Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

SteamBirds

March 6, 2010

This game is a little bit addicting.

SteamBirds

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2009 Goal Review/2010 Look Ahead:Hobby

December 30, 2009

Time to do some housekeeping and get some things out of the way I’ve been meaning to do.

Let’s look at the hobby related items first, since they’re the shortest. ¬†ūüôā

1. Play 4 wargames. ¬†I’m counting this one successful enough. ¬†I believe earlier in the year, we completed a playing of A Victory Lost. ¬†I also got in 2 playings of A Victory Denied in the fall. ¬†Tabletop wise, that was probably pretty much it. ¬†But, I’ve been playing countless Risk and Axis & Allies clones online lately, so the sheer bulk of those should count. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I didn’t get anything done solo, but I’m still counting this one a success. ¬†Let’s renew this for 2010.

2. BGG game collection updated. ¬†Fail. ¬†I’m finding my way to BoardGameGeek.com less and less. ¬†It’s still a great site that I use for reference, but I’m hanging out there next to never. ¬†Renew this just because I think it’s a nice way to keep track of things. ¬†I see things I have in it that I don’t notice when I look at my shelves.

3. BGG play list up to date. ¬†Fail. ¬†I probably didn’t play enough to care. ¬†It’s nice to have but this one will probably fall by the wayside. ¬†I probably care more about what wargames I’ve played than everything. ¬†I still need to write up my last AVD session. ¬†If I can remember much, other than the outcome.

Oops, I did it again

December 13, 2009

That’s right. ¬†Black Friday got me again. ¬†I’d gone nearly the whole day until I happened upon a blog that mentioned the MMP Black Friday sale around 10:30 pm. ¬†A sucker for MMP sales, I discovered that they were offering Valor of the Guards at a nice discount. ¬†Now yes, I know I haven’t played Advanced Squad Leader since my youngest was born, but I just love the system. ¬†I know I’ve forgotten more of the rules than I actually learned, but I just get all tingly thinking about the counters and kick-ass maps. ¬†I know that I’ve never clipped any of my ASL counters, but that didn’t stop me from buying A Bridge to Far 3 years ago and Pegasus Bridge the year before that (most likely from one of their Black Friday sales).

I want to relearn the system and get back into playing. ¬†I don’t know how active the community is anymore. ¬†I used to follow the ASL mailing list which was always quite active, but I haven’t checked on its existence in quite some time. ¬†I know this is a pipe dream for me to get back into the system, considering all my side projects I’ve been in and out of and those I haven’t even started. ¬†But nephew #4 has shown interest in it in the past and I have resolved to introduce him to the system.

Valor of the Guards really struck a cord for me because I was always interested in Red Barricades but it was out of print by the time I got into things. ¬†VotG has the same sort of rubble strewn map of Stalingrad, but there’s no giant multi hex factories with interior building hexes. ¬†2 beautiful map sheets come in the box which make for a massive city battleground. ¬†5(!) sheets of counters, special rules, campaign games, and a bunch of scenarios. ¬†Looks like some nice infantry only scenarios in there, so that may make getting some counters on the map a little more likely, if I can wade back into the rules.

To address a glut of unclipped ASL counters, a plethora of other unclipped wargames, and to prevent any further shoddy clipping on my part, I have ordered the C4 Counter Cutter.  So, I may be able to do some accelerated clipping over my Christmas vacation.

Only 8 more days of work and I’m done for the year. ¬†I’m really getting stoked about that.

Games By Email

November 4, 2009

I’ve been enjoying the online email gaming at GamesByEmail. ¬†It started with playing a Risk clone (Gambit). ¬†I’m a bit worn out on the whole RIsk front and have cut my regular game back to a 5 player free for all.

We’re now into Axis & Allies (WW2 on the site) and have been enjoying that. ¬†It’s much easier playing this at the email pace rather than setting up the pieces and playing it live. ¬†I’ve probably already played more games of it online than I ever played live. ¬†The last live one being at an early Pit BBQ. ¬†I wish you could add some more variety to it, as I’m starting to find my moves being somewhat scripted by the nationality I’m playing. ¬†Not much room for creativity here if you don’t want your allies yelling at you. ¬†They really need a Civ type game that would take a while to play.

We’ve just moved into History of the World (Empires on the site). ¬†It’s a through the ages type game where you use your civilization each epoch to score as many points as possible. ¬†It’s a bit different, but gives us a longer struggle. ¬†Not much in the Civ vein. ¬†The civilization you play dies out after each of your turns.

I’d love to play their Diplomacy clone, but I don’t see how well that would work in an online arena. ¬†The live game has a 5 minute period before each turn where the players attempt to sway each other to support their attacks. ¬†I don’t think emails and posts would really achieve the same thing.

