Gen Con 50

Greetings All,

Today I just wanted to complain a bit about missing out on Gen Con. Feel free to ignore my angry, womanly ranting. This makes the second year in a row that I’ve had to cancel. Last year we got caught up in court for the frustrating shared parenting that we have and this year my boss that I had a two-year contract with just decided he couldn’t pay me anymore. He hasn’t paid me since March and after yesterday, that work relationship is over.

This year I was really excited about going, I have good communication with multiple game companies, I was going to volunteer with several companies, I had great tickets for events at Gen Con, and my blog is doing well. I had my tickets purchased, a unrefundable hotel, and a friend was going with my husband and I as well. I even bought this adorable Gen Con journal for my adventures.

In the end I had to cancel my tickets, that I couldn’t actually get refunded… they just got put into the Gen Con site for future purchases. I had to cancel all of my cards because the hotel wouldn’t tell me which one I used for my reservation, and I had to tell my friend that we could no longer go.

I know it’s childish, but man I am so tired of not being able to go to things like this. I haven’t had a “vacation” since I was a kid and my last driving trip was just to take my grandmother-in-law home to Illinois. I want a break from the real world and Gen Con seemed perfect for that. Here I am, anxiety riddled and all… and I still wanted to go to the 50th anniversary of Gen Con. That’s huge for me.

I even got offered a game masters badge from a game company. I had to tell them I’m sorry, but I can’t afford to go. I realize that this post is just a great big whiney list of complaints, but it’s gets to the point where you don’t know where to complain about things like this.

Board games are such an essential part of my life and Gen Con sounds amazing. I know that I’ll get there one day and it will have been worth the wait. I really do hope that all of you attending this year have a blast and all of those sitting on the bench like me get there one day too. For the time being, I am just going to sit here and enviously/angrily stare at all of my friends that have yearly vacations and really consider smacking the ones that have multiple vacations every year…

Sorry for having my outburst today, thank you for hanging in there and reading. I’ll be less angry during my next post. Until next time… Live by the board.

-livingbytheboard

Industry Interviews – Gamelyn Games, Michael Coe interview!

Greetings All,

Today I am pleased to bring you a really fun interview with Michael Coe from Gamelyn Games! My favorite Gamelyn Game so far is Tiny Epic Galaxies, if you haven’t had a chance to play yet, you really should! Mr. Coe was a pleasure to talk to and his answers to my questions were truly fun to read. Did you know that Mr. Coe is also an actor? Check it out below and visit the Gamelyn website to find out more about their awesome games! Enjoy!

gamelyn

1)With such a large family growing up, were board games common in your household?

Yes and No. Like most households we certainly owned a lot of games but they weren’t as cool as the games coming out today. We played them on family nights or when company came over but otherwise I was sinking my game time in the NES, SNES, PC etc. Board games back then just couldn’t compete with video games. That’s not so much the case anymore imo. Video games have seem to have gone the way of Michael Bay movies, lots of graphics but lacking in meaningful content. Board games however are currently seeing a huge improvement in meaningful decisions and overall experience.

2)What was the first game you can recall playing, and the first game that made you realize this is what you wanted to do for a living?

I played all the classics as a kid, Monopoly, Sorry, Life, Mouse-Trap etc. Life probably being the game that had the most impact on me as a kid, because it was easy getting into “character.” In my elementary years though, my dad brought home Hero Quest and that blew my mind! Unknown to me at the time, it laid a foundation that I’ve drawn upon as a game publisher. Though it wasn’t until games like Carcassonne and Stone Age were introduced to me that I thought, “okay, wow! Games are not what they used to be, I could really get into this!”

3)Why did you choose the name Gamelyn Games?

Gamelyn goes way back for me. During Jr. High and High School I played a lot of D&D. I quickly found my passion for that game was in being the Dungeon Master, writing my campaigns and creating my own worlds. Gamelyn was one of the key NPCs I created in my favorite campaign setting, Aughmoore, which I wrote and used for countless game sessions. Gamelyn just kind of stuck with me. The name became my gamer tag in PCs games and was the name of a Human Paladin I played for 5 years in World of Warcraft. I started Gamelyn Games as part of a WOW exit strategy. I was playing WOW too much and needed to do more productive things with my time. So in honor of quitting the game I loved so dearly, I named my company after my character.  

4)The Tiny Epic series is one of my favorites, how did the idea for these Tiny Epic adventures come about?

