Posted on November 30th, 2012

December is upon us folks, so if you haven’t already done so, get those shopping lists ready. To help, we’ve got some staff picks below, which is just a sampling of our favorites. And, since most of our picks fall into the adult strategy category, we’ve included a selection of top picks for kids and family games based on personal experience, play time in the game room, and customer feedback. Settle in, the list is a bit big, so many good ones to choose from. Happy December everyone.

Staff Picks

    Escape from the Temple Curse: A real-time dice-rolling cooperative game. With everyone simultaneously rolling dice and hollering for help, this should be a silly stupid game. It is a completely refreshing experience though. If it grabs you, you’ll have a very hard time playing just one round, and as soon as you win, you’ll want to make it harder. This was voted one of the best games shown at the Spiel board game convention by the boardgamegeek community, the same community that votes a 6-hour 2-player game as best game of all time. Those crazy geeks.

 

  7 Wonders the Leaders and Cities expansions: 7 Wonders was a marvellously novel experience when it hit tables in 2010. This city building card game that plays in about an hour incorporates a drafting mechanic whereby players choose a card from their hand to play, then pass the remainder of their hand to their neighbor. Brilliant and satisfying out of the box, but add the expansions and the re-playability and depth expand well over 7-fold.

 

 

  Alien Frontiers  with the Factions expansion: Dice game with a retro space theme, sounds like a luck-fest huh? Not quite. You’ll get to puzzle out how best to use your dice rolls to collect resources, expand your space fleet, and ultimately construct colonies to send to the central planet. It’s quite satisfying to find just the right solution, and frustrating to watch as your opponents block all your best moves. Add the expansion to this one and you’ll have a more complex and unique experience every play.

 

Mage Knight: I am the only staff member to vote for this one, so I’ll be brief: best game ever. Ok, maybe a little more info. Imagine playing a board game version of a fantasy roleplaying game, but instead of hacking your way through horrible AI monsters, you get to burn your brain finding just the right combination of cards to explore, fight, and gather valuable treasure, allies, and skills. This game can feel a bit like running a marathon with your mind, so fuel up first.

 

Game of Thrones Board Game: Of all the deep intricate games in the shop, this one has seen more play than any. Choose your family and get ready to constantly scuffle about who to trust while you are secretly scheming to ensure your own personal victory. Lots going on with this game, and at each step the plans of your opponents will nag at you. Oh, and don’t forget that Winter is coming, along with the wildlings. Though this is a long one, it is the best way to experience George R.R. Martin’s rich world without donning armor.

  King of Tokyo with Power Up expansion: No Cloud Cap staff pick list is complete without this wacky game. Imagine playing Yahztee as a Japanese movie monster and trying to become king of the hill and you have some idea of how a game of King of Tokyo rolls. Lots of luck in this one, that said, a single person won every game he played in our recent tournament. While the base game let’s you spend energy cubes to alter your monster’s capabilities, the Power Up expansion adds even more customization options.

Family Picks:

Dixit: A creative apples-to-apples style party game with unique style.

Forbidden Island: Grab treasures as a team and get off the island before it sinks.

Ticket to Ride: Perhaps the epitome of modern family games. Use your sets of colored cards to claim train routes across the map while trying to block your opponents from doing the same.

Timeline: New this year and a huge hit. Each of your cards has a historical event and your goal is to get rid of them by placing them in proper chronological order. Simple but very engaging, and now in 4 flavors.

Kids Picks

Chef Cuckoo (Ages 7+): Can you make the worst omelette or best sandwich with your hand of cards? The judge has the final say.

Eleminis (Ages 7+): Collect one of each of the five cute elements, or block your opponents, your choice. Simple but challenging for the kids, and they’ll keep asking for more.

Spot It (Ages 7+) and Spot It Jrv (Ages 5+): Completely child and parent approved. This fast object recognition games keeps all ages engaged.

Catan Junior (Ages 6+): Finally a great Settlers of Catan for the young ones, and with a great pirate theme.

Race for the Treasure (Ages 5+) and Mermaid Island (Ages 5+): 2 great cooperative games with great themes and just enough decision making to challenge budding gamers.

