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Other Games / Marvel Strike Force
« on: April 12, 2018, 08:42:25 am »
Anyone on here playing Marvel Strike Force? It's basically a Final Fantasy type gameplay where you pit Marvel characters against others. From what I understand, it's a reskin of a Star Wars mobile game.

I'm curious if there are any dedicated players here since one aspect of the game has players working cooperatively to accomplish some goals (similar to an MMO raid). I'd rather team up with people I kinda know. Or at least feel like I can trust.

Other Games / Terraforming Mars
« on: March 26, 2018, 11:58:48 am »
Since I introduced my wife to Terraforming Mars, she's been obsessed with defeating me. We've played four 2-player games so far. She enjoys the game, but she gets frustrated that she hasn't been able to build as good of an engine as mine. Part of it is shuffle luck, which TM is notorious for, but I also have a little more experience than her and can pull off some dick moves (the latest dick move was taking 1 action per round to her 2 in the final round so that I know she can't take any more actions and then bump up my money production so I could win the Banker award that she funded).

But the sheer luck is starting to sour my opinion of the game. The discussion of interaction in the Dominion clone thread makes me think of TM because there isn't a whole lot you can do to slow down other people. Some cards are detrimental to others, but they are usually minor. I think that's probably for the best because if you have a huge attack, that sends the game down a different path that I might not find as enjoyable.

There are possible ways on the board to block some strategies. Like putting the ocean geyser (whatever it's called) on an ocean tile adjacent to the capital so its owner can't benefit from that. Or placing an artificial lake next to someone's city. But those are still hugely based on the luck of the draw. I pointed out that one reason for my victory in one game was because her corporation benefited from claiming hexes with steel and titanium, so I claimed many of those spaces first to deny her access to them.

I wonder if there are ways to level the playing field without imposing an actual handicap. I suppose I could take the beginner corporation while she gains the benefit of an advanced corporation, but the beginner corp has the benefit of essentially starting with 72 credits, which is not shabby. It just would mean I don't start off with a focus, which could also be an advantage (I played a game where I started with 20 steel and didn't draw any buildings until the third turn).

I feel like the game may go better with more than 2 players. Cards like ants and predators can only really target one other person in a 2-player game. At least if there are multiple targets, then you can beat on the leader for a bit. We just haven't had anybody around to fill in another seat at the table.

General Discussion / Random Stuff Part IV
« on: December 13, 2017, 02:23:23 pm »
Since Part III has gotten too cumbersome to do a view all, and the weird bug of starting at the second new message has been happening for a while. I considered naming it Part IIII because I'm a monster.

Speaking of monsters, what monster would store a magic marker next to a dry-erase marker by the whiteboard? Fiends.

General Discussion / Funeral officiant
« on: November 01, 2017, 06:05:38 pm »
So, wow, I am floored by a phone call I just received. My mind is a-whirl, and I feel like emptying my mind among people I trust. That includes many f.ds people. Kind of weird, eh? Well, my meatspace friends and my wife are not available right now, and it may help to talk this out with people who aren't that close to me IRL. Who knows? Maybe this just becomes rambling.

So my friend's son died yesterday. He was 20. I've known this kid for nearly 15 years. We weren't very close. After all, he was only a child most of the time I've known him. But his father and I played a lot of D&D, and the boy grew up into being a gamer. We connected recently on Facebook since he became a college student.

That's shocking enough, but what has me especially on an emotional roller coaster is that his father asked me if I could officiate at the funeral. He knows his son was not religious, so asking his own pastor to step up didn't feel right to him. He chose me because I am a pastor through the Universal Life Church and am also not religious. He clearly felt that his son would have preferred someone like me to speak on his behalf, which is really saying something because the father is actually quite religious.

I couldn't say yes right away. I've performed over a dozen weddings, but I've never been asked to do a funeral. On the one hand, I am not certain that I could be prepared for this. On the other, it would mean a lot to the family.

Like I said, I'm just going over this. I need time to absorb this. The service isn't for another few days, so I have time to give my final answer. They have their family pastor on hand if I feel I cannot do this.

I'm open to advice, though I can't imagine that many people have been in this situation. At least I hope no one has.

Other Games / Asmodee Digital sale
« on: October 18, 2017, 01:32:52 pm »
Asmodee Digital is having a sale on digital board game apps. I got quite a few good deals for a buck or two.  Score!

