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June 3, 2014

Tabletop Tuesday: Fluxx: The Board Game

Filed under: Tabletop Tuesday — Tags: , , , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

The Fluxx card game has existed for a while, and for what it is, I’m a fan. What the card game is, is a light, very random game that you can play almost anywhere in a shortish amount of time (10-30 minutes). The game has a bunch of different themed versions (Pirate, Zombie, Monty Python) that add a small amount of dressing to what the original is.

I can neither confirm nor deny that a picture of college-aged me was used as inspiration for a certain spot on this board.

I can neither confirm nor deny that a picture of college-aged me was used as inspiration for a certain spot on this board.

At their core, the Fluxx games are about having the “rules” change as the game is played. For example: the number of cards drawn at the start of the turn or the number of cards you can keep in your hand at the end of a turn. The difference between the board game and card game, is that in the card game, part of the randomness is your card draws of “Keepers” or the cards to be combined for a win, but in board game you move your pieces on to symbols that represent these keepers. This, of course makes it much easier to accomplish the goal. To make up for this, in the board game you have to do this 3 different times. But in the end, it’s still doing something pretty simple 3 times with the slight inconvenience of trying to do it before the other players or with them futilely trying to get in the way.

To win, just be the first player, and with your pre-game rule adjustment increase the movement by 1. Then just waltz through a few turns collecting the wins and game over. This removes all fun from the game. There seems to be no strategy that can be attempted to combat this tactic more than a slight delay. And the random cards and rule changes don’t affect the outcome so are therefore adding nothing to the game.

Final Rating:  1 “You Sunk My Battleship” out of a broken pop-o-matic Trouble bubble.

May 27, 2014

Tabletop Tuesday: Mensa Select

Filed under: Tabletop Tuesday — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

Mensa Select SealThe nerds over at American Mensa have come out with their 2014 list of new tabletop games that they find fun, challenging, and a good value. It’s their Mensa Select list of games.

  • Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension (Cryptozoic Entertainment, cryptozoic.com)Your starship has been sucked through a wormhole, you’re being sucked toward a black hole, and you’re out of fuel. With some quick mining of nearby astroids you’re able to get some kind of fuel, but it doesn’t work the way you’d expect it to… Gravwell is a race game, so it’s all about getting to the finish line first. The unique part is how ships move. Your movement is based on proximity to other ships on the board where you either want to move toward or away from the closest ship, but since moves are reveled simultaneously, and cards have a set priority, ships may not be where you expect them to be when you start moving.
  • Qwixx (Gamewright, gamewright.com) – Do you like Yatzee? If so, then this may be another dice game for you. It’s stupidly simple, roll some dice and cross some numbers off on your score pad. The trick is picking which numbers to cross off and how your dice luck will favor you in crossing more off. 
  • John Wayne

    Since it’s a wooden tile, you can assume this is your duke if you want.

    Pyramix (Gamewright, gamewright.com) – There’s a pyramid of cubes (like dice, but with Egyptian symbols on the sides) and the goal is to get points by collecting these cubes from the pyramid. The cool mechanic is the way cubes slide as ones below it are pulled out. The strategic element is for the big score, you want to have the most of a certain color and that’s worth what’s left of that color on the base. So focus too much on the color, and there won’t be much left, or focus too little and someone else will take those points.
  • The Duke (Catalyst Game Labs, catalystgamelabs.com) – Think of chess, but each piece is a tile. Then realize you only start with the king (The Duke) and 2 pawns (Footmen). Each turn you can move (or activate with some special pieces) these tiles or you can pull a new random tile from your reserves and add it to your team next to The Duke. To add to the interesting strategy, each tile is labeled with how it moves, and that’s because after you move, the tile is flipped and it shows some slightly different movement. It’s only a 2-player game (like chess) but seems to be a good abstract strategy game for when that’s what you’re looking for. Also, if you want to try it out, Catalyst Game Labs has a free print and play version of the game on their website.
  • Utopia Dystopia

    Who doesn’t like a good dystopia (if you’re not tired of them yet)?

    Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (Stonemaier Games, stonemaiergames.com) – “You find yourself in a dystopian cityscape with a few workers at your disposal to make your mark on the world. Like most people in dystopian fiction, your workers are oblivious to their situation. This world is all they’ve ever known. You may use them at your whim.” This is a pretty heavy worker-placement game. The like most games of this type is to use your workers to get what you need done to take over. Some of the interesting things that Euphoria does, is that workers are dice and every time you pull them off of the board, you roll them. Add up the values of the dice, and if it’s too high (their intelligence), one of them leaves (she figured you out and doesn’t want part of your schemes). Also each player gets specific people cards who can slightly help them with certain factions that control parts of the board.

Qwixx seems pretty stupid for this list, I guess I need to give it a go, and see why it’s on the list.

July 10, 2007

“Ah, you hate to see another tired man lay down his hand like he was giving up the holy game of poker.”

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , — Perich @ 10:26 am

The Boston Red Sox are on a historic tear, 12 10 games ahead of the Yankees.  The fans have been behind the team with record support.  The bullpen’s contributing, the new call-up players are fan favorites.  And we’re 12 10 games ahead of the Yankees.  How sweet it is, right?

As of July 10th, 2007, the Boston Red Sox are 53-34, having gone 5-5 on their last ten.

Oh NoesAs of last year’s All-Star Break (July 11th, 2006), the Boston Red Sox were 51-32, having gone 6-4 on their last ten.  They ended the season 11 games behind the Yankees, in a slump that most fans were ashamed to be seen watching.

The moral, as always: it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

When I did debate in high school, we’d play Hearts in the long idle hours between rounds.  Our debate coach Mr. Durkin taught us the game and he was never too big of a man not to whup our asses at the game soundly.  The trick to pro-level Hearts play is to count the cards (not hard with just one deck) and know what tricks are still out there.  He made it look easy.

Bring out the bitch!In games where it wasn’t even close, Mr. Durkin would lay down his last five or six cards and just play them blind.  Flipping them over lazily one at a time, sending freshmen back to his room to grab beer out of the sink (“and I counted how many are in there”).  One or two of us would try the same stunt when we felt cocky, almost always blushing and fumbling the cards back up once we realized we’d counted wrong.

“You never play your cards blind,” Mr. Durkin reminded us, “unless you know how the game’s going to turn out.”

Let me remind Red Sox Nation, high on the thrill of an early lead, the same thing I remind them every time they end the summer down: they don’t play the World Series in August. Don’t start folding your hands behind your head just yet.  Don’t start buying that Jordan’s furniture.  Don’t throw your cards down and play them blind.

The season’s young.  Anything could happen.

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