Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Tabletop Gaming

For the month of October, Vanessa will be a part of the 31 Days of Writing challenge sponsored by The Nesting Place. Follow her as she takes you on a journey of her experiences in tabletop gaming and its positive effects on her family life.
Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: Why Tabletop Gaming?
Day 3: Party Games
Day 4: Gateway Games
Day 5: Strategic Games
Day 6: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #1
Day 7:  Collectible Card Games
Day 8: Deck Building Games
Day 9: Co-Op Games
Day 10: Roleplaying Games
Day 11: Miniature Gaming
Day 12: Worker Placement Games
Day 13: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #2
Day 14: Dice Games
Day 15: Fantasy Theme
Day 16: Sci-Fi Theme
Day 17: Steampunk Theme
Day 18: Historical Theme
Day 19: Literary Theme
Day 20: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #3
Day 21: Strategy Games for Children
Day 22: Why I Was Reluctant to Play Games
Day 23: Gaming Leads to Painting
Day 24: Gaming Leads to Writing
Day 25: Gaming Leads to Costuming
Day 26: Local Gaming Conventions
Day 27: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #4
Day 28: Origins
Day 29: GenCon
Day 30: DragonCon

Day 30: DragonCon

     So as we approach Halloween DragonCon is the perfect convention to talk about because it is a GIANT costume party! DragonCon is held in Atlanta, Georgia over Labor Day weekend. This year there were an estimated 52,000 people in attendance. DragonCon is a 24 hour a day costume party! There are also discussion panels, film festivals, and a celebrity hall! There is a gaming room for gamers to play a RPG or other pick up game. But the main focus is Cosplay.

     Some traditions people look forward to are the costume parade through downtown Atlanta on Saturday morning, the 501st legion which is a group of stormtroopers from all over the US, DragonCon TV, and costume contests! Five hotels in downtown Atlanta host the event. This was our first year going to DragonCon. We attended panels and took a lot of pictures! We had so much fun looking at costumes and watching people that we missed out on some panels. One thing that was different at DragonCon is you just show up for the panels. At GenCon, Origins, and local conventions you have to sign up ahead of time, in some cases you have to pay a fee depending on the panel and if materials are needed. Now let's make some costumes!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 29: GenCon

     July 2010 my family packed up the car and went on a road trip to a gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. We didn't know what to expect. We didn't sign up for anything ahead of time. We bought our passes and basically showed up. WOW! We were overwhelmed! We played games all day for three days straight. We walked the vendor hall for three days straight. We didn't realize until it was time to leave that we were only in one part of the convention! We were such nerds! So, of course, we had to go the next year in order to see and do everything!

     GenCon is a huge gaming convention with  49,058 attendees this year! It is really overwhelming and hard to describe. Rows and rows of vendors and publishers with old favorites and new release games. Mayfair games has a huge area and this year set a world record for number of players in a game of Catan with 922 players! Freebies and give-aways are everywhere along with endless discussion panels, painting classes for beginners-advanced, costuming, jewelry making, the list goes on and on. People play pick up games in the hotel lobbies and anywhere they can find a spot to sit. There are tours of the city. We went on a ghost tour of Indianapolis. There are film festivals, dances, costume contests, and SO much more! Oh, and watch out on Friday night for the Zombie Walk!

      GenCon also has a lot to offer the non-gamer. There panels and sessions for non-gamers. A crafting room is available for non-stop knitting and crafting. There are jewelry making sessions and even yoga and workout sessions.  There is a mall connected to the convention center for shopping!

     For us GenCon was a turning point in how we gamed as a family. We really do game together more often and found that we have a lot of common interests that we didn't know before! We didn't know we liked painting, writing, and possible costume making! If you are a gamer and have not been to GenCon I urge you to go. If you think that the GenCon crowd is too big then try Origins. Even if everyone in your family doesn't game, there is something for them to do. Chances are they will find a game they like!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28: Origins

     I talked about our local conventions yesterday. Today I want to start talking about the national conventions we have been to. We have been to Origins, GenCon, and DragonCon.

     Origins is held in Columbus, Ohio. The dates vary but it is generally around mid June. This year there were 11,573 attendees. It is held in the convention center which is located downtown near the popular North Market. North Market is a wonderful venue with fresh food from all around the world. A great place for gamers to eat!

     Origins is a great family gaming convention. There was a children's area where you could pay per hour to play video games with supervision or a tabletop gaming area. There is also a giant sized Settlers of Catan to play.  If you attend with non-gamers there are a lot of family activities in Columbus to check out.

     There are numerous discussion panels on game design, writing, Christianity and gaming, crafting, and many more! Too many to name! Of course, we played games all day every day. We even tried a LARP (live action role playing) session. We played as the skeletons and villains. Confession, I didn't like getting hit. I don't know if I will do that again! We would also walk the floor, find a game that looked interesting, and sit down to play it. We played Star Wars X-Wing as a family. Even though there are over 11,000 people we kept running into people we played with all weekend! There was also a great vendor hall. Lots of costumes, jewelry, t-shirts, books, games, gaming accessories, and DICE!!!

     One of the highlights of Origins is the gaming library. They have a huge room with a wall of games available for check out. You pay a $20 fee to check out unlimited games to play throughout the weekend but you get a free game when you register!

       Restaurants and hotels were in walking distance from the convention center. The city was very friendly and welcoming. Origins is a large convention with a small town feel, very relaxed and slow paced. Lots of gaming fun. We definitely want to go back. We hope it works out for us to attend next year. We may have a graduation issue!


Day 27: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #4

   One thing I was pleasantly surprised to find at gaming conventions is a worship service on Sunday morning. I don't know why I was surprised because gamers are an accepting and generous group. Everyone is welcomed in gaming and everyone is welcomed at a gaming worship service.

     Fans for Christ is an organization that coordinates and promotes web sites and worship services for gamers. I like the name fans for Christ because it covers any sort of fandom. You can be a fan of gaming, anime, steampunk, sci-fi, and be a fan for Christ!

     We have attended services at MACE, SCARAB, ConCarolinas, Origins, GenCon, and DragonCon. It is exciting to attend a service with people who share not only a love for Christ but also the same hobby. It is also pretty neat to see Darth Vader in a service!

P.S. I need to make a correction from yesterday. I guess I had superheroes and Spiderman on the brain when I called the food area The Green Goblin. It is The Grinning Goblin! Sorry MACE!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26: Local Gaming Conventions

     I have mentioned several times about going to gaming conventions. Conventions are a great way to see a new city, sit in on some panels, meet celebrities, and play games, play games, play games! There are three local conventions that we attend SCARAB, ConCarolinas, and MACE. SCARAB is held in Columbia, SC and both ConCarolinas and MACE are at the University Hilton in Charlotte, NC.