General Discussion / Board game businesses
« on: October 06, 2017, 09:19:30 am »
Well, this is an exciting week for me. My local gaming spot, Pawn & Pint, has opened in its new location. It really amazes me that board game bars/cafes/etc. are a viable business design. It's a pretty good future right now.

It about a year ago that this place opened its doors in a less-than-ideal location. It wasn't a bar or restaurant to begin with, so there was a lot of remodeling going on. The inside was bare brick, which was charming, but that and the concrete floors did make noise a real concern. The part of town was not bad, but parking was a bitch. Some people had to park as far as two or three blocks away to go. The shelves basically plywood on concrete blocks, and you could see the plywood bowing under the weight of the games. The bar wasn't open yet nor even built. It had only one toilet for several months before adding a second toilet.

But despite all these flaws, the business was able to stay afloat with its $5 admission, membership fees, and game sales. It also had a good chunk of money from the Kickstarter, but the owners envisioned a better future. Last night was the grand opening in a new location that they've been working on. Wow, what a difference. It didn't have the bare-bones look of the old location. The parking lot holds 140+ cars. The shelves look classy. The bar is fully stocked. It was weird walking in last night because I didn't recognize over half the employees. I was always used to the old location with the same four employees cycling through the welcome counter.

I was always glad to have backed this enterprise, but seeing the final product a year later made me really proud of my decision. I like board games, and I like to see them flourish. I know that mixing beer with board games can be a risky combination, so we shall see. Similar businesses have been doing pretty well lately, so this bodes well.

It was still noisy even with the carpeting. I'm hoping when they hang artwork that will help absorb some noise. I imagine that this will be my go-to place during nonbusy times. When they get really busy, I may step out for a bit. Bonus: It's only 6 blocks from my home.

General Discussion / What the hell, English?
« on: September 28, 2017, 11:14:02 am »
Well, I'm livid now. I just learned that not everybody uses the same definition as me for terms like biweekly, bimonthly, and biannually.

For years, I've labored under the understanding that bi- means two of while semi- means half of, so that bimonthly is every two months while semimonthly means twice a month.

Not so for everyone. Some people use bimonthly to mean twice a month. In fact, online dictionaries have shown the definition to mean either twice a month or every two months. That basically means bi-[time period] is useless in conversation now. Except for biennial, which has a clear definition.

I wonder how these are handled in legal papers. I imagine that bi- is avoided entirely.

My world view has been shattered.

General Discussion / Evolution of Trust
« on: August 03, 2017, 06:27:58 pm »
Nice little interactive game about the evolution of trust and ye ole prisoner's dilemma:

And the animation is fun too.

General Discussion / How to hold a gun
« on: July 19, 2017, 07:27:18 am »
Theatre help: Seeking tips on how to portray a homeowner who owns a handgun. Need advice for how he would carry himself when a) approaching his door where someone is screaming for help and b) talking with someone who isn't threatening while still holding the gun.

Other Games / Risk Legacy
« on: June 07, 2017, 03:32:02 pm »
I'm going to get to play a fresh new game of Risk Legacy tonight. Looks like we'll have a fairly stable group with potential of a little player-hopping, which is fine for this game蓉nlike apparently Seafall and Pandemic Legacy.

I do have a copy of my own, but my vision of having a stable group fell through, and now I have an incomplete map. I've won it a few times so introducing it to a new group would be unfair. Also, quite a few packets have been opened on my copy, so that's even more unfair to a new group. Perhaps I'll bring out my copy after this new copy opens all of its packets.

One problem is the stigma of Risk. Risk is a terrible game, but I feel that it really redeemed itself with Risk Legacy. I don't just mean that there are ways to trash Australia to make it less attractive (but there are) but also the game does not reward turtling so much. It can still happen if the other players try to turtle (Australia will typically win that race), but aggressive players will get the cards needed to get their four victory points and leave the Australia player scratching his head.

So yeah, it's a Risk game I'm looking forward to. It's funny because this came about when a new guy wanted to get people together to play ordinary Risk. He's not much of a gamer. He considered Risk and Monopoly to be good strategic games. Since then, we've exposed him to Stone Age and Kingsburg. He isn't as rules-savvy as many other gamers, but he enjoyed himself and wants to learn more. I almost brought out Power Grid for him, but we'll save that for another time. Baby steps. I think Power Grid would blow his mind容specially since we haven't played any diceless games yet.

Other Games / The power of social media and Torg RPG
« on: June 02, 2017, 02:34:06 pm »
So this is an RPG, though there is technically card play.

