Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- designer: Wolfgang Riedesser
- publisher: Ravensburger
- date: 1989
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.33
- age: 10+
- # of players: 2-5
- print status: OOP
- cost: 12.99 Euros (German eBay)
- Monkey/Bear - move one
- Monkey/Bear - move two
- Elephant/Gator - move one
- Elephant/Gator - move two
- Tiger - move two
- Wild - move three
Each mulitple space die roll allows you to move one or both pieces on that die face. And since only one animal can occupy a space, it gives you the opportunity to create some nifty leapfrog moves as your animals jump their way to the head of the pack. The wild side lets you move any animal(s) up to a total of three spaces.
There are also 3 wild spaces on the board which are activated when one of your animals ends their movement on the space. Chaining together leap & wild spaces (each wild space can only be used once per turn) can give your team a sudden boost...
...but the very nature of the game means that your animals out in front are helping the animals behind to leap into the lead. Of course, your pokey-slow animals do get a boost - if you roll a result where all of those animals have already finished the race, you move your last place animal instead.
When an animal reaches the medal podiums, the first one of each type to get there receives the highest point value. There is a 2nd place value for the 2nd finisher... and a 3rd place value for all remaining animals who finish the race.
You see, the race ends when all of the first place positions are filled - so some of the slower animals will not even get to join in the medal celebration, hear their animal anthems played or even get kisses on both cheeks from the French judges of the IOC.
Major tangent alert: I've decided to pick national anthems for each of the animals...
- Elephant: "Baby Elephant Walk" (Henry Mancini)
- Gator: "Crocodile Rock" (Elton John)
- Monkey: "Shock the Monkey" (Peter Gabriel)
- Bear: "Bears" (Andrew Peterson)
- Tiger: "Eye of the Tiger" (Survivor)
OK, the tangent is done (but you need to hear "Bears" - here's a link to Yahoo's New Music Player.) It's a good example, though, of the kind of light-hearted fun that Dschungelrennen (translated: Jungle Race) inspires.
I will note that I don't get the whole "age 10+" thing on the box... any semi-competent 6 year old can easily play the game, though some of the more subtle combination moves may elude them.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
In Tales of the Arabian Nights, you are the hero or heroine in a story of adventure and wonder just like those told by Scheherazade to her spellbound sultan! You will travel the land seeking your own destiny and fortune. You will learn stories and gain wisdom to share with others. Will you be the first to fulfill your destiny? The next Tale is yours to tell! There is, of course, a winner in Tales of the Arabian Nights, but the point of the game is less to see who wins and more to enjoy the unfolding and telling of a great story!
In this new edition of the groundbreaking storytelling game, you enter the lands of the Arabian Nights alongside Sindbad, Ali Baba, and the other legendary heroes of the tales. Travel the world encountering imprisoned princesses, powerful 'efreets, evil viziers, and such marvels as the Magnetic Mountain and the fabled Elephant's Graveyard.
Choose your actions carefully and the skills you possess will reward you: become beloved, wealthy, mighty - even become sultan of a great land. Choose foolishly, however, and become a beggar, or be cursed with a beast's form or become insane from terror! YOU will bring to life the stories of the inestimable Book of Tales in this vastly replayable board game with over 2002 tales that will challenge, amuse, astound and spellbind you for years to come.
