Posted on January 25th, 2013

Finally, a week without any major new releases! There were a few minor ones, such as the expansion for the 2-player Agricola game and an expansion for Innovation (which I won’t have until next week unfortunately). But the major new release calendar is a bit dry until spring, so it is time to finally play all the great ones that were released in the past month.

This week I had the opportunity to play a few of those recent releases. I already praised Tzolk’in here. I should mention though that the game can cause some serious analysis paralysis, so beware. This means I will not be playing it with my game group, one of our members can get seriously locked up with too many choices available. We would love to rent this game, but the fragility of the components makes it tricky, perhaps it is one for the top shelf when we get that going. I also played a game of Myrmes, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite making a fatal early game flaw and getting trounced by the red ants. And then there is Space Cadets, a refreshing cooperative experience, but not a game to start at 10:30pm, it is a long one.

One thing I did finally get to this week was setting up a meetup group for you, the Cloud Cap Gamers. The boardgamegeek guild worked OK, but the inability for members to get email reminders or even emails about new announcements makes it nearly useless. With the meetup group, anyone can post an announcement and emails will get sent to all members. This will allow all of you who want to schedule any type of game during normal shop hours to do so with a great chance at filling a table. If you have not done so already, and you are looking to find players for your games, I encourage you to sign up for this group.

For all of you used game shoppers, we have had a small flood of games come in recently, here’s the list of what is currently new on the shelf: Runebound, Legends of Andor, Castle Ravenloft, Lord of the Rings Living Card Game, Carcassonne, Carcassonne the Discovery, Forbidden Island (new but dented copies), Catan Traders and Barbarians, Catan Seafarers, Settlers of Catan, Star Wars X-Wing, Classic Risk.

That’s about it, time to get back to work. Remember that it is Meaty Game Day tomorrow, and it sounds like we may also be getting a good Netrunner turnout. Should be a packed house, so expect some sweaty windows!

Cheers everyone!

Posted on January 24th, 2013

Well I finally got a chance to play Tzolk’in last night, one the new hot games from the world’s largest tabletop game convention in Essen, Germany. When I first heard about this game I quickly forgot about it because the board was covered in gears that looked to be a gimmicky trick to disguise a crappy game. When the game hit the demo tables in Essen, folks went crazy, not just for the gears, but for the honest to goodness great game that the gears brought to life.

Tzolk’in is a fairly typical euro-style worker placement board game in the sense that you are sending workers out to gather resources, construct buildings, or perform other actions with the ultimate goal of acquiring heaps of victory points. What sets Tzolk’in apart is of course the gear mechanism, which forces you to plan ahead as your worker rides around the gear, and it can take several turns before it is at the right spot to remove it and perform the desired action. This requires a fair bit of planning to get the timing right when your workers are moving along different gears, and the actions on some gears are necessary before you can perform actions on others. While this planning is challenging, it is also a ton of fun, and the execution of it all is so simple that you can focus on the strategy rather than the rules.

As with any great euro, Tzolk’in also offers a variety of paths to victory. Points can be earned by constructing buildings or monuments, advancing along different technology tracks, working on 3 different temples, converting resources, and making sacrifices to different gods. As for buildings and monuments, no two games will have identical sets on offer, providing variety to replays. Each player also starts with a unique and somewhat randomly determined set of resources, adding even more replay value.

While I am a fan of both euro-style and Amerifun games, I am not a fan of blandness in theme and presentation (Dominion and Kingdom Builder are exceptions there). Caylus, for example, is heralded as a masterpiece, but lordy what a drab bit of work that game is. I feel that Tzolk’in is a tight and well-built euro with flavorful theme and artwork. The unique mechanisms and strategic variety leave me hungry for more play. If you like your mid-weight euros, I can highly recommend Tzolk’in.

Posted on January 18th, 2013

Is everyone gearing up to watch the Sellwood bridge move to a new home tomorrow? Actually, I don’t think it will happen that fast, sounds like it will take about the same time as an Axis & Allies game.

