Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Boards, Spaces, and Pieces

In this post I examine the relationship between boards, spaces and pieces. One thing noticeably absent is any discussion of theme. I apologize in advance to all of you theme lovers.

Boardless Boards

A "board" doesn't have to be a specific board made for the game. The top of a table is a board for many games, such as most card games. One function of a pre-printed board is to assign locations for components. If you print a board for Bridge indicating the location of the alternate deck between rounds, the dummy's hand, the collected tricks, and the score pad and pencil, the game does not essentially change. The conventional locations for the components of Bridge are well known, so a pre-printed board is unnecessary. In addition, the location of these components is only a formality, not a requirement. It makes no difference if you store your tricks "here" or "there".

Board as a Player Separator

The board in a board game serves to divide people from each other. Most boards are located between the players. In Bridge, for example, the two partners are actually across from each other, i.e. with maximum board obstruction and distance, while opponents are only partially occluded by the board, being on your sides. On the other hand, in games such as Chess, Go, or Memoir '44, players or teams may be arranged on either side of the board, in which case the board serves as a dividing gulf between forces. In some cases, all players may be on one side of a board. Often this happens when the board itself functions as an adversary, such as Ra - where the game ends if the board spaces fill up - or Lord of the Rings - where all players act in cooperation.

Another reason to be on different sides of a table is to keep hidden items concealed from other players, or simply to be able to see and converse easily with the other players.

Board Spaces

One of the fundamental elements of a board is its creation of unique spaces. An empty table top, or a blank board, has only a single space. Unless the distances between players or the edge of the table are counted for some purpose, any area of the table is equivalent to any other area. Even in this situation, the game may have other defined spaces if each player has their own hand of cards or holdings.

The moment you place something on the table, the table area is now divided into areas. In the case of a board on a table, the simplest division is the area on the board versus the area off of the board. Both areas may sometimes be used during the game. Off the board might indicate a penalty space, such as when a player has to toss something onto the board and misses. Or it might be reserved for a storage space for board elements that are in "hyper-space", which I define as "any area off the playable board space and not in another uniquely defined space such as a player's hand or holdings". Items in hyper-space may, by definition, be moved freely to any other area in hyper-space with no effect on the game play. In essence the board itself exists within hyper-space, as it may be moved around with no effect on the game (assuming you do not knock the pieces over).

Consider Carcassonne. We ignore the scoring board, each player's meeple reserves, and the stacks of unused tiles, all of which are in hyper-space. The first tile placed on the table creates a number of unique areas. Four obvious areas are orthogonal to the tile in that they are distinct playable areas. Areas that abut these four areas orthogonally, either diagonal to the first tile or further away from the first tile, are potential future play areas which must also be considered. A placed tile contains within itself several playable areas specifically reserved for the other game pieces, the meeples, but not for placing other tiles. These spaces come into being the moment a tile is placed on the table. As spaces are created, players are forced to decide how to use these spaces to their benefit.

Polarity, a game of tossing magnetized disks, is another example. The board itself divides the surface into two areas: inside the circle and outside the circle. Once a piece is thrown onto the board, several more spaces are defined: on the piece, touching the piece, close to the piece, far from the piece but usefully between the piece and the edge, far from the piece but not usefully between the piece and the edge.

Now consider a blank sheet that you can use to create a new game. The first marking you place divides the game area into spaces. If you draw a line or edge, it may be dividing between one side and another side of this edge. If you draw a constrained space, such as a circle or square, the division may be between inside of this space and any other spaces. A pattern of constrained spaces describes the boundaries of each location.

Dynamic and Variable Areas

If the spaces on the table are created as you play then the board is dynamic. A dynamic board is one in which the areas are not wholly defined before the game begins. Note that the board in Carcassonne is not really dynamic, as the entire board is in reality a grid of tile sized spaces, the outlines of which are apparent the moment the first tile is placed on the table.

In addition to dynamic, boards may vary as the game continues if the spaces can merge or change shape topologically. If a space changes shape or size, but it's functionality is the same and its relationship to other spaces has not changed, it has not really changed at all as far as the game is concerned.

Space Relationships

The most intrinsic aspect of a space is that it is not any other space. For most games, spaces form relationships with other spaces. A set of spaces may form a series such as the movement track in a race game. Or they may define proximity and/or distance, such as hex areas in a war game. They divide territory, such that applicable traits of one space are different from that of another, such as what resources are available to you if your pieces is there. They may influence each other by proximity, such as "all spaces bordering a river".

Spaces define what pieces can occupy them and how. Continuing with Carcassonne, we have the infinite grid of squares in which to potentially lay pieces, the spaces on the score track which are moved according to piece placement within the grid area, and hyper-space, where all other elements of the game reside.

In a game of Bohnanza, there is the hand space of each player further subdivided into five spaces. Cards enter in a track and progress through these spaces until they leave the hand area into the player's table space. A player's table space is divided into four areas: three for planting and a money pile. There is no special relationship between the spaces in one player's table area, or between each player's table area; they exist within hyper-space somewhere. In addition, there are two spaces for the deck and discard pile.

And so on.

In many games, the space is specifically divided into where you may or may not place your pieces, as well as how you may move them, such as Checkers. In some games, pieces travel between player's hand spaces without ever hitting the board area, such as traded resources in Settlers of Catan.

It is worth noting that any game with a scoring track is essentially a race game. All of the things you are doing with your other pieces are meant to help you race your pieces around the scoring track - they are the fuel for your movement, so to speak. Some games have the pieces interacting directly within the scoring track, such as Crokinole and Rebound. It would be interesting to see family games that did this, e.g. "if your piece lands on the scoring track, use that as your new score".

Pieces and Spaces

Pieces, board elements, and spaces are somewhat interchangeable. In a game where you lay tile to create the board, are the tiles pieces, spaces, or part of the board?

One way to look at pieces is that they transform the spaces they are on. A Monopoly space with a house on it is different from a Monopoly space without a house on it. The meaning of the space has changed, and therefore the space itself has temporarily changed. When the spaces are not dynamic, the pieces are used to execute the abilities of each space.

Dice and so on are simply pieces. They are generally thrown in a hyper-space area, and by virtue of their position affect how you may move other pieces. In a spaceless board, each player generally has their own hand space, with the board acting as a general hyper-space for pieces in transition, such as temporarily storing played cards.


Whether you play games or design them, it is useful to be able to picture the world created by the interacting elements of board, space, and pieces. Happy playing.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Havoc (in many senses)

Two player Havoc with my daughter. It plays well, though certainly not as tensely as with more than two. My box came only with three "poker hand chart" cards, one on the back of a "setup" card and two on the back of "turn summary" cards. Shouldn't there be six of these? Three are not enough when six people are playing.

Speaking of havoc, the idiots of telecommunication in Israel are trying to bully the ISPs to block all VOiP traffic because of loss of income to the telecommunication companies, i.e. Bezeq and their ilk. How many industries now exist that provide absolutely nothing to the world and continue to exist solely due to legal and governmental action to prop them up? Phone service. Music distribution. Printing. Newspapers. The list continues. Soon we will be a world of people who do nothing but sue each other all day.

And, as usual, if the idiots that be actually embraced the technology and changed to merge it into their business, they would be able to profit from it. Instead they harm themselves, as well as every consumer. Because the Internet views censorship as damage and routes around it.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Top games and ratings

I never posted anything about the top 100 games from "The One Hundred" blog, because, frankly, it didn't excite me. Not in concept - we have lots of other 100 lists out there, who really needs another? BGG and the Internet top 100 aren't enough for you? And not in execution - the very fact that so many of the games were Eurogames from the last five years is enough to indicate that the list is not really serious.

And definitions: what do people mean by "best" games anyway? Most played? Best designed (according to the scorer)? Most popular? Most enduring? Most widely acceptable? Most "fun"?

Problems in compiling these lists are well known. The unsuitability of comparing games aimed at different types of players (Chutes and Ladders vs Monopoly vs Chess vs Puerto Rico). The preponderance of expansions rated highly because they are only rated by people who enjoyed the original game to bother with the expansion. The preponderance of the latest games simply because older games have become routine. The preponderance of games rated according to the tastes of visitors to the site, rather than to any sort of objective ratings. And so on. The same type of silliness applies to movie ratings on IMDB vs the AFI's top 100 movies.

Excluding expansions, we find that the top 50 of the "Top 100" matches closely with the Internet Top 100, but not very closely with the BGG top 50. Between the three of them, there are more than 50 games that are on only one list out of the three, games such as Go, ASL, Cosmic Encounter, Poker, and Titan. Oh, these games make it further down the list in some cases.

