Blood Rage: Fenrir

I don’t have any of the Kickstarter Exclusives so when I painted the miniatures in my base game and 5-player expansion I figured that’s all I’d ever get a chance to own.

However, I found someone willing to trade a game for Fenrir, the giant wolf, son of Loki, who comes with its figure and a card to add to your Age 1 deck. If Fenrir is on the board (except Yggdrasil) at the end of the age, then that province will be destroyed in Ragnarök.

I was excited to get this miniature and, although it’s worth some money, I went ahead and painted it so that I could add it to my game and enjoy playing with it rather than just letting it gather dust as part of a “collection”.

I hope you like the result!

Views: 1281

Games For Sale

I’ve finally run out of space for my games and finally decided to do something about it. So, I spent last weekend reorganizing my entire collection and after removing all of the games from the shelves (and from the area on the floor where they were starting to pile up 🙁 ), I cleaned out the dust-bunnies and then split the games into two camps: keep and [maybe]-not-keep.

I then went through the [maybe]-not-keep games and decided which ones I was definitely willing to get rid of.  Many of the games I regard as good games and would be gladly willing to play them but I’ve just run out of shelf space and they deserve a home where they’ll get played more than they do. There’s only one thing worse than a bad game: a good game that isn’t getting played.

I’ve created a Google-doc list with the Copyright year, the name of the publisher, and a price I’m willing to take for it. I’ve tried to price them to move but some out-of-print titles command a higher price. Hopefully you’ll regard them as good or at least very competitive.

The price doesn’t include shipping so keep that in mind. If you’re interested, contact me at the email address listed at the bottom of the spreadsheet along with payment options.  Here’s a link to the Google Doc Game List; thanks for looking and I hope you find something.

 
Views: 199

Broken Token: Terraforming Mars

Broken Token makes some of the most amazingly engineered, game-specific, box inserts. They’re pricey and I’ve never liked a game well enough to splurge for the insert. Especially considering it may cost as much, if not more, than the game itself.

However, after playing Terraforming Mars enough times with and without the insert I couldn’t resist the urge to lay down the cash to get the insert. The game comes with thin, individual mats that players use to track production levels and quantities of items produced. These mats are easily bumped and scraped with arms, sleeves, and cards during play which generally makes a mess of tracking your position. “Where was I again on the money track? I think it was +7…” Ugh.

I’m also transitioning into a phase of my gaming hobby in that I’m more interested in owning less games and pimping out the ones I do own. I just don’t have the space, nor the desire to just own, all of these games. So, I ordered an insert and the additional acrylic blue water tiles to pimp out my copy and I was not disappointed.

The insert arrived in a thin white box with all of the wooden bits laser cut into numerous flat sheets of very thin wood. It comes with a step-by-step instruction booklet which first requires you to punch out all of the items.

It seems a shame to toss the left overs but maybe my wife can find a use for them at the preschool where she’s a teacher.

Following the instructions, I started on the five player trays that substitute for the highly bumpable player mats from the original game. Each try is covered with a brown paper layer that has been laser-etched with information about the different sections of the tray and individual spots to securely hold the cubes that mark your production levels.

Once complete, the trays form a two-layer board much like the cardboard mats from Scythe, but much cooler. In addition, the small wings on each end provide a place to grab the tray as well provide an alignment marker when the trays are stacked on top of one another in the box.

Once everything is glued together (I used wood glue and a toothpick to apply small amounts of glue), you can stack the components back into the original box. I found it fantastic that you can load up each tray with the colored cubes removing the need for any baggies. As a bonus, the card holder (near the top of the image) has room to hold sleeved cards so you don’t need to worry about that. My only gripe is that the two trays that hold the item cubes and city/greenery tiles, along the right above,  don’t have enough room to hold the originals AND the new water tiles easily. I would have liked to split the cubes (retaining their denominations) and the tiles across the two trays but I’m still struggling with that while having room to store the original water tiles somewhere in the insert.

