Silly Board Game Memes

It is only natural that the board gaming hobby annoys me at times. In an attempt to vent, and to poke fun, at the hobby that I hold so dear I have created a number of Silly Board Game Memes. They are to entertain and to annoy people a little too. These are just a product of my over active brain mulling over the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the games that I love and the people who enjoy them.

Silly Board Game Memes

Board game genres and stereotypes

I have a bunch to add to the page… too many. Check back again soon.

Tim

27th March 2018

One Last Hurrah

The last Hurrah for Chris Rollins

Young scamp Chris Rollins is leaving the land of endless summer for the fair city of Boston. Over the past 4 years Chris has graced us with his presence almost 200 times. He has been airlocked in Battlestar Galactica and he has hunted the Rebels in Star Wars Rebellion.

Join us for a session of gaming, and the odd adult beverage or two, to say farewell to the young lad. This may or may not involve Chris getting brigged or airlocked multiple times.

Kindly gather at McGregors craft bar in Moorpark on Saturday, the 7th of April, 2018 from 2pm – 10pm.

Please RSVP on Meetup or on Facebook. We need to let the venue know how many we expect. Kindly let us know if you simply plan on popping in to pay your regards or if you plan to stay for a while.

Tim

27th March 2018

Why I play Board Games!

Tuesday was my third gaming session in four days. Each of these gaming sessions had it’s own personality. This personality is based on the location, the games, and most of all it is based on the people involved. People are what make board games fun.

This post is about a few of the people whom I game with.

Saturday was a regular get together at Game Empire with my wargamer mates; the SoCal Wargamers. We played a bunch of games, both old and new. After some games new to us: South China Sea, and Chile 73, it was not surprising that we next played a game that felt like a old comfy pair of slippers. Like a lot of gaming groups we do like to play new games, yet we also have our old standards that we can quickly jump into. One of these standards is Napoleonic Wars by GMT Games. This game is fondly known as Nappy Wars. It is a 2-5 player strategic card-driven game on the Napoleonic Wars from 1804 to 1815.

 

One of our regular Nappy Wars players is Greg Ticer. Among other things, Greg has given us a better understanding of how to play Nappy Wars. A game that I have played at least 30-40 times. This is because Greg has designed a game of his own, called The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble, that is loosely based on Nappy Wars. In the process of adapting the Nappy Wars system it meant that Greg had to gain a full understanding of the rules. In the process Greg had found that we have been playing the game slightly wrong for.. well, for always. Oops. Thanks for pointing that out Greg!

Myself, Greg, Karl, Luis, and James
Myself, Greg, Karl, Luis, and James. Game Empire, Pasadena. 17th March 2018

Sadly, Greg will soon be moving to Texas. That Saturday was probably our last gaming session with Greg for a while. We have shared many fun times with Greg. He is always a serious gamer, yet he has a jovial side. Here are some pics that show his jovial nature. He had ordered the large burrito at a local Mexican cantina while we were at SDHIST Con 2016 in San Diego. The burrito was somewhat larger than anyone expected. It was so big that it overlapped the plate on both sides. Greg’s face is an absolute picture as he contemplated the behemoth that he was about to consume. He barely made a dent in the monster, and could not give the rest away. That was a lot of burrito for 10 bucks.

So we give our best wishes to Greg on his new adventures. May the dice roll high or low as appropriate. We hope to game with you again soon.

{shill} Check out Greg’s game, entitled The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble. The game is on P500 preorder by publisher GMT Games. I wish Greg had stuck with the original title that I suggested aka “Greg’s Awesome Sauce 7 Years War Game“. That’s a snappy title, don’t you think? {end shill}


Monday night was at McGregors, in Moorpark. This weekly event has been going from strength to strength since it was first started just over 6 months ago. The core of the attendees on these Monday nights are old time VCSB regulars that I have known for years. It may take some time to get the word out to the locals so you have to persevere. The expectation, when launching a new event in a new area, is that we get some new locals to sign up.  A new event takes some time to get enough momentum to be self sustaining. It is a definite help when some of these new local people become regular attendees. It was good to meet Paul. Paul is a Moorpark local who quickly became a regular attendee.  Recently it has become clear that Paul has a game-crush. He has become smitten with a game about Vikings, namely Raiders Of The North Sea.

Raiders Of The North Sea box
Raiders Of The North Sea box

Don’t get me wrong. Paul is not the first gamer who has been smitten by a game. I have seen many a gamer fixated on a game. Some would jokingly point out my fixation with Battlestar Galactica. There will be more on BSG later.