I'm super-stoked about the Kickstarter for Torg Eternity. This is a reboot of the 1990 Torg game. I ran a campaign in college, and it was a lot of fun. I played in a campaign about 6 years ago, and it was very decidedly a '90s game. It was table-heavy and adhered to many of the philosophies of the '90s (which makes sense since it invented some of them). It was time for an update, and one company did it.

What's thrilling to me is that they made me appreciate Twitter. I normally hate Twitter. They capitalized on Twitter's strengths and launched a cool social media campaign:

I may have to dust off my Twitter account for this. Well, I guess I don't. I don't know what storify is, but it looks like it compiles tweets into a single page. That's very nice.

Other Games / Maximum Apocalypse
« on: April 10, 2017, 09:51:52 pm »
Huh, so this Kickstarter looks interesting:

I dig the art, and I like the idea of the apocalypse being the result of a different aggressor. I fear that expansions may be tricky because they covered the three big ones. I suppose the mutants could have a new face with a nuclear winter. Global warming could be another cause, though I can't think of many monsters to go with that.

Other Games / Captain Sonar
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:45:30 pm »
My local board game pub has a copy of Captain Sonar on its shelves. I MUST PLAY THIS!

I'll be heading there tonight by myself, so the best I can do is wrangle strangers to try out this weird game.

If worse comes to worst, I intend to snag one person用ossibly the owner of the pub葉o play one on one. For something like this, it'd be turn-based instead of real time, but it'd give us a really intimate understanding of how the roles work.

I do hope for the full experience sometime.

Other Games / BGG "good posts"
« on: January 04, 2017, 07:54:06 am »
Has anyone here posted a "good post" on BGG? By that, I mean the little check box where you can designate that your post is good enough to be awarded geek gold. It looks to be a gamble, since if they don't think it's good enough, it apparently doesn't get posted.

I tried my luck at submitted a good post. I thought my list of variants incorporating favorite old rules into the newest Robo Rally would be of interest to many people容specially veterans who felt that the game was neutered by the update. I'm just wondering how long the approval process takes. It's been only 8 hours, and that was overnight in America. Do they at least send you mail to let you know if the message was accepted or rejected? If rejected, can I submit a regular post with the same information that was rejected for geek gold?

I'll be looking up the FAQ, but I wanted to ask around in a more intimate group.

Other Games / Hidden traitor games
« on: December 28, 2016, 03:34:38 pm »
For a while I've been avoiding games with hidden traitors. If there's an option to not include it, I generally prefer not to. I'm okay with conflict in games, so I dissected what was bugging me about hidden-traitor games.

One aspect is that I want to fully invest in a game. If it's cooperative, then I want to do everything in my power to help my teammates. If it's competitive, then I want to do everything in my power to build myself up, including tearing down the opponents. But if it's both, then I have a contradiction since I cannot help my teammates as fully as I want to do.

But I'm okay with doing that. I like Room 25, for example. I think the biggest problem with hidden-traitor games is that
1) If I'm the traitor, it means underperforming so that the team is less likely to win. People who know how I play can tell when I'm holding back and playing suboptimally.
2) The corollary being that if another player plays suboptimally then I'm going to accuse him of being the traitor. It's great if that works, but what it means if the player is not really the traitor is that I just flat-out publicly stated, "I think your playing style sucks so bad I cannot differentiate if you are the traitor or just plain terrible."

And man, I don't want to tell a player that I think he sucks at a game.

Other Games / Betrayal at House on the Hill
« on: December 13, 2016, 02:32:08 pm »
I got the expansion for Betrayal at House on the Hill for cheap. Now I need to get back to playing it. I have been putting it off since I know the haunts from 1st edition needed updating. Looks like there's a lovely 150-page document on BGG that has all of the haunts. I suppose I don't need to print this off since so many of us have smart phones.

General Discussion / Generic singular third-person pronoun
« on: November 04, 2016, 08:25:58 am »
I went to a training course on business writing because I feel it's always good to brush up on my grammar. Subject/verb agreement came up, and this lead to the ever-troubling pronoun to match with "everybody."

The instructor reiterated the classic rule that you say, "everybody will hand in his," or "everybody will hand in his or her." I've noticed lately that there are people pushing for allowing for, "everybody will hand in their." In short, with a lack of a generic pronoun (since calling a person an "it" is considered rude), many are arguing that "they" should be used as a generic singular pronoun.

Her response to this was interesting. She said that while this passes muster in America, it's when you get into the international community that this can cause issues. This makes some sense. After all, when a nonnatives learn English, they are taught rigorously the rules of the language, and I'm sure that they aren't taught that "they" is singular. English is confusing enough as it is.

