FATDOG 2017 & DOGCAT 2

Roll up for more modern boardgaming events with FATDOG 2017 and DOGCAT 2: Revenge of DOGCAT.

These events have many things in common:

  • Come along if you are interest in the growing modern boardgaming hobby. Enjoy modern fun boardgames such as Ticket to Ride or Catan.
  • The events are free to attend. Please RSVP so that we know the numbers to expect.
  • The events are beginner friendly. There will be plenty of fun and engaging modern boardgames to play.
  • Come for an hour, or stay for the whole day.
  • You do not need to own, nor know, any boardgames games. People are happy to teach the games to others.

FATDOG 2017

FATDOG 2017 is on Friday, the 24th of November in Oxnard. To RSVP, or for more details you can check out the event on Meetup or on Facebook. This is the 6th year that the Ventura County Startegy Boardgamers Meetup have held a FATDOG event. Each year they have gone from strength to strength.


 

DOGCAT 2017

DOGCAT 2: Revenge of DOGCAT is on Saturday, the 25th of November in Ventura. To RSVP, or for more details you can check out the event on Meetup or on Facebook. This is the second year that we have organized an evnt on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


Any questions? Ask below, or post a comment on Meetup or on Facebook against the event that you are interested in attending.  Also check out our Facebook group where we discuss boardgaming around Ventura County.

Many thanks to Ryan and April-Lyn for arranging the venues.

Tim
15th November 2017

FATDOG means Friday After Thanksgiving Day of Gaming. It’s just a name for our full day of gaming.

DOGCAT means Days of Gaming Continuing After Thanksgiving. It’s just another goofy and fun name..

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 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.

Two Nights And A Day At Sea

Tuesday Night – 2nd May 2017

The VCSB Tuesday night meetup is anchor of my gaming week. There are other gaming opportunities, but the Tuesday group has a solid rhythm that allows people to return after an absence and seamlessly fit back in again. The size of the crowd at Tuesday night does fluctuate, yet the group size is large enough to absorb seasonal variations while still enjoying a wide variety of games and gamers.  Having regular meetings is critical to the formation of a new group, and Tuesday night gaming was a key reason for the initial stabilization, and then the continued success of the VCSB meetup group.

Last Tuesday was no exception to the pattern. We had one newbie join us, Paul, and Eric rejoined us after a long absence. A variety of new, and old games were played. Ted is still fixated on Terraforming Mars.

Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars

Games played included: Concordia, Clank, Terraforming Mars, Bora Bora, Impulse, Smash up!, Blood of an Englishman, Navegador, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Shakespeare, For Sale, You are the Maniac!, and Codenames x2.

 VCSB 2nd May 2017

VCSB 2nd May 2017

VCSB 2nd May 2017
VCSB 2nd May 2017

Wednesday Night – 3rd May 2017

Wednesday evening is at Carrows in Ventura, some 20 miles away from Newbury Park. While some of the Wednesday night crowd also go to Tuesday nights, most of the attendees are different. This means the Wednesday night crowd have their own personality and preferences in games. Recently,  I have been able to attend the Wednesday night at Carrows on a more regular basis. This has allowed me to get to know some of the characters a little better. Each group has it’s own mix of gamer personalities, and it takes a few sessions before you truly see what type of gamer personalities people have.

Pax Rennaissance
Pax Rennaissance

The Saturday before, on Table Top DOG, Brian had wanted to play Pax Renaissance. I wanted to learn the game so we arranged to play it on Wednesday night. This would give me a chance to read the rules before tackling the game itself.  The designer, Phil Eklund, is renowned for intriguing and unusual game topics.

As Brian was going to be a little late, I needed a game that would be short enough in duration, and be appealing enough to get some takers. Knowing that April-Lyn wanted to play Clank!, this made it a good choice.

Clank!
Clank!

After teaching Clank! around a dozen times, I had learned that no matter how many times I have stated the rules about artifacts, someone will ask the same stupid questions. Once these experienced gamer’s started to jokingly refer to the correct rules I knew I had impressed on them the important points. It is good when you can explain a game to experienced gamer’s and they actually listen, even when they don’t appear to be intently listening. So many game rules are similar, it is key to clearly state the differences, or the exceptions, so that people remember these traps.

After not-winning Clank!, I went to watch the end of New York Slice.  For such a simple game, I was not sure if it was trying to be too serious. I could see a major cause of analysis paralysis when trying to determine how to split a pizza, while dominating the different sets of pizza pieces.

With Brian now available we stated on Pax Rennaissance. It is very much an Eklund game. It packs a lot of history into a small package, and borrows some mecahnics from previous games Pax Porfiriana , and Pax Pamir. There is a lot going on in the game, with multiple victory conditions, and tons of variability. This is a game where you learn the mechanics and then realize that you still have little idea how to actually use this mechanics to reach the various victory conditions. I look forward to being puzzled by the game again.

My tableau in Pax Renaissance
My winning tableau in Pax Renaissance

Games played: Foretold, Anachrony, Clank, And Then We Held Hands x3, New York Slice, Codenames x2, Pax Renaissance, Sushi Go, Isle of Trains, Among the Stars, Fugitive and Evolution Climate.

3rd May 2017
3rd May 2017
3rd May 2017
3rd May 2017

 

Sunday on the USS Iowa – 7th May 2017

During last months GMT West aka The Weekend at the Warehouse the subject of getting new people into the wargaming side of the hobby was raised. With both Karl, and myself in attendance it was not long before the Wargame Bootcamp was raised. We soon made a new contact in John Tiehen, who was a relatively newcomer to GMT West. John was keen to include us in a new hobby event on the USS Iowa, in San Pedro near Los Angeles. We had gamed on the USS Iowa last June, for the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland, so we aware of the location.