Humans have a strange desire to rank unsimilar elements by rank. Really, any suitable ranking system has to be multi-tiered. For instance, a game should be rated according to some list of parameters such as the following:

Rank each 1-10:

For number of players:
7+ players

For age of players:
Up to 6

Rule Complexity Scale:
Very simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Chess)
Moderate (Modern Art)
Complex (Puerto Rico)
Very Complex (ASL)

Play Complexity Scale:
Very simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Ra)
Moderate (Settlers of Catan)
Complex (Age of Steam)
Very Complex (Civilization)

Tactical Complexity Scale:
Very Simple (Chutes and Ladders)
Simple (Hearts)
Moderate (Settlers of Catan)
Complex (Modern Art)
Very Complex (Go)

Time length of full "set of games":
5 minutes or less (one hand of bridge)
10-20 minutes
30-45 minutes (one rubber of bridge)
1-1.5 hours (one game of bridge)
2-3 hours
3-6 hours (a full set of duplicate bridge)
7 hours or more

Game seriousness:
None - lighthearted with no decisions
Mild - lighthearted but possible to win with luck and some skill or attention
Moderate - Family game, such as Monopoly
Heavy - Strategic game such as Puerto Rico
Very Heavy - War game

Pen and paper or none

Game luck elements:

Competitiveness [maybe]:
Some cooperation, possible single victory
Competitive, little interaction
Moderate interaction
Highly interactive, but no direct ability to damage
Direct damage to opponent, but no elimination
Possible early elimination through direct damage

Thin thematic
Story Arc

This could go on and on, I suppose. But with each parameter, so long as they all get rated for every game - and it really doesn't take that much longer to mark 30 parameters for a game than it takes to mark 1 - we get so much more value.

When we want to know the top rated games according to games that actually might compare, we can search accordingly.

Finally, the rating has to be used by people from all sorts of places and backgrounds - masses of people, grognards, euros, children, different countries and cultures. Weights of ratings should be calculated based on other games people have rated, as well as the age of the rating, with ratings having to be renewed regularly in order to carry more weight. So if a person likes a whole slew of games that are of no interest to me, my ratings search will put little weight onto their rating.

Then all we have to deal with is shilling.



I present to you the top 40 games from

1. Hi Ho Cherry-O (5.00)
2. Monopoly (4.25)
3. Chess (4.16)
4. Scrabble (4.15)
5. Scattergories (4.13)
6. Risk (4.10)
7. Taboo (4.08)
8. Stratego (4.03)
9. Balderdash (4.00)
10. Rail Baron (4.00)
11. Risk 2210 A.D. (4.00)
12. Chebache (4.00)
13. Cranium (4.00)
14. Clue (3.94)
15. Axis & Allies (3.93)
16. Trivial Pursuit (3.92)
17. Yahtzee (3.88)
18. Acquire (3.86)
19. Battleship (3.85)
20. Settlers of Catan (3.83)
21. Life (3.79)
22. Othello (3.77)
23. Checkers (3.74)
24. Candy Land (3.70)
25. Parchesi (3.69)
26. Pictionary (3.68)
27. Diplomacy (3.56)
28. Chinese Checkers (3.55)
29. Chutes and Ladders (3.49)
30. Sorry (3.45)
31. Go (3.33)
32. Lord of the Rings (3.31)
33. Backgammon (3.23)
34. Samurai Swords (3.20)
35. Operation (3.09)
36. Popomatic Trouble (3.00)
37. Da Vinci Game (3.00)
38. Triomioes (3.00)
39. Mouse Trap (2.53)
40. Hear Me Out! (2.00)

Links, links, links ...

Israel: I'm happy to see that the Palestinians are finally getting it together: here.

Tech: An article about how bloggers are losing their "rebel" reputation by accepting so much advertising: here. Update: and a response.

Comics: Order of the Stick really is a funny strip for anyone who has played d20.

Games: Battle for Baghdad board game is causing controversy. By Jiggi Games.

Sheesh. Enough links already. Too easy.

Board Game News by Rick Thornquist

Rick is the English world's playa' when it comes to board game news and information. Having left GameWire on GameFest, he has restarted on this new site. Onto the daily checklist.

He will be trying to make a (partial?) living out of it by charging membership for certain privileges (right now, the ability to comment on posts) and accepting contributions and advertising. Considering the number of other contributors to the site, this will probably take some time. But I truly wish him success.

I could certainly use a little extra cash, if I could find a way to do it that doesn't annoy my readers. Should I put on a contribution button on my page? Reinstate Google Ads?

Only thing missing from Rick's site is an RSS feed. Whoops! I spoke too soon:


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Some specialty classes for d20 that I created long ago ...

Computer Technician

Requirements -
Alignment: any chaotic
Knowledge(arcana): 5 ranks
Feat: Create Arms and Armor
Spells: can cast permanency

BAB and saving throws increase like Loremaster
Level Special

1 Upgrade Weapon 1.0, Incomprehensible Languages
2 Patch Weapon 1.1
3 Upgrade Weapon 2.0, Patch Weapon 1.2
4 Patch Weapon 2.1, Disrupt Communication
5 Upgrade Weapon 3.0, Patch Weapon 2.2
6 Patch Weapon 3.1
7 Upgrade Weapon 4.0, Patch Weapon 3.2, Sunspots
8 Patch Weapon 4.1
9 Upgrade Weapon 5.0, Patch Weapon 4.2
10 Patch Weapon 5.1, Antimagic Field

Class Skills: see Loremaster

Class Features:

Upgrade Weapon: For half of the normal creation cost, a Computer
Technician can enchant a weapon, giving it a magical plus equal to the
version of upgrade being used, e.g. Upgrade Weapon 1.0 can give a +1
bonus, Upgrade 2.0 a +2 bonus, etc... The cost of upgrading a +1
weapon to a +2 enchantment using Upgrade 2.0 is one quarter that of
upgrading straight to +2 from a normal weapon.

The upgrades, due to their lower cost, come with 3-6 (d4+2) drawbacks
from the following list:

1 - The new weapon is one size larger. You'll need to buy a new
2 - After every 2-20 rounds of combat, the new weapon will freeze up.
It becomes impossible to swing unless it is returned to its sheathe
and redrawn.
3 - The weapon's magical enchantment has 50 charges, after which it
ceases to function, even if you didn't do anything different this
4 - The wielder loses proficiency in the new weapon, because it
doesn't function or feel exactly like the old one.
5 - One use of the weapon's functions ceases to work, e.g. a sword can
poke, but not slash, or a hammer can pound spikes, but can't bash
6 - The weapon now takes a full action to draw. This effect cancels,
and is cancelled out by, the Quick Draw feat.
7 - You need to change one of the following in order to use the
weapon: armor, gauntlets, backpack, spells on your spell list,
familiar, companions, etc... (DM's decision)
8 - The wielder's intelligence is lowered to 5 every time he draws the
weapon, and he cannot wield it until he asks the Computer Technician
how to use it again. This takes a full round action.

Patch Weapon: For an additional 1/10 the cost of the upgrade, a patch
can be applied to a N.0 Weapon Upgrade. N.1 patches can only be
applied to N.0 weapons, and N.2 patches to N.1 weapons. Applying an
N.1 patch removes all of the drawbacks from the enchanted weapon, but
causes a new drawback that was not previously on that weapon to appear
(roll randomly). N.2 patches have a 90% chance to remove all

Note - A Computer Technician cannot cast any Upgrade Weapon or Patch
Weapon that is 2 ranks below his maximum capability. E.g. A Computer
Technician of level 9 no longer cast Upgrade Weapon 1.0 or 2.0, or
Patches 1.1, 1.2 or 2.1 .

Note: applying a patch to a weapon takes a day, as the Computer
Technician goes through each piece of the wielder's belongings trying
to find the problem.

Incomprehensible Languages: this causes all beings in a 30 foot radius
of the caster to be unable to understand what anyone else is saying.
It negates Command and Suggestion spells, etc.. that rely on another
person being able to understand the spellcaster. It counters and is
countered by Comprehend Languages. It is countered by Tongues. This
can be cast 3 times per day.

Disrupt Communication: All spells in a medium range around the
Computer Technician that involve communication of any sort, such as
Speak to Plants, Telepathy, etc... cannot function. This can be cast
once per day.

Sunspots: five times per month the Computer Technician can disrupt
spells and spell like effects within a 100 feet of him. Every spell
attempted has an addiitonal 20% chance of failure.

Anti-magic field: Once per month, a Computer Technician can cast
AntiMagic Shell, as the spell.

Tax Collector

Requirements -
Alignment: chaotic neutral or evil
Decipher Script: 6 ranks
Disguise: 8 ranks
Pick Pocket: 10 ranks
Cast: Locate Object

BAB and saving throws increase like Loremaster

Level Special
1 Greater Appraise, Cause Fear
2 Tax 10%
3 Detect Metals and Minerals
4 Tax 20%, Scare
5 Find Riches
6 Tax 30%
7 Repel Creatures
8 Tax 40%
9 Use tax
10 Tax 50%, Death Tax

Class Skills: use your imagination

Class Features:

Greater Appraise: The Tax Collector gains a +1/level class bonus on
Appraise checks

Cause Fear: 1/day as spell

Tax: Once per day, a Tax Collector can make a range touch attack at
short range. If he succeeds, a percentage of the victims personal
riches and belongings are immediately transferred to the Tax
Collector, who knows where they are (but not necessarily how to use
them). The victim may make a Will saving throw for half "damage". A
victim can only be hit once per year by the same Tax Collector.

Detect Metals and Minerals: 3 times per day as the Rod of Metal and
Mineral Detection

Scare: as the spell

Find Riches: once per week, the Tax Collector can identify the richest
person in a 100 mile radius (excluding himself), and proceed as if a
locate the path spell has been cast on him.

Repel Creatures: once per day as a gaze attack, all creatures must
make a will save or drop everything and run for 10 minutes per level
of the caster

Use Tax: Once per month, a Tax Collector can declare a Feat, Spell or
Class Skill as taxable. Any use of this activity within 100 miles of
the caster causes a Will saving throw. If the saving throw fails, 1%
of the user's assets, or 10 g.p. whichever is less, is transferred to
the Tax Collectors bank account, immediately.

