Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alan? Alan? Where the Hell Are You?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Shopping Spree Continues

So more of my old Magic cards and D&D minis are on their way to Florida for another $200 in store credit. I get to continue building my board game empire from the bones of my old hobby. The only difficult part is figuring out what to order. This reminds me of when I bought my first PC. There was an entire library of games already out there and I was able to wade directly into it and start buying. The important distinction here is that I don't have to worry about compatibility and hardware requirements. The only problem is finding things that are out of print, and with so many great games available it's hardly an issue. Sure, I'd like to find a copy of Betrayal at Hill House for less than $80, but hey.

Another batch is in the queue to be shipped here. This is probably the last I can milk out of my collection via CoolStuffInc, but their buy list is always changing, so who knows? Currently in the pipeline are:

-This is a game about building post office routes across Bavaria and trying to be efficient about it. Hearing the theme and seeing the pictures made me really excited to try this. It was one of those moments where it struck me what a huge nerd I am. I'm pumped about this one.

- One player plays the role of Dracula and the other(s) take the role of vampire hunters trying to catch him. Dracula's movements are hidden and the others have to track him down and kill him. Dracula tries to set up traps and misinformation in the various locations across Europe. Sounds like a winner.

War of the Ring

- One player controls the Free Peoples of Middle Earth and the other controls the Shadow Armies in a tactical simulation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The good guys try to sneak the ring-bearer into Mordor while the bad guys try to find him and off him. It's a large, beautiful, expensive game and I'd like to get it while it won't cost me actual money.

- I like cooperative games, and this is supposed to be a great one. The players take on various researcher and scientist roles and work together to try to prevent disease outbreaks around the globe. It's on back order, so I'll have to wait, which I'm very good at.

- The board is pretty and the game is chock full of little wooden bits. That's really all it takes.

- Very beautiful board game about rebuilding a destroyed city. Developed by Reiner Knizia with art by Franz Vohwinkel, Scott Fischer and many other artists I'm familiar with from my Magic the Gathering days.

- Simple and fun. Already played this, just need to own a copy.

Wife and I have been gaming just about every night. It's nice to turn off the TV and get away from the PC for a bit to go sit at the game table in the front room. We've been playing San Juan, Ticket to Ride, Citadels and Agricola mostly, and we're always mixing it up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Christmas Comes Twice

Today, phase 2 of Bryan Swaps his Magic Cards for New Board Games went into effect. There will soon be another box of games UPSing their way from Florida up to Michigan. Admittedly, most of them are expansions (4 for Carcassonne, 1 for Ticket to Ride, 1 for TransAmerica) but still, it's nice to splurge on toys and be guilt free. I will be mailing another small batch of cards (about $50 worth) to them on Monday. That will be earmarked for Pandemic once it's back in stock.

In other news of great importance, I got Agricola in the mail yesterday and got a chance to learn how to play (the single player, family version.) It is a game about being a farming family in the 17th century (everyone's dream) and it seems to be worth the hype thus far. I like the wooden components, though I can see the appeal to 'pimping' your copy with little wooden cows and sheep. It's a worker placement game where you need to figure out the best use of your limited resources each turn. There are also 6 harvest stages (14 stages total) where you need to feed your family, so there is a constant need to keep up on your food supply.

Lots of little boards and bits and pieces. Lots of little baggies too!

The rulebook is awfully intimidating upon first read, but sitting down and actually playing through the game as I read made things pretty easy. The game was originally German, so the translation of the rulebook seems a little bit off in places. There are a shitpot of rules discussions and clarifications on the web (thanks BoardGameGeek!) and a quick look through these cleared some things up. No doubt once I start playing with the occupation cards, minor improvement cards and more players, more questions will arise. At this point, the game is full of potential and I'm looking forward to playing with my wife tonight.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I sat down and taught myself how to play Citadels while wife was at work and daughter was sleeping. It's a card game meant for 2-8 players where each round sees players taking on different roles in an effort to build up their city. The first player to place 8 district cards (which make up your city) ends the game, high score wins. A round consists of each player taking their turn; the round then ends and each player chooses a new role card for the next round.

A typical player turn looks like this:
- Draw 2 district cards, keeping one in your hand and discarding the other


- Take 2 gold from the bank.

- Build one district from your hand by paying the gold cost shown on the card.

- Utilize your role's special ability.