Meanwhile, we will be sitting here surrounded by games and a ghost town neighborhood. This means I will have plenty of time to play some games with customers tomorrow. I’m already planning on a demo of Myrmes at 2pm, and how about Tzolk’in at 4pm? Come on by if you are interested. I would also love to get a game of Mage Knight in with the expansion on Sunday, any takers?

The other big news is our upcoming Lords of Waterdeep tournament on Sunday, February 10 at 1pm. We already have 12 people signed up and we will be topping out at 16 people, this is without any real promotion outside of this newsletter and facebook. So with 4 spots left you had best sign up fast if you want a seat.

We have one new game this week, Tzolk’in, one of the huge hits of the big board game convention in Essen, Germany. I was getting a zillion requests for the game 2 months ago but am seeing no interest currently, so either the game blows or everyone pulled the trigger online and received their copies on Wednesday already. Regardless, we have big beautiful copies of the game and should have a demo copy this weekend. The trick with this worker placement game is the big set of gears on the board and the idea that your worker will travel around with the turning of the gears, changing the actions it can perform as it goes.

Alright, time to get off my fanny and dust off some shelves. Have a great weekend whichever side of the bridge you are on!

Posted on January 11th, 2013

Here we go, the first full update of 2013, and lots to report, so let’s jump right in.

First, an update on the games Tzolkin by Rio Grande Games and CO2 by Stronghold Games, two very exciting games that were technically released in 2012 although we never had our greedy hands on copies. It seems that both of these games were sent in small batches to distributors and some online retailers primarily to say the game was out in 2012. Why? To be eligible for 2012 awards. We are hoping that these publishers are also interested in making money off these games in the states, so expect a larger release later this quarter, possibly in a few weeks. We won’t know when the games are coming until the Monday of the week they hit. So, if you want to lock in a copy of either of these at our preorder discount, let us know. We’ve got our numbers in at the distributors, but those may not be enough, so a preorder with us is a great way to guarantee a copy and get a significant price break.

Now for some seriously exciting news, we will be hosting a Lords of Waterdeep tournament on Sunday, February 10 starting at 1pm. More details are coming, but signups are starting now, so stop on by and reserve a seat. We are hoping to make this the first in a series of tournaments this year with some sweet door prizes and very enticing grand prizes.

In other events news, just wanted to restate that we are encouraging LCG players to attend the saturday night game gatherings. We’ve got a few Lord of the Rings, Netrunner, and now Star Wars players looking to play these great games. The more the merrier I say. We are also going to try and grab some of the promo packs Fantasy Flight will be offering soon and use them for special events and possibly even tournaments if we get enough players.

For the start of 2013 we are working on some turnover on the rental shelf. This week we have added a few new games and trimmed off others. I’ve listed the changes at the bottom of the post. In addition to the regular rentals, we are working on a set of “Top Shelf” games, basically bigger games. Look for those soon and send us any titles you would like us to consider.

OK, on to the new games,and there are a ton, so nestle in:

Mage Knight Lost Legion: Mage Knight expansion, enough said. OK, maybe not enough said about the game I’ve waited for all my life. This game is in the top 10 on boardgamegeek for good reason, and it is designer Vlaada Chvatil’s 2nd game in the top 10. Go Vlaada. The only other designer to have 2 games in the top 10 is my other favorite designer, Uwe Rosenburg, with Agricola and Le Havre.

Netrunner Trace Amount Data Pack: The game that is currently ranked just above Mage Knight at BGG is Richard Garfield’s Netrunner Card Game, and later today we will have the second data pack available. For those who like deep and intricate card games, Netrunner is a winner and with two data packs available already it is a good time to jump in if you have not already. Try renting this one if you are not sure.

Myrmes: A deep strategic game about ant colonizing, I’m all in. Something about ant colonies as a theme for a game just sounds awesome, and the fact that this could be a rich experience makes it even better. I spent many hours as a child playing SimAnt on my PC, one of my most memorable surprise Christmas presents. In this game You’ve got all the ant trappings: Queens, larvae, workers, soldiers, pheromone trails, and resource management. Check out that box art too, so good.

