Posted on September 7th, 2012

Alrighty gang, let the new games flood the shelves! Mr. and Mrs. Cloud Cap have family in town, so you will not see us in the shop too much over the next few days, but be sure to give trusty Chris a hard time when you visit! I’m also in the middle of preparing the family some breakfast, so I’ll be brief but informative with this update.

First off, the Netrunner Living Card Game is finally here. This is a much anticipated 2-player game where one player is a hacker attempting to steal corporate data, the other player is the corporation, setting up traps and firewalls in the network. The asymmetrical nature of the game, strong hand management possibilities, and variety of both the hacking and protecting options set this game up for lots of interesting replays. We do have a limited number of copies for the weekend after filling our preorders, so if you want this puppy, earlier is better. We will be getting a rental copy ready next week as well.

Z-Man Games has just released 2 of its big GenCon premieres, Atlantis Rising and Battle Beyond Space. I’ve written more about these games in a prior post here, but it is nice that we will finally have them in our hands and get to dive in. We still need to wait for Mr. UPS to deliver the goods this afternoon, so wait until about 3pm if you want to grab a copy of either of these. Again, we’ll try and get rental copies of both of these titles ready for next week for the curious or fence straddlers (I happen to be both).

 

Finally, we received a very unique party style game produced by Fantasy Flight called Ugg-Tect. Now party games are not generally my thing, but this game comes with an inflatable caveman club and provides the opportunity to grunt orders at your opponent as you guide their attempt to build a structure out of blocks. We’ll work on getting a rental copy ready today in case anyone needs some serious silliness this weekend.

 

 

Ok, that’s it for games, here’s a list of upcoming events for the week, have a great weekend:

Magic the Gathering Club (Friday, 4-6pm): Bring your cards for playing and trading, or just come to learn the game.

Pokemon League (Saturday, 10am-Noon): Trade and play and earn some free 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.

Strategy Game Gathering (Wednesday, 6pm-11pm): One of the best darn game nights in town,

Posted on August 31st, 2012

Here we are at the transition from summer to fall, and the last long weekend hurrah for a while. Temperatures will moderate, kids will be trapped inside classrooms once again, and board game lovers will rejoice as awesome new games hit the shelves. A few of those awesome games arrived last week, and one big one will arrive next week.

Before I get into the games though, I wanted to throw out a huge thanks to Josh, our fearless Pathfinder Camp gamemaster. During the past week, Josh has taken a group of eager kids on an adventure that could potentially change their lives forever. A few of the kids were participating in the camp for a second time, so they were already hooked on the fantastic world of roleplaying games, but the other kids had never experienced anything like Pathfinder. Josh has patiently helped these newbies learn the intricacies of their character sheets, the rules of the game, and the importance of creativity and teamwork. Our playroom has not been quiet at all this week, every time we walk in we hear shouts of “I’m doing a perception check” or “Somebody help my velociraptor!” or “Doesn’t anyone have good diplomacy?”. Both camps this summer have really been fun to watch, and sometimes participate in. So thanks Josh, I hope you are enjoying it as much as the tikes are, and I hope you are proud of yourself for setting these guys up for a life of imaginative geekdom!

And now, more roleplaying-related news. After the camp this afternoon, Josh and I will continue deliberations over the possibility of setting up a few different roleplaying events. One may be a once-a-month campaign for kids, probably Pathfinder, but other systems will also be considered. The other event would be a once-a-month roleplaying evening for adults, either on a thursday or saturday evening. These nights, we hope, will be open play, where gamemasters run players through one-off adventures in any system they choose. If you are at all interested in either of these events, contact us and we can set up a mailing list, but also contact us with any ideas we may want to consider. To make these events work, we will really need some gamemasters, any out there?

Alrighty, now for the games. We sold out of our first batches of 7 Wonders Cities, Dominion Dark Ages, and the Glory to Rome Black Box yesterday, but we have more arriving this afternoon, so wait until the evening if you were hoping to pick up any of those titles for the long weekend. I have now played the 7 Wonders Cities expansion a few times and am enjoying the extras. I am always amazed at how the addition of a few minor mechanics can have a potentially profound impact on a game. The price tag of $30 seems a bit high for what’s in the box, but let’s see, so far 3 people have enjoyed the experience for a total of 2 hours, so about the price of a new movie release. But we will put in far more than 2 hours of play over the next few years or more, and we have been socializing the entire time. When looked at this way, meaningful social entertainment does not get much cheaper, unless of course you buy your copy online, which is so droll (I’ll explain that opinion in a later post). I have not tried the Dominion Dark Ages expansion yet, but I have been reading the cards and am imagining all of the really strange new ways to play.

