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Topics - Kuildeous

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Other Games / My Origins games
« on: June 17, 2019, 01:14:28 pm »
I played more RPGs than board games at Origins, but I got to see a few, so here are my thoughts.

New Frontiers is one of the latest board games from Rio Grande. It literally mashes Puerto Rico with Race for the Galaxy, and it works. You choose your role, everyone does it, the role picker gets a bonus. There are a couple that act like Prospector in that nobody else gets anything, but they're weak roles. You build Developments and Settle planets, but NF adds a new element where you first have to explore the planets before you can settle them. Lots of new developments to replace the basic board, so it has more variety than Puerto Rico (though not more than PR with its expansions).

Roll for the Galaxy has a new expansion called Rivalry. It adds two new game modes, though I only tried one. The simpler one adds a new mega-die that is customizable (like Dice Forge). You roll it with your normal dice and can upgrade dice faces to improve the path you are going down. In my game, Developments were a big deal to me, so I upgraded the die to give me bonuses to Developments. There were other options I could've taken. It adds randomness, but you can build yourself to make that randomness work for you.

Puerto Rico is an old classic. I already knew it, but I saw three guys staring exasperatedly at the rulebook, so I offered to teach them and play the game. I lost to a newbie, but I also purposefully didn't take the Hospice. Then again, the winner didn't either, so clearly Hospice didn't determine the winner; I just didn't play that well.

Deadly Doodles was a cute drawing game where everyone has the same grid dungeon with spaces containing weapons (labeled A through G), monsters (also A through G), loot, and a dragon. You "navigate" the dungeon by flipping over a common pool of four cards and drawing them on your dungeon. You get points for crossing loot spaces, for crossing weapons spaces, for crossing monster spaces corresponding with a weapon you have (and you lose points if you cross a monster without the weapon), and for crossing the dragon to increase your loot value. It's mostly a solitaire game, though there are a couple of trap cards that you can put in the dungeon where you can't cross them. Any players who cross that space on their own map lose points, so it's a very tame "take that." Cute, short game that may be fun for a couple of plays before you move on to something more interesting.

Trapwords was a recent announcement that interested me. It's basically Taboo where you give clues to a teammate without using any forbidden words. Where this differs is that the other team chooses that list. If you're being particularly clever, the other team may try to anticipate your chicanery. For example, my word was DWARF. The other team put "vertical" on the list with the hope I'd say "vertically challenged." Nice one, other team. Fortunately I didn't fall for that trap and instead described musically inclined miners where one is embarrassed a lot and another is always tired (my partner was like 8 years old, so you know). From what I understand, you can't put "the" and "a" on the list, but you could add "person" or "someone" which can be pretty dangerous.

Letter Jam is my jewel of the con. It will be released at Gen Con, but it was fun to play the prototype. It's like Hanabi in that everyone has a letter in front of them, but you can't see yours. You have to guess your four letters based on someone spelling a word with the visible letters. Numbers are placed in front of people to show how the word is spelled. So I might know the word is TH_NN_NG and conclude that my letter is I. You have to be careful in giving clues because something like BID isn't going to help any of those players narrow down which letter they have. I learned in this game that you want to be clever but not too clever. My very first word was THRESH. It helped many players, but when I saw the E player choose to guess right away, I knew that he thought I was spelling THRASH. Oops. Also, leave your ego at the door. I wanted to spell out awesome words all the time, but I had to let others give clues because I need to guess my four letters.

General Discussion / Replacing battery in mobile phone
« on: October 18, 2018, 01:32:58 pm »
So my Galaxy S6 is pooping out. It dropped from 100% battery to 45% within an hour. And when it reaches the 40% range, it shuts off completely as if it were drained. Clearly my phone has issues.

I don't really want to get a new phone though. I know these phones are not designed for longevity, but I have to think that there are people who specialize in fixing up old phones, including installing a new battery. Has anybody done this? Is it a viable option? Or should I just accept that I'm going to go buy a new phone this weekend?

Other Games / Pandemic Legacy (probably will have spoilers)
« on: September 04, 2018, 10:04:38 am »
The hard part about playing Pandemic Legacy Season 2 (and I'm this holds true for Season 1 as well) is that the ideal state to play this game is to lose the first game of each month. This lets you spend two games per month building up the game board.

But losses can be nasty, so I've taken to seeking either a win or a good loss. A good loss is what I call a game where we made more progress than we lost.

I'm not going to be able to convince my group that losing is good though.

