Recycling Games

We have a lot of games and things collected over many years. Over time games and things get left behind. Forgotten on a shelf or in a box until one day you stumble upon them. Sometimes the forgotten get a new life, but more often than not the game is put back on the shelf or back in the box to be forgotten until you have to move at which point…the whole process starts over.

I do not like to keep things I am not using. A lifetime of moving drilled into me do not carry around more than you need or want to move, mostly the second one. Recently I have been looking at reducing our extra games and stuff. If we aren’t playing it or using it we should find something to do with them.

Our form of recycling. Thankfully there are a few places to unload games and stuff. My favorite part of the process is seeing what happens to stuff that nobody wants. Hold on a sec. Way back in the day, when I lived in apartments overrun with kids who had less than nothing to do to keep them from hanging outside my door and lighten my load I gave them games and such that I no longer had a need for. Best time was two kids playing Magic the Gathering with about 10 cards between them. The look when I gave them a box of commons, uncommons, and lands. They didn’t hang outside my door again.

So with that in mind, I enjoy seeing how much stuff is worth. I don’t care. If I cared I would take care of the price/sale myself. I’m just looking to lighten my load. Whatever I get is more than enough. At the end of our last trip we had a box of cards that they didn’t want and we didn’t want to cart home. We asked if they just take them. They, being the store people, said we have a box of stuff we give to new players. Perfect. That’s what I used to do.

Meanwhile at home, the Robotech RPG Tactics game has found a second and third life. The books went into starting a series of fires and as packing material. The food was good, so turning bad into good. The miniatures have languished in a box for a while now. The kids pulled out a few to practice painting on, a good use for them. They did not want to learn how to build using them, a good decision on their part.  Back in the box they went until someone else wanted to learn how to paint.

Instead of them purchasing expensive miniatures and practice on them why not use these? No reason why not. With one stroke I lighten my load by giving the miniatures away and they have something to practice on.

Slowly, but surely, we are lightening our load of games and stuff not used by us and turning them into something of value to us or giving them away to people who can put them to us.

Home To Chaos

We made a conscious decision to stay at home or at least as close to home as we can stay today and probably tomorrow as well. Typically, when Barb has a day or two off we go out so she can see the world beyond her counter. However, we have over the last few weeks seen a lot of the world beyond her counter and the world at home has suffered. Thus, we aim to correct, meaning clean and organize, the home so that the next time we go out to see the world beyond her counter we do not have to come home to chaos.

Two comic cons has seen an influx of posters. Sad thing was we went to both saying, “Not a lot of posters.” Not because we are lacking wall space, but because posters mean having to purchase poster frames and that means measuring posters and trust me when I say no poster ever fits the available frames. I bet if we could take all of the extra spaces around the posters on our walls we could put many of the new posters into frames.  Alas, we cannot, thus measure, go to the store, and hope to find enough frames and enough frames that are close enough.

The cons also saw a much desired and needed increase in reading material. Before we left, I cleaned and organized all of the bookshelves. I know I should have waited until we got back. In my defense, we rarely found books, let alone a lot of books, at previous cons. Which is probably why we found tons. Between the comic books, graphic novels, novels, and oversized books I am or was in the process of attempting to keep on row of books from falling off a shelf with one hand while trying to simultaneously create a space and insert new books into place. Yes, my books are organized.

Games. Why did we purchase games at comic cons when we have games and brought games with us to con? Part of me thinks that we like to carry large, awkward, and heavier than when we arrived bags. The other part of me says, some games were unique, some games were games we were on the fences about and with the sale price were worth trying, and others, the smallest amount, were just so cool looking that we had to get them.

Around here games are kind of organized. There is the cabinet, bookcase, and stacked cubes of must play and are playing games. There is the bookshelves and closest of we played it and may play it again. Lastly there is the never again box and shelf, currently occupied by Robotech RPG Tactics and Oregon Trail. I know Oregon Trail will come out of the box, because we are mad it at for the last game, and we tend to forgive our games. The other one…there forever.

And keep in mind the above is just the stuff from cons that we are cleaning up. There is still laundry, mowing, writing, painting, dishes, and cooking to go.

Games We Play: Con Games

Hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day and remembering why there is a Memorial Day and no it is not a national day to get drunk, eat hot dogs, and party. We are doing our part here at home.