The turns happen in the order of the roles. That is, each role card has a number on it from 1-8. The assassin card is number one, so the player with the assassin card takes his turn first. The thief is number two, so whoever has the thief card goes second, and so on.

The roles:
1- Assassin: you call out another role name. That character is murdered and does not get a turn this round.
2- Thief: Name a role card. When that player's turn begins, the Thief takes that player's gold
3- Magician: You may discard any number of cards and draw the same number - OR - trade hands with any player.
4- King: You get first choice of roles next round. You gain 1 gold for each yellow district card in your city.
5- Bishop: You gain 1 gold for each blue district card in your city. Your cards may not be destroyed by the Warlord.
6- Merchant: You gain 1 additional gold after taking your action. You gain 1 gold for each green district card in your city.
7- Architect: After taking your action, draw two extra cards. You may building up to three districts.
8- Warlord: You gain 1 gold for each red district in your city. You may destroy 1 district on the board (by paying the district's gold cost minus 1.)

That's the gameplay in a nutshell. So far I've only played the 2 player game, but I'm excited at the prospect of playing with more. It's easy to learn but has a good amount of strategy and tactics.

My opponent has lots of green districts, so she'd be a fool not to take the Merchant role, because that would give her a lot of gold. So I should pick the Assassin role and try to murder the Merchant this round. But she knows I'm going to take the Assassin because she knows I think she'll take the merchant. I'd hate to take the Assassin then waste it by trying to murder a role who isn't picked this game. (This scenario played out last night. I out-thought myself and let her have the Merchant, scoring her lots of gold. Next round I took the Assassin and chose the Merchant as my target. That round, of course, she didn't choose the Merchant...)

Last night was the very first game we played and wife waffled me pretty good. The two player game sees each player choosing 2 roles, which works out well. I'm looking forward to playing a game with 5 or 6 people. I think this will be fun as hell.

I really wanted a clever title for this post, but since I can't make anything clever using the word and I'm feeling too shitty to try, Citadels it is!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Old King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Recent weeks have seen me plundering the remains of my Magic the Gathering collection. I sold the vast majority of it a few years ago (by vast majority, I'm referring to value, not quantity) and I've been picking the bones via both Ebay for cash, and CoolStuffInc for store credit. The cash will be largely used to toss a few pebbles into the well of debt I have, while the store credit will be used to bolster my growing board game library. At this particular moment, some of my cards are finding their way to their new owners, some of my new board games are trucking their way to Michigan and various electronic funds are sitting in stasis and waiting to be freed.

So long Magic, hello board games! My first large batch of store credit to be spent on toys will yield the following:

Jimbob, BC and I played a demo for this at Gen Con this year. It's essentially Yahtzee meets Settlers of Catan. You roll dice to see which resources you get that turn, and you spend those resources to build roads, settlements , cities and knights. Each of these are worth a certain number of points, and the player with the most points after X rounds wins. It's simple, cheap and portable.

I don't know a whole heck of a lot about this game. It's very highly rated at Boardgamegeek. It's an area control game. I like the look of the board and components (that matters to me.) The game comes with the 2 expansions bundled in the box. "El Grande" is Spanish for "The Grande."

Who hasn't dreamed of running a power company, purchasing power plants and trying to provide electricity to as many cities as possible? It's every little boy's dream come true! Seriously, the universally great reviews are enough for me to take a chance on this one.

Another highly ranked game. It involves attracting artists, bakers, lawyers, traders and other specialists to your city in a competition to make your city the most awesome. I think. It reminded me a bit of some aspects of Civilization.

Currently the top rated game on BGG. The new hotness, finally took the #1 ranking from Puerto Rico after many years. This means that lots of people love it and lots of people hate it. It's about raising a family on a farm. Supposedly there are many ways to play, several different strategies and many paths towards victory. We shall see.

Ticket to Ride:

Played this on Xbox Live and loved it. Gotta have the board game version.

An add-on to the original game, this is (as I understand it) essentially an extra map designed with 2-3 players in mind. Sounds like a winner.

A card game for 2-7 players. Each turn you draw a different role card which gives you different options and abilities. Good price, well received. We'll try it.

This was kind of an impulse choice. It's got team play (survivors vs zombies) and it looks fun. Kind of like a much simpler, much lighter Arkham Horror. I think the people I play with would like this. We'll see.

This was Phase One of trading cards for games. The second and final phase will begin as soon as my cards arrive in Florida. As an aside, most of these pictures came from Board Game Geek and were taken by people who are not me.