Board Games

Vegas Showdown Five-Player House Rule

Last night was my first opportunity to play Vegas Showdown with five players. With three or four players it’s a game I enjoy immensely, but adding a fifth player seemed to break it (despite the scale enhancements in the rules).

While we didn’t implement it quite in time to save last night’s game, here’s a simple house rule that I think will keep the game fun when playing with five.

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More than Four Players (and the Gaming Sweet Spot)

Ever notice how some games are great, until you try them with a different number of players? Maybe this game works best with three while another one only works really well with more than four players, despite what it says on the box about supporting two to six.

I’ll take a look at the sweet spot for a few games and why I think these games work well (or don’t work at all) with more players, plus some suggestions on how they might be improved to scale for a larger group.

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A Few Games on the Horizon

Since my return from Origins I have been distracted, both by the myriad of games I have been playing and by the piles of work that seemed to amass from simply taking two days off. I have a few posts I would like to write but I have simply not had the time to focus on them and get them done. Still I wanted to take a little bit of time and write about three games that are on my radar.

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Snow Tails – First Impressions

Compared to some of my First Impressions posts this will probably be pretty short. It’s not that Snow Tails is any less deserving of space but rather it’s more that the game is fairly simple to describe. I have to admit that this is one of the reasons I decided to do this post today.

There are several other games (Le Havre for example) I have played recently that I feel the need to either put up in a First Impressions post or write a full scale review about, but most of them (again Le Havre comes to mind) would take up a lot of time to discuss. Since I sort of feel that I am still recovering from Origins (and the pile of work that I came back to after being away for a couple of days) I didn’t want to tackle anything too extravagant.

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2008 Meeples Choice Awards

Spielfrieks user group, of which I am now a member, has narrowed their choices for the Meeples Choice Award down to 25 selections. The original lists were quite extensive so while this may still look a bit unwieldy it’s certainly better than what came before.

The list is as follows:

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Battlestar Galactica Expansion Announced

Since we started playing BSG The Board Game (and boy have we played it, I would say we have played this game more than any other recently) we have bantered about “the expansion”. Mind you no expansion had been announced but hey, it’s Fantasy Flight there HAS to be an expansion coming.

Well… now it’s official!

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Battlestar Galactica – First Impressions

bsg

Just so we are clear this is about the game Battlestar Galactica and not either of the two TV series. The game is simply called Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game however so it’s possible it could be a bit confusing.

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Small World Design Contest

This is pretty cool! Days of Wonder is having a design contest for Small World. Many of us had already assumed that there would be some kind of expansion for the game and it does indeed look like the company has plans for this.

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The Dice Tower Gaming Awards

The Dice Tower has announced their Gaming Awards for 2008 and I wanted to comment on them briefly.

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More Thoughts About Reviewing Games

In my Review of Reviews post I touched upon some of my thoughts on reviewing games. As I have been thinking more about game reviews lately I felt like addressing some of these thoughts.

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Market of Alturien Review

Market of Alturien box cover

Market of Alturien feels like a new twist on a familiar classic, sort of a more-skill-less-luck Monopoly if you will. After having played it several times I’ll provide a brief review of the game and how I feel about it.

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Cosmic Encounter – First Impressions

cosmic encounter

I toyed with the idea of calling this Cosmic Encounter post something else since really these are not my “first impressions”. Cosmic Encounter was originally published in 1977 (the same year I was published, for those interested) by Eon. It has since seen versions from West End Games, Mayfair Games, Avalon Hill, and now Fantasy Flight Games.

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Small World – First Impressions

small world game

Continuing my marathon of new game additions I recently received Small World as a gift. As I mentioned in my Galaxy Trucker post I want to give First Impressions of all the games I play and then later on (assuming I play the game enough to give a decent review) write a Review of the game. So, this article is about my First Impressions of Small World.

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Pandemic: On the Brink Rules Available

I already Twittered about this but I decided I wanted to write a bit more after reading through the rules, which can be found here.

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Galaxy Trucker – First Impressions

Over the weekend I received Galaxy Trucker as an early birthday gift from one of my friends and I wanted to take a few minutes to write about it (see side bar).

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Chaos

Recently my life has felt rather chaotic and not in the old “chaotic good” kind of way but more in the “completely confused or disordered” kind of way from dictionary.com. I don’t really want to go into my problems, everyone has problems of their own of course, but it did kind of make me think about something I have been missing recently in games: chaos.

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Eight Player Dominion?

A while back it was mentioned on one of the BGG forums that Dominion: Intrigue would have rules for playing with up to eight players but that the eight would be divided into two “tables” of players. I made some kind of snide comment (you can search for it if you want) saying that the rules would be “to play with eight players, divide the Kingdom Cards in half and play two games!” but after popping over to Rio Grande today I noticed that yes, indeed, they are touting Dominion as an eight-player game.

