Well, for gamers, the big news this week is the return of Eclipse, a sleek space empire building game. Eclipse is categorized as a 4X game, which means the game involves eXploring a map, eXpanding your empire, eXploiting planets, and eXterminating your opponents. Generally these types of games fall into a more American style classification because of their reliance on combat and tons of plastic pieces. Eclipse, though, feels much more like a European game, and one that relies heavily on sound financial management. Many of our regular game night attendees now own this game and will gladly play it, so if you are at all interested, stop by early on a Wednesday night and ask nicely.
For those not interested in lengthy empire building games, there are really no worthy new releases this week. However, we have plenty of amazing games in stock to meet your needs, some of which we were able to play this last week. 7 Wonders with the leaders expansion made it to the table, and I was reminded of how immensely satisfying this game is for such a quick experience. Kirsten and I enjoyed some Dominion with a few folks at the game gathering, and as usual, Kirsten’s intuitive feel for this game left her with far too many provinces and the win! I also played Ticket to Ride and Small World this week, both excellent lighter strategy games, and they are set up on our demo tables if you’d like to know more about them. Finally, Donald Vaccarino’s new games, Nefarious and Infiltration, are good social games that rely on predicting your opponents behavior, and being a bit mean. Oh, and Castle Panic is an enjoyable cooperative game with knights and trolls, it was also the featured game on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop last week, so check it out.
Well, that’s it for the games, on to the Events:
Meaty Game Day (June 30, 4-11pm): Wow, it is nearly here, we have to wait so long for our last saturday event when the month has so many saturdays. If you like your games rich, juicy, and lengthy, this is the day to park your rear in the shop. I personally cannot wait cuz I love the long ones. TC will be running a Twilight Imperium: Rex game at 4pm, and I would like to get in some Mage Knight around 7pm if anyone is interested. But please bring your favorites and play a round of Candyland to see who gets their game to the table.
Twilight Imperium: Rex (June 30, 4pm): This is a reskin of the old Dune game, not the massive Twilight Imperium 4X game. Join TC as he wheels and deals his way toward ownership of the emperor’s throne!
Pathfinder Roleplaying Camp (July 17-20, 1-4pm): Ever wanted to weild a sword or powerful magic, then crash a goblin party and take all their loot? Well, if you sign up for the Pathfinder camp, you’ll get that chance. But beware, I think gamemaster Josh has far more dangerous beasties than goblins lined up at the dungeon entrance! See the website for full details, and RSVP for a seat.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition mini-adventures: Ian just stopped by yesterday with a proposal to run 2 afternoon D&D sessions for ages 12 and up. I’m still working on a web page with full details, but if you are interested come by the shop or give a call. Ian is very interested in running a mini-adventure for adults too, so get the big geeky gang together.
Descent 2nd edition Preview Weekend: This is going to be awesome! We have been selected to run preview events for the revised and reprinted Descent game, which means we’ll have a demo copy in the shop a few weeks before the official release! If you don’t know about this game, think epic dungeon crawling board game where you team up with other heros against a wicked overlord who gets to control the monsters and throw various nasty obstacles in your way. Currently, we have 3 game sessions planned, so reserve a seat and get ready for some good old fashioned Ameritrash fun.
Recently added used games:
Citadels, Torres, Axis & Allies Pacific, Ramses Pyramid Lego Game, Hellas, Medici vs. Strozzi, Hera & Zeus, Bang, T-Rex, Lord of the Rings cooperative board game
Finally, school is out for everyone today! Congrats to all the grads out there, and of course all the dads. If you need any last minute gifts for either group, we will do our best to set you up with something special.
If you need to get your gaming fix this weekend, we’ve got a few special events planned for Saturday. First off, it is free Role Playing Game (RPG) day, which means, guess what, free stuff, primarily in the form of quickstart rules and mini-adventures for various RPG systems. And we are very excited to have a whole afternoon of Pathfinder, experienced gamemasters will be in the shop from 1pm-7pm, so come be a hero for an hour or two!
We are also running a Magic the Gathering, Avacyn Restored draft tournament this Saturday at 5pm. Our tournaments are very, very casual, so if you have any experience with Magic, come play with some good folks and have a chance at some prizes.
Nefarious: Another Donald X. Vaccarino (aka, Mr. Dominion and Kingdom Builder) game, this time you play as a mad scientist attempting to invent outrageous items, all while trying to guess what your fellow scientists are trying to do in their laboratories. Looks like another game with more social elements than either Dominion or Kingdom Builder, more along the lines of his just released Infiltration game.