Gaming in the mess on the USS Iowa
Gaming in the mess on the USS Iowa, June 2016

Even though the event was on my birthday, I volunteered to help Karl. It was only afterwards that we found out that we would be located outside, on the fantail deck, and the weather forecast for that day was for rain. After previously being located in the enlisted mess with it’s small tables and fixed pitch chairs. The thought of spending a day on the windswept deck, with a high probability of rain, was not very comforting.

Flyer for the 1st Annual Collectors Expo
Flyer for the 1st Annual Collectors Expo on the USS Iowa, 7th May 2017

The event flyer looked promising, there were a lot of interesting hobby events, and they were predicting a good turnout. Thinking ahead, we planned on coming prepared with folding chairs, tarpaulin’s, ground sheets, an extra canopy, and lots of games. I even selected games that would fare better in a windy environment, including plastic miniatures that would be more moisture resistant than cardboard counters. With a 60 plus mile drive, and lot’s of accessories to setup I woke very early at 5:30am, too early, for the long day ahead.

Setup was easy after we dried the tables from the overnight moisture. My two picnic ground sheets were subbed in as rather brightly colored tablecloth’s. We played a few games of W1815 as a demonstration game.

To entice the lookey-lou’s, we setup some games on the table, spreading out cubes, cards, rules, and counters to create some visual appeal.  Fields of Despair especially gained a lot of attention due to it’s blocks, and attractive map. Among the hobby people in the crowd there were a few of the normal “is that Risk?” comments, but it was good to find a few people who had gamed in the past. Some were presently surprised to hear that board gaming was still going strong.

At 1:00pm, and again at 1:10pm, the day was interrupted by the firing of one of the ships 5inch guns. The firing noise  was impressive, but not as much as it’s echo. It was loud but I am sure they were being safe by handing out ear plugs. Now, if only they would fire the 16inch guns 😉

People trickled by all day, although the crowd seemed smaller than expected, probably due to the overcast day, and sporadic light rain. John demoed a naval game, and the Panzer tank on tank board game. Most people were just browsing the booths, so we were happy to just answer questions about board games, and simply give out information.

One young lad, Jimmy, was very keen to play a tactical game. Karl cracked open Combat Commander Europe and setup the Fat Lipki scenario. With his girlfriend and younger brother watching, Jimmy had a fun time learning the game. He picked up the game rules quickly, showed a good grasp of small unit tactics, and it was sad that he had to leave before finishing the game. Before he left we told him about the local game shops. Job done!

Things started to wind down once the band started playing barely 10 feat away. By 5pm we were packing up, and schlepping all our stuff back to the cars. The drive home was not as easy as the drive there. It was a quiet day overall, I was glad it was not hot, but the wet weather did unfortunately keep people away.

Jimmy being taught Combat Commander Europe
Jimmy being taught Combat Commander Europe by Karl. Note the tarpaulin fixed to the canopy to act as a wind break.
Lots of stalls on the fantail of the USS Iowa
The fantail was busy with booths, and the kiddies rock band XYZPDQ
A Dodge Command Car
A Dodge Command Car from nearby Fort MacArthur
A Dodge Command Car. Note the radio antenna on the near side.
Note the antenna on the near side
The radio in the Dodge Command Car
The generator for the radio in the Dodge Command Car
Games on display
W1815 being played, with Fields of Despair acting as a wind break.
Karl under our bootcamp setup
Karl ready to demo games
The setup on the fantail of the USS Iowa
Our location on the starboard side of the fantail

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Night And Preparing For TableTop DOG 2017

We had a good crowd with 30 on Tuesday night. A good mix of new and old games were played. Two games of Battlestar Galactica were played, the humans won both games.

Once you go Blackmail…. aka Archer Love Letter is still my favorite version of the hugely popular Love Letter micro-game. It does not have the trip-up Countess card.

VCSB 25th April 2017
VCSB 25th April 2017
VCSB 25th April 2017
VCSB 25th April 2017
VCSB 25th April 2017
VCSB 25th April 2017

 


April-Lyn organized a board game themed bingo at DOGCAT 2016 last November. It was a big hit with the attendees, but there are some issues. People were getting very competitive, and as there was a limited number of prizes those people who showed up late were out of luck.

This time it is a board game themed raffle bingo. Players who play games can cross out squares. Completing at least one square gets you two raffle tickets. If you complete a row you get five bonus tickets. There are also discretionary tickets for ‘style’, good sportsmanship etc. Late in the evening the winning raffle tickets will be drawn, and the lucky players will win prizes. I’ll let you know how it goes…

The TableTop DOG Raffle Bingo sheet
The TableTop DOG Raffle Bingo sheet

Midweek Update – 4th April 2017

Unfair

Good crowd last night in Newbury Park with 26. Alex made his first appearance at Greg’s, and Ben rejoined us after a stint in South Korea. Carl brought along Flamme Rouge, which was fun. Serge Clanked, twice. Baker Josh mucked up the rebels plans with the timely nabbing of the Corcuscant card.

Games played included: Great Western Trail, Keyflower, Unfair, Oracle of Delphi, Star Wars Rebellion, Concordia, Pandemic Iberia, Manhattan Project, Coup x4, Fuse x3, Clank! X2, and Flamme Rouge x2.

Note that next week we have a change to our normal schedule: Greg is hosting on Monday, and Ted is hosting on Tuesday.

VCSB 4th April 2017
Games played at the VCSB meetup 4th April 2017
2Capture
Games played at the VCSB meetup 4th April 2017

A local-ish (Santa Barbara county) gamer friend of mine, Jerry White, is interviewed about his upcoming solitaire game on the Doolittle Raid. The interview is on The Players Aid site.


TableTop DOG is fast approaching… I am plotting some type of competition… hee hee

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

 

Tim