Gaming for Adam West.

“Of what use is a dream if not a blueprint for courageous action?”

-Adam West

Greetings All,

We had a small game night on Saturday and four of us played five games.

We got a game of Pandemic by Z-Man Games in and beat it shockingly quickly, but I’m fairly certain that’s because we forgot the rules in the beginning and were only drawing one card from the player deck instead of two for like two rounds, so we didn’t get an epidemic card for a while. That said we were not wanting to restart the game, so we just fixed the rules and rolled with it.

After that we played Ticket to Ride: First Journey by Days of Wonder. Being that it’s a kid version of Ticket to Ride, the trains and map symbols were huge and cute. The rules were simplified and yet there was some difficulty. I’ll do a review of this later because I was annoyingly excited to play it and I totally won.

The last big game we got in was Ghost Stories by Asmodee. I freaking love Ghost Stories, it’s so darn difficult and the defeat is sometimes earth shattering, but when you win… It’s a golden feeling. We beat the game and it was super fun.

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After hearing about the sad news that Adam West had passed away, we had to get some Batman games in at the end of the night. We ended it with Batman Fluxx by Looney Labs and Batman Love Letter by Alderac. The games are simple and relaxed and it was a nice way to say good-bye to Mr. West. I say relaxed, but truth be told Love Letter ended with our friend Sam comparing hands with my husband, beating him, and subsequently screaming WU-TANG!

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That said I’ll end this post by saying Sam… calm down. 🙂 And farewell Batman.

Until next time… Live by the Board.

-Livingbytheboard

Drink of the month – June.

Hello again board gamers!

With the beginning of June I figured I’d contribute a little more- and as your resident internet gaming bartender, it’s only best if I share my drink concoctions with the masses. For June, I’m going to start by giving some basic bartending tips and then teach you a simple drink for all you 21+ gamers and another for all you non-alcoholic drinkers. These tips should help anyone making either kinds of drinks.

Tips for Drink Making

Tip #1: Ice does make a difference – If you’re like me, you might get your pop or soda from a fountain without any ice. It’s already cold, what’s ice gonna do? Well, surprisingly, it can affect how a drink is made and the taste. You’ll find that some drinks don’t just require ice, but need it. Others you can strain and drain the drink with no problem. And what’s worse: if you have a packed freezer, bad water, or an ice machine that’s not been cleaned in awhile- how the ice is made can affect the drink’s taste. Now, each their own- but I personally grab a bag of ice for a couple of dollars or a fiver if it’s a huge group (those are 22 lbs here!). Not only is it easier, it just tastes better to me. Either way ice is definitely a necessity when mixing drinks, even if you strain it all.

Tip #2: You get what you pay for, most the time – You might be thinking well no duh, you get a higher shelf quality drinks it’s going to taste like a higher shelf. Thing is, for mixed drinks the higher shelf is really not going to make that big of a difference most of the time. For liquor I usually stick with what I’ve tried and liked. Sometimes I’ll buy a brand because it’s cheaper or the only option in the store to find I’m not a fan of it. Use your budget to truly figure out what you can buy, and what you might like. For your mixins, again it’s going to be what you like, your budget and what’s available to you. I personally prefer the Simply brand for juices and similar premade drinks, while going with the name brand pops like Sprite or Mt. Dew. If you however drink or prefer 7Up or store brand Mountain Lightning, it’s perfectly OK but might change the taste a bit. Realize that your mixins are going to be the majority of the drink, so those are really going to make or break it. You might be able to mask a bad tasting liquor but you won’t be able to mask a bad tasting mixin.

Tip #3: Research what a drink is – If you’re not someone who has ever dealt with mixing drinks, you might not have any idea what amaretto is supposed to taste like. For the record, it’s almond. When you look up drinks online to try to mix, you’ll find that they have all these fancy names. Well, those are typically brand names. Midori for instance is a brand named melon schnapps, which means a lower end melon schnapps should be more than fine. Don’t worry though- all the drinks I’m going to be making are going to be simple and should be easy to find all the ingredients for. “Should be” is mostly for those gamers in remote places where it’s going to be a tad harder. But knowing what you like, and what mixes well together, means you’ll start making your own drinks in no time.

