Friday, July 1, 2011

HOT BOX - 'Navegador' (What's in the Box?)

Hello! Glad you could stop by again today! I want to show you one of my new games that I'm really excited about!

I had the opportunity to try Navegador on my last day @ Gamestorm 2011 earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. There seemed to be many different paths to victory and the score came out very close in the end (I squeaked out a victory although I think the experience players let me backtrack on one turn where I bought a spice factory a little too early on and they suggested I shouldn't).

I love the rondel! I love the achievement multipliers! I love the exploration aspect! I love how the market works!

I loved it enough to pick up my own copy of the game. Last weekend I finally got around to getting it punched and then played (well, we didn't quite finish the game but we 'saved' it with pictures so we can finish the next gaming session).

Anyhow, I took some pics while opening it. Here's the process of opening and punching it:

Box cover - Henry the Navigator, um, navigating...
Back of the box (there he is again!)
Why Henry the Navigator? Well, according to the booklet inside the box: "The explorations along the African coast guided by Henry heralded the Age of Discovery."

You know the drill - 2 cuts at the corner, then peel the plastic!

The moment of truth.... (alas, no box fart :( )

There's something weird that I pay attention to that not everyone does. No, not box farts! Everyone loves those! It's how well the box top and bottom fit together. Some fit really tightly. Some come off easily. Some are JUST tight enough to cause a box fart. But, it seems to require a certain box HEIGHT to actually cause a box fart. The right combination of tightness and height brings you the joy. And, sometimes you don't get a fart when pulling it OPEN but when you go to CLOSE it....fttttt....ahhhhh. :laugh:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TIMELY TOPICS - Time to Game, Time to NOT game

I was looking at my most recent posts and realized I've only posted twice this month! I've come to the realization that I probably will only be able to post once per week writing to the depth I've been writing in the past. This month has been particularly bad as I've been particularly busy.

And, I have a hard time just writing shorter posts in a quick manner as normal blogs tend to be written. However, I've seen other blogs with fairly short posts and they can still be interesting.

So, I'm going to try to fill in shorter posts about topics of interest without going into to much detail.

I can already see this is going to be tough for me.

So, my topic today is TIME. More specifically NO TIME to play games because life has just been too busy. I know this happens to many people and that's why I wanted to talk about it.

May and June are traditionally busy for our family due to birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. This year it was PARTICULARLY busy as the kids were also doing softball/baseball plus dance classes. So, I decided to look back at the calendar and give the breakdown since June 13th (my last post):

  • Ceremony where my daughter 'graduated' from Elementary school to Middle school
  • 8 kids' baseball or softball practices
  • 10 kids' baseball or softball games
  • 4 kids' dance performance dress rehearsals
  • 2 kids' dance performances
  • 2 birthday parties for my son (one for 10 kids, one for family)
  • 1 additional birthday party for my daughter to attend
  • clean the house
  • grocery shopping
  • mow the lawns - twice (and it desperately needs it again now but will have to wait a bit longer)
  • kids' field day on last day of school
  • parents visiting in town
  • cook full barbecue for 10 family members
  • Father's Day
  • 12th Wedding Anniversary
  • Trip to the Oregon coast (had to cut this short to only 1-1/2 days
  • Dinner out for my son on his actual birthday
  • Birthday pictures @ JCPenny
  • Son's baseball pictures
  • Scouts awards/crossover ceremony and potluck
I think there was some other stuff too. And yes, that really was all crammed into 16 days! A couple of the days were absolutely non-stop.

Yes, I did manage to get a couple of games in this past weekend, mostly with my son and a couple of great games with my friend Bob on Sunday.

Unfortunately I missed the EGG Game Day on Saturday due to 2 baseball/softball games that exactly broke up the day enough that I couldn't fit in the EGG day.

I definitely work to try to find time to get some gaming in (I want to get all my games played as much as I can, right?), but I also work to balance that with regular life. My wife feels that I have been spending too much time on gaming related activities. It may definitely be the case that I spend a lot of time thinking about games, playing games, making game player aids and custom pieces, playing games, reading about games, buying games, taking pictures about games, writing about games, and playing games.

But I also feel like I'm not shirking my other duties to my family. I could just as easily spend all my time around TV or movies or rebuilding cars or whatever. It's the hobby I enjoy most so I can't help spending a lot of time on it.

I think the key is finding the right balance - when to game, and when to NOT game.

My wife has pointed out that conventions can be a problem. Gone all day for 2-5 days, maybe a couple of times per year. I admit that taking time off from work to go to the Gamestorm convention each spring is somewhat of a problem. No, a rather big problem really. I definitely feel guilty being gone for that amount of time, and it really irks me that it happens during Spring Break when the kids are off from school. I love going but it costs money and takes away from family time. Next year will likely be a break away from Gamestorm for me as a result.

Beyond conventions is the weekly gaming. If I could I'd be playing games every day, but that's just not happening. I've been very lucky to find lots of different gamers available in my area. I can usually coordinate gaming with someone on my own schedule. The important thing is to find an appropriate time.

In the past, I would have someone over when my wife would go out and do something with one of her friends or her mom. However, this became a problem because sometimes the kids needed managing (showers, homework, dinner, etc) and this conflicted with focusing on gaming and being a good host to my guests. Ok, mostly the gaming for me as most of my friends are understanding that I have kids to deal with. Anyhow, I would get frustrated and sometimes didn't give the kids the attention they deserved. But, I've been learning how to better balance that and take the time needed to get them going without being I said my friends are understanding. I still don't like leaving them sitting alone for extended periods though.

But, we are making a shift now so that either my wife or I will be available to make sure the kids get the attention they need. I also need to cut back a bit on how often gaming occurs. Or, at least try to keep gaming with friends to once a week or every 2 weeks, with maybe an extra day here or there, and then squeeze in gaming as appropriate with the kids. My son in particular seems to really enjoy gaming and has been getting into it more and more, although my daughter loves certain games like Dominion, Thunderstone and Stone Age.

I used to be able to get my wife to play games, but she seems to have backed off more and more lately. I even put together a Ticket to Ride based on her design idea that we entered into the TtR design contest, but I think she only played it twice total. Of course, I only played it a handful of times as well.

It's just not her thing so I don't try to push it on her anymore and encourage her to partake in activities she prefers instead.

Well, that's all I've got. I'm sure if I came back tomorrow I could write a ton more, but I'm trying to keep it shorter, right? Well, that failed I guess...

I'm curious as to how others manage their game time versus personal time. I suspect single people and people without kids will likely have more time to fit gaming into their lives, but whether that's true or not I have no idea.

BTW, check back for my next post. I'm going to start offering a monthly prize drawing to everyone that thumbs my blog posts in a month on BGG and thumbs to this post (click the link to go to BGG to add a thumb) will count as entries for the prize I offer in July. And, yes, it will be game related! You'll have to wait for my next post to find out what it is!

Now, go find some time and play a game. I know you've got a few milliseconds in your schedule for at least a filler!