Fortress America: A needlesssly expensive reprint of a game that occupied many of my summer high school days, but I do remember scraping money together with my buddies to buy this game even back then, so maybe the price is in accordance with inflation? Anyway, it is a great game in which America is under attack on three fronts. Play as the Americans and defend against hordes of invaders, or play as one of the invaders. This game has some nice stuff going on, like surprise action cards, a massive laser attack option, and the ability of the Americans to call standard citizens to arms. If there is any kid left in you, this game is awesome!
Dominant Species (reprint): A very popular game about evolving your particular critters to become the dominant species at the end of the game. And believe me, that and game scoring matters A LOT, but most people aren’t aware of it during the first 6 hours. Cool theme and some interesting player interactions make this a nice rich experience.
Buckyballs & Buckycubes: Buckyballs are back, they gave us an offer we could not refuse. The price has shot up due to Chinese rare earth prices, but if you want a set you no longer have to go to OMSI to get them, though OMSI is not a bad place to have to go. And while supplies last, every Buckyball purchase comes with a free book of awesome modeling ideas.
Free RPG Day: I mentioned it up above, but stop on by for some adventure and free goodies.
Avacyn Restored Draft: Also mentioned it above. $15 entry fee gets you 3 packs for the draft, a chance at more packs as prizes, and everyone will walk with some door prizes.
Twilight Imperium: REX: Mark your calenders and reserve a seat, Emporer TC wants to fight to regain his throne. June 30, 4pm.
Meaty Games Day: Get ready to park your rear for many hours, because folks will be bringing some heavy duty games to play. June 30, 4-11pm.
Descent 2nd edition: We have been selected by Fantasy Flight Games to host a preview weekend of the rerelease of Descent, an epic fantasy adventure game, now with campaign rules included. Mark your calendars for July 6-8. TC is already gearing up to run a game or two on Sunday, July 8, starting at 1pm, so reserve a seat. We should also have games running that Friday evening and Saturday. Check the website or facebook page for updates.
We’ve got a fair bit of newness this week, so omce on in and browse through the pretty stuff. Maybe wait until the afternoons though, seems like the rain in the morning, sun in the PM pattern is sticking around. Some bad news, one of my distributors miffed a very large restock order, so we’ll be a little low on hobby game products this weekend, hopefully it won’t be too noticeable. If you would like to experience my initial reaction to this sad news, check out this link, taken from one of the worst pieces of cinema ever produced!
Quarmageddon: Lots more dice for this fun and zany game. Loosen the tie for this baby, because seriousness is not allowed.
Lord of the Rings Nazgul: WizKids has produced some hits lately (Quarriors, Mage Knight), and some possible bombs (Star Trek Fleet Captains). Their new take on the Lord of the Rings sounds interesting, and the Nazgul Clix minis are sweet, we’ll just have to see about the gameplay. Luckily, we have a demo copy to test out.
Tournay: A new card game from the designer of Troyes, which is a very nice euro-style game. The first person to purchase this game needs to play a round with me before they leave the shop.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis: The reprint of this in your face casual game is finally back. Sit back and enjoy sending your fellow players to the sharks. Grab it now if you want a copy, because when its gone we’ll be lucky to have it back by Christmas with the way reprints are going these days.
The Resistance: Another reprint of a fantastic social game. As part of the resistance against the big bad corporate world, you’ll be selecting teams to accompany you on sabotage missions, you just better hope the team you select has no corporate spys! We’ve got a demo copy of this if you are interested.
Saboteur: Another great social game involving traitors. This time you’ll be working together to build tunnels to reach the gold, just watch out for the traitor trying to sabotage the mining expedition.
Thinkfun: We have finally picked up the Thinkfun line of great products. They are best known for their puzzle game, Rush Hour, but Pathwords and Knot so Fast are two of our favorites. All Thinkfun products are extremely captivating and travel friendly. Come try out some of our hands on demos.
Wednesday Game Gathering: Good folks and good games. Bring your own games, or just show up and join in. Either way, don’t be shy, this is a very casual game night. Wednesday 6-10pm.
Pokemon League: Trade and play on saturdays from 10am-noon.
Magic the Gathering: Avacyn Restored Draft Tournament: We have officially begun our regular Magic tournaments. Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at 5pm we’ll hold a casual draft or constructed tournament. Don’t expect to train for the nationals here, but do expect to experience what an enjoyable game Magic can be.
