Sunday, July 29, 2012

fun with games

Yup, today is games day for our gaming group. We are taking a small summer breather from D&D and playing board games because this fits in better with vacation schedules.

To that end I’m bringing along "Defenders of the Realm" and "Elder Sign" today.

We should be able to get in one game of each as both games are not likely to run over two hours a piece.

My own board game construction is mired in the encounter card production stage. I’m trying hard to come up with creative and non-repetitive cards so the variety of any one game to another will be maintained.

It’s no easy task.

But I’m past the 1/3 mark and going, I hope, pretty strongly.

Still shooting to have a prototype ready by September for play testing.

And on the tennis front - I seem to have pulled something in the front of my left leg below the knee . . . I thought it was just a knock on the shin that was causing me twinges of pain.

But it appears to be something else. It will pass in time I’m sure, but it does irritate.

And just as I predicted, with the onset of nice weather my reading has been slowing down. I’ve only finished four books this month and that looks like about it.

I’m thinking that should pick up again sometime around October.

Still on track to meet or exceed my goal of 84 books read this year though - so that is good.

Oh, just one other thing with regards to games - I’ve had a look at the War of the Ring updated version in a tin box which upgrades the game to 2nd edition from 1st. Me wants it - me wants it a lot!

War of the Ring is a fine game, but the original version of the game (1st edition, which I own) has card text which is so small even my daughter has trouble reading it . . . yeah, it’s that bloody small.

But - the new updated version has cards which are about 1 ½ times bigger with correspondingly bigger text that us oldies will be able to read - maybe even without glasses. Yes, I will be getting the updated cards during my next visit to the game shop and revisiting this great game.

Well, not a whole bunch more left to report for the week so I’ll leave off, get some housework done, and pack up the games for today’s festivities.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

board again

I must say the dollar stores are a gold mine for aspiring board game prototype makers . . .

That’d be me, of course.

I have nearly everything I need now for my upcoming game - with the exception of the 100 encounter and world cards text I’m trying to crank out most every day.

And I will say that summer is the hardest time to crack down on in-the-house work. It’s just too darn nice outside most every day to be cooped up behind my computer typing.

But I do it anyway.

I have a major goal to have my prototype game ready for play testing by September . . . but, as I said, summer kicks the crap out of my sit and create mojo.

I am getting pretty excited about my game though, and I think it has a few cool mechanics that should add to a fun gaming experience.

More on that when the day of testing approaches. I may even include a few pictures as time goes by.

Oh, I am mostly recovered from last week’s kid minding too - if you were wondering.


Actually I played tennis yesterday and cleaned up. It was one of my "on" days and I missed few shots.

Feels good to be able to put the ball away more than once from skill and not just sheer luck.

I am using my Maxply McEnroe rackets too. They are really starting to work for me. Could be the two plus years of using them now and getting used to how they play. Still, nothing hits like my old Max 200Gs . . .

But I needed to move on from those 30 year old rackets, and I have.

I should be able to get a lot done this week as my family is away until next Sunday . . . then again, Steam did have a huge game sale . . . and I may have purchased a few cheap ones . . .

Oh dear, is that sunny weather outside my window as well?

As you may have guessed - discipline - is not my middle name.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2012

burnt at both ends

So, just got back from looking after a 5, 6 and 13 year old . . . for ten days!

Let’s just say my energy reserves are depleted to the point of near-death . . . and that would be putting it mildly.

Still, my good deed has been done for 2012 and now I can live like a sinner for the rest of the year to balance out my karma.

A spider just crawled out from under my keyboard and caused me a moment of panic.

It’ not that I have a phobia about spiders - it’s just sudden movement out of the corner of my eye near my left typing hand caused me to very rapidly live in the moment.

And after looking at all the cool online images of Comicon I, as always, want to be there sharing in this great big Geekfest . . . alas, it is not to be.

So, as I use some of my recovered energy to make a post I’ll talk a bit more about the board game I am making.

I have collected a bunch of components - maybe not quality grade - but functional in a visually cool way to enhance the gameplay.

Writing the encounter cards is taking me the longest time to do. You see I want to have 100 cards written up while the playing grid is only 61 tiles large.

This will allow variation in each game.

I like a mechanic like that. One where each game plays the same mechanically but there is an element of variation and variety that the game is fun to play each time and each time you never know exactly how it’s going to go.

And I haven’t touched a tennis racket in the past two weeks.


This means I will either play very well this Tuesday - or suck like a black hole.

And I also need to start getting back into physical shape as the "babysitting" episode is now officially over.

Inertia is evil . . . but not nearly as evil as Steam.

If you ever use Steam to buy and play games then you know what I mean - they are having their HUGE summer sale right now and . . .