While we are waiting for the small publishers to get their production and distribution issues sorted out to finally ship the games announced at GenCon, the folks at Fantasy Flight, the game lords of 2012, are sitting comfortably in their thrones, issuing their second massive release of the year (Descent was the first). On Thursday of next week we will have the revised edition of Netrunner in our hands. This is a re-imagining of Richard Garfield’s other great collectible card game, with Magic the Gathering being his mint game. Fantasy Flight will be adding Netrunner to its Living Card Game line though, so you’ll get to enjoy the game and not fuss with the whole collecting part. Those of you who pre-recorded this title, keep your phones close to your chests on Thursday!

Well, I thought there would be more new games to talk about, but after reviewing the email from my rep, it looks like no one wants to go up against Netrunner next week. As far as used games, the only fresh ones we’ve acquired are copies of 2nd edition Bang and the Dodge City expansion, as well as a quirky little card game called Who Stole Ed’s Pants. No new rentals this week, but we added the new Dominion expansion to the demo library.

So on to the events. Meaty Games Day was a bust last saturday, probably because everyone was out of town, hopefully the next will work out, mark those calendars now for September 29. Here’s a list of events for the upcoming week, happy gaming everyone:

Magic the Gathering Club (Friday, 4-6pm): Bring your cards for playing and trading, or just come to learn the game.

Pokemon League (Saturday, 10am-Noon): Trade and play and earn some free 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.

Strategy Game Gathering (Wednesday, 6pm-11pm): The best darn game night in town, as evidenced by the amount of friendly smack talking and raucous laughter during last weeks game night. And much of that was over Power Grid and Le Havre, games not typically associated with the word raucous!

Posted on August 29th, 2012

Hey everyone, those of you who read my latest weekly shop update may have noticed my somewhat negative reaction toward the Z-Man and AEG games that were recently released at GenCon. More specifically, I stated that the games from both publishers were “largely forgettable”. Well, after reviewing the expanded info that has made its way from GenCon attendees to the greater digital world, I need to backtrack on that statement a bit, at least for the Z-Man games.

My reaction to the Z-Man games releases was largely based on what I was discovering about their flashiest title, Atlantis Rising, and quite honestly, my initial reaction to this game still stands. Atlantis Rising is a slightly unique cooperative game that uses a worker placement mechanic, which is actually a favorite mechanic of mine, found in games like Lords of Waterdeep and Agricola. But at its core, Atlantis Rising is really a generic cooperative game, bad things continue to happen and the players need to communicate about how best to deal with them while accomplishing a single goal, in this case to construct a cosmic gate to get the heck off of Atlantis. Now there is nothing wrong with the standard cooperative formula, games like Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Castle Panic use the formula very well. But unlike these games, Atlantis Rising has a $60 price tag, so you are getting more of the same for about twice the price! That makes this puppy largely forgettable in my book, which is not to be confused with it being a bad game though, so definitely give it a go if you are a fan of cooperatives.

OK, so Z-Man’s next game at Gencon was Alcatraz: The Scapegoat. Here is a game with a nice new twist. Everyone is trying to escape the famous prison by forming partnerships to complete tasks, such as digging tunnels or creating shivs. But every turn one person is voted the Scapegoat and that player does not get rewarded as the other players do. The scapegoat, however, can use blackmail cards to mess with the others. There is much more to the game, but the unusual aspect of voting every round for a scapegoat brings something fresh to the cooperative game realm. This game also has a more reasonable price tag of $40, and plays in about an hour. So this game may not be as forgettable as I originally surmised, though it may still lose table time due to the hurt feelings that can develop during scapegoat negotiations.

