Tag Archives: shop updates
Posted on February 1st, 2013

And so the second month of the new year begins, and the gaming hobby continues to thrive. One of the new games this month, Copycat, got me thinking about the hobby as a whole, and how wonderful it is. There was a time when folks had to pay military personnel to bring copies of Settlers of Catan back to the states from overseas. But now look at us, last month alone we had about 10 great new games hit the shelves, and this week I have 2 new games and a few expansions taunting me on our new release table. The hobby is healthy folks. We honestly have too many good games now, I want to play them all and just can’t. Part of me wants it all to slow down but most of me loves the newness and the variety.

I’m honestly very grateful for way the gaming hobby allows me to satisfy my desire for both social interaction and mental challenge. Those $50 copies of Lords of Waterdeep and Last Will have yielded so many hours of pure awesome, thankfully saving from numbing my skull while staring at a movie screen or bla-bla-ing at a bar or restaurant until my ears hurt. I hope all of you are enjoying your games as much as I am.

For some though, the gaming hobby is rather frustrating. Because of our game nights, I have a relatively stable group of gamers to play with. But without a group to play with, a love of games can practically drive you mad. I know, I was once there. Now I’m seeing many who were like myself: guys mostly, who love modern board games far more than there loving partners or friends ever will and go a bit nuts because they cannot find people to play with. This is where movies and bla-bla-ing at a bar are far less frustrating hobbies, you can always find folks to do these with. So if you are one of the lost souls in love with games but without an outlet, have hope, and join us at a game night. Our hobby is great and growing; You are definitely not alone!

New Games

CO2: Boy have I been hearing enticing things about this game involving managing an energy company that is responding to the government’s requests for green power plants to stop the potentially fatal increase in greenhouse gases. Sure, its a contentious political theme, and we all have our opinions on it, but I could care less because it sounds like such a great game. While it is an economic game at heart, 2 elements intrigue me. First, everyone can lose if the global CO2 levels rise too high. Second, power plant projects are not privately owned but are group efforts. Both of these elements create interactive tensions not typically found in European style games. Looking forward to trying this one, just have to get through the rules first. Oh, almost forgot to mention that the artwork is rather captivating.

Copycat: Designer Friedeman Friese, of Power Grid fame (which is now on the rental shelf by the way), has given us a game that pays homage to our wonderful hobby by combining elements from many of our most cherished games. So what we’ve got here is a deck-building, worker-placement, drafting race game with obvious nods to games like Agricola, Dominion, and Puerto Rico. Looking forward to playing this one.

 

Innovation, Figures in the Sand Expansion: Innovation is a wonderful card game by the designer of the now classic Glory to Rome. Innovation is a challenging game to describe. You are essentially playing out cards in front of you and trying to execute their effects to score points and game-winning achievements. Of course, every card is unique, and the joy of the game comes from tactical decisions that create incredible card combinations to drive your opponents mad as they attempt to break your point-amassing engine. Figures in the Sand, the second expansion to Innovation, includes figures cards that represent famous historical characters who change the rules but get sent to your score pile as other figures take their place in history. Look for it in the snazzy green box.

Mansions of Madness, Call of the Wild expansion: This is a huge expansion for the great one versus many horror game, Mansions of Madness. Customer Randal ran an impressive game of this last saturday, complete with aged and burned dossier papers for the investigators. That’s how this game was meant to be played. This expansion is a serious reboot, with new scenarios focused on the hideous woods behind the mansion, new allies that can help you or be driven insane and turned against you, and new ways for the mansion keeper to thwart the plans of the investigators.

Oh yeah, the new Magic set goes on sale today, but if you are in to Magic, I don’t think I needed to tell you that.

 

Cheers everyone.

Posted on January 25th, 2013

Finally, a week without any major new releases! There were a few minor ones, such as the expansion for the 2-player Agricola game and an expansion for Innovation (which I won’t have until next week unfortunately). But the major new release calendar is a bit dry until spring, so it is time to finally play all the great ones that were released in the past month.