You're the only international community I'm a part of that I trust and respect, so I pose this to non-Americans. Does this assessment ring true with you? Is using "they" as singular perplexing? Is this only an American thing?

The instructor also said that only in America do we consider using, "he or she." The other nations (even Canada) only use "he" as a generic singular pronoun. Any experiences in that?

Other Games / Mythos Tales
« on: October 20, 2016, 05:52:56 pm »
The Kickstarter for Mythos Tales says "preorder", but I got my copy in 2 days. Nice!

The hard part is resisting the urge to try the first case by myself. I mean, it should be the shortest one, right? So I could watch others play it and then we're all caught up?

But part of the fun is solving the mystery as a group. Foul temptress!

I unboxed it, and it looks nice. The town directory is easier to read than the one from Sherlock Holmes, so that's good on my aging eyes.

General Discussion / Crowd-sourcing: Bragging contest
« on: October 06, 2016, 03:48:46 pm »
I'm figuring out how to run a bragging contest at an upcoming convention, and I figure why do this by myself? I can tap the hive mind.

I'm thinking of written boasts. The nature is up to the participant, but it's a gaming convention, so boasts geared toward outrageous things done or not done as an RPG would be pretty cool. But you know, if you can pull off an epic boast about accounting, go for it, man.

The logistics I have in my head is that submissions are accepted on Thursday and Friday. I may even keep it open Saturday morning until noon so that late arrivals have a chance to submit a boast. The boast must be within X words (50 or 100, probably). If I do this using Google Forms, then maybe a character count instead.

You submit your boast electronically. If you do not have a phone/tablet, then a computer will be available at the registration desk.

When the submissions are done, the boasts are available online to read anonymously (mostly, may track and vote by badge number). Attendees vote for their favorite three boasts. This part may just be done with paper ballots unless I want to figure out a way to prevent digital ballot stuffing. In meatspace, ballot-stuffing is more awkward to pull off since you have to endure the judgmental eyes of con staff.

Winner is announced/posted Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Any thoughts on a better way to run this? Any challenges you see that could bite me in the butt?

General Discussion / GG EZ
« on: August 18, 2016, 08:58:15 am »

I知 reminded of earlier conversations on here about whether it was considered polite or condescending to say GG before the game is officially over.

Apparently, on Overwatch, people would flout their leet gaming skills by starting off with a polite 堵ood game but ending it with a condescending 土ou were easy. As one may find online, it was shortened to GG EZ. I can see why facing these people would be frustrating.

So Blizzard is looking to do away with that. Typing in GG EZ in chat replaces it with something silly.

The nice thing is that this probably won稚 affect GG at all. People can still be sincere in their congratulation. Of course, douchebaggery will evolve into something not involving GG EZ.

Other Games / London Dread
« on: August 17, 2016, 01:09:46 pm »
I recently discovered the existence of this:

It sounds like it could be awesome. How come I致e not heard of it before now? And has anyone here played it?

Other Games / Oregon Trail board game
« on: August 08, 2016, 11:55:26 am »
I finally got to play the Oregon Trail card game. It's not a good game.

I felt bad because a friend bought it, and she was really excited to play it. I wasn't much in the mood for a second game, but she wanted another one, it's not terribly long, and I didn't really experience that much in the first go. My first turn consisted of me getting a broken arm and skipping two turns. Then I died of dysentery soon after. The most impact I had in that game was what two items to will to the survivors. My second game was a little more eventful.

So let's start with the good: The theme is heavy with this game. The entire look is circa 1985. Even the die faces were pixilated. You can actually lay out the trail as you move, but you have to survive 50 trail cards placed end to end. Nobody has room for that, so players are instructed to create a stack when five cards are laid out. For that reason, you shouldn't need more than 3 feet of playing space for the trail. It tries hard to mirror the computer game.

And that leads to the negative of the card game. The capricious nature of the game was the charm in a single-player computer game. It kind of sucks for a tabletop card game. When someone dies (and someone will), that player sits out the rest of the game. Eventually it comes down to one person playing card after card (or drawing, drawing, drawing, then playing a card). If the game were more exciting, this little flaw could be worth it.

