Friday, July 14, 2006


This week's Escapist has some pretty good articles, including one on identifying and ending bad trends in videogames, and another speculative piece on the possibility of games actively helping you learn instead of just memorizing level patterns. This issue marks the one-year anniversary of the Escapist, and I think it has improved greatly in the last few months. When the magazine first came online, I didn't read it often, nor really enjoyed it overmuch when I did read it. I now think differently about games- more critically, more aware of their interrelation and history.

Last week's open gaming included a five-player game of Dragon Delta (BGG, BUY ME!) and an eight-player game of RoboRally (BGG, BUY ME!) with a truly epic finale that came down to one turn and almost to a single register phase and a respawn making the difference between which team won. As it happened, I discovered I misread the team rules for the RoboRally scenario, but we decided to go ahead with this variant anyway. As written, four robots on a team must still individually touch flags in order. I misread it as the team must touch the flags in order. So if a team member touches flag one, the others can instantly head for flag two. Chaos, destruction, friendly fire, and repeated robotic ruination ensued.

I also tweaked my Blogger template; please let me know if you see anything weird or unusual in your browser of choice. Speaking of such matters, if you use Windows and haven't installed Firefox for some reason, you can give me money by installing Firefox with the shiny Google Toolbar. (There's a big clicky button in the sidebar you have to use.) Seriously. Oh, I'm shameless.

Wednesday's playtest for 1984 Prime fell through- I had three cancellations over the course of the day and we wound up playing the Mountain Witch instead, for a very fulfilling game session. If one of the players does up an Actual Play report (hint hint), I'll give out a link.

The Awesome and Hardworking Andy K has the 2006 Game Chef reviews collected and live on the net. You can read the peer reviews of my entry (Tapas: The Sampling), if you like. In a nutshell: Good ideas not completely implemented. As much as I like the idea of peer reviews, I remain unconvinced that entrants are good judges.

I also realized yesterday that I haven't played about a quarter of the games I own. Absolutely haven't played at all, not counting ones I haven't played in so long I don't remember details of play. To my defense, some are games I recently picked up at thrift stores or on discount, or have for the sole purposes of trading to others; For instance, I'm not real big on the hex-and-counter wargame from the seventies and eighties, but I have four or five of these, just the same. To help me put things into perspective, about a fifth of my shelf is up for trade.

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