10×10 Challenge and 10 Day Of Gaming…So Far

My Twisted 10×10 Challenge is making good progress. My Battlestar Galactica count is up to 53 games so far this year. My target is to play BSG at least 70 times. It will be tight to complete the required number. I am confidant as my local gaming group can often finish 2-3 games of BSG in one evening. So say we all.

October the 4th 10x10 Challenge
October the 4th 10×10 Challenge
October the 4th 10x10 Challenge
October the 4th 10×10 Challenge
oct 4 2017 - 2 Capture
October the 4th 10×10 Challenge

I am spoiled with local gaming opportunities. It has not always been the case. It is now possible to game, for no cost other than fuel, at least 4 times a week. A Monday evening meetup has been added to the weekly calendar of my local gaming Meetup group. With the semi-regular weekend events it has been possible to game 5 days in a row. Taking advantage of this I decided how long I could go where I play games on consecutive days.

So far I have gamed every day from Saturday, the 23rd of September, until today. There is no end in sight to this run of gaming. Only one day have I gamed in a non-public location. To keep the streak going I did play a (board) game with the girlfriend to bridge a game between events. I will do so tonight too. She is a good sport putting up with my shenanigans.


10×10 Challenge And More McGregors

12-July-2017 10x10
12-July-2017 10×10

My twisted 10×10 Challenge has been making progress in the more difficult “non-GMT aka the Other Wargame” category. This is great as I have been playing some interesting wargames. Many of these games are new to me too.

A wargame that I have been long wanting to play is The Big Push. I posted an After Action Report (AAR) for this game in a recent post here. Continuing with the WW1 theme I played In Flanders Fields with Ken Tee. This game is on the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915. This battle was the first use of poison gas in warfare, and is a key part of the game for the German side. We had to end the game early, but we hope to revisit the game soon.

Thee games especially helped to increase the list of the “other wargames” category. A category that I was concerned that I was falling behind on. The 10×10 Challenge has helped to add visibility to what games I am playing, and to add more variety to the types of games that I play. Job Done!

Flarchcon 2017

Last week was the annual Flarchcon week of gaming hosted by Rob March. As is normal we played a bunch of games, played with his awesome dog Denali, and consumed lots of nice food and drink. The revelation for me was playing Quartermaster General 1914 for the first time. I had read the rules a while ago, but the game had not gelled in my brain. The original Quartermaster General game is very simple, hence it pays fast and frantic. The new game in the series adds a number of mechanics that seem to muddy the clean and simple gameplay. Or so I thought it did. I was wrong. Quartermaster General 1914 is a great little 5 player wargame. It still plays fast, and has a good amount of bluff and strategy. The players have more options, which in this case works well.This game is worthy addition to the multi-player wargame category.

The disappointment of Flarchcon for me, was after a full day of playing Virgin Queen we only got to the start of turn 5. It was a tight game, with all the players trying hard, and the game ebbing and flowing. The longer game suits the side that I played, the English. The longer game has more events that swing the game into new areas. We rarely get to explore those aspects as the game often ends in turn 4. We had some serious gameplay queries that caused the game to pause. The thing to remember with such a game is to keep it flowing. Saving a few minutes here and there would have allowed us to play that extra turn. This could have resulted in an actual winner being determined. Instead we had France with 22 points, and myself as England with 19 points. The game was just getting fun when we ended the game, out of time.

Battlestar Galactica

Unexpectedly, I am falling slightly behind the curve with my Battlestar Galactica plays. The Tuesday night group has been having a problem getting a quorum for BSG. It has been a problem all year. We have managed to recruit a new guy into the regular pool of players. New Chris is shaping up well. I am looking forward to being airlocked by him in a sneaky cylon treacherous move.


On July the 23rd there will be another Sunday event at McGregors Craft Beer and Wine, in Moorpark. The first event there attracted 17 people, a good crowd for a first event. I am hoping for more next time. It would be great if we get some beginners or newcomers too.

Board games and Beer at McGregors in Moorpark

Here are links to the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup event, and my Facebook event.