This week I had the opportunity to play a few of those recent releases. I already praised Tzolk’in here. I should mention though that the game can cause some serious analysis paralysis, so beware. This means I will not be playing it with my game group, one of our members can get seriously locked up with too many choices available. We would love to rent this game, but the fragility of the components makes it tricky, perhaps it is one for the top shelf when we get that going. I also played a game of Myrmes, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite making a fatal early game flaw and getting trounced by the red ants. And then there is Space Cadets, a refreshing cooperative experience, but not a game to start at 10:30pm, it is a long one.

One thing I did finally get to this week was setting up a meetup group for you, the Cloud Cap Gamers. The boardgamegeek guild worked OK, but the inability for members to get email reminders or even emails about new announcements makes it nearly useless. With the meetup group, anyone can post an announcement and emails will get sent to all members. This will allow all of you who want to schedule any type of game during normal shop hours to do so with a great chance at filling a table. If you have not done so already, and you are looking to find players for your games, I encourage you to sign up for this group.

For all of you used game shoppers, we have had a small flood of games come in recently, here’s the list of what is currently new on the shelf: Runebound, Legends of Andor, Castle Ravenloft, Lord of the Rings Living Card Game, Carcassonne, Carcassonne the Discovery, Forbidden Island (new but dented copies), Catan Traders and Barbarians, Catan Seafarers, Settlers of Catan, Star Wars X-Wing, Classic Risk.

That’s about it, time to get back to work. Remember that it is Meaty Game Day tomorrow, and it sounds like we may also be getting a good Netrunner turnout. Should be a packed house, so expect some sweaty windows!

Cheers everyone!

Posted on January 18th, 2013

Is everyone gearing up to watch the Sellwood bridge move to a new home tomorrow? Actually, I don’t think it will happen that fast, sounds like it will take about the same time as an Axis & Allies game.

Meanwhile, we will be sitting here surrounded by games and a ghost town neighborhood. This means I will have plenty of time to play some games with customers tomorrow. I’m already planning on a demo of Myrmes at 2pm, and how about Tzolk’in at 4pm? Come on by if you are interested. I would also love to get a game of Mage Knight in with the expansion on Sunday, any takers?

The other big news is our upcoming Lords of Waterdeep tournament on Sunday, February 10 at 1pm. We already have 12 people signed up and we will be topping out at 16 people, this is without any real promotion outside of this newsletter and facebook. So with 4 spots left you had best sign up fast if you want a seat.

We have one new game this week, Tzolk’in, one of the huge hits of the big board game convention in Essen, Germany. I was getting a zillion requests for the game 2 months ago but am seeing no interest currently, so either the game blows or everyone pulled the trigger online and received their copies on Wednesday already. Regardless, we have big beautiful copies of the game and should have a demo copy this weekend. The trick with this worker placement game is the big set of gears on the board and the idea that your worker will travel around with the turning of the gears, changing the actions it can perform as it goes.

Alright, time to get off my fanny and dust off some shelves. Have a great weekend whichever side of the bridge you are on!

Posted on January 11th, 2013

Here we go, the first full update of 2013, and lots to report, so let’s jump right in.

First, an update on the games Tzolkin by Rio Grande Games and CO2 by Stronghold Games, two very exciting games that were technically released in 2012 although we never had our greedy hands on copies. It seems that both of these games were sent in small batches to distributors and some online retailers primarily to say the game was out in 2012. Why? To be eligible for 2012 awards. We are hoping that these publishers are also interested in making money off these games in the states, so expect a larger release later this quarter, possibly in a few weeks. We won’t know when the games are coming until the Monday of the week they hit. So, if you want to lock in a copy of either of these at our preorder discount, let us know. We’ve got our numbers in at the distributors, but those may not be enough, so a preorder with us is a great way to guarantee a copy and get a significant price break.

Now for some seriously exciting news, we will be hosting a Lords of Waterdeep tournament on Sunday, February 10 starting at 1pm. More details are coming, but signups are starting now, so stop on by and reserve a seat. We are hoping to make this the first in a series of tournaments this year with some sweet door prizes and very enticing grand prizes.

