29 January 2017


Some time in the last year, I learned to play T.I.M.E. Stories. I'm not going to review it here, because it's a very different kind of game. I'll just give you a quick overview before going on to my main point.

The game itself is, similarly to a roleplaying game's core rulebook, more about the mechanics and less about the objective. Whereas most board games state, 'To win this game, you must collect the most gold coins' (or whatever), when you play a roleplaying game, the rules state, 'These are the mechanics involved in playing. Now decide what goal your group must accomplish in order to win.'

T.I.M.E. Stories's base game contains the board and all the counters you'll need to play. It also includes a deck of cards. Most of these cards are similar to the pages of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Each player is sent back in time to occupy the body of a person in a specific place. Whilst in this body, the player must help to solve a problem of some sort to fix the timeline. You lay out the cards in a specific order on the board, and the art of these cards collectively shows you what you see. For example, in the included scenario, you are inhabiting the body of patients in a 1920's mental asylum. The first set of cards that you lay out on the board will, when seen together, show you the day room of the asylum. Here's what I mean:
Five cards, laid out side by side. Each card shows one fifth of the total image, which is a painting of a day room in a mental asylum. The card on the left shows a nurse looking at the viewer, standing in front of the nearest window. The second card shows a man wearing a strange contraption on his head sitting in a lounger with a chess set on the small table in front of him. In the third card, as the wall of the room is seen running into the distance, with tall windows along it, you see a woman in a white patient's robe painting at an easel. The fourth card has the corner of the room, so the next wall starts moving into the foreground of the image's perspective. There is a love seat against the window of this card, on which sits a man in a suit coat and fedora, wearing a plague doctor's mask. The final card shows a chest of drawers on top of which rests a painting of a man.

21 January 2017

Board Game Geek's Top 100

I was looking at the top 100 list of Board Game Geek a week or so ago. I realised that, despite all the games I've played in my life, I've only played about 16 of the ones in the top 100.

So I've made a resolution. I don't normally do resolutions, for several reasons. I think New Year's is a stupid holiday.  I believe that every day you wake up is a chance for a new beginning; you shouldn't have to wait for a specific day of the year. Besides, most New Year's Resolutions are silly, and forgotten before January ends anyway.

So this is not a New Year's Resolution. This is just a resolution that happens to coincide with New Year's, and is measured against the calendar year. My resolution is this:

By the end of 2017, I will be able to say, at least once, that I have played 80 or more of the games on the Board Game Geek's Top 100 List.

14 January 2017

Board Game Review: Push a Monster

Sometimes, it's nice to play a very simple game that's suitable for children as well as adults. Games that don't require a lot of thinking, and don't even involve a lot of luck. Games of skill, like Run Yourself Ragged (which has apparently been renamed Screwball Scramble). I'm not one to shirk a 'kids' game.' Labyrinth is one of my favourite games, after all!

So when I was asked to join in a game of Push a Monster, I agreed. It's a very simple game, so let's jump right into it. Here are some numbers:

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.

Strategy: 1
Randomness: 2
Complexity: 0
Humour: None*
Attractiveness: Ideal
Average Length of Gameplay: 15 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
   Strategy: Low
   Conflict: Medium
   Social Manipulation: Low
   Fantasy: Low

07 January 2017

I Want to Play More Games

Note: The article begins below. I'm going to try something different. I'm contemplating the idea of making this blog a podcast as well. To that end, I've made today's entry into a prototype podcast. Let me know what you think. Or, if you're not interested, skip to the regular text version below the podcast.

It's my own fault, really.

I should never have agreed to play with them. John decided that, for his birthday, he wanted to run a special two-session game. We played The Dresden Files Role Playing Game. I played a young changeling who had just recently learned of his faerie heritage and was trying to learn more about his father to understand why he would agree to enter into a somewhat deleterious relationship with a faerie woman. There was also a necromancer, a witch, and a vampire of the Yellow Court. For the first session, we also had a were-armadillo, but that player's son fell ill and he had to miss the second session.

Ever since then, I've been wanting to play more games. It didn't help that, as I was sitting around with the Dork Spouse and two of my good friends, we somehow managed to talk about the Little Fears RPG that I have. I've only been involved in one session of that game, which did not turn out well, because I was GMing for a group of Butt Kickers and Power Gamers who were unable to appreciate the 'you are a child fighting against the monsters from Closetland that adults cannot perceive' aspect of the game.