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”

Terraforming Mars Acrylic Trays

Terraforming Mars Box
Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars is a great game! Unfortunately some of the components are somewhat lacking. As part of your goal of terraforming Mars you keep track of production of six different resources (money, steel, and so on). In the regular game this is tracked by placing a colored plastic cube on the appropriate number on your production track. Unfortunately this important information is easily lost by bumping the table, nudging your card, or an invading cat on top of the table. 😯

Fortunately there are lots of options, ranging from 3D printed plastic to wood to laser cut acrylic. Despite the fact that I own an 3D printer I opted to go with one of the acrylic options because they allow me to continue to use the standard play mat without worrying about bumped cubes. I purchased from the Etsy store for Board Game Boost. Continue reading “Terraforming Mars Acrylic Trays”

First Impression: Dragon Island

Dragon Island Cover Art
Dragon Island
I am a dragon nerd. If there is something with a dragon on it, I’m definitely interested. If a board game has a dragon on the cover plus dragon meeples inside? It’s a no-brainer purchase. Add to the fact that I found my copy at a local resale shop (all components present and accounted for) and it’s a triple win. But how does the game actually play? Is it fun and not just fun to look at?

In this post I’ll provide my first impressions of Dragon Island based on only one play. I’ll have a more in-depth review coming after I’ve had a chance to play it more. Continue reading “First Impression: Dragon Island”

First Impression: Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars Box
Terraforming Mars
Some games have a theme with a very small scope. (I’m looking at you, “Patchwork.”) Some games have a grand tapestry of material to draw from. (Welcome to the table “X-Wing.”) And then there is Terraforming Mars — a game that spans multiple generations as players attempt to convert the planet Mars into an area suitable for human habitation. What a cool concept!

I first heard about this game because, well, everyone on Board Game Geek was talking about it. It’s still in the top 20 of “The Hotness” side banner as I write this. Being a science nerd as well as a game geek it felt like a good fit. I bought it, and then bought expansions, then watched some “How It’s Played” videos…then put the game back on the shelf.

Where was the fun in that? Continue reading “First Impression: Terraforming Mars”

Bargain Disappointment

There are several Half Price Books stores in our area, which I like. I like to read, I like to listen to music, I like to watch movies, and I like board games. They have all of these things. They buy used and resell, but they also sell new items on occasion as well. (For example, right now they’re carrying the board game Scythe and Sagrada and others still in shrink wrap.)

This past week was one of their thrice-yearly progressive sales. They start with a 20% off a single item coupon for Monday and Tuesday, move to 30% off a single item for Wednesday and Thursday, graduate to 40% off a single item on Friday and Saturday, and finish with a 50% off coupon (again, a single item) for Sunday. I will frequently visit several stores early in the week to scope out what is available, and if possible; I will even put items on hold to purchase later in the week. (They will hold items for up to three days.) It’s a great way to get bargains, and since we have about a dozen stores in our area the selections are often quite good.

This week my take included a copy of Overlords of Infamy still in shrink-wrap, a copy of the third edition of Red November, a copy of Mastermind that was brand new, a copy of an interesting Hawaiian-themed game called Haleakala that has superb quality components, and among a few other things a copy of Nuns on the Run.

I had tried to buy a copy of Nuns earlier this year on a different edition of the progressive sale, but someone beat me to it. (That’s when I learned if there is something I want, I need to put it on hold.) This time I found it and picked it up on a 40% day, which was still a bargain considering what it typically goes for on eBay.

Unfortunately the story does not end well. I opened the game this evening to do an inventory, and two of the cards were missing. Nope, wait; one of them was just stuck in the manual. But the other card was definitely missing. I even had my wife come look through the box and make sure. Oh well, I do have the receipt and I will return it. And I still picked up some interesting new additions to my game collection.

Oh, and I got to play Scythe again this weekend! But that’s a story that I haven’t even begun to tell, so I’ll provide details on that later.

First Impression: Patchwork

My wife loves to quilt. That’s not normally the way I would introduce a board game post, but in this case it’s relevant. There are styles of games my wife likes to play, and styles of games she is less comfortable / interested in. If I can find something that she likes, the odds of being able to play it go up! It also helps if it’s short. Patchwork fits all of those criteria. Continue reading “First Impression: Patchwork”