Posted on July 20th, 2012

Well, I am recovering from an awesome 9 hours of Dark Knight fantasticness. That’s right, Thursday night I acted like I wasback in college with little responsibility, and I went to watch the Dark Knight movies on the big screen, back to back, with a midnight showing of the new film. I was excited and scared at the same time, but I survived, and I could easily do it all again because those movies are soooo great. But, if you stop by at all on friday, be gentle.

Alrighty, on to the new games and events highlights . . . . .

 

 

Recent Arrivals:

Descent, 2nd Edition: Oh yes, it is finally here, and I have yet to find anyone who has been disappointed with the experience. As I’ve ranted about before, this is epic fantasy adventuring at its finest, outside of true roleplaying that is. The new edition cleans up just about every fiddly part of the original, and throws a full campaign guide in the base set. The battle between the adventurers and the evil overlord is extremely tactical and feels epic despite the fact that each stand-alone encounter takes only about an 60-90 minutes to play. I am sure my friends and I will test the longevity of the components on this baby. Come check out our demo copy. Better yet, come next saturday (see below) and start a campaign to really experience this great game.

Dominant Species Card Game: Here’s an interesting one. Dominant Species is a very lengthy fiddly game about spreading your crittery goodness over an expanding map. The card game, however, is a short experience with no fiddly bits. Despite the similarity in name, I wonder if the two games will appeal to the same crowd. I know my parents would not play the board game with me, but I get the sense they may enjoy the card game. From the reviews, it sounds like a game that takes a few plays to see the depth, always a nice quality for a game to have.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: Unlike the Dominant Species Card Game, here is one shrunken version of a game that sounds like it will definitely appeal to fans of the full game. Agricola is also a lengthy fiddly game where you struggle to work and expand your farm. All Creatures Big and Small takes only a few elements of the full game and shrinks them into a two player experience. This little game is not cheap, typical for an Uwe Rosenburg experience, but I’m sure the game is solid, and the wooden animal meeples are so darn cute.

Upcoming Events

Pokemon League (Every Saturday 10-noon): Bring your cards and throw some pocket monsters into the ring. There’s playing, trading, and some free cards. We can also teach the game to new players, so don’t be shy.

Magic Draft Tournament (1st and 3rd Saturdays 5-9pm): This saturday is the first chance to draft with the new 2013 core set at Cloud Cap. Our tournaments are very casual and a mix of ages. While you don’t need to be a pro, working knowledge of the game is necessary, as well as $15 for the booster packs and some prize support.

Meaty Game Day (Every last Saturday 4-11pm): We still have a week to go for this event, but it is worth marking your calendars. This is the day to play some seriously long and heavy duty games, and because space can be limiting, table priority will be given to truly meaty games. Sometimes we end with a stalemate over which game to play since everyone shows up with their favorite puppies. If this happens, we’ll play a nice game of Candyland to end the lockdown!

 

Recent Additions to the used game shelf: Dominion Base Set (with sleeves), Dominion Intrigue, Small World, Battlelore base set, Heroscape Master Set 2: Swarm of the Marrow, Apples to Apples Party Box.

Posted on July 13th, 2012

Yikes, Friday the 13th! Be careful out there, maybe its a good day to come stay safe in the shop and play a game with no sharp pieces.

And appropriately, the big new release this week is the 2013 core set for Magic: The Gathering, in fact, most shops have been running tournaments since 12am this morning. We won’t have our products until this afternoon, so get some sleep then come check us out. We will be getting some new Deckbuilders Toolkits, which is a fantastic product for those just starting to explore the world of Magic or those who want a jump start on the new set. We will not be having any tournaments this week to celebrate the release, no reason to compete with the hardcore card shops, but next Saturday evening we will hold our first M13 draft tournament.

Sadly, we have no new board game releases, and I’m guessing that the Magic release has something to do with that. Luckily, the German Game of the Year committee did not let the Magic juggernaut overshadow board games, and they announced their choice for both the game of the year (Spiel des Jahres) and the advanced game of the year (Kennerspiel des Jahres). For game of the year, Kingdom Builder gets the badge, and while I have not played the other nominees, I am very pleased with the jury’s choice, as I have explained previously. This is the second time that the American designer Donald X. Vaccarino has won this award, his first being for Dominion, so congrats Donald, keep pumping out the good ones (Infiltration and Nefarious are two of his recent good ones, probably not award winners though!). As for the advanced game of the year, A game called Village won the award, which is awesome because now it will see wider distribution in the US. The only advanced game of the year nominee that I had played was K2, which I really, really enjoy (ask for a demo if you are interested), unfortunately its price makes it completely unmarketable.

