Friday, November 30, 2007

The Great Debate: Euro vs. American Games

If you've ever stopped by the BoardGameGeek site and read through the forum posts there, you will have certainly stumbled across threads related to "the great debate". Just what is the great debate? It's the ongoing discussion of which tabletop games are better; Euro games or American style games.

For the uninitiated, a "Euro" game is generally considered to be a board game created in Europe (typically in Germany, the world center of board games). These games are also called "designer games" by many folks because the game inventor's name is written prominently on the box (as opposed to just the company name on the box, which is often the case with many North American mass-market games). Euro games tend to have very simple, elegant game mechanics and family-friendly and non-confrontational themes (you won't find any wargames here). Some examples of classic Euro games are Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Niagara, Tikal, El Grande, Power Grid, and Puerto Rico.

American style games, on the other hand, fall into that class of games that most of us grew up with as kids: Monopoly, Sorry, Risk, Scrabble, Rook, Pit, and Trivial Pursuit just to name a few. Also, classic wargames by Avalon Hill and SPI, along with heavily themed adventure & strategy and sports games such as those by Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, TSR, Games Workshop, and Strat-O-Matic also fall into the school of American style games. American style games tend to have much richer, immersive themes when compared to Euro games, more complicated rules, and longer playing times.

People involved in the debate about which type of game is best fall into 3 camps: (1) those who favor Euro games, (2) those who favor American style games, and (3) those who like all types of games as long as they're fun. I fall firmly into Group #3.

I must admit that the discussions about this topic on BGG are often quite entertaining. That's because gamers are an intelligent and passionate bunch who will defend their point of view to the death, sometimes at ridiculously convoluted lengths. Oftentimes, these discussions devolve into name-calling and outright snobbery. It's kind of like living through high school all over again! It's gotten to the point where Euro gaming elitists have labelled American style games as "Ameritrash", an obvious denigration of what they feel are games with inferior designs and overly fiddly rules. On the flip-side, fans of American games often refer to Euro enthusiasts as "Euro Snoots", deriding them as snobbish, egotistical jerks who wouldn't know what the word "theme" meant unless they were hit in the face with an open dictionary.

Frankly, I don't know where most people find the time to contribute ongoing posts about all of this stuff. Most of us have better things to do than sit on the PC all day and defend our likes and dislikes to a large bunch of people that we'll never meet in real life. I have enough difficulty squeezing in updates to this blog on a regular basis. Still, reading these discussions provides a lot of food for thought (especially to the Game Designer in me) and often gives me a chuckle.

I absolutely hate the word Ameritrash. That does an extreme disservice to the designers who created the vast array of excellent American style games out there. In fact, wargames and adventure games with their immersive themes and meatier rules are those that I like the most. To me, playing games is all about the experience. Who wins or loses is secondary to getting lost in the game and having it take me to some exciting place, be it a major league ballpark, medieval Europe, a fantasy land or dark dungeon, or an alien planet.

In my opinion, many Euro games fall flat because the game's theme is pasted-on as an afterthought or so damn boring that they feel more like a math excercise than a fun, immersive experience. I mean c'mon, just how exciting is farming or trading your sheep for someone else's lumber? I'd much rather command brigades of ancient soldiers, fend off hordes of bloodthirsty orcs, get in a dogfight with the Red Baron, sail my Pirate ship on the stormy sea, or manage a major league baseball team comprised of stars that I drafted. I want to be taken away from the mundane, not immersed in it.

It's quite evident from browsing BGG that the Euro gaming community is extremely well represented there. I can't say definitively whether it's a larger group than those who love American style games. But I can say that there are scores of snobs who look down upon anyone who doesn't think Puerto Rico or Caylus or Die Macher are anything short of the Holy Grail of Gaming. My personal belief is that many of these people are simply riding the popularity wave of what's "new and cool". It's only been during the last 10 years or so that Euro games have landed on the radar of most North American gamers. Prior to that, we all played American style board games and loved them. Nowadays, you're perceived to be cooler and smarter if you tell your buddies that you've recently played Power Grid, Notre Dame, Amun-Re, or Taj Mahal, than to say you've played Battle Cry or Talisman. People being people, there are many more followers who do what they think makes them cool, than leaders who do what they think is right or best (regardless if it's not popular at the time). I'm not saying that many of these gamers don't actually enjoy the Euro games they're playing. But I do think that many of them enjoy bashing older games because they're supposedly un-hip or not "now" enough.

