9.5 San Juan

This game always seems to be billed as second-in-line, because it’s a two-player spin-off of Puerto Rico, a bigger game. But dig around for it, it’s worth it – a great game of skill building up your base city before time runs out. There are lots of ways to achieve that goal – Andrea used a new one on me today (monument-building) to sneak up and clobber me. I guess it’s not too new, Reiley has won before that way. Wait a minute, I think I better reassess… :> Anyway, we play a lot of two player games, and this is one we keep coming back to for its well-balanced strategy options and manageable scope. Here’s Andrea whooping it up on me today… I’m so glad for the little ways I can make her happy. UNTIL NEXT TIME! :>

Carcassonne Game Day

The night before last, the girls stayed with Grammy and Andrea and I found ourselves with a Saturday pretty much all to ourselves. We ate up the morning with a massive game of Carcassonne, including the River, Builders and Traders, The Dragon and the Princess, and Inns and Cathedrals expansions. Later that day, Jane and Larry invited us over to see our Scotland photos on their big HDTV, sweet. The kids all played upstairs while we got in another big game, this time with The Count expansion (which is great). It was fitting to play a game set in France, as they faced Italy in the World Cup Final today. Too bad Zidane tainted the whole experience with a tasteless headbutt to the chest of an Italian player. By the time they lost in a penalty shootout, I had lost the urge to cheer for them. Zidane just eclipsed Rooney for the most disappointing World Cup performance. But it was still a great ride, even if it was full of disappointments and surprises.

Carcassonne: The Princess and the Dragon

I guess if you’re on your third expansion for a game, you’re officially a fan. Carcassonne came with the River expansion, and we added Inns and Cathedrals a year or two ago. This time around, we’ve added The Princess and the Dragon to the mix. All the expansions layer on top of the base game, and now it’s extended to a Hera-and-Zeus level of near chaos, which makes for an awesome game. We played until 1am last night (and I still biked to work, woop!).

Wrenny Turns Six!

Wren turned 6 on Tuesday! We had a party for her on the previous weekend at her gymnastics gym. We were worried it wouldn’t happen – ice and snow were predicted – but the bad weather held off and all 12 friends showed. The kids started arriving in the front room, and before the party started they had turned that into an extension of the gym, rolling and tumbling and yelling. Everybody had a blast!

I think the best part was watching Wrenny thank each kid for attending, politely handing each a goodie bag. Mom had given her some preemptive manners lessons to head off Wrenny’s shyness, and it worked like a charm. Coupled with Wrenny’s new desire to carefully enunciate every word, you couldn’t ask for a cuter kid. :> Pictures forthcoming…

On Tuesday we all played her new cooperative game called Rainbowland. You can’t beat a great cooperative game for family fun, and this one qualifies! Cute as all get out. :>


We had a quiet Thanksgiving week here, just the “core” family. I had the first nice block of time off in a LONG time. It was nice to hang out with pretty much NOTHING on the schedule. We ate a ton of food, played some games (Heroes Incorporated, Mind Trap, Sims Unleashed), took the dogs for a walk, and caught up on some movies (Down By Law (9.5), Waiting for Guffman (8.0), Run Lola Run (9.0)). Ahhh…

9.5 Heroes Incorporated

Wow! We had 5 hours of fun on Father’s Day with my gift of Heroes Incorporated! The game is fantastic – it’s got a solid foundation – chase down crime in city streets and roll the dice to beat it – bent by lots of juicy exceptions. There are superhero special powers, various gadgets, and “bonus cards” that you’re not always sure are worth using. Should you go all out crime fighting or try to stop the competition by throwing a super villian in their path? Everything you do has a cost, and it’s not often an easy choice – the sign of a great game. And while that’s all going on, you get to watch your superhero achieve greatness, gaining fighting power and gathering powerful gadgets. Fun cubed!

Friends Making Games!

Sam Clifford’s got his Heroes Incorporated boardgame onto store shelves! You can order a copy online from GameFest – if you look quickly you can see it still on the top of the newly released games list!

And in similar but unrelated news, for Reiley’s eighth (!) birthday, the day before yesterday, my folks sent her the boardgame version of Boxum!, the game for which John Carpenter made the PC version! It’s so great to hear that Boxum! is going strong, too – I don’t think my parents had any idea it was the game John did! I hope you’re getting something out of it, John. :P

Reiley also picked up Bohnanza, a really nice looking Rio Grande game with a decent amount of complexity. Andrea and I can’t wait to steal it and play!

Board gaming is everywhere! Whooo!

8.5 Carcasonne

I got Carcasonne for Andrea for Christmas based on three factors: it was one of the “classics” that has several expansion packs available; everyone at Games Galore recommended it; and it claimed to be a ‘great game for two players’. It was a steal, too, even with the Castles and Inns expansion pack.

It’s been a lot of fun. It’s not too complicated, but there are lots of choices as you build out a map of interconnected cities, roads, and farms.

I’m going to score our games as I rate them on several categories, higher always being better:

Pure strategy (no luck involved): 7
Player paths intertwined: 10
Multiple strategies available: 9
Complexity: 7

Heroes Incorporated

Sammy, a good friend of mine from way, way, way back in the salad days of high school, made his fortune, and nearly lost his sanity, producing The Two Towers video game for Electronic Arts (yes, “that” TTT). Hurling himself from the jaws of the corporate grind, he “quit the biz” and decided to pursue a true passion of his, creating his own board game. He’s been working hard on it for a while, and it’s looking great.

He chatted me up the other day to bounce around some ideas for a tagline for the game, which has a theme of superheroes fighting crime whilst simultaneously soliciting the funds needed to keep at it as a full time profession. I immediately thought “let’s extend ‘crime doesn’t pay’ in some way”, but we just couldn’t shorten it up enough.

Sam: Like, “crime doesn’t pay, but Heroes Incorporated does!”, only, not stupid…

Then he hit the nail on the head… check out the Quest Machine website for the answer to the perfect tagline!