And here's a short description of the game mechanics from Brian Schoner over on BGG:
There are no stats for your character, but you begin the game with three different skills that you select from a list of 15-20. Skills are things like Weapon Use, Stealth and Stealing, Piety, Minor Magic, Seamanship, etc. There is no provision for cooperative play, and there's relatively little player interaction at all (though there are optional rules that add more interaction). Movement does not use dice, but is based on your character's wealth (which goes up and down during the game). More wealth means you move faster at sea (because you can afford a better ship) but slower on land (because you have more belongings to carry). On your turn, you move and then draw (or get from another player) a card which tells you what kind of person, creature, or situation you encounter. A die roll determines the specifics of the encounter; if you encounter a Princess, for example, the roll may determine that it's an Enchanted Princess, or a Disguised Princess, or an Arrogant Princess, or any of several other options. As the game progresses and you move farther from civilization, die modifiers mean that more exotic options start coming into play. Once you know exactly what you are encountering, you can choose how to react from a list of options which changes based on what you are meeting. If it's a Disguised Princess, for example, you might be able to Help her, or Follow her, or Rob her, etc. There are usually anywhere from 3 to 8 or so options for a given encounter. A final die roll here chooses from one of three possible paragraphs to see specifically what happens. Some of these reactions may lead to the same paragraphs; for instance, one of the "Rob her" rolls may lead to the same story as one of the "Follow her" rolls. However, I believe the new Z-Man version eliminates this duplication. At this point, another player (or you, if you're playing solitaire) reads a brief paragraph describing what happens. Sometimes you just get a certain result and that's it. Sometimes you may get one result if you have a certain skill and another if you don't. Sometimes you may need to make further decisions and move on to other paragraphs. Eventually, the paragraph book will give you the results of your action, which may include Story or Destiny points (the main victory condition), wealth gained or lost, Statuses (like Wounded, Cursed, or Respected) gained or lost, treasures found, or the opportunity to enter special locations (which have their own, longer encounter stories). You record these results and play passes to the next player. The original version hasSeriously, I can't wait for this... I think it will be a blast to play with Braeden - and with a chunk of the Fresno Gamers!
1,0011400 paragraphs (though many of them are taken up with encounter tables); while a few stories tend to recur fairly frequently, every game seems to come up with a tale or two that's new to me. The new version apparently has a lot more paragraphs, and has moved a lot of material from the paragraph book to separate cards, so there should be a lot more fresh material in Z-Man's version.
- designer: Bertram Kayes & Virginia Charves
- publisher: Ravensburger
- date: 1995
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1294/6.40
- age: 8+
- # of players: 2-4
- print status: in print (in Germany)
- cost: 16.98 Euros (Amazon.de) or there are copies available through the BGG Marketplace
- Turn over a movement tile.
- Move one of your moles the FULL movement in a straight line.
Even a 5 year old can do it.
And that's one of the big questions with this game - why did Ravensburger put a "8+" suggested age on a game simple enough for the younger set? The answer is "tactical thinking." While younger kids can (and do!) enjoy playing Mole in the Hole, it will take a slightly older child to start to think in terms of available moves, remaining movement tiles, and targeting the player in the lead.
Still, I've had enough success playing this game with younger kids that gave me "permission" (technically, I gave myself permission, right?!) to put it in the Kid Games 100.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
- designer: uncredited
- publisher: Ravensburger
- date: 2006
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1623/7.02
- age: 6+
- # of players: 2
- print status: in print
- cost: $44.95 (Amazon)
I've owned a couple of games with huge boards: for a while, I had a copy of Battlemasters (which was kind of like Battlelore for Juniors), and I still have a copy of Torpedo Run awaiting a major SuperGlue intervention in my game room.
But nothing compares to the beautiful & massive roll-out seascape that greets you each time you open the coffin-sized box that contains Pirates on the High Seas. As you can see from the picture above, it's gorgeous.
Of course, the parakeet in me goes nuts over the pretty bits: two big ships with various plastic target parts - including a cargo hatch that pops open when hit & dumps out a treasure chest, a fort/tower with the same kind of treasure hatches, a chunky spinner & a bunch of thick cardboard pieces for keeping track of missions & hits.
And the cannons... mustn't forget the cannons. There are three of them: one for each ship & one for the fort. They fire small rubber-tipped projectiles at a very nice velocity - not "Red Ryder BB gun/you'll put your eye out" velocity, but sufficient to trigger the targets.
"But is there a game in the box?" you ask. Actually, there are two: a beginners game (that's really intended for your age 5-6 players) and an "advanced" game that isn't really all that advanced. Both games use the same basic rules - on your turn, you spin the spinner, which gives you a certain number of moves (turns & forward movement) and shots (times you can fire your cannon or the cannon in the fort.) Hit your objectives (which vary on which version you're playing) and get back to your dock before the other player.
