Reunited & It Feels So Good

Reunited & It Feels So Good

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Oscars; "Nice work, turkey!"

"Oscar Goldman" #$&@#& I can't believe I forgot that Oscar.  The 6 Million Dollar Man was a motivating factor to rush home after school and finish my homework so I didn't have any reasons to miss each episode.

Oscar Goldman: "Steve Austin, astronaut: a man barely alive
Gentlemen we can rebuild him. We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the worlds first bionic man.
Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before
Better, Stronger, Faster!"

While I love movies, I rarely ever watch the movies that win an Oscar.  Although "Skyfall" did win an Oscar for Original Song.  My favorite movies from this past year were "Skyfall, The Avengers, and Moonrise Kingdom."

The theme of movies and the Oscars has lead to several board games.  Many if not most are trivia based.  However, there is one game that is strategic and somewhat interesting.  It is called Hollywood Blockbuster aka Dream Factory. It was designed by Reiner Knizia, and published in 2000 by several different game companies.
The goal of the game (aside from winning!) is to produce the most valuable movies over the course of four rounds.  The central game mechanics are auctions and set collections. The game plays 2 - 5 "directors" who bid on actors, cameras, effects, music, guest stars and agents in the quest of completing the most valuable movie.

Some of the movie titles included are Star Battles, Tomorrow's Golden Eye Never Dies, Silence of the Cannibals, Dances with Buffalos, Raiders of the Lost Biblical Receptacle, and Gopher Shack!  Silly stuff indeed. 

This past Sunday, I had the chance to play a new game called Kemet. It is an Egyptian themed light war game that uses area control, and worker placement.  It plays 2 - 5 but might suffer from "king-making" in a 3 player game.  It uses a common but not overused mechanic of battle cards to resolve battles.  Each player has the same set of 6 battle cards.  Each card is either strong in attach, damage or defense while being weak in an opposite category.  Which card will your opponent play?  Will they attack in strength or go for damage.  Each player chooses one card and blindly discards a second battle card.  Thus through use of clever hand management, can you defeat your opponent and gain a victory chip?

Please check out some of my fellow LoEB bloggers thoughts on this topic:
AEIOU and Sometimes Why
Top Hat Sasquatch



Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. President...Don't String Me Along!

By accident or by chance I have joined an elite pop culture blogging troupe called the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, which is hosted by the blog Cool and Collected;Cool and Collected.  Better late than never was never so true.  The League is celebrating it's first birthday, and it has motivated me to write weekly even if it has only been a month.

 I have missed out on some great topics that would have been fun to blog on; spys, spacemen, pirates, ninjas, zombies, the old west, what ifs??, dream jobs, holy grails & white whales, prized posessions, sweet rides, March Madness (Rock Chalk Jay Hawk, Go KU!,) when I was 12, Saturday morning cartoons, movies,  places to visit, road trips, holidays, the state of pop culture, and holy cow (I can't believe I missed this one) - how to destroy the death star?  Some topics that might be interesting in the future could be; things that I wished would be remade, remakes that should have never happened, who would win???, the Pink Panther & crimes of the century, music to my ears, WWII & the greatest generation, old meets new, aviation, "shh don't tell anyone" - my collecting secrets, Races/NASCAR, nautical, books & authors, and before the American Pickers were picking, I found.....  No mater the topic, I'm in all the way!

This past Sunday I had the chance to play a game that has been on my list to play for sometime now.  In fact I have not even seen a copy in the wild until last night.  The game appears very simple, so simple it is hard to believe that it might be fun.  The game is call String Railway.  It was designed Hisashi Hayashi and is currently published by FoxMind games.  It plays four games, over five rounds.  The goal is to lay out your railway using colored string from station to station that maximizes your score.  Really??? Colored string??  Yes, and it was fun.  Well worth the wait. 

Before I sign off this week, I want to wish The League a Happy Birthday, and yes I have a birthday themed game called Crappy Birthday . The game was designed by Brian and Amy Weinstock and published by North Star Games.  When its your turn, its your birthday and each other player gives you a Crappy gift.  As you go through your gifts, pick the one that you like the least, that player then recieves a point.  The first player to 3 points, wins. 

Check out some fellow League Bloggers;
Fortune and Glory Days
What Ever I Think Of...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Board Games; What's Not to Love

As we celebrate Valentines Day this week, I thought I would doodle about my love of board games. No matter what my wife thinks, it is a love that pales in comparison to my love of my wife and our three sons (Tammy & I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this October).

Oh my lovely board games, let me count the ways..... It would be too easy to blog on my most favorite game that I love, or a grail that I hope to find this coming year. It is true, I love the art of the game, and the creative energy that releases as a game is brought to the table. I love the tension, the table talk, and the meta game between opponents. I love the companionship, and wonderful friends that I have made over the years. What I truly love the most are my cherished memories. Just this last month I have played over 20 games of Ticket to Ride with my wife. Just after my surgery in January, Paul and Pat came over to check on me while soundly defeating me in Agricola and Tzolkin. Even this past Sunday was a wonderful time as I taught Alien Frontiers to my friends Brady, Kat, and Dawson. Here are a few of my most loved gaming memories.

As my gaming interests grew, I was introduced to Risk while visiting a new boy who had moved into my school in 8th grade (197) Jim. I remember during a snow day, my mother drove me over to Jim’s house, where we played Risk for hours. He had a wonderful game collection that included Axis & Allies, and Broadsides. Eventually, I got my own copy of Risk, and I spent even more hours adding additional territories and expansion.

While playing cards and dominoes was a regular part of the Endres family tradition, each summer I would spent several weeks with my grandmother Endres in Wichita. During that visit, I would beg and plead to spend the night with my great uncle Walter. After dinner, he would set up the dominoes on his kitchen table. While playing, he would tune in a radio station on his world band radio. While I don’t remember many of the games outcomes, it was always a wonderful time.