Twilight Imperium: Rex, Final Days of the Empire: The once great Emporer TC will be hosting a game where he and up to 5 other freaky races will fight for control of his throne. Join him this Meaty Games Day (Saturday, June 30, 4pm), but RSVP if interested, and ages 17 and up only.
Free RPG Day: The day for free roleplaying goodies is almost here! Next Saturday, June 16, stop by the shop for some free quickstart guides and experience the creative awesomeness that is roleplaying. We should have multiple Pathfinder (basically Dungeons and Dragons) demo sessions throughout the day, so come escape reality for a while. We are also still looking for any other folks interested in gamemastering that day.
Pathfinder Camp: Speaking of Pathfinder, we will be hosting a 4 day camp in late July for young adventurers ages 10 and up. Let us know if you are interested, seating is very limited.
New Rentals and Used Games
Rentals: Charon Inc., Infiltration, The Hobbit, Kingdom Builder Nomads.
Used: Mystery Express, Munchkin with 3 expansions, Munchkin Zombies, Wings of War Dawn of WWII, Bubble Talk, Railroad Rush Hour, Train of Thought, Endavor, Carcassonne New World, Carcassonne Princess and Dragon.
Grads and Dads month is here, and its time to crank up the radio when Alice Cooper belts out “School’s out for Summer”. For those who get a summer break, enjoy every last second of it. For those stuck inside all summer, staring longingly out the window at the beautiful sunny days, our first new arrival this week is your chance to stick it to the big bad corporate man. Whatever your situation, check out Tabletop’s show on Munchkin, then help us kick off the arrival of June at our First Friday art opening tonight, where Lisa Thomas shows off her stunning works of game art.
Infiltration: The man who brought us Dominion brings us yet another good looking game about competing to be the best futuristic corporate thief. Check out these rules if you want to get prepared for bringing it to the table tonight.
Magic 2012 Planechase: Planechase is a multiplayer format for Magic the Gathering that involves traveling between different planes at various points in the game. Each plane changes the rules environment, and the new set introduces Phenomenon cards that have immediate effects during interplanar travel. The set consists of 4 new complete and limited edition decks, each with limited cards available only in these decks. If you don’t want to buy a pack, why not join us for our Avacyn Restored draft tournament this saturday evening and try to win a pack!
Pokemon Kyurem Box: Kyurem is getting his own special box, complete with a figurine, a special foil card, and 4 booster packs. Grab a box during our Pokemon league saturday morning from 10-noon and experience the thrill of busting out that figurine when your Kyurem foil card hits the table.
Big Bang Theory Party Game: Sounds like you’ll need to be a pretty big fan of the show to enjoy this Apples to Apples style party game.
Lemonade Stand: All the fun of the real deal, but you get to keep your tooth enamel.
Upcoming Special Events
First Friday Art Gathering: Join us for some, sips, snacks, and some pretty cool new art in the demo room, 6-8pm.
Pokemon League: New day and time, 10-noon this saturday morning.
Magic the Gathering, Avacyn Restored Draft Tournament: At the request of our small but incredibly awesome group of Magic customers, we’ll be holding a draft tournament this saturday evening at 6pm. We hope to continue these tournaments every few weeks and expand our fledgling Magic community into the nicest bunch of summoners in the city. The entry cost of $13 gets you 3 packs for the draft and a chance to win some prizes, including a Planechase deck for the winner.
New on the Rental and Used Shelves:
No new used games this week. We are working on getting K2 on the rental shelf, and will be adding Infiltration as well.
Happy Memorial Weekend Folks. We’ve got a fair bit of new stuff to announce, so let’s jump right into it:
MEATY GAME DAY is tomorrow (May 26) at 4pm. Bring your hearty lengthy games and play them with others willing to let their bums go numb.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: During meaty game day, Admiral Mike will be organising an epic session of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA the board game, with all expansions. This is a wonderful game experience that really stays true to the core tension in the TV show, so definitely give this a try if you’ve got a few hours. Starts about 4pm.
MAGIC DRAFT TOURNAMENT: On Saturday June 2 we will be running a Magic the Gathering Draft style Tournament starting at 6pm. Entry is $13, which includes 3 packs to draft with and prizes for the winner(s).
FREE RPG DAY: Saturday June 16 is free roleplaying game day. We’ll have a bunch of free goodies from different publishers, and we’ll hopefully have a few game sessions running. If anyone is interested in being a GM for their favorite game, please contact us and we’ll hook you up with some swag.