Hisss (Ages 4+): Make some snakes by matching colored sections. Nothing too complicated here, but effective for its target age.

Chicken Cha Cha Cha (Ages 4+): How’s your memory? Better be great or you’ll have your feathers nabbed.

Feed the Woozle (Ages 3+): It will take some serious dexterity to satisfy the Woozle’s hunger.

Go Away Monster (Ages 3+): Pesky monsters make it hard to clean your room, just toss them away!

 

Posted on November 23rd, 2012

We hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and we hope you have the day off and the rest of the weekend to share with family and friends. We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Of course it is Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday, but we’ve also got Pokemon at 10am on Saturday, Meaty Game Day at 4pm on Saturday, and then Family Game Day all day Sunday. It may get a little tight in the shop at times, so bear with us and we’ll do our best to maximize the play space and shopping space.

On both Friday and Saturday, we are participating in the awesome Portland-wide Little Boxes event to encourage small business shopping for all of your holiday needs. You probably won’t find high-def TVs for $20, but you also won’t get literally walked on by people who already own 5 TVs. What you will find is a great bunch of shops all over the city selling unique items with great service. You also benefit by shopping at multiple stores, after the first Little Box you hit, you will receive 10% off at all others! Furthermore, and I cannot stress the magnanimity of this enough, you can enter a raffle without even making a purchase, but shopping does earn you more entries. It is worth browsing one of the shops just to get in on the raffle because there are some amazing prizes to be given away, still no hi-def TVs though. Definitely check out their website for more info, pick up a brochure at any participating shop, or just ask us. And don’t forget that you will receive triple Supportland points as well, which may seriously earn you some rewards so do not take it lightly. I know all of this may seem a bit more complicated than fighting parking lot traffic and storming into the crowds at a Big Box, but we are talking about many ways to get some great FREE stuff, won’t find anything free at the big boys, except maybe some stress and bruises.

For new games, we have one that we played for about 3 hours straight on Thanksgiving called Escape from the Temple Curse. In that 3 hours, we played countless games, because every game takes exactly 10 minutes, plus set up and post-game analysis. Escape is a cooperative, real-time dice rolling game where up to 5 players are trapped inside a Mayan temple and have 10 minutes to get out. This is a game that has to be experienced to be understood, and experienced multiple times because the first try is a wild scream fest since you have very little idea how to go about it. After more plays though, you realize that a much calmer exploratory approach is required to win on the harder levels. Now I’m the guy who loves long quiet brainy game affairs, so I thought I would hate Escape despite the awesome Indiana Jones theme. Well I absolutely love this game, it relies on a completely new set of gaming skills and it is absolutely enjoyable by a variety of ages and tastes. I’m gonna try and get it set up on the demo table along with the soundtrack so you can see what I’m talking about.

Alright, grab a hearty breakfast (I highly recommend our local Bertie Lou’s eatery, fantastic stuff), then casually stroll through Portland’s wonderful small businesses. If you have time and interest, join us for one of our weekend events, listed below. Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!

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.

Pathfinder Adventures: Our summer intern, Tam, is looking to run some Pathfinder adventures on Saturday evenings for up to 5 players, ages 13 and up. Strap on your armor and RSVP for this if you are interested.

Monthly RPG night: We are trying to get at least one night a month of roleplaying games going, probably every third thursday at this point. What we need however, is at least one gamemaster. All roleplaying systems are welcome. Let us know if you are interested and when we get enough we’ll officially add it to our schedule.

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 November 21st, 2012

Join us on November 23 & 24 for a PDX-style shopping event: Little Boxes. Here is your chance to explore the fantastic small businesses in Portland while saving some money and potentially winning some amazing raffle prizes.

Also, Supportland (that  cool blue card that is so hard to find in your wallet) is offering triple points this weekend!

 

 

All of this means that the more small businesses you hit this holiday weekend, the more you’ll save and the more free goodies you’ll gather. So, while you are waiting for the holiday feast to start, or basking in its afterglow, start mapping it all out here and here.

In addition to us, Tilde, Collage, Oodles for Kids, and Sock Dreams are participating in both Little Boxes and Supportland. That is nearly all the shopping you need to do within 3 blocks! Portland rocks.