Finally, Z-Man presented Battle Beyond Space, a very fast tactical space combat game. Originally this game looked like just a miniatures battle game, but the information coming from GenCon suggests much more. Now I’m picturing something like Kingdom Builder with a real theme. At its heart, the game is a combat game, you earn points by destroying other players’ ships, as well as by collecting tokens from the board or occupying specific locations. What makes this game fascinating though is its very limited rule set. Like Kingdom Builder, a very small set of basic rules can lead to some interesting fleet maneuvering choices. Also like Kingdom Builder, the addition of just a few special actions, and the fact that those special actions will be different every game, makes the whole of the game so much more than the sum of its simple rules. I am now actually looking forward to this game, especially since the price is a standard $50, less than I originally thought.

So I apologize Z-Man for being so harsh last week, and I apologize to the Z-Man fans. We’ll know much more about these games in a few weeks when they hit the shelves.

Posted on August 24th, 2012

Howdy Gamers! The big American tabeletop game convention, GenCon, is over, and the new games will be hitting our shelves over the next few months. 7 Wonders Cities will be in our hands this afternoon, come give our demo copy a spin if you are interested. Dominion Dark Ages should be with us on Wednesday, just in time for some game night trial runs.

As for other games from the show, it looks like Fantasy Flight and Asmodee Editions owned Indianapolis. Soon we’ll have the Fantasy Flight re-releases of the fantastic Netrunner and Merchant of Venus games, as well as the X-Wing miniatures game and an interesting looking new coop game, Legend of Andor. I was secretly rooting for a new game from Asmodee Editions, Seasons, to be a hit, and it looks like all of the reviewers were very pleasantly surprised by it, so we’ll keep a strong eye out for that one. The innovative story-telling game, Of Mice and Mystics, by Plaid Hat Games, also received great response. (Notice, I have no links for these games on our website yet, I’m really tight on time today, so check out the publisher websites or boardgamegeek.com to find out more about these titles, or any others I mention but do not have a link for).

Sadly, the other major publishers had ho-hum or no news. AEG and Z-Man largely forgettable titles, but we’re really hoping they turn out better than first impressions suggest. Mayfair announced that Star Trek Catan will be a Target store exclusive for the first 18 months, so please send hate mail to them if you have spare time. Mayfair currently offers a reduced price Catan to Target and recently went exclusive with a single distributor, so it seems they are turning their back on the friendly local game stores that put them on the map to begin with, and they are not alone unfortunately. I guess that’s what you have to do when you are all out of great ideas (Ouch, did I just write that, I mean all of it as a challenge Mayfair!). Thankfully, while the big boys are sacrificing reputation for short term profit, the smaller publishers are rising to take down the comfy old dogs, so expect a slew of great innovative titles coming from publishers all over the country. There are too many games to list, but we’ll keep you posted on their arrivals, and thanks to a regular customer for coming to the shop and showing some photos of what he saw at the show.

We do have a few other new games not specifically related to GenCon releases. The new edition of Glory to Rome has arrived, and it sure looks sleek, come check out our demo of this well-regarded classic by the designer of Innovation. Another Asmodee Editions game that the reviewers have been praising will hit our shelves this afternoon, Libertalia. Again, we’ll have a demo because we love pirate games, and the press on this one is pretty darn good.

 

 

Now on to the upcoming events, starting with one of my favorites, Meaty Game Day, this Saturday starting at 4pm. Here are more:

Pokemon League (Saturday, 10am-Noon): Trade and play and earn some free 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.

Strategy Game Gathering (Wednesday, 6pm-11pm): The best darn game night in town, as evidenced by the amount of friendly smack talking and raucous laughter during last weeks game night. And much of that was over Power Grid and Le Havre,  games not typically associated with the word raucous!

Fresh Used Games: Carcassonne Base Set with the River, Settlers of Catan Traders and Barbarians

Posted on August 10th, 2012

Hello everyone and happy Friday. Thanks to everyone who visited last saturday and helped make the Passport event something special. Hope you enjoyed the sweet music in front of the shop, we have Kirsten to thank for getting all of that set up. As awesome as it was, its nice that she’s done with it so I can have my fishing partner back. Alrighty, on to the games.

For those who missed the facebook posts last week, we now have copies of D-Day Dice and Village in stock, as well as copies in the demo room:

D-Day Dice is a cooperative game where your dice rolls determine how well you advance along 1 of 8 different battle maps. I’ve enjoyed the first 2 training missions solo and am anxious for more. Despite the beautiful but unfriendly rulebook, D-Day Dice looks to be a great and somewhat meaty dice game.