To be fair, there are many good Euros that marry slick game mechanics with a fun and interesting theme. I love Ticket to Ride. Games like Tikal, Niagara, and Thebes have themes that mesh very nicely with their elegant mechanics. There are plenty of great Euros that I want to try and would recommend to anyone.

I harbor no ill will to Euro games. I own several and hope to add more to my collection over time. I'm a firm believer that every type and class of game is worthy of consideration. As long as the game is FUN, what difference does it make if it's new or old, is light or heavy on the rules, or takes 30 minutes or 3 hours to play? There's room for all kinds of games. That's why the "great debate" over Euros vs. American style games is an utterly silly one. There will never be a 100% consensus on this issue because games are art, and everyone has different tastes in art.

So gamers of the world, can't we all just get along!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Untethering Your Mind

Computers have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives, that we've lost some of the "old ways" of doing things. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Many things have become a zillion times easier and faster because of computers. As a software designer/architect and programmer, the computer is part of my very essence as a professional. Without it, I would have become a writer, a cartoonist, an architect, a statistician, or maybe even a schoolteacher.

But I'm not here to discuss how fantastic an invention the computer was, and how it continues to improve major facets of our lives. I'm here to discuss how the computer can sometimes be a stumbling block, rather than an aid, to creative thinking. How so, you ask?

One of the "old ways" that's increasingly becoming a lost art to many people is writing your thoughts down on paper. Think about it. When was the last time that you wrote a letter to someone in long-hand? The easy thing to do nowadays is fire off a quick email to them. Or if you really want to send an honest-to-goodness letter to someone, you hop on the computer, open up your word processor software, compose something digitally, and then print it out and stick it in an envelope. But write a letter by hand? C'mon man, you must be smoking crack!

Many of us rough out ideas on the computer as well. Need to make a quick list? Open up Excel, lay out some quick column headings, and start filling in your list. Need to jot down notes about a meeting you had, work out a project plan, or slap down some design ideas for that product you're creating? With a couple of clicks, you've opened Word and started typing in your thoughts.

There's really nothing seriously wrong with the above approach. I've done it myself, countless times. But let me ask you this little question. Have you ever opened up Excel, Word, or some other productivity program only to sit there frozen, staring wide-eyed at the screen for what seems like longer than the entire length of the O.J. Simpson murder trial? I'll bet you have. It happens to every creative person, oftentimes more regularly than we care to admit.

The problem with always writing things down on the computer is that your focus is centered on this small screen, with its rigid structure, overflowing menus, muted colors, cryptic icons, and myriad of scroll bars. Tunnel vision sets in and you get lost in this detailed digital world. And instead of your mind being completely free to roam around and brainstorm new ideas, your mind is tethered to a machine. Part of your brain is focused on using the system, while the other competing half is trying to ignore this structure and run amok like a wild animal. Creative minds need to be allowed to run free. If you want to think outside the box, stop staring into the box all the time!

I make it a point to push myself away from the computer every so often, pull out my big 11 x 14 "artist's sketch pad" that I bought at Michael's or AC Moore, and write down whatever it is I'm thinking about. Sometimes I'm jotting down business planning notes or creating a list. More often, I'm roughing out design ideas for a game or piece of software that I'm in the process of developing. And I work with ink PENS. That may seem stupid, because after all, these are often rough ideas I'm conjuring and I'm gonna mess up. Who cares! Cross stuff out. Draw arrows to things. Don't worry about being perfect. There's no need for an eraser; that's way too constraining. The key here is that you are free to think and create. You're not clicking icons, searching through menus, or scrolling every which way. There are no grid-lines to keep within. You've got a big old blank sheet of paper and a pen. That's the simplest interface there is.

