Friday, August 4, 2017

Terrarolling Mars

Before the notice went out for the Gen Can't roll and write contest I really had no interest in designing a game.  I play games, and I talk about games on a lot of podcasts and social medial.  When I saw that one of the judges was my buddy Mason Weaver, who hates puns, as well as Suzanne Sheldon, the host of the contest, who also hates puns - I started thinking of ideas for a pun based roll and write.

My initial thoughts were to create a roll and write version of an existing game - Daniel Newman had just done this with Rolled West. 

Mason had introduced me to Kapitan Wackelpudding at BGG - a crazy dexterity based roll and move game where you stack pieces and push them around a map, when something falls it impacts the game. 

kapitan wackelpudding bgg

I tired to come up with a game with stacking dice but I was able to stack 6,7,8 dice and push them around my map quite easily without dice falling.  I then started looking a something that started to feel like a roll and move with spaces and finally gave up.

I switched over to Terraforming Mars.  I created a version with a basic concept of rolling two dice and picking one for the player and one for the dummy player.  I received some feedback that there was no tension and no engine building.

I looked retooled it to include cards.  I sorted through all the cards and came up with a selection of cards for each die roll.  I also added some tension by adding the generations track - every time you rolled doubles you marked off a generation that would speed up one of the end game conditions.  This also was a response to a "too many dice rolls" comments.  I tried to balance the card costs with making things hard to buy with out making you need too many dice rolls to get something.

The early version of the cards were actual photos of the cards.  Since the rules required no copyrighted material I decided to make the cards more generic boxes with text.  This also gave me a opportunity to rewrite the cards with puns and other silliness.  One of the card rows was city cards - I created a city card based on the home location of each of the judges.
Jr is from Dallas, Mandy is from Ottowa, Nicole from Toronto, Edo from Mt. View, and Mason from Oklahoma City.  Cupola City became Couple of Cities.

I also created some specific cards - like Nicole always calls dogs pics on twitters "pupper" and there is a pets card in the inspiration game.


This one is just silly...

The original has a card called Lake Mariners.  My buddy Nick Mariner has a twitter account called I call Yellow so I made this as a homage to him.

I actually kind of gave up on it.  I didn't get many more play testers and wasn't finding the time to do much of my own as Origins approached.  Then after Origins I got really sick and ended up in the hospital.  My son brought me my laptop after I started feeling better but was still waiting to get released so I decided to at least wrap up what I had done and get it submitted.  It definitely needs some balancing and revisions but overall I guess as my first attempt at a game at all it isn't so bad.

The final submitted version of the game can be found here.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Craig Con West

Craig Marks - actually lives east of me but his first east "con" was in Baltimore with Matt so I'm guessing one in his home town of Youngstown, OH had to be West.

My wife and started a tradition of doing over night get a way weekends while our son was still home from college to take care of the pets.  A trip to Youngstown for some games seemed like a good fit although a little farther of a drive than we usually go - about 4 hours if we were to go non-stop, but we never do.  We stopped at Grandpa's cheese barn on the way up for snacks and candy as well as all the other necessary stops.

We arrived at Craig's and introduced him to his wife Erin, son T. and we met his new baby daughter M.  There were enough folks there for two tables of games.  I had brought a ton of game, several that had already been in my car and some that I had hoped to play.

We started with Sagrada.  Erin liked this form previous plays but they didn't have it so Craig requested I bring my copy.  Cindi, Erin and I played with T.  I forgot to mark who won.

Then we moved on to Kanagawa.  This is a game we own and they all like so we knew we'd all like it.  We had a guest at the table - I forget his name - he was just there for the one game...

Andy joined us for a game of Century Spice Road.  I had wanted to play this with Cindi because I thought she'd like this and I had concidered buying it but wanted to get her thoughts before we did.  Since she won - I'm guessing she liked it.

Andy taught us Road Hog - a race game with some "take that" mechanisms.  Cindi won this too, I eeked out 2nd place.

Cindi ended her night with a group play of Herbaceous.  Another game we both own so we all enjoyed it, this was new to Andy.

Cindi was tired from the long day of travels and gaming so we checked into our hotel.  I returned for one more game.  We played a 5 player game of Pandemic the Cure with the expansion - the purple dice.  This was a pretty epic game, every time we thought for sure we were going to die we rolled just the right thing to barely survive.  We also played really well together as a team - often debating our moves but working it out in the end and moving on.

