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 media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Games While Driving - 2nd Gear!

I recently posted about a couple of great podcasts that helped me get my arms around all of these games.  Now they are joining forces as part of the same podcasting network.  Along with that, there are other podcasts in The Dice Tower network that are excellent, if a little more geeky!

Find the news here on BoardGameGeek:

It's Your Move!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Games While Driving to Work!

At the bottom of my web page I list other resources for family and casual gaming.  In general, those are focused on casual and family gaming.  The “Gaming Resources” listed below are places that helped me get my arms around this hobby when I was getting back into gaming.  They have a lot to offer the casual and family gamer too.  A couple of them are podcasts, and are easy to listen to on your daily commute.

There are a lot of game related podcasts out there; I listen to a half dozen pretty regularly.  Many of them are for the hobbyist.  Those provide an in-depth look at one particular game, or take an analytical look at the mechanisms of a game.  A lot of effort goes into them, and the quality of the works shines through.  Personally, I find them informative and entertaining – but then I am a geek about this stuff.

Two of the resources listed at the bottom are podcasts that are very good for those who aren’t as heavily into gaming as a hobby: the family and casual gamer.  They are the two podcasts I first listened to, and they helped me get my bearings.  The two that might be helpful in picking a game to purchase that your family and friends would enjoy are The Dice Tower and On Board Games.

The Dice Tower is hosted by Tom Vasel and Eric Summerer.  Tom and Eric talk about the games they have played recently, news and upcoming events.  There is a lot of playful banter between the two, which keeps it light.  In some sense, this podcast is the gaming equivalent of a magazine show, with several guests and contributors.  Because they receive review copies of games from publishers, they play a lot of games, and they hit on most of them.  Their reviews, which are really more like commentaries, are short overviews of these games.  While they talk about what they like and dislike in a game, it doesn’t get so technical – so geeky – that it would be a mystery to the non-hobbyist.  Their signature feature is also the best feature for the casual gamer: the Top 10 list.  Every other episode Tom and Eric put together a Top 10 list of games in some grouping.  It might be base on a theme (Top 10 economic games), or a publisher (Top 10 games by Fantasy Flight), or some other breakout.  Regardless, the list sets apart the better games to look at for in the vast sea of boardgames and card games out there in the world.

On Board Games is hosted by Scott Nicolson, Erik Dewey and Donald Dennis.  Again, the banter between these three makes it fun to listen to, but this podcast is very different from The Dice Tower.  Game reviews are more structured, and slightly more in-depth, but still short and to the point.  The signature feature is a roundtable discussion, where the three hosts discuss a game related topic.  The topic might be about good practices when teaching a new game.  It could be a discussion on how to deal with people texting during games, or the issue of food at the gaming table.  They discussion is rarely about any one game, but rather how to make the gaming experience better.  This podcast tends to be a bit more focused, and therefore shorter than others.  This is the podcast that consistently leaves me wanting more.

My drive to work is about fifteen minutes.  Generally, I can finish either one of these podcasts in the half hour round trip for the day.  They relax me, and having listened to them for a while now, feel like old friends.  I think you owe it to yourself to listen to at least one episode of each of these podcasts.  They will certainly better your experiences at the gaming table.

It’s Your Move!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Pocket Fishermen – Hey! That’s My Fish

My version - Mayfair standard edition (Photo by Neven Rihtar)
Okay, this game won’t actually fit in your pocket.  My version probably could if you repackaged it and, well, had somewhat larger pockets.  (The box was sized to be visible on the shelf, which makes it larger than really needed.)  That’s not the point though.  The fact is that this is one of those games that every family should own.  I will review why I believe in this game, the one big downfall it has, and the three different versions (as of today’s announcement).

Hey! That’s My Fish (H!TMF) is a very simple game to learn.  In reality, it is an abstract game, with perfect information.  As such, it would provide a great stepping stone for games such as chess.  Chess has three primary strategic elements: time (who has the initiative), space (including freedom to move) and material (who has the most valuable set of pieces on the board).  H!TMF has two of those three elements, time and space.  Since everyone has the same number of pieces that all behave the same way, material is not an issue.  The theme really isn’t present, but does make for a cute presentation.

Photo by Chris Norwood
How does it play?  Sixty hexagonal tiles are laid out in rows, making the “board”. Each player takes a turn initially placing his or her penguins on tiles.  After penguins are placed, players take turns moving their penguins in one of the six directions through the sides.  After a penguin has moved, the owning player collects the penguin’s start tile from the board, leaving a hole.  Penguins can move as far as they want until they either run into another penguin or a hole, at which point they stop.  The game is over when no one has a legal move left.  Each tile has one to three fish on it, and each player counts the fish on the tiles they collected.  The player with the most fish wins.

H!TMF  is simple enough for your average 5 year-old to play.  However, it's a GREAT game for any age! Your little one will understand what they are doing, but the strategy is a bit deeper.  When I really love it is when the kids leave the table and the gloves can come off.  About halfway through the first adult game, most people have The Great Light come on, and they realize this is pretty vicious as everyone tries to cut their opponents off and strand them in a corner.  A vicious little abstract that plays up to four people in 20 minutes – I’m all over that!

It is this simple game play and cute figures that leads to the one real issue H!TMF  has.  My 13 year-old sees this and thinks of it as just a “kid’s game”.  Most people do not see it that way, but I can see how a young adult might want to separate themselves from it.  So, while it is a great family game, and I can’t say that enough, not everyone in the family will rave over it.  Though that’s probably true for any game.

The game publishing house Fantasy Flight Games just announced that they have obtained the rights to H!TMF, and will publish their version later this year.  It has previously been published by Mayfair games in two different versions: the standard version and a “deluxe” version with cute plastic figurines.  All of the versions play the same way, but the artwork is a little different.  Fantasy Flight puts a lot of effort into game components, so this will undoubtedly be a great edition to own.

H!TMF Deluxe (Promotional image from Mayfair Games)

2011 Version from Fantasy Flight (Promotional image by Fantasy Flight)
Fantasy Flight also announced that H!TMF apps will be available for both iPhones and Android phones.  The Android app will be $4.99, and it would be natural to guess the iPhone app will be priced similarly.  That’s an app I probably will skip, primarily because I am cheap, and chess and Words for Friends is the limit of my mobile gaming.

The board version though, is a must own for me.  Here are the vital statistics:

Hey! That’s My Fish
                Ages:                     8 and up (perhaps as low as 5)
                Time:                     20 minutes
                Players:                 2-4  

 It’s your Move!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Twitter account!

I case you haven't figured it out, I am new to the whole Twitter thing.  Somehow I managed to get @Zwischenzug2011 suspended in the first 30 minutes of life, and my understanding is that it could be a long time before that is resolved.  (The fact that you can "re-open" a trouble ticket that is still "in process" isn't reassuring.)  So, I have a new place to find us on Twitter:


Thanks for your patience!

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zwischenzug is now on Twitter!

We can be found at @Zwischenzug2011.  Thanks for reading!

It's Your Move!

Monday, April 4, 2011

CBS Sunday Morning Spot on Boardgames

This is a spot shown yesterday (3 Apr 2011) on CBS Sunday Morning.  Not all of the information is accurate, but it's good to see that board games are getting respectful attention!

Click here.