Death Tax: Once per month a Tax Collector can levee this unholy blight
on an individual that he has previously taxed.The Death Tax geives an
addiitonal saving throw, at +4 if the victim made his previous saving
throw. If the individual fails, upon his death 50% of his possessions
over 100 g.p. are automatically transferred to the Tax Collector.


Alignment: has none (whoever's winning)
Bluff: 10 ranks
Diplomacy: 8 ranks
Escape Artist: 5 ranks
Pick Pocket: 3 ranks
Knowledge(law): 5 ranks
Feats: Dodge
Class levels: 10 total

A Politician continues to gain levels and level benefits in another
class, while gaining levels as a Politician. An additional 10% penalty
amount of experience is required to gain level as a Politician

Level Special
1 Sleep (1/day), Inspire 1/day, Level Exptension
2 Charm Person (3/day)
3 Confusion (1/day), Inspire 2/day
4 Undetectable Lie (at will)
5 Shift Responsibility, Inspire 3/day
6 Alignment Deception
7 Suggestion (1/day), Inspire 4/day
8 Mass Charm Person (1/day)
9 Greater Inspire 1/week, Inspire 5/day
10 Mass Suggestion (1/week), Greater Inspire 3/week

Shift Responsibility: Once per day, but no mor ethan 3 times per
month, a politician can decieve up to 2 time his level number of HD
creatures that an action he has just taken was performed by someone
else. Will ST.

Alignment Deception: Once per week, a Politician can convince up to 2
times his level number of HD that an action he suggests is of any
alignment he chooses, e.g. that murdering an orphan is really a lawful
good act. A will saving throw is permitted.

Inspire: like a Bard, he can give a +1 morale bonus for attacks and
savinng throws while he is talking and for 5 rounds thereafter.

Greater Inspire: like inspire, but a +2 bonus

Level Extension: A Politician is limited to first level until he casts
a level extension. When he wants to raise level, he writes the spell
down and keeps it for safekeeping. He must write it himself. If it is
destroyed, he cannot raise level until he writes a new one.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I played Domaine 2 player with Saarya, my son. My previous play of this was four player with the game group. This didn't work out so well, with the group members complaining that players had little to do on other player's turns (this is a big thing with them) and was basically dull. I disagreed, and was eager to play again.

Two player worked pretty well, although we had to restart once when I forgot about the "special rule for two players: put a third color down." I think there should have been a few more special rules for two players, as we each got to maximum income within a few turns and had little in the way of money issues from then on. Either we should have played on a smaller board or we should have to control two mines to receive the income, or something.

Also, Saarya quickly built a killer Domaine with 5 knights. I don't know if that was how it was supposed to work, but it took an incredible amount of effort and time on my part to whittle his dominance down. Lastly, there was no special rule about money at the end of the game for two players, which seemed strange.

I barely came within 5 points of him during the game, and he ended with a comfortable 36 to 21 victory.

On the plus side, the hand management and decision making was balanced, with several different options to choose from at any time, each with their benefits and costs.

A good game. Not as good as Settlers, but still good. I hope I can convince others to play again.


I know that no one else agrees with this, but I would rather have an $18 game with less fancy bits than a $40 game with lovely but essentially useless plastic figurines. Maybe game manufacturers could make two versions: the fancy bit version and the plain bit version. Wooden disks representing the knights and castles would have been fine with me.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lynn Miles

I don't know why, but it kills me that noone else on BGG lists Lynn Miles as a favorite musician. Take a listen:

Some of many. Her 2nd, 3rd, 5th (Unravel), and 6th (Love Sweet Love) albums are just close to perfect from one end to the other. The 1st and 4th have a few weak spots.

More info at:

She used to have an official website but it seemed to have disappeared.

In the late '80s it was the Sundays and REM. In the '90s I found Cindy Kallet and Dar Williams (first three albums of each). Good music comes and goes, but great music endures. I can listen to these albums over and over and never get tired.


As long as we're linking

Those of you who receive this via RSS don't have access to my blogroll, so here's a list of the gaming blogs that I currently read.

Blogs that don't update more than once a week or so often fall off my blogroll. In theory it shouldn't matter. Bloglines will just present me with whatever is new each day, without having to worry about what isn't. But I don't want links to old sites populating the side of my web site. I suppose I could change the entry to private, so that it won't show up. Say that I reward those who update their content regularly.

Finding information about the name and location of the bloggers behind each of these blogs proved tricky. I chased through old blog messages, obscure links, Google, even eBay to find the info, and sometimes I didn't succeed. I could find the rest by emailing, but I'm too lazy. Note to bloggers: post basic information about yourself in a highly visible area of your blog, not to mention RSS info. Good for business.

All of the following blogs have game content worth reading regularly, in my opinion:

&games - Brian Waters, aka Coldfoot. A blog about gaming as well as life in Alaska.

A Gamer's Eye - Jacob Valdez, from Arlington, Texas. First of many quality blogs from Texas.

About Board Games - Erik Arneson. A cushy location in which to write a blog, filled with mainstream information about board games from a guy who also obviously enjoys Euro games, as well.

aka pastor guy - Mark Jackson, California. First of many blogs by missionaries or flock-leading Christians.

Austin Board Gamer - Michael Chapel. Another Texas blog. On the verge of not updating frequently enough.

Billygames and Stuff - Richard Minson and Natalie Ford. A UK blog. - Ken Rumsey. Hasn't updated in a long while, but at least there is a post to that effect on the blog.

Boardgames To Go - Mark Johnson. One of the top podcasts about board games.

break out the board games. - A livejournal board game forum.

The Chapel Perilous - Monte Cook, creator of much of the new line of D&D products, and a generally cool guy.

Chris Brooks - Oregon. Chris and his entire family are not only avid game players, they are wonderful people. Chris is also involved in a new game company, Sunriver Games.

Chris Farrell's Gaming Blog - Chris is probably the intelligentsia of board gaming, with detailed posts about the deepest games and gaming subjects. He is often critical of game hype, a trait he and I share.

Death Metal Cafe - Dave Eggleston, part of a game group that includes Doug Cooley, Chris Brooks, and KC of Sunriver Games.

Diet Evil, Dancing Eggplant - Anye Sellers. Another Texas blog, by the founder of Dancing Eggplant Games.

Dreifuss Gaming - From the Dreifuss family in the triangle area in North Carolina.

Dug's Gaming Session Reports - Doug Cooley. Another Oregon blog.

Friends Over Gaming - Jeff Wauer, Los Angeles.

Game Store Confidential - DWTripp, game store owner. Hasn't been updated since he started posting on Gone Gaming. His posts on Gone Gaming are often extremely funny.

The Game Table - Jim, otherwise known as ekted. Serious gamer.

Gameblog - Mikko Saari, a Finnish blogger.

GameWire Features - Great stuff from Gamefest, and online store doing right by the community.

GameWire Weblogs - The blogs from GameWire, which right now means Tom Vasel.

Gaming in Pearland - Sean Brady, another Texas blog.

Gathering of Engineers - A multi-blogger blog of high quality. Often follows a topic of the week.

Gone Gaming - A multi-blogger blog of high quality (as well as my weekly postings). Many bloggers with very different voices.

Greg J. Schloesser: Musings - Greg Schloesser, the game world's missionary. His session reports formed the initial database for BGG. This blog has had little game material lately, as he has been moving a lot.

GROG 'Blog' - Robert Wesley, aka GROGnads. Has mastered the art of obfuscating all of his posts with strange colors and fonts. A wargamer working on many variants to games.

HaberGamer - Mark Haberman, Ohio. New blog, only two posts. Has he forgotten about it?

inconsequential ruminations - Iain Cheyne, a UK blogger.

Incunabula - Eric Landes, also a member of the Gathering of Engineers.

Infinity Games Blog - by the members of Infinity Games, a UK store.

Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club - That's me, although I changed the name of my blog to "Yehuda".

Lumbersmiths - Jeff Coon, another quality Texas blog.

Magic_Rat's Xanga Site - Jason Sato, Arizona. Voluminous. Plays and reports on about twenty games a week, as far as I can tell.

Mandarin's Manor - Milton Soong. On the verge of not updating frequently enough.

Matthew Gray's Weblog - Somerville, MA. Games and family.

Musings of the Hearth - Aaron D. Fuegi, Boston.

Musings, Ramblings, and Things Left Unsaid - Alfred. Don't know much more about him, actually, except that he may still be a grad student and he likes Knizia games. Among other good stuff, he is writing a weekly wrap-up of blog articles he finds interesting.

Naturelich Games - Also don't know much about him, other than it is a 'him'. Speak up, naturelich.

netfrantz - Someone named Mike. Hasn't posted game material in a while.

News From the GameWire - Another way of getting GameWire news.

nimrods - Peter Haslehurst, a UK blog.

Northwoods Games - Thomas, Iowa. now being paid to write reviews for Games by James, so his blog is irregular.

The One Hundred - Also by Mark Jackson, this is a blog whose sole purpose is to list a good group of games. I don't know what its future intentions are.

Pawnstar - Anthony Simons, a UK blog.

Pulsipher Boardgame Design - Dr. Lewis Pulsipher, a game designer.

RCK2 - Robert C Kalajian Jr. Originally called the Thought of Rain.

Rick's Boardgame Blog - Richard Fawkes, Manila.

Rozmiarek Games Page - Ed and Susan and family. A Texas blog.

Shannon A. - Shannon Appelcline, Berkeley. Games and family life.