I’m very happy with the purchase of the insert as well as the acrylic bit upgrades. I’m still amazed at the engineering they put into making the parts while not only producing an insert that fits back into the original box but also is next to impossible to put together incorrectly. The small tabs on each part are made in such a way that if you’ve got it together incorrectly, tab “A” won’t align with slot “B” indicating a problem. I lightly sanded each piece but I’m not sure that would have been necessary. You will need to use glue and be careful where you put it so that it’s not visible when you’re done. All in all, I’m very happy with the upgrade. Very nicely done.

Views: 561

BixCON Away 2017

I met Matt Robertson (BGG: BixBy) several years ago at BGG.CON and since then we’ve kept in tough on social media. Matt is from Saskatchewan and runs a yearly con (BixCON) at his house and yearned for something a bit bigger to be held potentially in the US. A couple of years ago, Matt and his wife Kathy started searching for a location for this con and settled on Livingston Montana with a target date of May, 2017. I was so excited to receive an invitation to attend and I immediately cleared my schedule, booked a room, a flight & rental car, and settled in for the long wait.

After many emails and a phone call, I was invited to join the organizational team for the con, participated in chats about the con format, and took point on organizing a hike into the Montana wilderness. When May rolled around Tim Thorpe (BGG: Berserkly) and I had finalized that we’d be splitting room costs and although since I was flying I wouldn’t have any room to bring games, I knew we’d have an awesome library filled with great games from the mostly Canadian attendees.

When I arrived on Wednesday, Livingston was buried in a freak white-out snowstorm making it difficult for many attendees to arrive at a reasonable time but we did manage to gather a few hardcore gamers for a pre-con group dinner at a local restaurant.

The plan was to have the group hike on Thursday morning, the first official day of the con, but the weather was terrible, so we postponed until Friday morning when it was predicted to be much better. Lucky for us we had a pretty good plan B activity for a cold, snowy day.

In the meantime, several of us gathered round Matt’s massive PitchCar set and built the track that would be used to hold the 16-player/2-team tournament later in the con.

On Friday, a dozen or so of us gathered in the hotel lobby and carpooled to the trailhead south of Livingston and set out on our hike to see Pine Creek Falls. The snow was still ankle deep or deeper and we were the first on the trail since the storm the day or so before. The hike was immensely beautiful and very memorable. I’m already scoping out other places to go next year.

And of course, we played a lot of games including an organized 5-tables of 5-player TerraForming Mars (!) and, later, 2 tables of Anachrony.

I had a great time meeting up with old and new friends like Lenny Scoville (BGG: LennyS) and Matt Cook (BGG: gericke) from Fort Collins, Sean Brown (BGG: King Mob) from Texas, and Kathy Lewis, Bruce (& Cindy) Gibson (BGG: amberaleman), Dana Tillusz (BGG: HeavyD), Jon Enns (BGG: jayboy), and Colin Dearborn (BGG: yendi57), just to name a few.

BixCon Away, although currently small (about 47 attendees), was a very rewarding experience. Matt and Kathy did a fantastic job making the first annual con great. We’ve got big aspirations for future years and although it will be difficult to grow and to make it better, we’re a small, focussed, and committed group. I can’t thank everyone enough for taking time out of their schedule to spend time with us and I look forward to next year.

Views: 1619

Kickstarter: Morels Foray – Just Take My Money!

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Way back in 2012 I did a review of Morels and suggested an alternative to the forest layout that eventually made its way into the rules. I met the designer, Brent Povis, at Origins and we’ve kept in touch over the years. It’s with great anticipation that he’s announced an expansion to Morels and has recently launched the game on Kickstarter.

I highly encourage you to check out the game and make a pledge. I quickly pledged at the Forager Deluxe level (with handcrafted bits) plus an extra $5 for the additional cooking pans but there are lots of options still available. His modest goal of only $15k was met on the first day of the campaign and I’m so excited for him.