The cards are confusing. We had Inadequate Grass come up. If another copy of that card comes up, then two oxen die. What does that mean? We didn't know. We only knew that we had to play an Oxen card in the next round or we all die. Well, okay, but does that event go away then? Is it recurring? Does it only happen when both copies of the card are in play? We had to house-rule it, which is pretty sloppy. Another confusing card was crossing the river. In at least one of them, the card instructs you to roll the die. On an even number, you make it across safely. On a 1, you die. There's no indication on the card what happens if you roll a 3 or 5. The text about an even number hints that you don't make it across without incident. We had seen other river cards that say that even is good while odd means you make it across while losing a supply card. We extrapolated that's what they meant, but it's not clear.

This game is great at making you appreciate how well defined the cards are in Dominion. Sure, there are some interaction weirdness, but that's to be expect in a game with 34,284.6 kingdoms. A self-contained game with probably only a couple dozen unique cards really should have been designed better. Frankly, I suspect the designer is not a gamer. In fact, a quick look at shows N/A for the designer name. I wouldn't put my name on this either.

The game also scales horribly. Each person gets a starting hand of five Supply cards if you have 2-4 players. Then four Supply cards for 5 and three Supply cards for 6. As you can see, the ideal number of players is 4-5 since you'll have 20 Supply cards total. I'd wager that 5 is better so that you lose fewer cards when someone dies.

This game is nothing more than a novelty hack. It's cute, and it can sit on your shelf looking all cute, but it's not all that engaging. The "Press Space Bar to continue" loses its charm after a while. If it comes out, I'll begrudgingly play it葉he same I do when Cards Against Humanity comes out傭ut I won't devote much brain power to it. Counting cards is the most strategy you can use on it, and there are much better games to count cards with.

Other Games / BitBox Kickstarter
« on: August 07, 2016, 01:09:36 pm »
Has anyone here seen this?

Anyone backed it?

It seems pretty pricey, but then again anything that's custom-made is going to be pricey. I guess I'm just used to the Wal-Mart culture.

I do love the idea of packing everything into convenient boxes. I don't like the idea of the board being separate from the bits. I suppose that's where the bigger box comes in useful; you pack the bits and boards of a few games into a bigger box and lug that around. Then they are not truly separate.

And since my storage at home is being pushed to the limit (yet I just had to order Flash Point when it was on sale), I'm starting to wonder if this is a good alternative. Again, kind of expensive. *sigh*

General Discussion / Portraying Schizophrenia
« on: May 27, 2016, 02:50:46 pm »
I am being considered for a play for an upcoming Fringe Festival. In this play I would be playing a veteran who was discharged due to schizophrenia. Through most of this play, Danny (the character's name) interacts with the other characters while he's medicated. Later he is shown having violent outbursts due to not having his medication. That part I'll worry about later.

What I'm most interested in is how to portray Danny in a way that indicates that he does have schizophrenia but not to the point where he's distracting from the rest of the cast. Basically, I want to present this character realistically and also theatrically.

After reading up on some of the many symptoms of schizophrenia, I've been pondering the following affectations. 
  • When not part of a conversation, obsessively chew on my lips. This produces a kind of tic effect that should indicate that there is a disorder. Also, I may adopt a blank stare with very little blinking.
  • When talking with other cast members, avoid eye contact. This will be tricky because the natural tendency while avoid eye contact is to speak softly, but I'll need to remember to project for the sake of the audience.
  • There are a couple of scenes where Danny interjects when someone doesn't know or can't remember a musical artist. I may consider saying it out of the blue while never acknowledging they are there. Just keep looking at what I'm doing. Since these characters are familiar with each other, the others may acknowledge what I say and not take offense at the interruption. This may need to be hashed out once I meet the cast and we start blocking.

Other thoughts on how to portray schizophrenia that isn't outrageous? He is on medication, but he's also homeless, so he's still having difficulty adapting to society. Again, this is for theatre, so it should be obvious enough while not upstaging the rest of the cast (until it's my time in the script).

Adventures Previews / Adventures card quality
« on: May 19, 2016, 11:51:10 am »
Hidey ho. I'm so out of touch here that it was a complete surprise to see Empires preview. I haven't even bought Adventures yet.

And that's why I'm posting. I should buy Adventures. Prior to that set, I bought each new expansion within the first 2 weeks of it coming out. I held off on Adventures because of what I heard about the card quality. When I played a couple of games with a friend's set, I could tell the difference. I decided to wait it out and buy a later printing when the card quality is brought in line with the rest of the game.

So has this happened? Are later printings indistinguishable from the other sets? If there is a difference, how can I tell which printing I am looking for?

I suspect that after this snafu, the Empires set will be of consistent quality. So, I'm looking forward to buying Dominion cards again. I really need to get some games going.

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