The Skotos Articles Archives - Articles about games, including computer games. Shannon posts here a lot.

Sniff the Light Fantastic - Joe Gola. Hasn't updated since Joe started on Gone Gaming, and wasn't about gaming anyway. But he's such a good writer.

Spiel : Boardgames in the UK - Garry Lloyd of the Shrewsbury Boardgames Club, UK.

Static Zombie - Peter Sarrett, of the Game Report (which may one day publish a new issue).

The Tao of Gaming - Brian Bankler. Well tended.

Thinking Out Loud - Jason Little, St Louis. A D&D game designer and board gamer.

Thoughts of Chairman Mike - Mike Deans, also on Gathering of Engineers.

Tibs Manor - Thomas J. Feiler, triangle, NC.

Tree Weasel Weekly - From the UK. No name found. Friend of Iain's.

Up on Point by Joe Steadman - Originally Stuck in Korea. Has a great podcast with Tom Vasel. Wargamer.

WAGS Chronicles - Multi-blogger blog in Toronto.

משחקי לו - Hebrew board games forum.

If you have any to add, post a comment.


I have to admit that I have very little interest in minis. Nevertheless, I happen to have stumbled across two excellent mini sites that I thought I would pass on:

6 mm minis



Almost makes me wish I was obsessive about the things.


Session Report Up

Games played: Yinsh, Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation, Alhambra, Modern Art, Bridge, Puerto Rico.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

d6 or not d6

To play, or not to play: that is not the question.
But whether 'tis nobler to play games that suffer
The cards and dice of outrageous fortune,
Or to take a stand against games of luck,
And by not playing, end them? To dice is to weep;
The heart-ache of a thousand natural sixes
rolled by my opponents, when, despite more careful planning
I have rolled only ones. To dice makes me sleep;
For chance has wrecked my dreams: oh look! Another "one";
For in that roll of dice what pride may come
For having killed my last battalion,
Through no fault of your own: where's the respect
For winning such an unbalanced game;
For who would bear the losses, and even gains,
The useless card fatally drawn, the fist turned over wrong,
The enemy dying by an ivory cube, or spinner stuck,
The insolence of crowing over a victory,
Poorly played, yet still the unworthy takes,
When would have lost if only random chance
Would have played fairly? Who could ever bear,
To sweat and struggle through strategic thought,
When the dread of knowing all will come to naught,
By losing through a careless toss of bone?
I'd rather play solitaire, or solve puzzles if I will;
I'd rather bear the ills of knowing loss
By playing 'gainst a more strategic foe.
Thus rolling dice make cowards of us all;
When we fear to strive and win resolution
By working hard by theory and by thought,
And victories hard won, strategies planned
regardless of how some minor elements turn awry,
Or lose to my own unworthy actions.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Status of my game prototype #1: In the hands of one publisher who is supposedly serious about it. Mailed to three other publishers who had requested copies. Considering mailing to a fifth who also requested a copy. No replies from said publishers since con.

Entry on BGG with 7 ratings and a review. Ratings are all 7's, except for one 5 saying that it needs better components (can't argue with that) and one 8. 12 copies sold. Some good reviews on other blogs.

Status of my other game prototypes: Various variants (not prototypes) doing fine. A game being worked on to launch on Gone Gaming. An entry to Siege Stones placed 4th. Entries to other contests unremarkable. Various prototypes in various stages of development - not enough time to work on them. Must make time.

Blog readership - dropped (along with ego). Lots of people read my blog around the time of BGG.con but it seems to have dropped to about normal again. How can I really track blog readership, anyway? The only think I know is how many people have hit the site (barring caching) and how many are subscribed through bloglines. Would be nice to know how to track RSS feeding.

Game group - steady and doing fine. Still room to grow.

Life's objectives: Murky. Progress still unremarkable.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weekend Gaming

Two new games have taken off: Yinsh and Havoc.

Yinsh seems like a more accessible game than Dvonn to some people. I think this is an illusion. It's just that the game starts off with less chaos and then proceeds towards more, which is easier to deal with than the reverse. Anyway, both Tal and Saarya played me at least once, with Saarya winning his game.

Tal initially wasn't too sure about Havoc, but decided to play again and now likes it a lot. Something about it prevents me from seeing it as a "great" game - something about poker hands just irks my sensibility of the elegant.However, I can't argue that people, including me, enjoy playing it. I played with Saarya, Tal, and a guest on Friday night. The guest was a complete newbie whom I managed to convince to try a game. He enjoyed it very much, and asked me where he could buy it (I told him). Hopefully he will join us on Wed nights.

In our game, Saarya took a very long time for each round, and I had to cut out two of the battles just so we could finish within a respectable length of time. In the end, I won 28 to 24/24/18.

Sat night I played my first game of PR with Rachel in what must have been many weeks. Still the best new game in the world (by new I mean post-1970). We played with my usual buildings plus a few others that don't get much play: a 3/1 building that lets you place up to three colonists onto empty plantation spaces, and under which you can place new plantations (also useful to control the end game); Irrigation, 4/2, which gives you an extra barrel while producing; a modified Exchange House which attempted to correct the slight bug in the building; etc...

I started off the game looking like I was probably coasting to a narrow victory. Rachel, however, pulled a lovely play about 2/3 of the way through the game, crafting at a point when the boats and trading house were all almost full, and she had Discretionary Hold (allowing her to store barrels and ship some onto full boats). She ended up moving ahead in both shipping and money, and I ended up losing by a few points.

Maybe she should join the international competition instead of me.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Session Report Up

Games played: Yinsh x 3, Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation, Havoc, San Juan, Domaine.

In other news, during the con I asked for and received generous help from other people in helping me trade my games for a list of games that I wanted since the flea market was run on Saturday morning (shabbat).

So it is entirely my fault that I wrote down the wrong name of a game that I wanted and ended up with "China Moon" when what I wanted was "Blue Moon". Oh well. Will have to try it out, as long as I have it, although it looks more like a game for younger players.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BGG.con: Monday, Nov 14 - The End

Well, I'm home.

Monday morning I made my goodbyes and my friend drove me to a mall near where he works so that he could take me to the airport during his lunch hour. I would have tried to go by public transport, but we know how well that works out, and the shuttle service from North New Jersey costs about $60, compared to $11 from Manhattan (???).

There was a little board game stand in the mall with Settlers, Ticket to Ride, and otherwise the usual games. In the meantime, the local Borders had Lord of the Rings. I didn't get any games, but I bought some discounted videos ("Logan's Run" and something animated called "Waking Life" that looked interesting).

Incredibly enough, I had basically no problems during my entire return trip until we landed in Israel itself.

Apparently the cab system at the airport works as a queue, where the driver waits in a line of about 70 cabs until it is his turn. This can take hours and can't be that profitable. Unfortunately for the cab driver, I needed to go literally right next door to the airport (exit airport, enter driveway). The cab driver was extremely upset when he heard this, as it meant that he would have to lose his place in the queue for very little return. He started yelling at another cab driver to take me, and then at the dispatcher. He finally threw my bags into his cab, and as he pulled up along the dispatcher, he opened my window, leaned over me, and yelled at her again. The rest of the (thankfully short) trip he just yelled into the air. Luckily I don't know enough Hebrew to understand all of the cursing.

Next time I'll tell him (in front of the dispatcher) that I need to go to another terminal, which doesn't lose the cab driver his place in the queue.

Home. Tired. Happy. In the evening, I played Yinsh with my daughter and loved it. And tomorrow is game night.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

BGG.con: Sunday, Nov 13

Last night I stayed up too late waiting for a Skype from my son when I should have been moving back to the Israeli sleep cycle. This morning I did some extra resting, but I fear that returning will not be easy.

I enjoyed kicking up the leaves of Fall, something I haven't done in about 10 years, as Israel has no Fall, and certainly no deciduous tree-lined streets.

In my time in America, gas prices have gone from $2.75 to about $2.15 a gallon. This is bad. Keep 'em up in the stratosphere for a few more months and the U.S. might get over the hump of investing in renewable energies, something that requires a high initial investment and won't happen as long as fossil fuels keep flowing cheap. Then again, I suppose this doesn't matter much if the elderly freeze to death during the winter.

I went to see a reading of the War of the Worlds at a local university. Cheap enough, and entertaining enough. Some of them read well, some not so well. Still, always nice to find something different and cultural to do.

The Menorah Game is now on BGG. I will either change the entry or add a new one if/when the game is ever published in other-than-prototype format. More people are asking for copies. Thanks to all the people who have reviewed it and commented favorably. If you want a copy, email me (shadejon at gmail).

My friends from New York dropped by for a few minutes, which was nice. Otherwise, after supermarket and drugstore shopping, I am packing up on my last full day here. Tomorrow I am heading out for my final flight ordeal. Should be amusing.

It definitely felt like a vacation. Putting the main event smack in the middle of the vacation helped. Still, while I wouldn't want more weeks of just meandering around, I am not looking forward to going back to work with no vacation to look forward to. Best that I start planning the next one now. Thank God I get a small vacation every weekend.

Last report to be posted in two days ...

Until then,

BGG.con: Saturday, Nov 12

Shabbat started out cold, with frost on the grass, and the temperature at 30 degrees F. My raincoat was inadequate. Luckily it was a short walk to shul. Too bad I don't have a nice new jacket.

The day was basically: shul, very long lunch with guests, and some quick games of Blokus. During lunch I got to describe the board game world, yet again. People always sound somewhat intrigued, especially when I couch the games as standing against the disconnected world of video games and television. But it usually doesn't lead very far.