Tim

12th July 2017

Table Top DOG 2017 After Action Report

Table Top DOG 2017 went well yesterday, I’m still a little tired as it was a long day. It’s not just the 11 hours of gaming. Just setting up the venue, rearranging the chairs, and over a dozen tables. I bring a whole bunch of games, not just the regular game, but extra games that would more appeal to newcomers. With the Raffle Bingo event, I also included some games that easily met some of the criteria. There was all the paraphernalia for the Raffle bingo itself. So much stuff to be loaded, unloaded, arranged etc

Thanks to all those who helped out, and especially to Ryan, and Cassie, for the venue.

Why do I get myself into this, again and gain ?

Err, because it is fun.

I get to meet some new, and some old, gamers. I lost count at 48, my final estimate was 55 to 60 in attendance. I got to play some new, and some old, games. It was good to meet some new people who found out about the event via the official Table Top Day Community event website.

Here are some of the photos I took.

Game played

The (twice) updated list of games played included:
Kingdomino, Codenames Pictures, Patchwork, High Frontier, Yokohama x3, Roll For The Galaxy, Star Wars Rebellion, Hawaii, Trajan, Codenames, Cash N Guns, Hive, Splendor, W1815 x2, Simiopolis, Clank, Pandemic, Flashpoint Fire Rescue, Milestone, Cthulhu Wars, Cacao, Santorini, Great Western Trail, Viticulture, Vinhos, Galaxy Trucker, Acquire, Oracle Of Delphi x2, Bus, Star Realms, RA, Fugitive, Gym, Nations The Dice Game, Orleans, Race For The Galaxy, Red 7, Fastrack, Happy Salmon, Trickerion, Kingdonia, Cry Havoc, Stone Age x2, DOG x2, Feast Of Odin, Betrayal On The House On The Hill. Space Alert, Xenon Privateer, and Canasta.

Raffle Bingo

The Raffle Bingo went well, I think it was an improvement over the Bingo at DOGCAT. The board game themed bingo idea is brilliant, thanks to April-Lyn for the idea. Even so, there is room for improvement. It took too long, and disrupted things too much. The quality of prizes was also a concern.

The idea that each player earns raffle tickets, based on the bingo card achievements, worked well. The drawing of their raffle ticket means they win a prize. This meant that everyone had a chance, not just those who filled out the most bingo squares, or those who filled them out the quickest. Those who played a lot of games would still get more raffle tickets. To counter that for those who played longer games there was the option for the judge (myself) to award ‘discretionary’ bonus raffle tickets to balance things. This also allows the creation of some laughs as I ‘arbitrarily’, and jokingly, penalize people for the games they have played. “Sorry Ron, minus one ticket for playing Fastrack”.

 

It was interesting to see how motivated some people were when attempting to fill out as many bingo squares as possible. I believe it had the desired effect in getting people to play different games, new games, and to play with different people.

To improve the raffle bingo I have some ideas, in both how to improve the quality of the raffle, and to speed up the process.

  1. The raffle bingo idea worked well. I am not sure there is a solution to the problem that people must be present to collect their prize. Getting prizes to people, after an event, is too costly in time and money.
  2. Better prizes. Either buy some prizes, or get some ‘good’ quality donations from people before the event.
  3. Using an idea from the Wargame Bootcamp prize draws. There is one raffle box per prize. This allows each player to post their raffle tickets in the specific box to win a specific prize. This solves the problem of people having to chose a prize, or getting a prize they do not want.

It’s food for thought. Any feedback, or suggestions ?

Tim

30th April 2017

 

 

 

 

3500 games played, 10×10 update and TableTop DOG 2017

This is a longer post with three, no make that four main topics.

First, let me focus on one of the reasons why I started gaming back when I was a young pre-teenager. After my father bought me a second-hand library book on WW2 I gained an avid interest in history.  Back in the 1970’s historical wargame’s were they only type of ‘real’ games available for me to play with my brother, and my school friends. So a connection between history and board games was formed that continues to this day. Therefore it was great to see an airworthy B-29 named FiFi at Camarillo Airport. My inner historian, coupled with the rampant gamer , immediately wants to break out a game involving Boeing B-29 bombers. Wrooommm.

3500 Games Played

It was only when I got back from last weekends GMT West “Weekend at the warehouse” did I realize that I had passed the grand total of 3500 games played. And by games played I actually mean games that I have logged on BoardGameGeek. The number of 3500 does not include all the board, and card, games that I have ever played. I first began logging my games played back in 2007, and my start was rather erratic. I have covered my thoughts, suggestion, and ideas for game logging, in too much depth, in an separate article here.

