made the decision to sign up.

I'm playing more and more games every year. So far I've played 385 games this year, more than my target, and still some rich game playing time to come. There have been quite a few new games, and also some more meaty games. I think I've played with more different people this year as well.

As everyone else is talking about wargames, I might as well do the same. As I've blogged in various places, I've gradually gone off wargames as the years have passed. Partly it's the time they take, partly... Well maybe it's _just_ the time they take. Anyway, for whatever reason I just can't seem to get myself wound up to actually play them. I still enjoy having them around and reading the rules or just looking through them, but never can get around to playing them

The 2-player weekend a couple weeks back tested my enjoyment of wargames, although, as I've also said, I seem to have this block about block games and don't really see them as wargames. I only played the one wargame, GMT's Under the Lily Banners, and I enjoyed it. I think. I'd prefer This accursed Civil War as the subject has so much more importance to me, but I'd be interested (and more than mildly) in doing more.

The EastFront game I played was very interesting and I'd sure like to play that again now that the rules are in my head. With several options in the Front series I'd like to try more of them.

Talking of rules, I find it harder and harder to get a new game into my head just by reading the rules. I'd far rather have someone teach me a new game. I guess it must be a getting older thing. It's also bad news with so many games being brought home from Essen. I have a large stack of games that I need to figure out.

Chris talked about only buying 25-30 games next year, or of having a budget. I still buy games that I enjoyed playing at any session and will buy some new ones on spec. I can't see putting a number limit or budget will work for me. I'm still planning on going to Essen each year, and I'm sure there will be a haul to bring back, although I'm sure it won't be anything as large as this year's. Yeah, right.

A mixed bag of thoughts this week, indeed. Thanks for reading this far, go play some games!


  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger dave said…

    > First off, what's up with this blog?

    Real life happens. Actually, if you compare our first 3+ months with the other group blogs with a similar format (Gamewire; Gone Gaming), I'm pretty sure we come out way ahead at least in regularity. I find that preparing one entry a week is a pretty huge commitment, but it's worth it at the end. So, good job, guys!

    Yes, the warped board is a common complaint for Railroad Tycoon.

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    > Real life happens

    As usual I was being tongue in cheek. Apologies if it didn't come off that way.

    > RRT

    Yep, I've been following the forums. Seems to be all copies? It really detracts from what is otherwise a pretty good game.

  • At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am sympathetic to the board warping complaint. I hope it doesn't happen to mine, but I suspect it probably will.

    My nitpick is that you said it "arrived" yesterday. That implies a high likelihood that you didn't pay $60, as you imply. Maybe more accurately $35-45 from an online retailer, still too much for a faulty board, but just keeping us honest.

  • At 5:02 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    Correct, I bought it on-line. However, the retail price is $60, so it's still a $60 game.

  • At 5:12 PM, Blogger Matthew Gagan said…

    I could type up a couple of "guest columns" you guys could sub in for when someone has not been able to meet their deadline...

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Wes M said…

    I haven’t played a wargame in decades. (Okay, one game of Wizard Kings at Gamestorm 2003.) I was attracted to Wizard Kings because of the Fantasy theme, and because of the options available in map orientation and starting units. But, I noticed that the system lacks (balanced) scenarios, and thus resisted. Then I noticed that Hammer of the Scots was being mentioned as a crossover game for Euro players. So I dithered and dathered, and finally decided to buy a ‘pack’ from Columbia: Rommel in the Desert, Hammer, and Crusader Rex. I’m giving my brother, my most likely opponent for wargames, Rommel as he is a WWII buff. I’m keeping the other two for myself, as I have this vain hope that I might be able to convince Monica to play them. (Theme will help me here. I hope.)


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