Village was just awarded the Kennerspiel des Jahres award, which is given to games that are typically too complex for a casual player but still play in a 2 hours or less. Village definitely has a number of decisions to make every turn, but still offers a very swift experience. I like the reverse worker placement mechanic, where you remove a skill cube from a location to use that locations action, as well as the necessary death of your family members throughout the game. Well worth a try, and the rulebook makes learning the game a breeze.

That is about it for new releases, but we are very excited to have a few more demo games courtesy of our Ravensburger representative. We highly recommend trying Asara, which is now set up on the back demo table; It is beautiful, easy to learn, and hits that sweet spot of being thinky but not too much. One of the designers is Wolfgang Kramer, the designer of one of our all time favorites, El Grande. He’s pretty good at making conceptually easy games with lots of strategic depth. Another demo we are excited about but have not tried yet is Seeland. Again, it is beautiful, and Kramer was involved. Look for it in the demo room.

Upcoming Events:

Pokemon League: Every Saturday from 10am-Noon we host a very casual meeting of Pokemon players. Bring your cards, play, trade, and earn free goodies.

Magic Gathering: We have changed up the Saturday Magic the Gathering events. We’ll now be hosting a meeting time every Saturday from 5-7pm. Tournaments will be arranged if attendance permits, but the primary goal of the events is to foster a community of casual players. If you want hardcore, there’s about 5 other shops in town. We want to provide a time and place to just play the game with some good folks.

Family Game Day: Sunday is for families of all sizes and ages. Grab a game from our library or bring your own.

Wednesday Game Gathering: Good people and good games, mainly modern strategy. Ages 15 and up preferred.

Pathfinder Camp: The last week in August, Josh will run a final adventure for young heroes! We have lowered the price, so check out the page and let us know if you want a spot.

That’s about all for this week folks. I have added a big game called Giants to the rental shelf that looks very cool. Our used game section has been decimated by the laser beam focus of smart shoppers, so bring in those dusty closet fillers and we’ll work out a trade. Have a great weekend!

Posted on August 9th, 2012

A few months ago a rep from Gryphon games visited the shop to demo some of their lesser-known titles, and one of the games I ended up taking off his hands was a loosely space-themed game called Charon, Inc. After many plays, this unassuming little game has captivated the interest of my gaming group, so I thought I’d give it a little press to honor its elegeance.

In Charon, Inc you play as a corporate space mogul attempting to turn one half of Pluto’s largest moon into a massive complex of factories and offices. Each building is worth a different number of points, so the best mogul will be the player with the most points, not necessarily the player with the most buildings.

Each player has a hand of building cards, and to construct buildings, you need moon resources in the form of gems scattered across the planet. There are 6 gem colors, and every round you will randomly seed the different regions of the planet with fresh gems. Now the planet is divided into multiple sectors, each with its own color of gem, and to collect the gems from a given sector you need to have the most influence over that region, and this is where the game gets very, very interesting.

See everyone has 5 flag pieces on the board, one flag on each of five different action spaces. On your turn, you simply remove a flag from an action space to place it on the planet. This continues until everyone has placed 4 out of their 5 flags; the final flags remain on their action spaces and determine what special ability each player can perform. Thus, every time you place a flag on the planet, you are also deciding not to use the action associated with that flag. For fans of worker placement games, this is a very nice twist on the mechanism.

Where to place your flag on the planet is also very fascinating. As I mentioned, the planet is divided into sectors, and flags can be placed on the lines dividing those sectors or in the sector itself. When it is time to tally who has the most influence over a sector, you simply count the number of each player’s flags within or bordering a given sector. If their is a tie, flags within sectors are more powerful than flags flanking sectors. Essentially, with every flag placement, you need to decide whether you really want to firmly influence fewer sectors, or spread your influence thinly over a larger region to try and acquire more gems. When making this decision, everyone I have played the game with groans in both frustration and delight. What appears so simple at first becomes a pleasantly challenging spatial exercise.

My gaming group and I highly recommend this game for its unique and interesting challenges as well as its nice play length, about an hour. If the game sounds at all interesting, we do have a copy in our rental library, so take it home and give it a try. Your brain may burn a bit, but Charon is far enough away from the sun that you’ll just walk away with a nice space tan.