Tag Archive: Board Game



Well, folks, I’ve pretty much come to the end of my personal selection of point-and-click-adventures.  As such, I figured I’d tell you about a game I played last weekend called Power Grid by Rio Grande Games.

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Power Grid is a strategy game that focuses on resource management and zone control.  It’s basically like if you merged Risk and Monopoly and removed all the dice rolls.  The game proceeds in 5 phases.

  1. First phase the turn order is determined based on the current player setups (Person with the most cities controlled goes first.  Ties are resolved by who has the most expensive power plant and then who has the most money).
  2. Second phase is power-plant auctioning.  Basically the players take turns picking a power plant out of a 4 plant line-up and putting it up for everyone to bid on with their funds (called electro in the game).  The winner of the auction pays the price of their bid and takes the plant into their lineup.  Auctions continue until each player has either purchased a plant, or passed on their turn to auction a plant.
  3. Third phase is the resource phase.  Starting with the last person’s turn, each player has the opportunity to buy one of four resources (Coal, Oil, Trash, and Radioactive Material).  As more of the resources are purchased, the price for each unit of resource increases to simulate scarcity.  Resources are used to power your plants which in turn can provide power to a number of cities as indicated on the plant card (For instance, you might have a plant that produces 2 units of power on 2 units of oil).
  4. Fourth phase is where players have an opportunity to purchase a contract with a city to power it.  The price of buying this contract is based on how far it is from your starting city, and how many other players already have a share of the city (The more existing contracts in a city, the more expensive it is to buy an additional one).
  5. The final stage is bureaucracy, where each player can choose to consume resources in order to power cities and collect money based on the number of cities powered.

At this point you go back to the first phase.  The game is further divided into three steps, with each step changing how many shares can be bought in a city, how the auctions are handled, and how many resources are replenished to the market each turn.

For a more in-depth look at the game, check out this Dice Tower review:

I really enjoy games like this.  It’s mostly strategy with a little bit of luck involved.  It’s a fairly long game to play, with four people it took just under 2 1/2 hours to play (3 1/2 if you count wrangling the children and eating some donuts).

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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One of those simple yet fun games of my childhood was Crossfire by Milton Bradly.

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Crossfire is an exercise in simplicity. You’ve got two players, each with a little ramp gun that fires small ball bearings. There are two pucks, which themselves are just little plastic cowls around larger ball bearings. The object of the game is to shoot the pucks and push them into the goal at your opponents side of the board. If you can push both pucks into the goal, you win.

The only issue is that the game hinges on several dozen little tiny ball bearings, which are extremely easy to lose, especially for kids who aren’t very vigilant at making sure they’re put into a baggy or something after every time you play it.

I’m reasonably sure our old crossfire set has about 4 of the bearings left. Luckily, if one wanted to resurrect the game, a bag of 100 11/32″ ball bearings only runs about $10.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


This week I bring you a rather rare, old game: Dinosaurs of the Lost World by Avalon Hill.

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Recently TacoMa’am found a complete copy of this game at the thrift store for a dollar; which was a pretty good find since all the used copies I’ve seen online run around $100. So, yeah, a good deal on that game. Anyway, the game was originally published in 1987 by Avalon hill. Eventually the company went under and it’s assets were bought by Hasboro and added to their subsidiary company: Wizards of the Coast. One of the games that was lost in that transition (either on purpose or otherwise) was Dinosaurs of the Lost World. Which is a shame, because the game is actually rather fun. Continue reading


Another game that TacoMa’am got for us recently was a pocket size version of the game Mr. Jack by Asmodee.

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In this 2-player game, the players take on the role of Jack the Ripper, and Sherlock. The goal of the game is for Jack to either escape, or for Sherlock to capture him. Pretty simple premise, no?

This is a game that’s kinda hard to describe in words, so bear with me. Basically the game consists of 9 tiles which are placed randomly in a 3×3 grid. Each of the tiles has a face in the center which corresponds to one of 9 possible aliases for Jack. The cards have streets and buildings on them which represent the line of site. Around the 3×3 board are 3 tokens which represent Sherlock, Watson, …and their Dog. At the beginning of the game Jack pulls an identity card which sets his alias for that game. Each round consists of randomly tossing 4 tokens into the air, and then playing the moves off those tokens to rearrange the grid and the investigator tokens. The idea is that by using the line of site on the board, the investigator is trying to narrow down who he can see so that eventually only jack remains. Jack, on the other hand, is trying to delay the investigation long enough to get away.

