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Thinking Out Loud

Sunday, May 14, 2006

1 New Job = 15+ New Games!!

The last two weeks have been crazy. I've only gotten one single game in since the Geekway, because other than that slim opening, my schedule has been swamped. (That game was Hammer of the Scots, which I won for the first time in 6 playings). I started my new job on Tuesday, so the week leading up to that was pretty hectic.

The new job is in a fairly professional setting. After spending the last 3+ years as a freelancer working from home, I had literally 1 dress shirt and 1 pair of slacks "just in case" for emergencies. So I had to splurge and do some serious clothes shopping. I can't stand business attire, so thankfully this is just below true "business dress" -- slacks, a shirt with buttons or a polo, and dress shoes. I can live with that.

The downside of the new job has been the dramatic shift to my schedule. No more getting to bed somewhere between midnight and 3 AM. No more snoozing until 9 or 10 AM. No more kibitzing all day long via email or chat with my friends. And a serious damper on my previously wide open gaming schedule.

But that makes it sound bad. It ain't. The job is with a great company, a great group of people, and will offer more security and stability than freelancing in the wobbly game market did. Once I get into my routine, it should also afford the flexibility and resources to travel a bit more and get to some Cons a bit further away from the Midwest, and possibly fly out to meet with prospective publishers if any of my game ideas generate interest. Plus, I just had to splurge on games (for the first time in a long time) as a present to myself for finding a good job.

So, over the last two weeks, I've gone a bit crazy.

I finally picked up my own copy of Manila, which was long overdue. I think it's a very accessible game with a lot of pull, and great bits. A very nice blend of push your luck and betting. And then I picked up Martin Wallace's La Strada as an Age of Steam "lite" game focused almost strictly on the path development (with AoS then adding the money management and goods shipping).

I also snagged Dos Rios, another game by Franz-Benno Delonge... I really enjoy Manila, and Fjords and Goldbrau look interesting (though I have not played either). Granted, he's the same person that designed Big City... But after reading up on Dos Rios at BGG, and now reading the rules, I'm really excited about the gameplay possibilities. Though it may end up being a bit more analytical than the otherwise light rules would seem to intend.

I was *this* close to grabbing Tower of Babel at the time -- I've only played 4 or 5 times, but keep wanting to play again. It's one of the games I wish I would have jumped in at the Geekway. While nearly element feels "borrowed" from another Knizia game, they mesh together surprisingly well, and I love the dynamic that offers which are passed over earn VPs. So I waited a whole 3 days before returning to the same game store and picking it up then.

I also grabbed Cosmic Cows and Snorta Snorta, mostly on the strength of the animal bits. They may be able to double as toys for Benjamin, while possibly introducing a few game concepts or ideas -- like die rolling, number matching and moving the cows along in Cosmic Cows, or one of every toddler's favorite past-times -- making animal noises -- in Snorta Snorta.

But why stop there? I also grabbed a few Frenzy decks, the ill-fated FFG real-time game. I dig FightBall and other similar games, and it was $4 for two decks, so what's the harm, right? The one shop was selling out their stock of Rocketman, the red-headed stepchild to WizKids runaway smash success Pirates of the Spanish Main... so I bought 6 boosters (each containing 2 ships, 1 terrain card, 1 resource card and 1 special card) for a total of $10. The bits look neat enough, and it might be a nice diversion some time.

Other knee-jerk reaction purchases were Yahtzee Deluxe Poker and Head-to-Head Poker (buy 1 get 1 free at Kay-B, meaning both games for a total of $5), Asmodee's Wooly Bully (in an attempt to find a simpler Carcassonne/tile-laying game the wife will try) and Maureen Hiron's Zippy dice game (a recognition/calculation game of rolling dice and spotting combos - like mathematical Set).

Wait, that's not all. Yeah, I'm a sick, sick man. I also grabbed the 30th Anniversary collector's edition of Tunnels & Trolls, an old-school RPG by Flying Buffalo (makers of Nuclear War). It's neat to see all the stuff they packed in the collector tin, and even though I'll probably never play it, it's got value via nostalgia.

Oh, and I ordered Crusader Rex, Ra and Gulo Gulo from the FLGS, hoping to have them in by the end of May. Toss in DragonQuest VIII for the PS2 -- one of the few game-related activities my wife enjoys sharing with me is console RPG gaming -- and it's been a pretty massive haul of gaming.

Unfortunately, with the radical shifts to my sleeping/waking schedule and the new demands of my job, I've got a feeling these games won't be seeing much table time for a while!


  • What is the deal with Tunnels and Trolls? Its very much looked down on in some (RPG) circles and I've never worked out why. Any idea?

    By Blogger Matthew Wills, at 5:02 PM  

  • Hey Matthew, I've got a few ideas on why I think T&T is usually overlooked... First, the production quality (art, layout in particular) usually weren't on par with its contemporaries. Second, it seems at first glance to be little more than a watered down D&D clone/wannabe (a hasty generalization to be sure). Third, the format and structure didn't provide the same sort of supplements, modules and resources that the more mainstream RPGs provided.

    I have to admit, despite my heavy RPG background (and collection of 60+ different RPG systems) I have never actually played T&T -- just had it as a collection piece. But I love reading through RPG books (especially character creation/advancement and introductory sessions or adventures) like most folks read novels.

    By Blogger Jason Little, at 6:09 AM  

  • Congratulations on the job! Best of luck in making the transition in your lifestyle.

    By Blogger Gerald McD, at 2:57 PM  

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