Posted on March 22nd, 2013

Alright everyone, the dark pensive months are behind us and the exuberant ones are just ahead. Time to start thinking about those tan lines, though I think I’ll be worrying more about my fly line. Its also time to start prepping for gaming on our back deck. We’re working on getting things ready back there, we hope to have a new table or two soon.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, the northwest’s largest game convention, Gamestorm, is happening now through Sunday. I poo-poo’d the event this year thinking that I already had plenty of games to play with plenty of people. We went last night though and now I’m strategizing my moves for returning as often as possible this weekend.

Gamestorm, unlike other conventions, is entirely about game playing, and the energy of hundreds of passionate gamers is very contagious. For an entire weekend we gamers get to be the dorks we truly are, but unlike the comic cons and such, the costumes stay at home and the focus remains on the games and the players. Unabashed gamer geekiness, and surprisingly funk free. We ended up playing a game of Keyflower that took far longer than it should have, mainly because we were socializing quite a bit during the game. I highly recommend checking it out.

And now, the new games. For starters, the new data pack, a Study in Static, is now available for the incredibly hot Netrunner card game. Budget well because we’ve got some good ones this week.

Keyflower: The Key series garners a ton of respect from gamers. Keyflower is the latest in the series by Richard Breese. The game is essentially a worker placement game, but with the added bonus that you can bid to acquire the action spaces. Those action spaces are also hexagonal tiles that, once acquired, you’ll be placing in your own little plot of land, trying to maximize your spatial advantages. The choices in this game can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but the game is not all that complicated and the choices offer that puzzly type of fun that most worker placement games do.

Zpocalypse: Zombie games typically involve lots of cool plastic but no real game mechanics. Zpocalypse goes the other route. Sure, its got some minis, but they’re nothing to rave about. What it does offer is a refreshing change from the mindless assault of mindless zombies. In Zpocalypse you get a bit of resource management as you collect food, bullets, and salvage that you can spend to build fortifications or trade to your competitors. All-in-all, this game is far more tactical than other zombie games without sacrificing the story elements.

Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game: Remember Quarriors, the darling of the 2011 GenCon that turned out to be truly a random dicefest? Still fun, but not what a lot of gamers had hoped for. Well, now you can get your Quarriors with a Lord of the Rings skin. At least you won’t have to add Qua to the beginning of every darn word now.

Batman Gotham City: From the designer of the fantastic card game, Libertalia, comes this very interesting take on an area control game. In this one, you’ll play as one of the villians from the comic books, but you’ll get the chance to send Batman after your opponents as you battle for control of Gotham.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted on March 15th, 2013

Short and sweet today folks, running way behind. I want to quickly mention the Tabletop Game Day again, we’ll be running hourly short games with prizes and having a pizza party in the evening. Should be a blast and we have some awesome customers who have agreed to help out with the event, all for the love of games.

As for new arrivals, back in stock is the great little card game Love Letter, one of the huge hits from the big game convention in Essen, Germany. Love Letter is perhaps the best bit of fun you’ll have with just 16 cards. Also back in stock are the first two Netrunner Data Packs, and the Study in Static pack should be here next Thursday. The first expansion pack for the Star Wars Living Card Game, the Desolation of Hoth, also arrived today, should be a fun trip to the snow planet.

Both Keyflower and Zpocaplyse should have been here today, but due to some late shipping to the distributor no one on the west coast will have these babies until next week, so more on those great looking games when they arrive. Game Salute publishes both of these fine games, and despite the shipping issue, we love Game Salute because they absolutely won’t provide their games to online retailers who deep discount, which hurts the publisher’s  bottom line and discourages game shops from carrying the games.

Now I know I said I wouldn’t rant anymore about online shoppers, but what follows is not so much a rant as it is an explanation. On the boardgamegeek forums, Game Salute has been getting a lot of flak for their decision to restrict sales to brick and mortar stores, mainly by people who just hate paying full price for games, but also by some who either do not have local stores or do not like their local stores. In fact most bgg users refuse to support their local stores because most of them are musky Magic the Gathering dens. What Game Salute wants to do is change this and help stores like us profit off board games and thereby create incentives for stores to support board game players.

Magic players support their local stores by purchasing products from them and happily paying fees to play, board gamers tend to use a store’s play space for free then buy their games online. This is why most game stores offer more support for their Magic players than their board gamers, and why most game stores are not board gamer friendly. We set out to be different, and the Game Salute model helps. If their model were more prevalent, board gamers would find a lot more stores meeting their needs.

Now, go forth and game!

Posted on March 8th, 2013

Spring is definitely here, we just filled a can full of yard clippings that was only a fraction of the jungle we call a yard, and the birds are in full swooning song mode. Soon we’ll be able to bust out the board games on the back patio! Enjoy this great weekend folks!

