Clank! And 101st Anniversary

A Game That Does It Right

 

Clank! box cover
Clank! box cover

Clank! A Deck Building Adventure has been getting a lot of plays since I acquired it last December (2016). For a game that uses many common mechanics it just works well. It is also a game that works for me even though the theme is not a big draw.

  • It is a deck-building game, nothing revolutionary there. The cards are easy to understand. There are no complex icons to remember.
  • The theme is understandable. Go into the dungeon and steal things from the dragon, and get out alive!. No pressure.
  • There is drama. The drawing of damage cubes from the bag creates plenty of tension.
  • The players have choices. The players can play it safe and steady, or fast and loose.
  • It plays fast enough.
  • Suitable for beginners, and experienced players alike.
  • It’s expandable. More cards, different boards make for a varied and re-playable game.

It is always a pleasure to find a solid game that does it right. The gameplay is sound, despite being on the light-medium difficulty level. The cards are easy to comprehend. Despite not being the type of game that I would go for, I am glad I bought it. It is the game that Thunderstone should have been.

 

Tuesday Nights

Last week we had over our limit with 36 attendees. We had so many signups we had people on standby in the hope that we could find space for them. We accommodated everyone a little big of juggling, and having good table loading. We managed to fit everyone by ensuring the our tables were well loaded with people. A 6 player game around one table helped a lot.

This week we had only 27. Only one of the newbies came back. Just when I thought the attendance numbers were growing again they drop down to new norm of the high 20’s.

 

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The Somme 101st Anniversary – The Big Push After Action Report

July the 1st was the 101st Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. After visiting the Somme battlefields last year I finally got to play the only wargame that cover the battle. Here is my After Action Report, with lots of pictures from my Somme trip.

Tim

2nd July 2017

Board Games And Beer on 25th June 2017 – After Action Report

Last Sunday, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers held an event at McGregors Craft Beer & Wine, in Moorpark, CA from 2pm until closing time. Although this is not the first time we have held an event at a commercial location. This is the first time we had held an event at an establishment that primarily serves alcohol. In addition, this was the first time we had held an event in Moorpark. I was interested if this was a draw or if it would put people off.

 

McGregors was chosen as it has all the attributes of a good public gaming location. It is clean, and bright; there are plenty of large normal-height tables. It serves beer, wine, and bar friendly snack foods. Having plenty of parking is a big plus.

As it was a public event I am expecting, and hoping, that some of the bars patrons would join in with the games. In reality, we had a few interested patrons looking at the games, and asking a few questions.

 

As an introductory game we played several rounds of Concept, both as a warm up game, and as a closer to wind down. I even got in a game of Battlestar Galactica.

concept pic1907628
Image from BGG

We will have plenty of games at hand as we were not sure what types of gamers we would have attending. It is always best to be prepared with a mixture of games, both in game length, and in complexity. With 8 people gathered around a big table we broke out Ca$h n Guns as a ice breaker. Soon people settled into a mixture of longer, and more involved games.

In total we had 17 people actually play the games, two were newcomers to the group. The event was a success, and everyone had good things to say about the location. I had expected more newcomers, but I am happy with the way the event went overall.

I was introduced to a young lad called Calvin, from the nearby Game Development Meetup group. They hold monthly events to create, collaborate and develop games.

Let me know if you have an ideas, or suggestions, for the next McGregors event. I am thinking it could be a monthly event. Is Sunday the best day for such an event ?

30th June 2017

Links:

Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers event page on Meetup.

Event page on Facebook.

McGregors website and Facebook page.

144 Los Angeles Ave, Moorpark, CA 93021

Tel 805-553-9818

Board Games And Beer – 25th June 2017

This Sunday, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers are holding an event at McGregors Craft Beer & Wine, in Moorpark, CA from 2pm-8pm.

Although this is not the first time we have held an event at a commercial location. This is the first time we had held an event at an establishment that primarily serves alcohol. Therefore there is a minimum age of 21.

McGregors was chosen as it has all the attributes of a good public gaming location. It is clean, and bright, has lots of free parking, there are plenty of large tables, and it serves beer, and beer friendly snack food. And wine too.

As this is a public event I am expecting, and hoping, that some of the bars patrons will join in. We will have plenty of games that are suitable for non-gamers to play. Games that are quicker, and lighter, to get them hooked. Mwhhahhaa.

Tim
20th June 2017

Links:

Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers event page on Meetup.

Event page on Facebook.

McGregors website and Facebook page.
144 Los Angeles Ave, Moorpark, CA 93021
Tel 805-553-9818

Bon Voyage To The Dalesandry’s

It is fair to say that I have meet a whole bunch of great people through board games. A fair chunk of these people are members of the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers meetup. All of these people have had to suffer my bad sense of humor, and my tendency to be a cylon. Some of these people have seen past that, and have become good friends.