The next day Craig joined us for breakfast and one last game before we ventured off to do some sight seeing.  

Andy had recommended a metropark.  We started at the formal gardens.

From there we took a long drive and saw a covered bridge, a mill, and other cool things.

One last stop for some recommended local ice cream before we hit the road home.   

A great trip.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


These are all of the podcasts in my feed - many are dead - in bold are must listen to when they come out and are set to auto download
1 Across The Board - A Board Game Podcast
2 Adventure Awaits! The Passport Game Studios Podcast
3 All Us Geeks
4 Ameritrashed
5 Ask Me Another
6 Blue Peg, Pink Peg
7 Board Everyday Podcast
8 Board Game Blitz
9 Board Gamers Anonymous
10 Board Games Insider
11 Board Games with Panda
12 Board Gaming Ramblings
13 Board Gaming This Week
14 BoardGameHour
15 Boardgames To Go
16 Boards and Swords | Board Games / Card Games / Roleplaying Games
17 Boards Alive Podcast
18 BondCast : James Bond 007 News and Commentary
19 Botch Games Podcast
20 Breaking Into Board Games
21 Cardboard Carnage
22 Cardboard Architects
23 Cardboard Insanity
24 CARDBOARD! with Rich Sommer
25 ChitChat Gaming Panorama Podcast
26 Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio
27 Coffee With Kenobi: Star Wars Discussion, Analysis, and Rhetoric
28 Creators Cast
29 cubelove podcast
30 Dice Tower News
31 Dice Tower: Showdown!
32 Ding and Dent
33 Docking Bay 94 The Board Game Reviewers Podcast
34 Dog and Thimble Podcast
35 Draft Mechanic
36 Drive Thru Review Audio
37 DTV Audio
38 Dukes of Dice
39 Fandible Actual Play Podcast
40 Film Sack
41 Flip the Table
42 Freakonomics Radio
43 Game Designers of North Carolina Podcast
44 Game Night Guys HTTP://
45 Gamers With Wives
46 Games People Play Podcast
47 Gaming Rules!
48 Geek History Lesson
49 GeekDayton Podcast
50 Great Big Table
51 Greatway Games
52 Heavy Cardboard
53 How To Play Podcast » Podcast
54 Inverse Genius Podcast - Inverse Genius
55 Kicking the Habit
56 Last Place Podcast
57 Low Player Count
58 Ludology
59 Meeple Leaf Reviews
60 Meeple Syrup Show
61 Megahaulin' A Star Realms Podcast
62 Mile High Game Guys: Boardgaming Podcast
63 Ministry of Board Games's Podcast
64 Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast
66 NPC Cast: RPG, Tabletop, and Board Games.
67 On Board Games
68 On RPGs
69 Our Turn! Women on Gaming
70 Perfect Information
71 PhantomCast
72 Plaid Hat Podcast
73 Playing Rough
74 Podcastle – Shut Up and Sit Down
75 Punched and Played Podcast
76 Punching Cardboard
77 Rahdo Talks Through
78 Red Raven Games Podcast
79 Rolling Dice and Taking Names Gaming Podcast
80 Screen Issues!
81 Spaghetti And Meeples
82 Star WTF!?
83 Stuff You Should Know
84 The 20 Minutes of Filler Podcast
85 The Broken Meeple
86 The Cardboard Jungle
87 The Chalk Board Game Reviews Podcast
88 The Cubist
89 The Deep End Gaming Podcast
90 The Dice Men Cometh » Podcast Feed
91 The Dice Tower
92 The Dirtbags of Holding
93 The Dynamite Party Hour
94 The Five By
95 The Game Mechanics
96 The Game Pit
97 The Geek Allstars
98 The Glass Cannon Podcast
99 The Long View
100 The Married with Board Games Podcast
101 The Midnight Meeple
102 The Mildly Alarming Podcast
103 The Nerdist
104 The Party Gamecast featuring the Party Game Cast
105 The Podcast of Nonsensical Gamers
106 The Polyhedron Collider Cast
107 The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast
108 The Space Inside: A Podcast on Introversion
109 The Spiel
110 The State of Games
111 The Tabletop for Two Podcast
112 The Tattered Board
113 The What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing (mine)
114 The Who, What, Why? Game Design Podcast
115 This Week in Trek: A Star Trek Podcast
116 Topher and Nick's Pop Culture Picks
117 Vox Republica: Podcast of The Cardboard Republic
118 Welcome to Night Vale
119 What The Geek?! Podcast Productions
120 Whose Turn Is It Anyway?
121 Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast
122 Wooden Cubes and Iron Soliders

