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,
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?
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!
Terra Mystica is a game with very little luck that rewards strategic planning. Each player governs one of the 14 groups. With subtlety and craft, the player must attempt to rule as great an area as possible and to develop that group’s skills. There are also four religious cults in which you can progress. To do all that, each group has special skills and abilities.
Taking turns, the players execute their actions on the resources they have at their disposal. Different buildings allow players to develop different resources. Dwellings allow for more workers. Trading houses allow players to make money. Strongholds unlock a group’s special ability, and temples allow you to develop religion and your terraforming and seafaring skills. Buildings can be upgraded: Dwellings can be developed into trading houses; trading houses can be developed into strongholds or temples; one temple can be upgraded to become a sanctuary. Each group must also develop its terraforming skill and its skill with boats to use the rivers. The groups in question, along with their home landscape, are:
Desert (Fakirs, Nomads)
Plains (Halflings, Cultists)
Swamp (Alchemists, Darklings)
Lake (Mermaids, Swarmlings)
Forest (Witches, Auren)
Mountain (Dwarves, Engineers)
Solitude (Giants, Chaos Magicians)
Proximity to other groups is a double-edged sword in Terra Mystica. Being close to other groups gives you extra power, but it also means that expanding is more difficult…
Well, the slow creep through the second quarter continues. We have one new arrival of note, though a few very interesting ones snuck out after we placed our orders, so expect to see those next week. Enjoy that fine weather, and if you need your fixes for gaming and sun combined, we don’t recommend games with paper money or lightweight cards.
Tomorrow at 4pm is our Meaty Game Day, This event may involve actual meat at some point, but right now it is simply a time to gather and play some heavier, longer games.
Settlers of Catan Explorers and Pirates: This is the fourth major expansion for the world-renowned Catan board game. Explorers and Pirates combines multiple elements from the three previous expansions, but adds some much needed thematic flavor to the game. With a mix of scenarios and missions, you will have the opportunity to leave the main island with your ships to explore other islands, and on the way you can harvest fish, trade spices, and have a run-in with pirates or perhaps loot their hidden lairs. From the sound of it, this may be the only expansion you need, and though we have not played Catan in many moons, this expansion is getting us excited.
We’ve edged into the second quarter with lots of very good games from the first quarter. Here’s a quick recap of some of our favorite favorite recent plays: Archipelago, Co2, Keyflower, Tzolkin, Myrmes, Arctic Scavengers, Batman Gotham City, and Fantastiqa. The entire second quarter will be a great time to try some of these out since new releases turtle until the US convention season in third quarter. Check the rental shelf for some of these, with more to come soon.
One piece of big news for the 3 loyal fans reading this, our Strategy Game Gatherings on Wednesday and Saturday nights will no longer be entirely free of charge. We hate to do it, but both of our weekly game nights have reached capacity (with a great group of gamers mind you), and we need to cover our increased costs. Full details will be released at our game nights and on our web page this week, so stay tuned. Formal complaints can be filed with the management, in person, just step into our office (though you may want to make a perception check first. CLICK!).
Before I mention the single new release we received this week, I want to remind everyone to get on down to the Cloud on May 5 for our Jaipur tournament. This great little card game is easy to learn and lots of fun, so if you have not played it yet stop on by for a lesson.
Race to Adventure: This is pulp action adventure in a small package, picture the classic Indiana Jones theme but with talking apes. You want to be the first to race around the globe while visiting exotic locations to complete missions find danger. The rich theme, easy rules and shorter playtime make this a great casual and family game.
Cheers everyone and stay dry this weekend!