Friday, September 20, 2019

Board games, the next level.

My cousin in LA recently bought the game Ticket to Ride and then subsequently got introduced to Settlers of Catan.  When he bought Ticket to Ride, I asked him why he hadn’t checked with me.  I told him I could have guided him otherwise. He said that he was advised to buy Ticket to Ride and somewhere I started thinking about board games and the board game revolution and when to introduce who to what game.  What would I have told him to buy if he would have asked me? And then the answer slapped me in the face.  Whenever I host game nights at my place, and we have a new player, we almost always, invariably start with Ticket to Ride.  OK.  Maybe I would have told him the same thing.  I don’t know.
And then I think about my own game revolution.  When did I become so knowledgeable about board games?  And then time to dig deep and think about all the board games and why I enjoy playing them.  If you are a serious gamer, then this blog may not be for you.  Heck, at that point, I should be reading your blog.  But anyway, if you want to be a gamer or want to expand your horizons about board games, stay put.  If you want to know about the different types of games out there, hang tight.  We are going to take the next step from the Monopoly and Scrabble.  We are taking the next step from the games we grew up with.
When I discuss the board games in this blog, and no I will not discuss all the games I have played, and yes, there will be another blog about board games, but I want to break it down to a few categories.  Fun. Competition/cooperation.  Aggression.  Number of players.  Card building.  Strategy and luck.  If you are a type B personality, I’ll tell you right now – you won’t enjoy the games that I do.  The games I enjoy are not low key.  Actually, all the games I prefer to play are aggressive, involve strategy and the more convoluted the strategy, the better.  I love a good brain workout.  How to make this board work for me?  And how to make it not work for my opponents?  And when to do so?
I’m going to start off with a cooperative game.  These are games where players play against the board.  So, you all win together or you all lose together.  You talk to each other and strategize to figure out the best way to defeat the board while every turn the board tries to defeat you all. The game I’m talking about is Pandemic. It’s fun, but it’s not aggressive and competitive.  Heck, you are all friends playing together beating a board.  For me, that’s OK.  Kinda. I would rather play against each other to the death, but the good point of this game is the strategic element.  You all still have to flex your brain muscle to defeat the board.  It’s a 2-4 player game and I think a type B personality may enjoy it, especially one trying to transition into becoming an A type personality.  Haha.  Sorry. Couldn’t resist that comment.  I’m big on winning.  I know it’s better to have a win-win philosophy in life, blah, blah, blah.  Moving on.
Ticket to Ride is a standard. Why else would they have so many expansions of this game?  It’s a lot of fun.  The competition/aggression in this game is mild to moderate.  Basically you are building tracks to get from one city to another and if your tracks block someone else’s, then the real fun begins. It’s super easy to learn.  It’s super family friendly and it’s really the first game to introduce people into the genre of the strategic games.  There is some luck depending on the shuffle of the cards, but it’s not bad.  Also, upto 5 players can play it and that’s great because most games stop with the 2-4 player range.  The friends I have introduced this game to, went home and purchased their own copy.  I wish I had this blog up way back when so they could have used my Amazon Associates link but anyway.  Great game to start off with.
Next up.  Settlers of Catan.   When I first started this game it was a full blown fight at my home.  Anger.  Loud arguments.  Well, what can I say?  My family is hugely competitive.  The aggression in this game is because you can help someone but then they can end up double crossing you.  Basically the strategy in this game is to build roads, settlements and cities.
 Points are scored for longest roads, largest army and for the settlements and cities you own.  The strategy elements in this game are plentiful. Yes, there are dice so there is the luck of the draw, but I have won this game by buying strategic locations and having certain resources.  If you are past Ticket to Ride, this is the next best thing.  And the board is variable so every time is a different board and a different strategy so it will take a while to get tired of this game.  The game is for upto 4 players after which you’ll need an extension to make it 4-6 players.  The game is 25 years old and is still one of the gold standards of the modern gamer.  If you don’t own this game, then stop now and click on the link(s) above because this is the next best thing since sliced bread.  Please note, I will be posting my top strategies for Catan in a future blog.
The last game I want to mention for this blog, for now, is Dominion.  It’s a card building game.  It involves strategy and some luck (based on the shuffle of the cards).  Up to 4 players can play it.  Lately, my group has been playing it a lot.  The manufacturer has over 10 expansions of this game and the variability is extremely high.  Depending on the cards you play with, a game can last for 30 minutes or even an hour.  And repeating the same game?
 Hmmm. Well, there’s a randomizer app. It’s going to take a while.  So, just enjoy the variability that this game comes with.  To start, I would just buy Dominion and then if you enjoy it a lot, move on to Intrigue and after that, you should qualify to write this blog.
There are so many other games to mention.  But I will say this.  Yesterday I went to a board game meet up.  This is with gamers, so yes I lost, but I played a game called Hadara.  It was my first time playing it although it’s a variant of 7 Wonders.  Let’s save talking about these games for a later post.   As I said, I will be blogging more about games.  This is a way for me to process what I like and why.
Before I go, a few years back, I even went to Geekway to the West, the gaming convention in St. Louis.  OMG.  What a rush.  I loved it.  But I digress.  I was introduced to Viticulture and Scythe.  At that time, Scythe was not released to the market yet.  I was lucky to play it then.  It was so much fun, but back to yesterday’s board game meet up.  There were a couple of tables playing Tapestry.  That game looks involved.  I looked it up on Amazon.  Yes, it’s $99.  Holy Kamoli. Yes, it’s for the serious gamer. So, no, there won’t be a review of that game here for a while, but I just thought I would mention the two games that caught my eye yesterday.
While I plan more game posts, do you have any questions for me about games that you play, extensions, expansions.  I will try my best to steer you in the right direction.  For now, please use my links to purchase any of the games, if you are interested.  I may get a few pennies for it, so I thank you in advance.
Stay tuned for more.  
Real quick:  I am moving this blog over to  That site is a work in progress, but please save the link.  At some point, when I have a way for you all to subscribe to my blogs there, I will eventually move this blog over.  Of course, I will keep you all posted.  Thank you for hanging in there with me.
PS.  I’m posting this blog on also!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Never give up!