I played Blokus 2-player and then 4-player, winning easily each time (the last time with no pieces). In the zone.

After shabbat I started contacting people about my flight schedule mess-up. I suspect that I will be going to bed early, waking up for a chat with Israel at midnight, and then going to bed again.

Boring. Let's see if we can find something more interesting to do tomorrow.


BGG.con: Friday, Nov 11

1. Still Jewish in America

My parents told me that anywhere a Jew goes wearing a kippah, he represents the Jewish people. Boy is that true. Many people are still basically incapable of separating a person from his or her race or religion. The most unfortunate part of this is the tendency to ascribe to all members of a person's group the bad qualities observed in the person, and generally to ignore the good qualities.

I remember once standing in line at a subway in Boston trying to get change after paying for a ticket with a $10 bill. The ticket person was distracted on the phone, and the change that I received was $20 less the price of the ticket. In other words, $10 too much. It took me a while to interrupt the ticket person to get him to understand that I needed to return $10 to him. When he finally realized, he snatched the bill out of my hand like I was trying to steal it.

The people behind me ended up traveling on the same line as me and they kept shaking their heads while we were riding. "You had it in your hand, fool. You're so stupid, why didn't you just take it?" Well, I made an impression on them, but to this day I don't know if it was a positive or negative one.

I can't tell you the number of times that I have had to explain to people why I am returning money that they have given me as a result of too much change. Some of the experiences are more positive than the subway one. Sometimes, of course, the reverse happens. Like today.

Today I was buying some stuff in the drug store and the computer rang up three items of something of which I had only bought two. I always check my receipts for this sort of thing, and when I went back to the counter to tell them that they owe me for overcharging, I heard behind me from someone on the line, "Jews always wanting more money." I carefully didn't look behind me to see who had said this. The moral seems to be: you can't win either way, and you can't change a prejudiced mind.

This is the second uncomfortable incident this week. On Wednesday as I was walking home I passed a gang of teenagers, and sometime after I was about one block ahead of them I heard some calls "Hey, Beanie-man!" and some laughing. Once again I pretended not to hear them and I turned the next corner, being equally on my way home.

Teaneck is a pretty Jewish area, too. I don't know if this sort of thing happens because of, or in spite of, this fact. I do know that I am still Jewish in America, and no one is going to let me forget it any time soon.

2. Before Shabbat

I pretty much felt a cold coming on already by Wednesday. I am allergic to the cats that run around my friend's house, as well as the basement I was sleeping in. Allergies lower my resistances, and walking around in the cold did me in. I'm just happy that this didn't happen over the weekend of the con.

I was not too bad this morning, however; still hovering on the edge of sickness. I was just a smidgen too late waking up to talk to my kids before shabbat in Israel. I moved my sleeping arrangements to my friend's study and then made brownies and ginger cookies for my hosts for shabbat.

Right before we went to shul, I called to confirm my reservation on my flight home on Sunday. The El Al person couldn't find my reservation. Huh?

But it was right there on my ticket! I got out my ticket and told her, "Look! It's right here!" As I was staring at my ticket, the world began to fade and swirl. Little green gremlins began running around on the ticket and by the time the world came back into focus, they were gone and my ticket had been changed to Monday, Nov 14. What the?

Well, on the plus side, I have another day of vacation. On the minus side, I told everyone that I'm arriving back on Monday and now it's Tuesday. And I have to spend another vacation day from work, and I have to figure out what to do for one more day in New Jersey.

Damn gremlins. Last time I saw them, they were running around and bouncing up and down on the wings of my last flight, causing turbulence. I got to pick me up some Gremlin-off.

3. Shabbat

A quiet shabbat shul and evening. I played my game again, this time with both friends. We played twice. More converts.

These friends have played all the right games: Cosmic Encounter (he has several Mayfair copies that he keeps in reserve, as well as Eon and West End), Civilization, etc. All the good games from before Settlers. I am lax in never having taught them any of the new games. Must remedy that.

(Actually, these guys met because of Cosmic. They were both at a singles gathering somewhere, and one of them was trying to explain Cosmic to some random. When he got to the phrase "the game that breaks its own rules" he heard a shout from across the room "Cosmic Encounter!". That was her. He invited her to join our weekly game. They were engaged two weeks later. This weekly Cosmic game was one of the rivulets that became the the Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club.)


Friday, November 11, 2005

BGG.con: Thursday, Nov 10

Warning: Actual game content today. Woo hoo!

I started off not knowing exactly what I would be doing: hang out with my friend in NYC or try to get to the park again. The weather was better than yesterday, but still pretty cold. And I was feeling the beginnings of a cold. Or something.

Turned out that my friend wasn't really available, so I decided to head for Flat Rock Brooks. It's a beautiful place, although small. Unfortunately, it really was pretty cold. By the time I had walked around for twenty minutes I was starting to feel like I had picked the wrong day. I decided to head back to the info station/greenhouse when I ran into a ranger. He was carrying a vorpal sword of tree felling and lion roaring as well as a handaxe and warhammer. I rushed back to the station - if a ranger needs to be that heavily armed in an area, that's an area I don't want to be in. He seemed pretty calm, however.

At the station I read and slept before making it off to NYC for dinner and then to Neutral Ground for games. Steef, who organizes the board game meetups on sent out a call, although, since another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) evening, he wasn't sure how many would come. Steef told me he was also a religious Jew, so I figured I could just look for the kippah.

When I arrived at Neutral Ground, it was packed with CCGers, including some Magic players. These guys were interested in trading, not buying, although CCGers only want current stuff, mostly. I found one who was willing to buy, named Dan. I gave him an Armageddon, two Swords to Plowshares, and a Merchant Scroll in exchange for two booster packs (about $8 with tax). Since I know nothing about nothing when it comes to trading, I can only hope I didn't screw up too badly. Other people around the table seemed to think this was ok.

Since I was waiting for Steef to show up, Dan and I played my game, twice. He enjoyed it, although he listed a few problems, all of which had to do with the substance of the prototype rather than the game itself.

After playing with Dan, I looked around for a kippah and saw one, but it turned out to be someone else involved in a Shadowfist game. Then I spotted Steef. Since I had gone out for a hike, I didn't have any games on me other than my game prototype. Steef had brought only Citadels, which is not my favorite game, but I was willing to play.

Of course, I started him off with my game, which he liked. It works very well two players, but even I can see that it plays even better with three or four. Steef actually won, which is pretty good for a first timer.

We set up to play Citadels when Jan (a guy) showed up. So we played three players. Steef had the expansion set which apparently adds almost nothing to the game except some new purple buildings. As usual, I felt like I had become a magnet for the assassin. I tried picking my roles at random, but that didn't seem to help. To sum up, Jan won with 35 to my 27, and I was happy to know that I needn't regret having traded the game.

Jan had brought Shadows Over Camelot, but we deferred so that I could teach my game with three players. Man, was that a good idea. Jan loved it, and said that the mechanisms were great. His enthusiasm, or the fact of playing three players, also affected Steef. I won this one. When I offered to leave them a copy, Steef gave me $10 to offset the cost. They promised to play the game and send me more comments, and I hope that they do.

Another sale. Yay!

Last up was Shadows Over Camelot, my first play. As usual, I won't describe the mechanics (you can always find game descriptions on Board Game Geek). I played Galahad, Steef played Kay, and Jan played Percival. I insisted that we play with no more than 5 Loyals so that we would have at least a 50% chance of a traitor. This worked out well, as I ended up as the traitor. I played almost entirely straight, since the catapults filled up so quickly that there was little chance that we could survive, anyway.

I took Excaliber quickly, while Steef started on the grail, and then switched over and took the armor. All of us spent time going to and from the grail, but we could never quite make it all the way before despair knocked out half of our grail cards. Since I was new, I missed my first opportunity to simply fill in the last catapult on one of my turns, and by the time it came around to me again they had knocked one out. Still, there were so many quests that weren't being covered that I had little worry of the company succeeding. Eventually the Dragon swept through unopposed and that was the end of them.

A very pretty game, with lovely pieces. Some people like that, but I would be just as happy with simple cardboard pieces and a more affordable game. The cooperative concept is not really my sort of thing, but some enforced rules about what you may not communicate and the fact or possibility of a traitor makes the game interesting enough. Pretty cute. I would pick up a copy someday if I could acquire it at a reasonable cost.

It was still early, but I had to return to New Jersey and we had run out of games (short of buying them retail at the store) so we called it a night. It was a pleasure to meet Steef and Jan, and I wish them much success and happiness with their game group.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

BGG.con: Wednesday, Nov 09

Today my plan was to spend the day in nature. Apparently, close by is a lovely park called Flat Rock Brook, which, while not the Appalachian Trail, looked good enough for my purposes. Unfortunately, the weather decided not to agree with me. While not exactly pouring, the day was cold and threatening rain with dark clouds overhead.

In any case, I had one more important task to do before going out: mail my prototype to a few other game companies. To do that, I had to cut a few more copies, print more rules and bring them to a post office. This is without a car, and the nearest post office is a few miles up.

I got to the post office by 1:00 and then discovered that I had forgotten my directions to the park, which I knew was vaguely in some other direction. And, of course, no one else knew what park I was talking about. Luckily for me, I also vaguely knew that the road I was on eventually passed through the Jewish stores of Teaneck, so I continued on for a while. Eventually I hit an amazing used bookstore and some more kosher food. I had brought food with me, but my one weakness is good eating. I kind of bleed money around food. Really, I am too poor to afford this, and I will be sorry about it when I get back to Israel. Actually, I was sorry about it soon after ordering the food.