PATHFINDER CAMP: Speaking of RPGs, we’ll be hosting a 4-day Pathfinder camp for ages 10 and up. For those who do not know what Pathfinder is, think Dungeons and Dragons. The camp is tentatively scheduled for July 17-20, and will cost $175 per player, which will include all materials needed to play as well as some snacks and other goodies. Seating is very limited, so please contact us if you are interested.
PATHFINDER SUMMER CAMPAIGN: Cloud Cap has an intern interested in running on ongoing Pathfinder Campaign for no more than 4 players ages 13 and up. Let us know if you are interested, days and times are still not set.
POKEMON LEAGUE: Now officially on Saturday mornings from 10-noonish.
WEDNESDAY GAME GATHERING: This is our weekly board game gathering. Come on by and play some games with good people. We do our best to help you get up and running on a new game if necessary, and others will do their best to include you, so don’t be shy.
New Product Arrivals:
KITES, KITES, KITES, AND MORE . . . . That’s right, we’ve brought in a few kites, but not your average plastic throw away ones, these are high quality kites from HQ. We have some stunning single line kites and some sweet dual line stunt kites at affordable prices. Come check these out, or find me at the park tomorrow crashing my stunt kite into the ground. We also have a few outdoor games and activities from HQ.
ORA & LABORA should be back in stock this afternoon.
MANSIONS OF MADNESS: HOUSE OF FEARS expansion is also expected today.
K2 was nominated for the kennerspiel des jahres award (basically, hardcore game of the year), and we’ve got a copy coming in today as well as the expansion.
New rentals and demos: We will be throwing the Kingdom Builder expansion into the rental copy as soon as it is returned. We’ve also put the Going Cardboard DVD on the rental shelf.
Have a great weekend everyone!
So the fellow who gave us the wonderful game of Dominion released a surprising new game at the end of last year titled Kingdom Builder. Because Dominion was such a unique and enjoyable game, the release of Kingdom Builder was preceded by a fair amount of anticipation within the hobby gaming community. Well, upon its release, Kingdom Builder turned a lot of smiles upside down, and a small turbulent fire was lit on the online game forums, where the minority of folks who enjoyed the game desperately tried to defend it against the waves of trolls attempting to crush every copy in existence.
After the initial flames burned down, Kingdom Builder quietly crept into dark corners where the proud few stealthily huddled over it, hoping to avoid the ire of their serious gamer friends. The hard core forum trolls aimed their spray of venomous spittle at other new and exciting games, believing that they had obliterated any hope of Kingdom Builder making a lasting impression. Well, they were very, very wrong; Kingdom Builder was just nominated for arguably the most prestigious board game award in the world, an award that guarantees lasting international success: The Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). So now, the forum flames burn bright again, but this time the trolls have lost some strength, for some of them upon playing Kingdom Builder a few more times have begun to recognize the game for what it is, a very interesting light strategy game that nearly anyone can play and enjoy.
The purpose of the Spiel des Jahres is to highlight recently released games (in Germany) that, above all, offer fun and challenging experiences for a very broad audience in a relatively short period of time. For your average German family or group of friends (who, I’ve been told, play far more games together than we do here in the United States of Electronica), the Spiel des Jahres award provides assurance that all will have a satisfying game experience. Really, without any knowledge of a game whatsoever, someone could purchase an award nominee or winner, then learn it and play it in a single social evening and have a great time doing so.
Kingdom Builder, I believe, is a perfect nominee for the Spiel des Jahres award. At its heart, it is an abstract area control strategy game. The basic rules are very straightforward: on your turn play the only card you have in your hand by placing 3 of your settlement pieces on the terrain type that matches your card. That is it folks, seriously, that is how you play the game, you play your only card and put 3 pieces on the board, and 45 minutes later you tally the scores. Now, not all spaces on the map are equally valuable, and this is where things get very interesting. First, some map spaces are near specific locations, which can allow you to do more actions on your turn. Also, the conditions for victory change every game, so different map spaces hold different potential values depending on the conditions in effect. Furthermore, your piece placement options during future turns will be dramatically limited by the pieces you place on your current turn, so some careful thought is required. Combine all of these implications for piece placement and you end up with a fascinatingly rich though confined set of choices. Oh, and let me repeat: to play this game you simply play your only card and put 3 pieces on spaces on the board that match that card. How awesome is that, best game ever to explain to new players!
Well, enough said. Absolutely give this game a try, we have it on our rental shelf to make it easy. And play it more than once, the first game often leaves players feeling that luck dominates. Like a nice pot of chili, Kingdom Builder thickens and grows richer over time. Even the trolls will be crawling out from under the bridges and eating humble pie once they play a few more games.