Day 257: From the Tabletop

X-Wing Miniatures The Force Awakens Core Set

X-Wing Miniatures The Force Awakens Core Set (image from

News and notes from the world of board gaming …

7 Wonders Duel Release (source: Repos Production)

My favorite game of the moment is the highly regarded 7 Wonders. I love leading my city through the ages, constructing buildings and wonders while improving its science and technology and strengthening its military. In 23 days, the two-player version, 7 Wonders Duel, will be released. Click here for the countdown clock and an overview and trailer for the game.

#WhatDidYouPlayMondays (source: Geeky Goodies)

Chris Cormier of Geeky Goodies created the Twitter hashtag #WhatDidYouPlayMondays for gamers to tweet about the games they played during the previous week. It’s a terrific way to see what others in the Twitterverse are bringing to the tabletops, from quick fillers to all-day campaigns. And in the spirit of the hashtag, last week I played Samurai, Taluva, Lost Valley: The Yukon Gold Rush 1896, and Carcassone with my gaming group.

Force Friday (source:

It’s been nearly two weeks since Force Friday, the unofficial holiday of new Star Wars merchandise. Included among the action figures, light sabers, and BB-8s were a few games, most notably the X-Wing Miniatures Game The Force Awakens Core Set. Early reviews of the game were positive, but if you’re like me, reviews don’t matter since the words “Star Wars” seem to short circuit the part of my brain that controls my logic, reasoning, and impulse-buying powers. I predict the “shut up and take my money” refrain will be the most commonly uttered phrase when Star Wars mania hits the holiday shopping season.

Day 251: Organized


This weekend I had a chance to organize my 7 Wonders game: I was tired of sifting through the box whenever I needed to use the military tokens or coins. I went to the Dollar Tree to pick up some small plastic containers when I realized that I had the perfect thing back at home: my extra petri dishes that I bought for Pandemic!

I bought the plastic containers anyways and when I got home I found my petri dishes. They were the right size for each of the military points (1, 3, 5, and -1) and fit in the box. Unfortunately, the plastic containers were too big and they’ll be returned to the store soon.

However, in another bit of good fortune, I found myself at Daiso Japan in Rowland Heights on Monday night. The place reminds me of a hipper, cleaner, and BRIGHTER dollar store: most items are $1.50, with a few priced higher, and they’re all BRIGHTLY colored. In spite of the BRIGHTNESS factor (okay, I’ll stop yelling), my family and I enjoy shopping here. It’s tough not to walk out with at least one item (and it’s equally difficult to pass up the coffee and pastries at the nearby 85 Degrees).

I scored a small food container tin with a plastic top that fit perfectly in the space left over from my petri dishes. The OCD in me would love to have two half-sized containers for each of the 1 and 3 value coins, but I’m not complaining. Perhaps another trip to Daiso is in order.

Day 250: Movies and Games

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead

Since two of my favorite things are watching movies and playing games, here’s a short list of movies that pair well with games.

  1. Trading Places (the classic Eddie Murphy rags-to-Wall-Street comedy) and Pit (the classic card game that recreates the chaos of Wall Street trading).
  2. The Station Agent (a wonderful and underrated film starring a pre-Tyrion Lannister Peter Dinklage as a quiet fan of railroads and trains) and Ticket to Ride (my choice for the perfect gateway game; easy to learn and fun to play).
  3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (a documentary about a sushi master) and Sushi Go! (a sushi-themed card game with cute art and fast play).
  4. Clash of the Titans (the original movie featuring the guy from L.A. Law as Perseus) and 7 Wonders (a civilization game using a card-drafting mechanic that you can play in under an hour).
  5. Shaun of the Dead (hilarious zombie movie featuring Simon Pegg in his breakout role) and Zombie Dice (a light press-your-luck dice game that you can play while watching Shaun of the Dead).

Day 229: 7 Wonders

7 Wonders

7 Wonders

After a few rounds of solo play to get acquainted with the rules, I played 7 Wonders with my niece and nephew. We’d played plenty of rounds of  Sushi Go!, which turned out to be the perfect segue to 7 Wonders since both share a similar card-drafting mechanic (play one card from your hand, then pass the hand to your opponent).

7 Wonders is currently my favorite game. I love the civilization-building theme. Players build their cities and score victory points based on their city’s structures, treasury, military, science and technology, commerce, guilds, and their wonders (for example, Giza’s wonder is the pyramids). The cards represent the structures and players accumulate points based on the cards and other factors.

A player’s city is built up during three ages and each age consists of six turns. With how simple the game is and how quickly it can be played (30-45 minutes), there’s a surprising amount of depth here. Different strategies yield different results; for example, you can focus on strengthening your military or trying to improve your science and technology. Sometimes during an age, you can try to build your wonder while others build their civilian structures.

So far this year, my top three games are Pandemic, 7 Wonders, and Ticket to Ride. Each one takes less than an hour to play and are terrific for players of all levels. For newbies, I’d recommend Ticket to Ride first. But no collection would be complete without Pandemic or 7 Wonders.

Day 215: 7 Wonders (First Thoughts)

7 Wonders

7 Wonders

I wasn’t able to get 7 Wonders to the table on Game Night, but I’ve run a few games by myself to learn the rules and it seems like it could be a new favorite.

The theme is what caught my eye. I’m not the biggest history buff, but I like how the seven ancient cities are used here. Build your city through three ages and gain points through your architecture, military, or science.

I love the card drafting mechanism; it’s simple and lends itself well to new players. Just pick a card and play it. Of course, there are dozens of icons to decipher, but the basic turn-by-turn play is easy. There’s some depth, too, with different strategies yielding different amounts of Victory Points.

More thoughts soon.

Day 214: Game Night Success

Water Works

Water Works

Game Night was a success last night, as my stepdaughter and her friends enjoyed themselves at the house. My wife did an awesome job of cooking while I got things rolling with quick games of Sushi Go! and Love Letter. The kids (they’re not kids anymore, but they’ll always be the kids in our eyes) moved on to Zombie Dice while we cleaned up.

Next up was the always crowd-pleasing Pandemic. It’s been months since I played and I forgot some of the rules, but picked them up again after a brief refresher with the rule book. My wife and I then relaxed with our own game of Zombie Dice while the kids played a rowdy game of Cards Against Humanity.

While we didn’t get to play 7 Wonders, I’m still excited to play it and hopefully we can do another game night soon. If anything, it’ll give us a chance to use our clever water sign shown above.

Day 208: Christmas in July

7 Wonders and Sushi Go

7 Wonders and Sushi Go

Another family game night is coming up, so I decided to buy two new games: Sushi Go! and 7 Wonders. Both are card-drafting games and received excellent reviews from the board game blogs. I can’t wait to put them through the paces with family and friends.

Today the UPS guy delivered the Amazon package with the games one day ahead of schedule. It was exciting adding them to our modest-yet-growing games library. It was like Christmas in July.