Posted on November 16th, 2012

The weekly update is back, sorry for the missing update last week, my body and brain needed a rest. This week however, I am getting pumped because our 2 year anniversary has arrived. All day tomorrow we will be thanking you, our fans, for helping us get this far by offering 20% off nearly everything in the shop! Be sure to stick around in the evening as well for some snacks, drinks, and of course, games. I know that a game of Mice and Mystics is planned, but feel free to bring others. We’ll see you there, now on to the new games . . . . .

Games of Thrones Card Game, HBO version: The regular Game of Thrones Card Game has been out for some time as a Living Card Game, which basically means that you get all the fun of constructing custom decks without spending wads of dough on booster packs to try for rare and powerful cards. But as fantastic as the Living Card Games are, they still suffer from the problem that plagues all constructible card games: you and at least one other friend need to play the game very regularly to fully appreciate it, which means you will not have time to play the other games in your library. I have had this problem with the Lord of the Rings Living Card game, which is one of my favorite cooperative games on the market, but also one that I rarely get to the table. Well, this has all been a long-winded intro to the new Game of Thrones Card Game based on the HBO cast, which is a 2-player Starks vs. Lannisters experience. In this game, each house has a pre-constructed deck of cards and a separate deck of plot cards. While the house decks always remain the same, the plot decks can be constructed via a draft at the start, so only some mild deck-construction is required. And, unlike the other Game of Thrones games published by Fantasy Flight, it also looks like the rules for this new card game will not scare off most Game of Thrones fans. This game should be a fine way to spend the long winter.

Last Will: Remember the classic 80’s movie, Brewster’s Millions, where Richard Pryor has to spend millions in order to inherit millions more? Now we have a board game that puts you in the shoes of a similar chap who needs to spend a lot of money. This game has received lots of great press and we have finally nabbed some copies. I have tried not to learn much about how this game plays because based on theme alone I want to try it, and be surprised. Of course, I just did a similar thing for the new James Bond flick and was sorely disappointed (what the heck happened to Quantum?). Anyway, look for this one on the rental shelf soon.

Milestones: Another game that has been getting some great press, partly because publisher Stronghold games has sent demo copies to every podcaster and reviewer in the country (still waiting for my copy). This is the first Stronghold Games attempt at a eurogame. While it is being described as a medium weight strategy game appropriate for more casual audiences, it has a few nifty mechanics found in a much heavier games. For starters, each player has a personal board with a circuit track, or rondel, and the actions you perform on the main board are determined by your movement around this circuit, but only in one direction, so to repeat an action you must do a full circuit, and pay taxes on the way around. On the main board, or countryside, you will be building roads and structures, trying to be the best developer, knowing that your roads will help your opponents develop as well. I am curious to see how this mix of seemingly complex mechanics creates what reviewers consider just a medium strategy game.

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.

Pathfinder Adventures: Our summer intern, Tam, is looking to run some Pathfinder adventures on Saturday evenings for up to 5 players, ages 13 and up. Strap on your armor and RSVP for this if you are interested.

Monthly RPG night: We are trying to get at least one night a month of roleplaying games going, probably every third thursday at this point. What we need however, is at least one gamemaster. All roleplaying systems are welcome. Let us know if you are interested and when we get enough we’ll officially add it to our schedule.

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 November 2nd, 2012

Getting this update out a bit early because Mr. and Mrs. Cloud Cap will be flying to Charleston for a friend’s wedding this weekend. Seems the big storm flew right on by the southeast, so we’re looking forward to some warm dry weather out there. Come on in and give Chris some trouble for us while we’re gone.

A few new and exciting games arrived this week, well worth looking at. Here they are, have a great weekend everyone:

Mice and Mystics: Who doesn’t want to shrink down to mouse size and wield kitchen utensils and other small household objects to fend off ordinary house pets. This game is cooperative and very story-driven. Its got great looking mouse miniatures, lots of map tiles, and cheese pieces! This was one of the big hits at GenCon and it has finally hit the retail shelves, get it while its here, it may not be back until next year once its gone.

