Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Romance on the train: Love Letter and Ticket to Ride

Sunday afternoon, Kathy and I played Love Letter (designer Seiji Kanai, artists Andrew Hepworth and Jeffrey Himmelman, publisher Alderac Entertainment Group) for the first time.  This microgame poses some neat little logic challenges and opportunities for second-guessing, although in our first play, we didn't find it quite as "brain-bending" as Citadels, our favorite hidden-role game for getting inside each others' heads.  As it happens, we played two rules incorrectly.  First, in the two-player game, we failed to turn three cards face up at the start of each round to reduce the size of the playing deck and gain early insight into which cards were already out of play.  Second, we thought (incorrectly) that the Guard could target another Guard in an attempt to eliminate an opponent.  Since there are five Guards in the deck (as opposed to one or two of any other character), that made the Guard extraordinarily powerful in our game.  I've written before about my propensity for getting the rules wrong the first time I play a game, but fortunately, we still had fun, and the game was over in less than half an hour.  LL is a quick little diversion that I expect will get more play - and that I hope will become more intricate in the tactics and counter-tactics of anticipating each others' cards.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Love Letter arrives in the mail

Love Letter: A good thing in
a small package
Kathy recently placed an order with amazon that, by itself, would not have qualified for free super saver shipping.  So she asked if there was anything I'd like to add to the order.  I went straight to my boardgamegeek wishlist and picked out Love Letter (designer Seiji Kanai, artists Andrew Hepworth and Jeffrey Himmelman, publisher Alderac Entertainment Group).  I'd heard some very interesting hype about this little 16-card microgame.  Not every review was positive, but many were enthusiastic or at least intriguing.  I am most fascinated by the concept of a game of so few components that carries so much player interaction, logic, and second-guessing.  Coup falls into this category and, in some respects, Citadels.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting serious about East India Company

I've had some time over the last few days to start really stepping out on my plan for "East India Company."  I've completed a survey of candidate publishers.  I've decided that I should have a second prototype in hand ready to ship in the event that I get a positive response from a submission letter.  So my current effort is geared toward making a second prototype that reflects the lessons I've learned from my first printing foray and from the playtesting I've done with it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday afternoon Probe

This afternoon we had a family game of Probe (Parker Brothers, 1964), an old stand-by that we played way back when we were kids and that we have since passed down to the next generation.  I managed to guess Kathy's diaphragm under the "Interruptive Rule" with five letters unexposed, which gave me a 100-point bonus.  The 17-year-old's fax lasted a long time, until his having to expose blanks made obvious just how short his word was.  The 12-year-old's toxicity lasted the longest; Kathy managed to guess it at her very last opportunity before the end of the game.  My wishful was guessed the earliest in the game, but I ended up with the high score and the win.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hive at work, and the Top Ten Lunch Break Games

Today my friend Glenn Weeks and I got together during our lunch break at work, and we took advantage of the opportunity to play a game of Hive (designer and artist John Yianni, publisher Gen42).  This turned out to be the perfect lunch break game for two.  It occupies very little table real estate, takes less than five minutes to teach, and has a playing time of about 15 or 20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"For the Win" on the deck

For the Win final position
This evening I got home from work late, so we only had time for a quick game out on the back deck before Kathy made dinner.  So we played For The Win (designer Michael Eskue, artist Eric J. Carter, publisher Tasty Minstrel), a nice little open-information zero-luck abstract that I picked up in the first Kickstarter I ever backed.  We hadn't played since last July, when I wrote about my initial impression of the game in some detail, so it was fun to come back to this one with fresh eyes.  We just had time for one game, but it was a nice satisfying diversion while the chicken marinaded until it was time to put it on the grill.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Signs of spring: The first backyard boardgame of 2013

Spring has made its long-awaited appearance here in northern Virginia.  The birds are singing, the Washington Nationals are winning (or at least they were before they went to Cincinnati), and the boardgames have finally started to come outside.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back to Midway

On Wednesday, Frank Hodge and I returned to fight the battle of Midway (designerLarry Pinsky and Lindsley Schutz, publisher Avalon Hill).  Frank has spent considerable time refining his variable order of battle to the AH classic, and this time we had quite  a lot of fun beefing up both fleets to fight the battle in grand style.  A significant change that we prefer is that the Japanese invasion force is represented by five AP transports, rather than abstractly handled with the cruiser Atago according the rules.  The only other variation we added was the submarine optional rule from Alan R. Moon's "Pacific Theatre via Midway" article.  We didn't use B-17's in this game, and we didn't miss them.