Tip #4: Have fun no matter what – The key point of playing these games is to have fun! And if it starts to get to be a pain to make these drinks or you’re hurting in your wallet: stop doing it. My group might love when I make them, but they totally understand when I just want to sit back and not worry about it. I’m thankful my group doesn’t have anyone wanting to stop the game every few minutes to make a new drink- because that’s not fun. Occasionally having drinks ready though is a great way to add something to a gathering to make it themed or just to celebrate. We never pressure anyone to drink, and it’s why I decided to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options- so everyone can join in.

I’m gonna start you all off with some classics that are popular.

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Sake Sunrise

This is a fairly simple drink that can get a little complex only in finding the right ingredients.

What you’ll need:

Sake

Grenadine

Orange Juice

Ice

How to prep:

Fill cup with ice. Pour in desired amount of Sake. Fill cup with orange juice leaving a little room. If in a clear glass, slightly tip the glass and use the side to pour in the grenadine.

What’s it taste like?: It really depends on the kind of sake you use. In America, sake is a rice wine that comes in a handful of different flavors. This is where it gets complicated: I have no way to tell you which to get. If you’re in America, you might be able to find some sake labeled all sorts of things- sweet, ruby red, etc. Because of this it’s difficult to know what exactly you’re buying as it all depends on branding. You’ll also have imported sake, which makes it a tad more confusing as some are meant to be heated while others are room temp- not the kind you want in your cold drink. We typically use a low end brand you might find at Kroger for around $10, while I’ve tried a more sweet sake that cost double that to find it wasn’t great in this mix.

All in all it’s going to have mostly an orange juice taste to it, with an aftertaste that can only be described as ‘rice wine with a hint of grenadine. If you’re not familiar with grenadine, actual grenadine varies but is meant to be a blackcurrant or pomegranate flavoring. The Rose brand by Mott’s, the most popular brand, has almost a cherry-esque flavoring to it but not quite. The more sake you use, the more alcoholic it is- but I typically use the 1-2 method of pouring around the cup twice with all liquor unless specifically noted.

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Shirley Temple

An even simpler drink that’s a classic staple and can be made multiple ways.

What you’ll need:

Sprite/Mist Twst/7Up

Grenadine

Ice

How to prep:

Fill cup with ice. Pour in desired amount of grenadine. Fill cup with Sprite or lemon lime soda of your choice. Optional: You can also use ginger ale in place of your lemon lime soda if you prefer.

What’s it taste like?: It’s really just a flavored lemon lime soda. If you like cherry Sprite, you’ll probably enjoy a Shirley Temple. The ginger ale version is really similar.

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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 don’t party foul on the board.

  • The Bartender

Recruiting New Gamers

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Greetings All,

This is one I still struggle with. My husband, however, is much better at than I am, which is why I asked him to co-write this one with me. I’m fairly certain that half of the ability to convince people to try board games has to do with charming them. My husband is by the far the most charming person I know so he has a very easy time getting people on his side. Please read more below to get his take on recruiting new gamers. Enjoy. 🙂


-Husband-

To recruit new gamers, you need to at least have a vague idea who you’re playing with. This makes it way easier to potentially draw anyone from the hardened gamer to the total neophyte.

Know someone who’s never played board games, but loves video games? Too easy! Suggest an analogue of a favorite game of their’s! “You like Starcraft? How about showing me your strategic prowess in a quick game of OGRE?” Know someone who likes casual cell phone games? Too easy! “Something quick, easy and fun? How about you lend me 10 minutes of your time and play some Coin Age or Brave Rats with me?” How about a non-competitive type who just wants to have fun? “How’s about a co-operative game then? We can save OUR castle together!” I’ve found that far and away the easiest way to get people to game (in any situation) is to tailor your approach, almost like you’re trying to sell gaming as a product. “Man, have you ever heard of a game called Disc Duelers? It’s like a super open game of RPG battle pogs!!!” “Dude, Zombie Dice is like zombie Yahtzee…y’know, except without being schooled by old people.” I jest, of course! Or my general use line: “Can I borrow five minutes of your life? I’ll repay it 100 fold in entertainment!”