It's not that the food was bad. It was a $5.50 takeout Chinese lunch: sweet and sour chicken, white rice, and wonton soup. It's just that the rice was fried instead of white. And, um, even though I asked them if they had included a spoon to go with the food, they, um, hadn't. Which I found out only after walking another several blocks in a vain search for a nice place outside to sit and eat. Seriously, why is the universe withholding spoons from me? Why did I elect to eat outside in the cold on the ground instead of inside the restaurant? Questions, questions. Anyway, I am now sick of fast food, and tomorrow I am eating only sandwiches, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

I eventually made it back home to discover that I had finally made contact with New York gamers and that we will be playing tomorrow evening in Neutral Ground. Yay!

I taught my game to one of the friends I'm staying with (the other one wasn't back from work) and she liked it a lot. Yay again.

The weather looks like partly cloudy and windy for tomorrow, and then sunny on Friday. Guess I'll try again one of those days.

Got an email from Live Oak Games, publishers of Siege Stones, that my entry just missed the top three for their design competition, but that it was a close toss up. Must be because I made up the entire game a few minutes before the deadline finished for submissions and I never got a chance to playtest it. It uses some similar mechanics to Kingdoms, but it has funky scoring, you get to move castles, and you select stones from either end of a line of stones or rearrange the queue of upcoming stones. Whatever. I think they will be publishing the rules online.

And lastly, I submitted my game to BGG for inclusion in the database, with myself as both designer and publisher. Yikes. Let's see if it shows up. Note to self: REALLY have to start working on another game.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

BGG.con: Tuesday, Nov 08

Again, another holiday that I barely noticed: Election Day. I made for NYC again. More casual wandering around. Having done that two days in a row, I am happy to say that I am sick of it.

This time I went though the Village and Soho. On my way, I stopped at Neutral Ground on 26th St, toting my Magic rares and hoping to sell some. It seems that I was about two years too late. Everyone is playing YuGiOh or Vs (A Marvel superhero CCG). One person still played Magic occasionally, but he could only say a) "Wow, these are old!" (they are from Revised until about 7th edition), and b) you could get $3 for this, $2 for this, $5 for this, ... (which is nice to say, but I can't get anything for "this" until I find someone who actually wants to buy "this").

Downtown was pretty. I stopped in a few used CD stores, Tibetan crafts, etc... Took me most of the day. I headed back uptown for dinner at Mr Broadway, across the street from Kosher Delight, and a more upscale version, but still not exactly fine dining.

There I met up with the friends I'm staying with and another friend who took off some precious time from her GRE studies. This time, unlike last time, she didn't spill ketchup all over herself (only gravy). I would tell you all about how I sent back an order I received simply because the portion was so small, but I don't want to bore you (any more than I already do).

Once again, I was put into the position of finding something to do, something which the natives can't seem to manage. This time I chose Mirrormask, a movie playing at one location down on E12th (Cinema Village). We had a phone number, but no one answered, so we had no idea if it would actually be playing and if so, when. We found it without much difficulty, and the movie was set to start in about 1.5 hours, so we found a bookstore - turned out to be Strand, the big used bookstore. I didn't buy anything, but my friends did.

The movie theater seemed to be experiencing scheduling difficulties. Eventually we got to see Mirrormask. MM is a movie from Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series, Neverwhere, and other such lovely urban fantasy material. I had high expectations, but some reservations that it would turn out to be a noisy overproduced movie like "Big Fish" or like a Terry Giliam movie. It turned out to be beautiful, a visually rich and stunning dream world, with little in the way of the random noisy overproduction that I feared. The plot was pretty straightforward and allegorical in the way the Wizard of Oz was. In fact, WoOz is its direct ancestor and it plays pretty much the same, if you drop the music and update it to the graphic novel world. Enjoyed.

Home again, and too tired to write my blog. I haven't been able to find any gaming contacts in New York/New Jersey, except one contact that I lost a month ago. Am I to go a week without playing???


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

BGG.con: Monday, Nov 07

Today was an inefficient day. I was meaning to do a few things in New York City, but I didn't organize them properly, so I just wandered around.

First up, there is a secondary bus system, other than NJ Transit, that takes you into Manhattan from Teaneck and which costs less. The trip in is through beautiful foliage for most of the way, and then over the Hudson River. I had forgotten just what Fall is like, since we don't have one in Israel and I haven't been in the U.S. in the Fall since 1989.

After arriving in Manhattan I got on the easy public transportation system, with complete rail maps posted in every station and also handed out for free to anyone who asks. Trains come every few minutes. And I bought a weekly pass. What a difference.

I was looking forward to some good New York food. Certain things about America are better than Israel, including American Kosher meat. Also, my cultural taste is still American when it comes to some types of food preparation. On the other hand, my financial situation is more limited than the last time I was here, so I am expecting to buy a bit less and choose more conservatively.

What I didn't expect, although I guess that I should have, is that the prices have gone up dramatically since the last time I was here. An eggroll that I'm pretty sure was $1.75 only 4 years ago is now $2.75 . Maybe I am just not remembering properly. I grumbled and bought a meal at Kosher Delight anyway, consoling myself that at least the food would be tasty (in the fast food sense), but ... urkle. It wasn't, really. The Chinese food was bland, the rice dry and boring, and the eggroll almost totally uncooked. Tomorrow I must get a hot dog. They can't mess that up at least, and a hot dog is one of those things that is (or was) much better here.

So I did a lot of walking downtown, through the Diamond District and the Fashion District, all those brand names that I never remember in big letters on the buildings, forgotten again once I pass them. Prices, of course, are unbelievable. FAO Schwartz is a small shadow of what it once was, although two people were giving a demo on the walking piano (see Big).

A few minutes in Central Park, a park that would be nice if it didn't have the smell and sounds of traffic and exhaust, the sight of large buildings towering over the trees, and the lingering fears about muggings and other sorts of craziness. The back to the subway.

I had bought a NY Times hoping it would have an events section, but it didn't. It had two sports sections, however: regular and about the marathon. I had no use for them so I raised them over my head on the subway and shouted:

"Anyone want the sports sections?"

Lots of people looked at me.

Believe me. I am not the weirdest thing on a New York subway.

The couple on my left said they would like it, so there you go.

I rode up north to see some more of my friends from Israel, also in the U.S. for the last year and a half. When I asked about a mutual friend of ours, they didn't know where she was. A few minutes on the Internet and we discover that she is not 500 yards from their apartment and they didn't know it for the last year and a half. This tells you a lot about the insular world of Manhattan. We popped over to see her and her husband. Back to my friends for dinner (simple food, yet much better than lunch).

During dinner, I told them about my game. Dina asked me if I had a game, or could help her create a game, involving Hanukkah that would also teach Math for her students in second grade. I love a challenge, but this one took me all of ten seconds.

"Give each player a board with eight candles, and each candle has a number 2-9. Make a lot of cards with numbers 1-10. Deal each player 4 cards. On the player's turn, s/he can either lay down a number of cards that add/subtract to light any candle they still have unlit and then draw back up to 4 cards, or discard a card and draw one either from the deck or the discard pile. First to light his/her menorah wins. Obviously you have to experiment with the number of cards in the hand to see if this works well."

Bonus points for telling me what game this resembles.

Back to New Jersey.

I am leaving next Sunday. I explored the possibility of ordering some games that I wasn't able to pick up at the con from an online retailer and having them shipped to me before I leave, but unless I am willing to do overnight shipping, (which I'm not, since for the same price I can just ship them to Israel) I may not get them before I leave even with 2-day air.

So, things to organize:

- Mail more prototypes to publishers
- Arrange game in NYC/NJ
- Buy unnecessary items to bring back home
- Trade Magic cards, if possible.
- Other things to do in NY/NJ: inexpensive dance, plays, music, nature walking


Monday, November 07, 2005

BGG.con: Sunday, Nov 06

1. Con Ends

Woke up in a hotel. Mmmmmm.

After waking up, I couldn't find my overcoat, the one that I had brought from Israel, not the jacket that I had lost. Took me about an hour to find it. It was near the table on which I left my game prototype.

KC from Sunriver Games and I finally sat down to explore the rules that he had tried out for my game design. I found out why I had not received an enthusiastic initial response from them, and that is because they hadn't known that the player mats go behind the player screens along with the money. Well, that changes a lot. Now they can retest with the right rules. Hopefully I sparked enough interest in them to do so. We also discussed numerous other possibilities as far as directions to proceed.

Sigh! No contract in my hand, yet! The travails of being an unpublished designer! Actually, come to think of it, since people bought my prototypes, I can call myself a self-published designer, I suppose.

Sunday ...

I woke up to Through the Desert (I taught). The two experienced players, myself and Michael, lost out to the newbie, Roger, since we were fighting over the length of our white camel train while Roger was scoring points. 93/86(me)/75

Over breakfast I finally got to play Alhambra with the Sunriver group. In my first game, I managed to kill my wall development, leaving myself only the ability to expand westwards, which made collecting and placing tiles difficult.

