Tag Archives: boardgames

Bay Area

Last week and this week I’m in the SF Bay Area, visiting family and working with some Stanford folks.

The LIFE (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) Center is a collaboraiton between some profs at UW and Stanford and some researchers at SRI. As a student of the Center, I applied for a one week exchange thing they have for students at one uni to visit a student at the other uni.

Anyway, I’ve been working with Sarah Walter who is looking at collaboration in Lord of the Rings Online while raiding, which is basically the same thing I’m doing except that I frame mine more as activity system description and I look at World of Warcraft.

We’re pretty much dealing with the same data, though, from two different games, so it made sense to collaborate on a paper and some conference presentations. Yay!

It’s slow going, and technically, LIFE is paying for like 5 days of working but we’ve been at it off and on for a week and half now. Got a todo list now, and looking forward to get back to Seattle with new direction.

Today, my bro and I are meeting another Stanford student, Sarah Lewis, to go visit the California Academy of Science. Fun!

Later tonight, we’re going to Chris’s to play Battlestar Galactica the boardgame that Grey got. Last weekend, we met and played some boardgames, too. Ghost Stories and Cuba.

Yesterday, I met up with TL Taylor and Casey O’Donnel for lunch. That was cool. This week, GDC is happening in SF. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be meeting some guildies for dinner.

Robin was here with me last week, and our first two meals were at In-n-Out and Pizza Chicago. ๐Ÿ™‚

All quiet on the western front…

I haven’t been posting much lately since I’ve been busy at a new temporary month-long job down here in sunny California.

Been meeting a ton of people and making new friends, as well as visiting my mom (my dad is in China right now), brother, sister, and high school friends.

Eating some good food:

  • Pizz’a Chicago — mmm good deep-dish!
  • that place on El Camino that used to be Senor Taco — sopas con carnitas!
  • Dynasty for dim sum — pretty good…
  • In-N-Out — double-double animal style
  • some new Szichuan place for really red broth beef noodle soup, scallops, etc.
  • quite good catered breakfasts and lunches at the job, too!

Playing some games:

  • Ra — Aaron doesn’t like this game.ย  That’s okay because it was just me and Chris and new friend Jessica.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Carcassonne — Jessica kicked Chris and my asses.
  • Fury of Dracula — the 1987 version.ย  Dracula was totally pwned.
  • Hearts — fun, old school game
  • D&D 4th Ed. — really brief intro to combat pretty much through a one-shot adventure run by Chris.ย  Not entirely sure how I feel about it now, as each class doesn’t seem as distinct as in 3.5, but there’s definitely more balance I think.
  • dodgeball at Jump Sky High — hella tiring!ย  I’ve gone before so I was prepared but damn.

Gonna try to meet up with Chris, Grey, and SG again this weekend to play Chris’s new game Pillars of the Earth and maybe War of the Ring or something.

Games we played this week…

Last Night On Earth, about 5 times – Best zombie game I’ve played.. though I’ve only played 3 or so. It can be unbalanced depending on the luck of the draw and dice rolling, especially for the zombie master, but it’s still a fun game. And it comes with a soundtrack CD! Too bad it isn’t quite long enough… We ended up playing that and the Event Horizon soundtrack, which was perfect.

Arkham Horror, three times – Fun cooperative Cthulhu-themed game. A little long to set up, so we played it again the next day before putting it away. Our first game, including set-up, took about 8 hours (spread over two days)! The next one took only 3 or so and the final one took about 5 hours… but that was partially because midway through we had a black-out. Seriously! And had to take some time to find and light candles. Photos soon… ๐Ÿ™‚

World of Warcraft the Boardgame – I set expectations low on this one since I’ve played it many times before and decided that it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Alliance and Horde factions end up playing two separate games, almost, with lots of downtime as you wait for the other faction. So this time we played with a variant where we were all on one side (Horde, of course!). The only problem here was that we had four players so the end fight was a little unbalanced. But still, I thought it was fun. I think maybe there should be some way to keep a running total of all dice you get to role so that you don’t have to keep counting them during each battle. That might save some time.