When we went to Motor City Comic Con we took a few games with us, but due to the hectic pace we kept we were unable to play more than a game or two. This time because C4 has shorter hours we packed several games including a new one, We Didn’t Play Test. Before that some suggestions from us about games and travel.

When packing games here are some things we learned:

  1. Smaller games are better, think pack of cards big
  2. Make sure the games do not have a lot of small parts
  3. While you hope this won’t happen, if something should get lost or damage make sure you are okay with that
  4. Quick games are better than long games, people are tired and distracted
  5. Packing more games is not better than packing a few good games
  6. Have games that interest as many people as possible
  7. When playing in public get used to all sorts of interest from passerby’s

For C4 I packed, Get Bit, Star Realms with Colony Wars, Roll For It, and We Didn’t Playtest This. All of them are self-contained, small games, that fit in one bag. Further, if something happened to them I could get another copy at worse.

Here is what happened:

Roll For It is too much for very tired people. I know, a game where you roll dice and match pictures can become frustrating when the dice won’t roll the pictures. Tired people get frustrated quicker, see where this is going?

Get Bit is a great little game, except when people play in a easy to recognize pattern. Then Get Bit becomes repetitive and boring.

Star Realms was the favorite of the trip. We taught two people how to play and they loved the game. I expected to play a game or two, at most. We played every day, a couple of games each day. We even played a quick game before C4 opened on Sunday. Star Realms is an extremely well designed game making games close and keeping everyone engaged. Adding Colony Wars to allow 4 players made games more interesting.

We Didn’t Playtest This was…the adults expected a lot more. The kids had no clue what to expect. The gamer in me hoped for more and got what he expected. We Didn’t Playtest This is played as such, deal two cards to each player. On your turn draw a card from the draw pile. Pick a card and place the card in front of you. Follow the instructions on the card in front of you. That’s it.

Here’s the rub, the goal is to win. Many of the cards are instant win, everyone hold up 1 to 5 fingers, those with an odd number lose. Now, if we were drinking, this probably would’ve been fun. As it was there were no drinks and there were children. Children and adults don’t like instant lose over and over and over again. So here is my recommendation, IF you are looking for an extremely quick game (longest game was 4 minutes) to carry around, you are not looking for things to make sense, fun cards to read (the cards are very fun to read), then pick up We Didn’t Playtest This. Otherwise stick with Cards Against Humanity.

Games We Play: Warhammer 40k

It has been two years and three weeks in the making to play our “first” game of Warhammer 40k. Approximately two years ago we bought our boy a Warhammer 40k boxed set because he likes the Tyranid (think bugs) Army and I after many years of working at a hobby shop as a “games guy” love to assemble, paint, and play Warhammer 40k, but hate the Tyranids.

warhammer-7Unfortunately two years ago he was not ready. Now he is. He has dilengently read the rules, he has painted (as 12 years do) many of his figures, and he has begun assembling them. Plus, because we did not have terrain, he built some (as you will see), out of Legos.

I will not, unlike in other game reports, explain the rules of Warhammer 40k. The rules are complex (at times needlessly so) and explaining them would be several blog posts. Instead, allow me to say that for our boy this is the most complicated game he has ever tried to learn. Warhammer 40k is a game that he will play for a long time and get a lot of enjoyment out of. There are and will be games he likes better, but this will stick with him for a long time to come.

warhammer-2Our “first” game (we played two years ago, but did not go well) was a mess. What is a mess? Constantly looking up rules, constantly referring to stats, and generally getting many of the wrinkles out when learning a complicated game. This was on both sides of the table.

With more preparation, such as having all of our units on easy to reach and read stat cards, would have helped. However, much was learn as you go situations such as what can a tyranid army do against a dreadnought? Turns out, not much for now. Or what exactly happens during an assault phase and so on. These wrinkles are not new to me, but to him major hurdles he had to learn to work through, such as finding a rule to prove your point. If he couldn’t find the rule, then the rule didn’t exist. I am very proud of him, this could have been a game that broke him. Instead he is working on his stat cards as I type this.

warhammer-5As for our game, I won, but not because of anything more than I had a dreadnought and he did not have any anti-armor weapons. He did not because I did not pay attention to the dreadnought stats which are like a tanks. If I had I would have counseled him to build units with anti-tank. As I did not pay attention, he didn’t. On the other side, I didn’t pay attention to how melee combat focused his army was so I only built a five man squad of assault marines.

warhammer-1The game went like this; we moved a lot. 🙂 Then I charged his genestealers after shooting them up. I won the combat or so I thought, then two (yes, two) genestealers killed most of my five man squad. Then my librarian (commander) died. Then his commander died. Then the dreadnought killed everything else while remaining immune to his actions. In another proud gamer dad moment, once I realized the situation I asked if he wanted to stop playing because it was not fair, he said nope he wanted to see what he could do and learn from that.