There's some potential for blocking another player with your ship (which is actually an iffier proposition in the advanced game where you can hit the same target multiple times for "credit".) Other than that, however, your shots don't have any real effect on the other player. (This doesn't count, of course, the times you hit the other player himself with the projectile.)
The other thing they packed into the box along with the bits & the game is a whole treasure chest full of fun. My eldest son goes through phases of wanting to pull this out & play it... and got frustrated with how short some of the games are. So, we invented a "2 mission card" variant which runs a bit long but is still fun. (There are even some really wacky - and WEALTHY - people who have two sets so they can play 4 player games of this.)
The age warning is really about the dexterity to shoot the cannon successfully - I'd say a nimble 5 year old would be right in his or her element here.
The price at Amazon, btw, is very good. The list price is $70 and the shipping on the Amazon order is right around $5 for a box you could use as a foot locker if you were unexpectedly drafted.
Monday, June 08, 2009
- designer: Klaus Zoch
- publisher: Zoch/Rio Grande
- date: 1998
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 594/6.74
- age: 4+
- # of players: 2-4 (up to 6 w/the Duckling Dancin' expansion)
- print status: in print
- cost: $25.90 (Time Well Spent)
- designer: Bernhard Weber & Jens-Peter Schliemann
- publisher: Zoch/Rio Grande
- date: 2007
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 398/6.95
- age: 6+
- # of players: 2-4 (5 w/the Cheesy Gonzola expansion)
- print status: in print
- cost: $25.80 (Time Well Spent)
The Castle of Cheese is filled with lots of gouda stuff for the mice to eat. (I promise - that's the last cheese pun for this post.) So the players send their four delightfully sculpted mice across the roofs & into the rooms to pick up cheese - but watch out for trap doors that can send your mice to their doom!
I wasn't sure whether to include this game in the Kid Games 100 or not - one of my criteria from the beginning was that the games had to be as much or more fun with kids than they were with adults. (When we finish, I'll give you the list of "kid games" I think are better as adult games.) Then I got to watch my son play it with me & with his best friend... and I realized I couldn't cut the game out.
Granted, it's a lot more "tactical" when playing with adults... with kids, it's pretty random & the game usually ends with one player losing three of their mice into the dungeons. But it's not like that's a bad thing.
This is also a great introduction for the younger set to action point games. Thankfully, since it's only 4 actions, it doesn't bog down. Everything costs 1 point: moving a space, uncovering an adjacent room, and sliding the floors (which you can only do once per turn.) Somehow, you must combine these moves in order to get 2 of your mice on the same type of cheese and claim the appropriate cheese scoring marker. 4 cheese markers wins the game.
A word about the board is important: it's layered like a trifle. (Obscure quote of the day: "Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, goooood!") On the bottom is the box with a plastic insert filled with holes. (Yes, it's an oxymoron - or I'm just a plain ol' moron. Take your pick.) Above that is a layer of square tiles that slide in rows, very similar to A-Mazing Labyrinth. Over that is a board overlay where some squares are filled & some are open to the tile level. Above that comes a variety of roof tiles that cover 2-4 squares.
The innovative board design wouldn't mean much, however, if the designers hadn't found a clever game to go with it. Slather a great graphic look (dripping cheese!) and you've got a real winner on your hands.
It's become difficult to get the expansion, Cheesy Gonzola, here in the States. (While the base game was published by Rio Grande, they haven't printed Cheesy Gonzola or the giveaway expansion.) If you like the base game, chances are excellent that you'll love the expansion. It adds:
- Cheesy Gonzola himself - a "Speedy Gonzales"-like mouse who can't fall in the holes & moves VERY quickly around the board. Control of Cheesy is determined by the last person to land on his special tile.
- an extra entry tower + a set of mice for a 5th player
- some other special expansion tiles, including the Cellar & the Mechanical Works
- a way to store all of the pieces - this is possibly the best box insert for a game ever!
The easiest way to get the expansion is through Amazon.de - shipped, it's roughly 25 Euros (More than 1/2 of that is shipping - but it should arrive in about a week, which is pretty amazing coming from Europe.)
