Posts tagged ‘Fun’

The Curious Case of the Tomb Board Game

About a year or so ago, AEG released a game called Tomb. It did not get a lot of fanfare at the time. As a matter of fact, we only sold a few copies of it, so we did not even stock it. This year, at GenCon, we met with some of the AEG folks and learned of an expansion for this game, called Cryptmaster. I even spent a little bit of time playing it. It seems promising – and we will get to that in a minute.

So, the premise of Tomb is fairly straightforward. Each player seeds the different tombs with Tomb cards, so it is mildly random – but some of the players have an inkling of what they can expect. Over a few turns, they recruit a raiding party, and they venture into the tomb for a hack-n-slash. This is supposed to be a get-in-get-out dungeon crawl where your raiding party is essentially monster fodder. The box says you should be able to play up to six people and it says the game length is about one to two hours.

The premise is great and our gaming group was revved up and ready to go. They like this kind of stuff, so it was a good bet to open the evening with this. Well, that was not the case.

This game was “broken” when we played with a full set of players. There were six people playing plus myself. We all wanted to really like this game and we wanted to believe that it was slow and plodding because we were learning the game. The game lasted for FOUR HOURS and it became a grind to get through.

Each player had a full raiding party of 5 characters, so there were tons of decisions on what to do, and each player’s turn lasted as long as 10-15 minutes each, so, that is an hour per round. There was very little of the players going back and “banking” treasure, recruiting more characters, drawing more cards, etc.

What started out as a fun adventure went on to be a boring monster kill session. People got up, got food, chatted with other friends, and Gary even mentioned that he had considered getting a shower. One of the players actually had to leave and go pick someone up and was gone for an hour or so. They came back and missed one turn. The essence of this game was lost somewhere in the process. Quick and dirty is how it is promoted!

So, this gets us back to GenCon and our meeting with AEG.

It seems that they are releasing an “expansion” for this game called Tomb: Cryptmaster. Now, I was hooked at the idea of this game from the demo – before I played Tomb.

I believe in the premise of the game, so I am still positive about Cryptmaster and its ability to fix the holes in the core game. Let me share with you what AEG told us (and I paraphrase):

“There were some issues with the original Tomb rules, so we adjusted them for this expansion. As a matter of fact, we would prefer that people buy the expansion as the core game and use the base game to expand your ability/weapons cards, quantity of characters, and a second stack of Tomb cards (about 40 go out per game and there are 200 in the box, so that’s a lot of cards). “

So, essentially the new Tomb expansion is the patch to Tomb. Which, if it plays well is great. Sadly, they should not have released a game that needed a patch.

Something else that is cool is that the new board has four entrances to the crypt. This is good, because it took people a turn or two to get to the back of the crypt. Now, they can zip out to the Inn and re-enter at the back of the crypt.

I am not going to spend a lot of words here spelling out all the changes to the rules that have been incorporated into this new “expansion”.

What I will say is that Best Dang Games was going to offer Tomb, because it seemed like a cool game. But after our experience with it, we are choosing not to carry this game (ALONE). We may try to play it one more time or two, to see if first impressions are accurate. Once Cryptmaster comes out, we will shoot to get a demo copy of that game with high hopes once again. If Cryptmaster passes the “fun” test, we will sell it as a single option and we will offer Tomb and Cryptmaster as a bundle together, since that is how it seems you should play it.

The rules for Cryptmaster are available for download.

If you own Tomb and had a similar experience, you may want to consider downloading these rules and using them, rather than the rules that came in the original box of Tomb. Here are the rules for Cryptmaster. If you have played this game, please leave comments to let us know if we are off base on this. If you went to GenCon and demoed Cryptmaster, let us know what you thought. We really want to like this game.

September 2, 2009 at 2:03 am 2 comments

Fun Family Activities – Playing Games with your Spouse/Partner

Author: Seth Brown – www.risingpun.com

Why Game with your Partner?

A friend of mine once told me, “Board gaming is like sex:  It’s a lot more fun with someone you really like.”

