Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you...

Happy 40th birthday, video games!!!!

Definitely want to check out the 'video games as art' exhibit at the Smithsonian...  (Source)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First play: Dominion - Dark Ages....

Instead of reviewing this, I'll just tell you that the theme of Dark Ages is the trash pile. 

And now I'll show you a picture of our trash pile near the end of a 3-player round.  Epic.

About 70 cards in there...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aye Matey, Pirate’s Cove returns

Just a quick announcement about an out-of-print game making a comeback this fall. In just over a month, the Days of Wonder gem, Pirate's Cove, will be re-printed. I am very excited about this games because (a) I enjoy it very much, (b) its always stupidly expensive in auctions because everyone knows its a great game that is out-of-print. The game is scheduled to return to North American game stores September 19th - appropriately enough on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  

The game was originally released in 2003. Paul Randles & Daniel Stahl, the designers, are natives of Seattle, WA. Paul's game development career began at Wizards of the Coast, where he worked on such games as Robo Rally and The Great Dalmuti. Sadly Paul was stricken with cancer and passed away in Feburary, 2003. Daniel is still designing games out on the west coast.

"My Game of the Year 2002!" Bruno Faidutti - "Pirate's Cove is a family boardgame of the kind that were published in the eighties. A little bit of strategy, some bluff and double guessing, lots of player interaction and dice rolls, and, most of all, a strong and convincing theme with components that fit in perfectly. ... It's the kind of game that I could have made or, at the very least, would have liked to."

"One of the best themed games, ever." Tom Vasel from DiceTower Reviews.

"Its fun to be a Pirate!" Daryl Andrews from

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dominion: Dark Ages preview...

After a few delightful games of Hinterlands with the parentals last week ("I'll buy that card which lets me take that card which gives me that other card, letting me have two of those cards!  Woohoo!"), I decided to get all re-excited about Dominion again.  So without further ado, 15 cards from the upcoming Dark Ages expansion and a description direct from Donald himself on BGG:
Dominion: Dark Ages is the seventh addition to the game of Dominion. It contains 500 cards but is not a standalone game. It adds 35 new Kingdom cards to Dominion, plus new bad cards you give to other players (Ruins), new cards to replace starting Estates (Shelters), and cards you can get only via specific other cards. The central themes are the trash and upgrading. There are cards that do something when trashed, cards that care about the trash, cards that upgrade themselves, and ways to upgrade other cards.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wits & Wagers Party!

I am excited to review the new version of Wits & Wagers Party. As someone already a big fan of the original version of the game, Wits & Wagers, I was honoured that North Star Games was willing to send me a copy of the game before it is released this weekend at GenCon. I am said to miss out on GenCon in Indianapolis from August 16-19. One day I hope to attend. Meanwhile, let me preview the new version of Wits & Wagers Party for you all.

As the tagline says above, the game comes with some great question cards, better components, and simpler rules. As a fan of the game already, I must admit, I am very excited to get more question cards. I have played my copy enough that I am beginning to remember (at least ballpark close) the answers to some of the questions from my original copy. The new question cards are actually from the out-of-print Wits & Wagers Expansion pack #1. I was always sad to miss out on getting the expansion pack, so Im excited to finally get my hands on these question cards. The question cards included in this edition are lighter and more fun. This makes the game even easier to play with gamers or non-gamers. I will be sure to mix and match my question cards between the two versions I know own.

How Many Licks does it really take to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop?

The components are better then my older version of Wits & Wagers. The poker chips are a better quality. I would have preferred clay poker chips to be included, but I understand the choice to keep the game affordable. Rumour has it that the game will be on the shelves in the near future at Wal-mart & Target. A huge accomplishment for one of the smaller publishers. Hopefully it will make it on the shelves in the Canadian Wal-mart stores & Canadian Target stores (opening soon). The markers have a nice eraser end attached to the lids. And I love the new answer boards with the fun art. Adds some nice flavour. My favourite is the Green (Hip Hop artist) seen below.

I must confess, I never really thought Wits & Wagers needed easier rules. However, Im starting to see why this was such a brilliant choice. Even though the game has won lots of awards, and my family already is a big fan. I could see the Wits & Wagers Party edition, being an easier game for non-gamers to purchase because of the simpler rules. Instead of calculating betting odds, the "banker" has an easy job of assigning points. Additionally, the game never seems to have a run-away leader, as the predecessor was guilty of on occasion. So even though I miss the green felt mat, I think there is room for both games in my collection. The original is more suitable for playing with gamers, or when I am hosting games nights. However, I am more prone to lend out my copy or purchase copies of Wits & Wagers Party for family and friends who have little to no experience with games.

All in all, I am excited to get more plays of my Wits & Wagers Party. If you are attending GenCon this weekend, or see a copy of this game on the shelf of your local Wal-Mart or Target, I highly recommend you pick it up. The game is affordable, easy to convince others to play, and tons of fun!

- Daryl Andrews

PS: Just noticed a great contest on BoardGameGeek you might want to check out for a chance to win $100 and a pre-release copy of the game. The deadline for submitting is August 14th.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Strong National Museum of Play...

Just the day before we began our drive home through upstate New York, I read an article in the latest Games Magazine (yes, I still read it!) about the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Well, talk about fate! The next day we drove about 20 minutes out of the way and I spent a way too short hour wandering through this magical place. The museum is huge and contains comic book history, a video game museum, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and even a wing donated entirely to Sesame Street. Supposedly they also have the late great Sid Sackson's extensive collection of board games but I didn't see those on display. Still, if you can get here, what a fantastic place for kids and even for adults - us two grown men had a great time!

Double-click to embiggen the pics.




The 60's...

Sesame Street theatre!

The 'Superheroes' wing of the museum.  Seriously.

National Toy Hall of Fame

Scrabble through the ages...


Video game museum

I think I want this game....

Sports games

Obligatory Monopoly shot - one of the original prototypes on a round board.

Yay for Wits & Wagers!


Woohoo, Qwirkle!

Just one of the endless displays full of creepy old dolls

My favourite game

So much fun

Giant diner and streetscape INSIDE the museum.

Yours truly...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Family vacation...

Last evening of my parents' visiting and our road-trip to Boston and P-town.  Nothing else to do in Syracuse but play Dominion in the local Tim Horton's.  Love my family.

My partner and parents playing another round of Dominion...