It all started with a Tweet. I put it out on Twitter that I was taking submissions for the first time to publish games other than my own designs. I received many offers that week but one by the name of Tiny Epic Planets by Scott Almes really caught my attention. My wife and I printed it out and gave it a whirl and knew right away that it was something special. It was small, easy to learn, quick to play but offered a lot of meaningful decisions. These were all things that I was focusing on as a publisher. So I wrote back to Scott and shared my enthusiasm for his design but that I fancied myself some Orcs vs Humans more than one random alien faction against another. He willingly obliged and responded with a rewrite of the game that became Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Once that blew up on Kickstarter I knew we were onto something, so I asked if he had anymore “Tiny Epics” up his sleeve. While he hadn’t quite seen it as a series at that time, he saw what I saw and knew it had legs. It was clear to us that people were responding to the small box-big game experience. Then came Tiny Epic Defenders, Tiny Epic Galaxies, so forth and so on.

5)What was the first game published under Gamelyn Games and what was the first game you ever designed?

Dungeon Heroes was the first published game under Gamelyn Games. I designed it to be a fast and approachable rogue-like dungeon crawl. Some of thought of it as a “Tiny Epic” before “Tiny Epics,” but it wasn’t my first published design. That belongs to a little abstract strategy called Rise! that I published with game company I co-founded called Crash Games. Though it still wasn’t my first design, that is a game called Lords, Ladies & Lizards that not seen publication yet… maybe one of these days I’ll just up and publish it.

6)What is your favorite Gamelyn game and your favorite non-Gamelyn game?

My favorite Gamelyn game is Heroes of Land, Air & Sea. It is the culmination of Gamelyn Games as a publishing company and Scott Almes as a designer. It is our magnum opus. My favorite non-Gamelyn game is Carcassonne and its many renditions and spin-offs. It just always delivers a good time and with very little setup!

7)Are you still acting and what was your favorite role?

I haven’t acted in some time, though I’m focused on getting back into sooner than later. My favorite role and my favorite job are two different things. I loved my time in theater where my roles were more developed but my favorite single acting gig is surely Urban Legends Bloody Mary. I had a super bloody death scene after all, killed by Bloody Mary herself! That was a very compelling experience.

8)Do you ever grow weary of playing board games now that you make them for a living?

No. My love for board games continues to grow more fond as I discover new ideas actually. There’s so much that can be done in board games and I love being surprised by a mechanic that unfolds to be more than it appears.

9)How did you and your wife meet and have board games always been a big part of your relationship?

My wife and I met at McDonalds of all places. We were both on our lunch break in Scottsdale, Arizona and I had the nerves to randomly introduce myself. It was Valentine’s Day, so maybe it wasn’t so random. Board games really wasn’t part of our relationship until I started making them. Our appreciation for board games has developed together and she’s been a key player in helping me keep our games approachable.

10)Do you have any advice for someone whom aspires to be in the board gaming industry?

Lots, but I’ll simplify it for now. Don’t let your worries hold you back. Don’t be so afraid that someone will steal your idea that you don’t share it. Get your game in front of as many people as possible. If it is good, it will resonate. Exposure, exposure, exposure.

I hope all of you enjoyed this fun interview and I just want to say thank you to Michael Coe and Gamelyn Games for doing this interview with my little blog. 🙂 Until next time… Live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Jaipur and Patchwork

