Really no new games to announce this week, though the Nomads expansion for Kingdom Builder will be in the shop this afternoon. We’ll be opening a copy as soon as it gets into our hands, so stop on by this weekend to try it out. This also means that the rental copy of Kingdom Builder will get the Nomads upgrade next week.
We are also thrilled to start carrying products from HQ, a producer of high quality kites and other outdoor play items. Next week we will be receiving both single line kites, dual line sport kites, and other assorted outdoor activities. If you have not yet tried a sport kite, they are quite addictive and challenging, we may just have to do a demo at the park next weekend.
Wil Wheaton’s new video series, Tabletop, has been getting a lot of buzz, and for good reason. As impossible as it seems, Wil has actually made it entertaining to watch a group of folks play board games. Wil also teaches the basic game rules as the group plays, so the show can be a nice way to begin an evening of playing new games. The new episode should go live today, and Ticket to Ride is the game. As for our stock of the games highlighted by the show, we have plenty of Small World, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan; of the lighter games featured 2 weeks ago, well, we are nearly out of Zombie Dice, Tsuro will be back this afternoon, but Get Bit is gone and who knows when it will be back.
Another great videocast to check out is Shut Up & Sit Down. This guys with funny accents bring a whole new style to game criticism. I find their show extremely informative as well as entertaining, and do recommend their video and written reviews of games you are considering purchasing.
Finally, shop events. Want to remind everyone that the Pokemon League has moved to Saturdays from 10am to noon, starting tomorrow. This Tuesday, May 22, we’ll be donating 15% of sales to the Sellwood Middle School Foundation, so come do some guilt-free shopping. And we will end the month with our meaty game day next Saturday, May 26, where Admiral Mike will be organizing a game of Battlestar Galactica with all the expansions, so reserve a seat now!
Oh, one more thing, entirely unrelated to gaming, the Salmonflys are hatching along the Deschutes River. Whether you are a fisherman or not, this is one incredible natural spectacle that is worth the 2 hour drive. Where else can you get covered in harmless bugs the size of your index finger, and watch happy fish and birds chow on them as they fly upriver to deposit their eggs? Simply awesome, until you feel a live one in your pants halfway through the drive home . . . .
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
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 . . . .