2020 10×10 Challenge Progress

Last year I learned about something called at “10×10” or “ten-by-ten” challenge. The premise is simple. At the beginning of the year, pick ten games. Play each at least ten times each over the coming 12 months. I initially set up only nine games because I wanted to leave one spot open for a “yet to be determined” game (more on that below).

It’s the end of March, how am I doing so far? Continue reading “2020 10×10 Challenge Progress”

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (Part II)

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster User Manual Cover
Heroes of the Aturi Cluster
Wow, I completely forgot about this. A long time ago (in a galaxy right here) I wrote a post about “Heroes of the Aturi Cluster” which is a fan-made campaign expansion for X-Wing Miniatures Game. I talked about my Y-Wing pilot “Rover” and the abilities he had by the end of the campaign. What I didn’t talk about was how the Imperial side worked, and I’ll address that now, as well as talk about the overview of how the campaign works. Continue reading “Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (Part II)”

Game Review: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island
Title: Forbidden Island
Players: 1-4
Play Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Gamewright (et al)
Year: 2010

Forbidden Island was one of many games that I learned about by watching the TableTop channel on YouTube. It is a cooperative game where 1-4 players try to move around an island attempting to retrieve four special relics, each representing one of the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Technically it’s sold as a 2-4 player game, but you could easily play this by yourself. There are six roles that are randomly assigned to start the game. Each role has one special ability that I’ll cover a bit later.

If you don’t read any further, here’s the important part: I definitely enjoy this game, and find that it’s a fantastic way to introduce the idea of cooperative gaming to those who haven’t played that style before. (It’s much easier to explain and faster to play than Pandemic, for example, another cooperative game from the same designer.) Adding in the alternate island layouts (details later) has kept this game in my rotation for quite some time.

I don’t like the metal tin. But I can get over that. 😉 Continue reading “Game Review: Forbidden Island”

In My Collection: Abstract Games

I like abstract games! What does that mean! What is an abstract game! Why am I using the exclamation point for questions! 😛

Board Game Geek defines Abstract Games as follows:

An abstract strategy game is a strategy game that minimizes luck and does not rely on a theme. Almost all abstract strategy games will conform to the strictest definition of: a gameboard, card, or tile game in which there is no hidden information, no non-deterministic elements (such as shuffled cards or dice rolls), and (usually) two players or teams taking a finite number of alternating turns.

Wikipedia uses the following definition:

An abstract strategy game is a strategy game in which the theme is not important to the experience of playing. Many of the world’s classic board games, including chess, Go, checkers and draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess), Reversi (marketed as “Othello”), nine men’s morris, and most mancala variants, fit into this category.

When I was growing up I played a lot of standard games like Sorry and Risk and Monopoly. As a teenager I grew to hate Trivial Pursuit. 😛 I also played checkers, chess, and tic-tac-toe. And I liked puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles, but math or physical puzzles. As my interest in board games was rekindled I learned about an entirely new (to me) category of abstract games. Continue reading “In My Collection: Abstract Games”

Beyond Chess Revisited

Beyond Chess Components
Beyond Chess Components
A while back I wrote about how I encountered the game called Beyond Chess. I don’t get the game out every month, but it is a regular fixture when I teach the Chess merit badge, and it has also been on a couple of trips. What fascinates me the most, I guess, is how little information there is about the game on the Internet. There is almost no discussion on Board Game Geek and the original web site is defunct. Even the “wayback machine” (aka the Internet Archive) doesn’t have anything useful! There is nothing on Amazon, and as I write this there is one active listing on eBay (asking price: $39.95) and nothing in the 90 day sales history.

Not too long ago I was in Denver and I stopped by one of my favorite stores: Black and Read. What did I find? I found another copy of Beyond Chess! But with a twist! Continue reading “Beyond Chess Revisited”

Quarto Statistics

Quarto is one of a series of abstract games from the French company Gigamic. As much as I love a game with a good theme, sometimes I crave the intellectual challenge of a puzzle instead. Quarto is one of the games in my collection that scratches this itch.

BoardGameGeek categorizes Quarto as an Abstract Strategy game. Some attributes of this type of game include simple design / mechanics, no obvious theme, little or no luck element, and a lack of theme. If you have played tic-tac-toe then you have played an abstract strategy game. 🙂 In tic-tac-toe games between equally skilled players will almost certainly end in a draw. Perfect play ends up with no winner every single time. There is no hidden information, no element of luck, and no theme or story-line. It’s a classic that every child learns growing up. Continue reading “Quarto Statistics”

Game Day Lunch! Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island
Today was another Game Day Lunch session at work. We’ve been gradually picking shorter games (and by we I mean me) in order to be sure to finish during our longer lunch period. Or in some cases maybe play the same game twice. Last time we played Carcassonne and Azul, two games that were both influenced by actual history. Today we played Forbidden Island, which might have been inspired by the Indiana Jones movies. Continue reading “Game Day Lunch! Forbidden Island”

Gaming Accessory: Bit Trays

Lots of games have bits. Lots of bits. Teeny-tiny bits. Some games even need bits to be passed around the table. A well-designed foam core box insert can help with this, but this is the 21st century. While I can’t order, “Tea, Earl Gray, Hot” from a box in the wall I can create things with my MakerBot Replicator 2 printer. Continue reading “Gaming Accessory: Bit Trays”

Weekend Gaming Session Report

This past weekend saw a number of games hit the table. After getting a few chores done we met up with friends and played Shadows Over Camelot, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (twice), and Carcassonne. I lost basically every game. Even though I won. Sort of. Continue reading “Weekend Gaming Session Report”

Terraforming Mars Custom Play Mat

Terraforming Mars Box
Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars had been on my “shelf of shame” for about a year or so. I recently wrote about my first impressions of the game (after playing a couple of times). I also wrote about buying acrylic overlays for the player boards. Today I want to write about a custom play mat that I had printed from Inked Gaming.

One of the frequent complaints related to Terraforming Mars is that the components are seen as being lower quality. The board is one of the main challenges. Even new out of the box, my board does not unfold to be completely flat. The other day I noticed that someone on Board Game Geek had posted a preliminary copy of some artwork that he was creating for TM. I thought to myself, “That’s awesome, because you know you need another custom game mat.” 😉 Continue reading “Terraforming Mars Custom Play Mat”