Pardon my absence, life intervened, the weather sucks, et cetera…ON TO THE GAMES!!!
I’ve decided to highlight a couple of new EXCELLENT strictly 2 player games that have recently come to my table.  Lemme preface this by saying, there is something inherently tense about a 2 player experience in games that is quite the rush.  There’s two different kinds of “experienced” players in these scenarios:
1) A player that is well acquainted with this particular game, or games in general.
2) A player that is well acquainted with YOU.
When you’re playing with #2 (Haha! Poop joke!) this tension is so thick, it’s damn near physically tangible (Not unlike a really raunchy stink cloud! Second poop joke! I’m on a roll!)  It’s a great rhythm you get into, like a mental tug-of-war.  Though, #1 makes it to the table more often, #2 will make for a vastly more engaging experience.  I use these examples because they apply very differently to both of the games I’m highlighting.  For example, the game that meshes best with #1 is:
jaipur
2 players
30 minutes
In Jaipur, you’re hoping to become the Maharaja’s personal trader by gaining wealth, blah blah.  The theme is light, like…REALLY LIGHT.  But that’s not a big problem, in fact, it’s great.  Jaipur is a set collecting and economic trading game.  Having to build an Indian theme around a solid trading mechanic could have been difficult…unless you (mostly) aschew it.  What you are left with is an incredibly solid, tense, mechanically sound game.  It sways slightly more to the “skill” end of the “Luck/Skill” spectrum, but this isn’t a problem either.
The game plays over the course of 2-3 rounds, in which the players collect different cards from the “market” in the center of the table, and cash them in for differently valued chips.  The more of one type of card you cash in, more chips (and bonus chips) you get.  However, waiting for more cards is not without risk.  You see, the first chips of every good are worth more than the subsequent chips, so sometimes it pays to cash in goods early and ignore bonuses.  This makes for a very tense, and tactical game.
What makes this game better for #1 is that it exists primarily for its mechanics.  It would be all too easy for an experienced gamer to pick up after 2, maybe 3 turns.  It’s nothing new, but it’s mechanics are streamlined and just deep enough to really work.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one.
What game could be more ideal for #2, you ask?  Well, aren’t you impatient valued reader! Anyway, on to the next game…
patchwork
2 players
30 minutes
The theme here is simple, you’re attempting to build a quilt out of fabric patches displayed in the middle of the table.  For all of this simplicity, it’s a strong, well implemented theme.  This game is remarkably easy to learn to teach, and has a fantastic ebb and flow to it.  The game has three simple mechanics: First, there’s an economic mechanic used for purchasing swatches of fabric.  Second, upon purchasing said fabric, you must place it on your personal 9×9  grid.  It’s almost like a table top Tetris game.  Third, you have an inconsistent turn order.  This element adds a REMARKABLE layer of strategy.
See, when you purchase pieces of fabric, they cost both currency (buttons…get it?!) and spaces moved on the central player board.  And whomever’s player marker is in second place, is the first player to move.  This can potentially result in multiple turns before one player relinquishes control to the other player.  And conversely, currency is gained (in part) by advancing over button spaces on the central player board. So relinquishing control for multiple turns isn’t always the worst option.  It’s a game with a surprising amount of depth, and decent player interaction (for controlling turn order and available fabric swatches for the next player).
When playing this with someone you really know, you can see several different sets of cogs turning in their head in tandem.  You can see the fiscal machinations grind up against the cogs of quilt symmetry, all whilst banging into the clockwork of proper turn and board control.  Cannot recommend this game more!
Loyal readers, I am head over heels for both of these games…but I cannot get enough of Patchwork.  Perhaps it’s because I have roughly a 12-1 record with the game, perhaps it’s because I enjoy the Tetris like puzzle of the personal game board…or maybe it’s because my Wife loves playing it with me, because she’s a fantastic #2.  For the record, yes, that was a poop pun.  No, I have no shame.
Thanks for reading.
-The Husband

Drink of the Month: July 2017

Happy July board gamers!

Well, July 4th specifically. This month I’ve got your drink of the month to celebrate none other than American red-white-and-blue. Prepare yourself for one of the simplest and easiest drinks to make. It’s fairly tasty too.

Adult banner
All American



I’m not gonna lie, I watched a bar make this drink a few times and decided to make it myself with a few adjustments and a name change. It’s a very popular drink at the table, but that’s because it includes a popsicle! Who doesn’t love popsicles? Especially red white and blue ones to celebrate America. Play some Ticket to Ride or other U-S-A themed games while sipping this guy down for your Fourth celebration.

What you’ll need:

Vodka
Lemonade
Bombpop Popsicles (Firecrackers or store brand work too)
Ice

How to prep:

Fill cup with ice. 1-2 method of vodka around the cup. Fill cup with lemonade leaving a little room. Drop in a bombpop and let it melt while stirring with the popsicle.

What’s it taste like?: It’s going to taste like lemonade with some extra sugary flavors of the popsicle- which vary. The Bombpop has cherry, lime and blue raspberry flavors while the Firecracker has lemon instead of lime. Some store brands also have different flavors, but overall it’s got a lemony taste to it. If you use a lot of vodka, or a strong vodka, you’ll taste the alcohol too.

Anyone banner

Young American

The virgin version of the All American, the Young American, ditches the vodka but keeps the popsicle! It’s only fair that everyone gets to eat- or drink- a melted popsicle with some lemonade. Give it a little kick by adding lemon lime soda.

What you’ll need:

Lemonade
Bombpop Popsicles (Firecrackers or store brand work too)
(optional) Lemon Lime Soda
(optional) Grenadine
Ice

How to prep:

Fill cup with ice. Optional: Put some lemon lime soda and/or grenadine in the bottom to desired taste. Fill cup with lemonade leaving some room. Drop in a popsicle!

What’s it taste like?: Without the soda, you probably won’t taste much of a difference between this and the All American unless you use a strong vodka and/or really like the taste of vodka. With the soda it adds some extra lemon-lime flavor to it, and a little fizz. With the grenadine a little more flavor. It’s mostly going to be flavored lemonade no matter which way you look at it though.
______________________________________________________________________________

Well that’s all for this month board gamers. If you’ve never made a mixed drink for your table, give it a go at your next meetup! And remember: drink responsibly, play to win and tip your bartender generously.

 

  • The Bartender