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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in seattle_rico's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm
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.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
12:49 am
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,

Saturday, September 1st, 2007
12:35 pm
"They passed Go. They collected £200. Now they must pay."
I wasn't terribly enchanted by "Ridley Scott buys the rights to Monopoly," but when I thought about what kind of movies you might make out of the games I like to play, I kind of got caught up in the idea.

That said, this article is hysterical.

Anyone care to create some plots for their favorite games?
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
9:23 pm
In which Puerto Rico is drubbed!
A game maker has slammed Puerto Rico roundly in his website. Well, sort of. Read and enjoy.
Friday, October 6th, 2006
9:59 am
Proposal: Merge w/ seattle settlers?
I was wondering if this group was useful as a distinct group, and if it would just make sense to retire it and use seattlesettlers...
Thursday, October 5th, 2006
11:06 am
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...
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
9:09 am
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
Monday, August 28th, 2006
9:27 am
Games for sale (cross-posted to Seattle Settlers)
Three games: Battle Cattle $10 (played once)
Munchkin Bites (unopened) $15
Cults Across America $20 (played once)

I live in the CD and can't really deliver these as I am packing my house and crazy busy. Please be able to come by and get them.
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
2:10 pm
For you game geeks: Dot Com monopoly analysis
I'm ditching a bunch of my games so I was checking how much Dot Com was going for. The analysis I found concerning which Dot Coms were assigned to which areas of the board was most amusing!
10:40 am
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
Sunday, August 6th, 2006
2:33 pm
Game Night Wednesday 8/9 @ 6:30 PM
Dear Friends,

After the great success of our first game night, we have decided to do it again this week. Since it is not so hot out, I have decided to serve tea, tea cakes, and cucumber sandwiches. I bought a bunch of mugs from my neighbor's yard sale, so there are probably good tea cups for the first 20 or so people to show up. If you would like to eat or share other food or drink, please bring it along. There will be room in the refrigerator to keep things cold, and plenty of serving containers for things like chips. Feel free to bring a friend along, but we still ask to check with us if you are thinking of bringing more than one guest.

Where: 8331 13th Ave NW, Seattle WA, 98117
When: Wednesday, August 9th. 6:30 until about midnight.
Who: You, a legion of gamers.

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

Hope to see you!

Alex and Gentleman Johnny
Saturday, July 22nd, 2006
7:51 am
Gaming Next Wednesday
(Cross-posted to seattlesettlers and oneirophage.)

Dear Friends,

It has come to our attention that this summer needs more board game playing. Not people to allow cosmic imbalances to persist, we have decided to do the right thing and host a board game night at Alex's house this next Wednesday. (And who knows, if we like it enough we could make it into a regular thing?) Bring yourself and a friend (ask if you're going to bring more than one friend) and some games you might like to play, and we'll try to provide a nice space to game, some refreshments, and stuff to nibble upon. RSVP if you can, and suggestions on things you might like to munch or drink are welcome (otherwise you might get stuck with cream soda and pez!)

Where: 8331 13th Ave NW, Seattle WA, 98117
When: Wednesday, July 26th. 6:30 until we drop or midnight, whichever comes first.
Who: You, our beloved gaming friends.

If you need directions or have questions, feel free to call Alex at (206) 850-6326. Hope to see you!


Alex and Gentleman Johnny
Friday, June 23rd, 2006
2:53 pm
Game trading and playing Wednesday!
After both communities had similar reactions ("I don't see a problem with it"), I'm going to suggest a get-together for some trading and playing.

Wednesday, June 28, 7pm at the Third Place Pub in Ravenna. There is non-pub (read, kid-friendly) seating there as well, and great big tables with plenty of lighting. This is at precisely the same time their book club is discussing Saturday by Ian McEwan upstairs (the pub is on its own floor). If this interferes with someone's schedule, I'm positively shocked at the coincidence. I'm thinking that some games could get traded, some games could get played, and I could have a beer, maybe a glass of wine?


The trade I had in mind was offloding my copy of Dungeon Twister for someone else's Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, but I really should go through my collection and see what else I can trade... trying to figure out how I get a copy of Winner's Circle or Formula De' Mini... anyone in need of a Traders of Genoa?
Sunday, June 18th, 2006
3:01 pm
Is this an acceptable place to propose local game trades? I looked at the Userinfo and didn't see anything of that type here...

If not, can anyone suggest a place where I could do this? I'd go to BGG, but I'd really rather not pay postage if I can manage that. :)

(already posted to seattlesettlers)
Sunday, May 7th, 2006
2:11 pm
Spring Cleaning
Cross-posted to oneirophage and seattlesettlers.