Did we have fun, yes. Will we keep playing, yes and games will get easier.

Games We Play: Tanks, Part 2

Previously, I wrote about our experiences with Tanks by Gale Force 9.

A quick recap, Tanks is a World War 2 Armor (read TANKS) skirmish game. The game is easy to learn, fast to play, and filled with options. The models are easy to assemble (there are instructions in the rule book, on Gale Force 9’s site, and really detailed instructions on Flames of War (they use the same models)), detailed, and fun to play with.

When I left off, I had ordered a Tiger tank for our girl, because you know, Tiger in the name. And then the Tiger arrived. Putting it mildly, the Tiger tank is a scary beast, just like in life.

tiger-tank-2This is her Tiger. She wanted it painted gold. When I wouldn’t do that she tried to get her mom and a friend to convince me to paint it pink camouflage. I declined and went menacing dark grey.

Shortly after her Tiger was dry we set up a 100 point game. On her side, a Panther, a JagdPanther, and her Tiger. On my side, four, count them four Sherman 76mm tanks. Even though the point values of our squads were even, I did not feel confident; her Tiger is “immune” to side shots and has a huge cannon.

tanks-in-actionTable arranged. Terrain in place. Tanks to their starting position and we were off. Not wasting anytime our girl rushed the center of the table establishing a commanding position. Except, her JagdPanther is an assault gun meaning it can only target tanks directly in front of it. None of my tanks were in front, but it was in front of three of mine.

BOOM! End of the first turn and one of her tanks is down. However, two of mine take a lot of damage.

Not willing to sit in the center of the table, she moved to one side isolating one of my Sherman tanks. The other three spent a turn maneuvering around a building and dead JagdPanther. Unlucky rolls on her part and lucky rolls on mine, my isolated tank survived-bruised, but alive.

Turn three, the Panther goes up in flames under the fire of three tanks, but before going out the Tiger and Panther tank out two of my tanks.

Last turn, she opts to keep the Tiger in place relying on armor and being able to reroll attack dice. I opt to remain in place because there is no place to go that does anything for me. Both of my tanks shoot; two very luck shots-four critical hits between them and the Tiger goes boom. Not before taking out an undamaged Sherman.

No gloat. A realization that if I had not gotten lucky, if odds had evened out, despite better maneuvering than her I would have lost due to the rather large and painful tank that a Tiger is. She spent the next ten minutes explaining to her brother how best to use the Tiger (he was up next) and vowing revenge. I fear her Tiger. I fear her Tiger so much I bought myself a Pershing, because you know Pershing…wait…because you know big cannon. 🙂

 

Games We Play: Tanks by Gale Force 9

Tanks by Gale Force 9 is an excellent skirmish World War 2 miniatures game.

The starter set Panther vs Sherman priced from 21 to 25 dollars is an excellent deal. Everything necessary is included in the box: 1 panther and 2 sherman tank models (assembly required); rulebook, cards, dice, and cardboard terrain.

The models are the same models used in Flames of War, meaning you can use the illustrated instructions at the back of the rulebook or you can go online for some very detailed and interesting variation assembly instructions. The Panther can be constructed as a Panther tank (recommended) or a JadgPanther. The Shermans have one body style and two turret variations (75 and 76 mm). This means in one box you get 1 German tank and 2 types of American Tank-place desired turret on body). Details are nice and assembly is a breeze especially for experienced builders.

If you have played any of the Attack Wing games then you have played Tanks. Using a modified Attack Wing system of movement games are extremely quick and to the point. Instead of movement dies and movement templates, each player has a movement arrow. Place the arrow against the tank in the desired direction you want the tank to move and move the tank. Tanks can move twice in a turn.

Shooting is rolling attack dice; 4, 5, and 6 are hits with 6’s becoming critical hits. The defending player rolls defense dice; 4, 5, and 6 cancel hits with 6’s canceling critical hits. A hit does one point of damage. A critical flips a damage card that has an effect, such as crew bailing and a damage amount from 0 to 3.