Go ahead and try it. You'll be amazed at the results. You'll use parts of your brain that are oftentimes stifled by the structure of the computer. Whatever natural artistic abilities you possess are free to come out and play. There's a reason I chose to use an "art pad" after all. All good design has a basis in ART. Whether you're designing a building, a machine, clothing, software, a board game, or whatever, you visualize what that thing will be like before it ever comes into existence. You mold it in your mind's eye. So takes those creative visions and let them flow through your fingertips and out onto the paper. Even if you couldn't draw a tree in 2nd Grade to save your life, the simple act of writing is an act of expressing yourself in your own unique way.

So creative people of the world, get writing!!! You can thank me later.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Scattered Brain Cells

How many of you have ever read Larry King's column in the newspaper? The famed talk-show host writes in a unique style consisting of short little snippets of opinion. Many people hate that style of writing, but many others find it refreshing. In the fast-paced world that we live in, sometimes you just want a few quick bites to satisfy your mental cravings. So in the spirit of Larry King, perhaps modified a smidge, I bring to you a little segment called Scattered Brain Cells.

Black Friday... I didn't go out and do any shopping on Black Friday. I know many people practically pee their pants with excitement over the chance to snag a sweet deal on electronics, jewelry, clothing, video game systems, home furnishings, and so forth. They get up at 4:00 AM so they can be at the store when the doors open. Not me. I'm in the middle of rapid eye movement. I hate parking in Bumblebutt, Idaho and fighting through crowds of rabid shoppers. There's really nothing that I need THAT BAD. And if there was, I'd probably shop online for it.

Amazon Specials... Many online retailers are having their own Black Friday sales. has a really interesting 6-day sale going on where visitors choose various deals, and the product that gets the most votes each day is then offered at the pre-set deal price. I think during Day-1, they were offering Nintendo Wii systems to lucky visitors for $79 bucks. Damn sweet! Even if you didn't really want one, you could probably re-sell it on eBay for a tidy profit.

Mystery Shopping... There are two cool things about deals like those is offering:

(1) You can shop while sitting there in your pajamas -- no stinking crowds to fight through.

(2) There's a little bit of mystery about what products are actually going to be the ones that are offered for the sweet pre-set deal price. That element of surprise is something that really makes shopping fun. In fact, that's one of the things that I believe is so enticing about eBay. You just never know exactly what's going to be available for sale and at what price. There's a distinct Thrill of the Hunt going on which is so often missing from most shopping experiences.

Which brings me to my next thing... For board gamers and tech weenies, you've gotta check out This online shopping site is all about the Thrill of the Hunt. Each day, the website offers a single new product for sale at a steeply discounted price. You have no idea what product they're going to offer next, so you need to visit the site frequently and see what's for sale. And if you want to buy that item, you need to act fast. The phrase "you snooze, you lose" was never more appropriate for a shopping web site. Hot items sell out quickly.

TANGATHON... Periodically, TANGA does something really cool, holding a TANGATHON. For a period of several days, they sell through multiple items. Some of these products are only available for 1 or 2 hours and then boom, they're gone and another product takes their place. TANGA makes shopping for games and gadgets exciting. Bargain hunters love it. Stop by this weekend and check it out. You'll never know what you might find there.

You'll Drool for these Ghouls... Miniature figure maker Crocodile Games has just released a new range of ghouls to support their excellent WarGods of Aegyptus game. These figures are absolutely stunning. The poses are dynamic, the creatures look fierce and wild, and they've got a uniquely different style compared to other ghouls I've seen. I will definitely be buying some of these in the future to use in my own fantasy tabletop battle game. The guys at Crocodile Games make some of the best and most truly original fantasy figures on the market. You can see a full-sized photo of the ghoul unit by going here.