What is great about this fixation is there is a genuine passion for a well crafted game. A game that both intrigues and entertains the player. A key element in spreading the joy of modern board games is to have genuine enthusiasm for the games. Genuine enthusiasm shows through and draws in the other players. It is great to see that enthusiasm in Paul. Well done that man.


A recent newcomer to the VCSB group, and to modern board games as well, is Brook. As the group organizer I act as gate keeper for the newcomers. I do my utmost to ensure that newcomers feel welcome. I also ensure the newcomers get into appropriate games, and by appropriate I mean that I try to gauge the persons game knowledge, interests, and their abilities to ensure they don’t get placed in a game that is a poor choice for them. Letting the person know the expected duration of a game, or how complicated it is, is only fair in case that does not suit them. On the odd occasion I have strongly suggested that a player should not play a specific game, as the game would not suit them. Over a few events you can begin to determine the newcomers likes, dislikes, and limitations. Now Brook has lapped up every game that has been thrown at him. From simple party games through to complicated strategy games he has taken them all in his stride.

I recently revisited the first edition of the game London. This game took a few plays before I got the game.  Others experienced gamers have struggled to play the game well in the first attempt. Brook, on the other hand, demolished us in his first play. On Monday night Brook expressed an interest in learning to play Battlestar Galactica.

London
London (1st Edition) box cover

For the last few weeks we have held the Tuesday Night VCSB Meetup at Ted’s house in Newbury Park. We are limited to a maximum of 24 while at Ted’s place. There is just not enough space to cram in more people without being overcrowded. We have even had to turn people away; which is something that I hate to do. Having a smaller attendance means it is harder to get the 5 players that is optimal for a game of BSG (Battlestar Galactica). Luckily there was fresh meat Brook who wanted to learn the game. Mwwhhhaaa. We had a fresh victim for the airlock. So Say We All.

BSG is not an easy game to explain, nor is it an quick and easy game to learn. Experienced players tend to have low expectations of new players. You can see where this is going. Early in the game there was a Skill Check that was obviously sabotaged by a unrevealed cylon. More importantly, it was not sabotaged by me, and I was the other unrevealed cylon. Although I had played a card into the Skill Check I could prove it was not sabotaged by me. Human Eric helpfully backed up my story. It was now that the game took an interesting course. Experienced players Chris, and Dodgy John, immediately started to blame each other. Each were convinced the other was the cylon who had sabotaged the Skill Check. I was not sure which one of them was on my side, I was quite convinced it was one of those two. Our deliberations were so passionate that we were told to keep the noise down. The game effectively stopped for 10 minutes while people argued back and forth. Then fate intervened and I got thrown in the brig under the premise that I could have determined who the cylon was, and I did not do so. Later in the game it was clear that both John and Chris were human, along with the innocent Eric. For a while the table was convinced that I was the lone cylon. In fact, I was not alone. It was Brook who had sabotaged the Skill Check. No one had suspected him. Not even me. Inexperienced players are never so sneaky, so quickly.  How he kept a straight face through all of this, I do not know. Well done Brook.

 

My last game of the night was The Mind. A game that is not yet released in the USA. Here two people, both I have known for ten or more years, come into play. First, Jennifer posted that she thought The Mind was the stupidest game ever. This brash statement meant that Jonathon had to check the game out for himself. As the game is not yet available he had to concoct a version using the cards from another game.

The Mind is a co-operative game. A co-operative game where you cannot communicate with your fellow players. A game where the players do not take turns playing the cards.

It is a stupid game.

It is a fun and stupid game.

It is a fun and stupid game, where we had four grown men grunting, wincing, and laughing at each other. We played The Mind twice. We lost twice. That did not matter as we had fun. Thanks to Jonathon for introducing me to a stupid game.

Games are fun. Games are more fun with people. Games are more fun because of people. Enjoy the games, enjoy the clever mechanics, enjoy the story the game creates, enjoy the game art, and enjoy the time spent with people.

Tim

22nd March 2018

TableTop DOG 2018

TableTop DOG
The poster for TableTop DOG 2018

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April the 28th. It is International Table Top Day. Once again there will be a local Ventura County TableTop Dog event on that day. The VCSB Meetup group is again an official 2018 TableTop Day group.

The venue is one of the regular locations: Seed House, just off the 101 in Ventura. Many thanks to April-Lyn for the venue, and hosting duties etc.

More details to follow as we plot special events etc. One thing that I can promise is a full day (10am-9pm) of open gaming, for free. Snacks and drinks are at cost.