Specifically, at the end of each round the line of site is considered and the investigator asks Jack “Can I see you?” If jack says yes, only the tiles within the line of sight are left face up and the others turned face down, and if no, then the tiles within the line of sight are turned over. Also, if Jack can’t be seen for the round, he collects an hourglass token. If Jack can collect 6 hourglass tokens before the investigator narrows the search (only 1 board left face up). Then he escapes. If he fails to collect 6 hourglasses before there is only one tile left face up, then the investigation succeeds.

In playing this game with TacoMa’am I found I enjoyed the quick play and random setup of the game, as well as the strategic element of token and tile rearrangement. However, from our experience with the game, it appears that the game is stacked against Jack. Jack’s victory conditions are much more confining than those for the inspector, making Jack’s side of play much less forgiving to small mistakes while the inspector can make a few more mistakes and still retain a good chance of winning. More testing will need to be done with the game, but we’ve already discussed possibly reducing the number of hourglasses to make the odds of winning more even. Even so, it’s really fun and can be played in 15-20 minutes, making it a great game when all you have time for is a quickie.

Err… yeah.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


This week’s game is the medieval town building game Carcassonne, by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede.

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Carcassonne is a game that’s simple to learn, but can involve complex strategy to be good at. I very much enjoy that kind of game.

Basically it’s a game of completions. At the beginning of every turn you grab a play tile and have to fit it into your ever expanding map. This tile can be used to expand upon roads, fields, and towns, or complete roads and towns in order to score points. After you play a tile, you can play one of your citizens on that tile as one of four professions, which determines how they can be used to score points. Thieves sit on roads and score points based on the length of the road once it’s completed. Knights sit in towns and score points on the size of the town and number of banners in it when the town is completed by fully enclosing it in a wall. Monks are placed in monasteries and score points when the monastery is completely surrounded by other tiles. And finally farmers are placed on fields and score points at the end of the game by the number of adjacent completed towns.

Now, things get more complicated, tactical, when you realize that only 1 piece is allowed in any given road, town, or field, however, by strategically placing tiles, it’s possible to usurp a town or road before it’s completed by joining existing roads and towns together, thus putting the owner of that road or town into contention. Similarly, by placing difficult tiles on structures your opponents are trying to complete to score points, you can deny them scoring opportunities.

TacoMa’am picked us up a copy of Carcassonne recently and we had the pleasure of playing it over the weekend. It was a good buy and I’m anxious to play it with a cohort of people so as to make things more chaotic.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


This week’s game is the RPG-Lite board game Runebound, by Fantasy Flight Games.

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Runebound will feel very familiar to anyone who’s ever played either a miniatures game or a pen and paper RPG. The game is actually a rather straight forward hack-and-slash style miniature game. Each player has their hero, whom can be equipped with items as well as having a few allies to assist. Everyone takes turns moving their character around the board while hunting down encounters. Encounters include easy (green), medium (yellow), hard (blue), and game end (red). When you engage one of these encounters, you usually end up battling a monster. Each monster and character have three scores: melee, ranged, and magic. In any battle, you must attack using one of these scores and defend using the other two. Winning an encounter usually results in some experience, money, and occasionally an item.

By using experience and items you can beef up your hero to tackle higher encounters. The game is won by satisfying the victory conditions, which change and are expanded by the huge number of expansions, but typically involve killing high-end dragon lords to collect their tokens.

Runebound is a great way to scratch that P&P itch a fellow is likely to get between sessions. And, with over 20 expansions, there’s a lot to do in the world of Runebound.  Also, the straight forward system makes Runebound a very good for creating house rules.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


This week’s game is a faster playing variation of Yahtzee: Cosmic Cows by Playroom Entertainment.