Top 200 Board Games... Turning our attention to board games, esteemed game reviewer extraordinaire Tom Vasel (of Dice Tower podcast fame) recently released his list of the Top 200 Games (board games and card games) for 2007. Those folks yearning to learn about high-caliber games or wanting a useful guide to help with Christmas shopping, should check out Tom's list. It's a truly excellent list, with brief comments on most games and links to full reviews of many more. Since one gamer's definition of "fun" varies widely from another's, you'll find that very few game geeks will agree with all of Tom's top 200 picks. If everyone liked exactly the same things, life would be boring! But I've found that Tom's tastes generally match up with my own fairly well across several key areas. He generally loves heavily thematic games, especially with a fantasy/sci-fi twist. He also seems to like adventure and battle games a lot. And you can tell from his list that Tom values strategy & replayability a heck of a lot. Those are all things that are extremely high on my list as well. Anyway, check out Tom's list and be sure to listen to his and Sam Healey's engaging Dice Tower podcasts.

Podcast Mania... Speaking of gaming podcasts, they're popping up everywhere! My wife got me a 40 GB video iPod for our anniversary back in May. As fate would have it, I ended up getting her an 80 GB video iPod as my gift to her. Great minds think alike! Anyway, aside from watching some occasional videos (such as Boardgames With Scott episodes), I've mostly been listening to scores of gaming related podcasts over the past 6 months.

If you look in the righthand margin of this blog and scroll down a bit, you'll see a list of gaming podcasts. There are lots of very good ones. If I had to pick my Top 6 favorite podcasts based on overall quality and interest to me (after all, this is SIX sided Rhinoceros), I would choose in no particular order:

That said, I recommend giving all of the podcasts on my big list a listen and choosing your own favorites.

New Miniatures Games Magazine!... Polymancer Studios has announced that they'll soon be publishing a new magazine focused on miniatures wargames called Bayonets, Spears, and Blasters. What's got me so excited about this printed magazine is two major things:

(1) At least half the magazine (or more) appears to be devoted to Fantasy and Sci-Fi miniatures gaming. Those are my favorite genres. Since the majority of wargame rags focus on historical gaming and give short shrift to fantasy/sci-fi gaming, I welcome a magazine like this. Battlegames is my favorite wargaming magazine currently in print, but if Polymancer can come anywhere close to that AND include a heavy dose of fantasy stuff, it will likely become my favorite rag in short time. My expectations are high!

(2) This is a "general purpose" magazine which takes a broad view of the wargaming hobby as a whole rather than being focused on a single company's products. As eye catching as White Dwarf is, the house magazine for Games Workshop, or the magazines devoted to Rackham and Privateer Press products, I much prefer a magazine devoted to the WHOLE HOBBY and not just a specific game or segment of it. BSB looks like it will fit the bill perfectly.

Christmas List... With Turkey Day here and gone, it's time for everyone to start handing over their Christmas Lists to those significant others, parents, or Elves at the North Pole, who will be helping to fulfill your little list of wishes this holiday season. Screw the practical stuff, we geeks want GAMES for Christmas! So what's on my games wishlist this year? Well, I'll probably write more about that in a separate post, but here's a quick rundown of the games and toys that this 40-something will dish off to Anna Claus (a.k.a. my wife):


  • HeroScape Wave #7 = Yeah, I've got the Scape bug bad. Those knights look sweet!
  • Wizard Kings = I just picked up Hammer of the Scots at Fall In. But fantasy is my first love and this block wargame is just too damn tempting to pass up.
  • Prophecy = I loved Talisman as a youngster and I hear this new Talisman-like adventure game by Z-Man is even better. My game group should love this one.
  • Wings of War Miniatures = I've got the base game, but I really don't feel like playing it until I get some cool looking bi-planes to use. Hey now, I'm a minis gamer!
  • Attack! Expansion = I picked up Attack! on eBay a few months back and haven't played it yet. Those in the know say it's much better with the expansion. This one's a must.