Rummikub – I played this with Robin, my mom, and my brother a few weeks ago when we were at Ocean Shores. Fun game. Gray is very, very tired of it, after apparently growing up with it.

Give me the Brain – Aaron gave me this along with a bunch of other Cheap Ass Games (see below for others) since he was clearing out his closet. Players are zombies in a fast food joint and compete for control of the one brain among them to fulfill various orders or complete tasks. It wasn’t as fun as I remember, but still… :p

Lord of the Fries – Another CAG. This game is what I remember more and liked more. And this time I still liked it. A card matching game. I wonder if it could be combined with needing the brain to put fulfill orders… or if that would just make it mean you need one more card for the run…

Bleeding Sherwood, twice – Another CAG. Very resource-scarce bidding game featuring men of Sherwood Forest exploiting/ransoming or whatever various characters they meet. I thought it was fun and quick.

Duff Dice, about 8 times – Basically, Liar’s Dice with a Simpsons theme. The Duff beer cans need felt lining or something to make the game less loud and jarring to my bleeding ears.

Blackbeard – Gray bought this pirate simulation game and had it shipped to my place (it just came out and note that the photo above is not what comes with the game but since it just came out I had a hard time finding a good photo on bgg). It’s one of those independent publishers that wait for enough pre-orders before printing a game. Some bad things about it are: a. there a numerous typos despite the manual being available on the web for a while (I guess no one who read the manual reported back to them that there were typos). One huge typo on the game board itself (Soth instead of South). and b. the game seemed relatively dependent on the cards you drew without a lot of strategy that you could do with two or more of your pirate ships. I think Gray thought it royally sucked. Song Gong and I are willing to give it another shot before we pass judgment.

Pandemic – Fun cooperative game that I mentioned before. I like this game because it takes about 45 minutes. Makes for a great, light game to introduce others to boardgaming, since coop mode makes the possibility of newbies being trounced by veterans impossible.

Clans, twice – A cool area control game… Somewhat reminds me of water beading up on a smooth, water resistant surface. ๐Ÿ™‚

New boardgames!

I just got some new boardgames!



I wanted a pure cooperative game but I thought that Shadows Over Camelot and Lord of the Rings were a bit long. When I heard that this game was pretty quick and good for newbies, I grabbed it!

Battleground: Fantasy Warfare

Battleground: Fantasy Warfare

This is a cool idea and caught my eye when it first game out a few years ago. Basically, think miniature war game without the miniatures. It uses cards that you place and move around on the table instead, using the sides of other cards to measure how far they can move (like Pirates of the Spanish Main). I used to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle back in high school (16 years ago) but ever since have never been able to get a stable enough life to consider getting a huge miniatures collection. Expensive and bulky! Having them in playing-card form is genius! I hope the game is good.

Dungeon Twister

Dungeon Twister and the 3/4 player expansion

I’ve been playing a lot with Ari or Brian H. recently, and this made me think that I need a good two player game, but I also saw that this game had a 3/4 player expansion so it would work with more people, too! I hear it’s like dungeon chess. Reading the rules, I really like how combat is done Cosmic Encounter style except that you don’t have a random hand. It adds a nice guessing game to the combat–“do I play my good card or save it for later?” I hope the game works well and that it isn’t so cerebral as to be unapproachable.


Dungeoneer – Vault of the Fiends

I originally got one pack of Dungeoneer (Tomb of the Lich Lord) a few years ago after I had been playing Carcassonne a bit. Like Carcassonne, Dungeoneer is a tile laying game but around the dungeon delving theme and using playing cards. (I wonder if the use of playing cards only came about due to CCGs like Magic.) I never felt like there was enough variety in the dungeons though. Brian H. got another deck of Tomb which will make the dungeon bigger, but I got Vault of the Fiends hoping it’d make a nice complement to our two Tomb decks.