In other events news, just wanted to restate that we are encouraging LCG players to attend the saturday night game gatherings. We’ve got a few Lord of the Rings, Netrunner, and now Star Wars players looking to play these great games. The more the merrier I say. We are also going to try and grab some of the promo packs Fantasy Flight will be offering soon and use them for special events and possibly even tournaments if we get enough players.

For the start of 2013 we are working on some turnover on the rental shelf. This week we have added a few new games and trimmed off others. I’ve listed the changes at the bottom of the post. In addition to the regular rentals, we are working on a set of “Top Shelf” games, basically bigger games. Look for those soon and send us any titles you would like us to consider.

OK, on to the new games,and there are a ton, so nestle in:

Mage Knight Lost Legion: Mage Knight expansion, enough said. OK, maybe not enough said about the game I’ve waited for all my life. This game is in the top 10 on boardgamegeek for good reason, and it is designer Vlaada Chvatil’s 2nd game in the top 10. Go Vlaada. The only other designer to have 2 games in the top 10 is my other favorite designer, Uwe Rosenburg, with Agricola and Le Havre.

Netrunner Trace Amount Data Pack: The game that is currently ranked just above Mage Knight at BGG is Richard Garfield’s Netrunner Card Game, and later today we will have the second data pack available. For those who like deep and intricate card games, Netrunner is a winner and with two data packs available already it is a good time to jump in if you have not already. Try renting this one if you are not sure.

Myrmes: A deep strategic game about ant colonizing, I’m all in. Something about ant colonies as a theme for a game just sounds awesome, and the fact that this could be a rich experience makes it even better. I spent many hours as a child playing SimAnt on my PC, one of my most memorable surprise Christmas presents. In this game You’ve got all the ant trappings: Queens, larvae, workers, soldiers, pheromone trails, and resource management. Check out that box art too, so good.

Ladies of Troyes: Troyes is a great worker placement style game where your dice determine the actions you can perform. You can also buy your opponents dice to ehlp out or just be a punk, so much more interaction than you normally find in a eurogame. Now we get the chance to inject a little femininity into the game, always a plus.

Ginkopolis: Have not had chance to really look into this game. Sounds like it has a bit of a Kingdom Builder style area control thing going on. Sounds fun and it gets some high ratings, we’ll see how it plays out. Apparently it even has a solo variant. Ginkos are just cool too.

Guildhall: A surprise release by AEG at Essen, this little card game in a big box with a scary pig herder on the front is receiving surprisingly favorable reviews.

Archipelago: We had a few copies of this before Christmas and now have it back. This baby is tickling my big beautiful civ-type game acquisition disorder. Some say it trumps Clash of Cultures, the big Z-Man release that everyone is buying exclusively online. Maybe you’ll have to use all that money you didn’t really save to grab a copy of Archipelago. Oh, and when you bring that sweet online copy to play at your local game store, give a smile to the guy cleaning your bathroom and taking care of your trash, that should be enough. Sorry, my evil alter ego just broke free. Its so much fun but I’ve really got to stop. It just feels like beating up the poor scrawny kid in the schoolyard. Yeah, I was that scrawny kid. OK, new resolution, no more jabs at online shoppers who use game store resources.

Spartacus: This is a game based on the STARZ original series by the same name, so naturally I expected it to blow and did not pick up any copies when it first came out (what the heck is STARZ anyway?). Turns out though that a lot of reviewers are loving this game, a lot. So now we have it in all of its sexy sweaty shirtless guy glory.

Zombicide: Love Zombies? Love cool miniatures? This big baby is for you then.

 

New Rentals: Star Wars LCG, Stone Age, Tobabgo, Ticket to Ride US (finally), and many more to come next week.

Used Games: Nightfall, Candamir the First Settlers of Catan, Save Dr. Lucky, Charon Inc., Diceafari, Pizza Theory, Pentago, Risk + Castle Risk, classic Stratego, classic Battleship.

 

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.

