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 news-notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news-notes. Show all posts

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Better Late Than Never

Wow.  This has been a pretty different year.  Lots of things in my personal life have worked against my gaming, which is why I haven't posted as much.  Here's a quick recap.

So far, I am on pace with last year.  In other words, I am having another bad year in terms of number of games played.  At this point in time last year, I had played 28 games of twelve different titles.  This year, I have played 27 games of 14 different titles - though seven of those games are a special case as you will see below.  It's amazing to me that I have dropped off that much.

I have received a lot of fun by learning new games.  I have found that I learn a new game, and I am much better able to teach a new game, by playing the game through by myself with several players.  It's a sort of "multiplayer solitaire", but it's been good.  Of course, that's also kind of sad; I am getting the most gaming enjoyment from playing a game by myself.  Ugh.

The good news is that the gaming group is managing to meet every month.  The group was very hit an miss last year.  Right now, we are hitting on all cylinders, and it looks like there isn't anything to get in the way this year.  That's great, because my gaming outside of the group is down.

We also finally got the chess club started at the school.  With only a month left, there was some question as to whether or not it was worth doing, but the kids really wanted it.  We are just going to play, and not give much formal instruction.  I played seven of the kids at once this past Wednesday, which is what I was referring to above.  So instruction will be on an individual basis, as I point things out to the kids as they play. 

We are going to try something different this year.  I play a lot of chess on, which is a great site.  (My number of plays doesn't include online chess games.)  They have an associated website for kids, on which parents and coaches can control the amount of contact their kids have.  I will be introducing it to the parents, so that the kids can continue to play over the summer with each other, and with me.  I will be able to comment and keep track of their progress.  If I can keep them playing, I will.

It's their move!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Catching Up

Well, it's been almost two months since I have posted to this blog. It's been busy around the house and at work, and I haven't gotten to play as much as I would like. That said, we did get in our February and March game group sessions. 

In February, we brought out an old favorite, Acquire, and had a blast playing it. That's one game that I will never get tired of. Since that game takes about 90 minutes, it took the majority of our time, and the only other game we were able to play was King of Tokyo.  So there's no game to review from the February session, we played good old favorites.

On St. Patrick's Day, we played medieval themed games. I actually have a game related to Ireland, Hibernia, which is also medieval. However, we didn't end up playing it. The Irish ambiance was limited to the food and drink: corned beef and cabbage with beer. We started the afternoon with Dominion, and played a couple rounds of that.  The new game was Rheinländer, an area control game like China, but Rheinländer is not quite as complicated and actually plays better with a larger number of people. We played with four players, although one of us had to leave before the game was over. We just left his pieces on the board as obstacles. Not only would the game have been better had the fourth person stayed, but it really could have used a fifth player.  

I need to catch up on reviews now; hopefully I can do that soon. In the meantime, you can check the existing reviews for some of the games we played over the last couple of months.  And you can take some time to play some great games.

It's Your Move!

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, February 9, 2012

Moving along...

Today I am glad to announce that I will be joining my voice to those gentlemen at Father Geek.  This move will allow me to participate in the larger discussion of family gaming, including games for smaller children.  Going forward, I will be posting exclusively there.  Thanks to all of my loyal readers, the steadfast few, as well as all of my family members that read this primarily out of a sense of duty or guilt.

Father Geek can be found at

It's Still Your Move!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The List

My son had some friends over for a couple of hours the other week.  There were three of them, and they struggled for something to do.  They ended up playing video games, but I got the sense from the conversation that it really didn’t work very well.  I asked him why they hadn’t tried board games, and he expressed reservations about his ability to teach the games he loves.  He does tend to like games that are fairly complicated, and hard to teach.

I took a few minutes over the weekend and looked at my collection database.  I keep my inventory on BoardGameGeek, and the data can be downloaded into an Excel file.  Someone had published an Excel tool for sorting and filtering a collection, which I have personalized.  Dumping my collection download into this tool lets me find games for the right setting.  In this case, I used the filtering to flag my collection for games that are good with at least two players (He normally has only one friend over at a time), play in an hour or less and are of low complexity.  I sprinkled in a few of his favorite games, flagging those I know he could teach, even if they don’t quite fit the criteria.  I then filtered on the flag I had set, and viola!  We have a set of game that might work.  I gave him the list, and suggested he go to the “game room” (the portion of the basement where my hobby lives) and look them over.  He could then mark the games he wants to learn.

[Okay, I realize that some of you can’t concentrate on reading this now due to that incredibly loud Nerd Alert that is going off in your head.  Yes, I have an Excel filtering tool for my collection.  Those of you that know me are either saying, “That’s awesome!” (Laundress Sue) or “Oh no – now I’ll have to explain why I let this guy near my kids!” Those of you who don’t know me are trying to see if I have another blog games and OCD. (What did you think this is?)  Breathe deeply.  Ready?]

My son was actually glad to have it.  Or he was buttering me up.  Not really sure, but I digress.  Another version of the list can be found here.  My question to you is, “How many of these games have you played?  Heard of?”  There is another world out there waiting to entertain you, and it doesn’t exist in Vegas or on riverboats.  It can be in your house, at your calling, ready to build friends, families and memories.

It’s Your Turn

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!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three Years of Gaming!

I think the schedule is back to normal – at least for the moment.  No, that’s not it either.  In reality, I have adjusted to a new “normal”, which will last until the end of October.   At that point, football will end and “normal” will be redefined again!