The giveaway expansion (which is MUCH harder to find) just adds two double-sided tiles... two of which are included in Cheesy Gonzola. The other two sides (the Cat & the Dirty Sock) are new.
I think you'd need to be 6 years old or so to be able to play at a decent level. Set-up & tear-down is a bit tricky for younger kids but doable with some practice.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
- Shari Becknal Jackson (wife)
- Jeremy Nordmoe (South Gate BC, Nashville)
- Chris H Herndon (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Sara Emily Lewis Foreman (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Jennifer Collier-Madon (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Liz Salacinski (sister)
- Heather Usack Winters (the church @ hickory hollow, Nashville)
- Paul Durham (the church @ hickory hollow, Nashville)
- Aaron Kellar (NewLife Community Church, Fresno)
- Todd Lewis (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Sarah Jones Underhill (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Tim Walker (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Michael Green (Gulf Games, the Gathering)
- Margaret Kellar (NewLife Community Church, Fresno)
- Alaina Lawless (Dalewood BC, Nashville)
- Charles Glaser (Game Central Station, Nashville)
- Winton Lemoine (gaming)
- Tony Potter (Hedge homeschool group, Fresno)
- Tom Sims (fellow pastor, Fresno)
Thursday, June 04, 2009
At times during Bats Day, it was impossible to swing a dead cat in Disneyland without hitting a goth (of course, if you had swung a dead cat around Disneyland, a few of these kids probably would have found that pretty awesome).Of course, I'm aware that about 1/2 of the readership of my blog (and most of the readership of my church newsletter) won't have spent a lot of time reading SPIN Magazine lately... or be used to Mr. Klosterman's expletive-laced gonzo/pop journalism style... which is why this paragraph (aka "disclaimer") exists: if you're easily offended, don't read his stuff. Really. He's never met an F-bomb he didn't like. But regardless of Chuck Klosterman's wordplay, he raises a really interesting concept in the article... one that applies to more than just the goth community.
What do you feed a hungry goth? Apparently, Monte Cristo sandwiches from a restaurant called the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square. A party of five goths waits for a table in the Blue Bayou's lobby, and I mention that Disney's mainstream parkgoers appear oddly unalarmed by the number of people bumping around in capes and hooded death robes. However, these goths feel differently about the level of tolerance. "I was just in one of the stores," says 28-year-old chemist Jennifer Nogle, "and all the normals were asking the staff questions like 'What's with these people? Are they part of some weird religion?' Get real." Nogle's reference to "normals"--goth slang for nongoths--raises an interesting point: People are constantly asking goth kids what makes someone goth. However, an equally valid question is: What makes someone a normal? "They are not us," Nogle says with focused conviction. "They wear polo shirts."My "you've got to be kidding" meter spiked when I read this - jumping right up from the yellow area of "smug condescension" into the red of "ridicule outburst approaching." How silly can you get - polo shirts are the key difference? I'm tempted to put a picture of me up next to a picture of a goth & ask if my choice of shirts is the first thing you notice. So, in an attempt to bring down my level of personal sarcasm, I made myself a little outline of what Ms. Nogle was doing to differentiate herself:
- referring to nongoths by a code name ("normals")
- feeling as if questions about unusual life choices denoted a lack of tolerance
- stereotyping nongoths by an incidental fashion choice
And when I did that, I had to pause & take a deep breath... because simply substituting "evangelical Christian" for "goth" made this resonate in my own life.
- referring to nonbelievers by a code name ("lost", "seekers", "unchurched")
- feeling as if questions about unusual life choices (pro-life, believing the Bible, various moral issues) denoted a lack of tolerance
- stereotyping nonbelievers based on surface issues ("look, he's drinking a beer!" or "he watches R-rated movies")
I'm not suggesting that we abandon any kind of nomenclature for talking about folks who don't follow Jesus Christ... just that we don't use "seeker" or "lost" as a cultural marker to set ourselves apart.
I do think we've got to get over being offended by everyone who asks us a pointed question about what we believe and why we believe it. Peter instructed the believers to...