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 January 8th, 2013

Hey everyone, may have noticed that I skipped the last weekly update. Between counting every game left on the shelf after the holidays, then restocking those same shelves, the update completely slipped my mind. You really didn’t miss too much except my ranting though. Anyway, here are a few new product updates you may be interested in:

** A limited number of the Mage Knight Lost Legion expansion will be in the shop this Wednesday, and we will try to get more by the weekend.

** Tzolkin may or may not hit shelves before the next predicted end of the world date. Rio Grande Games released a very limited amount to distribution warehouses on the east coast, and most of those went straight to online retailers. Just another addition to the growing list of kidney punches that publishers are delivering to brick and mortar stores. We are hoping to have some by the end of the month, but that prediction is about as reliable as the Mayan Calendar prediction that the game is based on.

Alrighty, more on Friday . . . .

Posted on December 28th, 2012

Well we are once again in that sweet spot between Christmas and New Years, a time of calm and relaxation for most it seems. We are still working our tails off though, trying to get the shelves somewhat restocked after the busy season. Thanks once again to all of you for choosing us over the many other options available, and we hope you are enjoying your new toys!

I had an experience yesterday morning that reminded me of what we offer that no other game seller in Portland offers. Two young ladies came in just after I opened the doors, along with a few other customers, so a busy morning. They had in their hands an unopened copy of Escape, I assumed they had come to return it. But no, they asked if I wouldn’t mind teaching them how to play their wonderful gift. I happily agreed, and so for about the next 30 minutes I taught them the game in 5 minute intervals between customers and phone calls. They were extremely patient, and ready to go when I hit play on the soundtrack. Two rounds later they thanked me and left with smiles on their faces. Everyone made out grand on this visit, I got to see the joy of young ones experiencing something entirely new and thrilling, they got to go home where I hope they will rope some family members into the game.

Now we do not mark up our prices, we charge MSRP for our hobby game products, and we do the best we can with Hasbro and Mattel products. Those young ladies could have acquired their gift for about 20% off if their family had shopped online. Instead, they received something much greater than saving the cash equivalent of 3 lattes. Thanks to all of you smart enough to shop with us instead of online. If you do the math, online shopping saves you very little, and does very little to support the hobby.

No new games this week surprisingly. Two long awaited titles, Tzolkin and the expansion for Mage Knight, will not hit our shelves for a few more weeks. We did finally receive our copies of the new Star Wars Living Card Game and Legends of Andor, so check those out.

As for the Star Wars Card game, Chris and I cracked his copy open this past Wednesday night, and after two hours had finished a game from scratch. Our opinion: an incredible achievement from Fantasy Flight. I have played about half of their Living Card Games (LCGs) now, and they have all been fantastic, with the Lord of the Rings topping my favorites list. LCGs play a bit like collectible card games, such as Magic and Pokemon. First, you assemble a customized deck of 60 or so cards, then you play the game. With collectible card games though, most of the enjoyment comes from collecting the cards and assembling the decks, once this is done, you deck sort of plays itself and you have very limited choices to make during the game. With Living card games, playing the game outshines the deck-building because Fantasy Flight does not have to worry about the collecting aspect and can invest much more time on game design. The Star Wars LCG is a fine example of this strong design. Your hand of cards does not just play itself, every turn requires challenging choices. Also, Fantasy Flight has made the brilliant decision to simplify the deck-building process, leaving even more time for play. If you have enjoyed previous LCGs, or wanted to try one, this is one of Fantasy Flights best entries.

In honor of the fine LCGs that Fantasy Flight has produced lately, we want to encourage more LCG play in the shop. Starting this Saturday, our Saturday board game nights will also be considered LCG nights. One drawback of the LCGs is the commitment they can require due to intricate rules, the dedication to deck-building, and the regular addition of new cards. Our goal is to provide a stable place and time for LCG players to congregate and continually enjoy their games. See you Saturday, maybe we can convince Chris to stick around with his copy of Star Wars.

Cheers.

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.