      SCARAB is held every year over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Last year was our first year attending SCARAB.  It is a small convention with about, I am totally guessing here, around 300 attendees. We had a wonderful time at Scarab! Travis started Pathfinder at Scarab and played his heart out! There were games/tournaments that you had to sign up for ahead of time.  There were also classes of knitting, jewelry making, and chain mail. I also liked the library of games. You could check out a game and try it out. SCARAB also had the freebies! Every few hours they would draw names for free games. They also had a swag bag! If you registered early you received a super swag bag. There was a drawstring knapsack filled with a book, large d20, card games, and more! The super swag bag was a great bonus to attending. This convention is gaining in popularity and it is moving to a new location in 2014. They have a facebook page and website so check them out if you live in the area.

     ConCarolinas is more of fan convention but there is gaming! There is always gaming! ConCarolinas is held the latter part of May. In 2014 it will be May 30-June 1. ConCarolinas is known as a sci-fi convention but they really welcome any fan! There are a lot of costumes and fun at ConCarolinas. The costumes range from sci-fi, steampunk, super heroes, to just about anything. ConCarolinas really has something for everyone there is gaming, guests of honor (2014 will be George R. R. Martin!), discussion panels, music events, and costume contests! They also have a great vendor hall! You can also see the Ghostbusters Mobile and Mystery Machine, like groovy man!

     MACE is held in November and will be the 15th-17th this year. Last year about 600 people attended. MACE is billed as The Carolinas' Best Gaming Con! Mace focuses on playing games! If there is ANY type of game you are interested in Mace has it! There are tournaments around the clock it seems like! Rooms and rooms of gaming! Mace is a great time to meet game designers and publishers! There is nothing like learning a game from the designer! There are also discussion panels and other events, but gaming takes center stage! The food area is called The Green Goblin and is a fun place to grab coffee, doughnuts, pizza, and other fast foods. Our boys have already asked about the Green Goblin. I am hoping the diceball machine lady is there again! That is another great thing about local conventions, the tradition and familiarity make them a very comfortable place to be and play games.

     Both ConCarolinas and MACE are community oriented and have charity events. They are also located in a great area. If your spouse doesn't game there are local shops and restaurants. There is also a great outdoor play area for young children. There is also a Kid Track area where children can play games. ConCarolinas and Mace definitely strive to be family oriented.

     Another thing conventions have in common that you may not think of is church services on Sunday morning of the convention. That will be our topic for chit chat tomorrow, Gaming and Christianity.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25: Gaming Leads to Costuming

     In high school I made good grades in every class. Well every class but one, Home Economics. I thought how hard can it be to cook and sew? It was hard for me! I could barely thread the sewing machine. My sewing project was disastrous. I walked out of that class and forgot about sewing. I mean never to think of it again. Until...

     When we go to conventions there is one thing besides gaming that they have in common, costumes! Super heroes, pop culture characters, steampunk ladies and gents, and so many unique characters!  Do you like thinking of a costume for Halloween? Getting all the accessories and just right pieces is fun. Think of doing that all year! Voila! Cosplay! We have seen some amazing costumes! Suddenly I found myself daydreaming about costumes. Okay, I daydream a lot.

     We went to one convention this year and the whole family dressed up. There was no sewing involved but there was painting! Next year there will be sewing because I am getting a sewing machine for Christmas!  As much as I could not stand the thought of sewing in high school I am super excited about learning now! I can't wait to get my hands on a machine and attempt to whip up some costumes. It sounds like fun to me now, especially since there are self-threading machines! Maybe next year will be 31 days of sewing costumes!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Extra Life - How to Pledge to our team (and play some games with us)

As we said in Episode 25, we will be taking part in the Extra Life campaign this year at MACE and it is not beneath us to use opportunities like playing Eldritch Horror or game with Stephen Avery (designer of Nothing Personal) to help our contributions. Marty has the page set up, so if you want to reserve a spot at the table for $5 minimum, head over to Extra Life and click on the Donate Now link at the top, search for Rolling Dice page, and then click on the Donate Now button or follow this link. When donating, include your name and write a message saying which game you want to play Eldritch Sign (Nov 16th. 9am - 1pm) or Nothing Personal (Nov.16th 2:30-5:30)

If you are interested in being on our team, we would be more than happy to have you join us just go to our page and follow the instructions. Marty set a goal that might be a slight challenge being new to the podcast world and our first year doing Extra Life. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

In pictures:

Day 24: Gaming Leads to Writing

     I have mentioned our trip to GenCon several times. I am going to devote an entire post to GenCon next week because, yes, it was a game changer for us! (see what I did there?) Best trip EVER! The second year we went to GenCon we signed up for a family RPG. We played a Wilderness Kids RPG from the Hollow Earth system. It was a great game for all of us, age 9 through, ahem we won't say! :) When you have children with a seven year age difference it is hard to find something they both like. We discovered RPG's was the way to go!

     When we returned from our trip we started looking for Role Playing systems. We played Dungeons and Dragons, Savage Worlds, Iron Kingdoms, and Pathfinder. As we played different systems and campaigns our boys wanted to start writing their own campaigns. There are pre-written scenarios or open campaigns where you write your own story. Our boys have always enjoyed English class and do well writing papers, but it's not like they would wake up on Saturday morning and say "Oh, I can't wait to write to an essay today!" But honestly they do now say "I can't wait to write a new scenario". Adam has written an Iron Kingdoms scenario titled 'Merry Cryxmas'. We had a great time playing! It is now a Christmas tradition. We can't wait until December! He has also written and been Game Master for his friends. They would play more but senior year activities keep getting in the way!

     Adam isn't the only one writing. Travis, our middle schooler likes Pathfinder and has written scenarios for his group of friends. I love to see him sitting in the recliner just a writing away on the laptop. Travis is also the rules guru. His Christmas list is Pathfinder rule books!

     Our youngest son Brett is 10 years old. When he sees Adam or Travis writing he of course wants to be like them and will pull his writing notebook out and start a short story. I can't even count how many he has started but not finished. But, hey, he is writing.

     I think it is cool that just because we started playing a particular type of game as a family that they wanted to write just for fun. You really don't know what other interest might come from playing a game. Another reason to gather the family around the table and play! (or paint, or write!) Umm...I might pull out Brett's notebook and start something of my own!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23: Gaming Leads to Painting

     I mentioned earlier in the month how gaming has sparked other interests for us as a family. It isn't just about playing our game once a week. Gaming has introduced us to new hobbies we never would have considered. Once you start playing games and try new games you find that you develop other interests. One hobby my family has started is painting.

     Now I NEVER would have thought that anyone in my family would have the desire to paint. They showed no interest in painting at all. They liked paint by numbers and watercolors when they were young but that is as far as it went. Now when they saw the game Warmachine by Privateer Press it was like a light shining down and heavenly music playing. It was Liz Lemon saying "I want to go to there"! They wanted that game bad! They wanted to collect figures and build their faction. They wanted to paint people! They jumped right in and studied types of paint and painting techniques. They spend hours painting small figures. It isn't just my family though. Our friends also paint miniatures. People who haven't thought about painting suddenly talk about shading, dry brushing, and washing. You see the goal isn't just to use the miniatures in the game, but to have the best looking faction! When they go to tournaments they enter their figures in painting contests then play the game. Special cases have been ordered to store their figures in. We also have a curio cabinet just for figures! Oh, and my son did win third place in a painting competition!

