Category Archives: Gaming

Experiences from my gamers world.

History of Dice

Saw this timeline on BGG. Fascinating!

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Titan for the Ipad in Beta, first impression.

I am so very excited! I got to test Titan Beta for the Ipad! First impression: it looks wonderful! For those who are unfamiliar with the game look here.
The graphics are gorgeous and crisp, even the big gameboard on the (relative) small Ipad screen looks great and is clear. If you know the game you easily adapt to the Ipad game mechanics. As with many adaptations of boardgames, Titan for Ipad takes care of bookkeeping and prevents arguing over rules. Nice features are:

– Splitting legions is done easily in a pop-up and dragging monsters from the old legion to the new legion.
– When moving legions your possible destinations are high-lighted and possible musters are shown.
– During a battle you are notified of possible musters. No dice rolls are shown, but the hits are clearly displayed on targets. The battle mechanic is very clear.

This is still beta, there are a few glitches I won’t go into now, they’ll be smoothed out; local play against the AI is very captivating already. Work is in progress for online play, I am very curious about that.
When it is released I will surely write a full review.

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PR for the IPad!! It’s here!

Finally it is there! Puerto Rico for the IPad! After months of finding all kinds of holiday suggestion in the country PR, the Game is here!
I broke one of my rules and bought it without first judging it with a friend, since there seems to be no lite/trial version. But I am not disappointed, no sir-ree! They did a better job than with Small World methinks: 2-5 player options, either human players or AI opponents. I have played a few games, and I can easily best the easy AI, but have great difficulty with the medium or hard AI. I am not that good a PR-player, so this could be the cause for my demise.
I have not tried the on-line feature yet, but this looks promising: you can try and locate a friend with PR, or, as I understand it, have a random guest invited.
The gameplay is very good, the tutorial is very clear. I ran it to see how things worked in the IPad version; the layout is different from the board-game, but you get used to this very quickly.
A wonderful game, and sofar a very good buy for the fans of this game. Hopefully in the future some update will appear with some of the interesting variants mentioned here on BGG.

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Gaming then, gaming now

I started my gaming days as an adult a long time ago. I began with Diplomacy, but quickly turned to other games. Tactical wargames: not too many units to manage, and not too much luck involved. Strategy games, like Civilization(the boardgame!), Age of Renaissance, a few others.
The first major wargame what did it for me was Battletech; today it’s called Classic Battle Tech, but then it was just Battletech. It had everything I liked: tactical concept, science fiction, heroics, real goodies and baddies, at least in the beginning, honour, noble love, the works. I played all kinds of Battletech games: on hex-boards and as a table-top game, tried out double-blind rules, for which you needed two tables, two players and a referee, one-on-one games, team-games, and campaigns! Met a guy while playing a double-blind scenario. He called me and told me he had gotten my name and phone number from a friend,who told him I played Battletech. He came over to watch the game in progress, and in the years following we played numerous campaigns, wonderful.
After Battletech I played other miniature games. I liked them a lot, still do. But nowadays I play different games, my miniatures rarely see the outside of their store boxes. I play games like Roborally, Puerto Rico, Race for the Galaxy, and so on. It’s because of my wife. When I married a few years ago she was a non-gamer. Gaming was for children, right? At first she was flabbergasted to se grown men play games, but she participated and took a fancy for it. She became quite fanatical, wanting to win badly and a sore loser. But no miniature games. She just could not enjoy it, still don’t know why. It’s not the aggression, she can be very fanatical during session. It’s not the war aspect, she slaughters any1 in her way in, say, Smallworld and likes to make your life as difficult as possible for others in Race for the Galaxy or Puerto Rico. But no miniatures and no Role playing Games. Sometimes I miss those games. On rare occasions I invite a friend, or go visiting, and play one of those games.
Alas, my love does not like that. She wants to play too, and not those stupid games, where you have to pretend to be some1 else, or where you have to move toy-soldiers around. Well, there are benefits to being married.

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Boardgames for the IPad, worth it?

