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One of Raine's biggest hobbies has always been gaming. It all started with an Atari and spread out to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. As an artist, Raine takes pride in painting models for games as well as making his own terrain. He's also been a writer for many years, working both in the journalism industry and writing pieces of fiction. He decided to create Initiative : Tabletop as a platform to talk about all things gaming that he simply thought were cool, and reviewing games became a part of it!

Guest Post: The Plan – Part 43: A Bit Hasty?

I keep a copy of the remaining games that I need to play on a list in my wallet so I can always remember what I have left when I head down to the basement in preparation for game night. With the list now down to a baker’s dozen, the end is in sight. Lately however, I have been looking at trying to find a reason to remove games from the list. Honestly, I would say about half of the games that remain are probably on the list for the wrong reasons (the reasons range from having kept the game since childhood and can’t seem to part with it, to it being technically an expansion, but I want to get that game to the table more this year or a miniatures game but I really want to play it this year). For example, about 5 years ago, I got IU-opoly from a friend who was looking to clean out her apartment before she moved and knew that I played games (the other games she gave me have been traded or sold away long ago). I have kept IU-opoly so I could put it into a shadow box and place it on the wall in my proposed game room – the problem is that a shadow box of that size costs about 50 dollars. Honestly I just want to buy a game to play as oppose to making a cool decoration for a game room that isn’t complete yet. On the other hand, I feel like I would be cheating the spirit of this mission if I converted it to a decoration this December just so I won’t have to play it. These are the dilemmas I face as I come to the end of this journey!

Onto the games:

The first game played from the list this week was Dixit – a Spiel des Jahres winner in 2010. The game is easy to understand and play. Each round, one player is the storyteller who picks one of their six cards and makes a sentence about it telling all the players. Then the other players look at their cards and picks one that best matches the sentence. All cards are shuffled and arrayed on to the table. Then players pick the best card that matches the storyteller’s statement. The key for the storyteller is to get some but not all of the players to guess correctly. The other players are looking for the storyteller’s card and to trick players to guess their card for the most points in a round. Whoever has the most points once all cards are drawn is the winner. A very simple and fun party game!

Dixit: The Doctor Above – with that clue, what card would you choose?

Dixit: The Doctor Above – with that clue, what card would you choose?

The next game I played from the list is Power Grid. I didn’t need to play with any robot players since there were four players – all who had played before. This is another one of those games that most people that are reading this have played so I don’t think I am going to explain how to play. The game is amazing considering its simplicity – it’s always a tense and fantastic game. I will say that it’s the only game that I can think of that all players are attempting not to be in the lead until the very end. The game is so unforgiving to the leader that most players are only going to be in first place when they can deal with low and expensive resources and poor power plant choices. The game has a bunch of maps and different power plant card sets that allow for a myriad of play options. If you haven’t played this one yet, go and play as soon as possible – it’s fantastic!

Power Grid: An extremely challenging game that last is sometimes best!

Power Grid: An extremely challenging game that last is sometimes best!

The final game played is Blood Bowl. This is one of those games that may be more a miniatures game than a board game, but it is on the list since it holds a special place these days (it is how I met my current gaming group). When I think of fantasy football, this is the game I think about and not the accounting and statistics game that most people like to play when the NFL is in season. The rules for this one are online and free last I checked and a lot of companies are out there selling miniatures that you could use for a team. I played a stand-alone match without any experienced players and while it’s a decent game in its own right, the game truly shines when you can play in a league and watch your team gain experience and skills (hopefully without getting killed in the process). The only downside to this one is the fact that most matches are about two hours long all told and makes for a hard sell on a week night where you might only get a single game a week complete. I will say that there is a computer version of the game and can be played in the classic mode – exactly like the board game (I was playing with a high elf team before my computer crashed).

Blood Bowl: The humans exploit a gap in the orc line and make a break for the end zone!

Blood Bowl: The humans exploit a gap in the orc line and make a break for the end zone!

Side Note: I am still putting together all the miniatures from Deadzone. I did get a single player variant with (plague) zombies from the Kickstarter that I might be moving towards to complete this one. Of course, that does mean that I have to assemble all the zombies as well as all of the terrain and the miniatures for the factions – there is hope for me yet (see below).

Last thing I will mention – I am in the process of making dungeon tiles using my purchased Castle Molds (see http://www.hirstarts.com). These molds are great for making really cool terrain and awesome looking dungeon tiles. Of course, I haven’t been able to rid my casts of the tiny bubbles even after using the wet water method along with a vibrating table explained on their website. Why I have tried to makes these blocks after all my failures over the years is a testament to something – though to what is anyone’s guess! On a plus side, I have about 6 minutes per casting that I need to wait so I can scrape the mold flat which allows me 6 minutes to assemble Deadzone miniatures (about 1 or 2 if I’m lucky).

Until next time – Play a Game!
Brendan Mayhugh


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