My dad was the original card shark. He loved all types of card games. He kept a deck of cards on the first floor, his bedroom, and in all of his suit cases. During quiet times, I can still hear him shuffling the cards and dealing a hand of solitaire. Eventually, he taught me how to play Kings on the Corner. He was notorious for hold cards that he could play, or that would benefit me in any way.

My dad was a very hard worker, and my mother and I spent many evenings waiting for him to come home. When my mother’s chores/tasks were finished, she loved to play Scrabble. My mother was a very smart individual. Before marrying, she was an artist with Hallmark Cards. She insisted that we play without using the dictionary. It was her opinion that if you could not spell or think of a word, using a dictionary was cheating. I still have our scoring sheets in my childhood copy of Scrabble. A great treasure indeed!

I have taken all three of my sons to GenCon in Indy. Granted, when they go, it is a very different experience than when I go with just my buddies. I purposely pick games that I think they will enjoy. The requirements are that they must be easy to learn and teach. During Ryan (10) and Hunter’s (8) first GenCon, I convinced my wife to let me take Ryan to a late night game of Zombies by Twilight Creations. Ryan is so bright, that within a few turns, it was clear that he just might beat a table full of adult men. Subsequently, a few opponents also realized this, and began to plot against Ryan. As they cornered him (cutting off his path to win the game) I drew a card which allowed me to switch player token positions. I switched my token with Ryan’s, thus allowing him a clear path to victory. Several of the other players were annoyed with me as I “kingmade” Ryan. Ryan had no idea as he was proudly sporting a new Zombie t-shirt.

A truly break through game appeared in 1993 at the Origins Game Fair called Magic the Gathering. I was captivated (my wife would say addicted.) Eventually I stopped buying and playing the cards as it became overwhelming to keep up with the onslaught of new cards, game mechanics, and evolving rules. While I no longer follow Magic, I kept a dozen or so very playable decks. My very dear friend, Rob was introduced to Magic much later, and it became a bond between us. Several times a year, we have gotten together and found time to play game after game. We have played in restaurants, on-line, in an airport, and at our homes. His rats have attacked my slivers who attacked his goblins who were being attacked by my elves. While I am not nor plan to renew my addiction to MtG, I hope to play endless games in the future with Rob. I hate his rat deck!

While coming home from GenCon in 2005, Paul, Andy, Ryan and myself decided to host a winter gaming party (that celebrates mine and Pat’s birthdays.) Thus White Dragon Con was born. While not a huge event, we have had 20 or so gamers attend the past several years. The gaming swag is a pair of specially designed dice. During White Dragon in 2007, my father joined us and was enthralled with a dexterity game call Crokinole. It was my father’s last White Dragon Con.

Almost every game session with my youngest son Ian is a cherished memory. This winter I set up and taught Ian and two of his buddies how to play Angry Birds Star Wars. As the Death Star crumbled, they all cheered. Ian has been to three GenCons and all of them have provided wonderful times. During his second Gencon he sank two pirate ships with his British Lego Man-O-War. Last year he played King of Tokyo with the game designer Dr. Richard Garfield who is well known for designing Magic the Gathering. It was such a memorable experience for him that he re-themed the game into The King of Bunker Hill for his most recent Revolutionary War school project.


The cherished memories is what I love the most!!

Check out these League of Extraordinary Blogs;
Monster Cafe
The Lair of the Dark Horde
Fortune and Glory Days

league logo

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

“Hot Collectibles of Tomorrow: A Board Game"

Are board games collectible? YES Do they have value? FINANCIAL - Few, SENTIMENTAL - Yes

I own around 1000 board games, and I consider them a collection. However, many of the games have little $$ value or are consider the next HOT collectible. Many if not most games are produced in large print runs. For simplistic means, lets divide games into two categories; Euro and Ameritrash.

Euro games are games that typically focus on game play and mechanics. Some examples include Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride (both available at Target.) Whereas Ameritrash games are rich in theme and less focused on mechanics. Risk, Stratego, Operation, and Monopoly are standard Ameritrash games. Fans of these games are often over heard stating that Euro games have bland pasted on themes. I am a fan of both types of games as they scratch different itches.

My collection of board games has crested 1000 games. Many of them have sentimental value, but a few have financial value. My collection has grown and developed based on likes and "grails." Grails are games that I may have played as a child, or capture my imagination. One of my favorite games from 2011 was Puppet Wars. The theme is waring puppets who can cast magical spells. It is a very creative miniatures game that has a rich story line. Currently I have two grails that I hope to find this year; the Mad Magazine Card game, and the Hogans Heroes board game. As I write this blog, a copy of Hogan's Heroes is listed on eBay for $349! Plus while not in my collection, Hasbro published a new version of Operation: Star Wars R2D2.  How cool is that!

Despite these random thoughts, there is one company that is publishing one hot sought after game each year. The company is Splotter Spellen. Splotter is a small Dutch board game publisher, founded in 1997. They pride themselves in making deep, complicated strategy games. Their games offer a variety in unusual mechanics, and are printed in very small print runs thus making the games highly sought after and expensive. Their 2012 offering is a game called The Great Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a game about building a trade based civilization in ancient Africa. It has player interaction including variable player powers, auctioning/bidding, and point to point movement. "Clever use of turn-order manipulation, economic development in an almost close environment, scarce natural resource use and logistical optimization to deliver goods from craftsmen to monuments: You only get one action per turn, so be smart!"

While I have not played Zimbabwe, it is most definitely on my to do list. However, I am lucky to have played and own "Indonesia (2005,) and Antiquity (2004.). Very collectible.....

Check out these "collectible" posts;