Posted on June 28th, 2013

Here comes the heat, get ready. We’ll be getting ready by putting the swamp cooler in the window and trying not to break any backs in the process.

Now, while the heat is somewhat new, we have nothing new to talk about in the board game world. As far as new releases go, this year is shaping up to be a bit lackluster relative to last year. The first quarter of 2013 had some great new games, like Tzolkin, CO2, Archipelago, and Terra Mystica. The second quarter is coming to a close this weekend, and I can’t even think of a true new game that stood out in the quarter.

Sure, we did finally get Hanabi, Morels, and Kings of Air and Steam on the shelf, all enjoyable games, but those games aren’t really new, just new for the brick and mortar stores. We did get some great new expansions for Marvel Legendary, Manhattan Project, and Dominion. Coming up though, besides Forbidden Desert and the Lords of Waterdeep expansion, we have very little to look forward to. Yedo, Bora Bora, Robinson Crusoe, Bruge, and Augustus are all slated for release soon, but it is honestly just impossible to know if that will actually happen.

Do not despair though, there is no lack of great games on our shelves. Tonight I’ll be diving in to the Galaxy Trucker Anniversary Edition, very excited to finally get this to the table. If you have not played Galaxy Trucker yet, you just might be missing out on a very unique experience. Stay far away if you are a Eurosnob who relies on games to boost your ego because Galaxy Trucker will not provide the therapy you need. But if you can handle some serious emotional highs and lows, and you play games to have fun rather than impress yourself or your opponents, give this wild space ship building and destroying game a try. We’ll be working on getting a rental copy available soon.

Other games we will be or have been playing include Shogun, Last Will, Lords of Waterdeep, Stronghold, and Edo.

In other news, this weekend we kick off our first Netrunner League, there may still be spots available so contact us if you are interested. This first league will run for 4 Saturdays, 1-4pm each day, and costs $10, all of which goes towards prize support.

Finally, there is still room in our summer Pathfinder camps. If you have or know of any budding heroes who may be interested, give us a call.

Stay cool everyone!

Posted on June 21st, 2013

Summer is here and the new game drought is over. Not that older games are to be ignored, but hey, we’re all human, and we love new shiny stuff. Come take a look at them today, but watch out for the electrician on the ladder installing ceiling fans, finally!

Now, a disclaimer before you read further. I am trying to make these posts both informative and fun to read, which means I can get a bit snarky for entertainment purposes. Please don’t take anything I write too seriously, and feel free to flame away in the comments section.

We have some sad news, it looks like we are going to have to reschedule the Netrunner League since we have very few signed up, and every one of those folks can’t make half the sessions. While we know that week nights would work best for all the players, it just would not be profitable for our silly little operation, so we’ll see what we can do. If you are interested at all, we can take your email and keep you posted on any developments.

Speaking of silly, I’d like to discuss an interesting little ironic tidbit. We have always been outcast from the larger Portland board gaming community because of our commitment to a family-friendly environment and product selection. Now, with our implementation of a pay-to-play punch card system for game nights, we have officially reached pariah status. Despite this status, we know more about the board game products we carry than any other store in the city, and we personally host some of the best game nights in the city. Our life would be so much easier if we just decided to be a serious game store, but we enjoy games too much to compromise, so we’re staying silly!

New Arrivals
Munchkin Legends: This is a new expansion for Munchkin, wait.. wait.. wait.. just got word, we can’t carry this new Munchkin game, its a Target exclusive, apparently a thank you gift to Target for all the hard work they’ve done promoting modern tabletop games. Hobby game shops will just have to work harder I guess.

Dominion Guilds: This is it folks, the epic deck-building franchise finally comes to a close with the release of the Guild expansion. I’m sure there will be beer mugs, keychains, and T-Shirts to keep the name alive, but apparently no more card sets will hit the shelves following this one. Love it or hate it, Dominion has had a major impact on the accelerated growth of the modern board game hobby, and it really hasn’t even hit the big box stores yet. Maybe Steve Jackson could help Rio Grande with this. Seriously though, Dominion is one of 5 older games that lead to my current profession, the other 4 are Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, and El Grande. I know, such a silly list, where’s Caylus and Puerto Rico? Oh yeah, collecting dust on my shelves.