Other Games / Codenames etiquette
« on: July 02, 2018, 01:29:39 pm »
What is your stance on etiquette for Codenames?

I saw someone try to justify that it's okay to give invalid clues as long as the other team doesn't catch you. If they don't catch it, then it's a valid clue.

For example, let's say that someone uses the clue LOVE to try to get someone to say GLOVE. Not allowed by the rules, but the opposing team may not realize that's what's happening until later in the game. The spymaster gets away with it!

I feel that this is poor sportsman and is exploiting a rule that is intended for accidental invalid clues, such as saying SHOE for HORSESHOE.

Just making sure I'm not alone in my mini-outrage.

General Discussion / Aging
« on: June 28, 2018, 09:48:01 am »
One side effect of aging that people don't tell you: You eventually get to a point where your boss is younger than you.

For the first time, I'm taking orders from someone younger than me. She's cool, and she obviously values my experience and respects me, so it's not an awkward situation. I imagine it can't be, and I think I can see why some older people that I've managed may have been troublesome.

But it's just a weird thought that up until now, I've always had a direct manager who is older. It's just one of those things where I've just kind of equated authority with age.

I've already seen this effect outside of work. There are plenty of policemen and doctors younger than me, but they are the authoritative experts in their fields, so I respect them (though some aren't worthy of that respect, I'm sure).

It's not something that I've dwelled on. Perhaps that's a good thing. It means I've accepted people based on their knowledge. It's just now that this has come to my attention.

It's not like this trend is going to stop. It's how aging works.

Other Games / The Mind
« on: June 20, 2018, 10:08:52 am »
I had read about The Mind, and it intrigued me. I finally got to play a few games at Origins. It doesn't feel like it'd be a game that would work, but it does. I wouldn't expect to get hours of enjoyment out of it at a time, but it's a fun time-killer.

The premise is that you have a deck of cards numbered 1 to 100. At level 1, each player is given a card. The players indicate they are ready by placing their hand on the table. That's the only communication. Now you have to play the cards in ascending order without talking to your teammates.

Some cards are easy to play. If you have a 1-9 in your hand, you should probably play that immediately so that nobody else plays a higher card. But if you have one of those moments where the lowest card in someone's hand is a 48, expect a grueling contest of wills as people try to figure out if they have the lowest card since nobody jumped in first. It reminds me of the logic puzzle of men wearing black and white hats, and the person in front can figure out what his hat color is if the men behind him don't immediately say anything.

Each subsequent level gives you more cards, which is perhaps a bit easier than level 1 because you're likely to see a better distribution of cards, but you still have to contend with the fact that four players at level 5 are trying to lay down 20 cards in numerical order.

There's another element that I haven't seen much of, but I believe that when you gain a "shuriken" after a level, you may spend that shuriken later to have everyone discard their lowest card. So if you reach that 48 scenario, then you may be able to ease things a bit.

It's a goofy game, and it's not exceptionally deep, but it can make you feel like it is.

Other Games / Kuildeous' wacky Geekway adventures
« on: May 24, 2018, 09:56:00 am »
I spent the weekend at Geekway to the West and did some boardgaming. Their play-to-win library was pretty impressive, but I sadly did not win anything to take home. I did get to learn quite a bit from the 100+ games they were giving away.

I didn't much care for this, but I don't know if it's the real-time, dice-rolling mechanic or the teacher not really teaching us everything (such as the scoring rules). Each player has a stack of flowers with three die numbers. Everyone rolls dice and places them on the flowers to try to capture them. You can place on your flower or a neighbor's. Some flowers are simple where you need to roll a 2, 3, and 5, while some flowers may require a pair that be rolled together or even a dreaded triplet.

You have five dice, but if you lock some on flowers, you'll roll fewer. Each die goes from 1 to 5. About half the dice have smiling bees instead of sixes that count as wild cards. The other half have stingers. If you roll two stingers at once, you get to steal someone's flower, regardless of how many bees there are.

Each flower is a hex with a colorful flower on the back side. As you collect hexes, you place them adjacent to other hexes. You want to group colors together. You also gain +1 point each time you have a die on a flower that is claimed by someone else (majority wins). It's a cute game, and it may go over well with children. Or it might not, as I predict many fist fights as kids argue over who placed first.
Century: Spice Road
I already knew this one, but it's always fun to play again. You gather four resource types, and you use cards to transform or gain more resources. Most of the time, you'll be transforming. Some have called it a deck-builder, though I don't think it's accurate. You can add cards to your hand, but once you play cards, they sit in the discard pile until you use up your action to put all cards in your hand. There's no shuffling.