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Gloomy post

We decided after my parent's health started to fail they were no longer going to be doing much traveling and we needed to make the effort to go visit them.  My home town is about 10 hours drive per the computer but with meals and stops it is much longer and I really do not enjoy doing it on one day anymore so we do about 1/3 the first day after work and the rest so we can arrive in time for dinner.  We decided to take a few days off and make a long weekend trip to celebrate mother's day.

A few months before the trip a former classmate from my hometown died of a heart attack.  At the time of this writing I'm 48 - pretty young for that sort of thing.  He and is wife recently took the trip and commented on all of the same things I'd be excited to see - suddenly they'd take on a new light as I'd reflect on my old friend Dave.

A few weeks before the trip my father's health took a serious turn and he spent a week in the hospital.  In later discussions with my brother it was worse than I was told at the time otherwise I'd probably have returned at the time.  When we arrived he was puttering around the house quite frail on an oxygen leash pretty much unable to leave the house.  This combined with a continued decline from dementia is a unnerving.  My usual game of cribbage with him was out of the question.

My mother is doing generally OK but still - she fought off cancer a few years ago and it is always in our mind, will it return, when will it return?  Her mind is not as sharp as it was in the past from her own aging and possibly the meds from fighting the cancer, who knows.

A few days before the trip a different classmate from high school committed suicide after not being able to deal with his alcoholism.  We were not close after high school, but though mutual friends I had followed his career of mayor and later State Representative. I read about his excitement meeting President Obama on his 2nd run for office as he toured our mutual home town. The funeral was the weekend of our trip.  Several people had put out John's election signs as a symbol of support which reminded me as I drove around town. Several other mutual friends were posting on social media about John, the funeral, etc.

Death and gloom hung over this trip.

None the less I had fun, the weather was pleasant, the lake and views are great as always.  Three of my four siblings were able to our meals together and celebrate mother's day with us. We played several games together with my family and niece.  My  family and I spent a day with my mom touring the town and seeing some of our favorite spots.

As I head back home I do fear if this is the last time I may ever see my dad or even my mom, and wonder who is next, but feel great about the time we just had together.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Origins Parking

Another often asked question is where to park for Origins - here are the places I frequent.

A - East Lot off Nationwide at 4th.  This is also the hotel parking for the Red Roof near by.

B - South Garage - enter off Nationwide

C - Vine Street Garage - often full

D - hotel parking option usually $20-30 day

Standard Event Parking Rates*:
Vine Street Garage: $10.00
South Garage: $10.00
East Lot: $8.00
*Rates subject to change

Family Friendly Columbus for Origins

As Origins Game Fair approaches I'm often asked lots of questions about what to do.

See my link here for packing ideas convention packing

I often sent folks to Eric's food map Origins Eats

Most recently I was asked about family events.... Origins does have a family room. Family Room -

Many of the game suppliers have over sized games that are fun to play.

Outside of the Convention Center some of my favorites:

Columbus Art Museum 30 min walk

Zoo (30 min drive) - there is also a water park next door Zoombezi Bay but I've not personally been there to recommend it or not.

COSI Science Center  (25 min walk, but I'd drive)

Franklin Park Conservatory (10 min drive)

Short North shopping district has Big FunToys - kind of a retro toy store. (7 min walk)

16-bitbar video games has a family day on Sunday the 18th from 12-5 and Dirty Frank's hot dogs next door is perfect  (30 min walk)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Granite Games Summit 2017

Granite Games Summit 2017 or G2S as it has been called is a regional board game focused convention hosting it's first multi day event in Nashua, NH - about an hour drive north of Boston, the first week of April. This weekend was home to 300-350 of like minded friends and strangers who became friends.

Until recently, I usually only attended regional cons within a short drive of my home in Ohio.  This one most closely resembled Buckeye Game Fest in Columbus in September.  The one notable difference at BGF has a gaming lending library run by the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society (CABS), who also provides the library at Origins.  The G2S library is mostly tables of games owned by local attendees with games they are willing to share above the table and their private collection, often items they are selling or trading, below.  I played several games by borrowing them this way since I flew with a small carry on bag didn't bring much with me.