Ah hell - resistence is futile.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 08, 2012

elder signs

So, I had a couple more chances to set up and play mock games of Star Trek: Fleet Captains and here are my further thoughts.

It seems to me that a lot of victory points happen way too easily from random Encounters.

All you need to do, it would appear, is just explore as much space as possible as fast as possible and voila - lots of free victory points. And if you start the game with 4 ships vs your opponents 3 ships you have a pretty big edge.


Maybe I’m playing it wrong? Which brings me to another niggling irritant of the game. The rule book and the rules in general are about the worst I’ve ever tried to decipher . . . ever. And yeah, I’ve played many board games - tons of many.

And the FAQ is little help. It’s almost as ambiguous and confused as the rules themselves. The game is still playable and pretty fun - but there are way to many instances of "can you do this?" with the response of "don’t know" then "what do the rules say" followed by, "not clear."

Looks like this game is going to get a lot of house rules applied and making up the logic of rules as you go along and run into situations not clearly described in the rule book.

One thing which makes no sense to me is - if you have a ship stat which is set to zero, you can still use it. But, if your opponent plays a card which reduces a stat to zero it is considered disabled and you can’t use it?

Again with the, huh? This is just one of many such examples.

Maybe with the Romulan expansion the new rule book will make most of the unclear rules clear. That’s my hope anyhow.

And speaking of elder signs . . . that was another game I picked up while game shopping. It was just over 20 bucks. Cheap.

I can best describe it as Arkham Horror lite.

Same characters, same spells, same items, but a much more watered down version of Arkham Horror - which is not to say it is not as good - just quite different.

Haven’t had a chance to really play much of it so can’t say how much I, or my gaming group, will like it.

And what is with my waking up stiff and aching most every day? Man, this getting older thing is starting to grate.

I exercise most every single day so it’s not like I’m just sitting on the couch in front of the tube every day atrophying. So, it must be the old age thing. Sheesh already.

I guess 48 is the new 80 . . .

Yes, I didn’t mention tennis this week . . . until now.

I’m only playing twice a week this summer and alternating between hard courts outdoor on Tuesdays and then clay courts indoor on Fridays.

It is as difficult to adjust as you can imagine, but I do it for my health . . .

Oh, and one last item. Star Trek: Birth of the Federation works on Windows 7 64 bit . . . just saying . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, July 01, 2012

new board game

What else?

As you have likely discovered if you’ve read my posts before, I have a fondness . . . okay, maybe a slight addiction, to board games and their ilk.

So my Birthday came and went this past week and I took a trip into The Big Smoke to check out a game store and spend my birthday coin on a board game.

And this store was absolutely a board gamers wet dream. The staff are all hard-core board gamers too and really know their stuff.

They had, at a guess, about 1,000 board games in stock. Now the best part. Their prices were incredible and when I say incredible, I mean incredible.

So I asked them how they do it. How do they meet or beat the other online store’s discounted game prices and stay in business.

And as you would suspect I got the standard, and legitimate, answer - Volume!

So, I know you are just dying to know what game I bought, right?

Well, I got "Star Trek: Fleet Captains."

I’ve had one chance so far to set it up and give it a whirl. What I’ve found I like a whole bunch.

There is exploration. There are an abundance of cool Star Trek themed encounters. And yes, there is combat. Included, mashed together, is TOS, TNG, DS9, Enterprise, Voyager and all the movies except for the last one released. That’s a ton of Star Trek lore stuffed into one game.

How does this work? Well, pretty well but it is a bit odd to be able to assign Kirk to the Voyager along with Wesley Crusher . . . but hey, this is not reality anyhow. Star Trek show purists will just have to suck it.

It is primarily a two player game though four can play as two teams of two. So far the base game, which is what this is, has two factions to play. The Federation and the Klingons. The Romulan expansion is coming in October I think . . . yeah, you know what is going to happen.

But back to this game, both factions work well and a bit differently.

And the heroclix ships are pretty spot on cool though the clix bases are very stiff and I can see snapping a ship right off its post if you play the game twisting the bases all the time. I solved that problem by just using an indicator on the ship cards themselves. Way less hassle.

Each Federation ship model is unique, but there are multiple duplicates on the Klingon side even though they have unique names and slightly different stats.

Overall impression - It’s a bit confusing on how the game works and how the rules work but after I scan and digest the FAQ online that should clear up a whole lot of the ambiguous issues and game flow questions.

It plays pretty quickly too. I would say under 2 hours for sure. And the game is scalable so you can make a smaller game (less tiles and fewer ships) or a longer game (more tiles and more ships) depending on what kind of time you have to dedicate to a session.

Very fun and I can’t wait to try it out with friends.

Oh, and I got a half dozen very nice 6 sided dice as well for my own game design - which is coming along well.

Geez, how the time flies here when I’m talking games.

Until next Sunday . . .