We’re nearly halfway through the 2nd quarter and the new game release schedule is ramping up. We’re grabbing as many as we think are worthy, and they are summarized below, along with upcoming events you may be interested in. We also have a few current specials – Magic the Gathering: Dark Ascension theme decks are only $10, and all Thunderstone and Ascension products are 25% off. Happy gaming.
Mage Knight (Reprint): Most of you have already heard me rave about this game, so I’ll try to keep it brief. This game is simply wonderful, but it will hurt your brain and keep you up well past your bedtime.
Lords of Waterdeep: This actually came in a few weeks ago, but it is such a fantastic product that it deserves mentioning this week. This European style worker-placement game set in a Dungeons & Dragons universe should not be as fun as it truly is. The game plays quick with great pacing, has simple yet deep decision-making, and contains multiple levels of player interaction. Definitely give this a try, we’ve got a copy on the rental shelf.
Glen More (Reprint): Have not yet played a full game of this yet, but a kind customer ran me through the first third of a game. In this compact package you get a neat tile-laying, resource-management game with a true marketplace mechanic and an interesting scoring system that depends on differences between you and your opponents. Oh, and whiskey barrels can be straight up victory points, not too shabby.
Hive Pocket: All the fun of the popular chess-like, 2-player strategy game with bugs, now in a more manageable coffee-shop or pub playing size.
Summoner Wars (Starter Pack Reprints & New Faction Packs): In this immensely popular game, you populate the battlefield with cards from your hand, then take charge of the card units on the field to wallop your opponent in true fantasy style. Plaid Hat has finally re-released the original starter packs, as well as introduced new faction packs – The Filth and The Mercenaries.
Catan Junior: Finally, a great looking Catan game for kids as young as 6 years old! And honestly, I may rather play this than regular Catan just for the cool pirate theme alone. You and the younguns will be developing a treasure-filled island, trading wood, goats, molasses, and cutlasses to expand your network of pirate lairs and hunt for gold. The game uses one die instead of two and a pre-set 2-sided game board to help keep things simple for little swashbucklers.
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Looks terrible, but at least 2 customers say very positive things about it, so I shouldn’t judge a game by its box, but yuck!
Oh, and I almost forgot, the new Magic: The Gathering set, Avacyn Restored, goes on sale today. We’ve got plenty of booster packs, theme decks, and fat packs.
After School Magic: Bring your cards for trading and playing at 4pm.
Pokemon League: Sunday at noon the Jet season starts, and we’ve got some shiny metal energy and Unfezant prize cards.
Family Game Time: Sunday starting at 3pm we’ll get your whole family up and running on some great games.
Wednesday Game Gathering: Join us for some modern strategy games from 6-10pm. I’ll be trying to rally players for Eminent Domain about 6:30pm.
Movie Screening: On Saturday, May12, at 8pm, we’ll be showing the film, Going Cardboard, in the shop.
Battlestar Galactica: Join Admiral Mike and crew for this excellent game. All expansions will be used, so expect a 3-4 hour experience. Ages 16 and up, seating is limited.
New Rentals: Lords of Waterdeep, Wiz-War, Agricola, Zong Shi
Have a closet full of great games that you no longer play? We’ll help you turn those lonely titles into the latest and greatest. We offer one of the best trade deals in town, but we have limited space and are therefore very selective. We prefer modern strategy games and generally do not accept kids games or games you find for $2 at Goodwill. Unless you have something extremely rare and desirable, all games for trade must be in like new condition with no missing components.
Our trade policy is simple:
— We determine a price that we will sell your game for, typically 50-75% of normal MSRP for games currently in print, or for games not in print, we evaluate recent online prices and local demand.
— You receive 50% of our resale price as store credit only.
Please email us at email@example.com with a list of games you are interested in trading and we can give you a quote before you bring the games in for counting.
So if our terms sound appealing, let us help you clear up some closet space, and help others get their hands on some great games at attractive prices.
