Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Showing posts with label World Boardgaming Championships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World Boardgaming Championships. Show all posts

Friday, November 7, 2014

A look back at hip-pocket wargames

I just saw the documentary Game On: The World Boardgaming Championships, by Alex Dunbar of Wind-up Films, which featured (among other things) the progress of a young competitor in the Ace of Aces tournament.  And just yesterday, my friend Paul R. just contacted me, now that we are working in the same building, about getting together for a game (which we haven't done in far too long).  It occurred to me that with proper planning, we could play a wargame on a lunch break.  Both of those events reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago on what I called "hip-pocket wargames" - those that you could pull out and play on relatively short notice.  So what follows is a re-post of that blog entry, which might be new for some of my more recent followers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spring and summer photos

As October begins and fall sets in, I thought I would look back at some of games I got to play over the last six months.

My friend Grant G. gave us Goa for Christmas, and Kathy and I really like this neo-classic Euro.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

WBC 2014 Saturday and Sunday: WS&IM fleet action, Acquire semifinal, and demos

One quick go-back on my earlier posts recounting my World Boardgaming Championships experience this year:  The very first thing that Keith Ferguson and I did Thursday morning, on our way to the registration desk, was to bump into Josh Tempkin of Tall Tower Games.  He spent a good part of the convention demonstrating several of his games:
  • "WarTime," which I've written about before as a fascinating, innovative real-time wargame involving sand timers
  • "Throne Dice," which surprisingly I still haven't taken the time to play
  • "Commissioner," which I learned at UnPub 4 as "Lesser Evil"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WBC 2014 Friday: WS&IM loss, Acquire victory, and EIC demo

(c) Rio Grande Games - used by
permission
Friday August 8 was the day that the Vendors' Area opened at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so Keith Ferguson and I headed there as soon as the doors opened to see what we could find.  I had a few specific games in mind, and I was fortunate to find immediately the one at the top of my list, Concordia, designed by Mac Gerdts and published in the U.S. by Rio Grande.  I was initially attracted to this game simply because the title, after the Roman goddess of harmony, shares the name of the protagonist in my wife Kathy's series of historical murder mysteries.  Reviews led me to believe that I would appreciate this game in its own right, so I look forward to giving it a try.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WBC 2014 Thursday: TPA and a day of not winning

Last week I conducted my fourth annual pilgrimage to the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the summer highlight of my gaming year.  I had a fairly loose schedule in mind, with only a few key tournaments that I specifically wanted to hit.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

WBC 2013 Sunday: Convention wrap-up


First, a shout-out to Charlie Hoopes, whom I mistakenly failed to mention in my "WBC 2013 Thursday" post.  Charlie is the designer of the family game Fill the Barn and has a work-in-progress abstract two-player called "AtataT."  I'd seen "AtataT" at UnPub 3 but missed out on playing it.  Charlie made a point of catching up with me during the Trains Planes and Automobiles tournament, and we had a nice chat about our respective game designs.  I look forward to seeing more of him.

Sunday morning provided an opportunity to catch up with the representatives from one of the vendors and talk a little about "East India Company."  This company is a well-known publisher with a line of games to which I think "EIC" would make a valuable contribution.  The fellows I spoke with weren't the people who make decisions about which submissions to evaluate, but they do much of the playtesting.  We talked a little about the wide variety of quality and maturity they see in some of the game designs that they are given to check out.  I thought it might be valuable to pass on to them a copy of the rules of "EIC" with my contact information, just as an indicator of how far along I've developed the game and to help with their company's evaluation of whether to get a closer look at it.  There's no telling what will come of this contact, but I was glad at least to have reached out and pursued a potential relationship.

Friday, August 9, 2013

WBC 2013 Saturday: Wooden Ships fleet action and semifinal

Saturday at the World Boardgaming Championships was the day I'd been preparing for - the Wooden Ships and Iron Men fleet action and, if I qualified, the semifinals with a goal of reaching the final and competing for the championship.

