Thursday, February 26, 2009

The family that plays together...

I've played games since I can remember. Card games with my parents and their friends and board games with friends and family. Seems like a much healthier activity than sitting in front of the TV all day. Still to this day it continues...

My parents visited for a week in the fall and 5 of the 7 nights we spent together we had a card game or a board game out. One of Mom's personal favourites, Ticket to Ride, got played repeatedly (the Nordic Countries edition that week). Mom loves TTR so much she went out and bought her own copy of the game.

Might sound sappy but I really think games bring people together - a bit of healthy competition and a ton of interaction is a lot more meaningful than an evening glued to a television....

Latest Dominion Strategy: Buy only the cards that let you draw more cards (i.e. Smithy and Council Room). It seems to work for the drunk Romanian...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dominion in the Dominican? (or a geek on the beach...)

So I am happy to say that in two days I am off to the Dominican Republic for some well-needed R&R, thanks to a very generous Santa Claus (aka my partner). Although I plan to explore the area, swim in the Carribean, and read some trashy novels, I also hope to get some games in as well. Why not? I'm on vacation.
Question is, what to bring? Dominion is outta the question as the mere thought of the 500 cards getting all mixed up makes my little heart quiver. I'm nervous enough about the flight there, let alone the thought of one of my games getting disorganized... Although, I should clarify: Dominion was a Christmas gift for Vince, so technically it is HIS game (of which he reminds me frequently).

Well then, my first choices are from the Kosmos' 2-player card game line....

My first choice, Lost Cities ( is a classic - a tricky little game of bluffing and pushing your luck that any rummy player would enjoy.

The next game, Blue Moon (, is a new game to me and another Christmas gift. I've only played twice and quite enjoyed it, and I'm excited to plumb its depths. Interestingly, both this and Lost Cities were invented by Reiner Knizia, one of the most prolific game designers alive today.

This third game is one of V's faves so I better not forget it. Odin's Ravens ( is an interesting race game which allows you to rearrange the race track to speed you up or slow down your opponent.

I know, I know, Settlers is an over-played piece of crap IMHO but the 2-player Catan Card Game ( is a surprisingly amusing game and one that we haven't played in a long time.

Finally, I'm gonna sneak last year's favourite Race For The Galaxy ( into the suitcase. Vince has refused to play this since we got Dominion, and so here's the chance to revisit this brilliant game.

See you in a couple weeks!

Latest Dominion Strategy: Buying Chapel cards early to prune your deck of excess Estate cards as soon as possible and then getting rid of said Chapels with the Chapel card.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Must... have... more...Dominion.. cards....

So if you haven't played Dominion yet, you should. It's probably the best game of last year and the most original of the last five. It's easy to learn and play, loads of fun and frustration, and totally different each round (which only take about 30 minutes). This game has probably seen 30+ plays in the last month which is unheard of with me. We are officially obsessed and NEED MORE ACTION CARDS.

Rio Grande Games just announced two new cards in March, a new set of 25 in April or May, and 25 more in the fourth quarter. Question is, can we wait that long?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The drunk and the frustrated gamer...

So I'll readily admit that I usually lose most games we play. You'd think being the token mathematician and board game collector/obsesser, that I'd do a bit better. I like to reason it away by saying that I'm always teaching the rules and helping out new players but that only explains about half the games. Like Puerto Rico two nights ago, a game with almost no luck of which I was the only one who had played the game, and I come in last... by a lot.

Last night, with Dominion, it was even more frustrating. Our Romanian friend proceeded to get hosed on Kahlua and started winning. In fact, this is rather common. His luck and skill seem to be inversely proportional to his level of sobriety. Nothing like a drunk, gloating eastern European to make that loss taste even more sour....

Latest Dominion Strategy:
Get drunk and be Romanian. GRRRRRR....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Waiting ages for Age of Steam...

Okay, so here I go obsessing over another game that is being released. This one isn't new, though, and I shouldn't really call myself a serious boardgamer if it isn't in my collection. 'Age of Steam' is considered one of the all-time greatest games invented and is ranked 12th on the geek. It has been out of print for at least four years and I have been watching random copies go for sale on Ebay for up to 200 dollars. Glad I waited. The new 3rd edition comes out this month for a hefty but reasonable 60 dollars.

A simpler version of the game is currently available - a game called Railroad Tycoon which I have in my possession. I found Tycoon lacking, though, with a ridiculously large board and way too much luck. It was quite the disappointment as I had a feeling of just getting started with my strategy right when the game ended. Age of Steam should definitely make up for those shortcomings. Moreover, having introduced my partner and friends to Tycoon already should make explaining the rules to this one a little less painful. I'm sure you'll hear more from me once a copy is in my hot little hands. For more on Martin Wallace's masterpiece Age of Steam, check out

Latest Dominion Strategy: Using the Throne Room to double the Workshop card to fatten your deck for the Gardens victory cards.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A little competition....

Yesterday, Vince and I were taken out for dinner. We had a competition with a couple of very good friends of ours, a straight couple we usually play board games with. Each game we scored according to our placement - winner getting 4 down to loser getting 1 - and totalled it up, gays vs. straights.

The gays won. And our reward was a dinner out. The competition for February pits the 'Primates vs. the Trophy Wives'. And in case it's not clear, Natalie and I are the Trophy Wives.

Here's a picture of 'Wasabi', one of the great games we played (Yes, it is a game about making sushi rolls with various ingredients. Awesome...)

Latest Dominion Strategy: Using the Remodel card to turn crappy Curse cards in your deck into game-winning Estates.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The death of Monopoly

I've been playing and obsessing over board games for many years now so it's probably about time I start writing about them. The title? Well, if you don't know, I play mostly European style board and card games: less rules and less luck, more strategy and more fun. Traditional American games tend to be dice-based drivel that can be played on autopilot and breed contempt between the players. This is, of course, exemplified by the many ridiculous editions and rip-offs of the game we all call Monopoly. I'm here to show ya (if you don't already know) that there are far better games out there to occupy your time and absorb your money.

Above: a very small portion of my ridiculous collection. The rest are being safely taken care of by dear, dear friends in BC. One day we'll be reunited...