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The game is pretty simple, and based very closely on the Yahtzee rule-set.  The game is started with 9 cows in the center of the board.  The goal is to be the first to abduct 3 cows by moving them into the red area on your side of the board.  Cows are moved by rolling pairs or better, runs or 4 or 5, or high/low sums.  Basically, the rows marked with the pips 1-6 are moved 1 space for every die with a pair or more in a roll of 5 dice.  For example: a roll of 1 2 3 5 6 would not move any cows because there are no pairs, no runs, and the sum of all dice is in the middle.  On the other hand, a roll of 1 1 1 2 2, would move the cow in the 1 column 3 places and the cow in the 2 column 2 spaces.  Runs of 4 or 5 can move the cow in the “straight” column 2 or 3 spaces respectively.   Sums of below 8 or above 22 can move the cow in the chance column depending on how low or high the roll actually is.  Finally, the cow in the super beam column can be moved directly to your side if you roll a 5 of a kind of any value (a Yahtzee).

That’s pretty much it.  The game plays in about 10 minutes, so it’s a nice, quick, game when you want to play something but don’t have a lot of time.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


Over the last week TacoMa’am and I treated ourselves to a staycation.  For those uninitiated, a staycation is just time taken off work to stay home and either laze around or get things done (we did both… and then Tron, Vash, and I got sick with a flu/cold thing… fun times).  Anyway, one of the items on our to-do list for the week was to do a little early spring cleaning.  This amounted to cleaning out several areas of the house and recycling/donating a bunch of clutter and junk that we (I) collected.  Along with that, after dumping a load of stuff off at the donation center, we decided to visit the attached thrift store to do a little browsing.  It was a fairly fruitful trip as we nabbed about a dozen books for Tron and Vash, a few puzzles, some neat tumbler glasses, and a board game.  This board game is a childhood favorite that hasn’t changed much over the years: Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders).

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Chutes and ladders is a pretty straight forward game. You roll a 6 sided die (or spin a wheel with six numbers on it in more modern versions) and then advance your token that number of steps. If you land on a space that is also the bottom of a ladder, you advance forward up the board, if you land on a space that’s the top of a slide, you lose progress and go back down the board. Whoever gets to the end of the board first is the winner. It’s basically just a game of random progression where the winner is all up to luck, as many of these early childhood games tend to be.

What’s really interesting is that the game is actually based on one that dates back to ancient India and is suspected as being a teaching tool to instruct children in the ways of Karma and Kama.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

Monday’s Game #90: Castle Panic


This past weekend I had the pleasure of playing a new game I got for Christmas: Castle Panic by Fireside Games.

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Castle Panic is a cooperative board game that pits the players against an onslaught of orcs, goblins, trolls, and the odd boss monster. The play is very straight forward, and extremely fun. Basically, monsters are started in each of six registers, each of which is separated into 4 rings. Each round a player draws up a hand of cards, trades cards with the other players, and then attacks the monsters. After this, the monsters get to advance toward your castle and more monster tokens are drawn. The goal is to get through all 49 monster tokens, defeat all the monsters, and still have at least one of your six starting towers standing once it’s all over.

TacoMa’am and I had the opportunity to play this with my sister-in-law and bother-in-law yesterday. Everyone rather enjoyed the simple yet fast-paced nature of the game. For us, the game really came down to the line, but we won with one tower left. I also got the title of slay-master for that game *strut*.

If you want to see a more in-depth look at Castle Panic, I highly recommend you watch the TableTop episode featuring it.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?


If you were born any time in the last 50 years or so, it’s likely that you’ve played, or at least heard of, Hi Ho! Cherry-O by Milton Bradly.

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As Tron gets older we’ve been looking up all those games from our early years to see if there’s anything that he can do. Hi Ho Cherry-O is one of the games we dredged up from memory. It’s one of those games that is entirely random but has an aim different than most games in that it’s really a learning tool more than it is an actual game. In the same way that Candy Land is a tool to help with color recognition and some logical development, Hi Ho Cherry-O is about learning what numbers actually represent and how they can be used.

Some say that trying to play board games with Tron is us trying to indoctrinate him as a geek. I haven’t really been able to find a counter-argument to that.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?