  • Colossal Arena = Monsters and Bidding. Nuff said.
  • Hive = An attractive little abstract 2-player game that Anna might like to play.
  • Manhattan = A euro with lots of eye candy and a Godzilla variant. Kewl!
  • Mr. Jack = Interesting, fast playing deduction game with strong theme. Another game that I could see Anna liking to play.
  • Condottiere = Got good vibes from the reviews I've read. And hey, I'm Italian too!
  • Lord of the Rings Confrontation (Deluxe) = Frodo lives! I can see this one getting to the table a lot, especially with my wargamer buddies who need a light diversion from those much deeper and longer playing miniatures games.
  • Through the Desert = Like the pastel camels, the strategy, and appeal to the non-wargaming crowd.
  • Fairy Tale = light card games with good theme & art make great games for those casual players we all play with.
  • Battlelore Goblin Marauders and Call to Arms = 2 expansions that will go nicely with the ones I just picked up at Fall In.
  • Ticket to Ride 1910 Expansion = Going on Tom Vasel's recommendation here.
If I ended up with 3 or 4 of these games I would be ecstatic. Christmas presents should be all about fun, not practicality. There are 364 other days of the year for that!

And that's it for now... This ended up being a little heavier than a Larry King column. I'll do better next time!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Look Back at Fall In 2007

Between my trip to the Fall In convention the previous weekend, a very busy work-week last week, a day off to go to the annual brunch and Christmas play at Allenberry Resort, a trip down to Philly this past weekend to see my wife's folks, and a Hershey Bears hockey game, I've been too busy to blog. Hey, it happens.

Anyway, I did manage to squeeze in some other fun stuff along the way, with my trip to Fall In being the most fun. Well duh! It's a game convention... with miniatures... how could that NOT be fun?

This year's Fall In convention was a little different for me than the last batch of HMGS East cons I've attended. The big difference is that none of my wargaming buddies (Kev, Geoff, Wally, and Mike) were able to fit a trip down to Gettysburg into their schedules this year. So I didn't get any convention gaming in, because frankly, that's just not something I do when "I'm going solo".

Also, there weren't any Painting Classes that really caught my eye this go around. I'm hoping that there's a Horse painting class or How to Speed Paint in 1 Hour class at the Cold Wars 2008 convention which I'd be much more keen to sign up for. That's not a knock on Heather Blush. She and her crew do a truly excellent job running the painting events at the HMGS East cons. Heck, I voted for Heather to be on HMGS East's board of directors, because I felt she's really brought a lot to the hobby as the guiding force behind the painting classes at these cons. Plus, she's one of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. Keep up the great work Heather!

So with no gaming or no painting to fill the time, 100% of my focus was on shopping. Woohoo baby! Truth be told, shopping for new toys is really what I live for when it comes to these miniatures conventions. And with no friends around to help curb my spending or quickly ferry me past the vendor tables, I was able to leisurely stroll around the All Star hall, size up the merchandise, and shop in a relaxed manner without worrying that my long, lustful gazes were holding anyone else up. It was one of the most pleasurable convention shopping experiences that I've had in a long time.

My wargaming buddies would be the first to tell you how I have this rabid fascination with shopping at HMGS East cons. While they have been known to spend their cold, hard cash at many a convention, they're much more restrained than me. Perhaps part of it is because they have kids, and don't have the disposable income that someone like me (with no children) has. They have little mouths to feed and little bodies to wrap in new clothes. Maybe it's because they've haven't been involved in the hobby for as many years as I have. They lack the burning itch for new figures and games that many of us longtime wargamers have. Or maybe it's simply because they're cheap bastards. And of course, I say that with love.

Whatever biological phenomenon it is that helps restrain my friends from reaching for their wallets, it seems that I lack that gene, hormone, nervous system response, or whatever it is. I could easily spend $1500 to $2000 at a game convention without blinking. The only thing stopping me is common sense and the fact that my wife would probably kick me in the nads... after she slapped me silly. So I limit my spending to about one-fourth or one-fifth of that amount.

At this year's Fall In, I was determined to make much better use of my available funds than I did at Historicon. At the summer con, I returned with only a few really memorable things. Most of them were gorgeously painted miniatures (a large reptilian hero from Fernando Enterprises, a demon-General from Stan Johansen, and a beautiful regiment of Vikings from Evil Bob's). I was pleased with what I bought, it's just that I didn't feel I got a lot of bang for my buck. So my goal at Gettysburg was to come home with a much wider variety of stuff, and things which I would definitely use or play with right away. I didn't buy ANY professionally painted miniatures or ANY unpainted lead (metal figures). That's probably a first for me, at least a first for many years. So what did I buy?

