Monday, June 27

I'm Stealthy, Like The Ninja

It's been a good week. Monday and Tuesday I had the house to myself in the evening while The Wife was in Germany, so I spent the time getting a decent chunk of functionality into German language phone app.

Wednesday I managed another Games Night (work commitments are cancelling a disturbing proportion of them at the moment). We played Lost Cities, Alea Iacta Est (knocking it off my not yet played this year list), Pandemic: The Cure (same again, plus we played it twice, so two more plays towards ten plays) and then a couple of games of Zombology. We'd also manged my first lunchtime games club in ages that day too - Gav beat me twice at Taluva. Man, I'm so glad I bought that! We've been playing it loads.

Then finally on Saturday I made it to Newcastle Gamers too. Newcastle Gamers is on twice a month. We're halfway through the year, so there's been at least (they hold a few special extra sessions every now and again) twelve sessions in 2016. And this was my first one. First! Turns out this new job is keeping me pretty busy.

Thankfully I had a great evening. I got there about quarter to eight, and after waiting for five or ten minutes I joined Ruth, Tom and Sarah for a game of Beyond Baker Street. It had a lot of similarities to Hanabi (you play with face-out cards in your hand and have to build sets playing blind from your hand). Our four player game seemed extremely hard and Tom and Sarah who had played it a lot since being taught it by the designers at the UK Games Expo said it was easy with two, but tricky with three. After that, they looked at my pile of games (Endeavor, Homesteaders, K2, Kodama and Zombology) and chose Zombology. We played it a couple of times and again, I didn't tell them I was the designer until we had finished. They seemed to enjoy it, and asked about where to get it, but of course the only option at the moment is the very expensive shipping from Drive Thru Cards.

After a couple of rounds of Zombology Tom and Sarah headed off so I went looking for another table and managed to join Becky, Mangler, Gordon and Richard for a game of Sushi Go! As soon as I saw it was I keen to play - I knew the designer was of interest to me (though I couldn't remember who it was) and I love sushi, so it seemed win-win. It turns out the designer was Phil Walker-Harding who used to blog here with me eight or nine years ago, before he became a very successful designer (Archaeology, Sushi Go!, Cacao and most recently the Spiel des Jahres nominated Imhotep). I'd not played any of Phil's games since I playtested Cannonball Colony years and years ago, so it was great to try one of his designs and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like Zombology it's a drafting game, but one with a steadily diminishing hand and set-collection elements. The art was cute, the theme was cute and it was a quick, fun game. I've added it to my wishlist :-)

After a couple of games of Sushi Go! we also played a couple of Zomobology (after Gordon left), and again I neglected to mention I was the designer until after we finished. They seemed to enjoy it (and Becky was complimentary about the art too!) and they also asked about how to buy it when I made my reveal. I'm beginning to wonder whether I should make some more hand-made ones...

We rounded the night out with a game of Kodama, another one on my ten plays list (only one game left!).

All in all this week, I managed to play two new to me games (Sushi Go! and Beyond Baker Street), three games towards my ten plays list (Kodama and two of Pandemic: The Cure) and two off my not yet played this year list (Pandemic: The Cure and Alea Iacta Est). Busy week!

At the halfway point of the year, I've managed to played nineteen games for the first time this year, that's nineteen towards my goal of 24 - it's looking very achievable!

Monday, June 20

Getting Back Into The Swing Of It

After my full-on trip to the States I returned home to a very busy week at work, with loads of people from America and Manchester (including my boss) over for a meeting. To make things more exciting, I caught a filthy cold on the plane home so for most of the week I felt rough as a dog too.

By judiciously avoiding alcohol on a work night out on Tuesday (I also left at 7:30!), I managed to mostly get over it by Thursday thankfully.

My only real gaming this week was the first Games Night in three weeks on Wednesday when we managed to tick Agricola off my 'haven't yet played this year' list and another Colt Express play towards my ten plays list. It was a fairly quite one - just Ian, Mike and I which meant we could get a longer game in too.

Yesterday The Wife swanned off to Germany for a couple of days for a work conference, so until late Tuesday evening I'm solo Parent-In-Charge of The Daughter. I'm using the evenings after The Daughter goes to sleep to do a bit more work on my German language app (taking shape nicely!) and finally making the next version of Dragon Dance. Last time I played it with Paul (back in 1870-something I think) he had a great idea about replacing the short/long range indicator card with a card that tries to convey a sense of space. I'm going to knock something up tonight and will see if I can get it tested in the office this week.