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16, NLT)
People not only have the right to question our beliefs... the Bible fully expects them to! And, if that isn't enough, it gives us clear direction on how to respond:
- with reason
Finally, we have to quit dismissing people because they've made different life choices than us. (That's what stereotyping is all about, btw - if I pigeonhole you, then I don't have to deal with you as a meaningful human being. That is, if you're not clear about it, very much NOT in the character of Jesus Christ.)
While I may be taken aback by a non-believer's decisions and while I may believe that the choices they're making are sinful & destructive to themselves and to others, I'm never empowered by the Bible or the example of Jesus to write them off. From the thief on the cross to the woman caught in adultery to the demoniac chained in the graveyard, Jesus specialized in reaching the people in society who were marginalized by their choices.
Jesus would have loved goths, too. He would have even ridden Splash Mountain with them.
Five goths convince me to go on Splash Mountain with them. This is one of those rides where you sit in a log and get completely soaked, which I normally disdain. But I've never seen wet goths before, so I go along for the trip. I find myself inside a log on an underground river. Everything smells like chlorine and Hot Topic. The girls in front of me are giggling at the animatronic rabbits surrounding us, and I find myself thinking, "How did America become terrified of these people?" Two trench coat-cloaked kids in Colorado may have become twisted killing machines and ruined it for everybody else, but most of these goths are the kind of folk who laugh at fur-covered robots. The ride concludes when the log plummets 50 feet into a mini tsunami. I bid my soaked newfound acquaintances good-bye as they reapply their makeup.
May we be known by how we live rather than by our T-shirts & bumper stickers. May we care for people so much that their stereotypes crumble & blow away. May we see beyond the surface behavior to see the people Jesus loved so much that He died for them on the cross... and may we have that much love for them as well.
- the game: Heroscape (check out the BGG Wiki or the "official" Hasbro site)
- the pix of Brave Arrow (and the rest of Wave 9) are from Heroscapers.com
For those of you who are "in the know", the aforementioned Heroscapers.com site has preview pix of all the Wave 9 figs: dwarves (squad & hero), gladiators (who bond to Spartacus!), a good (Jandar) ninja, good (Omicron) robots, more Marro (squad & hero), and some Ullar Kyrie (squad & hero).
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
- designer: Ann & Monty Stambler
- publisher: Gamewright
- date: 2000
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.20
- age: 6+
- # of players: 2-4
- print status: OOP?
- cost: $29.99 (eBay)
- Matt has lost his mitt... if you can turn over Matt's tile & the Mitt tile in the same turn, you get a dollar.
- There are also cranky customer & crying baby tiles in the tableau... turn one of them over & your turn ends immediately.
The round ends when one player finishes their orders... and unfinished orders don't get tips. The game is played over several (usually 3) rounds, with players shooting for a dollar amount in tips based on the number of players.
Because the game uses pictures on the order cards as well as the tiles, this game works with some kids as young as 3 years old. (However, they usually can only play one round before getting antsy.) As well, since you've got multiple matches early in the game (each player has at least 2 order cards with 4 items each), the frustration level for younger players is low as well.
We've had a great time with this game at the Jackson house - of course, neither of the boys have had to wait tables yet, which will probably take some shine off the theme when that happens.
Heat keeps rising in an age of passion Shakes a conscience to the core Stopgap, hand-slap, take a tongue-lashing My poor soul can't take any more
On the fritz On the fritz There he sits On the fritz He kept his ego there It was a sad affair, on the fritz The inner circle knows And so the story goes, on the fritz
Airborne rumors chip away the image But you knew the stakes were high First they got you thinking you're a prophet Now they've got you living a lie
So the crowds grew, and their praise did too And a mailing list sent you money So they love Jerry Lewis in France Does that make him funny? It's too late for apologies when trust has been betrayed Now victims of your double life are naming names
He kept his ego there It was a sad affair, on the fritz The public's had enough They've come to call your bluff, on the fritz
Small talk breeds where kingdoms come crashing Rumor conquers where it wills No one hears you, go ahead and cash in If you don't die to yourself pride kills
on the fritz