Interestingly enough, about 40-45% of my money was spent on board games. That's very unusual for me at an HMGS East con. But there was a much broader selection of cool board games available at this convention than ever before. My first purchase of the day was at the Canton Games booth where a very personable gentleman helped me scarf up Tide of Iron, and 3 expansions for Battlelore (Goblin Skirmishers, Dwarven Battalion, and Hundred Years War). After a quick trip to the car to drop off those goodies, I came back for more.

My next purchase was Hammer of the Scots from the Last Square, along with some packs of metal wargaming bases and Nut Brown Ink from Windsor & Newton. The Last Square had a show special of 15% off all board games, which was excellent. I was thinking about picking up Crusader Rex and Wings of War (Famous Aces), but they were gone by the time that I returned to the booth a 2nd time to shop. As the old saying goes, if you snooze, you lose!

I then switched over to miniature wargaming mode, sauntered over to the On Military Matters booth, and picked up a newly released book I had been seeking entitled Ancient & Medieval Wargaming (by Neil Thomas). This is a hefty book (close to 300 pages) and is chock full of rules, army lists, and tactics used by historical armies. I haven't gotten the chance to read through it in earnest yet, but it looks like an excellent addition to any wargamer's library. Although I'm mainly a fantasy gamer, the ancient & medieval period is by far my favorite from a historical perspective.

I also paid a visit to Steve at Pastimes on the Square, a game shop located in Palmyra, PA that I visit on occasion. Pastimes has their own range of terrain which is both very nice and affordable. I bought a pile of hills, hedges, and trees for around $50, which will see plenty of use on my wargames table. Right next to the Pastimes booth was Evil Bob's, who is now carrying the excellent terrain made by Acheson's Creations. I snagged a beautifully painted Orc Hut nestled amongst rocky outcroppings in 28mm scale.

I then stopped by the Brigade Games booth to grab the newly released Gnome Wars rulebook. If you've never seen the Gnome Wars minis, you've just got to see them. They're chock full of character and whimsy, and put a heavy dose of fun into what can sometimes turn into an overly serious hobby for some stuffy old grognards. Between the gnome cavalry riding rabbits, the German gnomes with their spiked helms that would make the Kaiser proud, the Stinky Cheese Grenadier, and the classic Swiss gnomes that look like long-lost cousins of the Travelocity roaming gnome, these minis are truly great. I also had a nice little chat with Lon Weiss of Brigade Games, and discovered that he also went to Penn State and graduated the same year that I did. Small world eh?

My final stop was at one of the places where I started my morning browsing, The War Store. Early in the morning, I stopped by to chat with Neil Catapano, the owner of the War Store. Neil is a genuinely great guy, very easy to talk to and willing to help you out however he can. He's one of those guys that upon meeting for the first time, you feel like you've known him forever. He said that he has only attended 2 conventions in the past five years or so, GenCon and Fall In. He's hoping to come to Cold Wars in 2008. I sure hope he can make it. The War Store booth was not only huge and had an appealing layout, it was loaded with popular board games and mainstream miniatures games, and was staffed by some of the friendliest people I've ever met at an HMGS East con. Plus, Neil's prices on games are really good.

I ended up buying the AT-43 starter set at the War Store booth. With all the time and money I invest in traditional fantasy and medieval period figures, I just don't have thousands of dollars to spend on sci-fi stuff as well. So when AT-43 came out, a pre-painted sci-fi skirmish game, my interest was piqued. The barrier to entry was low (not that expensive, not many figures needed to play), and you could easily expand the game with more figures & armies without investing lots of time painting up new forces. That and the fact that the pre-paints are pretty nice looking, hooked me to try out AT-43. I can't wait until those space apes come out! Strange as it may sound, I actually felt guilty that I didn't spend more at Neil's booth. I just liked these guys that much. Of course, there's always Christmas mail order!

