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Tuesday, May 31, 2005



OK, I'll admit it. I saw the under-produced and over-acted Uberplay advertisements, I even had to chuckle at a couple of them. (Here they are, http://www.uberplay.com/main.html some of the games have "View the Commercial" links) I bought the Motley Fool's Buy Low Sell High game. Not a game I would normally buy, but... oh well. Was I influenced by advertising? Uberplay's attempt to make internet commercials was interesting, and they are being innovative in some other ways. In the attempt to bring good boardgames to the masses they have joined marketing forces with Eagle games. Hopefully, that move will put their games in more than just specialty stores.

I wrote Fawkes asking if he was still blogging. He wrote back saying he was swamped with work. Don't you hate it when life gets in the way of your hobby? I do. Oh well, it gives us something to look forward to.

Found pOpcult's game blog the other day. I will link it ASAP, but here it is for now, http://ludography.blogspot.com/ I was finally able to read "Gaming in Murphy" I had been getting an error message since the blog was posted on BGG several months ago. http://www.seanandmelissa.net/gamer/

Had to chuckle at this http://www.brazilianartists.net/home/flags/index.htm

Got to play Manifest Destiny and Knizia's Kingdoms this last week. I'll comment on them in a couple days. I'm still not sure what to say.

The Fourth of July Boardgame weekend has been finalized. We have campground space reserved (along with a cabin in case of inclement weather). It will be held near the entrance to Denali Park. We will be there from Friday evening through Monday. If anyone else is interested in attending, whether for a day or overnight, just let me know. It's not to late to come.

We still need to figure out how many people want to go whitewater rafting, their ages, and whether we go on a 2 hour, or 4 hour trip. Rafting will probably be on Sunday.

Good gaming

P.S. Did Yehuda disable the comments on JSGC website?

Thursday, May 26, 2005


On the off chance that anyone reading this cares...

...we've completely re-evaluated the Alaska inaugural boardgame weekend. As I said in a previous post, I checked out some possible places to hold the event. The best facilities that I found were at Denali. The weather in August in Denali is kind of iffy. There is a very good chance that it will rain all weekend, or dip below freezing every night, neither of which is conducive to a fun family weekend.

Operating on the assumption that we should go with the place that has the best facilities for our needs we decided to bump up the date to July. Fourth of July weekend is a date that works for several of us in Fairbanks. I'll drive down on Friday, as can anyone else who so desires, but the main days will be Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd. The campground I chose also rents cabins of various quality. Prices range from "hippie backpacker" to "rich geezer". Camping is $20 a night.

If there was interest I thought we could go on a whitewater raft excursion. There are several companies that offer the service in the area. A 2-hour whitewater rafting trip costs about $70 per person, about 1/2 that for children, depending on the company we choose. A 4-hour trip is $90. Trips start at various times throughout the day.

Contact me now if you are interested, we need to get space reserved ASAP.
koldfoot@hotmail.com or post a message at the bottom of this entry.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Met a gamer through BGG. Played a couple rounds of TI3. Political List from my point of view.

Has it been a week since I last updated the blog? I guess so.

Went down to Anchorage this weekend. Checked out a couple campgrounds along the way for the inaugural Alaska family boardgame weekend. I'll post more on that in a couple days, stay tuned.

I met a fellow gamer and his family. I met him originally on BGG and he contacted me after reading the "Alaskan Gamers" entry on the blog. Dean is a nice guy with a nice family, he just moved to Alaska a couple months ago. Unfortunately, we only had one evening to play games. I look forward to playing with him in the future.

We started with Doom: The Boardgame. It is a game that I own that he was considering buying for his 10 year old son. I played the invaders, Dean and his 2 kids played the marines. Unfortunately, we were unable to finish the game before leaving for the miniature club, but Dean tells me that his son is asking for the game.

Got to the miniature club and what were they playing? Space Hulk. I have seen many comments that it is the inspiration for Doom: The Boardgame. I had never seen Space Hulk before, but watching the guys play I was able to see the similarity.