     We have also taken a painting class as a family at one of the conventions we went to. While I don't paint miniatures, mainly because I cannot keep my hand steady, I do like to paint waterguns, nerf guns, binoculars, etc.  for steampunk costumes! Three years ago I would have never thought of painting. Then my family started  and I thought if they can do it I can too! And guess what? We are doing more things as a family besides playing a game.

     It is exciting when young people try new things and discover hidden talents. That goes for grown ups too! Shake things up and try a little painting!

     PS...for those of you who have left comments, Marty and I have been trying to respond but for some reason it does not post. I am sorry! Mike, if you're still there, Eminent Domain is the way to go! It is not head to head warfare. That is just one way to acquire a planet. Your wife will like it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22: Why I Was Reluctant to Play Games

     This post is for those of you who may be strategy gamers but for some reason your significant other isn't. For years Marty played strategy games with his friends but I never joined in. Through the years I have been able to pinpoint specific reasons why I didn't game.Today I am going to tell you some of those reasons. Boy, I wish I had started sooner!

     Reason #1 - The length of some games. Some games are 2 or more hours. The thought of that used to stress me out. I would say that I didn't have time to play a game with him. I had too much to do. I was looking at it at the wrong way though. I would often say we don't talk enough, we need to go a date, etc. You know what couples say. Little did I know that gaming with your spouse for 2 hours is good communication time! We talk, laugh, work through situations in the game. Gaming is a great way to spend time with your spouse! Now it does help if everyone works to make sure that chores etc. are done!

     Reason #2 - Gamers are a secret clique with a secret language. I thought, "They don't want me to play because I don't know what they are talking about.". I was embarrassed to say that I had no idea what they were talking about! They would throw out terms while they were playing and I had no clue. Well, busted! Gamers WANT to tell you what  terms mean and want EVERYONE to play. Just ask! I have never been around a more open and welcoming group. No matter where I go local gaming clubs, local conventions, even national conventions, everyone is friendly and encouraging. As far as the secret language, everything is acronyms. It is too much to constantly say Role Playing Game or Analysis Paralysis (overthinking rules...I do not suffer from this) so RPG and AP are used. Just ask what the acronym means. There are no embarrassing questions in gaming.

     Reason #3 - I am not competitive. I would hear Marty and his friends constantly letting each other have it because somebody put a spell on somebody, took over territory, or fought over a planet. I am not competitive so that was not appealing. Solution, we started playing cooperative games. It just so happens that we really enjoy playing co-op games. I prefer games where I do not have to "attack" someone directly.

    Reason #4 - I didn't understand the rules! Sometimes I couldn't even concentrate when Marty was explaining the rules because it seemed like there were 100 steps and I would say forget it before we even started. For me, and maybe for some others, it is much easier to play a  practice round as we go through the rules. Skip trying to explain every detail and run through a round. Now that I have been playing a while I am better with the rules, but practice rounds are always good. A friend of mine says that the story is what grabs her. So instead of telling the steps of the game tell the story of the game. What are you trying to accomplish and what is needed to accomplish it.

    These are just a few things that may prevent someone from playing. Rolling Dice & Taking Names will post a podcast today and a friend of mine and I will be talking about some of these reasons and more. I want couples and families to game together and some of these ideas may help.Marty and I have shirts that say Couples Who Game Together Stay Together. So true, unless he tries to take my territory. :)


Episode 25: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

They're here...

This is our Halloween episode and we have the ladies returning to the show. I am not saying that their return is scary or the segment will give you nightmares, but the episode was released near Halloween thus it is our Halloween show. I am also not hinting that the title of the show is any reflection on marriage, just thought it would fit with the time of year, that is all. Now that those clarifications are out of the way, let's talk about the show.

MACE Convention activities, find out how to play Nothing Personal and Eldritch Horror is discussed. Casey and Vanessa (first appearance in Episode 11) give their thoughts on how to get your significant other involved in gaming and really do give some great advice. Marty and I discuss for our own benefit what is Spiel, Essen and the Spiel des jahres and the games we have looked into that will be at the show. We also have our Halloween 'At The Table' and the results from our request for you to send in your answers. Finally, if you haven't seen the post over at BGG, we got a new contest running, but it ends 10/25 @ 7pm, so act fast if you are interested in the prize.

A bit of whinning2:20
MACE Convention10:30
The Ladies20:00
Back to the us48:30
At the Table (Halloween)53:15
RDTN Contest01:13:30

Enjoy the show!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21: Strategy Games for Children

     I hope you had a great weekend and maybe played a game with your family. The games we have talked about so far have been for at least age 8 and up. I was wanting to give some ideas of games for younger children.

     An oldie but goodie is Perfection. In Perfection players have 60 seconds to fit 25 pieces into the corresponding hole. The board is pushed down and after 60 seconds it springs up causing the shapes to fly around. Perfection is for ages 5 and up. It is very addicting! 

     Blokus is a good game that was published in 2000. It is also recommended for ages 5 and up. Players use transparent colored tiles and take turns laying their pieces so that at least one corner touches their color. Play continues to no one can place a tile. The last one with a tile wins.


Cranium Cariboo is good for children ages 3-6. Children learn colors, shapes, numbers, and counting. It is a cooperative game where players draw cards and open treasure hunt doors that coorespond to their card. Once the door is open they look for a ball. When a six balls are collected they win! This game was published in 1998. I hate that we missed this one!

     Farmyard Bingo by Fisher Price is good for the really young! It is recommended for ages 2 and up. Our son got it for his first birthday. We played it for MANY hours! Players pull a lever and a chip comes out of the barn with a fun boing noise! Players match the chips (farmyard animals) to their card. The first with three that match wins. It is never too young to start playing a game. 

     There are many great educational games online for children. But there really is no substitute for sitting down together and playing a game. The laughter and lessons taught are priceless. These kids games almost make me want another baby! Almost :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 20: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat

Gaming is catching on! Gaming groups are everywhere! If you are interested in trying some more strategic games think about checking out a local gaming group. You could check out your area and see if there is a local group.

Marty participates with the Queen City Gaming Club. They meet every week. You can go every week, every other week, once a month, or just whenever you can make it. I have friends who go to gaming nights as a date night! I have gone on ladies nights, special gaming events and community projects. It is a great way to try a game out before you buy it or get suggestions from other gamers.

The community projects are great for the whole family. Some of the volunteer projects have been teaching games on regular basis at a local school, library, and even Discovery Place which is a hands on science. If you are wondering what sort of "strategic" games we play with children come back tomorrow!    