Every month we publish a newsletter filled with descriptions of the upcoming events, new games, and anything else we want to share about the shop. Here is a list of the newsletters which we will update as new ones are published:
wow, did I have a great week of gaming. so great in fact that my sleep really suffered, especially over the weekend. Hopefully none of you noticed reduced service at the shop as a result of my late night sessions.
At the game gathering on Wednesday, I was able to play a round of Quarriors with the Rise of the Demons expansion. Never did see any cursed dice enter my bag despite the fact that I was acquiring spells for passing them off to others. I definitely want to play this expansion again as I see some interesting cards in the set. I was able to fill my bag with some ghosts that respawned when my other critters died, which I had never really tried before. So you want to kill my Assistant, fine, his ghost will come back bigger and badder to haunt your sissy minions! I also want to try the ‘more strategic’ rules that will be published with the upcoming expansion, Quarmageddon (http://wizkidsgames.com/quarriors/quarmageddon/). If you are interested, the new rules are posted here: http://wizkidsgames.com/wp-content/uploads/quarma/QuarmageddonRulebook.pdf.
Friday night saw the return of Mage Knight to the table after a bit of a hiatus. Up until last week I think I was playing Mage Knight every night for 2 weeks straight, either solo or with friends. Friday night I played an absolutely incredible 2-player game of the Conquer and Hold scenario that kept me up way past my bedtime. The game was neck and neck until I decided to abandon a keep at the very end in order to capture another of my buddy’s mage towers. Well, he decimated all 3 defenders at my keep, while I was only able to defeat 2 of the 3 at his tower, leaving him 3 points ahead for the final. What a fantastic game! My buddy actually gets nervous before every battle, just hoping that he’s calculated everything correctly. We were both just flabbergasted at how different the new scenario felt. I am so enthralled by this game that I’m beginning to really understand how Gollum felt about the one ring. It is not long before I will be a full fledged servant of Vlaada Chvatil, the game’s designer.
Saturday night, despite my fatigue, I played a grueling game of Le Havre by Uwe Rosenburg, famed designer of Agricola. Le Havre lets you live the exciting life of a harbor manager and tycoon. What better way to end a hard day’s work than with a game about work. Le Havre is actually a very good game with a vast puzzly array of choices every turn. While I was leading early on, my strategy broke down late game, and I wound up with a bunch of nearly starving dock workers practically walking off the job and hitting the pub early.
Sunday night, with 2 very late gaming nights behind me, I went for round 3 with a 7 player game of Robo Rally. If you have never experienced this game, 7 players is a great way to play. Robots were twisting and turning every which way while they tried to touch each of 4 flags spread across a dangerous factory floor. My Hulk x90 caused the demise of a few robots, died a few times, then wound up in second place. One robot got so confused that it spent the entire last half of the game performing laps in a corner. If you want to practice gracefully dealing with completely insane random, and generally non-vicious, attacks, give Robo Rally a try.
Monday, after a little floor painting at the shop, Mrs. Cloud Cap and I hit the local pub, Oaks Bottom, for some international totchos and a round of Jaipur, a great 2 player merchant themed game. Playing this game with the Mrs. drives me absolutely bat nuts, I always want to smear totcho oil all over the cards! I just can’t seem to win, she is always grabbing up the best products to sell while I’m scrambling to sell twice as much junky leather!
until next time . . . .
Modern games are by no means cheap. While hobby gamers rarely blink at a $50-$60 price tag for a board game, most shoppers gasp loudly when they see our prices. We’ve heard such gasping many times in the shop, and because of this we have to continually convince ourselves that the games we carry are worth the price.
Typically when gamers defend game prices, they compare the cost of a game to the cost of seeing a movie with family or friends. Nowadays you’ll pay about $10-15 per person for a new release on the big screen, so a group of 4 will spend $40-$60 for a few hours of entertainment. Compare this to a similarly priced board game that can entertain a group of 2 or more people for anywhere from 2-30+ hours, and the game should be the better value.