Presumably, if you have a spouse or partner, you really like that person. And you probably like board games too, whether for the brain health benefits, strategic challenge, or pure fun. It stands to reason, then, that combining those two things you like would be a great idea. Board gaming with a loved one is not only a cost-effective way to get an evening’s entertainment, but is also much more interactive than sitting in front of a movie. By playing a game with your partner, you’re really spending an evening *with* her, not just next to her.

Make the Suggestion

Casually bring up the idea to your partner. Tell him, “Hey, instead of a movie tomorrow night, would you be up for trying a game?” If your partner doesn’t seem receptive at first, be willing to postpone gaming with him for another night, after you’ve brought it up again. You don’t want to push really hard and demand gaming when your partner isn’t in the mood for it, or he’ll be pre-disposed not to enjoy it.

Bring it up again later and be willing to compromise. If your partner will agree to game with you instead of watching another TV show one night, then you may have to agree to try one of his hobbies. But don’t worry; in many cases, once your partner gets a taste for playing good games with someone he loves, he’ll be hooked.

Choose Your Games Carefully

This is probably the most important thing you can do when planning a game night with your partner. If you’re looking to get her to play games with you, then you’ve got to pick the games that she is most likely to enjoy. First of all, consider how much gaming your partner has done in the past. If she’s never played a board game before, then it doesn’t matter how great your favorite complex strategy game is, because it’s probably going to be too complicated for to enjoy it as her first modern board game. You’ll want something with rules that can be learned in five minutes.

Think about what your partner likes, and pick games with themes or mechanics that might appeal to her. If she likes Indiana Jones movies, consider a game with an archaeology theme like Lost Cities. If she likes playing Tetris, consider Blokus.

Make sure the game you have chosen plays well with two players. Some games like Lost Cities are made specifically for two players. And some games like Dominion can handle up to four players, but play wonderfully with two. However, certain multi-player games (especially auction-based games) become less fun with fewer than three players, so if you’re not sure, try it out with another friend first, so your partner doesn’t suffer.

Start Slow

Don’t overwhelm your partner by demanding a 4-hour gaming session on your first night.

Your ideal game for a first night out should have simple rules and a playtime of under a half-hour, so you can play a few games of it without taking the whole evening. Lost Cities and Dominion are both highly recommended.

Treat the first game as a learning experience. Play with your hands open, allow your partner to take back moves, and so forth. The only people playing are you and your partner, so you don’t need to worry about slowing things down for anyone else.

Finally, avoid being hyper-competitive, unless you know that your partner enjoys it. Forcing your partner into a new hobby so you can trounce him and gloat about it is not going to make him want to play games again.

The More The Merrier

If your partner starts enjoying gaming as much as you do, make it a regular occurrence. Set aside one night a week as “game night”, and you’ll know that you can both look forward to quality time with the one you love – whether that one happens to be Lost Cities or Dominion.

December 21, 2008 at 9:35 am 1 comment

Settlers of Catan and Blokus Rank on Amazon.com Top 10 List

According to Amazon.com, board games are still a big hit at the holiday times.

Every year, they post a Top 10 list of Christmas Toys. This year, we wanted to point out two items on the list. The board game bookends!

The first is the #10 item. The premiere strategy game from Mayfair Games, Settlers of Catan.  This game has reached mainstream status. It never gets old and can be expanded through three other expansion sets. The replayability is here and definiately worth checking out. If you have ever played civilization-building games on your PC, you will love this game. In Settlers, the process of resource gathering and strategic planning creates constant interaction with your opponents and every person’s turn can affect you – positively or negatively.

The other item is all the way up the list, at #1. The abstract game, Blokus, is one of the most accessable and intrigueing games in a long time. If you like games like Tetris, this is definately a game for you to try. It is extremely addictive. One of the cool aspects of this game is you can play it by yourself. Each player has a series of plastick tiles in different shapes. The simple goal is to put as many of the tiles on the board as you can. However, you must  follow a single rule – Each of your tiles must only touch a corner of another of your tiles (the same color). After a while, it becomes very hard to place any tiles because each other player is doing the same thing. Talk about a mind bender…

So, do away with the electronics and isolation this holiday season. Save yourself some money. For about $50, you can get two games that will have tons of replayability, the entire family will enjoy, and you might actually have a smarter child in the end.

