Monday, March 31, 2008

Memoir '44 and Me

Last week was my birthday, and I got to make some birthday game purchases. One of these was Memoir '44 from Days of Wonder. This WW2 battle game was released in 2004 to commemorate the D -Day landings in 1944. The game is comes with two sets of high-quality plastic figures of the American and German armies, including tanks, artillery and battlefield obstacles such as razor wire and tank traps. Each player commands his troops using cards to decide what units can move and fight and uses special dice to determine the outcome of the battle. Sound familiar? The underlying game system, called the Command and Colors system, is also used in the game Commands and Colors: Ancients, Battlecry and Battlelore. While not having all the rules and troop types of the Ancients game, Memoir provides a very solid tactical experience. Plus it plays out in about 30 to 60 minutes, making it very playable for busy adults who may not have the six or seven hours it might take to play games like Axis and Allies. Memoir '44 is definitely going to see a lot of play on my table.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Having nothing to say and a list of 5 games.

Welcome to my new blog! Those of you familiar with my wife, Jenn, and the Team Zieser blog, are used to a high quality of writing and a depth of expression that Jenn is soooo incredibly gifted with.

Well, don't get your hopes up for that here.

I know that we've been through a lot this past year or two (you know, the cancer, the adoption and all), but I can't express these things better than Jenn has. One thing that I hope to get across in this blog is that I am not going to allow my disease or lack thereof dominate our lives. I've been told to not take any time for granted and live life to the fullest. Sometimes, that means making momentous decisions or undertaking great tasks or missions. Sometimes that also means allowing yourself to muck about with silly, inconsequential things. Things that won't change the world, won't save humanity from whatever it needs to be saved from at the moment or make you a million dollars. Things you enjoy just for the sheer heck of it.

That's where I come in. So, here we go with the first peek into the mundane.

Steve's Top 5 Boardgames You May Have Not Heard Of

1. Carcassonne: Probably the game with the oddest name, yet. Also often referred to as a “gateway game”, in that once the non-hobby gamer tries it they will be hooked and start playing more non-mainstream games. This is a simple tile laying game, where players take turns placing tiles to create a map on the game table of cities, roadways and other features. This game is very flexible in that it can be played in a very friendly cooperative style or in a very cutthroat, competitive style. It is a very good game right out of the box, and has numerous expansions sets that can be used to add more tiles and new rules wrinkles to those who might be interested. There are also a number of different games in the Carcassonne “family” which are equally as addictive, including “Ark of the Covenant”, a Biblically themed variant. This is a game that I will play at any time. Seriously.

2. Blokus: Of the 5 games, this is the only one you’re likely to find at a Toys R Us. Players take turns in this puzzle game laying down colorful, plastic, “Tetris” style pieces until no more can be fitted on the board. A good logic game that hooks you pretty quickly, especially if you are a fairly visual person in the first place.

3. Commands and Colors: Ancients: Aside from Lord of the Rings, this is probably the most “gamer” style game in the list. Looking somewhat like Stratego on steroids, this game simulates key battles from the 1st and 2nd Punic Wars, fought between Ancient Rome and Carthage. Each player takes turns playing cards that allow them to move the different kinds of troops on the playing board, represented by a set of stylish wooden blocks. Battles are determined with special dice and the game play is quick and decisive. Given the number of different troop types (each with different abilities), this game can be a little intimidating at first to learn, but after a few turns it becomes very elegant and straightforward. Definitely a must for History Channel fans out there. Plus it has elephants! Another of the games that I can be talked into playing at any time. Very cool.

4. Ticket to Ride: Another “gateway” game, Ticket to Ride is a colorful game themed around railroads. Players take turns placing little plastic train cars on a map of the United States. Players gain points by placing trains and completing routes between the various cities. A very fast paced and fun game that really impresses you with the quality of the game pieces and components.

5. Lord of the Rings: Probably the most perfect combination of theme and game on this list. The players each represent a Hobbit on the quest to destroy the One Ring. The players cooperate with one another to travel across Middle Earth and must make hard choices to avoid the corrupting influence of Sauron. The art is all by John Howe, who did a lot of the conceptual art for the films, so the game is visually very stimulating. This is a game that you have to play a few times before you “get it”, as the number of steps in a player’s turn can be a little bewildering to a raw newbie. Probably one of the most challenging games I’ve played, yet the most rewarding when you win. 2008

Blogger Templates by 2008