Some cards will straight-up upgrade cube types. Some will trade in lower cubes into higher cubes or vice versa. One may think that you always want to trade up, but you're trying to match the cost of victory point cards. Some of them use lower cubes. All trades are beneficial in the end. Even a downgrade gets you more cubes even if you are trading in a higher cube.

It's a fun resource-tracking game. You can't have more than 10 cubes at the end of a turn. 
Coldwater Crown
I would not have been interested in this based on the theme. You are fishermen. And you want to get victory points by collecting one each of the three small fish, having eight different fish, and meeting the current weight goal. The victory point system reminds me of Thurns and Taxis. Honestly, I feel the theme is weak as hell. You could paint just about any theme on this game.

But the mechanics are solid. You have seven possible actions. In a four-player game, three actions already have tokens on them. You do two actions: You place a token on any open space to activate that action and then you remove a different token to activate that action. It's neat in that each token has a 1 or a 2. If you place or remove a token with a 1, then you do a minor action. If you place or remove a 2, then you do a major action. Every time you pull a token, you flip it, so there is always a mess of 1s and 2s out there.

It's a fun game, though how you catch fish is kind of weird. You have crystals of different colors in four different zones in your tackle box. You do actions to remove specific colors. When you remove the last color from a zone, you catch one of four fish from the location corresponding to the crystal's color. Which fish you catch depends on which quadrant you clear out. There are tiles to help you choose different fish.

I'd have never chosen fishing as the theme.

Drop It
This was a gem. Each player has a handful of wooden shapes (rhombus, square, circle, right triangle) to drop into a flat, vertical display. You get points if your piece is not touching a piece of the same shape or color. On top of that, the floor and walls do not allow for certain shapes or colors to touch them. The higher you go, the more points you get. There are circles throughout the display that gets you more points. It's a tense game at times, especially when you're not sure where your circle is going to roll. Think Blockus meets Connect Four, but even that comparison fails utterly.

Ex Libris
This was far crunchier than I expected. You have 152 cards that can be arranged alphabetically and numerically like in a library. You will only place 12 to 16+ of them, but you can only place them adjacent to each other in a plateau of no higher than three rows. If you try to place one out of order, you must flip it over, and it doesn't count for scoring (except for bookshelf stability).

You can improve your chances by activating cards with your workers. It's very much like Lords of Waterdeep in that regard. Some cards let you move your bookshelf around. Quite a few offer books for sale or trade. Lots of ways to score. You get point if you have the most of one type of book (out of six types). You lose points for each book of the banned type. You get points for each of your secret goal type. You also get points based on the smallest number of one of the five types not banned. And you get points for having a good solid rectangle within your bookshelves.

It's pretty heavy, but I enjoyed it. You can read the titles of the 500+ books for added enjoyment.

Fog of Love
This is less of a game and more of a storytelling experience. You have to be in the mood for storytelling and light roleplaying. If you go in this looking for a game, you may be disappointed.

That being said, there are gaming elements. You play one of two people in a relationship (no polygamy love here). At first I thought it was biased toward heterosexual couples when I saw the pink and blue playing pieces, but then I realized that each color lets you play as male or female. Turns out I was guilty of being sexist. Well played, Fog of Love.

The game consists of playing cards that represent scenarios as innocent as how the other person answers flirty questions to how the other person responds to accusations of infidelity. The decisions you make will add positive or negative aspects to your character, such as kindness, honesty, and extroversion. You play to your destiny with the intent of meeting certain goals on your characteristics. There is even a relationship goal.

We did not finish the tutorial, but I will say that this game has the best tutorial I've seen. You can literally put the cards out there and immediately play and learn. The decks are prestacked with explanation cards.

Near and Far
I think the first mistake I made with this game was recognizing that it's a sequel to Above and Below and then assuming that it would play the same way. It is an entirely different game. The similarities between the two games are the use of a storybook and the artwork. From what I can tell, your turns alternate between putzing in town to gather some resources and recruit adventurers and outside exploring the map and building camps. The tricky part is that we had no idea when it was a good time to stop shopping and go exploring.

Wandering outside can be more taxing than you expect. When you leave town, you set your heart value equal to what your adventurers and gear give you. I had 10, and it caps at 13. To build a camp coats 3 hearts. If you wish to skip over a space without a camp, that costs 1 space apiece. We quickly found out that building a network of connected camps was required for exploring farther away from town. Otherwise, you find yourself limping at one space a turn (you can normally move 2 with pack birds adding 1 apiece).

