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 ?


30th April 2017





Mid-Week update – 22nd March 2017

Along with a recent update on the gaming last Saturday at Game Empire, I recently finished an article on Analysis Paralysis, the article is long and I found myself rambling on, as I often do. I hope people find it useful as it does contain some useful tips on redicing the effects of AP. A poll on the BoardGameGeek page on Facebook was created to gather peoples opinion of games that suffer from AP.

I recently meet a game designer, Chris Renshall, at Carrows the other week, he’s a nice lad and we have started a friendly rivalry after he beat me at Qwixx by one point. I have added Chris’s website to the Useful links page.

We had a good crowd last night in Newbury Park with 27 in attendance. Despite the threat of rain, Mark drove down from Goleta.

A recent newcomer to the group, Spenser, is having a blast with every new game he plays. After extolling the virtues of BSG to him last week. I was happy that we roped him into a 6-player game of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG). Teaching BSG is tough. The mechanics are quite simple, yet the permutations are huge. It does require a lot of regular games to get good at BSG. We play BSG a lot, it is one of our go-to games, so hopefully he will become a regular cylon player.

Larry taught Greg how to play the new version of Through The Ages. I am interested in learning this, yet have yet to take the plunge.

Games played last night included:

Strasbourg, Star Wars Rebellion, Through The Ages, Power Grid, Ticket To Ride, Terraforming Mars, Concordia, Clank!, and Battlestar Galactica.

VCSB Meetup 21st March 2017
Some of the games played at the VCSB Meetup 21st March 2017
montage 2
Other games played at the VCSB Meetup 21st March 2017





Tuesday Night in Newbury Park – 14th March 2017

montage 2 Capture

Games played last night included: Clank!, Star Wars Rebellion, The Pursuit of Happiness, A Feast for Odin, Anarchrony, Ora Et Labora, Star Realms, Unfair, Mystic Vale x2, Hero Realms, and Love Letter Archer.

Attendance is now hovering around 25-30 on Tuesday nights, down from a regular figure of 30-35. After the expected seasonal drop just before Christmas, the numbers have not picked back up. This concerns me a little.


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 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


We have enough of those already !

Digging through my iPad, looking for some old pics of gaming I find a funny meme-pic, so I post it on my local Ventura County Boardgaming Facebook group, it gets a few likes etc.

It’s funny, and clever, with a good dose of truth. So later on I post it to the BoardGameGeek Facebook group too.

Thanks to the originator Paul Saxberg

Facebook link to post.

Bing, bing, bing, the pic is getting pinged with tens of likes. Later on the originator of the pic, Paul Saxberg,  sees the pic. We have a little off-line chat and he is chuffed that his creation is getting some love.

Well done Paul, a message of inclusion while reminding gamers to not be a-holes is more true now than ever.




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.
8th March 2017
Eminent Domain is pictured top.