Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Game Night Picks 1: Galaxy Trucker

This is Jack Burton on the Pork Chop Express, talking to whoever's listening out there. Like I told my ex-wife, "Honey, I never drive faster than I can see. And besides, it's all in the reflexes."
- Kurt Russell, "Big Trouble in Little China"

Imagine you are a trucker. You have to build your own truck from parts found in a junk yard. You have to select each piece individually, hoping you can connect everything and have enough power for the equipment needed to keep you and your cargo safe. You need to focus on the time, otherwise other truckers gain advantage over cargo found on the journey. If, when time runs out, your truck isn't put together properly, parts become dislodged and you drive with whatever crew and parts are left around the engine. Imagine leaving with your malformed truck, picking up whatever scraps you can carry, and trying to avoid further damage. Imagine doing all this again, trying to build a more complex truck each time. Also, imagine this is in space.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game Night Picks Intro

Party games come in different flavors, from unnecessarily challenging to downright silly. Because they require less devotion than tournament/living games, casual gamers gravitate toward party games. I'd like to start talking about a few of my favorite choices for game nights, and a few odd finds I've encountered. Here are a few scales and examples used to determine if the games discussed on the page will be appropriate for your game night.

Easy:Anyone can play it, no experience required. (Apples to Apples)
Approachable: Anyone can play it, but it helps to have experience with other games.(Monopoly)
Moderate: Better for older/more experienced player, may be a little more strategic. (Settlers of Catan)
Hard: Strategic games, usually longer. A longer attention span helps. (Twilight Imperium)
Challenging: Very strategic, tends to be less casual. (Chess)

Depending on the difficulty of the game, it may last 20 minutes or the whole night. When possible, I'll try to give an estimate on how long each game takes.

Sobriety Check Point
I don't have an actual scale for this, but I'm putting it here because a lot of game nights involve booze. Some games are best played sober, some games require drinking, and some games are so long you can witness an evolution as people get drunk. I'll give you my two cents when I can.

Friendship Integrity
 A good friend described Settlers of Catan to me this way: "It's a good game, but it ruins friendships". So, for fun, I'd love to include a scale used to measure competitive tendencies.

Solid: not very competitive
Breakable: somewhat competitive
Fragile:You are playing Settlers of Catan
Irreconcilable: You are playing Diplomacy

Hope this helps with future posts. And, as always, have fun playing!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Void and The Rubik's Cube: Playing RPG's with Mixed Skill Levels

Expect the unexpected; this is the law of game masters and character players. No one knows what devious plots the GM concocts, and the GM can't always predict how the players will react. I could probably start an entire blog based on DnD games gone horribly wrong, and I'm sure a few of you can, too. For now, let's focus on my first campaign ever and how the GM was able to maintain interest in a game where everyone was divided - in and out of character.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mastering the Rainbow: How to tackle drafting tournaments in Dice Masters

There are many ways to experience a game for the first time. My first exposure to Dice Masters wasn't even playing the game proper, it was a draft. A local store was holding a tournament and invited me to make a selection for someone who no-showed. Not going to sugar coat it: I am a sucker for opening mystery packages and looking at the art on cards. Of course I was going to love the draft, but I wasn't expecting to like the game itself. As it turns out, it's not only great to play casually, the Rainbow Draft/ Tournament combination is good introduction for anyone wanting to test their competitive game skills. I'd like to give a few tips for anyone interested in playing Dice Masters but have little experience playing in tournaments.

Star Wars: Rebellion - A Review from a Casual Player

*This was originally published on 4/8/16 on the Armada Tactics at Steel Squadron HQ blog, ran by my better half. Check out Biggs IRL and his posts here*
“Casual” gaming is sometimes confused with gaming set on “easy mode”. While I rarely play in tournaments, I do enjoy playing games with more strategy and finer mechanics. Meta-gaming doesn’t always hold my interest, but I can appreciate a system that continuously blends its engineering with its atmosphere. Yes, I fly casually, but I also enjoy the long hours spent playing games like Twilight Imperium. Actually, part of why I recommend Rebellion is because of how much similar it is to Twilight Imperium. It’s a universe that changes throughout the game and each player is given a pretty hard winning condition to meet. Anyone who regularly plays games like X-Wing Miniatures or Armada will like Rebellion, but it can pose as an interesting experience for anyone who enjoy the Star Wars series. I want to talk about this game from the perspective of a casual player – not only get other casual players to try this game, but to encourage more veteran players to challenge their counterparts with more complex gameplay.