Tag Archives: board gaming

Gaming (and Costumes)

More pictures from our gaming sessions, including in costume for Halloween and for our ongoing King’s Dilemma council meetings:

 

Some of the many titles we’ve played recently: Cascadia, Burgle Bros (1 and 2), Chinatown, Pan Am, Cosmic Encounter, The Bloody Inn, Wiz-War, Mountain Goats, Plague Inc., The Search for Planet X, Maglev Metro, Near and Far, Gùgōng, Decyrpto, King’s Dilemma, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, Bargain Quest, Nemesis, Obsession, Inis, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Barrage, Evolution: Climate and Flamme Rouge.

Update (11/29/2021): Added pictures from some more gaming sessions in November: Villainous, Unicorn Fever and Chinatown.  I forgot to take pictures during our very long but surprisingly truly funny game of Forgotten Waters.  D’oh!

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Visiting w/Martha & Dave

In early August, I met up with Darlene on her way back from Wisconsin and we spent a few days hanging out (and playing games) with Dave and Martha at their home in Conifer, Colorado. We then headed out in the camper van to wander around exploring a bit of Colorado for most of a month.  On our return, Darlene kidnapped Martha and brought her back to California to stay with us for a few days.

Giving Dave & Martha a taste of VR (virtual reality)

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Painting my Nemesis Figures

I decided to try a relatively quick and simple wash painting of the miniatures from my Nemesis board game, focusing on giving the creatures (or “intruders”) a nice scary look.  They came out great!

 

It took just a few steps but still most of a day.  I coated the originally gray plastic figures with a black spray-on primer (Rust-oleum Flat Black) and then, after that dried, I sprayed white primer from above (Rust-oleum Flat White) to create a sort of highlight/shadow effect over which to apply a wash.  (A wash is a very diluted mix of paint that you brush all over a figure – it tends to collect on edges and pool in crevices bringing out detail and definition, depending on how you brush it.)

I used three color washes from this Citadel Shade Paint Set. The primary shade was blue (Drakenhof Nightshade) and then I blended a bit of red and green washes here and there (Carroburg Crimson and Biel-tan Green) to give it a more interesting look.  I did a little bit of detail painting in the fleshy parts around the creatures’ open mouths and then painted in the floors and bits of equipment on some of the stands.  To keep the project short and simple, I just applied several coats of different solid color washes to each hero character corresponding to the player colors rather than painting all the little details realistically.

Last step was a spray-on, matte clear coat (Krylon Matte Finish) to protect the painted figures from handling while playing the game.

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Gaming In Person Again

With everyone fully vaccinated, starting in mid-June we were able to get together for in-person board gaming again – and so much more fun than the entirely virtual meetups during the past year.

Some of the titles we’ve been playing recently: The Crew, Now Boarding, Near and Far, Burgle Bros., Sagrada, Azul, Nidavellir, Viticulture and Viticulture: Tuscany, Mechs vs. Minions, Covert, Cartographers, Acquire, Cloudage, Captain Sonar, Railroad Ink, Pret-a-Porter, Bang!, Smartphone Inc., Crazy Karts, Kanban EV, Sidereal Confluence, Between Two Castles, Vindication and Brass: Birmingham.

Update: We got together again on the last day of the month for Shikoku, Steampunk Rally, Cosmic Encounter, Feierabend, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Master Word and Villagers.

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Gaming Continues

Despite the upheaval that is 2020, the gaming continues with Near and Far, Elfenland/Elfenroads, Ecos: The First ContinentCryptid, Galaxy Trucker, Streetcar, Memoir’44, Covert, Now Boarding, Great Western Trail, and a few Clank! expansions: Sunken Treasures, Temple of the Ape Lords, and The Mummy’s Curse.  Then there’s our new favorite trick-taking game, The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine.

We also played a number of titles from the Exit: The Game series, but I don’t recommend them – they’re often a rather mixed bag and sometimes annoying in their puzzle designs.