A coworker and I started a game of chess on the site. ¬†I used to really get into chess when I was young, though most of the games I played were on a handheld electronic game. ¬†I’m going to get creamed because I don’t have the slightest clue about strategy in chess.

Surface

October 30, 2009

When is this going to be widespread enough that I can buy one for $100. ¬†Too bad I can’t write things for it in pure Java. ¬†Google needs to start designing one of these babies. ¬†Microsoft has been at it for what seems like 5 years and we’re still no closer to having it as your average home appliance.

A Victory Denied

October 1, 2009

The night before and afternoon of PitCon ’09, #4 and I gave A Victory Denied a playing. ¬†AVL follows up on A Victory Loss, using much the same system with some streamlining. ¬†This takes us back earlier in the war where the Russian army is in a last ditch effort to keep the Wehrmacht from blowing through and taking Moscow. ¬†I took the Germans and he took the Russians.

AVD uses the same chit pull headquarter(HQ) activation system as AVL. ¬†There’s some additional chits in there though. ¬†An air chit that replenishes a Luftwaffe attack for the German player and also enables a one game use German bomber attack. ¬†An artillery chit which allows the Russian player to make a variable number of artillery attacks and also enables a one game use Russian rocket attack. ¬†A supply chit for when supply is checked. ¬†And a reinforcement chit that triggers the the first and sixth turn German reinforcements, first turn Timoshenko reinforcement group for the Russians, special Russian reinforcement buys, and German releases of Minsk Pocket infantry reserves. ¬†As normal, there’s your normal crop of HQ’s that get placed in the draw cup.

A couple things are different for normal HQ activation. ¬†The drawn active HQ also activates any HQ’s in range. ¬†The German 9th army HQ pull allows any infantry HQ to be activated. ¬†Panzer groups don’t have HQ’s on the map. ¬†When their group is pulled, you pick one unit from each corp under the group, and can keep chaining to additional units from the same corp within 3 spaces of each other. ¬†The Guiderian chit can be picked by the German and placed off to the side. ¬†It can put any chit pull and immediately activate the 2nd Panzer Group.

The victory point cities are all randomly given VP point chits that neither player sees. ¬†So you won’t know where you truly stand until the end of the game. ¬†At the end of turn 6, the German player rolls a die to see if he must take Moscow by the end of turn 10, or panzer units are drawn away and the game ends after turn 8.

As par for the course, we got a few things wrong.

  • The Germans start with a cavalry unit next to the 2nd Panzer Group. ¬†We weren’t sure about it, so just said it was part of the nearest Panzer Corp and moved it when they did. ¬†This had pretty much no effect on our game. ¬†From checking out the Geek, an infantry HQ needs to get within command range to activate it.
  • We were under the impression that if the Russian strung a series of HQ’s across the board within command range of each other, they could all activate when any of them activated. ¬†While this super-massive activation never happened, I did purposefully overrun some HQ’s to make sure it didn’t. ¬†I’m not sure if we had any extra activations that weren’t supposed to happen or not. ¬†This probably didn’t have much impact on us other than maybe diverting some of my panzers to overrun HQ’s.
  • Retreating panzers that can retreat through a hex with friendly unit can ignore zone of control losses. ¬†Overlooked this and it had some impact.
  • Probably the biggest thing we messed up was for some reason I was under the impression that when a German 9th Army chit was drawn, all German infantry HQ’s were activated. ¬†In reality, you are supposed to pick one and then it can activate additional HQ’s just like the Russian activations. ¬†You would think this would have had a huge impact on our game and enabled an easy march to victory for the Germans. ¬†You would be wrong.

Let me just clear up the outcome and then give my excuses. ¬†ūüôā

#4 and the Russians won by a 41-21 margin, an embarrassing huge defeat for my Germans.  We had the Hitler distracted roll and the game ended after 8 turns.

Things could have been a lot closer if I would’ve been a little more careful with some of my panzers, or remembered the retreating through hexes containing friendly units in enemy ZOC. ¬†I lost 16 points from lost Panzers. ¬†Remembering that rule might have saved me a couple, but I need to be a little more careful and not go for a complete encirclement. ¬†Artillery causes bad things when I do that.

Late in the game, I left one of my captured cities totally undefended and it was taken back by a penetrating Russian.

The final excuse I have is my die rolling. ¬†Messing up the 9th Army activations should’ve given me a tremendous advantage, but I look at it as play balancing out my horrific die rolling. ¬†If we would have played that right, the Russians probably would’ve thrown me off the map.