But is the comparison between board games and movies really valid? A movie is a very and largely non-social experience, providing a few hours of often mind-numbing relaxation. A board game, on the other hand, requires some effort, not only to read and understand the rules, but to make challenging choices during the game and resist the urge to scream at your opponents when they utterly trash all of your plans for victory. We see movies to be entertained, the movie does all the work, and it could care less if we are watching or not. Games require that we do all the work, and the game breaks down if players provide no input. So, while a board game seems to provide more bang for your buck than a movie, the experiences are too different to compare, and for most people a movie is a better bargain precisely because it is a less demanding and perhaps more relaxing experience.
Video games are a bit more appropriate for comparison with board games. Both are games, and therefore require some user input. Both are similarly priced as well.Yet, despite the similarities, many households now have at least a shelf full of video games, and the expensive apparatus to run them, while a much smaller number of households have a shelf of actively played board games. So why does the $40-$60 price tag for a video game not bother as much as the same price on a board game? Again, I think it comes down to the amount of effort involved in playing a board game, video games still do most of the work for you, and you can largely just sit back and watch the show. Video games can also be played alone, allowing one to escape social reality for a while.
What activity, then, can we compare board games to if we want some accurate sense of their value for your dollar? I think sports actually provide a great comparison. Like board games, athletic games are active and social. Also like board games, many sporting activities have a high entry cost. Baseball, for example, requires the purchase of a bat, some balls, and some gloves. Even the casual soccer player needs a decent pair of shoes. Sports and board games both provide an escape from the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of everyday life while still requiring social interaction. Both activities also challenge some aspect of ourselves. Athletic games challenge the body while board games stimulate the mind and foster creativity. Now this physical vs. mental comparison unearths the age-old high school jocks vs. nerds rivalry, which in large part still subtly exists in the collective unconscious. But if we grow up and accept reality, in terms of value, neither is better than the other, and both are vital.
Despite the similarities between athletic activities and board games, one major difference still remains – the barrier to entry. Sporting games generally make sense, take very little explaining, and don’t require reading a rulebook. Board games, on the other hand, are often confusing at first and require reading cryptic rulebooks. No matter what comparisons we make, this is where board games lose all value for many people, the effort required is too great, and too uninteresting. Sometimes it just feels too much like work. As far as entertainment spending goes, board games require more effort per dollar than really any other product on the market.
But the mental challenge and sometimes frustrating social interactions involved in playing board games are precisely why I, and many other hobby gamers, enjoy games so much. For us the effort of learning a game, the often painful brain-burning choices made during the game, and the social challenges are what give games their unique value. Board games are not for everyone, but they are anything but expensive when compared to other forms of entertainment. In addition to playing board games, I rock climb, mountaineer, fly fish, see movies, and play video games. And honestly, board games are insanely cheap when lined up with these other activities. I think ultimately, it is not just the price of the game that induces gasping, it is more the concept of paying any amount of money for entertainment that requires mental work.
Now the sales pitch: we try very hard at Cloud Cap to reduce the barrier to entry for board games, because we know that if that wall is breached, most people will find a very rewarding experience on the other side. So step into our demo room and let us help you learn a game. Or take a game home from our rental library, and if you don’t want to read the rules, watch a tutorial on YouTube. Better yet, come to one of our many game nights and learn from someone who really wants to teach you their favorite games. If you find a game you like and can play it for a lifetime with friends and family, you’ll discover that eventually, bang for buck, board games explode for just pennies.
We have finally transitioned to our new and improved look and interface. Huge shout of thanks to Joshua Chang and David Zumini for putting together this awesome site. Now you’ll be able to stay abreast of new games, upcoming events, and read our rants! We hope you enjoy it, and please let us know if you have any issues or suggestions. Cheers!