This past weekend saw the three year anniversary of our gaming groups formation.  When we started in September 2008, it was just three of us:  Geo (my wife’s brother who I am close to) and Spud (one of our neighbors).  Others were invited, but didn’t come but once or twice.  Tom, our next door neighbor, started coming shortly thereafter, though he tends to come only during certain parts of the year.  As time went on, the group has expanded and contracted, but Geo and your truly have made every session.  There was even a session where it was just the two of us.  Now there are four regulars, and a few that come when they can.  The time we had twelve was a little crazy, but my wife, Kay, played so that she could help teach.  She’s better at that than I am anyway!

So it was fitting that Geo spent the night after my son’s football game Saturday.  (They won and are 4-0!)  The rest of the family was out of town, so it was just the two of us.  After watching Notre Dame dismantle Michigan State’s running game, we had dinner, finally breaking out a few games when we probably should have been thinking about going to bed.

First, we played The Kingdoms of the Crusaders, which I received a review copy of, and which will get a full review shortly.

Next we played Risk: Star Wars; The Clone Wars Edition.  This game is out of print, but can easily be found on eBay for a reasonable price.  (I would love to have the Original Trilogy Edition, covering Episodes IV-VI, but those are going for over $75 USD).  This is game that I really enjoy, and certainly does feel like the movies.  With Risk being the core game, the rules are familiar to many, which allows everybody to start playing quickly.

Image by
Next, we played Triumvirate, a two player trick taking game.  We walked away from that figuring it needed more play.  However, since it was 2:00am, we decided we were too foggy to really grasp any strategy.

Our gaming session started at the normal 2:00pm on Sunday, with two games of 7 Wonders, then a game of Ticket to Ride.  We had new players at each game, so things took longer than usual.  Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun.  These fall sessions are just about the only gaming I get right now, so having the extra time before was great!

Over the next couple of weeks I will also be talking about a new adventure in gaming.  I am going to start painting my figurines for some games.  Specifically, we are coming up on that time of year that calls out for Fury of Dracula, and I need to paint my miniatures to add to the Awesomeness Factor.  I am one of those rare people that can paint as well with my feet as with my hands – which is to say I can’t paint at all!  Hopefully, when I am done they look as good as these:

Image by Jacob Stormo
I will post pictures of mine when I get that far, with tales of how I am doing.  For now,

It’s Your Move!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chess is now a Boy Scout Merit Badge

This just has to be announced.  Boy Scouts of America has just approved a merit badge for chess.  I guess I will add "merit badge councilor" to my titles "school chess coach" and "troop leader"!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

News and Notes

I had been told I needed an easier name to remember for this blog.  Yesterday I bought a new domain name, so now you can tell your friends and family to read!  I now have two addresses that work!

I also received review copies of four games from RightGames, a Russian game publisher looking to expand their markets.  I look forward to playing these and giving you my opinion!

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ticket to Ride at Target

At least in Ohio, Target has started carrying Ticket to Ride.  That means there are now five games that I can heartily recommend available for purchase there:
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Risk (Revised Edition)
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Qwirkle
  • Bananagrams
Any and all of these games would be great for friends and family!

It's Your Move!

Related Posts:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Funagain Games Free Shipping Starting at $70

Some people may have known this, but I just discovered it.  Funagain Games has lowered their free shipping threshold to $70.  This is an excellent online store with a great reputation.

Time to put together an order!

It's Your Move!

Related Posts:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

I have to apologize for only posting once this week. Work continues to be berry hectic; it's that time of year on my line of work.  I would have prepared for it my writing ahead last weekend, but we had guests in from out of town. Plus, it was the monthly session of our gaming group, and if I am going to choose between writing about games and playing games, playing will win every time.

Things ease up once the month is over.  I will write some this week, but thanks for your patience as things are a little thin.

In the meantime, play one for me.

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Better Selection at Barnes and Noble

I stopped in Barnes and Noble by work the other day and was impressed with the fact that their game selection is getting better.  On the shelf was a lot of the usual suspects, but also Dominion, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Qwirkle and some other very good games.  They may be worth a stop if you are looking for a game to buy!

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A blog format question -- Hello... Anybody?

I have been embedding links to previous posts. BGG game pages, and other places in the text of my blogs.  Some of the other blogs I read just put related links at the bottom of the post.  This might be less distracting for you, and fast for me, and I am thinking about changing my format to this.

I would love to hear peoples thoughts beforehand.  Thoughts?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Qwirkle wins Spiel des Jahres; 7 Wonders Kennerspiel!

Recently I wrote about the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres awards.  This is just a quick nod to the winners:

Spiel des Jahres: Qwirkle
I have to say I am really happy about this, although I didn't expect it.  I certainly believe this is a great game; I was pulling for this one.  I reviewed it a few weeks ago - check it out.

Promotional Image by Asmodee
Kennerspiel des Jahres: 7 Wonders
I expected this from the buzz this game created.  It was very hard to get a copy; my order took a couple of months to arrive.  I still need to get it to the table though!

Congratulations to the winners!

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interesting article in the Atlantic -- Settlers of Catan: How a German Board Game Went Mainstream - Scott Keyes - Entertainment - The Atlantic

A friend of mine posted this to Facebook, and I think it is fits in well here:

Settlers of Catan: How a German Board Game Went Mainstream - Scott Keyes - Entertainment - The Atlantic

I haven't reviewed Settlers of Catan; it's on my radar. For now, I will just say that it is not only a great game, but a definitive game, for families and friends.

It's Your Move

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Errata: How do you explain the hobby?

Once you play some of these games, and start explaining what you are doing, people wonder what you are talking about. I came across an interesting article that talks about one approach...

Errata: How do you explain the hobby?

It's Your Move!