Our oldest son is starting a tabletop gaming club at his school. He said that students come up to him in the cafeteria asking to be a part of the club! They really like role playing games, but will play a variety. I think it is so exciting that young people are interested in playing games face to face. Teenagers today have many options for entertainment. I am so glad that they choose to game because it keeps them home and out of trouble! :) We hope that Adam gets the club up and running this year and then our middle son, Travis, can take over next year!

This afternoon cruise the internet and see if there is a local tabletop gaming group in your area. It is a great way to meet people and in some cases participate in community service. After church today I am going to attempt to read Call of Cathulhu by H.P. Lovecraft. I REALLY enjoy playing all of the Lovecraftian games but have never read any of his works. Writing about the literay games motivated me to read it! Have a great day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19: Literary Games favorite time of year! Sitting at the football game last night we drank hot chocolate and had our coats on. I love Fall and Winter. I love to sit on the couch in my flannel pajamas with birds drinking coffee and reading books on them! And of course I am drinking coffee and also reading books! I can't get enough of books. I am old school and prefer a book over the kindle. I like to imagine the characters and I feel like I am part of the story with them. Books are great!!!!! Now we all know that games are great!!!! So what can be better than books and games? Yep, you guessed it, games based on literature!!! Your favorite characters brought to life by you!

     My first introduction to literary gaming was several years ago. We were anticipating the release of Lord of the Rings and Marty decided we needed to read the books. After the movie was released Marty started playing the Lord of the Rings card game. He played it for years and started his monthly gaming group then. When he started playing the Game of Thrones card game he sent me to the library to get the book so he could read it and know about the story and characters. Well, Game of Thrones is 835 pages long. That looked like an eternity to Marty. It looked like a nice weekend to me. So, of course, I read it and loved it. And I filled Marty in on all the info. While I never played the Game of Thrones card game I did like looking at the art and the artists interpretation of the characters. I also thought it was pretty cool that a game was based on a book.

     My favorite games based on literature are the Lovecraftian games. Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign, and soon to be released Eldrage Horror (can't wait!) are based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. A whole world has been created around his works. The setting and characters are the same across the games. I am hoping we play Arkham at our Halloween party!

     For fun I goggled games based on literature and was surprised to find a lot of games. Some of the ones I found are; Around the World in 80 days, Hamlet, Nemo's War (Jules Vern's Nemo, not Disney's :) ), The Road to Canterbury, several games based on Beowulf, and how about Pride and Prejudice! These are just a few games that I found published in the 2000's. There were several more from the disco 70's and new wave 80's! Games like Dune, The Company War, Darkover, Dragonriders of Pern, and the Forever War are just a few. Game covers have developed over time!

     Listen up middle and high school English/Literature teachers, you have instant lessons that will capture student's attention and stimulate writing! Students could write different scenarios or create a game from a book they are studying in class. Or these games may stimulate an interest in anyone for literature! Between historical yesterday and literary today, good grades are in the bag!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 18: Historical Theme

   Historical gaming is for the history/war buff. Most of the games are actually a subdomain call Wargames. Most of the games use miniatures. In the wargames players re-create wars through history using miniatures. When we go to gaming conventions (future post) we always walk by the wargames area. It is usually several rows of tables filled with intricate scenery depicting the Civil War, World I, and World War II. The gamers are intently moving their soldiers, cannons, tanks, ships, or planes. Just watching will spark interest in brushing up on your American history! There are also games of European history. One of the things I like most when watching the wargames is seeing the age difference of everyone. You see children with their grandparents enthralled in the game! Young children are fascinated by the scenery and miniatures. It really looks like history coming to life.

     My 13 year old came home just this week and mentioned that two of friends play Memoir 44, a miniatures World War II game. This game uses battle cards and dice rolling. It is recommended for ages 8 and up. If there is a particular time in history or battle you are particularly interested in, you can most likely find a game for it!

     You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy wargames. My father-in-law has a private airplane license. His hobby is flying his Beechcraft Skipper. He likes to play the game Wings of Glory. Players are fighter pilots during World War I/II and use their miniatures to perform moves to win. Wings of Glory is also recommended for ages 8 and up.

      This may be stretching it as for as historical, but 7 Wonders is a good game for 2-7 players. Players use cards and trading to build their architectural wonder of world! This game will spark interest in the wonders of world. These games are great to use as students study American and World history. They really bring a chapter of history to life!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17: Steampunk

     Oh goodness! I wish I didn't have to work and could just sit and write all day about Steampunk. It is my current favorite everything! (except my family of course :) ) I want to move into a town where everyone just lives steampunk. I often find myself  reading steampunk books, dreaming over steampunk clothes, watching League of Steam web series, drooling over steampunk jewelry and daydreaming about clocks, gadgets, and gizmos!  So what is steampunk?

     Steampunk has several definitions and like Science Fiction essays and papers could be written on the topic.  This is my personal defintion when I describe it to my friends: Steampunk is alternate history which takes place during the Victorian Era and technological advices are powered by steam. The setting is most often London, England or the American Wild West but is actually worldwide. Steampunk takes historical events and figures and creates a different history! Fantasy creatures such as vampires and werewolves also find their way into Steampunk. Steampunk is actually a sub-culture! I could write 31 days on Steampunk, but this is gaming!! Gaming introduced me to Steampunk. We were at  a gaming convention and I saw these wonderful costumes and asked what it was. My son told me oh that's Steampunk and I was hooked! Thank you gaming world, again!

     I am learning through these blogs that we have been very one sided in our gaming themes. We play all different types of games, but most seem to have a fantasy theme. In thinking of what we have played, I haven't played any Steampunk games! Shocking! I had to look to Boardgamegeek for help. This is the list of their top ten Steampunk games:

     Planet Steam - Commodity Speculation/Trading (similar to Settlers of Catan)

     Mission: Red Planet - Hand Management

     Warmachine - Miniatures (my family playes this game)

     Wiraqocha - Area Control/Dice  This is the description of Wiraqocha. This is the game going on my              Christmas list!

     We are in the early XXth century, but the world is not as we know it. In 1895, exploring Amazonia, Auguste Copperpot discovered a gate to a lost valley, occupied by a primitive civilisation. Wiraqocha Valley was the name he gave to this remote Eden. This world enclosed a treasure that was going to revolutionize modern sciences, namely the Somnium, an orange luminescent crystal showing amazing properties. It can be used as fuel, affects matter and even time. Immediately, this virgin land became a new Eldorado for European colonists. Empress Victoria II decided to send several conglomerates to share this promised land and reap the fruits to her benefit. Zeppelin fleet, full of scientists, adventurers and looters, clouded the Atlantic sky.

