Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Sunday Miscellanea - Shipyard (2009)

I'm not sure why Shipyard (2009) doesn't get more play with our crowd and around local events.  I think it's a very solid game with a lot going on all the time. In the past, I've played it quite a bit but I don't think I've seen it on the table more than a couple of times (none with me playing) since my blog post about it here in October of last year.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
We’re in 19th century, sea transport is more and more important. Both corporations and naval forces require newer and newer ships. Try to put yourself in the role of their manufacturers. Hire employees, buy accessories, get favour of evaluating committees. Don’t forget to rent a canal and you can heave anchor.
Players take turns, beginning with a randomly selected player and continuing around the table clockwise. On their turn, they will choose one of the available actions from the Action Track. The action will get the player something they need to help build their ships. On the player's next turn, they will move that Action Card ahead of all the others and choose a different action.
If a player completes a ship on their turn (ships consists of little cards depicting bows, sterns, and (preferably several) middle pieces with several options to add equipment or crew), it is taken out for a shakedown cruise in a canal, during which they may score points for speed, crew, equipment, or safety.
As players take their turns, the line of Action Cards will advance around the Action Track. When the lead Action Card reaches the Starting Space again, the countdown marker moves down one space, and play continues.
The game ends when the countdown marker reaches the finish space. (It can also end early if the players run out of Ship Cards.) Bonus points are scored for Government Contracts, and the player with the most points wins.

It took me a bit to refresh my memory on the rules this time around, so I know I didn't make full use of my contracts, and I think I obsessed too much with getting in bonus actions when I might have better served my scoring by focusing on better canal configuration.  I think I left quite a few points on the table in that regard.  Nevertheless, I still find this game challenging and fun so I look forward to the next time I can play it.

Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Systems Saturday - Town Watch, City Gates, & the Sword Coast

Over on, they recently posted "An Adventurer’s Guide to the Middle Ages: Town Watch? Where?"  Discover more here.

Also, on, Creighton Broadhurst gave us "20 Things to See at the City Gate" here.

Finally, on, a recent familiar essay and review is "On the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide" here.

A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Tabletopper Friday - Alien Frontiers (2010)

We recently set Alien Frontiers (2010) back up on the table again.  I've played it several times before, each time with increasingly more expansion components.  We've mostly played it with four or five people in the past.  This time, with just three people, we played the base game with no expansions and it really impressed me.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Do you have what it takes to be a deep space colonist? An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring! This new planet will be harsh, but if you have the skills to manage your resources, build a fleet, research alien life, and settle colonies, the world can be yours.
Alien Frontiers is a game of resource management and planetary development for two to four players. During the game you will utilize orbital facilities and alien technology to build colony domes in strategic locations to control the newly discovered world.
The game board shows the planet, its moon, the stations in orbit around the planet, and the solar system’s star. The dice you are given at the start of the game represent the space ships in your fleet. You will assign these ships to the orbital facilities in order to earn resources, expand your fleet, and colonize the planet.
As the game progresses, you will place your colony tokens on the planet to represent the amount of control you have over each territory. Those territories exert influence over specific orbital facilities and, if you control a territory, you are able to utilize that sway to your advantage.
The planet was once the home of an alien race and they left behind a wondrous artifact in orbit. Using your fleet to explore the artifact, you will discover amazing alien technologies that you can use to advance your cause.
Winning the game will require careful consideration as you assign your fleet, integrate the alien technology and territory influences into your expansion plans, and block your opponents from building colonies of their own. Do you have what it takes to conquer an alien frontier?
Roll and place your dice to gain advantages over your opponent and block them out of useful areas of the board. Use Alien Tech cards to manipulate your dice rolls and territory bonuses to break the rules. Steal resources, overtake territories, and do whatever it takes to get your colonies on the map first! Don't dream it'll be easy, though, because the other players will be trying to do the same thing.

So, why was I impressed?  Because the balance of the game keeps the end game interesting without making the players feel as if they've worked hard for no reason. That is to say, while it requires players to be on their toes the whole game, if you do a good job exploiting a strategy, you can be in the hunt for victory right up to the end.   In this latest game, once one player triggered the end by putting out his last colony, the subsequent player was able to wrest victory away, and the last player was then also able to make some moves that barely squeezed out a victory for them.  And it was never obvious that this was a foregone conclusion.  That's the mark of a good game, in my opinion.

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nostalgia Thursday - Square Mile (1962)

The other day at a newly renovated Taco Bell, Tom was kind enough to break out his copy of Square Mile (1962).  The box was in bad shape, so it was reboxed with the rules in the box top saved, but has all the components so it is good to go.  This game is as old as I am and yet it plays like a modern boardgame in many respects.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Players compete to develop a square mile of raw land and turn it into a thriving community. The player who buys, sells, and builds most wisely and makes the most money will be the winner. Considered "ahead of its time," the game features a modular board and winning turns on being the most efficient in the use of one's actions. The only randomness in the game is in the board set-up and determining who goes first.

The setup of the board adds an element of randomness to each playthrough and an advanced version can mix it up even further.  The independent selling, independent building, and interactive auctioning each player turn makes it very dynamic.  Keeping a balance between money invested and cash on hand is a tricky business, and risk management is the order of the game.  Pushing the limits on how much you own versus being poised to own more is a constant concern.  I could play this quite a bit more which is more than I can say about games one-fifth its age.  Great fun!

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wargaming Wednesday - Land, Sea, & Fantasy

Adam Carriere on Fencing Frog gets a lot of wargames to the table and writes some wonderful, pictorial battle reports.  So far this month it includes "Panzer Lehr vs Soviet Hero Assault guns" here.

Also, Adam runs "Two Naval Games" here.

Finally, he runs "The Living Museum" scenario from Frostgrave here.

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Terrain Tuesday - Graffam, Redwall, & Snow

Over on the, there's a very nice sale running on Dave Graffam Models here.

Also, on, they've got "More City Design Tips" here.

Finally, on TheTerrainTutor YouTube channel, he's got a video on "More realistic snowy ground effects."  Enjoy!

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Minis & Modeling Monday - Painting Challenge, Eyes Tutorial, & Zombicide Runners

Over on, join in on "The Die is Cast - The Sixth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" here.

Also, on, they have "A Guide to Painting Eyes" here.

Finally, on the Talk Wargaming YouTube channel, check out the "Army Painter Tutorial: How To Paint Zombicide Runners" tutorial video they have uploaded.  Enjoy!

A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop.
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