BATTLE POGS

If you do manage to secure someone for game night, its almost equitable to catching a fish on a hook… now you just have to reel them in! And how do you do that? You whip out the AAA titles from your game shelf! I am a thorough believer in “palate cleaner” or “feeler” games. By which, I mean shorter games that will better help you understand the temperature of the table. Did your table of new invites enjoy the rule light, rapid play game? Or the slower, more complicated/methodical game? These are important things to know about your guests to insure the success of your evening as well as potentially insuring the return of your guests.

Great “feeler games” I personally use are:

Love Letter by AEG

2-4 players (we’ve played w/ 5), 10-20 mins

Love Letter is easily one of the biggest, quickest crowd pleasers I own. Easy to learn rules, quick gameplay, and a friendlier competitive structure. Hard to go wrong with this one.


This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us by TMG

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 10-15 mins

This game shares a lot of elements with Carcassonne. Fantastic simplicity coupled with a hidden level of complexity make this an easy way to spot the more thoughtful members attending your table.


We Didn’t Playtest This At All by Asmadi

2-15 players, 1-5 mins

This is a card game that is so absurd, it’s divisive. It’ll either be an instant favorite, or an eye roller. Great way to sift through senses of humor, or lack thereof.

Fantasy by Asmodee

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 20-30 mins

Fantasy is a slightly longer card game with (somewhat) simple rules, and a nice (you guessed it!) fantasy motif that keeps players in the game until the last card is dealt and the scores are tallied. A great game to help your table rev up for a tougher, longer game.


Now, let’s get to real meat and potatoes of all of this. The AAA crowd pleasers that turn these new acquaintances into fast friends:

Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

2-5 players, 30-60 mins

If you’re visiting this blog, odds are you’ve AT LEAST heard about this game…or I’m actively judging you and your life decisions. 🙂 Needless to say, few board games can truly pull in veterans and neophytes alike. It’s got a great, turn of the 20th century aesthetic, profoundly easy to understand rules, and utterly FANTASTIC gameplay. I can’t opine about this game enough!


Castle Panic by Fireside Games

1-6 players, 30-60 mins

I’ll be frank with you readers, this is my personal favorite game of all time. Published by Fireside Games, this is a co-operative “tower defense” style game. This game is a remarkable bonding experience for all involved! It’s you and your team struggling against a common foe, you’re all left with little more than randomly drawn cards and your wits! Fantastic for game nights!


Puerto Rico by Rio Grande Games

3-5 players (there is a 2 player variant), 90 mins

This one is quite a bit more complicated than the previous entries on this list. Puerto Rico is a “prosperity” simulator, in essence, this game tasks you with being able to expand your city and island faster (and more efficiently) than your opponents. There is a very little luck to strategy ratio for this game, so veteran gamers are likely dominate during the first play through with neophytes. This game is equipped with no “actual” game board to play on, but is managed through individual’s city boards and a PLETHORA of smaller game pieces, so this game does require a little bit of imagination. That said, this is a 90 minute game with a HIGH amount of strategy and lateral thinking…so this game isn’t for everyone. HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this for every kind of gamer…at least to try once.

Variety is the spice of life, however, most people will be more inclined to try a new dish if it looks more appetizing. Bottom line, presentation AND substance are both CRITICAL in your approach to gaining new members of your table. Just play your experience by ear, and try to cater to everyone’s tastes without compromising anyone’s. And, above all else, MAKE SURE TO HAVE FUN!


I’ll have to have him co-write more often… I’m pretty sure he blew me out of the water! 🙂 Anyhow, his description was shockingly accurate to how our “gaming interviews” go. When I say gaming interviews it is exactly what it sounds like, we’ve even told people they were essentially being interviewed to be a regular at our table.

We both hope you enjoyed this topic, as it was readers choice. Soon I will be starting another three-day segment, this time regarding solo play games. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

The Do’s and Don’ts of a sick day.

Greetings All,

Yesterday my daughter (10yrs old) had to stay home from school because she had a fever. Yesterday was also going to be her first time going to a birthday sleepover. As you can imagine she was CRUSHED. In an attempt to cheer her up, we decided to have a family game night. We made it through three games before our “Do’s and Don’ts” became overwhelmingly apparent. That said I’d like to share the experience and games with you now.