To start the game, the 2nd Panzer Group gets to make free attacks. ¬†My first two rolls were 1. ¬†Things didn’t get much better from there and my free attacks did very little. ¬†So little in fact, that I used my once per game bomber attack at my first opportunity and rolled, yep, 1. ¬†I swear, I probably rolled 1 or 2 over 50% of the time. ¬†#4 would have to attest to that. ¬†It was the worst spat of die rolling I’ve ever had in my life. ¬†If I would’ve been playing Advanced Squad Leader, I could’ve won any scenario with a single assault engineer, even PTO. ¬†(In ASL, low rolling is good.) ¬†If I needed to roll anything to cause a desired affect, I’d roll a 5 or 6. ¬†If I needed anything but a 1 to cause an affect, I’d roll a 1.

It was horrible and I hope I never experience such a lopsided bit of rolling again.

Given all that, I still really enjoyed the game. ¬†I find things to move a lot quicker than in AVL. ¬†The additional chits introduce some additional variability with not knowing when the supply phase or reinforcement phase will be triggered. ¬†It plays faster than AVL. ¬†It probably took us around 8 hours total, but that involved getting familiar with the rules, a lot of chit chat, and getting distracted. ¬†Now that we’re pretty familiar with things, I think we could get it done in half that time or less if we stayed focused.

Probably the only thing I don’t like is the Russian artillery attacks. ¬†These can be made by any unit against an enemy unit in an adjacent hex, or two hexes away if the unit is on a hill. ¬†I think if the unit is out of supply they shouldn’t be able to act as the spotter. ¬†I had units completely surrounded and still had artillery ruin my day.

#4 and I are planning to start another game of it Friday night. ¬†I’m definitely going to have to rethink my strategy, but I’m looking forward to giving it another go.

Star Trek stuff

September 26, 2009

Toolman lent me his old Star Trek role playing game to look at and draw creative inspiration from.¬† I always heard that it had quite the in-depth player creation mechanism.¬† I haven’t really looked at it yet, but I stumbled upon these couple of links and thought they looked pretty cool.

Federation Commander sounds like the lazy man’s version of Star Fleet Battles.

Federation and Empire sounds like a pretty cool epic grand strategy game.

They are both made by Star Fleet Games.

PitCon '09: Success

September 7, 2009

After a two year hiatus, a Pit gathering was held.  Stablemasters of The Toolbox, Clan Bloodwode, and Knightblades (former,current, future?) made the trek up to the great white north.

While plans included playing Warrior Knights, it was shelved in the too involved bin. ¬†This game has a lot of interesting and cool mechanics, but as a quick casual game, it’s not going to work. ¬†Shindo, #4, and myself played this years ago, and while fun, you need to be dedicated to play it. ¬†We didn’t want to spend the whole night refiguring and teaching one game.

We started off with Munchkin.  We were all familiar with it so it just required some quick lookups here and there.  ClanB got off to a fast start, getting up to level 6 and making a lot of enemies, before he was blasted back to the lowest level character (which was still 1) by a monster.  After playing this for over an hour with no one close, we agreed to lower the target level to 5 from 10.  I was able to kill two monsters in one combat to take the win.

On to Modern Art. ¬†I really find enjoyment in this game. ¬†The first two seasons saw the same three artists grab the same positions. ¬†I didn’t seem to be having good paintings to coincide with them. ¬†Season 3 mixed things up a little bit. ¬†Going into season 4, I felt like I really needed to make a move if I was going to have a chance. ¬†I was dead wrong. ¬†I tried to artificially pump up an unknown artist, having purchased three of his paintings. ¬†But my other dealers didn’t feel as strongly and the season ended before another painting of his could get out. ¬†My painter lost the tie breaker and all three were worthless. ¬†Final tally saw Clan Bloodwode win with $375,000. ¬†Surprisingly, I finished second at $345,000. ¬†If I would have not bought anything in that last season, I may have won.

Next up was Citadels. ¬†Another fun game that we haven’t played much of. ¬†I love the shifting roles and the assassin and thief really keep everyone on their toes. ¬†Knightblades and I took a dislike to each other from the get go, with him stealing my starting money on the first round, and me assassinated him on the second. ¬†From there it seemed like the poor merchant could never do anything, always being a target. ¬†Clan Bloodwode started off with a lot of nice buildings, before I took the warlord and destroyed his big money university. ¬†I ended up completing my 8th building and destroying another Clan building for good measure and finished with the most value for the win.

To finish up the night, we had a go at Betrayal at House on the Hill.  Our four brave characters explored much of the house for a while.  I seemed to be the only one having to draw omen cards.  The omens turned out to good things for me and I was able to successfully make the required roll to avoid the traitor event happening.  I had a dog and a girl following me, and had a few items that I could use in a pinch.  I kept getting sanity boosts and was nearly off the chart.  Clan Bloodwode started with the scientist and kept getting knowldge boosts.  Eventually I failed an omen roll, I think I had drawn like 5 and one other player 1.  The betrayal turned out to be the Dark Fiddler playing music in ballroom, beckoning us to come to him.  No one started out as the betrayor.  Every turn we had to make a sanity check.  If we failed we had to move by the shortest route and at max speed to the ballroom.  To win, I had to take some item to a certain room and then make me and anybody else there had to make a combined four successful checks against something.  I was able to get there on the same turn the betrayal happened, getting lucky to get through two rooms that required me to do some check to exit.