  

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Gaming through the Pandemic

The board gaming continues through the pandemic – albeit just me and Darlene (and Pan, of course) in person and strictly via online platforms with other friends.

Here’s some pictures from March through July – click through for the full gallery:

 

     

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Painted Tzolk’in Gears

After painting my Middle Earth Quest miniatures, I turned to my Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar gears. People have done all sorts of very cool, detailed painting with these, but I was just intending to give them a simple wash to make them look a bit like weathered, stone Mayan calendar dials (like these).

Unfortunately, two coats of the wash spoiled the effect so I just added a little bronzing over the stain and called it a day.  (I got the 3d-printed center discs to replace the original stickers from here.) I was most worried about replicating the tiny food day icons/symbols with a painting brush but those turned out great!

 

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Painting Middle Earth

I snagged an old copy of Middle Earth Quest sometime last year and knew I’d want to eventually paint the plain, dark gray plastic miniatures to bring them to life – before actually playing the game of course!  Well, I finally got around to painting them over the past week or two.  This is my first time painting miniatures but with tips across the web on everything from priming and base-coating to layering, washing and dry brushing, they came out pretty well.

Okay, so now we can have some adventures in Middle Earth.

Yeah, these things are pretty small.

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Next up, painting the Mayan calendar gears from Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar.

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Winter Gaming

Well, the global pandemic has certainly put a stop to our frequent gaming meetups, and I don’t mean Pandemic Legacy: Season Two – although Darlene and I have continued to play through the campaign while the real world pandemic develops outside.  (And, so far, in the real world, Darlene hasn’t been called in to help at Stanford Hospital yet.)

Since hosting a gaming day for New Year’s Day and before the directive to “shelter in place” was declared in mid-March, I got in a couple of games of Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated and my first adventure in Gloomhaven with Nacho, Luno and Lynette.  I picked up and introduced folks to managing the Taverns of Tiefenthal and manipulating empires in A War of Whispers.  I also got copies of both the original VivaJava: The Coffee Game (very popular with everyone) and the simpler dice version.  I got to try the intriguing but weird Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents and finally try Race for the Galaxy, which really is just “Terra Mystica in Space”. Other misc games with my local gaming group were of Saboteur,  DiamantPower Grid (with the newer power plant cards), Space Base (still not into it) and likely others I’m forgetting and didn’t take pictures of.  Looks like we’ll be getting together virtually for awhile, with online tabletop game simulations and video chat.

Switching to virtual play and videoconferencing during the pandemic

I also finally got my newer rendition of Merchant of Venus to the table with Darlene – I used to play the original version a lot with Clay, Patty, Dave and Kathie back in the 90’s.  This second edition includes “classic” versions of the board, rules and components to play essentially the original game but also an updated version with some new mechanics and changes to gameplay that I really like.  Oh and Darlene and I tried the “Legendary Asia” map for Ticket to Ride for the first time.

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Colorado Ski Week

This year, Jon, Bill, Kat, Jim, Stan and I hit up Beaver Creek and Vail in Colorado for our annual week of skiing and board gaming. We started off the week with the remnants of a heavy snow storm (as in heavy, wet snow) for a rough first day full of new and old moguls.  It was also pretty cold with highs in the teens.   As the following day promised to be much colder, we all sheltered indoors for a day of gaming including Sushi Go Party, Chinatown, Bang!, King of New York, Instinct, Cheaty Mages, For Sale, and the card game version of Shadows over Camelot.  The following days turned warmer and even sunny and blue skies at times so we were happy to venture out and explore the slopes again.

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New Years Day Gaming

We gathered fifteen gamers for a full day of gaming this New Years Day!