Next week I'm in Romania for most of the week so, if it works, I'll have some time to knock up a proper version of it in InDesign during my mornings/evenings. Of course Romania means no Games Night or lunchtime gaming club again. I need to spend some time in the country!

The week after Romania is Newcastle Playtest, and seeing as I've missed the last two (holiday in Portugal and conference in San Antonio), I'm really keen to make it to this one, especially if I've got a new version of Dragon Dance for Paul to try!

Monday, June 13

Gaming In San Antonio

So last week I got one evening off from work in my week long trip to San Antonio in Texas and rather than wander the hospitality suites at the convention hoovering up free beer and food I chose instead to get a cab out to Dragon's Lair and get some gaming in.

I'd asked on BGG beforehand and a guy called Sean had told me about it and even offered me a lift back into town afterwards if he was around. If he was around I didn't see him unfortunately, but I still had a great night. On arrival I wandered round the store briefly and had a look at their collection of games (pretty good, but not as extensive as The Source in Minneapolis a few years ago). Then I went into the gaming room and met Chris. He was waiting for the Netrunner crowd to turn up so we had a quick game of Kodama (its nice small box is very portable!) and then they arrived and I was invited to join a game of the Legendary Deck Building Game with Al, Jimmy and Chante. I think we got a couple of rules wrong (none of us new the game well enough to pick up and explain so we were learning from the rules - which is often tricky), but it was fun nevertheless. After that Michael joined us and we had a game of Dead of Winter, which was new to all of us except Michael. It turned out that Michael was a traitor, so against four newbies he had fairly easily run of it and the rest of us were overwhelmed after an hour and a half or so.

After that it was getting late so Chante and Al headed off and Michael, Jimmy and I had three games of Zombology. It was an easy sell after Dead of Winter - another zombie-themed semi-coop but one that played in ten minutes! I had introduced myself as Jack and didn't call out the fact that I had designed the game, so as far as they were concerned we were just playing a game I'd brought along, rather than one I was pushing as the designer. We ended up playing three games: I won one on my own, we all died in the second and in the third I think we all won. The guys really enjoyed it and it wasn't until we were in the car on the way back to my hotel (Michael had kindly offered me a lift) that I told him I'd designed the game. I'm still not sure why I kept it to myself but it worked out OK! We ended the night with a quick pint in the hotel bar which was rammed with people from the convention.

All in all a great night: another play of Kodama towards my ten plays, a new to me game towards my 24 new to me games this year goal and some Zombology fans.

Now I'm back I need to try to get the new Dragon Dance made up and crack on with that before I'm off again to Romania at the end of the month! For the moment though I need to concentrate on shaking off the filthy cold I acquired at some point during my trip :-(

Monday, June 6

Hello From Sunny San Antonio

As I mentioned last week, I'm in San Antonio, Texas this week for work. It's a very busy week but I've managed to get tonight off so that I can go to the San Antonio Board Gamers meetup at Dragon's Lair. I've brought Zombology, Dragon Dance (which needs an overhaul) and Kodama with me, hopefully I'll get to try some new stuff too.

San Antonio

Last week I was away for a mid-week trip to Derbyshire for my friend Tim's secret birthday party. It was Monday to Friday, but we had to leave on Thursday as I was flying from Newcastle first thing on Friday morning. I took a decent stack of games: Zombology, 6 Nimmt!, Kodama, Incan Gold, Ca$h 'n Gun$, King of Tokyo, Colt Express and Firefly. Tim had brought a load of games too and Simon and Duncan had also brought a few. I managed to play everything I brought except 6 Nimmt! but managed to miss every game of something someone else brought due to either looking after The Daughter, cooking a meal or having gone to bed early to make up for a game of Firefly the night before which had finished just after 2am.

Zombology was well received after the first couple of games when people were still trying to work out what was going on - it seems there's a fairly steep learning curve for new players. We also saw a game where Zombyism was cured but none of the players won, which was a first I believe. Two plays of Ca$h 'n Gun$ took that off my ten plays list and the plays of Kodama and Colt Express also moved them nearer to escaping from the ten plays list.

I've now got 12 games left on the list, one of which is definitely going, three (Koi Pond, Libertalia and Pandemic: The Cure) are at risk and might well go too and the others I expect to have cleared off the list by the end of the year. My unplayed so far this year list however still has 26 games on it, including many previous staples such as Die Speicherstadt, Puerto Rico, Thunderstone and Agricola.

These lists are just for interest this year, instead of part of my goals. The only gaming goal I have is to play 24 new to me games this year. At 16 by early June I'm in good shape for that, let's see if I can add any tonight!

San Antonio