Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I am awash in games. Not just 'new' games but also games I have thrifted. The garage is filling up with them. It is a cardboard tidal wave. Sometimes I'm ok with it, other times I feel like I'm drowning.

A while ago, when a 'friend' suggested thrifting was fun and a good way to sometimes find some interesting games, but I was skeptical. Well, at some point I decided to go. I felt a bit anxious going in - thrift stores had a sort of stigma in my mind for some reason that it was all just junk. I'm not sure why because my grandfather used to go all the time - he was a machinist and found all sorts of interesting things...I guess I never really realized that back then as a kid, but he got all sorts of expensive tools and machinery for a bargain, plus he could fix broken stuff most times so probably some REALLY good deals as a result.

Anyhow, I don't remember specifically the first time going, but I did find my first thrift list post:
Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" - Clue with the painted miniature figures (instead of dumb pawns like in the version I had as a kid) for the unbelievable bargain of $1.99!

Also, I posted from the same trip a Netrunner starter pack SEALED for $1.00 (Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" ). This was before the reprint so it was a really great find (well, still is, but perhaps not as valuable now)

And a 1960's double deck of standard cards but with really nifty Native Amercan/Asian inspired artwork by Heraclio Fournier Vitoria for $0.99 (Item for Geeklist "Your Thrift Store / Bargain 6 - 12 December 2010" )

Pretty neat stuff!

I'm pretty sure those weren't my first finds though. At first I didn't really record/post what I found but I'm pretty sure prior to those posts I'd actually found a variety of other games, nothing hugely exciting, but stuff I was interested in at least and it was all cheap!

Anyhow, it was all very intoxicating and I bought a lot of stuff I didn't really need or want, so I learned after a while I couldn't buy EVERYTHING. I also came to realize later that for some reason, the area I live in is a hotbed of thrifting goodness attributed to the Pacific Northwest in terms of games - other areas of the US are not so fruitful unfortunately. But when you have a lot of choices it is easy to go overboard, at least at first...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

THE CREATIVE GAMER - To Trash or Not to Trash Inserts PLUS My New Obsession with Foam Core Inserts

Lately, my family has been re-visting Carcassonne quite a bit - my parents picked up a copy last year and have been playing it off and on along with Carcassonne: The Castle a little.

When playing at our house, when we pull it out I'm surprised how much stuff we have crammed in there. In addition to the base game we have the River, the River II, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, The Catapult, The Princess & the Dragon, The King & the Scout and, I think, one other mini expansion. ALSO, very early on I also added more sets of meeples from - I think we have 10 different color options including Pink, Macaroni (i.e. cheese colored orange), naked (natural wood), brown, purple, and white. Each has the giant meeple, builder, pig and a few extras of the regular meeples.

Its a challenge getting all that in the box, but somehow it fits. However, its a big mass of baggies, mini cardboard boxes (that come with a couple of the small expansions) and various other bits.

In the past I've posted a lot about my storage solutions using a variety of plastic boxes, plano boxes, baggies, etc. But I don't think a plano will solve this problem and plastic boxes for everything start taking up too much space. The baggies let me smoosh them in.

Take a look at this mess:

This gives me angst. A LOT of angst. (And NO I'm not buying the whole thing again as the Big Box version)

Monday, December 9, 2013

JUST GAMING AROUND - Snow = Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries?! (x2)?!

It snowed where I live last Friday. A LOT (at least for us). From 2am to 5pm we got 6 inches of snow! Yea! Well, that's what my kids said. My cats said YIKES! And my wife was happy for the snow, but not happy for wet and freezing kids after playing in it, but was happy I mostly dealt with them and got them cocoa and such.

The following Saturday afternoon and evening turned into a gaming bonus for me! My daughter and I played Morels after she completed her homework. Then, my son and I played Pecking Order (x4) before he went to bed.

Here are Quick Reviews of each...


Take a walk through the forest collecting Mushrooms. Cook them up in your pans for points, or sell them for digging sticks that might help you find more mushrooms. But watch out for the Destroying Angels as they may make you sick for a few turns! Keep a lookout for those Morels - get a proper amount and cook them up for some big points!

