Wednesday, April 20, 2011

THE CREATIVE GAMER - Making mini-"Troyes" (OR, my impatience overshadows the potential for the reprint)

(Warning - this is a really long post with a lot of pictures! If you don't feel like reading everything just jump down to the sections that look interesting and look at the pics, especially near the end although the ones in the middle are cool, too. I thought about breaking it up but thought I'd just make you, poor reader, suffer instead. You're welcome.)

Last year just after Essen, Lorna brought back a bunch of games she'd purchased (as she always does) and invited a few people over to play (as she always does). I got to try out some the previous year (after Essen 2009) and enjoyed the experience and didn't want to miss out this year as well. I had a couple of games I really wanted to try including The Great Fire of London 1666, Norenberc, Key Market, Porto Carthago, Sun, Sea & Sand, and Troyes (among others).

Of those, I still haven't played Norenberc or Porto Carthago. Lorna traded away Norenberc after a couple of plays and I didn't even get a chance to try it :(  I'm hoping to get to play it eventually (even if she didn't like it), as well as Porto Carthago. The Great Fire was good but not quite what I was expecting. After a 2nd play earlier this year I enjoyed it a bit more than the first and would still eventually like to get a copy as I love the theme.

Troyes had some of the best buzz coming out of Essen so I was really looking forward to it. And, I think it ended up being the first game I got to try out of the bunch. The first round took well over an hour as the mechanics were so different, the iconography was puzzling, and the rules were a bit of trouble to get through.

Eventually we struggled through it enough to complete a game. I REALLY enjoyed it. I loved the interesting usage of dice and all the things you could do with them. The idea of competing for which color dice you get, the different benefits of each type, plus being able to improve upon/change bad rolls was all very interesting and exciting.

I decided I wanted a copy for myself. So, I went looking for one but it was almost no where to be found (or at least not for a very reasonable price). They had pretty much sold off all their stock at Essen and only a few remained for retail purchase. I found a couple of copies on the BGG Marketplace but they were all in Europe with high price tags and just as high shipping. And, there were murmurs of Z-Man publishing it in the future. I decided to wait although I knew it likely would be a longish wait. Could I wait? Hmmmm, well yes.

At first I DID entertain the thought of making my own copy. I know some people frown on this but generally I only would consider it if it was out-of-print and hard-to-get or just not available at all. Really, all of this was true and murmurs of re-prints can often take months or years, if ever. Although, I was pretty sure this game would get a new printing and probably not too horribly far off either to meet the demand that Essen had generated.

So, I waited. For a while. Well, ok, it ended up being only a couple of weeks. I originally played it for the first time on October 25th. I had a mostly usable copy made by November 11th and it was pretty much completed by November 17th.

Now, in my defense, I REALLY WASN'T planning on making a copy. Anyone who knows me knows that I'll do things the hard/long way because if I'm going to make the effort to re-create a game I'm not going to do it half-way. And, because of this, I knew it would be a lot of work. So, I decided against it and figured I would just wait.

But THEN one evening I remembered I had some miniature dice (100 to be exact) that I'd purchased for $1 from some online deal earlier in the year. Hmmm, I wondered if it had the correct distribution of dice....? I checked. It did! Well, except there weren't enough WHITE dice if you can believe that. And not enough BLACK dice. BUT, it had enough yellow and red dice. I found I DID have enough green dice to maybe use in place of the white dice. And, there were enough purple dice to replace the black. Those seemed like reasonable trade-offs. Although, I was concerned the yellow and green might get confused. And I knew I'd have to deal with the fact that the white building and spaces would now have green dice associated with them. But ah well, I was excited to possibly have found a use for some of these dice that had been sitting around for months!

But did I really want to make this game? Did I have the rest of the components to put it all together? Did I really want to spend the time doing this project?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HOT BOX - "Pastiche" by Sean D. MacDonald (What's in the Box?)

Gosh, a whole other week has gone by since I last posted! I've had a couple of posting ideas but just been too tired to stay awake enough to think them through.

My focus this last weekend was to get started opening my cadre of new games that piled up from last month:

New games & expansions waiting to be opened and/or played
Note that Hansa Teutonica and Fresco I already own, but I now have the new expansions for them -- they are already opened and inside the base boxes just waiting to be played. In particular, can't wait to give Fresco a go with ALL the expansions at once. There was a group that tried that @ Gamestorm and loved it but I missed out :(

Anyhow, as soon as I saw Pastiche I knew I had to have it - anything that has to do with art, painting and especially mixing colors is a must for me! I ordered a copy and had it delivered to Gamestorm. So, it's been sitting on there all ready for me to open it and get it to the table (and my friend Robert REALLY wanted to play it a couple of weeks ago when he was over) but didn't until this weekend as I knew I wanted to do a 'proper' box opening.

So, here it is!

The box. Ready. Waiting.
A beautiful looking box - tasteful and appealing. Nothing too fancy, just enough to let the masterpieces stand out. I love the touch with the paint palette profile above the name - subtle but suggestive of the board as you will see later...

Back of the box.
 Well, ok, you can see the board on the back of the box. But still....