If you haven’t yet heard, we are excited to be hosting an International TableTop Game day at the shop on March 30 from noon-10pm. Now another big game store in town is listed as a premier event location while we are just a regular old event. Don’t believe it, what it means is that we paid less, so we’ll have less signage but a better event! Check out our mini-tournament schedule and jump into one for some swag. Stay tuned to our facebook page for more event updates. We may not have every board game ever made, but we still have most of the great ones, and we actually play what we have on the shelves! We’re hoping that if you don’t already know this, Tabletop day will be a great chance to have it firmly set in your mind. If anyone would like to help us run demos that saturday, or has any other great activity ideas, we would love to hear from you.

We’ve got a few new releases this week as well as a few re-releases. Perhaps the biggest news is the return of King of Tokyo to our shelves, if you want one, grab it now, it will be gone for another 6 months to a year once is goes out of stock. The light and fun card game, Smash Up, is also finally back in stock, and we will be working on getting a rental copy available. And before I get on to the new games, I just have to plug CO2 again, it is a work of art in many ways. Alrighty, here are the new arrivals:

 
Police Precinct: If you listen to some of the big board game podcasts, you have probably heard a lot about this one. It is getting a ton of play and positive response from the reviewers and folks attending the TotalCon gaming convention in Massachusetts. This is a cooperative crime-fighting game. You and your fellow badges will be traveling around town collecting evidence to solve the big crime, but at the same time you’ll need to respond to random crimes plaguing the city. What excites me most is the opportunity to play the game in semi-cooperative mode where one player is secretly a corrupt cop working for the crime lords.

Ghooost: The man who brought us Magic the Gathering, but more importantly also brought us Netrunner and King of Tokyo, has a new game for kids, families, and casual groups. I am underestimating this game, just as I did with King of Tokyo, so perhaps another big surprise awaits me. In Ghooost you are essentially trying to rid your hand and your house of all ghost cards by sending them to the cemetary pile via Uno-style play mechanics. Just like King of Tokyo, this games looks to have very simple rules and choices that create interesting interactions, and its got great artwork too.

Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginner Box: This came out last fall but apparently I missed it because I was awaiting the release of the main rulebooks. This looks like a fantastic roleplaying system, and we all know the setting is top notch. In the beginner box you get an abbreviated rulebook and a learn-as-you-go adventure, complete with pregenerated charactars, maps, and custom dice. Besides the setting, this system has a very enticing set of combat rules that encourage much more than the ‘hit or miss’ that can plague other systems.

Posted on March 1st, 2013

We’ve got another light new release week, and things should be calming down in general for the next few months.

We want to thank everyone who came to the shop to support the Llewellyn 4th grade class this Sunday. The day was such a huge success that we decided to double our donation. Despite my mild nuttiness over the sheer number of young ones in the shop, it was great to see so many people enjoying the shop, both at the game tables and just socializing in the space. Days like Sunday remind us of why we created Cloud Cap in the style that we did, it is a rare kind of crowd to see at a game store. But man was that a lot of kids!

A bit of bad news/good news to announce. The last Saturday in March will not be a meaty game day, in fact it may be quite the opposite because we will be hosting an International Tabletop Game Day at our shop. For those not familiar with the Tabletop show, it is a webcast starring everyone’s favorite Star Trek actor, Wil Wheaton. On the show, Wil invites other geeky stars to play games with him, and does a great job of explaining how the game works in the process. Well the show is now promoting an International Game Day and we will be taking part. So come on by the shop on March 30 to experience some of the favorite games featured on Tabletop. We will still be hosting our regular game gathering starting at 6pm, just don’t show up at 4pm expecting to plop down that 6 hour beast because the tables may be full, but there will still be fun to be had.

Alrighty, here are the new arrivals of note.

Ground Floor: Ever want to build your own corporate tower from the ground up? Now you can. Tasty Minstrel has created a nifty game where players compete to establish the most productive and profitable corporate tower. You won’t see too many new and exciting mechanics in Ground Floor, but the mesh between theme and mechanics works very well. As an added bonus, when you add a floor to your tower, you actually add a nifty piece of cardboard to your personal board, so the feeling of building something from the ground up really shines through. This is another kickstarter darling, so you may have seen copies of this baby floating around already.

 

Star Wars X-Wing, Slave 1 expansion: We don’t have any Millenium Falcon’s left, but Boba Fett is still here with his feared bounty hunting ship. I gotta say, I am impressed with the quality of the mini, and I sure wish I still had my awesome Boba Fett action figure to sit by my side.

That’s all, have a great weekend everyone!

Posted on February 22nd, 2013

Get ready for a wet one, and maybe wax up those skis and snowboards. Personally, I’m waiting for a few more warm days to spur some bug hatches on the river, but snow in the hills is always awesome.

The weather is of course perfect for gaming though. My game group has been playing a lot of new games lately, and we’ve finally decided to stop playing new ones and just keep replaying the ones we have already, as well as all of the great games we’ve been playing for some time now. Every game group is different. for us, Archipelago, CO2, Suburbia, Edo, and Myrmes are new games that top the keep on playing many times list. This obviously puts my group strongly in the Eurogame category as far as taste. Personally, I would occasionally like to throw a good Amerifun game in the mix, but time constraints prohibit this because most great American-style games are ridiculously long. Apparently we gringos are only efficient when it comes to work and want our play to be epic.