Jeff 8 first/39 second/83 final
Jim 11/18/42
KC 6/24/62
Chris 3/30/84
me 9/17/48
Rita 5/30/85 winner

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers - I taught, also. I can't remember the names, sorry. I only know that I beat them almost a full circuit. They did pretty well, anyway, one of them stealing an entire water system (17) from me very neatly. I had my own little contained and sweet field for 20 points. We played with two of my unofficial rules (don't worry, I told them about the real rules): Aurochs worth 4, Sacred Stone equivalent to two meeples.

Then I convinced them to try my game, along with some others. I won, and more happy people.

I played a Crokinole game with Chris Tripper, a nice local Dallas guy, and just eked out a victory, still not sure how.

And then my game again, finally demonstrating the correct rules to KC. Then we tried a variation with different tile distribution and scoring that he had come up with.

And that was about it.

Games acquired: Primordial Soup (door prize), game from Dancing Eggplant Games (door prize), Modern Art (traded for), China Moon (traded for), Domaine, Yinsh, Alhambra, Havoc (bought).

Really wish I could have gotten: Age of Steam (not at $60), Power Grid, Caylus, San Marco, lots of others...

Props to everyone, high and low. Dallas people: Chris, Anye, Eran, Jared, Jeff, Aldie, Derk, all assistants, etc. Thanks again.

2. The return. A new beginning.

I am going to be spending a week in northern New Jersey and New York City. I am looking to game for the next week. Be in touch if you are available, especially Wed or Thurs nights.

For those of you who "enjoyed" my trip into Dallas, sit back and relax.

The trip to the airport was uneventful, except that some people went by airport shuttle which was supposed to take you around the city first and then cost $16, while we went direct and paid $13 including tip. See, life isn't fair this way. If you could only guarantee that paying more equaled better service/quality, we would at least have a guide to live by. Why is it so difficult?

Dropped off at Continental, and there is this little check in booth at car level for luggage, but it wasn't staffed, so I dragged the cases upstairs. Luckily I have a Continental flier pass number so check in was quick. Kosher food, check.

Getting through security was not.

First was the line for about half the length of the airport to go through security. Now, I live in Israel, and Israel has some crack security. For the few troublemakers who are not Arab terrorists, and there are some, they can usually nail them with direct questioning and the like. The Arab population is subject to intense security. The result, of course, is that Arabs don't try anything at the airport, because the odds are unlikely that they will succeed, which of course means that the Arabs who suffer are the ones that aren't trying anything. So it goes.

So after I finally get to the security, I see the most ridiculous things. People taking off shoes! Like, a metal detector isn't going to catch a shoe bomb? Taking off belts and struggling to hold up their pants. Oh give me a bloody break.

And wouldn't you know it? Little old scary me is pulled out for intense security. When they start the process, my eyes are laughing at them and I tell them that Israel security is pretty tight and not like this at all. They are curious as to how it works and they chat with me as we're doing this.

They X-ray my wallet. They prod my socks. He gives me a pass over with the metal detectors and then hugs my body completely, practically lifting my off my feet. After about 30 seconds of hugging, I want to know if he actually knows what a bomb looks like, because it seems highly unlikely that he does, or he would have known that I don't have one a while ago.


Nothing kosher in the airport, except for some cookies. Now, I get to my gate and see that the 3:15 flight is delayed and it's already 4:15. My plane is supposed to leave at 5:15. I ask what is the status of my flight and she tells me that I should board this one, because the next one will also be delayed, and this one should be leaving by 5:00 . I wonder if all passengers on the 5:15 are being told this, or if I'm just lucky. New flight number: 1138 - an auspicious number for a gamer (Google it).

Naturally, I worry about the luggage and the Kosher food. Luggage will get there. OK. Food? Nope, according to the attendant, there is no Kosher food available on Continental domestic flights, period. Yes, they server dinner, but no, no special meals. But didn't they just tell me that I had Kosher food fifteen minutes ago? Must have been looking at my Newark to Tel Aviv ticket.

Great. No meal. Luckily I have the backup food. But ... why?

So we board at 4:30. I ask the guy next to me if I can use his phone to inform my friend in New Jersey that the flight number has changed.

"No, you can't."


Guy in front of him hands me his phone and says, "Knock yourself out."

At 5:35 we take off. Something about storms over Pennsylvania. I'm seated at the back of the plane in a seat that doesn't recline, and something about it is absolutely killing my back. I strategically place pillows and blankets to try to numb the pain. No music, no video.

Meanwhile we are delayed some more and circle over Washington DC, making circles in the air through highly turbulent weather. After an hour delay, we can approach Newark. Far out the side of the plane you can see white puffy clouds, while closer to the plane on either side are these black glowing clouds. Which we're descending into. We arrive, safely, in Newark at 10:10 .

Belt on the luggage conveyor is broken. Out of the airport at 11:20.

At least my friend was still waiting for me to pick me up.


BGG.con: Saturday, Nov 05

1. Shabbat

Lunch was at some friends of David and Sharron's. I think these people were concerned about showing up in the blog, so I won't name names. However, she is an excellent Scrabble player, like David is.

Somehow, whenever the subject about my involvement with board games comes up, little girls stare at me bug-eyed and then run out of the room to bring a board game to play with me, usually something like Barbie's Rocking Dreamhouse Party or somesuch. Must be the parents don't play enough of these games with their kids, and if they don't, I can't say that I blame them.

This time I refused the first offering, and instead went to the game closet with her (8 year old) to see what other treasures she might have and decided on Guess Who? as the least offensive. The game is structured so that the first person to actually guess right (at random) basically wins. Still better than Barbie's Dream Date With Ken.

Later in the afternoon I played Anagrams with David, a game at which I have slightly more chance of winning than Scrabble. Also, Go on a 9x9, again which I don't win too often against him. It is a shame that he decided not to join me for a while at the con, since he also plays some of my games. I guess he feels that he has better things to do, go figure.

2. Back to the con

Since I had a place to stay over in the hotel, I packed up and made my goodbyes to my friends and arrived at the hotel right before the grand drawing.

Magical things happened at the con while I was gone. I left money and my games to trade with various lovely souls. When I got back to the closet where I had left my games, I saw that almost all were gone and two new ones were there. Great, I figured, I got two games. Good enough and all that I expected. Then the person with whom I left the money found me and game me back all of my money and an additional $55 or so. Good lord. Much better than I would have done. Thank you thank you.

From here on out just assume that I don't remember anyone's name. My fault, but it just got impossible to write them all down. Sorry.

I had sold my CD from Traumfabrik earlier on Friday and left a note to that effect on the box, but apparently the person who said they would sell it for me didn't see the note before selling it. Luckily the person buying it did, so it worked out. The only things that didn't sell were the Magic cards and The Arab Israeli Wars. The games I got in return were Modern Art and China Moon. And the cash.

Time to do some game buying.

Around this time, Derk also found me and gave me a con T-shirt as a gift, I think for being the furthest traveled to the con. I heard someone may have come from Australia, so that would probably have beaten me.

Another strange thing began happening on Sat night. People began seeking me out to buy copies of my game prototypes. I mean, cripes, yeah I spent a good amount of money on each of them, but the components were much worse than I would have liked to have given people for the amount of money I had to charge for them. Apparently word had spread, however and people wanted copies. Yeah. Time to get it published. Of course, I also helped spread the word by physically dragging people over to my table and getting them to play it. Almost all of them had kind words (which doesn't mean much when you're sitting in front of the designer) but some wanted to play again right away and some bought it.

So, if any of you bought the game, please send me comments so that I can ensure that everything about the game is finished and so that I can pass comments on to potential publishers.

And for those of you who didn't actually play it with me: the player screens are meant to hide both your player mats and your money. Tiles go on the mats during the game, and can be shifted around at will. When you have won the game, simply reveal the complete collection filled in correctly.

Back to the drawing. Derk was drawing for a few items for each colored ticket. The only item I really wanted was the Gipf series. I wouldn't have minded a Crokinole board, but there was no way that I could carry it home with me. Unfortunately, I didn't win anything from the main items nor any of the minor items that were cleared out afterwards. Oh well. There is something silly about standing around waiting to see if your number is called on a raffle ticket. It feels suspiciously like playing games with dice. Or vice versa.

Saturday night games:

My Game Prototype 3 times, once with Susan of The Game Ranch, who bought a copy. Thanks, Susan!

Pompeii. OK, I had heard some mixed things about Pompeii, which is what I said to the person who was trying to rope me in. He said that it must have been about a different game called Pompeii, so I sat down. Turns out that the roper was ShillKing, and I think this was his game. And yes, this was the game that I had heard about.

The game is basically a lot of dice rolling to start with, and then a lot of little moves afterwards, most of which don't matter much or do very much. There is some excitement about rolling the dice to see if the game will end, but it feels like standing around waiting to see if your number is called with a raffle ticket. I rescued two boat loads of people early in the game, since I saw how few actions you get before the game ends. Once my pieces were off the board, I had nothing to do the rest of the game. Most of the time most of your actions were not so significant, and when they were, you could usually count on a chaotic tile showing up to undo whatever you just did. And some of the mechanics just didn't come into play much.

OK, it is not as bad as all that, but pretty close. If you got rid of all of the lava tiles it would probably play much better.

Since most of the other people could only make it onto the boat once, I won with an easy margin. (54/15/13/2)

Evo: Another game I am not thrilled with, but I saw some people trying to learn it, and whenever I pass by people trying to learn a game I have to stop and teach, which usually means play. William got five parasols which was great since the climate hesitated at gray for a while. None of us had horns until the end when Elisabeth pulled one and began attacking. I had 5 legs, meanwhile. All said and done, the game was a decisive 60/59/59. Which just goes to show that there is not much difference between all of the genes when all is said and done.