It is sad when these people have had to move away. Jon Dalesandry has been a member of the meetup group for over 6 years, and has attended over 200 times. Among his many talents, Jon is especially good at Android: Netrunner. He has a fondness for games by designer Vlaada Chvátil. He liked to play Agricola. Jon has even been seen to play the odd game of Battlestar Galactica. Jon has often won the coveted Best Hair Award.

Here are some of the many pictures that showcase Jon spending time with us playing some great games with great people. For a full gallery of pics containing Jon see his profile on meetup.

 

Along with the normal gaming photo’s that I take on a Tuesday, a bunch of us gathered around on the Tuesday night to pose for a group photo. Here are some of the pictures from the 13th June 2017 meetup.

 

Best wishes for the future, and bon voyage, to Jon, Amanda, Brennen, Caitlin, and Dylan. I hope to catch up with you folks in North Carolina sometime.

Tim

19th June 2017

A Good Dog Is Hard To Photograph…

A Good Dog Is Hard To Photograph…and so is a board game.

For the past month or so we have had a regular canine visitor on Tuesday nights. Our host, Greg, has been bringing along his adorable labradoodle called Fletcher. Now dogs, and board games are not always a good combination. This is especially so for a rather large, and rambunctious dog like Fletcher. This dog is a people pooch. He has a great personality, and evidently enjoys the attention of a large crowd of friendly humans. We dote on him. Luckily for us, and the games, Fletcher is a very well behaved dog. He does not jump up on people when he gets excited. His tail is very powerful, yet he keeps it below the table height. Good doggie!

Fletcher
A rare, in focus, photo of Fletcher
Fletcher
A tail strong enough to clear a game table in seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Fletcher firmly being part of our Tuesday night gang, it is only reasonable that I have been including photographs of him in my gaming pictures. Each gaming session I endeavor to take photographs of the games, and the gamers. If you look back at the Photo Gallery of the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup group you will see thousand of photos of our gaming sessions. If I creative I tag people, and add the name of the game as a title.overall, this photos are a little meh. They lack pizazz and ooomph.

More recently, I have been creating  montages with the photos. You can see a whole bunch of these montages on a separate page linked here.

Click on an individual picture for a larger version.

These montages add context to a plain photograph. The game title is included, which is always a wise thing to do. This helps to fend off the “what game is that?” questions. It is also a good idea to include the date, location, and any other useful information. If possible include a little anecdotal comment to liven up the scene. Like in this example here.

High Frontier Capture
High Frontier
A photo montage with some anecdotal comments

The unexpected side effect of these montages is that I am thinking more about what, and how, I photograph. I am still taking lots of photos, but I am posting less of them. The photographs that I am using are better quality than the photos that I was posting before I started creating the photo montages.

This brings me to the point that I want to make about photos of games, and of gamers. Just like taking photos of a dog, it is hard to take good photographs of gamers.

Gamers move around a lot while they are playing games. It is not fair to continuously interrupt the games to take posed pictures. It is not fair to distract people when they are deep in thought, or taking their turn. This method often results in unusable photos.

As an example, here is a photo from last night. It shows some of the lads playing Viticulture. Jonathon is smirking, as per normal, while Ryan, and Matthew are concentrating on the game. Ben, on the other hand, is a blur.

Blurry Ben
Blurry Ben playing Viticulture

The only solution is to take lots of photos, and hope that you have some good ones. I have lot’s of pictures where all but one person are smiling, or posing nicely for the camera. The one person barely looks like a human being. At a pinch you can still use these flawed pictures, but it is wise to crop or edit the picture so the photos are presentable. If you are concerned about what content is acceptable, play it safe.

It is always wise to avoid posting unflattering pictures.

As I am thinking more and more about what photos I am taking I had a revelation. I had come to the realization that I was often taking two types of photo.

This examples below show James, Ryan, and Bob playing Mech Vs. Minions.


The distance shot is the best way to show the people playing the game. This is where the players are the focus of the photo.

James, Ryan, and Bob playing Mechs Vs. Minions
James, Ryan, and Bob playing Mechs Vs. Minions

The closeup shot is to show the art, or the details, of the game itself. It is hard to combine both into one photo.

A miniature from Mechs Vs. Minions
A miniature from Mechs Vs. Minions

Together they make a great combination set to show off the game, and the players.

 

The key points to remember about taking and posting photos are:

  • Take lots of pictures.
  • Take closeup detail pictures of the game components.
  • Take distance pictures of the players.
  • Post pictures that are interesting.
  • Post pictures that show the games, and the gamers in a good light.
  • Edit, or crop photos to remove bad content.
  • Do not post pictures that are not flattering.

Tim

Associated Articles

Running A Game Group – Photo/Social Media Policy