Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lessons Learned in Le Havre

For today's cocktail hour game, Kathy and I selected one that we both like but are still getting the hang of, the worker-placement masterpiece Le Havre (designer Uwe Rosenberg, artists Klemens Franz and Uwe Rosenberg, publisher Lookout Games [website in German]).  We've played three times before; Kathy won the first two, and I managed to win the last one.  This time we fell into a familiar pattern - Kathy kept beating me to the punch, with the knockout blow being a big shipment of leather and bread for 26 Francs.  I had some high-point buildings, plus both an iron ship and a steel ship, but it wasn't enough to overcome Kathy's strong position (including the 22-point steel mill), so she won 117 to 96.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is two-player St. Petersburg a runaway?

(c) Rio Grande Games
Used by permission
Hurricane Sandy motivated me to leave work early this afternoon, which provided Kathy and me the Saint Petersburg (designer Michael Tummelhofer alias Bernd Brunnhofer, artist Doris Matthaus, publisher Rio Grande).  I've really come to like St.P. as a multi-player game, and I really hoped that it would work well as a two-player option.  I have to say that the jury is still out, though, on whether this will become a cocktail-hour regular.
opportunity to play our first complete two-player round of

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Changing history and other fun things with card games

I had a string of boardgame losses last week.  My last post recounted my thumping at the hands of Frank H. in Midway.  The next evening, my wife Kathy beat me in 7 Wonders with the Pyramids of Giza over my Statue of Zeus in Olympia.  And then the following afternoon, she beat me in one of our very favorite games, Citadels in which we used the alternate Tax Collector and Abbott.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mauled at Midway

This evening after work, my colleague Frank H. and I met for a reprise of our customary (if infrequent) game of Midway (designers Larry Pinsky and Lindsley Schutz, publisher Avalon Hill).  Last time, we'd introduced a few rules modifications from the Wargamers Guide to Midway, most notably a variable order of battle (OOB) based on a chit draw.  Well, apparently that inspired Frank dramatically, because he spent quite a bit of time researching and revising the possible alternate OOBs as well as other optional rules, so that the game we played today was a considerably souped-up version of the Avalon Hill classic.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Washout

This afternoon's backyard boardgame session was cut short by Mother Nature.  We finished a quick game of Pirateer, but we hadn't got very far into a round of Ingenious Challenges: "Dice Challenge" before rain unexpectedly intervened and chased us inside.  That's the first time we've ever had a game interrupted by weather.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Backyard Traders of Carthage

My wife and I love this time of year.  The crisp air and the fall foliage call us to our backyard refuge, where we start a little fire in the firebowl, set out the cheese and crackers and cocktails, and play our afternoon game.  Today it was our new favorite, a bring-and-buy acquisition at Congress of Gamers - Traders of Carthage (designer Susumu Kawasaki, artists Peter Gifford and You Satouchi, publisher Z-man).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CoG Unpub Protozone Report, Part 3

Finishing up my after-action report on the Unpub ProtoZone event at Congress of Gamers.
[Edit:  The "Dr. Wictz" design team has changed the name of their game from "Pole Position" to "Post Position," so I have updated it here for correctness. - PDO]

Post Position
Austin Smokowicz and Aaron Honsowetz
with "Post Position"
The Unpub Protozone was organized to have us designers pre-register to bring our designs in for playtesting, but in fact the event was actually pretty open-ended.  Two fellows I'd never met before, Aaron Honsowetz and Austin Smokowicz, came in and asked Darrell Louder if they could get their game design playtested even though they hadn't pre-registered.  As it happened, there was an open table, so Darrell said, "Sure, no problem, go ahead and set up."  And thus the game "Post Position" was introduced to the Unpub.

Monday, October 8, 2012

CoG: Unpub Protozone Report, Part 2

Tonight's post continues my accounts of games playtested in the Congress of Gamers designers room last weekend.

Compounded
T.C. Petty III considers his next
chemical concoction in
"Compounded"
The game I specifically remembered from the CoG design room last year and really wanted to play again was Darrell Louder's "Compounded," a game of set construction with a particularly unique theme - building molecular compounds by combining elements.  Darrell calls it "better gameplaying through chemistry."  Players draw crystals from a bag whose six colors represent elements.  An array of 16 cards in the center of the table depicts different molecular diagrams that players can populate with element crystals to complete and score the corresponding compounds.  Some compounds are flammable and can be lost or even cause chain reactions.  All compounds score points when completed, but some also enable a player to draw more elements from the bag, store more on his workbench, claim more compounds for future scoring, or place more elements in a single turn.  Some also provide other particular special benefits.

Congress of Gamers: Unpub Protozone Report, Part 1

This weekend saw a two-day session of game design playtesting at the Congress of Gamers in Rockville, Maryland.  CoG was the venue for an Unpub Protozone event in which several designers convened to have prototypes playtested and to compare notes on game design, development, and publication.  I had a terrific time with a number of energetic, imaginative game designers and saw some clever prototypes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quick note on Congress of Gamers

A very quick note after the first day of Congress of Gamers 2012:  I spent most of the day in the designers room.  Detailed notes to follow in a subsequent post.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prototype photos

At last, I've finished the second prototype of "East India Company," right down to the makeshift box art and player's aids.  This will be the copy that I bring to Congress of Gamers in Rockville, Maryland, this weekend.  I hope to gain a lot of feedback and really refine this rough cut gem into something special.