Kings of Air and Steam: This is the latest release from Tasty Minstrel Games, perhaps one of the best publisher names ever. This baby was Kickstarted, so you probably heard a lot about it last year and have now lost all interest (part of a smart strategy by TMG, as explained here) or you already have your copy with a few extra cards and your name in the rulebook. But this game actually looks cool, essentially a steampunkish pick up and deliver game with some very interesting elements. Despite their reliance on Kickstarter, Tasty Minstrel has brought some quality products to store shelves and this looks to be no exception. We’ll have it for demo this Saturday, then it hits the rental shelf.

Finally, 3 new expansions have been released: Marvel Legendary: Dark City, Manhattan Project: Second Stage, and Spartacus: The Serpent and the Wolf.

Happy Friday everyone!

Posted on June 7th, 2013

Howdy Cloud Cappians and happy Friday. We’ve got a few new game and event announcements this week. I’m particularly excited about finally being able to announce some of the events.

First though, a brief word about the game night punch cards that went into effect last week. Believe it or not, going against the grain by charging for our game nights does not appear to be the death of our silly little operation. We do, however, want to make a small change in response to some customer feedback. In addition to the punch cards, we will offer the opportunity to pay a single event fee of $3. Also, the last Saturday of each month, which is our Meaty Game Night, will continue to be a free game night, so mark your calendars. Now let’s get to the more exciting stuff.

New Game Arrivals

Morels: Finally, finally, finally we will have this great little 2-player mushroom gathering card game in stock. Morels had quite a buzz around it about a year ago when it was available in very limited quantities only direct through the publisher. Now that the buzz is gone, the game will be hitting retail shelves. Seriously, the board game publishing biz has got to be one of the most bassackword on the planet. Anyway, If you are looking for a solid 2-player strategy game that plays in about 30 minutes, Morels is a great pick. We also highly recommend Jaipur and Pinata.

Pax Porfiriana: Here’s an interesting economic card game based on events at the US/Mexico border during the late 18th and early 19th century. The game comes from designer Phil Eklund, known for enormously long and complex games like High Frontier and Bios Megafauna. Pax, however, is a streamlined version of one of his earlier enormous games. The good press that this game is getting combined with a very small print run have resulted in very few copies in the hands of friendly local game stores, very limited.

Upcoming Events

Dads & Grads Sidewalk Sale: Assuming the weather cooperates next weekend, we’ll be slashing prices on some solid products and putting them on display out front. Come check it out if you are in town.

Netrunner League: Netrunner the card game is huge, and rightly so, it is a very satisfying and challenging game with a strong connection between its theme and its mechanics. Starting on June 29 we will host a 4-week casually competitive Netrunner League on Saturdays from 1-4pm. Seats are limited to 10 players, $10 gets you a spot, and you need to be willing to commit to the full 4 saturday sessions, though some opportunity to make up for missed sessions will be possible.

King of Tokyo Tournament, road to the nationals: Iello, the publisher of the hit game King of Tokyo, is planning a national tournament to be held at the largest US tabletop game convention, GenCon, in August. We have signed up to host a regional qualifier, so you have the chance to participate and work your way up the ladder. Seating is limited, $10 entry.

Pathfinder Camps: Back this summer are the Pathfinder Camps (Pathfinder is essentially Dungeons and Dragons), this time run by Tam the intern. Two camps will be offered, one July 9-12 and the other July 23-26, 1-5pm each day for 4 days. Campers will create characters and experience some good old fashioned tabletop adventuring. Each camp has 4 spots available and will cost $100 for the 4 days.