I took out Yinsh from the library before it closed, but didn't get a chance to play with anyone. Another one on the buy list.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

BGG.con: Friday, Nov 04

Part 1 ...

Not much to say about today, since it is almost shabbat and I am already back in my friend's house.

I actually made the bus today, getting to the con about 10:30 am. I greeted Chris Brooks again at the Sunriver booth and I saw him introducing someone to Havoc so I joined for a three player game. Still a good game. Not much to say, except I made my first game purchase of the con by buying Havoc. Scores: Yehuda 29, Chris 22, Ava 17.

A little schmoozing around and I managed to play Power Grid, another game high on the hit list. It was good, and I came in last place, which is excellent. Games that I lose in are the best ones to buy, since they will keep me happy for a long time. We played with all six provinces, even though the rules said to play with only five, since it looked tight enough as is.

I played with Chris Trimmer, Bill, Mark, Will, and Marshall. We played on the new French map (didn't make a difference to me, of course). Chris scored the big coup on this map building in Paris, which has three cities with no tariffs between them, and surrounded by lots of other close cities.

Chris ended in first on the money tie breaker, with Marshall second place. I was last, also on a tie breaker. Mark played almost the entire game without buying a single unit of fuel, since all of his plants were wind or fusion. I played the game with the only garbage plant for most of the game, and an early nuke for several rounds.

After Power Grid, I played 1.5 games of Backgammon, but time was just winding down for me and I couldn't really start anything else. I sold my Traumfabrik CD to Derk; the rest of the game is still for sale or trade, along with my other games (Battle Cry, Arab Israeli Wars, David and Goliath, Top Dogs, and a bunch of Magic cards).

I really feel like I'm missing out on a whole lot by not being there for most of today and tomorrow. Sigh. Still willing to entertain visitors in my friend's house tomorrow afternoon - 5806 Willow Lane. Otherwise, I'll be back tomorrow night at about 8:00 pm.

2. Shabbat

Friday night and I have con withdrawal. Well, you do what you got to do.

After dinner, my friend's daughter insisted that we play my game three times in a row, and would have been a fourth except David and I were tired of it by then. So we played 3-way Chinese Checkers, which I managed to lose, somehow, even though I thought I was pretty good at it.


Friday, November 04, 2005

BGG.con: Thursday, Nov 03

First off, I have to give thanks to everyone who has been so generous to me. I am the type of person who is unashamed to ask for favors that I know that I would happily give in return, and do when I am able.

Being here without a car, many people have offered me rides: Chris Trimmer, Jeff Coon, Eran Eldar. People have agreed to help me sell my stuff on Saturday morning when I can't be at the con, such as Aldie, Dan, and the guys at Sunriver Games. And one even offered me a place to sleep in the hotel on Saturday night. Amazing. Thanks also to my friends, David and Sharron Elkins, for hosting me all week. Thanks so much, and if you're ever in Israel, come stay by us.

The transportation authority gave me one more kick as I watched the bus go sailing by on my way to the bus stop and had to wait 40 minutes for the next. I got to the center about 11:00 .

My first stop was to greet Chris Brooks and meet KC at Sunriver Games. KC had done his own mockup of my game and had lots of ideas for more interesting scoring patterns. I hope to play some today to see if they enhance or just complicate the game. Also, he had more theme ideas; no one outside of Israel is enthused with the Hanukkah theme.

I stored my games to trade in their closet.

My goal was to play lots of games that I have on my want list to see if I really want them. I also just sat in for whatever game was around, however.

My first three games were a progression of train games: TransAmerica, Ticket to Ride: Europe, and Age of Steam. The last two are on my want list.

TransAmerica I played just to say that I played it. It was, as I expected, fairly trivial to play and basically determined by the set of cards you have. I got lucky with the cards and embarrassed both myself and my fellow players Chris and Rita by winning 0 to 11 to 12+ .

Next was Ticket to Ride: Europe. I played with a family: Darlene, John, and their son Kevin, and also Lewis (I really should know who he is, since I played several games with him all day). I understand that the routes are more balanced in this version (rather than Ticket to Ride) and the tunnel and train station mechanisms were added. I liked the game enough to consider it, and I thought the routes were balanced. There was also ample opportunity for screwage that most people didn't take advantage of in our game. I liked the train station mechanism. I really didn't like the tunnel mechanism, which is basically that when you complete a tunnel route, you flip cards to see if you need to pay more cards. Reminds me of the card flipping mechanism of Goa, which is my least favorite part of that game.

Scores: Yehuda 130, Darlene 125, Lewis 125, John 114, Kevin 84.

Then I got to play a game I was really looking forward to: Age of Steam. Joining me were Lewis, Jim, Jessie, and Alan. This was a great game and a tight game. In this particular game, the board was almost totally bereft of good shipping opportunities. I don't know how it is, but I got into "the zone" almost immediately, timing my cash and prospering well, although my train never got very large. My strategy was two-fold: spend no money on auctioning for first, and simply make do with whatever role you receive; and when in doubt: ship first, build an extra track, or upgrade your train. I know that some of the other roles are classically better, but given the lack of shipping opportunities, I figured that the money I save not having to issue shares, the extra tracks, and the gaining access to the goods before others, were keyS to victory.

I was right as it turns out, although if the game had lasted one more round I would have lost. Scores: Yehuda 50, Jim 49, Alan 49, Jessie 40, Lewis 33 .

Having won my first several games, I was anticipating a comeuppance, which happened, as I never won any other games today.

Let me just break for a moment to tell you a little about the site:

The con occupies the entire fifth floor of the south tower of the hotel. There are three main rooms: the registration/prize table room, where everyone got to pick a game; the main play area, decorated in great game cutouts and mobiles; and the business room, with stands by various companies, the game library, and lots of game demos.

When I registered, I got to pick a game, and I picked Primordial Soup, not knowing that it was on sale next door at $25. Still, I'm happy. Also included was a game sample by Dancing Eggplant games, which was a nice bonus.

There were some amazing setups. A huge Heroscape landscape, a huge Memoir 44 scenario taking up a few tables, and a huge Carabande track. There were also some Crokinole sets with BGG logos on them (sweet) and BGG.con T-shirts for sale.

There were so many games being played and so many games that I wanted to play, it was frustrating. The big game hit seemed to be Caylus, with people playing non-stop on three tables and lots of good feedback. People came up to me a lot saying how much they enjoyed reading about my disastrous trip to Dallas (... enjoyed?) and everyone was basically great and we all had a good time.

Since I have organized things before, I know that if everything seems to run smoothly, then a whole lot of people must have put in a whole lot of work. Amazing job, staff of BGG. Well done.

Back to me: I roped people into playing my Game Prototype several times. A few times people only liked it, because the tiles or players somehow didn't interact much, but most of the time people were enthusiastic. I think the real judge is if anyone goes to play it twice, or if people spontaneously go over to the table to play it (I left it on a table). I'm waiting to see if that happens.

I played Odin's Ravens with Jeff Coon, and wasn't expecting much, but it turned out to be pretty nifty with some replay value. A little too much in the luck department. I pulled ahead majorly at the start, but Jeff basically creeped up until we were both 11/11 and then we ended the game with him winning 18 to 14.

I also sat in on a demo of Chizo Rising, a collectible tile game. "Collectible" is a bad word to many gamers, but you can buy the prepackaged sets and pretend that the game is not collectible. The game plays by placing the tiles orthogonally to each other, yours facing you and his facing him. When you place four tiles such that they form a certain pattern you collect them. You can also ping tiles by attacking them. First player to collect 12 wins. He didn't really answer my question about how you keep your tile collection intact if your opponent is collecting your tiles during the game, since they are unlikely to stay properly oriented. Also, the game is supposed to play 3 and 4 player, and he was unable to explain how to prevent two players from ganging up on a third.

The game itself was sort of like Magic, with simplified combat. We played open tiles which detracted from the game, because I could see all of his "Instants". A game with hidden tiles might be better. I wasn't impressed enough on first playing to buy it, but I would try it a few more times to see how much deeper it can go.

Robo Rally is another long time "wish list" game. I like it the same way I like Cosmic Encounter - don't expect to play it like a strategy game. It is meant to be fun, and it is. Just be careful not to play with too long a track or it can get tiring, and halfway through one player's victory is already predetermined.

Marshall Phillips' Game Prototype was a game similar to Battle Line, where you have to play transports to match loads that are available. There were a few problems with the game which we discussed, but the core mechanic is good.

I really didn't think I would like Werewolf, but I owed it to myself to give it a try since my last experience was with non-gamers. We played with 11 people, and I was Seer. I started by hinting at who I though were the werewolves without trying to tip my hand, but I tipped it enough to be killed the first night. Afterwards, the villagers forgot to go after the people I was hinting about, and they ended in miserable defeat. Not my type of game, but nice people and lots of laughs.

I did get in one round of Crokinole, losing in a very close match with Chris Brua's wife (name?).

Lastly, I finally played a game that I actually know, St Petersburg. I taught it to Todd and Renee, trying to coax them as to the correct strategy, but I still trounced them. I don't even really like St Pete that much, since the game has several flaws which I believe could be fixed - the easiest way to fix one of the major flaws is to have all of the Blue buildings score one more time at the end of the game.

By that time it was almost 1:00 am and I was exhausted. Now I'm off to play a few hours before shabbat.