A turn is based on the initiative of the tanks and their commanders. Starting with movement, lowest initiative to highest. Then shooting, highest initiative to lowest. Ending with command phase where repairs are attempted and counters are cleaned up for the next turn.

When a take runs out of damage points, the tank is destroyed.

See, really quick and to the point.

We played best out of three games in under an hour. My girl (8-years old) loves tanks. She wanted a Tiger tank because…you know Tiger, but that was not in the box. So she choose the Shermans 76 mm. I got the Panther. I expected victory.

Game 1: Lucky hit causes my crew to bail out of the tank causing me a turn. Using that turn she blew up my tank with her tanks.

Game 2: Clever maneuvering on my part sends her tanks to the scrap yard. This game we use crew cards-add-ons to tanks increasing stats or making other actions easier, such as my commander who gave me a re-roll to crew bailing out. All crew and equipment cards require careful reading, as my commander bumped my attack stat to the point where other equipment I chose was unnecessary.

Game 3: Pissed, my girl demonstrates she is listening to my tactical lessons when she moves her tanks to cover each other. A slip up in movement allows me to get between her tanks and blow up one of them. A lucky shot to the ammunition on my tank gave her the win.

Today…her Tiger arrived in the mail…I sense a lot of losing in my immediate future. 🙂

Games We Played: Simon’s Cat & Star Wars Destiny

Welcome back games, oh how we have missed you.

Do not ask me why games disappeared for so long, but they did and try as we might it took until this weekend to play some games. This weekend saw two new games, Simon’s Cat and Star Wars Destiny along with us trying to finally wrap up Wrath of the Righteous.

Wrath was disastrous. I do not like the army cards in Wrath. An army card affects all players; each player must choose a check for their character from a list and unless something is listed twice, each check can only be chosen once. Further, the list of checks rarely seems to be in the advantage of the skills of the players. Suffice to say, the army cards hit us hard and kept hitting us hard all the way to the end where we had given up 10 turns earlier. Nothing worse, gaming wise, than when the table of players quits before the game ends. 😦

Onto the new games…

Simon’s Cat

simons-catDo you like cats? Do you like cutesy art of cats, dogs, and other thing? Do you like variations on Uno? If you answered yes to all three then you will love Simon’s Cat. Upfront, I know nothing about Simon Tofield and his Simon’s Cat YouTube series. I know games. I also know that our daughter loves games with cats and that is how we ended up with Simon’s Cat.

Match the number or color of the top card of a stack. That is all there is to Simon’s Cat by Steve Jackson Games. If you cannot make a match you get the stack, called a mess in front of you. The player with the most messes at the end of the game gets a Simon card. The player with the most Simon Cards after a few rounds is the loser. Our children 8 and 11 were bored and done with Simon’s Cat after 1 round. The match mechanic and nothing else to spice up play wore out its welcome real quick.

Star Wars Destiny

star-wars-destinyStar Wars, oversized illustrated dice, and cards with Star Wars imagery what more could a person ask for? A game that plays as well as it looks. And Star Wars Destiny by Fantasy Flight games is a good game. Unfortunately and this is no fault of Fantasy Flight Games, the demand is high enough that around here I could only find one of each starter deck. Online prices are appalling and look to stay that way long enough to be problematic. That aside…

Using the two starters (individually around 15 each), players take turns rolling dice, playing cards, and resolving the effects until one player is out of characters or out of cards.

Play starts with two characters and their associated dice, one location (one of which will be discarded before play), a deck of 30 cards (knock against the starters as they only come with 20 cards), and a pile of counters (shields, damage, and resources). Character cards come with the amount of damage they can suffer before being knocked out, an illustration of the sides of the dice rolled, and an ability. Dice are oversized with illustrations matching those on the cards. Each side is a symbol and a number or blank. Symbols and numbers rolled determine potential actions or damage done/prevented.

A round begins with straightening cards, putting dice on the cards, gathering two resource tokens, and drawing up to 5 cards. Then each player takes an action, such as rolling the dice on a character putting those dice into the pool of available dice, playing a card, or using the results on the dice for other actions such as dealing damage. Players take actions until both players pass consecutively, then a new round occurs.

If we can find more Star Wars Destiny there will be more written about it, as we really enjoyed our games. Even though the starter decks are shy 10 cards of a full deck, there are options for play style and I can see how with some additional cards and dice it could be a very fun game to play regularly.