Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Local teen game night...

If you've got teens (or are a teen) and you are local to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, my good friend Kelly has helped organize a free teen drop-in night on Wednesday evenings.  And if Kelly's involved, I am pretty certain there will be a bunch of board games available for playing there. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gunrunners on Kickstarter....

I'm trying not to get too involved in the whole Kickstarter thing due to the glut of prototypes on the site.  I've mentioned a couple games, only because I received copies beforehand and was able to get a game or two in to verify that, yes, they were play-tested and solid titles.  I do think I can break the rule on this one, though, as Steve Finn's track record is actually pretty good.  He designed Biblios a few years ago which is a short, smart little auction game that I'm happy to own a copy of.  Gunrunners seems to be along the same lines - simple, quick, and dynamic - this time using area control as the major mechanic. 

Definitely worth watching the videos as it gives you a pretty good feeling of how the game plays out.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Live report from Snakes and Lattes....

If Snakes & Lattes wasn't already heaven, then the latest renovation just made it a little more divine.

This post is coming to you live from Snakes & Lattes. All the employees are scurrying around finishing the last touches of the renovations. Doors are set to open at 5pm. I will be sure to take some better photos in a couple hours. But for now check these two out:

As you can see, the wall between the two sides has basically been knocked down, replaced with beautiful open arches. And if you look close, you can see the new bar. It's massive! And wraps around to service more people. The bar features a classy wood finish that is sure to impress.

Also, the game wall sprawls the entire back. Also, the game wall features an alphabetic/numerical grid system for allocation of games. Should improve the ability to keep games organized and easy for players to find that game they are itching to try.

It was only a couple years ago that Snakes & Lattes open their doors to Toronto. Long gone are the days of bickering on Boardgamegeek forums about the $5 cover charge or the lack of wifi. Snakes & Lattes has bravely forged the path for board game cafes, and proven they can be a great success!

Tonight features the monthly board game designer night, organized by Stephen Sauer (a close friend of mine). Always a great way to check out new games in the pre-published state.

However, tonight is especially special. Beyond the typical board game designer night, Snakes & Lattes has recruited Stephen Conway & David Coleson (hosts from the board game podcast to run the first ever SpielFest! Tonight features a screening of the documentary "Made For Play". Tomorrow will feature games, prizes, and the first ever live podcast of thespiel!

Keep checking the website for more pictures and information.

- Daryl Andrews

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Museum of Inuit Art...

If you live in or are near the Toronto area this spring, I might recommend visiting the Museum of Inuit Art near the harbour front.  On their blog they are discussing an upcoming exhibit on the Art of Play which will include traditional Arctic gaming and also some non-Inuit exhibits, including modern board games such as Fleet.

I managed to see the exhibit on ancient Chinese gaming in the ROM last year and it was fantastic.  I'll definitely be catching this one... and taking pictures, too, if they'll let me!

(Tipped from BGGNews...)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I can think of some better updates....

...that might actually improve the game. But go ahead, if you want, and take the Facebook poll. Decide the next Monopoly piece that you will eventually be able to throw across the room in anger and frustration.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Plays: Tzolk'in - The Mayan Calendar...

Well, I've been excited for Tzolk'in for at least 6 months since I first saw the fancy video of the prototype with the gears turning.  As often happens, Rio Grande Games was late with their shipping date probably due to the complexity of the manufacturing for this game so it didn't arrive till after Christmas.  But boy was it worth the wait!  I've managed to play a couple games now - 3 and 4-player and I can happily say that this game is more than just the gear-turning gimmick.  Yes, it really is yet another worker-placement game but it is so tightly put together, so full of strategic options, and so difficult to play well that it shines brighter than any game I've played in the past year.  Despite the overwhelming amount of actions, the game is still relatively easy to explain and pick up.  Playing it well, however, seems to be very, VERY difficult.  The main crux is that as the rounds pass by on the larger gear, the workers you have on the smaller gears progress to different and often more powerful actions and being able to time these actions correctly is tough, tough, tough.

The very busy board and tons of pieces
I've only played it twice and the game is a bit longer (~2 hours) but the level of depth and variety make up for it and mean that it will  be played for years to come.  The game seems designed almost to be the bigger, meaner dice-less brother of Stone Age and feels as tense and heavy as a game of Age of Steam.  Brilliant and I can't wait to play it again.

Crystal skulls for the sacrifice....   YES!!!!!!!!
Starting wealth tiles so everyone chooses their own starting strategy.  Brilliant.
  And if you are curious, here's a short vid of the gears moving... thrilling I'm sure:

Monday, January 7, 2013

That's not what I meant!!!

I'm just waiting for my new phone to do something like this....

(Thanks for the link, sis!)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cards Against Humanity: Designed for Offense

A recent Jezebel post caught my eye as it was about my favorite party game Cards Against Humanity. The writer, Katie JM Baker, seems to want to draw attention to the potential to offend some participants and that the offended will stay silent, scared of being told to lighten up or worse. But maybe they should lighten up, or at least rethink what they are doing playing that game.

You have to keep in mind that Cards Against Humanity is a game designed to offend, and it is subtitled to remind you of that: "A party game for horrible people". The card combinations can be fearsomely offensive. But combinations like the one here (and way worse) are the point of the game. If people began saying various things offended them, people's play might be edited, or even worse, remain unedited. If that happens often enough, your might as well be playing Apples to Apples, not CAH.

Cards Against Humanity is an offensive game for horrible people, and there is no room to think better of it. If  you try it, find that the game crosses your lines and you become truly offended, then I think you should grin and bare it till the end or leave before the end, like you would a distasteful movie. Then chalk the experience up to learning that you need to get Apples to Apples ASAP, so in future, you can demand to play it when ever CAH is suggested.

- Andrew
Guest DoM writer and Avid Board Gamer

PS  I really don't like Apples to Apples, which is mostly because it is not CAH... and also because I'm a horrible person.

PPS  Get Dixit instead. Seriously, Dixit is just a better inoffensive party game.