I started flying to conventions when I started going to Board Game Geek con in November.  Changes in my usual convention plans this year, G2S's proximity to my birthday and the people I knew would be there, were all good excuses to fly to this one.  

Ballroom 1 of 2

My flights were a little messed up due so I wasn't able to connect in Boston with my friend Ruth, pod-caster on the 5 by, but we did connect with fellow pod-casters Eric and Bill, and soon to be new friends Molly and Mike to play our planned epic "every expansion super blinged out" game of Eclipse.  

We knew this was going to be long, but oh boy!  With breaks and changing into our fancy dress up, one of the con themes for Friday night, we were at that table for 6-7 hours.  Eric and I took a break for fancy dress Coconuts during the break.

We explored, expanded, I was exploited and then I finally exterminated the center core aliens and took the win.  It was pretty epic. The photo below is the first time Eric and I faced off in combat.  I'm the pink space thingies.

Even though it was pretty late my buddies asked me to teach Terraforming Mars, a game they know I love.  This was Eric, Dan C. Matt and myself.  I lost, and we ended up in bed at 230 or so.

Since Eric and I are on a podcast together and interact a lot on the internet, so we decided on splitting a room, which is great because you get to know someone better that way.  I don't sleep much and he got up with me and we tried out a new tile game Castles of Caledale, I brought per his request, during breakfast.  I found Dan C. and we planned to meet later.  I played a quick game of Harlem Globetrotters from 1971 w Moderator Chris, with what appeared to be plans for their show later that day.  

By then crowds started to appear and we played a favorite, Suburbia, with Ryan, Dan N., Matt and I.  I came in dead last.  Dan C. And I had played Glory to Rome before, this was our rematch with his wife joining us.  He was very close to a win when I snatched it from him.

I helped Dan C. and his wife learn Clank! But had to leave to watch the last live recording of a Flip the Table podcast.  As a long time fan of the show, and as I frequently interacted with them on social media I was excited to meet them all in person, and see the show.  It was as fun as expected.  I left with a box of donuts, a game from the vault an 10,000 points!

Eric was desperate for some "real" food.  We grabbed Kimberly, a con organizer and local, to take us someplace good.  We had a great meal, and laughs, and heard some challenges of running a con.  Kimberly admitted there were challenges with the venue and our quick and carry food options were not like they expected.  They were better than nothing, which is the case at many small cons I go to.

Returning re energized we got in a game of Worlds Fair 1893.  Then, Ryan and his wife Erin returned with Millennium Blades to teach me for my request. This was quite a handful as tired as I was, but Ryan is a good teacher and we had a good group to play with.

Eric brought some pod-casting recording equipment and several of us joining in.  Jessica and I from the show saw each other a lot but never actually got in a game, so I agreed to one more.  We scanned the library and saw Yspahan.  Our mutual friend speaks of it, um... often and I've been meaning to play so she taught Eric and I.  It was pretty fun.

I got to bed a little earlier, saw Mike and Eric at breakfast and we played HUE as my real last game of the con. I said more goodbyes and headed to the airport.

So should you go to G2S next year? 

If you are regional? Definitely, with out a doubt! It is well organized, in a nice space, great library, local food options, reasonable costs and amazing people attending.

Am I?  Probably not, unless I want to take off more time before and after to rest.  I'm typing this on the return flight and I'm pretty beat - this is a hard one for me to get to.  I played 12 games (now one was 6+ and one was 2.5 hrs), but had so much fun with those people.  I have regional cons, in fact I skipped one to go to this one.  That one is much smaller and pales by comparison.  Now take it for granite (you know I couldn't get thru this without a pun), I say this about lots of cons and end up going back...

So in general - look to your regional cons they are a blast - don't feel like you are missing out by not attending the "big cons".  No, this doesn't have the craziness of a Gen Con but it does have all the fun of Origins or BGG.

So, congratulations to the G2S organizers for their first successful multiple day event.  Thanks everyone​ for making me feel invited, special and fun to be with. 

Games Played:

  • Coconuts
  • The Harlem Globetrotters Game
  • Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
  • World's Fair 1893
  • HUE
  • Yspahan
  • Millennium Blades
  • Suburbia
  • Castles of Caladale
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Eclipse
  • Glory to Rome

Some Friends: