Day 259: Tokaido


I’ve had Tokaido on my Games Wish List for a while and I was able to play it tonight with my gaming group. The game is worthy of its accolades; the artwork is gorgeous and gameplay smooth and relaxing. After we finished, I asked for another round next week.

The photo above was my view at tonight’s table. It’s a beautiful setup, but there’s something the picture can’t capture: the “soundtrack” to the game that one of our group had playing through his phone. The music meshed perfectly with Tokaido’s calm and mellow theme and it was a nice change of pace for a Wednesday night.

Day 243: Coins for Games

Soon to be growing soon: my humble games library.

Soon to be growing soon: my humble games library.

As I wrote back on Day 13 of this year, I keep my spare change in a jar. When it gets filled up, I take it to my local Coinstar and convert it into an Amazon credit. Coinstar normally charges about nine percent to count your coins, but it waives this fee if you opt to take the Amazon credit.

I usually cash out about $60 from the jar, so after I visit Coinstar I’ll be working my way through my Games Wish List. It’s nice not having a bunch of coins lying around; I’d much rather have a bunch of board games lying around.

Day 95: Game Night Continued


Pandemic and Ticket to Ride

I’m considering changing my 2015 Goals list to include “Play 10 New Games.” I’ve bought and played four new games in two months, so I’m nearly halfway there and I have more than enough on my Amazon Wish List to make this a reality. While my stepdaughter was back for spring break, she really got into Pandemic, which happens to be my favorite game of the new bunch. My wife is slowly getting into it as well and we managed to win on Heroic Level this morning.

Running a close second is Ticket to Ride, which is my favorite for a family experience. Everybody has a great time playing this and, as I’ve read in several articles, it is a great “gateway” game to bring in new players to the hobby. I love that my niece and nephew enjoyed it so much that they immediately wanted to play after their first game.

The other two games I bought were fun as well: Tsuro and Castle Panic. Tsuro is quick and light; easy to learn and a perfect “warm-up” game. It was fun with my youngest niece, who learned quickly and nearly won in her one attempt. As for Castle Panic, I believe my nephew and I were the only ones who took to this one. When we played with his sister he was our designated sound-effects guy, eagerly providing the soundtrack for each goblin, orc, and troll that we slayed.

I’ve loved every second of our game nights. It’s much more satisfying bonding over board games than video games or television shows. Even the good-humored trash talk has been great; I’ve learned that my wife is quite skilled at the art, as she regularly reminds me who owns the longest win streak (7 straight) in our Ticket to Ride matches. Hint: it’s not me.

Day 13: Spare Change


That’s my spare change jar pictured above, which is actually a mug. I bought it years ago in a thrift store not because I was looking for a spare change jar, but because I enjoy San Miguel beer. I doubt it was ever used for a serving of San Miguel beer; it’s ugly, has a crack in the middle, and, seriously, could you imagine drinking out of that thing?

Over the years, though, it’s helped me do a lot of shopping.

At the end of every day, I empty my pockets and toss the loose change into my San Mig mug. When the mug is full, it’s off to my local Coinstar, where I pour the coins into the machine and a few minutes later an Amazon credit equal to my change is printed on a slip of paper. What’s great is that the normal Coinstar fee for counting coins is waived (usually around 9 percent), so I don’t lose anything for the service. Since I’m a regular Amazon shopper and a Prime member, I’m not paying for something I don’t normally use and shipping is free on most of my items.

The mug is usually good for about $60 in credit, so new books, Blu-rays, or whatever I need at the time are usually in hand a few days later. Perhaps one day I’ll replace my mug, but so far it’s treated me to quite a few mini-shopping-sprees. I can’t imagine getting rid of it … unless there’s a great deal on spare change mugs on Amazon.