I taught this to my wife's friend last week on Thanksgiving. Then, I taught my Dad and my daughter (13). My Dad seemed to enjoy it and proceeded to beat me his first game! My daughter really took to it although she hasn't picked up fully on strategy yet. We've played it several times since then and she's getting better, learning from her mistakes.

The fun in this game is three-fold: 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GAMING THOUGHTS - Of Civilization and Card Sleeves and Time and Maps

Today I received some wooden tokens I ordered from Mayday during one of their Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. I am going to use them as replacements for the cubes in Walnut Grove (which I love and have wanted to pimp out so couldn't resist the sale)

But Walnut Grove is not on my mind at the moment. I also received a pack of standard Euro card sleeves. I don't normally sleeve cards so was surprised to see the pack. I didn't order them!? Free!? Hmmmm. What can I use them for?

I checked their website and looked at the spreadsheet that shows you which sleeves go with which games.

These ones (59mm x 92mm) fit a variety of games. The ones I own that I *might* consider putting sleeves on are:
Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
Agricola: The Legen*dairy Forest Deck
Aladdin's Dragons
Atlantic Star
Balloon Cup
Blue Moon City
Civilization (1981 Avalon Hill)
El Grande Decentennial
For Sale (Uberplay 2005 Ed)
Kingdom Builder
Le Havre
Princes of Florence
San Juan
Stone Age
Taj Mahal
Times Square

I was a bit surprised to see they would fit Civilization! It was the first 'real' game I owned. I was 11 when I bought a copy of the 1st edition of it after it was part of the Games 100 in Games magazine in 1982 (or thereabouts - I did a couple of quick searches and it seems that's the year). Not sure what intrigued me about the game - perhaps the map. At some point in my youth I plastered my walls with National Geographic maps as I was fascinated by them (don't worry, I had a half-naked girl on the back of my closet door, too) But, yes, I was a game geek and a map geek way back then...I think that's why I've always been interested in war games - more for the maps than for the actual game play. I'm definitely a Euro die-hard, but I am still drawn to war games for some reason, even though I suck at fighting games and generally never play them. Ah, those maps are beautiful though....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

JUST GAMING AROUND - Worst gaming month EVAR! (well, in the past 3-1/2 years) - I blame it on good weather....

Well, it wasn't a HORRIBLE month exactly, but my FTF gaming count in August was the worst on record (in terms of total games played) in the 
3-1/2 years I have been recording my game plays.

This is what I played:
Set - 2
Dominion: Prosperity - 1
Lords of Vegas - 1
Ninjato - 1
Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League - 1
Railways of Europe - 1
San Juan - 1
Ticket to Ride - 1
Walnut Grove - 1

I'm not at all unhappy with what I actually played - in fact the games of Lords of Vegas, Perry Rhodan, Railways of Europe and Ticket to Ride were all really interesting plays of those games. Ninjato was a new game for me so that was great (looking forward to playing again, too, now that I understand it better). And Walnut Grove is always fun for me. Dominion scratched an itch where I haven't played it in a while and with the new set coming out I wanted to get it to the table again.

I will say my online gaming has been steadily going up since I started playing more early in the year but I almost never log my online plays. I HAVE logged a couple of Words with Friends (aka Scrabble) plays when my wife and I played full games in one day, but when they are spread out over days or weeks, I just don't bother.

It seems many times the only gaming I can get in is during my 'in-between' times and online play is conducive to this. 'In-between' time is: The time between dinner and the kids going to bed. The time between getting up and taking a shower. The time during my lunch breaks (I work from home most of the time, not that that particularly matters).

Monday, August 27, 2012

STATE OF THE BACK ROOM - Insanity in the game room (TOO MANY GAMES!)

My game room has been a horrible mess for the past 2-3 months. Probably longer. And I seem to have acquired a good number of games (I've been trying to cut back, but it just doesn't ever seem to actually happen!) And, they have been piling up to the point where I was getting stressed about it.