I own an IPad 2, and I had the previous model before. I have bought several apps, and of course a few games. I also purchased two boardgames, Tikal and Smallworld. I am looking at Ticket to Ride, but…
I had my doubts about boardgames on a computer, and I still have. I play BGs because of the company, sometimes I play with just my wife. Games, I mean… So when one plays games for social reasons, you would not consider buying a boardgame for a computer. Yet, I am a gadgeteer, I like toys like an Iphone and Ipad. I bought an IPad with the rationalizing, that it could be a nice e-book reader. True, I have been considering an e-book reader for valid reasons, but I’m obviously just kidding myself. it’s beautiful, I just want one!
So, boardgames for an IPad, would that be worth it? A friend had an IPad, probably among the first ppl who bought one. He is worse then me. He had Smallworld installed. I own the boardgame and I like that game very much. The IPad version only supports 2-player games, blasphemy! Why in the world would I buy a mutilated version of a very fun game? But I did, in the end. I even bought the expansions, I have those with the boardgame as well.
I did not realize it had an AI opponent included. So my wife and I played a game, and it enthusiasted me! Smallworld needs a lot of managing, there are a lot of counters to dole out. Luckily my wife likes to do such things, easy on the rest of us, who are plain lazy in that aspect.
I’m one of those people who live by the adagum: only when all else fails read the manual. So there were some confusing moments, where new curses were invented, when it was unclear why certain things could not be done, or why certain actions DID happen, while it seemed not possible. There is no pause button to click during the resolution of a turn, so you can’t analyse a situation to find out WHY!
In time I began to wonder if it is such a bad thing, that there is only a two-player mode. My wife and I hand over the IPad to each other and do our own thing, solo, no opponent(s) watching and giving well-meant advise… It is less fun than playing the board game. Playing the AI, well… Maybe it’s fun to do this when you are really bored, but it’s a board game, I just don’t like to play this game against an AI.
I am at a doubt about this game on the tablet. It’s quick to set-up and to play, no arguments about rules, you can’t take back any moves, and no managing counters and such, and no checking if anyone has forgotten anything: if you do forget something, tough on you. But I miss the social interaction, the rowdy comments and arguments (“That’s a stupid move!”, “She is much stronger, attack her!”) the banter and chatter which is part of our gaming evenings. But, having said all this, I am not sorry about having bought this game.
Then there is Tikal. I have that board game as well and I like it very much as well. So I bought the game without a second thought. Tough on me! For some reason I don’t like to play Tikal on the IPad. I have tried to rationalize this for myself. One thing is I only see part of the game board. When you enlarge the view I have the feeling I’m looking at a different game. I find the placing and moving around of expedition members awkward, it’s unclear sometimes what happens when I tap a tile. AT one point it seemed I have built a new camp by just tapping a tile, which I was not aware of, and for which I had no need or intention.
It’s me, I know, but it’s me who judges the game.

All in all I think the slimming down to a 2-player game of Smallworld is not a bad thing in retrospect. When playing with more than 2 players the board game is more fun. I just can’t imagine me and my friends getting together and play Tikal or Neuroshima or such on the IPad. It leaves out a lot of what makes gaming evenings fun for me. This goes for other games as well, at least for me. I have also made a vow: I will not buy a game for the Ipad again if it has no lite or trial version. Or when I cannot find someone who has bought it already, so I can have a look at it. I have been disappointed several times now, not just with boardgames, and although the money spend is relatively little, I still think it’s a waste.

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Gaming is for children… Is it?!

So, in the time before Internet became a major part in everyone’s live there was Play-by-Mail. No mistake, not by-email, but by-mail. I played some space combat game with a few people, this was fun. The company running these games organized a day in Utrecht, where ppl could meet and where PbM-games where hosted on the spot: you had 15 minutes to enter your orders, handed them in and received your new status report a little later.
I decided to go there and meet with a guy I had never met to play as a team, which we did as Play-by-Email. We did meet, got acquainted and took an immediate liking toward each other. We played a game against another team and got butchered, but it was just fun to meet him and we talked a lot. We got to talk about board-gaming, which I did not do up until then. I did not know anyone to play with. We talked about playing together, for he had a similar problem, though he had a brother to play against. The games we had heard about needed several players, so what to do?
Someone next to us had overheard us and pointed us to a fellow sitting at a table at the other side of the room. So we went over there, spoke to him and asked about gaming. He told us enthusiastically about Diplomacy, which he organized about every two weeks, and of course we where welcome. Now I had never heard about this game before, but I was willing to give it a try. Yes, it was a gaming evening for adults, not children, and Diplomacy certainly was not a children’s game, no sir!

And there I went for my first gaming night as an adult. As a kid I had played games, mostly with my mother. Though she was not a gamings-person at all, she taught me the basic games like checkers and Halma, some more games most of us know from childhood. In my early teens I got to visit an aunt of my, who was artistic and intellectual and considered a bit loony by the rest of my family, no offence intended!
I liked visiting her, got to meet all kind of people I never saw at my place or in my social circles. There an elderly gentleman taught me Chess. Chess now I considered an adults game, not really for children, sorry, that’s how I was brought up.
But Diplomacy, my first evening as an adult gamer, and my first game where cheating and deceit was allowed, yes even necessary to win! I have played Diplomacy for a while, but it is not my kind of game, I found out. However, in the following months I met some other fellows, who played other games: war games! I enjoyed those more then Diplomacy and started to play those games, forsaking Dippy.

So when I once told my sister I had other plans for a certain day, she asked what I was going to do. To play games, I said. I got this peculiar look, which I would see more so in the years to come.
‘But.. gaming is for children, is it not?’
Yeah right!

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