Tim

1st March 2018

Mini-WallaceFest And 100th Game Of Codenames

Last night was the regular Tuesday night VCSB Meetup in Newbury Park. The Tuesday night group has it’s own, shall we say, personality when it comes to how games are chosen, and the players organize themselves into those games. Other games, such as the ongoing Pandemic Legacy Season 2, were setup and ready to go as soon as the full crew arrived. I have been itching to get London, by Martin Wallace of Treefrog Games, on the table for sometime.  While waiting for Ryan to arrive I could setup the game and familiarize myself with the rules differences compared to London (Second Edition).

 

It was a good plan, then fate intervened. More people turned up late, too many for the four player London that was already setup and ready to rock. Not only that, but one of the game-less players would not enjoy playing a game like London. It is too much dry for him. The game tempo is too slow, and the mechanics too subtle; he likes games with more drama and action.

Game Organizer Tip: Don’t be afraid to tell a gamer that you think a game is not suitable for them. Back up the opinion with sound reasoning, and tell people your opinion. People usually like the honesty. If they insist on playing the game, so be it. Honesty counts.

We had to re-jiggle the games. Two went off to play Star Realms, while three of us carried on with London.

London
Ryan and Gilbert joined me in rebuilding London
L 0227181928
The London game board

London is a crafty game. It breaks one major convention of game mechanics. Among other things, in London having too many cards is bad. You cannot simply discard cards. Having too few cards can also be bad as it is inefficient. You need to have just the right number of cards, at the right time. It’s a tough game. It’s an intriguing game. I like it. It was good to introduce the game to new people. That was one well received game that was designed by Martin Wallace …. perhaps it was time for another Wallace game.

Hit Z Road
Hit Z Road : A road trip game with zombies.

While London is a slow tempo game with little drama. The only random element is which cards you blind draw from the deck. You have to carefully use cards to craft a tableau, while managing your money, and your poverty level. Oh, and you need to gain Victory Points too. How else are you going to judge victory.

On the other hand Hit Z Road has player elimination. 

Game Mechanics : A game with player elimination means that players can be knocked out of the game. Eliminated players take no further part in the game. This can leave people frustrated and bored while they wait for the other players to finish. This is why I do not like (many) games with player elimination. Playing games is supposed to be a fun, and social time. It sucks if people get excluded from that experience.

When trying to describe Hit Z Road it is wise to not simply label the game as a zombie game. It is an auction based resource management game with dice …and zombies… and player elimination. It is such a contrast to London. It is a push your luck game with the dice. It has drama. It has tension. More importantly, it is each player for themselves.

Hit Z Road
Hit Z Road : A bad roll for Joe

Luckily, in this game, only one of the tree players was eliminated. Even better Joe was eliminated in the last round before the end of the game, so no real harm done. More surprisingly Jon was down to his last survivor, from an original party of five, and somehow managed to survive. Well done Jon.

Due to the delayed start we had just over 30 minutes to go and around ten people ready for another game. It was time for Codenames, one of our go-to closer games.

Codenames is a game that works with newcomers, the rules are simple to comprehend for most of the players. People can come and go, joining or leaving the game with little effect. This makes for  a fast and flexible game for beginners, and experienced, gamers alike. Now there is one caveat to Codenames being a great beginner friendly game. Codenames is a game of two halves.  The halves are the clue-givers versus the guessers. The clue-givers have rules to follow, and they have to think up the clues. They have it tough. Often, at the end of a long day, I am not in the mood to use that much brain power. Luckily there are always enough volunteers to be the clue-givers. I can then switch my brain into heckle mode, and simply enjoy being part of a team.

Codenames  : When introducing Codenames to a crowd of newcomers; let experienced Codenames players act as the clue-givers at the start. This ensures the game is up and running quickly, and smoothly. The rules on being a clue-giver are more involved, yet they can be explained during the periods of inevitable downtime while the clue-givers concoct their clues. Keep with game fast and fun, and the newcomers can learn from more experienced players.

Codenames
Codenames : A great team party game

With two game of Codenames completed it was time to end another Tuesday night of gaming. Later that day I logged the game plays into BGG. It was then that I discovered that I had now logged 100 games of Codenames since I first played the game in August of 2015.  Here is to many more fun games.

The total list of games played that evening included: Pandemic Legacy Season 2 x3, Merkator x2, Galaxy Trucker, Eclipse, Blood Rage, London, Stone Age, Hit Z Road, Illimat, Concordia Salsa, Star Realms, and Codenames x2.

 

Tim
28th February 2018