The artwork of the original version is simply stunning and I give Vince Dorse and Jarek Nocoń kudos capturing my memories of mushroom hunting with my dad and being able to depict that in both the day and night card artwork. Kudos, indeed.

Later in life, Pegasus Spiele picked up the original title and although I’m sure that was a great feeling for Two Lanterns Games, the new name (Fungi), the artwork, smaller cards, and more botanical/language-neutral card scheme left the game a bit dry for me. I’ve always much preferred the original artwork and I’m very happy that the Kickstarter expansion returns to its roots with Vince Dorse at the drawing board. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

If you haven’t already, jump over to Kickstart and submit your pledge. I have no doubt Brent will come through with an excellent game that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Views: 724

Scythe Shadows

It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory”, which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries.

Scythe is a Worker Placement/Economic Engine board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europa who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

Each player begins the game with different resources (power, coins, combat acumen, and popularity), a different starting location, and a hidden goal. Starting positions are specially calibrated to contribute to each faction’s uniqueness and the asymmetrical nature of the game (each faction always starts in the same place).

Scythe gives players almost complete control over their fate. Other than each player’s individual hidden objective card, the only elements of luck or variability are “encounter” cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands. Each encounter card provides the player with several options, allowing them to mitigate the luck of the draw through their selection. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness.

Scythe uses a streamlined action-selection mechanism (no rounds or phases) to keep gameplay moving at a brisk pace and reduce downtime between turns. While there is plenty of direct conflict for players who seek it, there is no player elimination.

Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine-building to it. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, enlist new recruits to enhance character abilities, activate mechs to deter opponents from invading, and expand their borders to reap greater types and quantities of resources. These engine-building aspects create a sense of momentum and progress throughout the game. The order in which players improve their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even when playing one faction multiple times.

BGG

Scythe is one of my favorites and I just had my first go with the Togawa Shogunate faction from the “Invaders from Afar” expansion. The new faction has a cool ability to drop armed trap tokens when the leader is moved. The player starts with four trap tokens and after being dropped and armed, they force opponents to pay an extra penalty to enter the hex. In addition, armed traps count towards the players end game scoring when determining who occupies and controls the hex.

Even though it looks like battling might be the core mechanic there’s enough of a penalty to combat that it won’t happen all that often. I enjoy the asymmetric nature of factions and the quick turns and the artwork really makes it pop.