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Amazon Wish List – What Games I’m Looking at and Why

Recently I put together an Amazon Wish List and, lo and behold, it has a bunch of games on it!

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Regarding Casual Games – My Thoughts, My Theory

Recently I have been thinking a lot about casual games and I wanted to ramble about these thoughts and provide you all with a small theory I have.

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Agricola – Review of the Very Popular Intense Farming Sim

agricola-box-cover

Agricola is not simply “Very Popular” it is in fact the number one game over at BGG. While for some this might not mean much, it certainly influenced my decision to purchase it (or rather have it purchased when one of my friends said “what should I buy?” while we were at the local game shop).

So, reviewing this game is a tad bit intimidating. I sort of feel as though I should take a stand and either say “wow this game is awesome OMG, OMG!” or take a contrary position and bash it and talk about how “freaking overrated this ‘been there, done that’ eurogame is” but really I can’t honestly take either of those positions. There are things I like about Agricola and things that I don’t like and I will try to express them without bias.

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Language Independent Games – My Response to Matt Thrower

Matt Thrower has a problem with language independent games and he decided to voice this problem over on Board Game News. If you scroll down you will see that I commented on his post and I wanted to make sure I linked from here to there.

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Some Words from Donald X

This post is sort of a follow up post to what I wrote yesterday about Dominion as we have a bit of information right from The Donald himself. (No… not Trump but he had a pretty cool game too!)

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Saying “No Thanks” to Dominion

After reading my review of Dominion it would be hard to imagine that recently when people have suggested it, I have shrugged and said something along the lines of “If everyone else wants to, I guess” and yet that is exactly what has happened.

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History of the World – Rules Error Discovered After Years of Play

So, I was on BGG yesterday popping around and I saw this forum title: Reallocation: the uber card. This made me scratch my head as I have discussed just how bad I thought Reallocation was. This lead me back to the rules and to discover that we had been doing something wrong for all of the years we have been playing.

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Local Game Stores

A couple things recently have gotten me thinking about local game stores and I decided I just wanted to post a quick little ramble about them. I would, as always, love to hear some comments about this topic so please stick around and leave a few words.

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Last Night on Earth FAQ and a Tiny Bit of Dominion Info

I have a few pieces of info I wanted to share but neither really felt like they deserved their own post so I crammed them together. It’s days like this that I wish we had a twitter on this blog…

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Game Crazed – A Bit About the Board Games I Have Played Recently

Over the past few months I have played a lot of new games. I have written about some of them briefly and reviewed others but there are a few I have played that I haven’t even mentioned yet.

The three that spring to mind are Agricola, Shogun, and Android.

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RftG Expansion Info

Click here for a bit more info about Rebel vs Imperium for Race for the Galaxy.

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Small World – Intrigued and Excited

I have been following Small World, a new game coming from Days of Wonder, for a couple weeks now and I wanted to put up a couple links to some information about it.

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Alhambra – Review

I’ve been a bit busy the past few weeks and I am falling even further behind in my game reviewing. Today, thankfully, is a bit slower than some (I don’t have to work through lunch today for a change and I should even get out on time!) so I figured I should finally get around to writing up the long anticipated review of Alhambra.

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Dominion Promo Cards at BGG

I already mentioned that BGG was going to be distributing the Envoy card for Dominion but I just noticed today that the Geek is now taking orders and not only do you get your Envoy cards (10 plus 1 for randomizing) for your 1 cent plus 4.99 shipping but you also get a copy of Black Market.

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Thomass Lehmann – Past, Present, Future

I have been thinking of doing a couple posts on game designers and how their designs evolve and such over the years but I just wanted to get this tidbit out here now.

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Boardgame News – Check it Out

I just signed up for a year long membership over at Boardgame News. I highly recommend that those interested in board games pay the rather small amount of cash to support the efforts of Eric Martin.

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Review of Reviews

What follows is a discussion of how I have been reviewing games and a description of how I plan to review games in the future. While I have reviewed role-playing games and role-playing game books in the past, this article is in reference only to board games and card games.

While I feel there can be a general way to review board games and card games, reviewing gaming books falls under a different umbrella and while I may some day analyze the way I have been reviewing these products this is not that analysis.

Why Review Games?

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A Weekend of Games

This weekend was an exceptional one as far as gaming goes. While I did not get the blogging done I would have liked (my game reviews are so backed up now it isn’t funny and before I write them I still want to write about the changes I want to make in the way I review in my Review of Reviews post that I haven’t finished).

I did get the chance to play some new games and several old games. Since the number of different games was fairly high I decided it would be fun to toss a post up here about the games I played from Friday night until Sunday night.

