Day 75: International Tabletop Day

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This year’s International Tabletop Day is Saturday, April 11. It’s a day for celebrating tabletop gaming. Woo hoo!

After years of all-things-poker as my default game night, I picked up a few of the more popular games and started gaming with my wife. We both enjoyed Ticket to Ride, while I loved Pandemic enough to play solo games on a near-nightly basis. I’m excited to play Ticket to Ride with my nephew and nieces; I think they’re old enough to get into the game now.

It’s been great rediscovering my love of board games. Almost two years ago I stopped by Game Haus Cafe for the first time and was blown away. I knew that there were a lot of great games out there, but seeing hundreds and hundreds of them on the shelves really opened my eyes to the scene.

I started reading posts on boardgamegeek.com, watching episodes of Tabletop on Geek & Sundry, and posting a few screen shots of my gaming on the Google+ Board Games community. It’s been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to celebrate tabletop gaming with the rest of the world on April 11. I have an idea of where I want to host an event and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can pull it off. If not, there’s always the comfort of my living room.

Day 69: Gaming Success

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

I’m not a hardcore gamer. I have friends who are, but outside of the increasingly rare session of poker, I don’t play video games or board games or card games or dice games.

But the times they are a-changin’.

Confession: I have a like-new copy of Carcassone sitting in storage somewhere. Or maybe I passed it along to my stepdaughter; I don’t remember. What I do remember is that when I bought it 10+ years ago, I gave it a trial run or two and it didn’t stick. Back then my idea of game night was hours-long sessions of poker: limit and no-limit Hold Em, Omaha, Stud, Draw, Razz, Badugi, and other variations. You name it, my buddies and I played it into the wee hours of the morning.

Forward to today: I don’t play much poker, but now I’m wish-listing, buying, and playing games like there’s no tomorrow. The latest and greatest addition to my collection was Ticket to Ride. Back in January I bought Pandemic and have played it dozens of times, but only as a solo game. My wife played it with me once, but wasn’t really into it. No problemo, since it played so well with one player. But when I bought Ticket to Ride last week, I was a bit nervous. What if my wife didn’t like it? The only solo variants I found online didn’t sound as good, since it’s not a cooperative game in which roles could be shared by one player.

Thankfully, my wife enjoyed Ticket to Ride. Success! We played three games over the weekend and had a blast. I had read many reviews (and watched the TTR Tabletop episode, of course) about how elegant and simple the game was to learn, and it’s true. It only took a few turns to get the hang of gameplay and after each game we discussed strategies and other nuances. Not only has it been a lot of fun, but it’s also quality time with the missus: a win-win, obviously.

Day 63: Ticket To Ride

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Ticket To Ride

 

This arrived tonight: Ticket to Ride! Back in January I wrote about my purchase of Pandemic, which was the first board game I’d bought in years (at least a decade). I’ve loved playing Pandemic; even though it’s a 2-5 player game, since it’s a cooperative game, it plays well for one person. Nearly every weeknight, I’ve managed to play a game or two before going to bed.

My wife and I played one game of Pandemic and she didn’t take to it like I did, so I decided to buy Ticket to  Ride. Once again, I did my research on games for new gamers and Ticket to Ride kept coming up. Watching the Tabletop episode on the game sealed the deal.

I hope she likes this one because it doesn’t seem like it will be a fun solo game. I could go down to the game store or connect with some local gamers, but I’m more of a homebody these days and prefer playing games with family and close friends. Thankfully, my wife likes playing Zombie Dice. I picked up a copy and we went 1-1 the other night, with the rubber match still to be played.

So, three new games in the last two months. I still have a ways to go to have a collection on par with Game Haus Cafe, but it’s been fun stocking the games shelf here at home.

Day 23: Game On

Pandemic Game Board

Pandemic Game Board

Two days ago I did something I hadn’t done in eons: I bought a board game. As my wife and I were about to finish the first half of season five of The Walking Dead, we wondered how we would get our zombie fix until the new episodes were released. Although I enjoyed Dead Trigger and hadn’t downloaded Dead Trigger 2 yet, they’re still first-person shooter games that don’t offer  multi-player modes. We had fun playing Zombie Dice with our niece and nephew, but were looking for something a bit more challenging. A quick Google search offered plenty of zombie-related fun and we settled on the board game Pandemic.

While not exactly a zombie game, Pandemic’s theme is pre-zombie apocalypse: you and your team are trying to prevent infectious diseases from spreading and killing off the Earth’s population. You travel around the world, treating diseases and trying to discover a cure before it’s too late. The diseases aren’t named, but in our games one of them is definitely a strain of Zombie-itis.

What interested me the most is Pandemic’s cooperative game-play: two to four players play together, trying to beat the game. You share resources and do what’s best for the team, instead of trying to out-maneuver or out-wit your opponents. There are no advantages to withholding resources or trying to sabotage a teammate. There are various ways to lose, but only one way to win: cure all the diseases. It’s only possible if your team works well together.

Last night I watched the Pandemic episode of Tabletop, Wil Wheaton’s Youtube gaming show, trying to get a feel for the game. I also watched the instructional video on the Pandemic website and with these two videos, I felt like I had a good grasp of the rules and game play.

During a meeting this afternoon, I received the Amazon notification that the game had arrived. Yes! When I got home, I tore open the package, checked to make sure the game was complete, reviewed the rules, and set up the board.

It’s time to save the world.