Piles of games on side tables, on the game table, on the floor! Even worse, they were piling up in my garage as well! Earlier in the year I cleaned up the garage and got a bunch of stuff out (or re-organized) such that I had some extra storage space for my thrift finds! Boy, those shelves sure filled up fast!

As I mentioned before, this was all stressing me out and I finally bit the bullet. GASP! I was considering cutting back on my game collection. GASP! I was considering selling some of my games off!

Well, first steps in June involved setting up a BGG auction. I put up 50 items and sold nearly that many! YAH! Cash in my pocket! YAH! Games cleared out! YAH! And I didn't even miss them. Not ONE!

I have to admit I made some tough decisions in some cases. My criteria became: what is my excitement level when I think about this game? Am I excited about it enough to want to play it? If someone asked me about getting it to the table would I really want to, or would there be something else I'd want to play instead?

And, interestingly, I found some games to get rid of. Quite a few more, in fact, than I thought I would. It became easier as I thought about it more. It was freeing in fact!

Unfortunately, the tide turned again. I was hitting the thrift stores. Then my wife was hitting the thrift stores for me (without my prompting, I might add). And she actually found some really interesting games! Heroscape! The Omega Virus! Squad Leader! Axis & Allies! We even hit a bunch of stores on our way home from Portland, OR, and found some decent games. 

Now, mind you, often times I'm not just looking for games for me to keep but with the intention of re-selling them. The right games can bring in some decent cash if you know what to look for!

However, it got to the point that I was (almost!) dreading her calling from the thrift store asking about games and finding more good stuff to bring back! I had too many games!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

HOT BOX - 'Walnut Grove' (What's in the box?)

You may have heard of the game 'Welcome to Walnut Grove' or more specifically how it's most commonly known and listed: 'Walnut Grove'

Or maybe you haven't....?

Well, just before Essen 2011 I did a blog post listing games of interest to me coming out around Essen: TIMELY TOPICS - ESSEN release games that look interesting to me & why

Near end of the long list I had a 'theme' section of games that I was interested in due to...ah...theme. Interestingly, the game at that time was the former longer name I listed above. Somewhere during or after Essen it seems to have been shortened to just 'Walnut Grove'

Anyhow, Walnut Grove was on my 'theme' list for a couple of reasons. One was that it represented 'small town' life, much like in Village and Helvetia which represented 'village' life, so WG seemed to be in that same range. Another reason was it was the location of the American TV Series 'Little House on the Prairie' about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life living in early pioneer America. I watched the show and also read the series of books as a child, so it had special meaning to me.

Well, I have a friend that goes to Essen and I got to play several Essen releases in the months following Essen, mainly due to her, although I never quite got to play Walnut Grove (looking at her game list, I'm not sure if she even had it actually)

Regardless, I didn't get to play it right after it came out, but it seemed to keep bubbling up in my mind. Then another friend of mine played it and really liked it. So, without me actually having played it, I ordered it (along with Hawaii) from and had my friend Chris bring it with him to EGG (Eugene Games Gala) so I didn't have to pay shipping :)

During EGG, we ended up playing someone else's copy of WG as 4P and I loved it (even though I did pretty terrible - we all did fairly poorly as I recall since we had all just learned it)

Anyhow, I was glad I'd picked it up as it is relatively fast but also has lots of interesting/hard decisions to make. This isn't a review but an opening of the box to see what it is that you actually get. Hopefully I'll have time to write a review soon to go into more detail.

So, here goes, in my usual fashion of taking you through the wonderful goodness of cracking a game and smelling the wonderful smell of fresh cardboard. Enjoy!

Here we have the box, ready to be opened:

You can see the lovely artwork showing a covered wagon hauling a couple of workers/farmers (Is that 'Pa' driving the wagon? Doesn't quite look like him...), with Ma on the left holding baby Carrie, and it looks to be Laura there carrying a couple of buckets of water or perhaps grain.

Very nice artwork on this box. And somehow it looks familiar...why is that...?