I was finally able to get Twilight Imperium 3 to the table. Played a 6 player game with Dean, his son, and 3 guys from the club. It was a learning game for all of us. Two of the guys had to leave at midnight, so we weren't able to finish, but I am pretty impressed with the game.

The original Twilight Imperium was a basic war game with lots of dice rolling. It had a political system, trade system, and technology tree tacked on to the basic war system. It worked well as a game, but it was basically just a standard wargame. The new incarnation of the game integrates the aspects that just felt tacked on in previous versions, and makes the game feel rather "euro".

Players choose "roles" similar to Puerto Rico. If a role isn't chosen it has a bonus marker placed on it for the next round. The player who chooses the role gets to use the primary ability and every other player has the option to use the secondary ability. Players also move fleets around, and conquer new planets separately from the role aspect of the game. The game is played over 7-10 rounds, so length issues have been addressed, without hampering gameplay, in my opinion. To win, players must collect victory points. There are various ways to collect VPs.

I will post a more complete review after I've had a chance to play an entire game. My initial impression is that it is a good game.

Other than the trip to Anchorage it's been an odd week. Been missing political chatter on Boardgamegeek. Where else on the web could you go to talk politics (intelligently) with people who were there for completely different reasons? I posted a geeklist trying to get some discussion going on the front page once more. There were nearly 200 comments posted in two days none of which were flames. I thought it was a rather successful experiment.

An administrator did contact me privately to express his displeasure with the list. I wrote him back pointing out the everyone was behaving well. Didn't help, if anything it made him madder. The list got removed and relegated to the back page. There were two or three comments added in the 3 days since, and one was mine.

I did try to steer the list from the topic of abortion, mainly just to remind people that we were under scrutiny. Abortion is a flame waiting to happen. I did contact one poster privately. He was drawing the ire of a fellow who seemed rather irrational. I figured I would contact the guy who seemed rational so I wouldn't be accused of trying to censor a whiner. That worked out well.

Oh well, I'll let someone else carry the torch to lighten up the moderation on BGG. More likely, I'll try again in a couple months. Thanks to everyone who participated and behaved.

Good gaming,

Monday, May 16, 2005


Niagara, DVONN, Pitchcar


Was lucky enough to play several games of Niagara this last week. Yes, it is light. But, I really enjoyed it. I originally gave it a 7 on BGG, but I knocked it up to an 8 this evening.

First I played with kids exclusively. Started with 3 players, but one kid had to leave half way through, so we finished with just two. The two of us, the kid and I, enjoyed it so much we played a second game. I then had a chance to play with a gamer friend of mine and 3 kids. We both enjoyed the game, and the kids, who ranged in age from 6 to 10 and enjoyed it as much as we did.

The game features a board with a river and waterfall that your canoes will go over if you get too close, yet you don't exactly know how swift the river will be each turn and you need to get close to the falls to get both the blue and pink gems. The board sits on the game box and the waterfall dangles over the edge.

The goal of the game is to collect gems from the banks of the river. There are 7 each of 5 different gems. The board has a sunken portion that simulates a river bed. Round plastic discs are pushed downstream each turn to simulate the flow of the river. Players control 2 canoes which use the discs as spaces on the river. The river moves as many spaces as the value of the lowest card played plus the number from the weather chart, either a -1, 0, 1, or 2. Players have 7 cards, numbered 1-6 and a cloud card. The numbers indicate how far a player's canoes travel each turn. The cloud card allows the player to adjust the weather chart. When all 7 cards are played each player collects his spent cards and again starts with a full hand.

The first player to collect 4 gems of the same color, 5 of different colors, or 7 total gems is the winner.

It is a game that is easy enough for children, but has enough strategy to interest adults. I haven't had an opportunity to play the other Speil Des Jahres nominees, but Niagara is deservedly one of the favorites to win the prestigious award. It is a game that I would hesitate to recommend playing exclusively with adults, but with the right group Niagara could be a lot of fun.

Look for a backlash of gamers who say it is only a child's game. I say it is good family fun.