Ladies of Troyes: Troyes is a great worker placement style game where your dice determine the actions you can perform. You can also buy your opponents dice to ehlp out or just be a punk, so much more interaction than you normally find in a eurogame. Now we get the chance to inject a little femininity into the game, always a plus.

Ginkopolis: Have not had chance to really look into this game. Sounds like it has a bit of a Kingdom Builder style area control thing going on. Sounds fun and it gets some high ratings, we’ll see how it plays out. Apparently it even has a solo variant. Ginkos are just cool too.

Guildhall: A surprise release by AEG at Essen, this little card game in a big box with a scary pig herder on the front is receiving surprisingly favorable reviews.

Archipelago: We had a few copies of this before Christmas and now have it back. This baby is tickling my big beautiful civ-type game acquisition disorder. Some say it trumps Clash of Cultures, the big Z-Man release that everyone is buying exclusively online. Maybe you’ll have to use all that money you didn’t really save to grab a copy of Archipelago. Oh, and when you bring that sweet online copy to play at your local game store, give a smile to the guy cleaning your bathroom and taking care of your trash, that should be enough. Sorry, my evil alter ego just broke free. Its so much fun but I’ve really got to stop. It just feels like beating up the poor scrawny kid in the schoolyard. Yeah, I was that scrawny kid. OK, new resolution, no more jabs at online shoppers who use game store resources.

Spartacus: This is a game based on the STARZ original series by the same name, so naturally I expected it to blow and did not pick up any copies when it first came out (what the heck is STARZ anyway?). Turns out though that a lot of reviewers are loving this game, a lot. So now we have it in all of its sexy sweaty shirtless guy glory.

Zombicide: Love Zombies? Love cool miniatures? This big baby is for you then.

 

New Rentals: Star Wars LCG, Stone Age, Tobabgo, Ticket to Ride US (finally), and many more to come next week.

Used Games: Nightfall, Candamir the First Settlers of Catan, Save Dr. Lucky, Charon Inc., Diceafari, Pizza Theory, Pentago, Risk + Castle Risk, classic Stratego, classic Battleship.

 

EVENTS

Saturday Strategy Gathering, 6-10pm: Same great game night style, now more palatable for the weekday workers. Check out our guild forum for planned games, to reserve a seat, or recruit for a game of your own.

Friday Afternoon Magic (Friday, 4-6pm): Bring your cards for playing and trading. We want to work our way toward Core level so we can run official prerelease events and tournaments, so bring some friends!

Pokemon League (Saturday, 10am-Noon): Trade and play and earn some free cards and badges. Unfortunately, Pokemon USA has stopped sending promo cards, so we will now charge $3 per day per person to maintain prize support. Fortunately, this will result in everyone getting much better prize cards.

Family Game Gathering (Sunday, Noon-6pm): Sunday is family game day, arrive when you want and test drive some games from our demo library. Do not be shy about asking us to teach you a new one.

 

Posted on January 8th, 2013

Hey everyone, may have noticed that I skipped the last weekly update. Between counting every game left on the shelf after the holidays, then restocking those same shelves, the update completely slipped my mind. You really didn’t miss too much except my ranting though. Anyway, here are a few new product updates you may be interested in:

** A limited number of the Mage Knight Lost Legion expansion will be in the shop this Wednesday, and we will try to get more by the weekend.

** Tzolkin may or may not hit shelves before the next predicted end of the world date. Rio Grande Games released a very limited amount to distribution warehouses on the east coast, and most of those went straight to online retailers. Just another addition to the growing list of kidney punches that publishers are delivering to brick and mortar stores. We are hoping to have some by the end of the month, but that prediction is about as reliable as the Mayan Calendar prediction that the game is based on.

Alrighty, more on Friday . . . .