I know people say this.  I've read a lot of memes about how persistence pays.  It's the plugging along and the plugging along and the plugging along and the one fine day, everything works concept.  It's easier said than done.  I don't want to hear, but I'm sure there are millions of stories of the trying and trying and trying and never making it to where they wanted.  I guess, we don't want to focus on that because then we'd most likely quit.  Heck.  I may not even start.
The thing with this concept is the continued focus even when things are going south.  When things are not staying in a consistent lull, but actually getting worse.  How does one not give up in those situations?  I don't have the answer, but I will talk about a couple of situations where I've heard this "never give up" philosophy work.
Situation 1.  I am following a podcast on Anchor and I haven't listened to a lot of their episodes, but there was one particular episode where the speaker talks about how he had only 7 listens to his podcast one day and he thought he was irrelevant.  He wanted to give up and then boom, it changed and a week later it just grew and it became 1000 people listening.  Wow.  I would like to know how that happens.  I would like a 100 people to listen for starters.  I'm digressing.  The point was that he stuck it through and if he would have quit when there was 7, he would have never known the potential.  It probably was really hard with just 7 listens especially when you are trying to make it big and when your livelihood depends on it.
The reason for this podcast is not situation 1.  It's situation 2 that really spoke to me.
Situation 2.  I'm in Antigua on the beach reading a book.  This a public beach and the vendors approach you to ask if you want to buy something or book a tour.  They are trying to do business and it's their livelihood.  There are guests who book and why not?  If you are not interested as a guest, you just say, "No thank you" and they move on.  Sometimes, they'll stop and ask how you are and what your plans are and if you want to book with them.  So, maybe the conversation takes a few more sentences than "Are you interested in a tour?" Reply with "No thank you".  I was on a beach chair reading a book and I didn't want to get interrupted but I didn't mind.  I understood the culture and it was fine.  A couple in the beach chair next to us, did not want to get interrupted and instead of "no thank you." They responded with "Do not talk to me.  I'm just trying to relax here and you come and talk to me."  And the vendor, I will not blame him said, "It's a public beach.  I can approach anyone I want." And this conversation went on and on with the guest getting more and more frustrated and security at the resort stepped in and finally the vendor moved on.  As he moved on, he said to himself and loudly, "Never Give up!  Never Give up!" and I wished I had a tour to book with him, but I didn't.  In face of contempt, the vendor, shook it off and held on to his mantra and went on.  I watched and thought about how often we shake away something bad and say to ourselves, "never give up."  For me, not too many times.  But maybe, I do need to do that more often.
So, before I go, Never Give Up dear friends.  Great things are coming your way.