This is my third game of the GIPF series. So far I've played GIPF, YINSH, and DVONN. DVONN is my least favorite. I'm having trouble figuring strategy in this abstract two player game. To make matters worse, I've been playing with a friend who "gets it". He has managed to stomp me into the dirt every time we have played.

I am still quite impressed with the series and will eventually get the others. I am sure that DVONN will grow on me in the next few months. These GIPF games are short enough to get to the table frequently, and are good enough that no one ever turns down a game.


Figured this finger-flicking dexterity game would be a sure-fire winner at the Boys and Girls Club. It just received a so-so reception. I'll have to report back, but I wasn't too impressed, neither was the target audience.

Good gaming,

Friday, May 13, 2005


Any Alaskan gamers reading this?

Probably not. It's summer. A real Alaskan would be out shooting at road signs and fishing instead of playing games.

Anyway, I am looking to organize the inaugural (first annual) Alaska Family Game Weekend. I have some interested parties here in Fairbanks and a couple more in Anchorage. I'm leaning towards renting some campground space in the Talkeetna area, possibly the Denali area. Dame Koldfoot has already mandated that it will have to be a place with showers. If there is enough interest I thought we could spend one afternoon whitewater rafting, as there are numerous companies in the area that offer daily rafting trips. I'm looking at some time near the end of the tourist season.

Any suggestions are welcome. Interested? Let me know. Just post a comment at the bottom of this entry, or koldfoot@hotmail.com

A word of explanation might be in order. I assume that anyone reading this is familiar with modern, German games. You might cringe at a weekend of gaming if you are only familiar with Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Dungeons and Dragons, Yahtzee, Chess, Sorry or other mass produced games, and I wouldn't blame you. Modern games (many of which originate in Germany) are strategic, accessible games that range in complexity from light and fun to deep and challenging. There are literally thousands of different German games.

We will have a wide variety. Probably some war games and maybe even Monopoly or Scrabble, too.

Good gaming,

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


5.50 Skeptic.

Summer is here, and has been for a couple weeks already. Summer arrived about three weeks early this year. Good gaming will be lean until the weather turns cold enough to force people back indoors. Today the sun rose in Barrow, Alaska, and won't set again for almost 3 months.

A couple weeks ago I just happened to notice that my average rating of games on BGG was 5.50 . I am always suspicious of raters who have an average rating of 5.50 as that is precisely the median on a scale of 1-10. I've noted such an average in the past and I usually assume that the rater is trying to achieve an average rating of 5.50.

I went through and reevaluated some of my ratings. Bumped a couple games up a point and knocked a couple games down a point. I had been meaning to do that for quite some time, anyway. So today, I log on to rate McMulti, a game that I find to be less fun than average, although it is interesting. I rated it a 4, the same rating I gave to Monopoly (Monopoly played by the rules as written, with auctions and no free parking money). (I will back that rating up, if asked. I find the two games to be similar in a broad economic sense, as well as the fact that Monopoly is all about knowing what properties are statistically more likely to be landed on. And I will probably end up playing Monopoly more in the next twenty years than McMulti.) Went back to my profile page and noted that my new average was 5.51. Screw it, I say. I'm just going to let it ride, 5.50 skeptics like myself be damned. I'm probably the only 5.50 skeptic anyway.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Scratch one unplayed game. Add two.

First things first. A gamer-friend of mine's 11 year-old son took a fish hook to the eye. Prognosis isn't good, although they determined he still has some sensitivity to light. If you do such things a prayer would be appreciated, I am sure.

As promised, got to play McMulti on Friday evening. Only had 3 players. McMulti is an oil development game with quite a bit of luck. I would estimate the luck factor to be about the same as in Settlers, but as in Settlers players can manage the luck factor.

Each player has an island. The island has a 6x6 grid superimposed over it. Each row and column on the grid corresponds to a number on a red or blue dice. Players place drilling rigs, refineries, gas stations, and pumping stations on the grid. If the row or column that facility is on is rolled it is activated. A pumping station produces 2 barrels of crude, a refinery refines one barrel of crude into gas, and a gas station allows the player to sell one barrel of oil to the consumer. If a facility is on both the row and column it produces double. Each player also affects his neighbors with each roll of the dice. The red die will activate one entire row or column to his neighbor on one side and the blue die will activate one row or column of his other neighbor.

If a drilling rig is on both the row and column of the dice rolled, that represents striking oil and the player may exchange the drilling rig with a pumping station. The first pumping station in the game costs $10 million, the second $20 million the third $30 million, etc.

The game has some interesting mechanics for market forces. There is the consumer market, and international and domestic crude and gasoline markets. Players may sell on the consumer market if their gas station is activated by the dice roll. Players simply place one barrel of gas in their possession on the consumer market track and take the amount indicated. The next barrel sells for $1 million less.

Players may buy and sell on the international and domestic market in the first phase of their turn (before the dice roll). The different markets are numbered sequentially and players simply place a barrel on a number to sell and collect that amount of money from the bank. To buy, the player simply takes a barrel from the track and pays the amount the barrel sits on to the bank.

Another market force simulated in the game is the overall strength of the economy. When doubles are rolled the economic situation changes. The card with the current economic situation has a guide on it that stipulates the new economic situation. For example; if the current economic situation is Rapid Growth, and double ones are rolled the new economic situation will be Expansion. If double 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s are rolled Prosperity is the new situation. Double 6s leads to Down Turn. Double 1s, 3s, and 6s also force an economic event to take place. In the game we played there was an event that caused no player to be able to buy crude oil on the international market, and one that caused the 5 cheapest barrels of gas on the domestic market to disappear each time doubles were rolled.

When the economic situation changes, so do the prices of the oil facilities. The better the economy the more expensive the buildings. Players can also sell facilities from their island. The selling price is also affected by the economic situation. Also, the price of gas on the consumer market is reset to a higher number each time the economic situation changes.

After one game I have no real strategy insights, other than the obvious ones. Try to get facilities in a diagonal line in order to increase your chances of getting both rows and columns activated when your neighbors roll the dice. After one game, I do wonder why this game has achieved collectors status. The bits are pretty good, not exceptional. There is really nothing here to justify the prices that the game commands. Kind of like an Edsel, or Depression Glass, I guess. There is no rhyme nor reason for collection fads, I suppose.

After McMulti we switched to 4-player Merchants of Amsterdam, an under-appreciated Knizia area-control game that I have played many times.

Two games were also added to the unplayed list. Picked up Niagara and Wings of War: Watch Your Back. Should be able to get Niagara to the table this week at the Boys and Girls Club, though.

Good gaming,

Friday, May 06, 2005


Two playing styles and how they relate to my previous comments. Fearsome Floors, Formula De.

Missed my Monday night group due to plumbing problems. I hereby vow, with God as my witness, that I will play Twilight Imperium 3 tonight if we have 5 or 6 players. If there are only 4 of us, I will get McMulti to the table. Time to whittle down my unplayed games list.

Got to thinking about my unplayed games list. About a year and a half ago I met a guy who was as big a game fanatic as I am. Through him I met several more gamers in the community. Although this was a blessing it also had some unexpected effects.

He is more of a wargamer than I am. His group of friends tended to be wargamers also. I have read numerous commentators who state, and it is my experience, that wargamers tend to find a few games that they like and stick to them. They play those games until they have explored every strategy angle, then they lay the game aside and rarely play it again. Wargamers tend to treat German games the same way. They find a few they like and stick with them.

My friend plays quite a bit of Goa, for example. Goa is a game that gives you the feeling that it can be mastered. He has the feeling that if he plays it enough he will figure out the optimal order to advance in each category.

Like many German-game-gamers I enjoy playing lots of new games. The reward is in learning a new game, instead of mastering the game. I keep coming back to the good games, but exploring new games is what holds my interest in the hobby.

Anyhoooo, this all has to do with my plethora of unplayed games. Although I am playing more games now than a year and a half ago, I am playing a few games more often. Whereas before I was probably getting in two new games each month, that number has decreased to one or two every couple months.

I still play with my original group of friends, and we usually will learn a new game when we play, but the groups are usually mixed, or I am playing with my new acquaintances exclusively. All in all, I am glad to be playing more often, maybe if I could find a third group to play with...

Fearsome Floors

I guess I do have a third group: The kids at the Boys and Girls club. Went to the usual Thursday evening game extravaganza. Had one kid to start, we played Fearsome Floors. We then played again with two monsters in the game. It was brutal. We played that both monsters moved according to the same turned up tile, instead of drawing one tile for each monster. We drew the "Kill 1" tile right off the bat. That brought both monsters into the thick of the battle right away.

I have found that two or three player FF isn't very satisfying. Of course it is light fun to begin with, but with more players it does get more strategic. Two player FF with two monsters is the way to go. I highly recommend using this variation when playing with only two players. Turns a beer and pretzel game into a game that penalizes the drunkest person. Definitely more of a brain-burner.

Formula De

I usually bring Formula De to the Boys and Girls club, just in case there are more kids than usual. Formula De can support 10 players and more in a pinch. The one kid there wanted to play FD after our brutal FF outing. We played a two-lap, two-player game. The kid, who is usually one of the best gamers there, burned all his tires and brakes and crashed by the third corner on the first lap. I fudged the rules to allow the game to continue.

Just before he hit the pitstop, the weather turned to rain. I had long passed the pits and had to finish the game on my original tires. He put on his rain tires and promptly killed himself by the third corner, again.

About that time another kid joined us and we switched back to Fearsome Floors.

Good gaming,

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


The little Coldfeet

Finally, got a picture posted. Hopefully, and with practice, I can whittle down the time it takes to post a picture to a mere hour. I'm tired. I've been fighting with Blogger all afternoon. :-)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I can stop anytime I want--or--I've got a fever and the only cure is more cowbell.

Took my lead from Eric at Incunabula (the link to his blog is in the left hand column) and listed all the unplayed games in my collection.

The list is rather deflating. Not only have I never played these games, but Dame Koldfoot is already giving me a hard time for having too many games. I have attempted to soften the blow by prominently pointing out that I paid less than full price for most of these games.

When I say dirt cheap, I don't mean 20% off. These include going-out-of-business prices, and get-it-the-hell-out-of-my-store-because-it's-been-sitting-here-forever prices. The Columbia games were being liquidated when Columbia decided to only sell direct to the public.

To the best of my recollection 90% of the games in that category were under $10, many under $5. Chariot Lords was $2. Most of them were only purchased because they were so cheap. I once bought eight or ten damaged/returned games in a blind grabbag at a game store for $25, several of those are included.

Free means it was "not for resale, store copy", and missing the rules to boot.

Bought by mistake, basically means that I looked at the game and thought I was buying Trias. D'oh.

Many of the full price games were, in fact, on sale.

There are more than those listed here. Mainly, thrift store finds that I thought might have been OK, and weren't. I also bought a number of games at thrift stores because I thought there was a good chance they weren't in the BGG database. Many of them were, but paid off in Geek Gold because the had few or no pictures.

This list represents the games that I would play if I could find opponents and had the time.

Bought new for dirt cheap

Attack & Expansion
Bobby Lee
Chariot Lords
Clash of Gladiators
Crimson Skies
Frag: The Deadlands
Kill Dr. Lucky (full price is still dirt cheap)
Pacific Victory

Bought at thrift stores

A Line in the Sand
Cafe Intl.
Chainsaw Warrior (solitaire game, no excuse for not playing)
Dragon Hunt
Freedom in the Galaxy
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
Panzer Leader
Wizard's Quest
and a dozen or more Squad Leader and ASL modules.

Had-to-have games bought on E-bay

Barbarian Kings
Kings and Things
Mystic Wood


Quest for the Dragonlords

Bought by mistake


Had to have games. Paid full price,

7 Ages
Anno 1503
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
Die Macher
Divine Right
Manifest Destiny
Settlers of Nurnberg
Settlers, Historische Szenarien II
Sid Meier's Civilization (attempted one play, got bogged down fast)
Struggle of Empires (ditto)
Taj Mahal
Twilight Imperium 3
Ur, 1830 B.C. (just found english rules)

Wiping the tears from my keyboard,

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