My fellow Dutch players, Admiral
Ron (l.) and Commodore Tim H.
Wooden Ships fleet action
Tim Hitchings always puts on a great fleet action at WBC.  This year, the scenario involved a meeting engagement in the Dogger Banks between a British fleet of six ships-of-the-line and six frigates escorting nine merchant vessels against a similarly outfitted Dutch fleet.  The goal of each fleet was to escort its merchants safely off the opposite side of the board.  I served as the rear commodore of the Dutch fleet, with the ship-of-the-line Holland and a frigate under my command, as well as three of the merchants.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

WBC 2013 Friday: Gryphon and Avalon Hill

Continuing my saga from yesterday's post...

Vendors
Friday at the World Boardgaming Championships was the first day that the vendors set up shop, and my friend Keith Ferguson was eager to be there when the doors opened.  Somehow I got the Friday morning schedule wrong and missed out on competing in a morning tournament, so I went to the vendors' hall instead.  As soon as I walked in, I saw the Gaming Nomads booth with Incan Gold (designers Bruno Faidutti and Alan R. Moon, artist Matthias Catrein, publisher Gryphon), which my family had been playing using a makeshift homemade version.  For $20, it seemed reasonable to get a copy of the real thing, since it gets some play in my house.  I overheard someone ask for Salmon Run (designer Jesse Catron  artist Eric J. Carter, publisher Gryphon), which I didn't even know they had until they pulled it out from under a low shelf, so I picked that up, too.  Finally, I decided to get Pergamon (designers Stefan Dorra and Ralf zur Linde, artist Klemens Franz, publisher Gryphon Games), which has been on my wishlist for a long time but which I just never picked up until now.  So I bought three Gryphon games from the first vendor I saw.  I decided discretion was the better part of valor at that point, and turned around and walked out again before my credit card got any other bright ideas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WBC: Thinking about August in December

I'll preface my remarks by stipulating that I am a relatively new member of the Boardgame Players Association, and all I know is based on what I read in the newsletter and elsewhere online.  None of this represents any kind of official news or information from the BPA.  Caveat lector.

Friday, August 17, 2012

WBC: Acquire and acquisitions

Early in our game of Acquire.
I had a majority holding in Worldwide
(the purple hotel to the right), but
that wasn't enough to prevail
One of the great things about game conventions is that I get to play games that I never play at home.  One of those is Acquire (designer Sid Sackson, artist Kurt Miller, publisher Wizards of the Coast), which I played at WBC last week with Roger B. of Providence, Rhode Island, and the GM, Cliff Ackman of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  I first learned Acquire in a demo at PrezCon some years ago, and even bought a copy on eBay, but didn't give it much thought until my friend Rebecca E. remarked on it in comparison to Chicago Express last year.  That comment, plus a Little Metal Dog Show endorsement as a "stone cold classic," re-fired my interest, and I made a point to play Acquire at PrezCon last February.  I am definitely on a learning curve with this game.  I love the tense jockeying for majority shareholder investment, although I think that the tile draw aspect can introduce too much of a luck factor sometimes.  In our game last week, Roger couldn't draw a tile to start a hotel chain to save his life.  I thought I played reasonably well, but not well enough to beat the experienced Cliff.  I do very much enjoy Acquire, though, and I hope to get to play it more often.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WBC: Designers' forum

One of the great things about a convention like the World Boardgaming Championships is having the opportunity to interact with fellow designers.  The open gaming room at WBC was practically an informal design laboratory of demonstrations and playtesting.

TC Petty III's Viva Java
Image courtesy of
Dice Hate Me Games
My friend Keith F. and I had only the briefest chat with one of my favorite designers, T.C. Petty III, whom I met at WBC last year when he was demonstrating the semi-cooperative Viva Java, a game that has already seen its successful Kickstarter campaign and has a Dice Hate Me release expected this month.  T.C. is working on a couple of ideas that sound characteristically original and off-beat.  It will be fun to see what creations find their way to production out of his unique perspective on game design.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

WBC: Wooden Ships semifinal and final

I was pleased to qualify for the semifinal in the World Boardgaming Championships Wooden Ships and Iron Men tournament.  The previous year, I'd lost in the semi-final to Evan Hitchings, and as it happened, this year would provide the opportunity for a rematch.

Semi-final: Frigate frenzy
For the semi-final, we were each given the opportunity to choose from among three orders of battle:
  • Two elite-crewed American frigates, including one 44-gun ship
  • Three crack-crewed British frigates
  • Four French frigates - one crack and three average

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WBC: "Ethics in Gaming" revisited

At WBC on Thursday last week, Joel Tamburo hosted his annual seminar on Ethics in Gaming.  This was my second opportunity to attend.

I arrived a little late and found myself in the middle of a conversation on the interpretation of rules
Signing of the Constitution of the United States
U.S. Government.  Public domain
ambiguities.  Not entirely a matter of ethics, the question on the floor seemed to center around whether an unaddressed action in the rules should be allowed (because the rules don't prevent it) or prohibited (because the rules don't allow it or provide for it).  Peter, an attorney, likened the question to that of Constitutional interpretation, whereby some people hold that rulings on Constitutionality ought to depend on the intent of the founders at the time that they wrote it, as best we can determine from other writings at the time.  Others hold that interpretation of the Constitution necessarily changes with the times, and so it is with game rules:  It doesn't matter how the game designer wanted you to play the game; what matters is how the players want to play.  So, then, the question became, does the designer's intent matter?

Monday, August 6, 2012

World Boardgaming Championships: Wonders, ships, and farmers

Last Thursday, I arrived at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a "flexible plan" (which is just one step above no plan at all) of how best to enjoy this annual trek to the highlight event of the Boardgame Players Association.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

World Boardgaming Championships 2012: Quick note upon return

I just got home earlier tonight from the World Boardgaming Championships (WBC) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  A quick note before going to bed, with more to follow:
  • 7 Wonders: quarterfinals, and the loss of a card
  • "Ethics in gaming" seminar
  • Agricola with the Interactive deck
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men:  Made the finals but lost
  • Acquire:  Still learning
  • "East India Company" demo/playtest
  • Heartland Hauling: first impressions
  • War Time:  Reprise
  • Mars Needs Mechanics:  Gaslight supply and demand
  • Trains Planes and Automobiles: My first event as GM
  • Acquisitions: Chicago Express, St. Petersburg, and Leaping Lemmings
  • A gift: 1949 edition of Clue

Thursday, August 2, 2012

East India Company: Turn sequence re-work pays off

After work today, I got a fourth playtest of "East India Company" with my friends Brian G. and Frank H.  Earlier this week, I'd completely reworked the turn sequence to improve the flow of decision-making and order of events, plus I added a couple of commodity tiles to the initial set-up to open up the early game.

Monday, July 30, 2012

East India Company: More playtesting, more adjusting

My family and I did another run-through of "East India Company" this weekend with my wife, my 19-year-old son, and my mother-in-law, of all people, who isn't afraid to learn something new from time to time.  I made some adjustments to correct the issue with the pace of the game this time, and I wanted to see how effective they were.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ethics in gaming: Reflections on the WBC seminar


[While on vacation in North Carolina, in anticipation of going to the World Boardgaming Championships in Pennsylvania in a few weeks, I scheduled a re-post of one of my most popular articles, a reflection on the "Ethics in Gaming" seminar from the 2011 WBC convention.  Originally appeared 15 August 2011]

Last week at the World Boardgaming Championships, Joel Tamburo led a fascinating seminar on ethics in gaming.  I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the directions that the conversation took.  Right away, the group explored the question of whether it is ethically acceptable to lie in the course of a game.  The immediate example that came up is Diplomacy, a game only half-facetiously blamed for ruining good friendships.  A consensus emerged that there is an understanding that in a game like Diplomacy, lying is an expected part of negotiation.  Although success requires alliances, winning sooner or later requires betrayal.  So as long as it is understood among players that lying is - or can be - part of the game, then that becomes part of the game's acceptable code of ethics.