Let me sum up some snippets based on these 3500 game playes:

  1. I have played Battlestar Galactica 521 times, and it is still a great game.
  2. With 68 plays, Codenames is my most played party game.
  3. My most logged wargame is Labyrinth: The War on Terror with 58 plays. This is a game when I was proud to take part in the playtest process.
  4. The game that made me hit 3500 logged games was Cards Against Humanity. This game is one where you actually do not want to play it too often. It is a horrible game, for horrible people. I am a horrible person. With the right people this game is an absolute hilarious experience, and we do not bother tracking who won.
  5. Despite playing the game 15 times, I have never won a game of  Wings For The Baron. Even so, it is a great economic-wargame hybrid.
  6. Some games I play for the benefit of other people. With 46 plays, Battle Cry is a game I purchased primarily for use at the Wargame Bootcamp as an introductory wargame.
  7. There are 279 games that I have played only once each.
  8. I have met many good people, and a few not so good people playing these games. I have also made many good friends playing these games.
  9. I still cannot effectively shuffle cards, and dice still hate me.

My twisted 10×10 Challenge for 2017

For a joke I twisted the standard 10×10 Challenge into a BSG focused grid. My joke backfired on me as I committed myself to the challenge. After a few hectic weeks of gaming it was about time for me to update my 10×10 grid.

10x10 grid
10×10 grid with the games played so far in 2017
Games played
Games played so far in 2017

This Saturday is TableTop DOG 2017 on International Table Top Day

I am hurriedly plotting activities for the attendees at this weekends TableTop DOG in Oxnard. This is our 4th event on Table Top Day. With over 40 people already signed up we are expecting a bigger event than last years event.

As this is an official Table Top Day event there will be kiddie and family friendly games at hand; along with the usual mix of euro, strategy, wargame, thematic, and party games we normally play.

Tim

 

Mid-March Update

As part of an ongoing process I have started to collate my list of useful game links.

While looking for some other photos, I found a bunch from the special one-day events that I help to organize back in 2012. A a tease here is a montage for our first FATDOG event. The full article can be found here.

FATDOG 2012
FATDOG 2012 Montage

As part of my ongoing goal of increasing the number of gamers, and game groups, who log their game plays. I had added a thread to BGG with a few polls.  From that feedback it looks like lots of people are logging their games played. There are many detractors, yet so far I have only convinced 1 (one) gamer to start logging. Success!

Tim – 14th March 2017

 

Game play logging

My involvement with board gaming began in my early teens. That was a log time ago in the early computer and pre-BoardGameGeek era.

BoardGameGeek ( aka BGG) started in the year 2000 and I was not aware of this amazing site about board games site until a few years later . Despite the early start with gaming I only began to log the games that I played in 2007. I have now logged almost 3500 board game plays.

To log a game play is to record the game name, where and when the game was played, and other associated details like who played, who won and so forth.

The specific reason why I originally began to log my game plays is lost. Since then I found the information to be useful in a variety of unexpected ways.

During a lull in the second game of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG) of thst Tuesday evening one of the relative newcomers to the group came to have a look at the game I was playing. Having done so many times before I gave a well polished blurb about BSG along the lines of “It’s a co-operative game, with hidden traitors called cylons. The game is driven by Crisis cards, you must identify which side people are on blah blah blah“. As I often do when BSG is being discussed, I proudly exclaimed that I had played BSG over 500 times.
A look of amazement and confusion filled the newcomer face. This is not the first time that I have seen that look, so I knew how to respond. Experience had taught me to not declare that I log all the games that I play. This usually results in a greater look of amazement that is now tinged with pity. The conversation was quickly steered back to which game they were planning to play next. 
It is slightly disheartening to have to repeatedly explain my reasons for logging the games played.  This is a large part of the reason why I wrote an article on the subject.
To be honest, remembering that I have played BSG over 500 times is easy for me. Five hundred is a nice round number. And being a man who is better at technical things I have a great memory for certain “important” details. If you are in a quiz and you desperately need to know the caliber in millimeters, in ascending order, of the main armament of every German tank and tank destroyer of WW2. I am your man. This very male skill has it’s downsides, I am bad at remembering dates or anniversaries, unless that date was that of D-Day. By the way, D-Day was the 6th of June 1944.

