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.
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!
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.
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.
Well we’ve got a lull in the new game releases thank goodness. Way too many good games have been released lately and publishers need to give us all some time to play them. So with no new games to highlight, I thought I would just mention some of my game group’s favorites from 2012. These are games frequently hit our table this past year, and will continue to do so in 2013, these are the keepers.
But, before I get to the games, I want to mention a few upcoming events. First is our big Lords of Waterdeep Tournament this Sunday at 1pm. The tournament is now full with 20 people, and the grand prize is a $100 gift certificate. The place should get pretty hot with all the burning minds. The other event we are excited about is the Hot Cocoa PJ Party on Sunday, February 24. We and Blue Kangaroo are sponsoring this fundraiser to send the Llewellyn 4th grade class into the woods for an overnighter on the Oregon Trail. Sounds awesome, anyone want to sponsor me going with them?
Alrighty, here are the keepers, in no particular order:
Descent 2nd edition: Irrefutably the best tactical dungeon crawl on the market with an endless amount of replay. Now for rent too. I have not been able to play this one nearly as much as I would like.
Edo: We dove into this one late in the year and are thoroughly enjoying the mix of worker placement and spatial elements. Highly recommended for a rich 90 minute euro.
Escape from the Temple Curse: This timed cooperative dice-roll temple exploration game is such a refresher, a perfect start to a gaming evening.
7 Wonders Cities: Though I can no longer do well at this game, I still love it, and we play it a lot! We always play with both the Leaders and Cities expansions for a richer experience. Hard to argue with this game winning the Spiel des Jahres award.
Lords of Waterdeep: By far the best game actually released in 2012. This is an efficient euro-style worker placement game that nearly anyone can play and enjoy, over and over.
CO2: This game claims to be a 2012 release, for those 12 people who received it I guess it was. We have only played it once, and we messed up some rules, but we cannot get this beauty out of our heads.
Those are our 2012 favorites. Far more games actually hit our table from prior years though, here are some our our frequent plays:
Last Will: While we did not pick this one up until 2012, it’s listed release was 2011. Anyway, a fun and light experience with a great theme, lose all your money. If you aren’t too much of a euro-snob this game is well worth multiple plays to explore different paths.
Merchants & Marauders: A bit fiddly at times, but still one of the most satisfying piratey experiences.
Le Havre: In our opinion, this is Uwe Rosenberg’s masterpiece, and perhaps our group’s favorite overall game. Ridiculously tight and brain-burning, Uwe will have a hard time topping this baby. He tried with Ora & Labora, but between the tiny cards and impossibility of knowing where you stand in relation to other players until the game is over, we cried through a few plays before dumping it. Ora & Labora is still a great game, but a bit of a mess when compared to le Havre.
And so the second month of the new year begins, and the gaming hobby continues to thrive. One of the new games this month, Copycat, got me thinking about the hobby as a whole, and how wonderful it is. There was a time when folks had to pay military personnel to bring copies of Settlers of Catan back to the states from overseas. But now look at us, last month alone we had about 10 great new games hit the shelves, and this week I have 2 new games and a few expansions taunting me on our new release table. The hobby is healthy folks. We honestly have too many good games now, I want to play them all and just can’t. Part of me wants it all to slow down but most of me loves the newness and the variety.
I’m honestly very grateful for way the gaming hobby allows me to satisfy my desire for both social interaction and mental challenge. Those $50 copies of Lords of Waterdeep and Last Will have yielded so many hours of pure awesome, thankfully saving from numbing my skull while staring at a movie screen or bla-bla-ing at a bar or restaurant until my ears hurt. I hope all of you are enjoying your games as much as I am.
For some though, the gaming hobby is rather frustrating. Because of our game nights, I have a relatively stable group of gamers to play with. But without a group to play with, a love of games can practically drive you mad. I know, I was once there. Now I’m seeing many who were like myself: guys mostly, who love modern board games far more than there loving partners or friends ever will and go a bit nuts because they cannot find people to play with. This is where movies and bla-bla-ing at a bar are far less frustrating hobbies, you can always find folks to do these with. So if you are one of the lost souls in love with games but without an outlet, have hope, and join us at a game night. Our hobby is great and growing; You are definitely not alone!
CO2: Boy have I been hearing enticing things about this game involving managing an energy company that is responding to the government’s requests for green power plants to stop the potentially fatal increase in greenhouse gases. Sure, its a contentious political theme, and we all have our opinions on it, but I could care less because it sounds like such a great game. While it is an economic game at heart, 2 elements intrigue me. First, everyone can lose if the global CO2 levels rise too high. Second, power plant projects are not privately owned but are group efforts. Both of these elements create interactive tensions not typically found in European style games. Looking forward to trying this one, just have to get through the rules first. Oh, almost forgot to mention that the artwork is rather captivating.
Copycat: Designer Friedeman Friese, of Power Grid fame (which is now on the rental shelf by the way), has given us a game that pays homage to our wonderful hobby by combining elements from many of our most cherished games. So what we’ve got here is a deck-building, worker-placement, drafting race game with obvious nods to games like Agricola, Dominion, and Puerto Rico. Looking forward to playing this one.
Innovation, Figures in the Sand Expansion: Innovation is a wonderful card game by the designer of the now classic Glory to Rome. Innovation is a challenging game to describe. You are essentially playing out cards in front of you and trying to execute their effects to score points and game-winning achievements. Of course, every card is unique, and the joy of the game comes from tactical decisions that create incredible card combinations to drive your opponents mad as they attempt to break your point-amassing engine. Figures in the Sand, the second expansion to Innovation, includes figures cards that represent famous historical characters who change the rules but get sent to your score pile as other figures take their place in history. Look for it in the snazzy green box.
Mansions of Madness, Call of the Wild expansion: This is a huge expansion for the great one versus many horror game, Mansions of Madness. Customer Randal ran an impressive game of this last saturday, complete with aged and burned dossier papers for the investigators. That’s how this game was meant to be played. This expansion is a serious reboot, with new scenarios focused on the hideous woods behind the mansion, new allies that can help you or be driven insane and turned against you, and new ways for the mansion keeper to thwart the plans of the investigators.
Oh yeah, the new Magic set goes on sale today, but if you are in to Magic, I don’t think I needed to tell you that.