All things considered, I had a great day shopping on Friday the 9th. So great in fact, that I blew my entire "toy budget" in one day. My only real regrets of the show were forgetting to come back and buy a few packs of Warrior Frogs from Eureka minis, and not having enough extra funds to snag a gorgeous piece of ESLO terrain from Old Rivertowne Miniatures that I had my eye on. Oh well, there's always the next HMGS East convention in March!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wargamers and Shopping

If I were a rich man... deedle doodle deedle do... I'd buy all the wargames in the world, if I were a wealthy man...

Alright, maybe I wouldn't buy ALL the wargames in the world. That wouldn't be fair to all the other miniature wargamers who need to feed their addictions. There should always be enough miniatures, terrain, game books, and dice to go around for everyone. I shudder to imagine a world without tiny tin troops, painted plastic platoons, and lines of Lilliputian lead legions! The tragedy of it all would surely be unbearable.

Fortunately, we live in a "golden age" for miniature wargamers. There has never been more in the way of purchasing choices for the discerning wargamer. Between game rules and miniatures for every period and scale imaginable, to pre-painted soldiers and terrain, to a vast array of quality paints and modelling tools, to countless books on warfare and hobby-related activities, the choices that gamers have nowadays are truly fantastic. And that's a really good thing, because if there's one thing that wargamers love to do, it's SHOP.

Outsiders to the wonderful world of wargaming don't understand our inherent lust for toy soldiers. When they see our numerous pots of paint and brushes, scores of blister packs and boxes full of unpainted miniatures, shelves of rulebooks and finely painted figures, and bags full of dice, they think "how could you possibly need any more?" We look at them with a puzzled expression, momentarily thinking that perhaps they're right. How will we ever paint all those toy soldiers? When will we ever have the time to play every wargame that we own? And just how many shades of green paint does a person really need?

But then we surf the internet and our eyes grow wide as we stare at the dazzling array of gorgeously painted tiny warriors marching across imaginary fields of battle. Or even worse, we travel to a game convention and see booth upon booth filled with tempting toys. The boy inside each of us begins to reach out. Rational thought goes out the window. We feel for our wallets. The real game has begun; the quest to feed our inner-geek.

With the 2007 FALL IN convention just a few days away, I've made up my own personal list of things that I'm interested in hunting for. The key word here is interested. I certainly don't need all of these things, nor could I afford to buy them all. Some of them are pure curiosities more than must-haves. But what's really intriguing about my list is its sheer size. I don't consider myself a "material person", but after looking at this list, I'm beginning to wonder if it's not my inner geek who needs satisfied, but rather, my inner Madonna. Just take a gander:


  1. Markers & tokens (fire, smoke, wounds, morale, etc.) by Litko or Gale Force Nine.
  2. Wooden Dice Tray
  3. Reaper Paints - Triad sets
  4. Coat D'Arms Paints - Paint Sets (Medieval, Goblin, Elves)
  5. Scale Creep - magnetic sheeting and steel bases

Miniatures & Terrain:

  1. HeroScape - Wave #7
  2. AT-43 - starter set
  3. Wings of War - WWI miniature airplanes
  4. Wargods of Aegyptus - Anubi, Mummies, Sebeki, Khemru
  5. Wargods of Olympus - Spartans
  6. Black Hat - Goblins, Centaurs
  7. Eureka - Warrior Frogs, Winged Monkeys
  8. Crusader - Saxon Huscarls, Pirate Orcs
  9. Front Rank - 100 Years War and War of the Roses
  10. Splintered Light - 15mm fantasy
  11. Blue Moon Miniatures - Horror/Pulp boxed sets
  12. Confrontation 4 - starter set
  13. Hordes - Trollbloods, Circle Oboros
  14. Reaper Legendary Encounters
  15. McFarlane's Dragons
  16. EM-4 - Ludus Gladiatorus
  17. World Tank Museum - mini WWII tanks
  18. Gridded Game Mat (4'x6', Green) by Monday Knight Productions
  19. ESLO - forests, hills, and buildings
  20. Baueda - Medieval Camps & Tents
  21. JR Miniatures - 28mm rivers and roads

Board Wargames:

