First game of Puerto Rico in ages

Today we lured laurenclose over to our house (oh, the advantages of having neighbors!) for a game of Puerto Rico. It had really been a LONG time since we played, at least a year, possibly more! I assumed my usual role of "teacher of the game," and Lauren assumed the traditional role of "newbie who kicks my ass." I couldn't believe I'd just forgotten pretty much every strategy I'd ever used to play the game - going back over my old posts in seattle_rico, I clearly had many of them; Lauren followed the cash-heavy "Starbucks" plan (though by accident) and took us both to the cleaners. Final score:

L: 55 (19 vp, 22 bldg, 14 bonus - 2 bldgs)
J: 51 (22 vp, 18 bldg, 11 bonus - 2 bldgs)
Me: 44 (22 vp, 16 bldg, 7 bonus - 1 bldg)

I kinda screwed myself by not getting a warehouse to keep my stuff in, and boy, I rotted left and right. L also decided I was the threat, and worked on shutting me out - ultimately I think a successful ploy but just one more good move by shadowdaddy woulda got him out front of the pack. Whoda thunk with a harbor that I couldn't have done better - but shipping diversity ensured I was blocked off of our piddly three boats over and over again. Aaargh! Well, at any rate, it was great to get back "in the game" again, and I'm reminded why this was always my favorite of all strategy board games.

A Few Words on Board Game Design Month

I was talking to a few people involved in Board Game Design Month (BoGa DeMo!) and the general consensus was that they hadn't quite gotten what they had wanted done finished within the month. To that end, perhaps two months or even three were more needed for their project.

I'm glad that people have gotten started on projects, and I think it makes a lot of sense to take the time needed to finish them. To that end, I'm perfectly happy to test and comment on said projects for the next few months, interwoven with the regular game night schedule.

Thus, game night, and continued BoGa Demo action:

November 29, 2007
December 20, 2007
December 27, 2007

See, I've cleverly avoided holidays in December! Not like November with its tricky Thanksgiving Day!

We've also gotten a pretty awesome offer from one of our participants:

To anyone participating in this months board game design fun, I would like to extend an offer to you all. I own a small sign shop and we have 2 large format digital printers. So what I’m offering is that if you design a board game, I will print and mount your game on a 20”x 20” quad fold board (Free) just supply the artwork in a computer file if possible. I have 10 extra 20” x 20” quad fold boards in my stack of supplies. You’ll have to take care of any pieces and cards as my sign company does not print cards. If you need any advice on tokens or small pieces let me know. It just so happens that board game designing is one of my hobbies. I will have 2 games ready for play testing. Looking forward to meeting everyone.

See you Thursday,


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October is the right time for spooky games! Here are a few that I own, and some short opinions (all links will be to boardgamegeek). Each game rated from 1-5 skulls (for the spooky factor) and 1-5 hexes (for the "how german is it" factor)


Zombies was one of the first "new" boardgames I got, and has probably been played more than any. The rules out of the box are kind of a mess, but supposedly a lot of that is cleaned up in the second edition, and there are good rules available at the yahoo group, where the creators of the game are quite active participants. 3/5 skulls for the gory card art and zombie-chopping fun, 1/5 hexes for the dicefest and confusing out-of-box rules

Betrayal at House on the Hill

I kept reading reviews of this before I found it anywhere- described as a remake of Chill with better components and rules. More or less right- Betrayal is pretty easy to teach because the game happens in stages. First you learn to move, then to fight, then the scenario is different every game. This is also adaptable to just a bit of role-playing, so you can scratch that itch if you've got it. the various rulebooks all have mistakes in them, but Avalon Hill keeps an updated list of known Errata so you can work around this. 4/5 skulls for the nice roleplaying and vague creepiness, 2/5 hexes as there isn't a consistent strategy, but cooperation becomes key in the second half.


I bought this two-player Kosmos game PURELY because of the box art, and we were lacking two-player games at the time. Alas, my wife didn't dig it much and I don't get to play very often. This is essentially a hand-management memory game, where you try to find your opponents hidden goodies while keeping yours concealed. The art in the game does a great job with keeping the theme spooky, but the gameplay generally does not. 3/5 skulls for the spooky card art and board, 3/5 hexes for the various german challenges. After you've played a couple times and get the hang of it, I might go four hexes.

Chill: Black Morn Manor

I bought this because I was a huge fan of the Chill RPG as a kid, and this looked like a really awesome bit of boardgame history, having all of the following in the early 80s: a modular board, variable character powers, role-switching, various scenarios, cooperative elements. Alas, the rules have a couple of problems, and the game components may be the worst I've ever seen- really, business cards are on heavier stock than the cards used here. Can actually be a lot of fun if you are patient with the setup, but more historically interesting than anything else. 2/5 skulls- the card art is crap and distracts from the generally spooky elements of the game, 2/5 hexes for a good amount of complexity despite some problems with the rules.


Great components! Surround sound DVD stuff! All luck from start to finish! Definitely worth breaking out with 6 or less people in a party environment, not something you'd describe as a "really good game." 5/5 skulls- oh yeah, we gots the spooky here. I actually jumped out of my seat as a result of a card last time I played (which instructed the woman on my left to scream at a specified time and punish anyone who jumped), and the surround sound and music is used very effectively. 1/5 hexes as Herr Knizia would probably rather shoot himself. Lots of roll-and-move, and you stand no chance of being successful until the end when suddenly they start making it easy.

Already on SeattleSettlers, Soon to be cross-posted to my blog...

(no subject)

Hello Friends!

With all the ruckus and recovery from Burning Man we've skipped a few weeks of Game Night. This week will mark the Return of Game Night! Yes, that's right, once again it is time to bring some friends, bring some games, and bring some foods to nibble on and share. Since it's cold out, we shall be serving hot chocolate. We will also re-arrange the furniture a little and crank up the fireplace and provide some ingredients to make s'mores with.

Who: Huddled masses of gamers, yearning to break free.
What: Board games and the inevitable rounds of Werewolf/Mafia/Aliens.
When: 6:30 PM until late on Wednesday, September 20th.
Where: House of Raccoons and Cephalopods, 8331 13th Ave NW, Seattle WA, 98117.

If you have any questions, feel free to call Alex at (206) 850-6326.

We look forward to seeing you,

Alex and Gentleman Johnny

Game Night Wednesday 8/23

Dear Friends,

This week I am incredibly busy getting ready for Burning Man, and my poor housemates are having to deal with this being a staging area for our camp's preparations. Thankfully, Steve Metz has stepped up and offered his place for your gaming enjoyment. If you played Werewolf last week, you'll remember Steve as the man who played blind almost the entire time. The grill at Steve's place will be fired up, so bring some grillables as well as anything else you'd like in addition to the beer and cookies being offered. (Beer and cookies?! I always liked milk and cookies...)

Where: 2720 NE 95th St, Seattle, WA 98115
When: Wednesday, August 9th. 6:30 until about midnight.
Who: You, folks with dice, pawns, cards, and a need to use them.

If you need directions or have questions, feel free to call Steve at (425) 205-0840 or email him at sametz@comcast.net.

Hope to see you!

Alex, Gentleman Johnny, and Steve