Events this upcoming week are limited to our Pokemon league this Saturday morning and our regular Game Gathering this Wednesday evening. Pathfinder camp begins next week and we are all full, but if you are still interested let us know and perhaps we’ll run another in late August. We’ve also still got the Descent 2nd edition preview copy in the shop, so ask at the counter if you want to fondle and play that beauty.

Have a great summer weekend everyone!

Posted on July 12th, 2012

Many years ago I saved a few bucks and scraped the bottom of change cups whenever a friend gave me a ride, all to purchase a coffin sized box covered in bright fantasy artwork and filled with heaps of fantasy dungeon creation goodness. Because the price tag at that time was a smooth $100, I did wait until a year-end blow out sale at a local store (sure, I could have bought online, but friendly local game stores are too important and enjoyable to visit).

The game I finally purchased was Descent 1st edition, a pure dungeon crawl adventure game in the style of Dungeons & Dragons, with one person playing the evil overlord opposed by the other players acting as heros. I was so thrilled, and a bit overwhelmed, when I brought the box home and tore into it. It had so many tiles, chits, and handfuls of plastic miniatures that as I sorted the pieces I knew the game just had to be awesome, and I quickly got a group together to play it, including my wife.

Well, I, and everyone present, despised the game after the first playthrough, and 2 more attempts did not improve my feelings towards it. I really wanted to like it, but after 30+ minutes of setting up a game, then 3 hours of arduous fiddly play, the fantasy dungeon crawl experience just got lost for me amongst all the bits, line-of-sight calculations, and endless number of special items that you barely remembered you had.

Flash forward to this past weekend, where I had the chance to preview the 2nd edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark at Cloud Cap Games (thank you Fantasy Flight for the opportunity). The first change I noticed with the 2nd edition was the box size, about half of the original, very nice. Once I opened the box, I was sooooo pleased to find only about half of the fiddly bits from the original, and more efficient and beautifully illustrated map tiles. Sure, there are fewer plastic minis, but they are still just as cool. The other fantastic item you receive in the new edition that cost an extra $60 to get for the original is a campaign guide, with rules and quests for creating a continuing story where both the heros and the overlord become more powerful and specialized.

I’ve played the 2nd edition numerous times now and I really enjoy it as the game I wanted when I first brought that coffin box home many years ago. Overall, the game is just more streamlined, all the fiddly parts take far less time than they used to, and the focus is now on playing. Every single encounter I’ve played has taken about an hour, and that includes set-up time and rules explanation for new players. Though the games play quick, they are incredibly engrossing, every move and roll of the dice is important for both the heros and the overlord, and all of your items and special abilities come into play. The individual quests are well made, and every one feels unique. Last night we played a quest where the overlord was trying to roll boulders into a canyon to stop the adventurers from reaching a bridge, so fighting the monsters was not the only concern the heros had. Even the decision to grab loot before fleeing the canyon was a difficult one, and had to be timed correctly.

Descent 2nd edition is simply awesome if you are looking for a dungeon crawl experience. The campaign rules and quest book will provide, reportedly, 20 hours for a single campaign. Adding new skills and items in between quests is very controlled so that each choice matters, and your character near the end of the campaign will perform very differently than they did at the beginning. Playing as the overlord is extremely challenging, so a single play through the campaign will not suffice for those who want to try and master each scenario.

The game won’t officially hit the shelves for at least another few weeks, but the preview demo copy is in the shop for any who want to try it out, and of course we are taking pre-orders. If you give it a try, I highly recommend running through the introductory quest, then leveling up and playing another quest to get the full experience. Hats off to you Fantasy Flight for a fantastic revision, and for bringing out my inner giggly geek dungeon-loving boy!

Posted on July 6th, 2012

Hello everyone, and happy sun. We have a great weekend coming up with both a Magic draft tournament (Avacyn Restored) and, drum roll please, previews of Descent 2nd edition! The wait for 2nd edition Descent has been long, but from what we’ve seen so far it has been well worth it. I was not a big fan of the original Descent due to its fiddliness, but I am excited to experience the story and campaign driven 2nd edition with a refined ruleset. So if fantasy is your thing, stop on by this weekend to geek out.

Speaking of fantasy geeking, Small World Realms released this week, but unfortunately we will not have it in our hands until next week due to the holiday shipping schedule. Realms is an add-on to Small World that brings modular map tiles to the game, as well as story-based games that rely on accomplishing specific goals rather than just grabbing up territory. Sounds very interesting, so more on that next week.