Laura and I finally attacked the refugees from the basement residing in our living and dining rooms. The house is almost back to being fully habitable: Yeah! Part of the cleaning has been going through our things and deciding which need keeping and which should move on to better homes. I've gone through my board game collection and culled out a number of them. Free to anyone who wants them, first come first served for the most part:

6 Billion - eveanhei
Age of Mythology - blueatheart
Cosmic Encounter (2000 Hasbro edition) - blueatheart
Junta (1978 West End edition) - corvuscrx
Maginor - ironmaus
National Liberation Front - eveanhei
Risk 2210 A.D. - ironmaus
Starfarers of Catan - personality
Talisman - corvuscrx
Tigris & Euphrates - simplysithel

Just an hour or two of going through old mail and office supplies, and I should be done with all this.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
5:12 pm
Chill RPG and Chill: Black Morn Manor
Again, originally posted in my own blog. Since I originally wrote this, BGG came back up so I was able to provide a more exact version of my setup gripes.

As a kid, I thought that horror was the best genre for anything. Unfortunately, I was a bit of a chicken. This led to a lot of not-watching movies that were intended to scare you (I passed up on Cujo for the 7th time I saw War Games) but watching a lot of Zombie movies and being fascinated by all of the undead beasties in D&D (the coffer corpse from the Fiend Folio was my favorite, but the Lich was a close second).

I was also a comic book geek for a couple of years, and this interesting intersection led to me discovering something called "Chill" at the comic shop I frequented. Despite its publisher going out of business (Pacesetter games, which also published the inimitable Wabbit Wampage), it seems that a version of Chill is still in print! Oddly enough, Pacesetter's properties were picked up by Mayfair games.

This means a couple of interesting things.

  • First off, for the low low (?) price of $100, I can have a complete set of current generation Chill product from the above link. Not that I can afford this, but it is nice to know that it is a possibility. Well, not that I actually can afford a couple hours a week for roleplay, but... well shit. It is nice to know that someone could enjoy it.

  • Secondly, it means that the rest of the pacesetter line is in the hot little hands of Mayfair, which I can only assume is making bank on the Catan properties. This means that the cute little (poorly designed, shitty components, still kinda fun) Chill: Black Morn Manor game has an owner! I was worried that this little gem was just dead and buried forever.

Black Morn Manor (C:BMM) is a game that was described to me as "You just feel like it should be better," and I've got to agree. The concept is great- one player is a renfeld to a mysterious force in the creepy old house, and the other players are exploring trying to destroy the creepy monster. Occasionally, a character switches sides, back and forth. It really plays pretty well! OTOH, this game has the worst setup of any game I've ever played. Take, for example, the layout of the gameboard. Here is how I'd describe it:

The board is composed of 36 tiles in a 6 by 6 grid. Place the "Gate" tile in the lower left corner, and use other tiles (face down) to measure out where the "front door" tile goes in the opposite corner. Place all hero tokens on the "Gate" tile and the minion token on the "Crypt" tile.

Their description goes exactly like this , now that BGG is back up:

1. Spread out the board tiles on a hard surface (table),
and sort them into two stacks: Manor tiles and Grounds
tiles. Manor tiles have walls and doors; Grounds tiles
have neither. (See tile fronts.)
2. Find the Gate and the Crypt—both are Grounds tiles.
Place the Gate about 7" to the lower left of the table's
centre. The Property Lines should point upward and to the
3. Place any 6 tiles face down in a line to the right of the
Gate. Then, starting with the last tile on the right, place 5
more tiles in a line toward the top of the table. Place the
Crypt tile face up in the sixth place, with its Property Lines
pointing downward and to the left
4. Pick up all tiles except the Gate and Crypt, and shuffle
them back into their proper stacks. Then turn the stacks
face down. Diagram A shows how your board should

This is actually the easy part- you then have to have the minion randomly select a bad guy and pull all of the cards from the deck with corresponding numbers... it is a big damn mess. Many of these problems were resolved when Avalon Hill released the (shockingly similar) Betrayal at House on the Hill, but that game doesn't have the same "switching sides" mechanic and the layout of the board gets a little bit trickier with the different floors. Still, if C:BMM sounds interesting, Betrayal is a reasonable facsimile.

Since boardgamegeek isn't playing nice today (perhaps they should upgrade their servers), here is the Funagain games link to Black Morn Manor. When BGG comes back up, here is their link about the game. If I could just convince Mayfair to re-release this game with better quality components and simplified setup... you know what this screams for is computer-based setup and atmosphere...
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
10:06 am
When American Board Games were Really Good
Originally posted here, webcowgirl mentioned that this would be a decent crosspost. The comments in the original post contain at least one proposed answer to the question.

Having been nose-to-the-grindstone with games research, I've uncovered something sort of interesting.

