zwischenzug (ZVI-shen-tsoog) — noun

A chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move, first interpolates another move, changing the situation to the player's advantage (such as gaining material or avoiding what would otherwise be a strong continuation for the opponent).

Showing posts with label annual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label annual. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2013

Goals for 2013

Image by Columbia Pictures
I am not a big one for New Year's resolutions.  They seem to be strong assertions that often are just abandoned.  I personally believe that leaves a lot of people feeling bad about themselves.  I do believe in goals, however.  I have one for this year, and its a big one.  Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man size big.  It will probably be my goal for several years.  And it's about gaming.

As of today, 28 January 2013. my family's current game collection stands at a little more than 250 games.  (Say, 10% more-ish, but who's counting?)  The past two years have seen a lot of game acquisition.  In 2011, the number of games grew, well, significantly.  The total number didn't grow as much in 2012, largely because I traded away games I knew would never get played for new titles.  Looking at the situation, and specifically looking at the shelves filling up, I realized that this year has to be about something different.  So I've slowed down.  (Okay, I guess getting three games since New Years Day fails to be a shining example of restraint, but I'm a work in progress.)  I realized that I have games that I have had for years and never played.

So this year, or rather starting this year, I am going to play through the unplayed games in my collection.  Not all of them will get played; I really don't feel the need to play games aimed at preschoolers.  However, that still leaves a stack of games to be played, and I am determined to get through them.  In order to do that, I am going to focus on not getting new games.

King of Tokyo is rapidly becoming a favorite - and could
probably use a Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man!
What does this mean for you, the reader?  Does that mean that I will run out of games to write about?  The answer to that is "no", not for a while.  You see, that leaves me with about 50 games to try.  My gaming group meets 11 times a year (not in December), so I have a solid four years of games to review.  Of course, as I discover the dogs I will get rid of them, either by trading or selling, and  acquire new games.  And so it goes. 

Of course, this won't go smoothly.  In February, we are playing economic games, prompted by a request for Acquire.  I will try to squeeze in a new game, but since Acquire is on of my all-time favorites...  I can't say I will give up all of my favorites for four years while I get through the unplayed titles.  In fact, since I hope to discover some new favorites, this might just get harder and harder to do.  We'll have to wait and see.

It's Your Move!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Our normal New Year's Eve, which normally sees a few games played, really didn't happen this year.  Instead, the year passed with great conversation.  I hope you got in a few more games than we did.

Over the holidays, our family received two games.  My son received 7 Wonders, which I already have.  While he is only 15, he is starting to collect the games he plans to take to college.  He actually has a pretty good collection started, and will take quite a few great games with him.

I received The Castles of Burgundy, which is a little more complex than the majority of my games.  We may play that in the gaming group in March, but probably not sooner than that.  It supposedly excels as just a two-player game, so that I may get to play it sooner.

Hope everyone has a great year. 

It's Your Move!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Yearly Summary 2012

Last year I posted a sort of "year in the life" post that summarized my gaming.  Now, with the theme from Rent running through my brain, I will do that again for 2012.

The busiest year in gaming gave way to the slowest year.  I stopped this blog in February, moving over to the Father Geek website to blog.  What a great group of gentlemen, but I found that I was missing half my audience.  The guys at Father Geek are focused on family gaming, but I am trying to reach the casual gamer also.  As a result, and also probably because I was one of many writers, I really didn't write much at all.

Another factor in writing: this year was a slow year for actually playing games, both favorites and new games.   It was a very busy year outside of gaming.  Over the course of the year I have played 21 different titles for a total of 59 plays to date.  I am sure I will play a few more times this year.  It will most likely be the same titles, so the count will end up around 21/62.  Of the 21 titles I played, seven were new titles.  All of these numbers are about a third of last year's numbers. 

I did slow down my game acquisition this year - just 47 new games.  One group of games I received were from our neighbors cleaning out their closet.  Quite a few of my new games were acquired in trades, as I realized that those four hour marathon games, no matter how good, just weren't going to be played.  Neither were those extremely complicated games, as they generally don't appeal to my gaming group.  My group falls somewhere between "casual gamers" and "hard-core". 

Best Acquisition of the Year:  Werewolves of Miller's Hollow.  I will review this game at some point, since this is my favorite group game.  All but one of the plays of this game were on my son's 8th Grade trip to Washington DC.  In fact, all of those plays were in five hours on the way home!

Most Played Game of the Year:  Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. Same story.  See how limited my game playing was?

Our gaming group celebrated four years of getting together.  However, we also had our first missed months.  After 3 1/2 years of meeting, we missed roughly four of the next six, for both good and bad reasons.  We really started pulling back together in the fall, after school started back up.

Since there really wasn't a group hit of the year, so I will go with:

Game Group Flop of the Year:  Small World.  After exactly one play, the gaming group suggested I trade it away.  There was no interest in trying it again.  I haven't reviewed it.  I didn't see the magic, but there are so many people who love the game that I figure I must be missing it.  Oh, and I did trade it away in a multi-game trade which netted me Notre Dame and YINSH.

A close runner up to Small World would be Warrior Knights, which is a complicated marathon game that I will keep.  It's a medieval multi-player wargame that is just the kind of thing I love!  I think we played our one and only play of that in the group, too.  But maybe I can sneak it in sometime this coming summer...

What's really remarkable this year are my favorite games that I didn't play, most notably Acquire.  That will certainly be played early in the year in 2013.

Finally, just like last year, I will list my Nickles and Dimes: games played 5 and 10 times respectively.  (Once more I won't count the 100+ games of chess I played online this year.)


Plays / Game
10       Werewolves of Miller's Hollow


Plays / Game
7         Hive
6         Bananagrams
5         Chess (over the board)

Both Pandemic and Carcassonne are likely games to hit the table in the last few days of the year, so I may have a few more nickles yet. 

Here's hoping that 2013 is a better year of gaming - for all of us!

It's Your Move!

Related posts and links:
Yearly Summary 2011 
In the Company of Teen Werewolves (Father Geek)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gaming with Santa: Christmas Games

Everyone loves to give Santa a break on Christmas Eve, leaving cookies, milk, and perhaps a few carrots for the reindeer.  What if Santa needed a REAL break, taking a little bit of time to relax and play a game.  Let's say he stops buy Christmas night after delivering presents and a much needed nap.  What would you play with him?  Somehow, I think, wargames are out.  Games with a lot of negotiation, like Settlers of Catan, are probably out too...

"Santa, you can't just give the sheep away, you have to trade for it."

"Yes, I know you're the Santa Claus.  Still, in this game, it's the law."

"Yes, Santa, I know that even the Law of Gravity doesn't apply to you.  Hey, have you ever played Pandemic?"

"No, I don't suppose you ever get sick, either..."  [Sigh]

Finding good Christmas themed games to play is a little more difficult than giving games at Christmas.  Don't worry, I will find a few for you.

Promotional image by USAopoly
There are games that have a Christmas theme that don't work.  Many of them have movie or TV tie-ins, which is always a cautionary flag.  There are multiple games for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, and Nightmare Before Christmas.   In fact, there is a version of Monopoly for each of these movies, and at least Monopoly is a decent game as I have mentioned before, particularly if you play with the only good house rule: the game is over when the first player is eliminated.

There are better games, though, if you are willing to think a little outside the box, so to speak.  These may not have a Christmas theme per se, but certainly would be Chrismas-y enough to pass muster for most people.

Starting with the least thematic, I would suggest that a quick game to be played on the holiday would be Hey! That's my Fish.  This game has the additional benefit of being easily playable by little ones, and that's important since people on Christmas Day, and Santa himself, are so focused on the children.  Players are penguins trying to grab as many fish as the can as the iceberg they are on slowly sinks, piece by piece, into the water.  I won't go into details, (I have a full review available,) but suffice it to say this is a great game.  It's a little more cutthroat when its just adults, which may not be quite as giving on Christmas, but its so fun!  Penguins implies the South Pole, but since I think that's Santa's summer home, it's okay.  For Christmas, it does offer:

  • Snow! (well, ice)
An older version of the game in play.  Newer versions have better figurines.  Image by Chris Norwood