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 December 21st, 2012

Well it is finally starting to feel like Christmas. and with a bit of white fluffy stuff on the ground it should really look like Christmas. We want to wish all of you a very merry holiday and hope that you get to spend some quality time with friends and family this season.

Oh that’s right, we won’t even make it to Christmas, today is supposed to be the end of the world because the Mayan calendar maker got tired. Well, better live it up, or better yet game it up. In fact, we were supposed to have a very nice strategy game called Tzolkin based on the Mayan calendar in stock by now, but in true board game publisher style this game about the end of the world won’t be available until after the world actually ends.

One of our main distributors must really believe in the end of the world nonsense because they were unable to provide us with a fairly substantial order we placed midweek. Gotta love the big dogs with exclusivity deals who know for certain that they do not have to work hard to maintain your business. Anyway, I’m hoping that one of our smaller distributors can pull through to help us stock the shelves for the weekend, if so they will absolutely see more of our business, don’t want that big dog to get too overweight now do we. Still, our shelves are emptying as fast as they get loaded, so it would be a good idea to get some shopping in early.

Holiday hours: we will be opening at 10am all weekend and staying open until probably 8pm tonight and Sunday. We have a game night planned for saturday night so if folks show up we will be open for business until about 10pm. Monday, Christmas Eve, we are planning a 10am-2pm schedule.

OK, some very exciting new games arrived this week. I had been hoping for that Mage Knight expansion this week, but we won’t see that until after Christmas. Still, the list below is very thrilling indeed.

Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients: A year after the release of one of the hottest games ever comes an expansion loaded with more of everything: more races, more technologies, more goodies on the board. This add-on got 5 thumbs up after a play session Wednesday night, and confirmation that the game won’t be played without the expansion now that they own it.

Descent: Lair of the Wyrm: Another long-awaited expansion to a fantastic game. This expansion adds more heroes and monsters, but also adds more quests that get added to the main campaign in the base set as rumors that the heroes can track down. This is hands-down the best board game dungeon-crawl type game currently on the market, so more is great. We only have a few of these left in stock.

 The Hobbit Card Game: Martin Wallace is on a streak with games based on TV and movie franchises. He follows up his surprisingly good Dr. Who card game with this little trick-taking game based on The Hobbit. We had a chance to play this little gem wednesday night and are again impressed with the Wallace mind. This is a pretty straightforward trick-taking game, but with a semi-cooperative twist. Multiple good characters play against one or two evil characters, and the winner of a trick distributes the trick cards according to his or her character abilities, possibly hurting or healing other characters. So the goal is to defeat good or evil, which does not always equate to winning tricks. A very fun light card game, and a steal at $10.

 Star Wars Card Game: Oh my goodness, this is one sweet looking card game, and it is the real Star Wars, not that nasty bit of lunacy George Lucas spit out recently. From what I have read, Fantasy Flight could have a huge home run with the new game design by simplifying the deck customization process. You see, the Living Card Games are amazing, but they require so much commitment to deck construction outside the game that you may as well start collecting Magic cards again. With the Star Wars Card Game, you won’t have to choose every card in your deck. Instead, you build a set of 10 or more objective cards, and thos objective cards determine the composition of your player deck. Less time building and more time playing sounds like an excellent direction for the Living Card Game series.

 Legends of Andor: And yet another new Fantasy Flight game I’m dying to play. This fascinating cooperative fantasy adventure game has flown a bit under the radar, and it is hard to tell whether it will be a hit or not, but I am always a sucker for dudes with swords on a map with mountains and forests. What Fantasy Flight has done with this game is try to get rid of reading rules before play. Instead, the design tries to copy that of a fantasy adventure video game, where you learn how to play as you play. Trade in your copy of Skyrim for some cash and put it towards this beauty.

 

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.

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 December 14th, 2012

Happy Holidays everyone. Some of you are already in the thick of celebrating while us gentiles have a week to go before the big day. And though it is getting a bit colder, the weather still just isn’t right for the season. So I’m sacrificing some of our finest games to the weather gods every night to encourage a shift toward freezing temperatures and falling snow. If it doesn’t happen soon there will be little left to sell and I’ll be doubly grinchy.