It looks like American boardgames were, if briefly, wildly interesting for a short period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. If I'm wrong here, someone correct me, but here is the sort of thing I'm looking at:

Electronic games These guys were the pioneers in bringing electronics into boardgaming, and then suddenly disappeared (perhaps right around the same time that you could buy a Commodore64 pretty easily, or maybe with the early rise of the affordable video game console:
Stop Thief was released in 1979 and was probably the first really significant game with an electronic component. This game (which we'll be testing Thursday) featured the "police scanner" which would play little electronic noises to indicate where a thief might be. If you hear breaking glass, he's near a window. If you hear a creaky door later, he's by a door near a window. When you are ready to guess the location of the thief, you "dial it in" to the computer and it tells you if you are correct. Gameplay itself seems a little lame, but the gizmo really adds effect. Oh, and the perspective for the board is really cool- the opposite corner of the board is rendered perfectly, because the perspective assumes that the viewer is viewing from the middle of the board. See the link for a picture that shows this.

Dark Tower was released in 1981 by Milton Bradley. Among the first "electronic gizmo" games, the big feature was this hulking black tower-thing in the middle that made sounds as gameplay progressed. This crazy item regularly sells for $150-$200 on eBay. Picture of the game here. In this game, the gizmo is much more active, as you interact with it every time you try to buy something. There is even a "haggle" button if you don't like the price you are given.

The Dungeons and Dragons Electronic Labyrinth Game was also released in 1980, and made the whole board into the Gizmo. Players had nice pewter miniatures (a thief, a treasure chest, and a dragon) and were supposed to explore the maze, get the treasure, and get out before being attacked three times by the dragon. The board was constructed during gameplay by moving your miniature from one square to another, and getting a sound clue to indicate what happened. One sound meant you hit a wall, another meant you stepped forward... including such things as the "dragon woke up" sound and the "bonked into a locked door" sound. When you bonk into a wall or door, there were little fences that you put in place to remind you later where the walls were. When you thought that you knew where the dragon was, you could place the dragon miniature in place to track his movements. Unfortunately, this game isn't terribly well documented online, and boardgamegeek is crashing a lot, so I can't fact check this very well.

Non-electronic, but pretty sophisticated
Dungeon from 1975 was a very early dungeon crawler loosely based on the roleplaying game. You selected a character (early role selection) based on their abilities, and roved the various different parts of the dungeon trying to accumulate treasure. Note that movement was where you decided to go, not the "roll x and move x spaces clockwise) what was so common at the time, and I think role selection was a pretty new thing. While you pick from the thimble, iron, and car in monopoly, it isn't like the car moves faster or the iron can flatten anything.

Survive was released in 1982 by Parker Brothers. Not only does it feature such relatively new ideas as a changing board with hexes, but there are cooperative elements to play and the player is not personally represented on the board- early elements of German Games. This is a game I've blogged about a lot lately, suffice to say that the design is way more sophisticated than anything I'd expect to find today in a big-box toy store.

Conspiracy was a Milton Bradley title in 1982, is a bizzare little game that was pretty popular in my friend's basement in high school. The players are external to the board, but there are busts of 8 different spies on the board with clever names (Peking Tom, Rock Bottom, etc). On your turn, you can move any of the spies. The goal is to get one of them to pick up "the documents" from the center of the board and then bring them back to "your" location (I think). Movement is controlled by how much you've spent buying off these secret agents, and tracked in your bank book (a set number came with the game). If, at any point, another player doesn't want you to make a move, they can "challenge" and you take turns showing each other how much you've invested in that spy. The player who has put the most money on their spy keeps control. You don't want to put too much money on a spy, however, as at any time another spy can enter their space and "blow their cover" for a set fee.

Maybe I should see if I can run down a copy of Conspiracy somewhere cheap...

Anyhow, any ideas on why game design shifted from these sort of innovative games to freakin' movie adaptations and clue/ monopoly skins?

EDIT: Added hyperlinks
Monday, March 20th, 2006
11:32 am
The Carcasonne Gallery
For those of you who've never actually taken the time to browse it, I present to you The boardgamegeek Carcassonne Gallery, sorted by hot images. Please note the giant meeple stalking someone's cat, and the invasion of Carcassonne by Zombies!!! miniatures.

No, seriously, meeples, take 15 minutes and amuse yourself. :)
Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
4:31 pm
So cold!
Ah, bad games! This article on the very worst on Board Game Geek had me laughing quite loudly in my little office nook. See, for example, the harsh description of "Global Survival:"

No contest on this. The worst game ever invented. But don't take my word for it, read these excerpts from the comment section of this travesty:

"The absolute worst game I have ever played" - Corey Hymes

"The monetary system of this game, alone, is enough to justify using it for kindling" - Charles Bahl

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006
4:59 pm
Afternoon quickie?
I'm heading to Teddy's Tavern on Roosevelt for a beer (and to get a new pair of shoes next door).

I live about 3 minutes walk away, but I'll take a seat at a table and have a couple of pints until 6 o'clock, with Lost Cities in a bag under the table, should anyone show up for two person gaming.

Should there be more... I might pack an uno deck or something simple (bars aren't well lit enough for games that require reading a lot of cards or instructions).
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