Merchant of Venus: A reprint of a classic pickup and deliver space trucking game. I just had a blast playing the original version a few weeks ago. Fantasy Flight has now reprinted a revised edition, but also included the original in the same box, giving you two games in one. I really enjoy this puzzly game. While it has a fair bit of luck, route planning and money management are very key strategic elements requiring a satisfying level of brainpower.

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.

Pathfinder Adventures: Our summer intern, Tam, is looking to run some Pathfinder adventures on Saturday evenings for up to 5 players, ages 13 and up. Strap on your armor and RSVP for this if you are interested.

Monthly RPG night: We are trying to get at least one night a month of roleplaying games going, probably every third thursday at this point. What we need however, is at least one gamemaster. All roleplaying systems are welcome. Let us know if you are interested and when we get enough we’ll officially add it to our schedule.

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.

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 October 26th, 2012

“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.” H.P. Lovecraft

Despite the obvious relation to the upcoming holiday, this quote hit home this week because we are definitely feeling like a strange, far place. With another game store opening in a few weeks in a much more accessible location for many, our little shop is starting to feel even farther and stranger than it has before. We definitely want to thank all of you who come from distant corners of the city, and outside the city, to visit us. We greatly appreciate your business and want to continue to make your journeys worth the extra effort and gas.

Now you may not think of our shop as strange, but compared to other game stores, we are freaks. We do not sell single cards for collectible card games, we do not carry miniatures games, we do not carry the snack variety of a mini-mart, and posters of unnaturally endowed females or bloodthirsty wizards do not adorn our walls. These are all standard fare at a ‘normal’ game store, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it means we are a strange sort of game store, for better or for worse. In the future we will be trying to incorporate some of what you’ll find at more typical game stores, but at the same time striving to remain an oddity amongst game stores. Don’t worry, the puerile fantasy posters will never adorn our walls.

So, if you are searching for horror in a strange far place, we are the place to be this weekend. Our saturday game night is gathering steam for a horror theme, and a Mansions of Madness game will be happening this Saturday at 4:30pm. Seating is limited for that one, so let us know if you would like one!

Now, on to the new games, of which there are a few:

Eclipse: Yep, it is back, unfortunately we are already sold out. We are hoping to have more next week so stay tuned.

3012 Card Game: Here is another shot at deckbuilding, this time with some Munchkin-style help or hurt your buddies during monster attacks. While the Munchkin reference is apt, this game is designed to be far more strategic. Many new elements make this very interactive deckbuilder sound interesting.

Dr. Who Card Game: Here you go fans of the show, a Martin Wallace designed game. Most fans of the show will have no idea who Martin Wallace is, but trust me, he makes some darn great games. I am not a fan of the show, but I still want to play this game to experience the design. Luckily, sir Wallace made the game for a general audience, so non-gamer fans should be able to enjoy this one.

Farmageddon: A Kickstarter darling, this lighthearted interactive card game looks like a winner for all ages and inclinations. Essentially, you are trying to reap some big harvests from shared fields, without your opponents playing action cards that hurt your efforts. Sounds like a good-old fashioned card game, but with some entertaining personified vegetable artwork.

Diceafari: This is another Kickstarter project that should make a great family experience. You get to create a map in the shape of an animal, then roll dice to move around the terrain and snap animal photos. Nothing too complex here, but a very nice one to challenge some young ones. Look for this one on the rental shelf.

Events

Meaty Game Day, Saturday @ 4pm, featuring Mansions of Madness: A time to gather and play some longer heavier games. Bring your own, or we have some at the shop.

Saturday Strategy Gathering, 6-10pm: Same great game night style, now more palatable for the weekday workers. So far we have folks recruiting for a game of Game of Thrones and a game of Middle Earth Quest. Check out our guild forum for more info, to reserve a seat, or recruit for a game of your own.

Pathfinder Adventures: Our summer intern, Tam, is looking to run some Pathfinder adventures on Saturday evenings for up to 5 players, ages 13 and up. Strap on your armor and RSVP for this if you are interested.

Monthly RPG night: We are trying to get at least one night a month of roleplaying games going, probably every third thursday at this point. What we need however, is at least one gamemaster. All roleplaying systems are welcome. Let us know if you are interested and when we get enough we’ll officially add it to our schedule.

Magic the Gathering Club (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.

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.