To help with my sacrifices, we’ve got some exciting new games arriving today, and if you want a crack at them, better get to them before my torch does. But first I wanted to mention a few deals we’ve got going right now: Netruner base sets, all Quarriors items, and copies of Alcatraz: the Scapegoat are all 20% off, so help us make some space for next week’s stock-up. Cheers, and here are the new games:

Last Will: I know, I know, this was new a while ago, but I had to mention how much fun we’ve been having with this medium weight european strategy game about losing all your money. We are going to try and get it ready for the rental shelf soon, and we’ll have it back in stock today. Definitely worth a try for the euro fans.

Netrunner: What Lies Ahead: This is one of the long-awaited releases for the week, the first data pack expansion for the great 2-player card game, Netrunner.

Space Cadets: This is the second release from the Engelstein father and son duo, a somewhat famous pair in the podcasting world. They consider themselves experts on great game design, so Space Cadets should be amazing. Sadly, their first attempt at a game was a 2-4 player game that could only be learned as a 2 player game, a very strange design choice. Space Cadets holds far more promise as a cooperative game involving a mix of minigames throughout the spacecraft. Assuming there are not a zillion parts to this game, we will try and get one on the rental shelf for some test flights.

 

 Clash of Cultures: I am a big fan of Merchants & Marauders, so I have been looking forward to the designer’s next game, Clash of Cultures. This is a big civilization building game with exploration, research, warfare, and financial management. Its a massive endeavor for those up to the task of wielding some serious ruling power.

Ticket to Ride: Heart of Africa Map Pack: The next in the map pack series for Ticket to Ride. You will need a US or European base set to be able to play this.

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.

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 December 7th, 2012

Well we are turning the corner and nearing the holiday homestretch, which means a busy shop, just the way we like it. Sure, it is a lot of work, but the alternative is an empty shop, and being alone in a store full of games meant to be played by multiple people feels strange. It is so much better to have shoppers and the opportunity to just say “wanna learn a new game?” As busy as its been I may not get the chance to say that much, but I’m still going to try.

Roping folks into a game will be easier though with the arrival of the new game Love Letter. This game is part of publisher AEG’s new Tempest series, which will be a set of games tied together thematically by a cohesive fictional world. Love Letter is one of the first four Tempest games recently released and now on our shelves, the others are Courtier, Dominare, and Mercante. Such sickly names, but they all look very interesting and unique (That’s AEG for you, Almost Excellent Games). Anyway, back to Love Letter, a game with only 16 cards, some wooden cubes, and a groovy felt pouch. Oh was I skeptical, but I always am, and once again I was pleasantly surprised by the nice light mix of luck, deduction, and bluffing. This is a great choice for a quick game before, between, or after some bigger games, or to take to small gatherings with family or friends. Ask us for a demo when you stop by, a single round will only take about 5 minutes, just a quick brain snack.

Other new items include some promo expansions for the game Escape from the Temple Curse, perhaps the most refreshing game released since 7 Wonders. A new scenario has also been released for Settlers of Catan called Frenemies which adds a bit of cooperation to the generally competitive game. And lastly, we have a new version of Resistance called Resistance Avalon, with a King Arthur theme and some new special characters to mix it up a bit.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention that we now have Nanoblocks, itsy bitsy little lego blocks, they make great stocking stuffers. Our Metal Marvel models fit well in stockings also, as do a number of fantastic card games like Archaeology, No Thanks, Coloretto, Gloom, and now Love Letter.

Well, thanks for listening everyone, and happy friday!

New on the rental shelf: Pirate Dice, roll your dice to program your ships movements, fire at your opponents, and grab the loot!

Fresh used games: Snow Trails, Elfenland, Arimaa, D-Day Dice, Shadows Over Camelot, Battleground Crossbows and Catapults, Battle Beyond Space, Catacombs, Risk, Dungeon (1989), Masterpiece, Aggravation, Dixit, Fabula.

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.

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 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!