Views: 1086

Kickstarter: Pests from Spontaneously Combustible Games

Spontaneously Combustible Games Launches Kickstarter for “Pests!” Board Game 
 A light strategy game for 2-6 players, “Pests!” is the first table top game from designer Michael McFarland & illustrator Todd Jakubisin
Cleveland, OH – February 21, 2017. Cleveland, Ohio’s Spontaneously Combustible Games is launching a Kickstarter campaign on February 21 for “Pests!”, a tabletop strategy game pitting exterminators against one another in a house infested with all kinds of critters.
“Pests!” features quirky art, easy-to-learn rules, and a variable game board that guarantees a fresh, fun experience every time you play. Up to 6 players choose an exterminator, each with unique pests to exterminate, and unique abilities to help them do so. Players compete to eliminate their infestation while keeping their fellow exterminators from doing the same.
The Kickstarter campaign will last 30 days, during which the aim is to raise the $9,500 dollars needed for manufacturing and fulfillment of the first production run of the game. If the campaign exceeds that goal during the campaign’s timeline, Spontaneously Combustible Games will reveal additional stretch goals: higher funding thresholds at which the manufacturing quality of included components will be upgraded to provide the best gaming experience possible. A pledge of $39 or more secures a copy of the game once manufacturing is complete, with shipping included to the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, and Australia. Pledges can be made starting February 21 on Spontaneously Combustible Games’ Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/scgames.
“The idea for the game started with an unfortunate encounter I had with a swarm of ants in my backyard,” says designer Michael McFarland. “That same night I had a nightmare of beating back wave after wave of bugs in my house, and awoke with an idea for a board game.” The creative collaboration with artist and illustrator Todd Jakubisin allowed for rapid development of a fully-realized game, which was then refined over the course of 6 months of intensive playtesting.
“Pests!” uses a modular board, allowing players to create the game’s play area at the beginning of each game, making the game board different every time. The game is very easy to learn and has a lot of opportunity for strategic depth as you get more familiar with the characters and their abilities. Victory is achieved by capturing the queen pest, sealing the nest room, exterminating all small pests, and finally emptying the trap containing the queen to end the infestation and win the game. The game is for 2-6 players, ages 14 and older, and takes 45-75 minutes to play. “Pests!” includes 25 house room tiles, 6 character cards, 2 dice (one standard 6-sided die, and one “Queen Die” that determines the actions of the queen pests), 12 standees representing the 6 exterminators and 6 queen pests, 144 chipboard pest discs, 28 toolbox cards, 7 traps, and 6 nest seal tokens.
Claim your copy of “Pests!” starting February 21 at https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/scgames.
About Spontaneously Combustible Games
Spontaneously Combustible Games is an independent tabletop game developer and publisher based out of Cleveland, Ohio. They focus on designing creative, unique games that are easy to learn but feature enough strategy and variation to stay fresh and interesting. Spontaneously Combustible Games is a member of the Indie Game Alliance (http://indiegamealliance.com/), a confederation of independent game developers and publishers with member studios on 6 continents. Learn more about Spontaneously Combustible Games at http://games.spontaneouslycombustible.com.

Kickstarter: Last Chip Standing: Devil’s Luck

If you’re looking for a quick, family-friendly, dice game take a peek at Last Chip Standing: Devil’s Luck on Kickstarter. It doesn’t look like they need much to complete their goal and you’d get some cool custom dice to boot.

Last Chip Standing: Devil’s Luck is a fiendishly simple, feather-light game of chance with a 10-minute average play time. Single-page instructions, custom 16mm resin dice, radial mini chips, and a slick tuck box that fits right in your pocket.

If we hit all our stretch goals, we’re hoping to improve all of our components and make this game the best version of itself! That means:

  • Jumbo 19mm resin dice
  • Screenprinted gold bar mini chips
  • and a premium magnetic carry box

Day Night Z – Kickstarter Project

If you’re into zombie games take a peek at Creating Games’, Day Night Z on Kickstarter. It looks like it’s fully funded and it’s got some cool minis to boot.

DAYNIGHTZ™ is a tabletop board set in a zombie-filled, post-apocalyptic world. Highly detailed miniatures add to the fully immersive, “grimdark” experience. Unlike other zombie games, DAYNIGHTZ™ focuses heavily on survival and psychology, where morality often becomes secondary to preservation in crucial decisions.

Cabin Con 2017

Cabin Con 2017 is over. We had a smaller group this year as one regular attendee is living and working mostly in California for the next couple of years and another was off to San Diego to cheer on his daughter running in her first marathon. We did, however, have a quorum for the entire time, Friday through Monday, so it turned out to be a great success.

I look forward to the long MLK Weekend every year and appreciate the commitment from my game group members to set aside time and money to enjoy it with me. Everybody does their part to bring food, games, and supplies as well as sacrifice precious vacation time away from work and I can’t thank them enough.

Here are few images taken during the con.

Cabin Con 2016 was held in a “cabin” in Apple Valley, Ohio but, due to extenuating circumstances, we couldn’t return there. Luckily, however, we were able to reserve an 8-person cabin in southern Ohio about an hour and a half from Columbus. Next year, however, the cabins in that area are set to undergo renovations so we’re on the hunt for another location that will accommodate 8-10, low-impact nerds for cheap.

Views: 652