For the record, we run the online board game store, Best Dang Games. Our sales pattern has shown that Blokus hits at #8, and Settlers of Catan hits at #10. But, we offer a strategy game bundle that includes Settlers of Catan, and it is ranked #2.

Get Settlers of Catan or Blokus.

December 17, 2008 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

Apples To Apples – A Party Card Game About Comparisons

Author: Seth Brown – www.risingpun.com

  • 4-10 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 12 years and up

Apples to Apples is a party game, so there isn’t really any underlying theme. You’re playing the game to try and guess how other players think of various random things. What does Bob think is more Friendly: The 1960s, The Green Bay Packers, Pancakes, or the Ocean?

What’s In the Box?

Lots and lots of cards with a few words on them.

Most of these cards are red-backed and list things, ranging from various celebrities and historical figures to everyday objects to places to weird personal references like “My first kiss”. These generally have a quote on them.

A smaller number of cards are green-backed and have descriptions and adjectives, which range from “Sexy” to “Peaceful”, and have a few synonyms on the card.

There is also a tray to hold the cards.

How Do You Play?

Deal everyone a hand of red cards with things on them. The current judge picks up a green card and reads the adjective. All non-judge players must choose the card from their hand to which they feel that adjective best applies, and play it face-down.

Once cards are down, the judge reveals all cards, and decides which one is best described by his adjective. (The judge’s decisions are always final, which is why he’s called the judge.)

The player whose card was chosen wins the green card as a point. Then the next player draws a new green card to read, and she becomes the judge. Repeat ad infinitem.

What’s Cool?

Apples to Apples is a very fun and silly game with the right group. The best games often feature judges who explains their decisions as they go along, saying things like, “Well, I’m pretty sure Breakfast Cereal isn’t very Scary. Einstein’s hair might be Scary, but he isn’t. Which leaves Vampires and Telemarketers… I know which one I’m more afraid of. Telemarketers it is!”

As a party game, Apples to Apples is incredibly accessible. You can take a room full of people who have never played a game in their lives, explain the game in three minutes, and all will be enjoying it three minutes after that. It’s great with a large group, and watching the variety of judge personalities is always entertaining.

Naturally, playing to the judge is a huge part of the game. If Susan thinks football is stupid, and she’s judging for the card that says “Stupid”, then you should play your Football card – even if you think it’s the greatest game ever invented. This results in a better game among closer friends.

What’s Not To Like?

Since so much depends on knowing the judge, Apples to Apples can be frustrating for a player who does not really know the other judges. This can result in a game going sour for a close group with a single newcomer, because the newcomer simply doesn’t know enough about the people judging in comparison to everyone else.

Also, some serious gamers may complain that the game is too arbitrary because other players can simply choose who wins. But it is a mistake to think of Apples to Apples as a competitive game. It is a party activity, and while technically there is a score kept and a final winner, it’s largely irrelevant to the enjoyment of the game.

Overall Thoughts

Apples to Apples is a great little party game sure to spark some interesting arguments about why certain inanimate objects are more generous than others, as players lobby for their own selection. It plays very well with families, making it the perfect game for parents with children who can’t really hold their own in strategic games.

Buy Your Own Copy of Apples to Apples Here

December 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm 2 comments

Munchkin Card Game – A Night With Munchkins

Written by Shawn Wolen/Gary Bacchus

For those of you reading this that don’t know what Munchkin is let me give you a little background.  As described on www.bestdanggames.com;   “This award-winning card game, designed by Steve Jackson, captures the essence of the dungeon experience…with none of that stupid role-playing stuff.  Go down in the dungeon. Kill everything you meet. Backstab your friends and steal their stuff. Grab the treasure and run.”

The game set up is simple. Each player get’s 4 cards: two treasure cards and two Door cards.  You flip up the the Door card from the stack (with the obligatory “BAM!” – you are supposed to be kicking open the door…) and follow the directions on the card.  The first player to level 10 wins.