Some map spaces have quest items associated with a letter. When you pursue the quest, another player reads from the story book. Your actions can determine what rewards you get. I question the replayability of this game since on the first map, there were set quest points. It wouldn't take long for players to memorize those outcomes. But there are multiple maps, and I suppose the idea here is that the same batch of players would go through all of the maps. There's also an arcade mode with a deck of cards that we didn't touch. I presume that is used to randomize the encounters.

I want to play this again now that I am no longer overwhelmed by the slew of rules. I imagine later maps would be less forgiving than the first one. There is a campaign mode where presumably you can build up a character between maps. I feel like this is the mode I would want to play. It may be the closest to a legacy game without stickers and ripping up cards.

The Networks
The theme is simply that you are running rival television networks, and you are buying shows to fill the 8 PM, 9PM, and 10 PM time slots. The mechanics are actually quite crunchy. Each show that you buy gains you a certain number of viewers depending on which season it is. Typically, the first two seasons are the meatiest and then taper off in the fourth season. So you need to buy popular shows and then replace them before they get too stale.

On top of that, you hire stars, who can boost ratings, and ads, which generate income to offset the expensive shows and let you invest more in your network. Each show tells you if it can have an ad and/or a star and whether or not such a thing is required. Some stars and ads do better under certain circumstances. For example, an ad may bring in more money when it's placed in the 8 PM slot, and an action star brings in more viewers when attached to an action show. There's a lot going on for a game with goofy artwork and mockery of popular TV shows.

The Oracle of Delphi
We didn't have time for a full game of this, but I have a rough idea of how it plays. You command a ship through twisting waterways while appeasing the gods and founding your cities. The map consists of sea and land hexes, nearly every single one is one of six colors (so not colorblind-friendly). There are six gods to appease, and each one has a color. There are six statues, six cities, and multiple resource cubes and monsters of six colors. You'll notice that six features a lot.

You roll three dice of six colors each. Which colors you roll determines your possible actions. A green die means you can move up to your speed to a green sea hex. Or you can pick up a green cube to deliver. Or drop that cube off at the green city. Or pick up the green statue. Or drop off that statue at a green holy site. Or you can explore the green mist-shrouded land. Or you can gain favor with the green god. Or fight a green monster. Don't want green? Spend a blessing token to bump it up on the color wheel to the next color.

You have 12 goals to accomplish. In the game we only partially played, I had to found three cities in specific spots, defeat two monsters of a particular color plus one of any color, deliver two statues of a particular color plus one of any color, and deliver two resources of a particular color plus one of any color. Each task gives you some sort of reward. Each round, a titan smashes through the land dealing damage on a die roll between 1 and 6. If you acquire enough shields, you can resist the damage. I'm not certain enough on how damage works to explain it here.

The god abilities are neat. You get a god's favor up to a point where you can heal all damage or move your ship anywhere or automatically slay a monster. The downside I see to this is that I feel like you need to start off kissing gods' asses. You start off at 0 influence. But after each player's turn, he rolls the dice, and all other players may increase a single god's favor matching one of the dice. This only increases for gods whose favor track is >0. If you ignore this, then you gain nothing from a bunch of free rolls. I figured this out quickly, but I could see other players realizing this too late.

I'll give this a try again later, but it's hard to judge this on the little I played.

Pulsar 2849
This was the crunchiest of the games I played this weekend. So much going on. You have a space map with a bunch of pulsars and planets to explore. You also build devices on the pulsars to generate victory points. You can patent technologies that give you advantages in the game. You can research networks that give you other benefits when completed. Everything except movement is set with a particular die number. Want to patent that particular tech? Roll and use a 3. Want to buy a die bump for the future? Roll and use a 1. Want to power the pulsar with the most advanced equipment? Roll and use a 6.

The dice mechanic is interesting. You roll 2n+1 dice and place them on a spectrum. Then you find the median value (you know a game's going to be crunchy when it tells you to find the median). The median value is neutral while all dice to the left can increase your initiative or engineering tracks (while performing less impressive actions) and all dice to the right can decrease your initiative or engineering tracks (while typically fueling more advanced actions). You can gain die bumps to cheat the system. There's also a bonus die that you can trigger with certain abilities, though you only get to use the bonus die once. The nice thing about this system is that turn order snakes back and forth. First player gets first pick of the first die, but the last player gets first pick of the second die, ensuring that the first player gets to pick the second die last.