 

Posted on May 30th, 2013

If you don’t attend our strategy game nights, you have missed a fair bit of drama this past month as we announced our plans to begin charging gamers for our Wednesday and Saturday night gatherings. For over 2 years now we have offered some of the best board game gatherings in town for free. Twice every week we convert the entire retail space into dedicated board gaming space until midnight. A wonderful community of gamers has developed, and the attendance has exploded this year, with many nights reaching standing room only levels. This, in large part, is why we have had to reevaluate the system and figure out a way to maintain the game nights from a business perspective. We never intended to charge for playing, but we also never expected the events to reach such heights.

So this weekend, the change will officially happen, and game night attendance (as well as some other uses of our play space) will require the purchase of a Punch Card. If you want the full scoop on how it works, click here, but essentially the game nights will cost anywhere from 50 cents to $3 per night. As expected, the price of a latte is too much to pay for many, and we have already seen a significant drop in game night attendance. For those we’ve lost, we do hope you’ll come back, because, the thing is, we know we are worth it.

There, I said it, and I’ll say it again because I can’t keep it in, our game nights are awesome and we know it. But we’re not solely responsible, we have all of our supporters to thank as well. Some of those supporters received a serious trash talking at the table Wednesday night, cuz that’s how we roll, and we have a blast.

Alright, on to the Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) nominations, which were announced last week. This is a rather prestigious award, since the winner will go on to sell far more copies of their more game than they ever expected. Here’s a list of the nominees, I’ll ignore the children’s game of the year category because we will never see those games in the states, and even if we do, they will be too expensive and advanced for the United States of KinderDigitalia:

Spiel des Jahres

1. Augustus by Paolo Mori (of Libertalia fame)
2. Hanabi by Antoine Bauza (of Seven Wonders fame)
3. Qwixx by Stefen Benndorf (not all that famous)

Kennerspiel des Jahres (basically, hobby game of the year)

1. Bruges by Stefan Feld (the new Reinier Knizia)
2. Legends of Andor by Michael Menzel (best known for his art in other games)
3. The Palaces of Carrara by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling (designers of many good games)

Now I would love to comment on these games, but NONE OF THESE GAMES ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN THE US!!!!! OK, Legends of Andor was available, and I rather enjoyed the game. But seriously, when Rio Grande, Z-Man games, and other US publishers are choosing games to bring to the states, how can they miss nearly every game that ends up getting nominated for the best of the year? Instead we get overpriced crap like Cinque Terre and Ginkgopolis. I don’t want to be so harsh, but it really is just mystifying and frustrating as both a gamer and as a retailer. Luckily, all of these games are eventually going to make it to the states. But for crying out loud, if it weren’t for these awards, we gringos would never see some of the best games ever made, instead we’d be stuck with boatloads of plastic zombies, Arkham Horror expansions, and mediocre Kickstarter titles.

By the way, we are taking preorders for the Spiel nominees.

Cheers for now folks,

Posted on May 24th, 2013
The peaks of Snowdonia rise before you, encased in mist, their summits barely visible. The highest is Snowdon (Wyddfa) herself at 1,085 metres. The year is 1894, and the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited has been formed to build a branch line from Llanberis to the summit. You can scarcely believe it’s possible!

In Snowdonia players represent work gangs providing labour for the construction of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Unlike other train games you will have to excavate your way up a mountain side, as well as make and lay the track, construct viaducts and stations. All this in competition with the weather of the Welsh mountains (and the game itself)!

You may be assisted by a train (though that’s not always best) and you’ll be able to collect essential materials from the Stock Yard. You will obtain special work contracts that give you bonuses.

Can you contribute more than the other players to the magnificence of the Snowdon Mountain Railway?

Click here for more info or to place a copy on hold.

strategy

1-5

14+

2hr
Posted on May 17th, 2013

Join us and over 50 other Sellwood/Moreland business this Tuesday, May 21, for a massive community fundraiser to support our local middle school. We will be donating 15% of the total sales that day to the school, and other business will be donating percentages of sales as well. The day will start with a parade at 11am, check out the facebook page for route details and get ready for some celebrating!