I joined Greg and Erin and GregToo! as we drank and caroused until just Erin was left standing at the Red Dragon Inn, and then Dan and Luno joined with us to just barely vanquish evil in a desperate game of Shadows Over Camelot.  Troy, Roland and Nacho fought over the solar system in The Expanse; Darlene, Lynette, Jacobi, Molly and John worked to defeat the monsters in Horrified and then later collected birds and bird eggs in Wingspan.  Nacho, Troy and Roland then competed to build up their cities in Machi Koro.  Nacho, John, and Dan joined me for more endeavors in the industrial eras of Brass: Birmingham while Darlene, Greg and Luno explored the worlds of Above and Below and Roland, Jacobi, Molly and Lynette weaved histories of civilizations in Tapestry.  After dark Roland, Greg, Luno, Lynette and Elizabeth gathered gems in Century: Golem Edition and then we all finished off the night in a six-way, cobblestone-filled bike race of Flamme Rouge.

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Christmas in Tahoe

Christmas in Tahoe… fresh snow, skiing, snowshoeing, hanging a ceiling fan, playing new board games (Covert and Pandemic Legacy: Season 2).

 

But then… uh oh, my cat broke:

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Fall Gaming

 

 

A busy season of fall gaming: we competed to infect our host without outright killing him in Viral, collect and steal the most treasure while evading the dragon in Drakon, try to score the most popular brews in Vivajava: The Coffee Game, battled each other under the sea in Captain Sonar, compete in the early industrial era in Brass: Birmingham, experiment on ourselves and our student “volunteers” to break down the magical ingredients in Alchemists, wheel, deal and swindle negotiate ourselves into the most profitable business locations in Chinatown, avoid causing too many time traveling paradoxes in Anachrony, interpret our vision dreams to solve a haunted murder mystery in Mysterium, be the quickest to work the marketplace in Istanbul, outmaneuver each other while working the Mayan calendar in Tzolk’in, make the most of our ingredients without exploding our potions in Quacks of Quedlinburg, vie for control over the meadow in Battle Sheep, escape the deadly maze in Room 25, race to the finish line in Flamme Rouge, fight the forces of evil in Shadow Over Camelot (only to be thwarted in the end by that unseen traitor, Richard!), build and shape the habitats and ecoystems in Ecos: First Continent, gather treasures in Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, compete to power the most cities in Power Grid, survive the horrors in The Mansions of Madness, cultivate our grapes and make wine in Viticulture, dig tunnels while thwarting traitorous dwarves in Saboteur, and buy and resell goods to economic success in Container: 10th Anniversary Edition.

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Gandalf and Galadriel for Halloween

Gandalf and GaladrielDarlene and I ventured out as Gandalf and Galadriel for Halloween this year. We spent the afternoon with Jon and Siobhan, who is recovering well from some complicated and unpleasant oral cancer removal surgery and associated tissue transplants.  As a hopefully amusing distraction, we took them on a little adventure playing Tales of the Arabian Nights. Let’s see, I think Siobhan’s character was crippled and driven insane, Darlene was imprisoned and repeatedly unable to arrange an escape, I was scorned for a while before under going a sex change and Jon stumbled into marrying a passing stranger and somehow into respectability and eventual success.

Later that evening, we joined Kathie, Dave, Kevin, Vanessa, Lisa and Rachel for more gaming while awaiting the very few trick-or-treaters who dared knock on the door.  We got in games of Welcome To… and Decrypto as well as a few rounds of Jackbox Games’ Fibbage XL via the AppleTV.

Alas, no other pictures for Halloween this year!

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Big Trees, Missing Arms and Falling Limbs

Darlene and I joined Resi, Troy & Aiden and Greg, Erin & Merritt for another camping weekend, this time in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Besides some hiking among lots of giant redwood trees, we got in a couple of games, Decrypto and Quacks of Quedlinburg, and we got to experience the spooky, night time reenactment of Big Basin’s last lumber mill owner’s fateful encounter with a grizzily bear and the subsequent haunting of his missing arm!

 

The weekend ended with a true scare though.  This was another weekend of hot and dry winds, setting off wildfires despite PG&E’s efforts to shutdown large portions of the electric grid across many California counties.  Just a minute or two before we were to drive out of our campsites, several redwood tree branches gave way and came tumbling down just in front of our vehicles in the roadway.