Promotional Image
Next, I would offer up Snow Tails, which is a dog sled racing game.  This is a game for up to five players, and is recommended by the publisher for ages 10 and up.  This game gets great reviews, and is sitting on my gaming table waiting for the Big Day.  Compared to Hey! That's My Fish, this game will be a little less, well, dog eat dog, since there really isn't as much direct interaction.  It takes a little longer at 45 minutes.  For Christmas, it offers:
  • Snow
  • Snow sleds
  • Evergreen trees
  • Puppies! (well, they might be full-grown)
Promotional Image

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is another in the Ticket to Ride franchise.  This game is noted for being just a little more confrontational, since there are a few key train routes to control, but I suspect that's going to depend on your style of play.  At our house, no flavor of Ticket to Ride is ever terribly confrontational.  Of course, since this part of the franchise, you know it's going to be good!  This also plays in 45 minutes, but Days of Wonder suggests players as young as 8 years old, so it's another great option for the kids.  But is it Christmas?  We have:

Finally, I do have one more game that definitely is Christmas: 12 Days, now being published by Gamesmith, LLC.  This is a game funded through Kickstarter, and it should be in the mail to me today.  I have read the rules online, and I am sure that it will be a good game.  Take that to the bank - I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  This is a light and quick game, recommended for kids 8 and up, and playing in about 15 minutes.  This will fill the time that is too short for the above games.  I don't know when this will become more generally available, but probably not until after Christmas, so it may have to wait until next year.

It's Your Move!


Related Posts:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Image by Chris Norwood
Well, the disappointment of Christmas gaming gave way to starting the New Year right.  I played exactly ONE game in December prior to December 31st, but a good friend of ours came over for New Year's Eve and we broke out Pandemic and it's expansion, Pandemic: On the Brink.  This expansion is really several expansions in one, so I will need to play all of the different variants before I review it.  We were able to play standard Pandemic with new roles, and got in one game with the Bio-terrorist role, played against the other players by my son. He won, but in a sense the good guys have to beat two opponents, the Bio-terrorist and,  as usual, the game.  We were beaten more by the game than by the bad guy.  In the end, we won one game out of four, which isn't bad for us.  That makes a total of 42 games of Pandemic for me; this is just one of my favorite games.

And the new petri dishes are awesome!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yearly Summary 2011

Now that Christmas is done, many of us become introspective.  The new year begs us to look over the old, and learn what we can.  So, what can I do but review my life as a gamer...

This past year has been the busiest year I have had from a gaming perspective.  Not only did I start this blog, but I have grown my collection of games more this year than ever before, adding an embarrassing 65 games and expansions in just 2011.  (I like to think of this as my own economic "stimulus package"!)  Most of these were trades, Ebay purchases or thrift store finds, so it really isn't as bad as it sounds.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Best Acquisition of the Year:  7 Wonders.  Given the number of plays and the excellent play, this is the best buy I made this year.  Star Trek: Fleet Captains still needs a few plays for me to really have a feel for it.  Overall, though, the best game related purchase of the year was the shelves my wife bought for me; I really needed those!

Since I started tracking my plays in 2008, this has been the second busiest year for game plays (just behind 2009).  I played 44 different titles this year a total of 180 games played.  A few more games will probably be played New Year's Eve.  Of these 44 titles, 26 of them were games I had never played before this year.  It didn't feel like I had as much time to play this year when compared to 2009, a year when I was playing a lot on lunch breaks.  However, between the chess club at school and Boy Scout outings, I have played more games with kids this year. 

Most Played Game of the Year:  Hive. This game is a huge hit at Scout outings, and that accounts for most of my plays of Hive.  There are now four copies amongst all of the members of our troop!  This is a great game: really a "must own" game in my opinion.

Our gaming group expanded this year as it celebrated three years of getting together.  Tastes are broader, and it can get a little crazy trying to figure out who is playing what, but it has been great fun!

Game Group Hit of the Year:  Pandemic. This year alone, I played Pandemic 19 times, and all but one or two of those plays were with the gaming group.  This was easily the most played game for the group, and is another "must own" game.

Finally, I will list my Nickles and Dimes: games played 5 and 10 times respectively.  (I won't count the 100+ games of chess I played online this year.)  Interestingly enough, most of them are games actually purchased this year, too.


Plays /Game
13No Thanks!


Plays/ Game
8    7 Wonders
6Bang! The Bullet!
6 Hey, That's My Fish!