the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘board games

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We have returned, victorious from GrandCon!  A new gaming convention in Grand Rapids, MI, GrandCon featured pre-scheduled gaming events, a ginormous gaming library you could sign games out from, a Pathfinder competition, table top roleplaying, game demos, a really nice dealer room,  seminars, and more.   I’m happy we got there early in the morning on Saturday, as the registration lines only grew and grew into the afternoon.  I heard at one point that over 1200 badges were printed and that they ran out of programs.  I think they’re gonna need a bigger hotel/convention location next year!

There was also an adventure to a brand new comic/gaming shop in the city, and an unintentionally SFnal dinner involving LED lights in a sushi presentation.

While I write up a longer post about the super cool World building panel that was presented by Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend and Jeff Grubb,  you should enjoy these photos.

photodump commencing in three. . . .  two. . . . and we have lift-off/photo dump!

These huge cardboard monsters were set up in the lobby, they were part of an oversized gaming demo for King of Tokyo

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The game comes with regular sized dice, and regular sized cardboard characters that go on a regular sized board, but throwing big plushy dice is so much more fun!

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what a board game map usually looks like:

  • it has places on it.
  • sometimes a road, or a line, between those places showing paths you can take
  • it has barriers or hazards you have to go around

Except if you are Phil Eklund, a boardgame map looks like this:

cropped map small

my photo doesn’t do it justice. This is seriously the most beautiful game board map I’ve ever seen.

it still has all the things a game board map should have – places,  lines between the places, barriers and hazards.  High Frontier is a game about developing technologies to travel to the solar system.   Figure out which thrusters or engines and robonaut your ship should have. Take a crew if you want. Water is the only currency. If you take enough resources you can build a factory wherever you end up, maybe a colony. But don’t make your ship too heavy, this game uses real physics and the heavier your ship is, the more fuel it needs to escape Earth’s gravity. And yes, there is a solar sail. All the techs in the game are real.  Makes you wonder why we’re not already using them.

Some more close up photos:

We used the sun's radiation area to store our extra water tokens

We used the sun’s radiation area to store our extra water tokens

I really don’t want to go to Mercury.

Everyone starts on Earth

Everyone starts on Earth

Everyone starts on Earth. Once your mission is ready to go, you can boost your components in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and then High Eccentric Orbit (HEO), and the Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO). Each of these movements costs you burns of fuel, cuz we’re using real physics.  those “L” spots are Lagrange points, where it doesn’t cost you any fuel to change direction. you can just fly right through them and be on your way!

A great way to learn how the game works is getting a crew to the moon, and then getting your crew home alive.  You’ll learn how your different ship components work, and how much fuel it costs you to move around.

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this weekend was the game convention Marmalade Dog over at the local university.  Run by the university gaming guild, a few hundred geeks take over the top floor of the student union and game till the cows come home (or till they kick us out on Sunday evening).

There was a TON of tabletop RPGs, a little bit of LARPing, a lot of Warhammer stuff (which I don’t understand, but it sure looks cool), a few gamer rig PCs set up, and plenty of good ‘ole boardgaming.

I ran Ticket to Ride, and thanks to a friend who also brought his set, we were able to run 2 games at a time, Europe and India proving most popular. I bought the new Africa map from one of the vendors, so I’m looking forward to playing that one, and seeing what its special twist is.

Ticket to Ride India

Ticket to Ride India

Ticket to Ride Europe

Ticket to Ride Europe

I suppose I should do a Ticket to Ride post some time?  anyone interested in something like that?

There were plenty more games being played, here’s a few photos:

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A number of years ago my husband dragged me kicking and screaming to a “game night”.   This was not your mamma’s scrabble night. On the table were Mystery of the Abbey, St. Petersburg, Ticket to Ride, and probably some others. That first night I wasn’t so sure about this whole Euro-gaming thing. Victory points? Nobility track? Resource tokens and Trade Goods? how in the world was I supposed to keep track of all of it??

It did take a while for me to get the hang of it.  At least a year, probably two.  (You know how some people aren’t math whizzes? I’m not a “resource token” whiz.  I just want one of those red cubes, I don’t care if it’s supposed to be rum or tobacco or gold pressed latinum, I just know  I need a red one!)

But boy am I happy I did!  I dont’ think I’ll ever be that gamer girl who games 5 night a week or more, but a few times a month with my friends makes me a very happy camper. err, umm, gamer.

I live in a college town, and every year in early spring the local university hosts a gamers convention.  Organized by students and held on campus, if you’re brave enough to search for a parking spot you can enjoy 48 hours of gaming and geekery. Euro-games, roleplaying games, a LAN party, collectible card games. . . . .  and of course games and cards for sale and overpriced food in the basement. I’ve never been into roleplaying games, but there was a Vlad Taltos system that tempted me!

This years university gamer convention was last weekend, and I ran Ticket to Ride: Europe, which is my favorite kind of Euro-game: the kind where you can learn the rules in 60 seconds, the game takes less than 2 hours to play, and it isn’t going to fry your brain.  Even better, I got to introduce a buddy of mine to gaming. I pretty much dragged him kicking and screaming to my table and said “you’re going to play this!!  okay?”

and he had a good time, see?

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I haven’t done a Friday Fun post in what feels  like ages, so I know, let’s do one!

I’ve got a “to be read” pile that’s nearly reaching the ceiling, I finished Lavie Tidhar’s Osama last night and haven’t even started a review yet, am torn between three books I want to start and I’ve got two other books on hold at the library.  Yup, definitely time for a Friday Fun / random stuff / link soup post.

speaking of reading piles, what are you reading right now, and what have you got on deck?

Are you looking forward to the Prometheus Alien movie? Think it will rock? Worried you’ll be walking out of the theatre saying “Way to wreck the franchise, Bakula”?  see the trailer here.

Wanna win some sweet military history stuff from Osprey Publishing? Military history caption contests are the best!!

If you ask me, this is what heaven looks like. (yes, yes, I know, I stole this link from Dark Cargo, but she always posts all the cool stuff first)

Seems like everyone who is anyone is reading Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon. I’m getting my copy tomorrow. I’m usually turned off by anything that gets hyped or over-hyped, but not this time. Maybe it’s because I’ve met Ahmed and he’s one of the nicest, most modest guys around (not to mention insanely well read, intelligent and a fellow Michigander). But anyways, what are your thoughts on titles that are hyped / overhyped? First titles that come to my mind are Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Are books that are superhyped bound to be disappointing to us book snobs? or am I just an epic book snob?

I’m a cavewoman and just discovered pod casting.  what reasonably priced ipod/mp3 player should I buy for use on long work commutes? I’m also thinking 40 minute yoga sessions will be much less boring if I’m listening to some sweet audio.

and randomly speaking of fun Michigan stuff, I’ll be at the Marmalade Dog gaming con next weekend.  Hoping to run at least one game of Ticket to Ride:Europe on Saturday morning, possibly Game of Thrones as well, while secretly hoping to get in on a game or two of Small World or Railways.  are you a board gamer geek? what are your faves?


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.