During our last Friday Night Game Night at The Daily Grind Coffe Shop, I was fortunate enough to indulge in my new gaming passion, Munchkin.  I love this game!  It is as simple as it gets when it comes to card games, but so much fun.  On this particular night we had 6 gamers, a good number by my estimates (the more the merrier for Munchkin).  All attendees were of different experience levels with the game; some had played once or twice before and for some this was their first experience.

The game started off in the usual fashion with questions galore about how to play, new players convinced the game should be harder to learn or trickier to pick up, but it’s not! Each card in the deck clearly explains what to do with them and the instructions fill in the rest. The flow of play is very easy and lends itself to a larger crowd.
We went around the table with each player taking their turn, the rest of us plotting whether to help or hinder our cohorts.  If you help you might get a share of the loot; if you hinder, you slow their progression to level 10.  The strategy lies in knowing when to be a friend or when to be a foe. We had to learn quickly who to keep close and who keep a close eye on. We had one player who reveled the sheer ease in which she could backstab the other players. The people who were your allies one turn quickly could become enemies at another moment only to flip again later in the game. The game, however, is so light hearted and humorous that no one really seriously got bent out of shape. All in all, Munchkin is a party game that any crowd, geeky or not, can have a great time playing.
The entire evening was filled with laughter that reached levels we had not experienced in a long time.  We experienced a gender change (my friend made a lovely woman); Shinpads of Allure – which forced players to help him/her during every battle near end game, a fight with the Dread Gazebo and a timely win against the Potted Plant.  The game-winning battle was exciting and hilarious!!  A player tried to use a card to move the monster to another player, but that player dropped the right combination of cards to win!!
Give Munchkin a try yourself!

November 4, 2008 at 9:45 am 2 comments

North Orlando Game Club This Saturday!

Come one! Come All! There be strategy board games to play this Saturday (6/28/2008)…FOR FREE!

As we did last month, we are holding the second Family Strategy Board Game Day at the DeBary Library, in Volusia county. It is just over the St. John’s River and
up 17-92.

The event is open to the public. You can bring your own games or you can play ours. We will have about 15 games or so there.

If you would like to join us, we will be there from 1-4:45 PM.  Here is a link on Mapquest to get you to the library.

If that does not work for you, here is the information about the library:

200 N. Charles R. Beall Blvd.
DeBary FL 32713
(386) 668-3835

Read more about the North Orlando Game Club.

Read about the first gathering of the North Orlando Game Club

If you need more information, please call Barry at 321-794-5284 or e-mail him at bcbcbusiness@hotmail.com

We look forward to getting more North Orlando Gamers together. See you then!

June 26, 2008 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

North Orlando Family Board Game Club Update

We had our first game day at the DeBary Library. We will be holding the club here for at least the next three months.

We had a large selection of games and one new visitor who wanted to check it out and see what we were doing. Unfortunately, there were a couple of folks who contacted me and were unable to make it. Maybe next month.

So, my friend John and I had a great day of playing games and looking at how we can enhance www.bestdanggames.com for all of you.

We played one old game, Settlers of Catan. I introduced John to three other games, as well. We played Memoir 44 and it went over alright. He liked it, but in the end, John seems to be a eurogame lover, like myself.

We continued the party back at my place and included my wife and daughter. We learned how to play Puerto Rico and played two rounds of Shadows Over Camelot.

John, my daughter, and my wife playing Shadows Over Camelot

The first game of Shadows was without the traitor. We played a tense game with everyone trying to remember and understand how to play. When we won, we immediately said “Let’s do that again!” So, we did.

We all thought my daughter was the traitor, but she would keep doing stuff to prove she wasn’t. In the end, John ended up revealing himself as the trator just so he could taunt us. In the end, we got SPANKED and evil ran us over like a steamroller. I expect this will be a game we play again.

Regarding the next event, we invite you to come out and play some games if you are in the North Orlando area. To learn more about our events, check out this posting about the North Orlando Family Board Game Club.

June 11, 2008 at 10:25 am 1 comment


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