Wiraqocha Valley is represented by an adjustable board consisting of 22 hexagonal tiles, each of them being identified by a number from 1 to 12, or a dice combo (pairs or straights). In his turn, each player rolls some six-sided dice, combining them to take possession of territories, or to protect from the opponents the ones he already owns. Every hexagon affords resources or special capacities, which are means to influence die results to fit one’s strategy. There are three ways to win: bring back a huge cargo of Somnium to the Empress; acquire enough scientific knowledge to build the Leviathan, a terrifying weapon serving the Kingdom; or find in the temple depths the four relics that will allow you to reach
Wiraqocha’s treasure.

     Dystopian Wars - Miniatures

     Leviathans - Miniatures

     Grind - Dice (this is a steampunk sport game)

     011 - Auction/Bidding

     Khronos - Area placement/hand management

     Girl Genius: The Works - Strategy card game

     As I am ready to post this blog I realize that I was not dreaming. I was in the year 1895 with H.G Wells and his time machine. He took me on a whirlwind journey through ten steampunk games! Here I thought it was the am, but it is pm when this blog is posted. I do apologize! I even missed my tea!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16: Science Fiction

     When I think of science fiction and gaming I automatically think of Star Wars and Star Trek. This is strange because I know sci-fi is so much more. I have always enjoyed reading science fiction. A sci-fi world easily translates to games. Still, as I write the Star Wars theme is playing in my head with an occasional whooooop whooooop of a light saber with "Beam me up Scottie" in the background!  While trying think of a definition for Science Fiction I thought I would just look up the definition. Oh boy, there some deep definitions and discussions on science fiction! I am just going to use a general definition, science fiction is fiction based on imagined future science or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets. We will use that definition to talk about some sci-fi games you may like.

     Science fiction is a widely popular theme not only in gaming but in pop culture in general. Star Trek and Star Wars are huge franchises and have a large following. There are several Star Wars themed games. There are also games which are just sci-fi and space oriented. I realize as I am writing that we haven't played many sci-fi games. I had to rely on to help me out!

     Collectible Cards - WARS trading card game

     Deck Building - Eminent Domain...I have played this and I like it a LOT!

     Role Playing - Warhammer40k, Star Wars: Age of the Empire...we played this at a gaming convention. I       liked it because it had special dice.

     Miniatures - Star Wars X-Wing, Battletech, Warhammer 40k

     Co-op - Battlestar Galactica

     Dice - Space Cadets Dice Duels

     Worker Placement - Alien Frontiers

     I think my family needs to check out some science fiction games! Check out some of these games! Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

5 Minute Initiative: Warmachine High Command

In this 5 Minute Initiative, Marty and I discuss the new Privateer Press deck building game Warmachine: High Command. The game was designed by David Carl who also did Heap for PP and part the Warmachine MKII team. High Command sales for $29.99 online with a MSRP of $44.99. In the box you will find:
  • 89 Cygnar cards
  • 89 Khador cards
  • 89 Protectorate of Menoth cards
  • 89 Cryx cards
  • 15 Winds of War cards
  • 15 Location cards
Marty does a great job of going over the game and how it is played. The full rules can be downloaded here.

Hordes: High Machine was just released, but it plays the same way and can be played with Warmachine. If you are looking at a different deck building game, give High Command a try. And listen to our 5MI for our personal thoughts on the game.


Day 5: Fantasy Theme

     I hope that everyone has learned something about different genres or types of games. That is the way the game is played. There is something for people who like dice, cards, role playing, and collecting. Along with how a game is played there is the theme of the game. The theme is the setting or story of the game. Of course all games won't fit neatly in a category. For the most part there are five themes fantasy, sci-fi, historical, steampunk, and literary.

     Fantasy themes are very popular in gaming. Fantasy uses magic and supernatural as the setting. It is an imaginary world with magic and mystical creatures.  A medival setting is often used in fantasy games. Fantasy has been used in gaming for many years but Lord of the Rings has increased the popularity of this theme. Some characters in fantasy gaming are thieves, rouges, mages, dwarfs, elves, wizards and creatures limited only by imagination!  Weapons used in fantasy gaming are bows, staffs, (Napoleon Dynamite had those skills) knives, or magic spells and potions. I am going to list the types of games we have discussed that have a fantasy theme. Remember, there are endless games with this theme! Just use your machine (that is what my Mom calls the computer) and you can find games of any theme! Here are some fantasy games that we have played.

     Collectible Cards - Lord of the Rings and Magic

     Deck Building - Thunderstone

     Role Playing - Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder

     Miniatures - Warhammer

     Co-op - Shadows Over Camelot

     Worker Placement - Lords of Waterdeep

     Dice Games - Dungeon Roll

     October is a great month to talk about gaming because it so easy to dress up as characters from fantasy or any other themes we will discuss and have a Halloween party! By the end of this week we will finish discussing the themes so that will give you plenty of time to put together a costume, buy a new game, order pizza, have your friends over and party like a gamer!!! Maybe fantasy isn't your favorite theme well hold on to your light sabers tomorrow is Science Fiction! Cue Star Wars theme and fade out.....


Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 14: Dice Games

     I hope everyone is having a great Colombus Day! I am heading to work. I am a teacher and we have a teacher workday. I enjoy my job and working with students Monday through Friday. I enjoy the weekend so I can spend time with my family and friends. I have described several types of games we like and today is our last day to talk about types of games. Today is one my favorites, dice games! (They are all my favorite aren't they?)

     A very simple dice game that is great for Halloween is Zombie Dice. Zombie Dice is a "press your luck"  party game. There are 13 dice and at their turn players select 3 random dice and rolls them. The dice have icons representing brains, shotgun blasts, or runners. The object is to get 13 brains first. Be careful, don't press your luck too much or you will get shot and lose your brains! This game is recommended for ages 10 and up. This is a great party game because 2 - 99 people can play! Sounds like Halloween party to me!

     In King of Tokyo the object is collect 20 victory points or be the last monster standing. In the game players are robots, aliens, or mutants fighting to be the King of Tokyo. There are six dice with the icons for 1, 2, or 3 victory points, energy, heal, and attack. Players roll three times and decide which dice to keep. There are also special cards that can be purchased with energy to boost your rolls! It is recommeded for ages 8 and up and plays 2 - 6 players. It has a Godzilla feel to it and it is fun family game.

     On day 8 we talked about deck building games. In deck building games you acquire new cards through the game to make your better. Quarriors is a dice building game. Players can customize their dice pool depending on their dice rolls. Each player is a mystical warrior and starts with 12 identical dice and can acquire spells or creatures (the dice) to add to their pool. This game is recommended for ages 14 and up but our 10 year old played with no problem. I really like Quarriors because I like that each player has their own dice bag and the dice you pull are random. You don't know what creature or spell you will get.  I like the unknown and waiting to see what it will be! I also like the colors of the dice. I know that is probably a silly factor but the dice are neat to look at during the game!

