I celebrated my 30th birthday in style this year, with an all-day party combining my favourite things in life – running, gaming, and eating. I went for a 32 km run in the morning, competed in a Geekathlon in the afternoon, and hosted a dinner party in the evening with loads of yummy vegan food.
Early in the morning, I went for a 30+ km run. Amazingly, I managed to convince 4 friends to join me. Dan and Katie ran the first 12 km, Owen ran 25, and Dustin ran 32 km with me out to Burnaby Lake and back.
Later in the afternoon, I invited my 12 nerdiest friends to compete in a Geekathlon, inspired by Hirtle’s 30th birthday. The round robin tested everyone’s geek-fu, pitting pools of 4 players against each other in bouts of crokinole, Jetpack Joyride (ipad), and Bomberman (xbox). The final event was a 6-player showdown of King of Tokyo with the top 2 players from each pool competing in the A-Final, and the bottom two in the B-Final.
Katie got a bonus point for the geekiest outfit.
Continue reading Geekathlon 3.0 Birthday Party
King of Tokyo (BGG)
King of Tokyo is an awesome game. It’s easy to learn, quick to play, loads of fun, and has enough depth to make you want to play repeatedly. Up to 6 players can battle their super-monsters for control of Tokyo. It’s a quick game with lots of tense moments as your monster flirts with death and collects power-ups. I highly recommend this one for everyone’s game collection.
I was an early-bird backer of Urbanization on Kickstarter. I loved the game idea – an urban planning board game – but it’s been a real disappointment. Some of the game play works well – the increasing price of land as it becomes scarce, the food system, and the population growth factors. But there are two aspects that feel awkward – giving the losing player a free point every round (which I would just remove) and the work order/factory system (which is fundamentally broken). I’ve played twice now, and neither time was very fun.
Race for the Galaxy (BGG)
There’s a lot to like about Race for the Galaxy. The theme works well, it has deep strategy, and the mechanics are clever but simple. You spend your turns settling planets, developing buildings, producing resources, and collecting points. My one complaint is how isolated the players are. There’s a lot to keep track with your own cards, so you often ignore what’s going on around you, which makes the game seem less of a race and more of a bunch of disconnected journeys. If you want to try this game out, you can play against a computer AI – after 5 tries I’ve yet to win a game.
You can find all of my board game ratings on Board Game Geek.
A Game of Thrones is one of my new favourite board games. I played two quick games last night, and I’m hooked. (And by quick, I mean they only lasted 90 minutes instead of the expected 3 hours.)
Now this game isn’t for everyone, you have to enjoy deep strategy games and knowing the difference between a Lannister and Stark definitely adds to the experience. Once you figure out all the rules (warning: there’s a lot), the game play is lots of fun.
A Game of Thrones reminds me of Diplomacy (especially being able to support other players in battle), but doesn’t suffer from the grinding paralysis that every game of Diplomacy I’ve played devolves into. All of the games elements – alliances, secret orders, leaders with special powers, warfare, and power and influence tracks – really complement each other well and create a complex, but extremely fun experience.
I did well in both games we played, as House Greyjoy in a 4-player match and Baratheon in a 3-player game. Ultimately I lost to rapidly advancing opponents from Baratheon and Stark. I can’t wait to play again in a full 6-player match, and see what House Tyrell and Martell have to offer.
The only game play problems we ran into was it was too easy for Baratheon to take over neutral territories in the 3-player game. And in both games, the uneven distribution of Muster and Supply cards screwed us over (all mustering in the first game and none in the second).
I’m addicted to kickstarter. I’ve funded three projects in the past few days. Check them out.
Two of the projects have 6 days left to get funding – until December 7, 2011. The Windowfarms project has already reached its minimum, but are promising not to offshore production if they can reach $200,000, and they’re 3/4 of the way there. The Bicycle Portraits project has only 2/3 of its funding minimum, so they need more support to make their project a reality. The third project, Order of Professional Sorcerers (OOPS), is a board game that is currently in beta testing. They still have 40 days to reach their funding goal.
Windowfarms – Vertical Food Gardens
Continue reading Kickstarter – Windowfarms, Bicycle Portraits, and OOPS
Windowfarms let you grow fresh vegetables at home by taking advantage of natural light and climate control indoors. The roots are bathed in nutrients from the sea, preventing food plants from getting root bound (as they do in traditional soil filled containers). You get healthier roots, and fresher, more nutritious vegetables without dirt in small spaces.