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In a Word: Eclectic

In my opinion one of the biggest assets this blog has is also its greatest negative. That is to say, Pair O’ Dice Games is probably one of the most eclectic game blogs out there.

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BrettspielWelt

I haven’t finished my review of Dominion yet but as you can probably tell, I like the game a lot (having already mentioned it a couple of times). At any rate while checking it out on BBG I saw that there is an online version of it at BrettspielWelt. I have since gone to the German site and played several games of Dominion. If you’re ever bored I highly recommend it, or any of their other games.

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A Few Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2009

There are several more games I need to review and I also would like to write a bit more about reviewing and perhaps change the way I write reviews but it occurred to me that there are a number of game related things I am quite excited about at the moment and this being the last day of the year a post about these items might be a good idea.

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Smart Ass – Game Review – A Trivia Party Game

No, this is not a cheeky game review but rather a review of a game called Smart Ass.

Overview

Smart Ass is a rather simple but interesting Trivia Game from University Games, a nifty little company that I had never heard of before playing Smart Ass. Essentially the game is about one player giving the others little clues until someone can identify What, Who, or Where the “I” of the question is. The game moves fairly quickly and while it has a few snags should appeal to anyone who likes trivia.

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Game-It-Yourself!

As Minimum Wage is now live (I really just can’t say that enough!) I wanted to poke around the net and look at other print-and-play games.

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Further Blurring of the Lines – Halo Interactive Strategy Game

I noted last week on the blurring of the lines between gamer games and non-gamer games. Some people commented on the site and others told me in person that they agree that things are changing and for the most part it’s a good thing.

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Blurring the Lines – Gamer Games vs… That Other Kind

I find it interesting that games these days don’t seem to fit as snugly into the gamer or non-gamer types. For a while now you could find Magic: The Gathering at stores that didn’t carry games of the more complex sort but often that was the exception to the rule. As things have gone along however more stores are beginning to carry games that they would not have carried five or ten years ago.

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Risk Revisited Edition – More on House Rules and their Biggest Design Mistake

Our group has been playing the Risk Revised Board Game for the past few weeks and I wanted to do another post about about the game. I have done fairly well at winning this game so it may have skewed my opinions on but I do feel it is a solid game with solid rules.

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Review of Risk Revisited Edition

In case you missed it Hasbro has a new version of their classic Risk game. This game is being called a reinvention as it is not the same as Risk 2210, Lord of the Rings Risk, Godstorm or any of the other versions of the game but is instead a new version of classic Risk and is being distributed by Hasbro as a mass market game and not by Avalon Hill as several of the other versions have been.

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Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition – Game Review

Before I get into the review I feel I should mention that I haven’t played any of the other versions of Ticket to Ride.  This review will reflect that and those who have played other versions of the game are welcome to comment on the differences, but as I only have second-hand accounts of the differences I will not be discussing them.

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Kill Doctor Lucky – Why a Binary Win Condition Fails

Recently I had the opportunity to play a newer version of Kill Doctor Lucky (thanks Dan, for having one of those birthday things) and find out how it compares against the original. There are a few important differences, which I’ll run through before describing their ultimate impact on gameplay.

Kill Doctor Lucky – Game Overview

Imagine Clue (the game, though the movie was great). Now imagine that instead of each player trying to uncover the identity of the killer, each player is out to be the killer but only when nobody is looking. Oh, and change Mr. Body’s name to Dr. Lucky, because he’s, well, extremely lucky and uncannily avoids numerous attempts on his life.

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Quelf – Review – A Party Game for Gamers but Only Certain Kinds of Gamers

I got a chance to try out Quelf a few weeks ago but then over the weekend I got it out again and the room was filled with laughter as a full eight player game took place. I ended up sitting out to let others play but it certainly made its mark on the participants.

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Pandemic – Review

I got a chance over the weekend (well, Saturday, as Sunday was taken up by other things) to play a few more games of Pandemic and I think I now have a pretty good idea of how the game works. So below you will find the review I promised last week when I was talking about Co-Op games in general.

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Co-operative Board Games: Working Together for the Enjoyment of All

Yesterday I was given a copy of Z-Man Games’ Pandemic. I knew it was on the way and had originally planed to buy it myself until I was informed that someone else had ordered it for me as a gift (thank you Matt). I plan to do a full review on the game after a few more plays (got two in with two players last night but I would like to get a more even assessment before writing my review) but I thought that I could at least do a brief post about co-op games in general.

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Vegas Showdown – Games I Play

Vegas Showdown

I haven’t done a Games I Play post in a while and I have been meaning to. After getting a chance to play Vegas Showdown with Scott over the weekend I thought now would be a good time to do a quick write up about it. Remember, this isn’t really a full review so I will try to keep it short. There are, as always, good reviews over at the Geek including a review by Yehuda Berlinger who was kind enough to link to our blog way back when we were first getting started.

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