     We have discussed the different types of games,  dice, deck building, worker placement, etc. There are some games which don't fit neatly in a category but I think we have talked about all the major types of games. Now it is time to move on to the different themes of games. Themes are the stories and settings of the game. Tomorrow we will start with fantasy! Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13: Sunday Morning Coffee and Chit Chat #2

Mr, Keurig ready for Halloween gamers coffee tastes extra good this morning. We joined everyone else and bought a Keurig yesterday.  They were on sale at Costco. It came with 60 K-Cups so I am set for a while. I say I am set because I am the only coffee drinker. I think there will be a lot of hot chocolate and apple cider made this Winter. Hopefully a lot of games will be played along with drinking coffee and hot chocolate! Well, today's topic is not coffee. It is about one of my absolute favorite things...DICE!

Besides being key in many games, dice are just plain cool. I like the different sides and how they look just laying in a pile! I keep trying to think of ways to decorate with dice. We have two distinct dice memories. The first year we went to GenCon, a national gaming convention, we saw the dice vendors. Travis (10 at the time) and I were mesmerized! There was section after section of dice. Any color combination you can imagine. They were also any size! From teeny weeny to about the size of a baseball! There was even a huge bin filled with dice and you could buy either a mug or pitcher full! Another memory was just last year at a local gaming convention, MACE. There was a vendor who had a big old timey gum ball machine converted to a dice machine! Yes, you put in .50 and turned the knob and you could get anywhere from 1 to 5 dice! So much fun! It was our equivalent to playing the slot machines in Vegas! It was so much fun to hover around each other and then the excitement when the flap was raised and out poured dice!

     Besides having a lot of dice laying around, we have personal sets of dice. There are seven dice in a set. Each die has a different number of sides. They are:
Our family dice sets

     Four sided - d4
     Six sided - d6
     Eight sided - d8
     Ten sided - d10 (x2)
     Twelve sided - d12
     Twenty - d20

    When playing different games the dice determine if you defeat a monster, gain a treasure, explore an area, or any number of other possibilities. The dice are also used in determining how strong, wise, agile, or other characteristics your character may have. Example, in the game we are currently playing I am a barbarian and my strength is a d12 + 2. That means whenever I come across a situation in the game and I need to test or use my strength I roll a 12 sided die and add 2 to whatever I rolled. Now my wisdom is a d4 so...not so smart. I usually fail those checks :(  I used to think how can people remember all the dice and what to roll. Never fear there are cards with everything written out for you.

     There are so many games with dice as a main feature. Tomorrow I am going to talk about some of our favorite dice games!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12: Worker Placement Games

     I am later writing this post because the weekend always finds me working to pick up the house and clean before the work week. I would like to say that my boys always jump in and help and do exactly as they are asked, but they are pre-teen and teenagers and well, frankly I have to really stay on them to pick up their rooms. I wish I could place them in the house and they would do exactly as I asked every time. Sadly that doesn't happen so thank goodness for worker placement games!

     Worker placement games are games where players use tokens (the workers) and place them on an action of choice. For instance, the first worker placement game I played was Lords of Waterdeep. In Lords of Waterdeep the players are secret rulers trying to gain control of the city. Agents are used to construct buildings and complete quests. The player with the most influence (points) gains control of the city and wins the game! Lords of Waterdeep was published in 2012 for ages 12 and up. The playing time is 60 minutes but it usually takes us about 90 minutes. Lords of Waterdeep is part of the Dungeons and Dragons family. I guess you could say it is a spin off of Dungeons and Dragons. If you play D&D or know someone who does, but want something different from a RPG then give Lords of Waterdeep a try. It is a great worker placement entry game!

        Another worker placement game we have is Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. This is a great visual and hands on game. Players place their workers (Mayan tribe members) on a rotating gear. Players must pay with corn to perform different actions. You have to plan and always look ahead because you must feed your workers. So don't spend all your corn!

     If you are a book geek like me then maybe you have read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet . There is a worker placement game based on the book. I can't believe I haven't it played it yet. In The Pillars of the Earth players are characters from the book and are trying to build a cathedral by placing workers to perform different tasks.

     Tzolk'in and Pillars of the Earth are considered moderate level games. If you are ready for a more involved and "heavy" worker placement game then Agricola is a good game. Agricola is more involved with the rules and structure of play. In Agricola players are farmers in a shack with nothing but their spouse. You build up from there.

     So in worker placement games players must plan what they should do and place workers where needed to complete the action. They are generally recommended for ages 12 or 13 and up. There are top ten lists  online so see if there is a worker placement game you may be interested in! I think I need to play The Pillars of the Earth! Of course I must place my own workers here and have them clean up their room! Have a good weekend! Play a game!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11: Miniature Gaming

In case you are wondering miniature gaming is not gaming for toddlers and it is not miniature sized games! It is games played with manipulatives that are miniature figures, planes, tanks, ships, or just about anything! If you have a painter in the family or a history buff then listen up! These may just be the games you are looking for!

One of the biggest miniature games right now is Warmachine. While I do not play Warmachine my family does and I like the storyline. It is a steampunk type story and I like steampunk! (a future blog :)) There is also a RPG based on Warmachine called Iron Kingdoms that I do play! So how does miniature gaming work? In Warmachine there are figures that are collected, assembled, and then painted. These figures can be super small and there is a lot of detail to the painting! Very tedious! At a convention in 2010 my family saw this game displayed and they were hooked! Now no one had EVER painted ANYTHING! But they were hooked and have been assembling and painting ever since! This game literally brought out a desire and a growing talent in painting.

After the figures have been painted there are a set of rules and players follow the rules to combat one another. Each figure will have different responsibilities and skills. My husband and oldest son have gone to tournaments and entered figures in painting contest.

As with all games there are numerous themes to choose from. For World War II fans there is the game Flames of War where miniature tanks, soldiers, aircraft, and artillery are used to recreate World War II battles. There are numerous variations of Flames of War. With this game players will need to assemble and paint the miniature pieces.

Some miniature gaming does not require assembling and painting. If you or someone you know is a Star Wars fan then you may want to try Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures! This game comes with completed miniatures and players re-create Star Wars space combat! Wings of Glory has World War I and World War II miniature planes. These games are generally suggested for ages 12 or 14 and up. If you know someone younger who may enjoy using miniatures HeroClix and HeroScape are also popular miniature games. Players collect different superheroes to use in play against each other. These games are recommended for 8 and up. My younger two children have played both of these games with each other and their friends.

Miniature gaming definitely incorporates hobbies in it's play!  I have been amazed  to see how my family has started painting when they were never interested before. We have set up a painting table and they take a few hours here and there to paint together and talk. It is so wonderful to see especially when our oldest will be gone to college next year. Sniff Sniff. Miniature gaming has provided memory making hours for us. Those hours could have been spent playing videos games, out with friends, or just doing our own thing. Miniature gaming is a hobby game; painting, collecting, or history buff. And with these hobbies families grow closer!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10: Roleplaying Games

     October is flying by! I can't believe we are on day 10 already! I hope you are enjoying TheNester's 31 day series or if you have joined us from Rolling Dice & Taking Names I hope you're finding some information helpful. My goal is for families to get involved in gaming together. I know there are some families where maybe one person games and the other doesn't. That is how it was for years with Marty and me. He would have his friends over and they would play the Lord of the Rings card game. Our family would play party games then we played gateway games for a few years. After going to GenCon (gaming convention held in Indianapolis) in 2010 that is when we started gaming together as a hobby. One type of game that hooked me was Roleplaying Games.

     Roleplaying Games (RPG) are somewhat similar to cooperative games because players are working together for a common goal, HOWEVER, in RPG's the game is run by a player who is the Game Master or Dungeon Master if playing Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, I said Dungeons & Dragons! It is not the horrible game that the 80's made it out to be. It was written by a Christian, Gary Gygax (I will discuss Gaming and Christianity during our Sunday chit chat).

GenCon 2010
     RPGs use a game master to tell the story of the game. Players choose characters and work together to explore, look for treasure, solve clues, gain knowledge, and fight an antagonist! In RPG's the game master (GM) will guide the players through the game telling the story as it unfolds. They also play the role of the antagonist when in combat. For instance a player may ask, "Can I look inside this crate?" The GM would (or would not) grant permission and then when looking inside a dice roll would determine if the player kept what was inside! (assuming it was something good!) In a combat both the players and the antagonist will roll dice to determine who wins and the amount of damage. In RPG's you have to have an imagination and try to see what is happening. Often a GM will have props to use during the game. A  RPG is also different from co-op because it takes several sessions to complete the story. Think of it as a play. In a RPG instead of play it is called a campaign. A campaign is a set storyline that has an ending. A play is divided into scenes. A RPG is called a session. Each session can last up to four hours! Of course not all campaigns are that long! Remember when I said that some games have rule books? That is role playing games. Each game or system has it's own set of rules. Systems will come with pre-written stories that you can purchase, but the most popular is when the GM creates the story!

     There are different systems to use when playing a RPG. Dungeons & Dragons is perhaps the most well known. My 13 year old plays Pathfinder. Both of these are fantasy based so they have a definite theme. We have played Savage Worlds several times. Savage Worlds does not have a theme so the GM can create any storyline.  It is a time for sometime to become a writer and story teller! One RPG we have enjoyed as a family is when our friend Heath comes over and he is a GM using Savage World rules. He has created several Lego RPG's! We could play for hours using Legos! His story's or campaigns are always fun!

     Roleplaying Games are very imaginative! It really is like writing a play and then "directing" the actors! They are also very rules oriented. For someone who likes detail and telling a story RPG's are a great game! My family has both been players and GM's. I have not branched into being a GM but I do love playing with them!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9: Co-op Games

     Welcome to Day 9! Has anyone played a new game yet? I need to go back to Day 7 for a minute. My youngest son came home from school today energized to play Pokemon again! Apparently on inside recess days the students can bring their Pokemon cards. They trade and give away cards. He spent the afternoon putting his cards in protectors and we will put them in a binder for him to take to school. Ahhh....collectible cards.

     Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite types of games, Cooperative  or Co-Op games. I mentioned co-op games in Day 4: Gateway Games. Cooperative games are when the players work together to beat the game. We talked about Pandemic and Flashpoint. Cooperative games are one of my favorites because I do not have a competitive spirit (another reason I wasn't good at basketball !). I like playing together with my family and friends. It is exciting to play and get to the end of the game and bite your nails wondering if you will win!

     After playing Pandemic the next co-op game I played was Castle Ravenloft. Ravenloft is a fantasy theme. The Castle Ravenloft is full of evil monsters, villains, and traps. The players are heroes and must work together to fight monsters, solve the mysteries, and uncover treasure! This is a fun game to play during October. It is recommended for ages 12 and up.  The players or heroes in Castle Ravenloft were my first introduction to characters such as cleric (priest), rouge (thief), wizard, and warriors. It was fun playing with my family because everyone liked the character they chose. We dressed up as a group that Halloween. There are 12 different scenerios to play through before the game is finished. Each scenerio lasts about 60 minutes. Matter of fact, I don't think we finished it. We got sidetracked with other games!

Circa 2010
     Another cooperative game I like is Elder Sign. Elder Sign is a game that is part of the Cthulhu Mythos. Cthulhu is a creature from literature written by H.P. Lovecraft.  H. P. Lovecraft was an author in the early 1900's. His short stories and poems and have spawned a sub-culture of games, art, literature, and merchandise. The games are SO MUCH FUN! In Elder Sign the year is 1926 and players are investigators working to close portals between our world and other dimensions. This is another fun Halloween game. It also is recommended for ages 13 and up and playing time is 90 minutes.

     My favorite co-op game is another one from Cthulhlu Mythos. It is Arkham Horror. Here is a picture from the set-up! Playing time is 3-4 hours! What a game! Just as in Elder Sign the year is 1926 and players are investigators. The characters are the same between Cthulhu Mythos games. If there is a character you like you can play as that character in multiple games. In Arkham Horror investigators are exploring a city and trying to prevent portals from opening and fighting otherworld monsters.

     Halloween is a great time to try some of these games. You can find other co-op games online. Ummm....what will we play this weekend?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Episode 24: Stay on Target!

Ever since Origins 2012, Marty and I have been looking at games that involve some type of dog fighting mechanic. At Origins, we tried Leviathans by Catalyst Game Labs and we enjoyed the game, but held off on getting it because, well the cost was just a little much for us. Then came X-Wing and now Star Trek Attack Wing. How do you decide? I even got a chance to play Star Trek at Gen Con 2013, but I am still on the fence, unsure of which game would I enjoy more. So, Marty and I sat down at YLGS and played X-Wing and then had a discussion in the Episode to compare the three systems. And at the end, we still haven't decided which to purchase.

Also in this Episode, Marty discusses his family's adventures in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Lords of Waterdeep Expansion. Finally, we close out with our discussion on the upcoming MACE convention in Charlotte, NC on November 15-17.
Kickstarter - Bones II4:20
Lords of Waterdeep Expansion17:40
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game22:30
Interview: Scott D'Agostino Wizkid Games35:25
Star Trek Attack Wing, X-Wing45:00
Eldritch Horror Announcement1:07:00


Game Review: Star Trek Attack Wing

The (War)bird is on the wing…
By Scott Baughman

Space…The final Frontier – with those now immortal words Capt. James T. Kirk launched a franchise, nay a legend, into the collective pop culture consciousness some 40 years ago. Star Trek isn’t just a TV show or a movie, it’s a part of mankind’s existence now, inspiring everything from cellphones to medical technology.
But there’s one area in which Trek has never excelled – gaming. There are very few good Star Trek video games (a match-up that seems it should be made in heaven) and a good Star Trek RPG or board game is even rarer. But thanks to a little help from the mad scientist game designers over at Fantasy Flight Games the masters of models at WizKids/NECA have decided to try and change that with their latest offering, Star Trek Attack Wing.

One sci-fi-themed miniatures game has been tearing up the hyperspace lanes this year, and that is FFG’s Star Wars X-wing. With a great intellectual property license like Star Wars behind it, X-wing would’ve likely sold well on name – and starship – recognition alone. But it’s got a great, ruleset going for it. And WizKids knows a great ruleset when they see one. The company that has the license for Star Trek miniatures in their HeroClix line, WizKids decided to license the X-wing FlightPath game engine and put capital starships into the system.

The result is a spectacular wargame with a tasteful amount of Star Trek flavor thrown in for good measure. In Star Trek Attack Wing, players pick some iconic Star Trek starships – like the Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise-D and Nu’Daq’s IKC Vor’Cha Klingon Battlcruiser – and then outfit them with a variety of technologies, extra weapons and other tactics to try and dominate the competition. But the greatest ship in the galaxy is no good without a fine crew and captain, and Attack Wing lets you customize the commander (Picard? Kirk? Riker?) and crew for your vessel giving you access to even more special abilities or benefits.
If you’ve ever played any outer space-based miniatures game, you know that handling the three-dimensional aspect of the final frontier has always been a problem. Attack Wing takes a “simpler is better” approach to handling this. If two vessels ever end up passing through each other, they are assumed to be above or below the other as necessary. This isn’t to say that a cunning commander (or, perhaps a cold one) can’t send his soldiers on a suicide assault if he wants to, he just has to use a special order to do so.

Attack Wing takes all the great aspects of X-wing – ease of maneuvers with the FlightPath system, quick range checks with the weapons bar and specialized 8-sided dice for attack and defense – but adds the strategic depth of outfitting your vessel with crew members. A player is faced with a plethora of options when taking actions, but to keep the game from bogging down each player still typically only gets to execute one action per turn. The turn is split up into movement, action and then attack phases. On the attack, a player rolls a number of 8-sided dice equal to his ships attack stat, along with any relevant modifiers. To see if he was able to successfully dodge the incoming fire, the defender also rolls 8-sided dice along with relevant modifiers. All the trappings of Star Trek are in play for the game – photon torpedoes, cloaking devices, phasers, disruptors and near-omniscient sensors are all options for the canny commander. And several of the various pieces of tech or skilled crew give the veteran wargamer that one thing he knows he needs to find success in the clutch – a timely reroll of the dice.

Give Star Trek Attack Wing a try the next time you crave a fast-paced but strategic sic-fi miniatures combat game. 

Day 8: Deck Building

     Hello Tuesday! I like Tuesday's because Agents of Shield comes on! Good show! But this blog is about good games! Today is deck building games! Let me go back to yesterday's post for a minute. I totally forgot to mention Lord of the Rings collectible card game. That is the first strategy game Marty played. He started playing Lord of the Rings about 12 years ago. He would have a monthly gaming night to play with his friends. We have been having monthly gaming nights since then!

     Deck building games are similar to collectible cards except the cards are within the game you do not collect them. Throughout the game you acquire cards to build your deck and play through the game. I have played three deck building games, Dominion, Thunderstone, and Eminent Domain.

     On they list Dominion as the #1 deck building game. That happens to be the first deck building game I played about five years ago. In Dominion players start with a basic deck and buy cards to build a more powerful deck. The player with the most victory points wins. The classes of cards are victory, curse, treasure, and action. The game has a medieval theme and playing time of 30-45 minutes. It is recommended for ages 10 and up. This is an easy game to understand and fun to play. It is recommended for 2-4 players or up to 6 players if you have the expansion.

     Thunderstone is another deck building game. Like Dominion, in Thunderstone players start with a weak deck and acquire more powerful cards as the game progresses. Thunderstone is a fantasy based game with the cards being Heroes such as mages, archers, thieves, or warriors. Players use their cards to attempt to defeat monsters from the dungeon deck. It is recommended for ages 12 and up with a playing time of 60 minutes.

     My favorite deck building game is Eminent Domain! I like the components of the game. It comes with little space ships! While Eminent Domain is considered a deck building game the focus isn't building the deck, but using your deck to survey, colonize, trade, and use technology to expand your civilization. Sometimes you use warfare and that is where the super duper space ships come into play! This is just one of many great games for space lovers. It is recommended for ages 12 and up. Playing time is 45-60 minutes and recommended for 2-4 players. Fun game!

      You can find detailed descriptions of these games or any game on See Sunday's post for other review resources. Also, has a list of their top 10 recommended deck building games. These three are on the list and the only ones from the list that I have played. If you like card games and are looking for something different try one of these games!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7: Collectible Card Games

     Welcome to Day 7 of Tabletop Gaming! In the past week we have covered party and gateway games. Now we start talking about strategy gaming. There are several types of strategy games and I will address one per day. Today we start with collectible card gaming!

    Now I love a good collection. I collect milk glass, nutcrackers, books, old vases, Christmas ornaments, and several other things my husband would like for me to get rid of! My husband has collected baseball cards since college. It is no wonder that our children like to collect also. They collect legos, books, and cards! They don't collect baseball cards. They will inherit Marty's! They collect card games. Some collectible card games are Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic.

     Collectible card games are games in which a series of cards are introduced a few times or several times throughout the year. The cards come in starter decks and booster packs. Starter decks are a box of cards with enough to get you, well,  started!  And booster packs are packs of around 10 or so cards.  They will boost your deck. You buy the cards not knowing what you will get and build your deck from those cards. Just like with baseball cards, there are rare cards and special cards. In collectible card gaming half the fun is the anticipation of the cards and then the fun of opening the pack and seeing what you have! It is like a mini Christmas morning throughout the year!

     Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are well known collectible games. In those games you collect creatures and use them to fight your opponent. Some creatures deal damage to your opponent and some are used to heal your damage. These are Japanese games based on the cartoon style called Anime. You have probably seen the TV shows and merchandise. These are very popular franchises and local game stores have tournaments. Two of our children played Pokemon for a few years. They prefer Pokemon for the DS. They are waiting for the new Pokemon to be released this Saturday!

     My family plays the game Magic. It is the same premise as Pokemon except in Magic the cards are creatures, spells, and land. The artwork isn't as cartoonish. My family has been playing Magic for several years. A new set comes out every year with booster packs throughout the year. One of the things they like best about Magic is a draft tournament. That is played at a local gaming store (our's is actually called Your Local Gaming Store). You pay a fee, usually around $20, and you get a set of booster packs. As you open the packs you pass the card to your left until all packs are opened. Then you play a tournament with the cards you received and you keep them! Some stores give prizes such as dice sets or store credit. It is fun to play with other people who enjoy the same game and the fun of opening cards with others.

     If you or someone you know enjoys collecting you may want to give these games a try! If you have a child and they once played Pokemon they may want to try Magic. Look online there may be other collectible games you may want to try! Just be sure to get a container/crate to store everything! Have a great Monday!