Lucky for me, at our public game nights a whole host of different game styles are played. This past Wednesday we witnessed an epic RuneWars game with massive amounts of Amerifun spread all over the table. In the same room, Betrayal at House on the Hill was happening, a classic American game just oozing with theme and randomness. Plenty of Euros were on the tables as well, but its great to see the variety and occasionally get to jump into an epic Amerigame. Happy Friday everyone!

New Game Highlights

Runewars, revised edition: We finally have this one, now in a more shelf friendly box. Nothing too unexpected here, a full on fantasy war game with lots of twists and turns, and truly awesome minis!

Kemet: From the publisher that brought us the fantastic game, Cyclades, comes this in-your-face Egyptian mythology war game. But this is not some crazy Fantasy Flight 6 hour epic, about 2 hours is all you need to duke it out in Kemet. While the emphasis is on attacking, Kemet also has worker placement elements, upgrade options, and card-driven combat. Like Cyclades, the component quality is display worthy, every army is unique, and the monsters are impressively sculpted. Unlike Cyclades though, once you’ve earned the right to recruit a monster, its yours to use for the rest of the game to make the opponent’s little plastic men tremble!

Skyline: OK, this light dice-rolling game looks like a lot of fun, but I have now fallen asleep trying to watch 2 different videos on how to play the game. Maybe its time to start doing my own videos, because it should not take 15 minutes to explain a 20 minute game. Anyway, This game has some cool custom dice with parts of skyscrapers on them, and you are using dice combinations to actually construct buildings for points. Its really that simple dorky video review guys, and I really want to play it despite your Ambien versions of how to play!

Defenders of the Realm, Battlefields: From the man who brought us the Arkham Horror comes this interesting two-sided duel that looks a tad like Lost Cities if Reiner Knizia had designed it after his first Dungeons and Dragons experience, then invited the original D&D artist Larry Elmore to his design party. With a mix of tactical card play and good-old fashioned dice rolling, each side is attempting to be the victor at different battlefields. This is one of those strange games that advertises 2-4 players, but is really designed for 2 players.

Other new releases for the week are the solo expansion to Archipelago, an expansion for Mage Wars, and the Hobbit on the Doorstep expansion for the Lord of the Rings Card Game.

 

Posted on February 15th, 2013

Where last week was a new release void, this week is a small downpour. It has been quite a chore getting all these puppies by the weekend. One thing I think every board game store will gripe about is the absolutely haphazard fashion in which games are released. Most games arrive in East coast warehouses first, which means that online retailers generally announce that they have copies in stock, which drives customers into stores across the nation.

Out West, it is not always a guarantee that we’ll have copies on the shelves even the week it is released since we have to wait for distributor shipments to work their way across the country. Our normal ship time is 2 days, so if a product hits a supplier on a Thursday, we have no chance at receiving it by the weekend without spending all of our profit on rapid shipping. Not all publishers are smart about this and send product to distributors on fridays, which leads to lots of customers over a weekend who think we are a jenky game store because the game has been officially released and we do not have it.

I also work now with 3 major distributors, all of whom receive their products at different warehouses at different times. Mice and Mystics, for example, arrived at one supplier on Monday, while it is just now arriving at the other 2. I had my preorders with those other 2 guys, which I will now have to cancel because I grabbed copies from the other guy to get them earlier.

I know, it sounds like I’m whining, sorry. I still love my job and love helping y’all with your games. Playing them is still far better than ordering them. So on to the new ones, and in honor of the fellow who introduced me to this fine game, we’ll start with a reprint of a hidden gem. Cheers everyone and happy gaming.

Maria: A not so complex but lengthy war game played with a deck of cards. Combat consists of playing cards suited to match the region of the battle, which sets up some interesting tactics, for example staging a smaller attack in a minor region to drain your opponent of particular suits. There is a lot of history behind this game that I know very little about, but play this puppy with Tye and you can learn all about it. Thanks Tye for lassoing me into this game.

 

Suburbia: Finally, a competitive SimCity style board game. While I was initially displeased with the fact that each player is developing their own city, my smile turned upside down when I discovered that you can build your city to profit from the strategy of others. This game looks to have lots of variety, and even has a solo option.

 

Netrunner, Cyber Exodus: Data Pack 3 is here, and for those who know and love the Netrunner Living Card Game, this pack needs no explanation. Grab ’em while we got ’em.

Tokaido: I’ve been on the lookout for the release of a lot of new games since the big European game show in Essen, but Tokaido completely fell under my radar until I noticed that my supplier numbers were declining rapidly. I was able to grab some copies at the last minute, but know very little about the game. It looks pretty and has a very Zen atmosphere, its also designed by Antoine Bauza, of 7 Wonders fame.

Tammany Hall: A reprint of an older game that was funded on Kickstarter, so if you wanted it you probably have it already. This game does sound awesome though if you love negotiating and backstabbing.

Mice and Mystics: This now popular storytelling adventure board game is finally back. Great for families with simple rules and well written story elements. Get these while they are here as well, they’ll be gone until Christmas most likely.