1

-Brave Rats by BlueOrange Games-

2 players, 1 – 15 mins

Brave Rats is a short two player game that requires a bit of strategy. In Brave Rats you are part of a rat clan at war with your rival rat clan. Each player gets eight cards that are labeled 0-7 and all have separate abilities. Each player has the same set of cards, just a different clan and color. Players use strategy and probability to beat the other player by choosing what card to play each turn. The players flip their cards over at the same time and for the most part, the player with the highest card wins. The first player to win 4 rounds wins the game. There are exceptions to the general rules, which you can see here: http://www.nonsensicalgamers.com/brave-rats-review/ *** The lowest price I’ve found is at Walmart: http://www.walmart.com/ip/39580105?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227027265244&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=57058379169&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=89570793129&veh=sem *** You can see more information at the OrangeBlue Games website: http://www.blueorangegames.com/index.php/games/braverats

2

-Takenoko by Asmodee-

2 – 4 players, 30 – 45 mins

Takenoko is a beautiful game and probably one of my favorites. Players compete to complete different objectives based around three different types of objective cards: Gardener, Panda, Formation. There are many different rules to this game, but it is well worth it and once you have the rules down you can play it with your eyes closed (not really, don’t try it… it makes a huge mess). A player wins when they complete an X amount of objective cards which is based on how many people are playing. This game is for 2-4 players, BUT there are five of us. We play with all five… this leaves us with one less board, but when you know the game well it is very much so possible. You can see how the game is played on Tabletop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv4n-e-hb_o *** The lowest price I’ve found is at GameSurplus: https://www.gamesurplus.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=takenoko&osCsid=ahbn2b5uol5mnrtgkv56c8i326&x=0&y=0 *** You can find more information at the Asmodee website: http://us.asmodee.com/ressources/jeux_versions/takenoko.php

3

-Clue by Hasboro-

3 – 6 players, 30 – 45 mins

Clue is a classic board game in which you are an investigator trying to solve a murder, but most of you should know that. It’s a fun game and there are tons of different styles and expansions. We have the 2013 edition as shown above. Amazon has fantastic prices on clue and a very large list of the different Clue editions: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_4?url=search-alias%3Dtoys-and-games&field-keywords=clue&sprefix=clue%2Caps%2C315 *** The Hasbro website has additional information including reviews, demos, and a price comparison: http://www.hasbro.com/en_US/search/_/Ntt-clue?Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

Ok so time for the fun part. Brave Rats worked well, it was a great chance to have a short one on one game with a single child which not only helped keep their attention, but allowed for my ill daughter to have her own little bit of attention. That said, my other daughter (8yrs old) does not do well when she isn’t the main focus. For a great deal of the time when my husband was playing with our 10yr old, the 8yr old was trying to push her way into the action. Takenoko on the other hand was nice and new to my 10yr old. Our 13yr old son and 8yr old daughter had both previously played. Playing a new game with a sick child is a bit of a fool’s errand, but it definitely took her mind off of her illness. The 13yr old had just had dessert and was very hyper the entire time, while the 8yr old pretended to be sick and sat out of the game. Clue was a new experience for all of the kids, again a fool’s errand when one of your children are sick. We did not get to complete Clue because the 8yr old did not acknowledge one of the cards in her hands when the 10yr old was making a guess. From there it just became extreme confusion and frustration for everyone.

Alright time for the Do’s and Don’ts.

-Do’s-

*Play a familiar game with a sick child, it raises their spirits.

*Have a Family Game night, it really improves family relationships.

*Pick a game that allows you to focus on one child at a time, like a two player game.

*Make sure that everyone is truly up for a game before starting.

-Don’ts-

*Avoid playing games directly after dessert.

*Do not play NEW games when your children are ill.

-Conclusion-

Hyper 13yr old boy + Sick 10yr old girl + Jealous 8yr old girl= A headache

I will say that I love our game nights, but we need to pick the time better. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this and thank you for reading. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livebytheboard