Before that dust had settled, I heard another large crack directly overhead as I was still standing in our campsite, just outside the RV, about to climb aboard.  I ran off towards our adjoining campsite where everyone had just got into their cars and spun around to see a large 20-foot long limb, maybe 8 inches in diameter, come crashing down onto the back of the RV, right where I had been standing – and where we had been hanging out in our camp chairs much of the weekend.  Darlene was inside the RV and was startled into a scream at the sound of the crash and rushed out to see what had become of me.

Everyone piled out of their cars to quickly clear the roadway so we could make an immediate departure and get the heck out of there.  Later I was able to pull off the road in a clearing and survey the damage: the edge of the roof was busted open, exposing some wiring, the awning was crushed and bent and partially torn from its mount and a couple of solar panels were damaged.

So, both lucky that no one was hurt and that it didn’t come down while everyone was sitting around camp or in their tents and unlucky that we didn’t leave just a minute or two earlier and avoid the whole mishap.

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Vancouver and SHUX 2019

Darlene and I returned to Vancouver, British Columbia last week to enjoy three days of board gaming at Shut Up and Sit Down’s third annual board gaming convention (SHUX ’19) after enjoying ourselves so much last year at SHUX’18.  Once again we got to meet a bunch of new people (as well as bumped into a friend local to the Santa Cruz area) while learning and trying out many different games.  As always, there’s also lots of other gaming-related stuff going on all around the convention hall but we pretty much stuck to the game library and play area for the whole convention this time.

 

We dove in deep starting with the viking-themed, “worker placement”-style game A Feast for Odin.  It’s good but I’m not sure I really want to play it again, and it’s also really time-consuming to teach to new players.  (Luckily we found someone who already knew the game to teach us.)  We moved on to try the tableau-building Valeria: Card Kingdoms (not great), before getting transformed into mice trying to battle and escape our rat guards in the story-based adventure game Mice and Mystics (very cute!).  Then we tried playing classic Disney villains in Disney’s Villainous with just the two of us – and then tried it again when the first game ended rather abruptly.  I give it a pass – you’re pretty much at the mercy of your card draw, with little decision making to do each turn.  The card decks do wonderfully capture the spirit of the feature films though.

We both loved playing the soon-to-be-released Ecos: First Continent and I immediately put in a preorder for it.  Next up was trying Lowlands, a classic euro-style game with the added twist of having to decide whether to give up some of your precious turn actions to work on the community dike holding back the rising seas.  We liked it… but not as much as Istanbul that we tried later in the day.  I’ve had that in my wish list to try for a while and playing it with a group of five turned into an immediate purchase.

Richard joined us for the bizarrely themed and misrepresented Lords of Waterdeep after somebody we met earlier in the day insisted we try it.  It was okay, but it was really just a totally abstract cube-exchanging affair. However, from there we moved on to finding a group to try laying out a suburban neighborhood together in the puzzle-y “roll and write” game Welcome to… – and yes, the third purchase as a result of SHUX this year!

 

We joined up on the last day with another couple to figure out how to play the intriguing time travel-based cooperative mystery adventure game  T.I.M.E. Stories – which turned out to both not be so straight-forward without giving ourselves any story spoilers and reminded me why it got some less than stellar reviews.  The problem is that the game intentionally sets up the story to play out in such a way that you’re going to run out of your allotted actions and fail multiple times and then “get” to experience going back in time again to try again with your new knowledge.  However, unlike a well-scripted time travel movie, it’s not that fun to have to go back and repeat previous sections to gather needed equipment again.  We ended up cheating a bit on the second go-around only to be forced into a second failure anyway where we decided to quit without seeing the first story through to its end.

We didn’t get to finish the last game of the weekend, The Ancient World, with yet another couple before the convention closed down.  This one started out rough and afterwards I discovered that there’s a newer edition of the rules which would have avoided much of the confusion and outright invalid actions we were taking.  Maybe we’ll try it again sometime somewhere.

Darlene had to take off super early Monday morning to teach a class by noon, but I hung out for the day in Vancouver and ended up going for a walk to Stanley Park and spending the afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium.  Click through for the full gallery:

   

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