Day 260: I Tried, But …

X-Wing Miniatures Game Core Set

X-Wing Miniatures Game Core Set

Confession: as a self-proclaimed Star Wars geek, I don’t have much of a collection. I have a Yoda figurine, an Admiral Ackbar action figure, a few books, some old trading cards, and a few knickknacks. Nothing too exciting. I LOVE the original trilogy, but I didn’t save any of my childhood toys, then later in life I didn’t feel the need to collect Star Wars stuff. The memories of the films were sufficient.

And even though Force Friday offered a lot of cool things to buy, I still had no urge to buy Star Wars toys, clothing, food, or what not. I’ve resisted the urge, even though I was getting more excited about the movie every day.

My excitement finally got the better of me.

I took the plunge and bought the X-Wing Miniatures Game Core Set. I can’t remember the last time I bought a miniatures game (if ever) and a Star Wars-themed game would be the one, of course. I told myself that it serves the dual purpose of owning a few cool Star Wars miniatures and satisfying my urge to game.

The core set comes with the X-Wing and two Tie Fighters shown above, which are beautiful. But they’re not just aesthetically pleasing, they’re functional as well: using the game’s cards, dice, and range-finding system, you and a friend can create dogfights on your tabletop.

The spaceships only take up a small portion of the living room table and I’m trying not to remind myself that there’s plenty of room for the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, and all of the other iconic ships. I do remind myself, however, that each addition isn’t cheap.

So, I tried to resist the Star Wars merchandising empire, but like Yoda said … well, at least I know this game will be more fun than Episode I.

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 213: Love Letter


We’re in the midst of game night and Love Letter was a success. For a game with only handful of cards, there’s a surprising amount of strategy involved.

It’s a fun game of deduction that moves quickly. My favorite part? Anytime someone played the Prince card, aka Brad Pitt. We joked that the player obviously had the Angelina Jolie card in hand.

Ah, game night. I love it.

Day 211: Sushi Go!

Sushi Go (image from

Sushi Go (image from

Seeing all of the tweets from Gen Con has got me ready for game night here at the house. I may run a solo game of Pandemic before bed, but I wish there was a Sushi Go! single-player variant. My wife and I gave it a quick run-through to learn the basics and I loved it.

The graphics on the cards are uber-cute, from the salmon nigiri to the dessert puddings. I love the card-drafting mechanism; it’s easy to learn and the interaction with other players is always a good thing in my book.

I’ve read this elsewhere, but I’ll say it again here: I believe this physical interaction is what has been fueling the board game renaissance. Even though we have more ways now to communicate with each other, from Facebook to Snapchat to text messaging to the next technological breakthrough, we’ve lost the daily interactions that were a bigger part of our lives just 10 (5?) years ago.

I’m guilty of it as anyone. I always seem to be quicker to respond to a text or an e-mail. In a world of multi-tasking, it’s just easier to do it this way.

But board games require you to be in the moment. It’s not as much fun if you’re playing a game while someone’s on their smartphone or laptop. So the electronics stay off the table while we deal cards, roll dice, and move meeples around.

We’ll be running a bigger game of Sushi Go! soon, but just based on our little preview, I know it’ll be one of our go-to games on game night. It’ll be fun to disconnect from the electronics while connecting with our friends and families.

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.

Day 88: Game Night

imageWe introduced my niece and nephew to three new games today: Tsuro, Castle Panic, and Ticket to Ride. My wife and I were impressed with how quickly they picked up each game. We started the session with several games of Tsuro. It was the perfect way to get things rolling, since it only takes one or two turns to learn how to play and the game itself only lasts 10-15 minutes.

Next up was everyone’s favorite of the night, Ticket to Ride, which won over both my niece and nephew just as it had won over me, my wife, and stepdaughter. After the first game, everyone immediately wanted to play again, which is all you need to know to understand its popularity. It’s a fantastic family game and deserves all of its praise and accolades.

Finally, Castle Panic was a hoot, as my nephew was in charge of the sound effects for slaying each goblin, orc, and troll. He was the biggest fan of this one, more so than my niece and wife, and he quickly grasped the rules and strategy. We cheered when the Barbarian was picked up and won both games we played. High fives were given and promises were made to play again.

Day 87: Castle Panic


Yesterday I talked about Tsuro, one of two board games that I bought recently. The other was Castle Panic, a cooperative game that’s on the easy side of the learning scale, with a fun theme; I mean, who doesn’t like to slay trolls, goblins, and orcs? You and your partners are defending the castle against wave after wave of monsters. Each monster has 1-3 hit points and you use the cards to take away those points. Other challenges face you, including a Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark rolling boulder that crushes everything in its path, plagues that thin out your ranks, Orc Lords leading the charge on the castle, and many more.

Over the past few nights, I’ve managed to go 3-1 in solo play. It’s definitely on the easier side of the difficulty scale, which is exactly what I wanted as I was stocking up on games for my niece and nephew’s visit. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do. I’ve already added the Wizard’s Tower expansion to my Amazon wish list.

Here’s the always entertaining Wil Wheaton and his Tabletop episode on Castle Panic:


Day 86: Tsuro


My wife’s a natural at Tsuro.

In anticipation of a visit from my niece and nephew, I bought two new games, one of them being the light and easy Tsuro. My family and I had fun breaking in the game the other night. It’s easy to learn and my wife’s a natural, winning the majority of games during our brief session.

Each player receives three tiles and is required to play one. Their dragon token is then moved along one of the paths on the tile. As each tile is played, paths are joined and the token can be taken on long or short journeys around the board. Fly off the board, however, and you’re out. Last dragon on the board is the winner.

Tsuro only takes about 15-20 minutes play, so it’s perfect for non-gamers and newbies or a nice filler between longer-running games. Along with Ticket to Ride, Zombie Dice, and Pandemic, I’m adding Tsuro to my rotation for International Tabletop Day on April 11th.

Day 81: Quality Time


I had a little work to do today, then had a relaxing dinner with my family. We went to our favorite Salvadoran restaurant for pupusas, horchata, and conversation, which inevitably turned to how much we loved yesterday‘s amazing hand rolls at Kazu Nori. Yes, we love to talk about food while we’re eating.

After our meal, it was a few games of Zombie Dice and Ticket to Ride for more laughs and relaxation. I finally managed to win a game of Ticket to Ride; my stepdaughter’s a natural and she’s been crushing me and my wife since we started playing.

Food, conversation, and games. It’s what makes up my favorite Sunday Funday.