  1. Battlelore expansions - Call to Arms, Goblins, Dwarves, 100 Yrs War
  2. Attack! - expansion
  3. Wings of War
  4. Prophecy
  5. Wizard Kings
  6. Hammer of the Scots
  7. Crusader Rex
  8. El Grande
  9. Tide of Iron
  10. War of the Ring
  11. Lord of the Rings: Confrontation
  12. Warrior Knights
  13. Fury of Dracula
  14. Colossal Arena
  15. Cave Troll
  16. Condottiere
  17. Titan
Miniature Wargame Rules:
  1. Piquet - Fantasy, Band of Brothers
  2. Gnome Wars
  3. Age of Might & Steel
  4. Medieval Wargaming (Neil Thomas)
  5. Monster Island
  6. Blood Bowl - 3rd Edition
  7. Elfball
  8. For the Masses
  9. Vampire Wars
  10. All Things Zombie
  12. Valor, Flesh, & Steel
  13. Erin
  14. Alien Squad Leader
  15. Armati
  16. Knight Hack
  17. Day of Battle
Yup, that's a helluva lot of stuff! I guess it's good to have things to aspire to, right?

I'll let you know if I purchase any of these things at the FALL IN convention. Usually I'm on the lookout for pro-painted minis, but I might dive into some of the above items this time out.

Oh a-shopping we will go....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

GODS -- Game Sessions at Sevy's

Hello GODS Members,

November is a super-busy month for me, but things should be more flexible once we get into the DEC/JAN timeframe. That said, I was still able to schedule some gaming sessions for the next three months.

Here's the official Schedule of Game Sessions that I will be hosting over the next 3 months.

Please note that the Starting Time for these gaming events may change (especially those farther out in the schedule... DEC onwards). If that is the case, I will update the info on this blog and also send out a heads-up email noting the time change at least 1 week in advance.

Pirate's Cove (3-5 plyr, Pirate Adventure, 2 hrs, Info)

NOV 25 (SUNDAY @ 1 PM)
Shadows Over Camelot (3-7 plyr, King Arthur Adventure, Co-Op, 2 hrs, Info)

Acquire (2-6 plyr, Economic Strategy, 2 hrs, Info)

Citadels (2-7 plyr, Medieval City Building, Card Game, 1 hr, Info)

DEC 23 (SUNDAY @ 7 PM)
Cosmic Encounter (3-6 plyr, Sc-Fi Conquest & Negotiation, 2 hrs, Info)

Attack! (2-6 plyr, WWII Wargame, 3 hrs, Info)

JAN 20 (SUNDAY @ 7 PM)
Domaine (2-4 plyr, Medieval Land Conquest, 1.5 hrs, Info)

Lighter Fare -- Card Games:
If time permits and people want to stay for another 30-to-60 minutes after our main game finishes, I have a bunch of light, filler card games that we can play to wrap up an afternoon or evening session if time permits. These include:
Special Invite Games:
As I mentioned in a previous club email, I will also be inviting various people to play against me in some 2-player wargames when time permits and I can work it into my schedule. These would be tentatively called Wargame Wednesdays, since WED Nights seems to be the best fit for weekday games for most people based on the survey responses I got.

I'll cover some games that fit this mold in a later blog post, but you can bet your bippy that Battlelore, Battle Cry, and Dungeon Twister will figure prominently in that mix.

I'm also looking to buy several 2-player wargames that are on my games wishlist. These games include: Tide of Iron, War of the Ring, Crusader Rex, Hammer of the Scots, Duel in the Dark, and AT-43. There are also several multi-player wargames that I'm after which can also be played head-to-head including the fantasy block wargame Wizard Kings and WWI plane combat game Wings of War: Miniatures.

There's one additional note that I wanted to share. One of the game designers in our group (Mayer), has a few new games that he'd like to bring to Game Day / Game Night on occasion and have members of the group playtest. There are two games in particular that I'm aware of. One is a word-building game called Rotate, and another involves drafting a basketball team on-the-cheap. I'm happy to help him out, so I'm going to arrange for him to bring a game to one of my upcoming sessions, and I'll let everyone know when that will happen.

That's all for now. By the way, you can quickly find GODS Game Club related posts by looking in the Posts by Category section in the right-hand margin of this blog and clicking on the game club link.

See you later!