Tim aka I play too many games
10th March 2017

On an associated note, I believe that game groups should publicize the list of game played. There are many advantages of doing this and I detail them in this article.

 

Game play frequency and go-to games

Eminent Domain

Last night I played some games for the first time in over 5 years.

After playing the new game Clank!. I agreed to play Eminent Domain, a space theme civilization deck building game. After that time was running short so we needed something quick and easy. Jon suggested the bluffing party game called Skull. I soon realized that although I own all of these games. It had been years since I I had not played the latter two games.

Eminent Domain, with two expansions, is an evolved game. With so long having elapsed since I last played I knew I needed help with both the rules and the strategy. Ted and Jon were past-masters at the game so they helped answer questions once we got going. It did not matter to me that I was not going to win. Just trying to get some synergy in my strategy was enough for me. While mostly ignoring what Ted and Jon were doing; Alan, John and myself competed in our own 2nd tier contest. Even before the game had ended I was itching to drag out my copy of the game, read the rules and play it again. Perhaps I should not wait 5 years before I play it again. Luckily, that will not be a problem as Eminent Domain is one of the regular games in my local gaming group.

The game called Skull was fast light and fun. This was a good game to round out the evening. Despite the long time since I had last played I still sort-of remembered the rules, and (more importantly) I had a grasp of the fundamentals of the bluffing strategy required. The 5 people playing were all long time gaming opponents which meant the table talk was rather lively. Some of the other gamers gathered around to watch the game and listen to our banter.

There is little in common between these two games. To master Eminent Domain it would need many plays to develop effective strategies. Regular plays are required to learn all the possibilities within the many cards within the game. On the other hand, Skull is quick to teach and relies more on reading people than understanding detailed game mechanics.

This made me reflect on my own game replay habits, and that of my local gaming groups.

My local gaming group, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup  have been holding a game night on Tuesday nights since early 2010. From a few people meeting in a Borders Books the group has flourished into a large and active group that has held over 1100 meetups. Currently 2-3 meetups per week are being held across different locations. Many gamers attend more than one of these weekly meetups, yet each meetup location seems to have developed their own game preferences.
For a many years the most regular game on Tuesday nights has been Battlestar Galactica (BSG) by Fantasy Flight Games  It is no surprise to have 2-3 games of BSG being played during an evening session. Almost by accident, BSG had evolved into one of the go-to games for the Tuesday night group. This go me thinking about some of the other go-to games in my gaming circles
The current go-to games across a number of game groups that I frequent include:
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Stone Age
  • Wizard
  • The Game
  • Codenames
  • Vegas (dice game)
  • Eminent Domain
  • Star Wars Rebellion
  • Love Letter (various versions)
  • Eclipse
  • Napoleonic Wars
  • Sword of Rome

That is quite a variety of games.

Having a number of go-to games has proven to be useful in all of the groups. Having variety in your go-to games allow the players some choice in what to play. The available time, and number of players are major factors in choosing which games to play.

Advantages of go-to games

Here are some advantages of having go-to games in your gaming circles. These are  especially advantages for the more evolved, longer games.
  • There is no need to teach the game. Teaching a game takes time and effort.
  • Players have evolved past just simply playing the game – they know different strategies and can play the game competently.
  • The game is setup and running quickly.
  • The time it takes to play the game is shorter.
  • Not everyone always wants to put the time and effort into learning a new game. This is especially advantages on a weekday evening.

Repetition is good for newcomers

It is hard to remember what it is like to be a new gamer. Gazing with wonder at stacks of snazzy game boxes filled with counters, cards, and meeples. Old hands introduce you to a game about something where you need to earn some fancy mechanic called worker placement, and there are cards and cubes everywhere. Just when you get the hang of it, the game is over. And may never see that game again.
Compared to experienced gamers, newcomers to gaming need more repeat plays for the game to sink in. Newcomers have to learn a myriad of new game terminology and game concepts. Simply playing the game well takes practice. Experienced gamers are quicker to look past the game mechanics and see strategies. Put yourself
Please take that into account when suggesting games to newcomers. It is more satisfying for all the gamers in a group that the newcomers find their feet quickly. I believe this helped by regular, repeat play of go-to games.

Going forward

My resolution is this: I will add more go-to games to my own game choices. This may mean I play BSG a little less often. I will ensure that newcomers are exposed to more go-to games.
Tim
8th March 2017
Eminent Domain is pictured top.