There are many ways to score points, and you can go nuts trying to get them all. I imagine the best strategy would be to diversify but really play on your strengths. Patents are limited and locked according to game turn, so if you're not picking first on a turn when a valuable tech is unlocked, you may miss out. The game was overwhelming at first, but the rules become quite intuitive as you play on. Definitely a game where you don't feel you'll master it on the first go.

One of the great things about Kingdomino is its simplicity. That simplicity is removed from Queendomino. In Kingdomino, each player chooses a 2x1 tile to add to their kingdom that can be no larger than 5x5. Like dominos, you will try to match the ends to the corresponding terrain. Final scoring is simply counting the number of contiguous terrain spaces and multiplying each terrain count by the number of crowns on those tiles.

Queendomino adds a building site terrain. It also adds gold. You use gold to buy a building from the market. You can use knights to tax your kingdom to generate more coins. You can bribe the dragon to burn a building from the market. You can acquire more knights. You can gain towers which attracts the queen to get a discount on buildings and for additional scoring at the end.

The beauty of Kingdomino is that it is accessible to nongamers, and it can be played by gamers who don't feel like anything crunchy. Queendomino has neither of these going for it. And honestly if I want to go crunchy, I'd go with the Networks or Ex Libris.

Did this game live up to the hype? Yeah, I think it did. Similar to Roll Player, you roll a bunch of dice and place them on your 4x5 board. You cannot place a die adjacent to another one if they have the same color or the same value. This gets really tricky in the end game. Players pick in snake style. The first player gets first pick, but then he gets the last pick as well. You are given four boards to choose from, and you pick one to place your dice on. Some spaces are already predetermined to be a specific color or number. Be careful when placing adjacent to these spaces since you could accidentally lock yourself out.

Fortunately, there are three common tools you can use to move dice around. The first time a tool is used by anybody, it costs 1 favor. Then it costs 2 favors. The number of favors you start with depends on how complex the board is you kept. Boards with a lot of neutral spaces have fewer favors than boards with more predetermined spaces that you need to fill (and that other players may screw you out of). It's a simple game with some brain-teasing action. Hard not to like this one. Unfortunately, hostile toward colorblind people. This game's hype did not cause me any disappointment.

This game can be overwhelming for new players, but once you understand the symbols and numbers, it's quite simple. You roll five dice and put them in a line with plenty of space in between (the player board provides this space and tells you where to place each color die). Then on your turn, you choose from one of four robots to place between two dice. Do this in order until everyone has four robots.

A robot does two things: It increases or decreases one or both of the adjacent dice, and it gives you points if those dice fit within its criteria. For example, military bots care about the sum or difference of the dice. A military bot might give you points if both dice add up to 9 or more or if the absolute difference of the two dice is exactly 2. On the other hand, a transport bot might give you points if the left die is larger than the right die. A service bot doesn't have a condition. It simply tells you that it's worth 7 minus the higher die. If you can position it in between two 1s, then you get maximum points.

The tricky part is that each card modifies one or both dice. When the card gives you points for both cards being even, then putting them between the 2 and 6 sounds reasonable until you realize that placing the card bumps that 6 to a 1. You'll need to account for the bump. If you don't want to bump, you have five assistants you can use to cover up the adjustment and stop it from happening. You play three rounds and accumulate victory points after each round when the bots are cleared and new ones come out.

On top of that, you're also vying for control of the different types of bots (military, industry, information, transport, and service). Above the four cards are five multipliers for the different types. When you take a card, you place an agent above the card in between two of the multipliers. You may send assistants to increase your presence there. At the end of each round, you determine which players wins the multiplier. These make bots of a certain type worth points to you at the end. They help, but they're not the key to victory. I thought I was hot shit with all four of the industry multipliers and my many industry bots. I came in last place. Other players were cashing in on instant points and diversifying their multipliers and robots. Each player starts with one multiplier of a random type.

This is a neat game, and I like the choices it forces on you as you take the cards. Some of my thrills was playing a card to fail in the hopes that I get one that helps. For example, I had a bot that gave points if the sum of the dice was odd. By placing it between these two particular dice, I changed the dice so the sum was even. I could've played an assistant to stop one of the changes, but I left it. I banked on gaining another card that would change that die so the sum was odd. And it paid off.

It's a short game once you get the hang of it, but it can suffer from analysis paralysis.

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—unlike 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—especially 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—possibly the owner of the pub—to 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—especially 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.

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