A Staggered Start, and Dice Still Hate Me

It is frustrating when people show up late, and people are already firmly set into long games. It’s frustrating for me as a group organizer, and I know it’s annoying for those who rushed to get there, and then find it is hurry up and wait. Wait until a game finishes, or hope someone else turns up late too. Even worse than that is when people stop showing up if they think that arriving late will not allow them to get into a game.

The staggered/delayed start was implemented for the first time on Tuesday night. To understand the problem, see a previous blog post. Basically, some people were having a problem getting to the meetup for an earlier start time of 6:00pm. With 28 in attendance this Tuesday, compared to 21 last week, I regard that as a promising increase in numbers. At least 4 people said they could benefit by having the option to start a little later. The key to making it work is communication, it’s people letting the rest of us know that they will be arriving later than the 6:00pm normal start time.

Games played of Tuesday included: Loco, World Monuments, Ticket To Ride, Circus Flohcati, Eclipse, Terra Mystica, Terraforming Mars, Archer Love Letter, Speicherstadt, Legendary Encounters (Alien) x2, Crimson Creek, Hawaii, Boss Monster, Steam, Castles of Burgundy, Clank!, and Battlestar Galactica x2.

The expected side effect of delaying our start of Battlestar Galactica was that we had a full quorum. We had an option to play 5 or 6 player. We went with the 5 experienced players.  BSG is a tough, and time consuming, game to teach. So we were happy to crack on, and simply start playing with the experienced players. BSG is one of the go-to games on a Tuesday night, a familiar friend that allows people to simply play the game without fuss, or delay.

Both myself and Dodgy John, were cylons in both games. We won both games too. In the first game it was obvious that Morale was the Resource to target. That allows you to focus on lowering that Resource. In the second game, however, there were multiple paths to victory. There were multiple Centurions on the boarding track, Galactica was suffering from damage, the Resources were getting hit, and there were plenty of cylon Raiders milling around Galactica itself. This is one of the reasons why BSG is such an engaging game. Whether you are a human, or a cylon, each player must decide what is the priority, both in the short term, and the log term. Ignore the wrong thing and it could be disaster for your side. Sometimes, discussing the threats, and openly co-operating is a good idea. In other times you do not want to reveal your options to the other side. This is especially so when you do not know the allegiance of the other players. Paranoia over who you can trust is a key part of the game.

With multiple threats to the humans, each of them had a possibility to bring victory to the cylons. What does a cylon do ? You have to weigh up the choices to see what strategy, or strategies, are most likely to work. This is where you have to use your experience of the game, coupled with the current game state, and analyze the characters around the table to make your choice. Then you do all you can to make it work for your side.

Five damaged location on Galactica
Five damaged locations on Galactica.

With lot’s of cylon Raiders around Galactica, 18 to be precise, we went for causing damage on Galactica: I rolled the d8 (the game uses only eight sided dice) the required 18 times. Each 8 rolled would cause Damage on Galactica. I rolled zero (0) 8’s on 18 dice. I laughed, the other players laughed. John, my fellow cylon, exclaimed about how useless I was. He then rolled the same number of dice, and got four 8’s. Human Mike, playing the Chief character negated two of the four 8’s by playing Calculations cards from his hand. Galactica was still alive, but only just.

The cylons still won the game, we advanced the Centurions and vented the atmosphere of Galactica. The humans needed air, they had none.

The cylons won!

Dice still hate me!

I am ok with that.

A new board game Meetup group has started in nearby Agoura Hills. It is called Conejo Valley Boardgames. They are meeting for the first time this coming Saturday at a cafe in Agoura Hills. The organizer, Patrick, has also signed up for next Tuesday night.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Table Top Day 2017

The VCSB meetup on the 11th of April has been moved to Ted’s. We will have the usual limit of 24 at Ted’s. People will need to bring chairs, and park up the hill etc.

As a bonus, Greg will host on the Monday before i.e. April the 10th. Greg and Sudro are plotting a game of Britannia for that Monday.


On Tuesday we had a smaller group than normal in Newbury Park with 21 attendees. Even so, a wide selection of games were played, including three games of Battlestar Galactica. Liz was a cylon in all three games. David M was the victor in all three games.


VCSB 28th March 2017

VCSB 28th March 2017 Montage 1
VCSB 28th March 2017

Games played on Tuesday included: Britannia, Acquire, Russian Railroads, Great Western Trail, Wizard, Stone Age, Qwixx x4, Ticket To Ride, Red 7 x2, Trans Europa, and Battlestar Galactica x3.


Last night was Wednesdays at Carrows. This meetup is going from strength to strength with attendances around the mid teens. Thanks to Matthew and April-Lyn for the info and pictures.

Games played: Great Western Trail, Chaosmos, High Frontier, First Class, Burgle Bros., Blood of an Englishman, The King is Dead and Crisis.


Table Top Day is a month away on April the 29th, we are planning a bigger and better Table Top DOG than last year. This will be the 4th year that we have organized an event. This year we will be back in Oxnard, we lots of space for all types of games, and gamers. Stay tuned for special events on the day. 

Please RSVP if you want to attend, here is a link to Table Top DOG 2017 on the VCSB meetup group. There is also an event on the official TableTopDay website.

To give an idea of the shenanigans of Table Top Day. Here are some montages from last years Table Top DOG 2016.

Table Top DOG 2016
Table Top DOG 2016
Table Top DOG 2016




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





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