Posted on December 28th, 2012

Well we are once again in that sweet spot between Christmas and New Years, a time of calm and relaxation for most it seems. We are still working our tails off though, trying to get the shelves somewhat restocked after the busy season. Thanks once again to all of you for choosing us over the many other options available, and we hope you are enjoying your new toys!

I had an experience yesterday morning that reminded me of what we offer that no other game seller in Portland offers. Two young ladies came in just after I opened the doors, along with a few other customers, so a busy morning. They had in their hands an unopened copy of Escape, I assumed they had come to return it. But no, they asked if I wouldn’t mind teaching them how to play their wonderful gift. I happily agreed, and so for about the next 30 minutes I taught them the game in 5 minute intervals between customers and phone calls. They were extremely patient, and ready to go when I hit play on the soundtrack. Two rounds later they thanked me and left with smiles on their faces. Everyone made out grand on this visit, I got to see the joy of young ones experiencing something entirely new and thrilling, they got to go home where I hope they will rope some family members into the game.

Now we do not mark up our prices, we charge MSRP for our hobby game products, and we do the best we can with Hasbro and Mattel products. Those young ladies could have acquired their gift for about 20% off if their family had shopped online. Instead, they received something much greater than saving the cash equivalent of 3 lattes. Thanks to all of you smart enough to shop with us instead of online. If you do the math, online shopping saves you very little, and does very little to support the hobby.

No new games this week surprisingly. Two long awaited titles, Tzolkin and the expansion for Mage Knight, will not hit our shelves for a few more weeks. We did finally receive our copies of the new Star Wars Living Card Game and Legends of Andor, so check those out.

As for the Star Wars Card game, Chris and I cracked his copy open this past Wednesday night, and after two hours had finished a game from scratch. Our opinion: an incredible achievement from Fantasy Flight. I have played about half of their Living Card Games (LCGs) now, and they have all been fantastic, with the Lord of the Rings topping my favorites list. LCGs play a bit like collectible card games, such as Magic and Pokemon. First, you assemble a customized deck of 60 or so cards, then you play the game. With collectible card games though, most of the enjoyment comes from collecting the cards and assembling the decks, once this is done, you deck sort of plays itself and you have very limited choices to make during the game. With Living card games, playing the game outshines the deck-building because Fantasy Flight does not have to worry about the collecting aspect and can invest much more time on game design. The Star Wars LCG is a fine example of this strong design. Your hand of cards does not just play itself, every turn requires challenging choices. Also, Fantasy Flight has made the brilliant decision to simplify the deck-building process, leaving even more time for play. If you have enjoyed previous LCGs, or wanted to try one, this is one of Fantasy Flights best entries.

In honor of the fine LCGs that Fantasy Flight has produced lately, we want to encourage more LCG play in the shop. Starting this Saturday, our Saturday board game nights will also be considered LCG nights. One drawback of the LCGs is the commitment they can require due to intricate rules, the dedication to deck-building, and the regular addition of new cards. Our goal is to provide a stable place and time for LCG players to congregate and continually enjoy their games. See you Saturday, maybe we can convince Chris to stick around with his copy of Star Wars.

Cheers.

EVENTS

Saturday Strategy Gathering, 6-10pm: Same great game night style, now more palatable for the weekday workers. Check out our guild forum for planned games, to reserve a seat, or recruit for a game of your own.

Friday Afternoon Magic (Friday, 4-6pm): Bring your cards for playing and trading. We want to work our way toward Core level so we can run official prerelease events and tournaments, so bring some friends!

Pokemon League (Saturday, 10am-Noon): Trade and play and earn some free cards and badges. Unfortunately, Pokemon USA has stopped sending promo cards, so we will now charge $3 per day per person to maintain prize support. Fortunately, this will result in everyone getting much better prize cards.

Family Game Gathering (Sunday, Noon-6pm): Sunday is family game day, arrive when you want and test drive some games from our demo library. Do not be shy about asking us to teach you a new one.