Game release news, however, is really dominated this week by two BIG re-releases: King of Tokyo and A Few Acres of Snow. Because of limited distribution, we are still trying to fill all of our preorders on these titles, but we should have a few extra copies of King of Tokyo for sale this weekend. Sadly, A Few Acres of Snow won’t be available until next week, and even then we’ll only have a few copies. If you would like either of these games let us know, because once this batch is gone we will likely not see them again until next year. Yes, these games are really that awesome! We have King of Tokyo for rent, and with an appropriate bribe I can pull my Few Acres off the private reserve shelf.

One new rental this week: Survive: Escape from Atlantis

Finally, our used game shelf is extremely thin right now, so if you have any games gathering dust, bring them in for some credit. See our web page for full buyback details.

Have a great weekend!

Posted on July 5th, 2012

So its Thursday, and I’m going to rave a bit about a game called Friday, that I actually first played this past Sunday. As the weather warms up and the bugs start to hatch on the rivers, I spend most of my days off knee deep in fresh cold running water casting at feeding trout. When the sun sets on the river, though, the casting must end, and I need something to do for an hour or two before bed, otherwise my mind races with excitement for the next day of fishing. Games on a tablet device or games that can be played solitaire are perfect for these moments, and last Sunday I discovered an excellent solo card game called Friday, by Friedemann Friese (of Power Grid fame).

In Friday, you are helping a poor fellow named Robinson shortly after he was shipwrecked on a lonely island. On the horizon, two pirate ships approach, and you need to help Robinson develop his survival and fighting skills so that he can fend off the pirates, take their ship, and leave the island.

Friday is a deck building game. This means you will have a starting deck of cards that you’ll draw cards from to play, you’ll be acquiring helpful cards that will go into your discard pile, and when your deck has no more cards, you will shuffle the discard pile to make a new deck. In Friday, your starting deck is terrible. But as Robinson successfully explores the island and faces hazards, the hazard cards become reward cards that get added to your deck.

Each turn consists of drawing two hazard cards, choosing which one to face, then drawing a number of cards from your character deck as instructed by the hazard card. If your total fighting points match or exceed the hazard value, you win the hazard card, if not, you will lose some life but also have the option to destroy some of the terrible cards in your deck. In addition to fighting values, some of your character cards have actions you can perform, and this is where the game gets very interesting. The actions may allow you to draw more cards, rearrange the top 3 cards of your deck, gain more life, destroy cards, and a few other options. These actions can be performed in any order, and the play order is often very, very important. Unfortunately, all of the exploring and fighting takes time, and when you need to reshuffle your discard pile to make a new deck, you also add a horrible aging card to the deck that ruins a great offense when it shows up later in the game.

I’ve tried out a few solo games on my fishing trips, like the Lord of the Rings Card Game and Roll Through the Ages, both excellent games (If Mage Knight were more compact it would easily be the only game I played). Friday, though, is a near perfect game for my needs. It is compact, plays in about 30 minutes, and it is very challenging with fun choices. So if you find yourself in lonely situations, I highly recommend helping Robinson escape his own in a game of Friday by Friedemann Friese.

Posted on June 29th, 2012

Well the heat is on folks. We’ll be hauling the heavyweight room cooler into the shop as soon as we get enough hands on deck. Until then, things might get a little swampy in the shop, but we’ll do our best to keep the breeze moving through. Now is the time to truly test your mettle at the game table. How well can you manage your resources when the heat is on?

Oh, before I forget, we will be open normal hours all next week. Independence Day does fall on a Wednesday though. Game night is still happening, but maybe we’ll end it a little early to go watch some light shows?

As for new product, we’ve got another slow week, thank goodness there are plenty of great games already. We did get in a new batch of Lego Minifigures though. Our restock of activity books also arrived with some perfect items for the summer travel plans: dot-to-dots for all ages, Sudoku books, and great adventure maze books.

On to the events. . . . .

Meaty Game Day: It has been a long month, but finally the last Saturday is here. So bring your heavy duty games to the shop tomorrow starting around 4pm. We know that sometimes it can be tough to decide which meaty games to play, so bring your favorites and maybe we’ll decide the winner with a game of CandyLand!

Descent 2nd Edition Previews: I was not a huge fan of the original Descent, mainly because I did not want to sink hundreds of dollars into all the expansions that truly made the game great. But I have to admit that I am pretty excited about the new edition since it packs so much more into one box, at a lower price, and with a refined rule set. If all goes well we will have a preview copy of the revised version by next weekend. We currently have organised games scheduled for Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8 at 1pm. If you have any interest in fantasy adventuring, give this game a try. Imagine a board game version of Dungeons and Dragons, but with a really mean gamemaster!

Avacyn Restored Draft Tournament: Next Saturday, July 7, is Magic the Gathering tournament time. This will be the last tournament with the Avacyn Restored set before the 2013 core is released, so come throw some angels into battle!