Things were going well at first.  We had one check down, and another of my compatriats had arrived.  But then Knightblades was compelled to the ballroom (losing a check and moving there), and then failed his check in the ballroom, which turned him into a traitor.

I made one more check, failed one, and my other team member made one.  Putting us at three successful checks and needing one more.  Unfortunately, all Knightblades had to do to win was end his turn in a certain room, which he was able to do.

In three playings, I believe that’s the first time the traitor won. ¬†I almost find more enjoyment before the traitor is revealed, because then it’s more about exploring and such. ¬†Once the betrayal happens it seems like its a quick ride to the end. ¬†Not a whole lot of player interaction in this one, but I still find it fun.

I just want to thank everyone again for attending and I hope they had as good a time as I did.

Long road to

September 4, 2009

Here I am on the eve of possibly the only (or one of the few) game days I’ll have this year, and I’m sorely unprepared. ¬†Usually, I’m cramming and refreshing on rules systems for the entirety of the prior week. ¬†This week, I’ve pretty much looked at none.

I’ve been staying up too late already this week leading up to Saturday and am starting to drag. ¬†Add in the normal late nights that gaming usually means for me (plus the fact that #4 and I may tackle A Victory Denied tonight) and this makes for a dangerous cocktail.

See you on the other side.

I never realize how dull my razor is until I start using a new one…

Thoughts of recent yesterdays

August 26, 2009

This week is seeing a variety of things arrive for me. ¬†Yesterday, Beginning Google Web Toolkit arrived. ¬† It’s a book on GWT which is one of the things I’ve been tinkering around with lately. ¬†(Someday I’ll continue the what have I been programming lately posts.) ¬†I got it for like $3 from one of Amazon’s partners. ¬†This is very much a beginners book, there’s not much it offers me I haven’t already figured out. ¬†I should have probably went for a more in depth book, but the price and the relative newness of it wouldn’t let me pass it up. ¬†With GWT 1.7 release, things are moving toward a better event model handling approach, so nothing is new enough to address that yet, besides blogs and YouTube videos.

Monday, A Victory Denied arrived from MMP. ¬†This is looking to be just as cool as A Victory Lost. ¬†I’ve read through the section on combat so far. ¬†So far, it’s very similiar to AVL rules-wise, but has enough differences to stay fresh. ¬†Elite Russian units popping up in an attack should be enough to keep the German player holding their breath everytime the Russian rolls an attack. ¬†The unit activation differs slightly from AVL also. ¬†The activated HQ can activate other HQ’s within its command range which can then activate units. ¬†Also the activation for Panzer Groups is a little different also. ¬†I’ll try to do a “live” box opening sometime, though the contents are pretty close to what AVL had. ¬†I’m looking forward to getting this on the table with #4 in the future.

Not exactly this week, but Thursday saw the arrival of a shiny new toy.  I eluded to this last week of something arriving to take up some space in our newly cleaned garage.  The story goes that our old Grand Caravan has slowly been degrading.  We were without air conditioning for going on 2 years now, not wanting to sink the money into it.  Then, it started flooding on the inside.  The van had been sitting outside for most of the spring and summer.  Over the last month, whenever I would drive it after it rained, I would be assaulted by water coming in from under the passenger side dash.

The final straw came when I went on a business trip and had to leave the van parked where we met. ¬†When I came back, it seemed like near sink fulls of water were pouring in. ¬†I had to pull over and open up the door. ¬†I’m the first one to admit I can be somewhat dense, but this finally convinced me that with “cash for clunkers” going on, I’d be an idiot not to let the government help buy me a new car. ¬†I sure wasn’t going to get that much trading it in on my own.

So we began our search. ¬†We looked around the area. ¬†I really wanted to buy an American car, especially after dealing with Taylor Kia. ¬†But amazingly (just like when we ended up with the Rondo) there wasn’t any super good deals that knocked our socks off. ¬†Then, the wifal-unit did some research into what cars were eligible. ¬†One that was was a car that we had both always really liked but thought would be way too expensive. ¬†She looked up the nearest dealer and found that the prices were at the same level as the other vehicles we were looking at. ¬†So a little trip, a few test drives, a little bargaining, an amazing deal, and a whole lot of pain dealing with the Ohio BMV to get proof of my previous registration and we replaced our clunker.

Here it is:

Front view of our Clubman

Front view of our Clubman

Side View of our Clubman

Side View of our Clubman