Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekly roundup

Semi-flat aged Dr Pepper from a two liter, albeit cold, does not make the best wake up go-go juice. I drank my last can with dinner last night and did not realize I had none for this morning. I do wanna make groceries.

Regardless, I need to catch up on my blogging and reveal all the significant things that have happened this week.

Most significantly, I had a chance to playtest my award-winning roleplaying game, 1984 Prime. I need to write up my notes and my playtesters' notes into an Actual Play post over on The Forge, but it went over very well. The players really enjoyed the world and took to it very easily, I got some very good suggestions for the next release, and the mechanics worked, though we all saw some shortcomings almost immediately. I'd like to go on record and thank S. John Ross for reminding me of the importance of playtest. Once I collect my thoughts and notes (likely later today), I'll link to the Forge post and bring up more discussion here.


Furthermore, as most of you know, I have taken on a contract gig doing call center work for Dell. Yesterday concludes my first week of training. The group of new hires and I got to tour the floor where we will work. I'd never seen an aggressive division of real estate into cubicles before- I suppose this happens all the time in the corporate world, but it remains alien to my work experience. I'll have to update my ThinkGeek wishlist to include cube toys in order to protect my sanity and my individuality.

Two more books on my RPG to-read list include Jonathan Tweet's Everway and Mike Pondsmith's long-awaited Cyberpunk v3.

I've often wanted to post both a Board Game Geek (BGG) link and a Funagain Games "Buy Me" link in my board and card game news. I'm still working on the format, so please have patience. Last night at Great Hall Games, we played the following:

Ricochet Robots: I've talked about this before. No one had specifically requested it, though I discovered that many had hoped I brought it. (Hello, Yari!) I can encapsulate this game now to "It's a competitive maze game where players bid on the fewest possible moves to get a given robot to a randomly selected location- oh, and by the way, all robots move like rooks without brakes." One player, Sean, commented that the name of the game implied something totally different than the actual "cog game" you wind up playing. I still really enjoy observing players of RR and seeing learning curves across age, gender, and occupation. If I had a degree in cognitive science or worked in some neurological field, I'd really want to use this game as a tool, perhaps even as therapy. I've also discovered that "Ricochet Robot" (sic) is the first edition. [BUY ME!]

Squint: New in the mail for me (hooray for gift cards!) and discovered by Judson back home. Cat had really enjoyed it, so I'm glad that I now own it. This game plays like timed Pictionary using squiggles and images already drawn on tiles. Here's another game that works like a spotlight into neural processes. How visual are you? How abstractly can you represent a noun or concept in order to have others guess it? I'd say it makes for a good light, filler/starter, non-gamer sort-of-party game. [BUY ME!]

Citadels: Not a game owned by the regular group but by a new fellow named Daniel. I'd only ever played the German version, "Ohne Furcht und Adel," (the fish tells me this means "Without fear and aristocracy") so I had a little bit of a speedbump in referring to certain characters by their German names, namely the Koenig (King) and the Baumeister (Architect). This is a competitive building card game where the player roles switch each round. It feels a little like Meuterer or Draco & Co (I think), with a healthy portion of San Juan. Observationally, I think that the art of teaching a game's rules is a (learnable) skill. I enjoyed playing it, but we had three people show up at the first round, so I felt like they had to sit around and watch us play. I also don't know if it was the best choice, mood-wise; it's about medium-heavy. There's also the Dark City expansion with new characters and buildings, but the current version includes it already. [BUY ME!]

HEX HEX: This is a delightful little game of back-stabbing. Really, it's front-stabbing- there's a Hex in play and you don't want it. Much like Hot Potato, you're going to do whatever you can to give it to someone else. The winner of each game (you play n + 1 rounds, where n is the number of players) gets to make up a new game rule that stays with that deck of cards. Fun times. [YOU CAN'T BUY ME YET BECAUSE THE REPRINT/REVISION DOESN'T COME OUT UNTIL MARCH!]

Modern Art: Blah blah bidding blah math blah blah derogatory art criticism blah blah great game blah Knizia blah. Regular readers should know about this by now. Also, I didn't play it this time, so I can't directly comment on how the new guy reacted to it. I know that I helped influence play, though. Greg: "Mischa, tell her to bid $60,000!" Mischa, looking up from Greylight: "Bid 60!" Kelly: "60!" I'm pretty sure the bidding went up past that figure, though. I heard a lot of table talk, which makes me happy. [BUY ME!]

Guillotine: I can't do any better than this game's tagline: It's the revolutionary card game where you win by getting a head. *rimshot* Yep, it's French Revolution-themed. Yep, it's silly. Yep, you're killing off nobles and keeping their heads. Yep, there's a character called the Piss Boy- he's only worth one point whereas Marie Antoinette's worth five. The whole meat of the game revolves around players rearranging the line in front of Madame Guillotine before taking the card for points. Overall, this is a good light filler game where five players can get in a game in a half hour. There's nothing really revolutionary going on here, but the theme carries it a long way. And it's cheap. [BUY ME!]

Odin's Ravens: I didn't play this, but I saw Dan and Kelly playing it. It's another one of Rio Grande's Kosmos line of two-player game that looks like it ultimately is more strategic than it looks like at first glance. (Yes, this does make sense.) [BUY ME!]

Naturally, many other folks at the shop had games going; these six only include those I participated in directly or knew the players personally.

I have a backlog of about a dozen movies I haven't Nickel Toured since the holidays. Please accept my apologies in this. The diligent movie-watching staff of the Non-Waterlogged Blog thank you for your continued patience.

In two weeks, on the first Saturday in February, I should be getting together with other Austin didj players for a jam session. I'm really looking forward to it! If anyone wants to tag along, you're more than welcome. Comment, email, or otherwise prompt me for details.

That's about it for this post- Cat and I need to go car-hunting. Wish us luck!

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