Closing Ceremonies at the Summer of Victory III

September 20, 2010

Between Memorial and Labor Day, those most American of holidays, I always make it a point to declare, “This summer is the summer of victory!” Alas, it was not so this summer. But the fates were against me, I tell you. Not only was I busy writing my master’s thesis, but my wife ended up on bedrest too as we awaited the birth of our first child. And Her Royal Cuteness came a few weeks early, roughly eight days before the summer was over. So it’s not my fault, I swear.

I’m sorry to report it was a summer of defeat, though by a relatively small margin. I played 38 games and won 17, a respectable .447 win average. I also played a nice mix of games, from Cribbage and Carcassonne to the World at War series and Washington’s War.  And there actually is a small glimmer of hope in all the number crunching. In two player games, I was 15-1-2, a phenomenal record in a wide variety of war and deep strategy games. I’m hoping this means good things when Joe returns from active duty (though he’ll probably still stomp me).

So although it wasn’t a “summer of victory” in the way I wanted, it was still an enjoyable few months of gaming. And these days, I’m learning all sorts of new tricks, including…how to game with a newborn in my arms. Awesome.

Boardgames and Birthdays

September 15, 2010

Monday evening as we were sitting at the dinner table my wife asked, “What do you want on your birthday cake?”
I looked at my 3 year old daughter and asked her, “What should Daddy have on his birthday cake. How about a board game?”
My three year old responded, “That’s wierd,” with a look to match, “How about flowers!”
I protest, “But I’m a boy.”
She quickly answers back, “They could be blue!”
As soon as I said board game, I could tell my wife started working on the design. “Do the girls have a hex shape in their toy downstairs?”
“Yes,” knowing where she is going with this, “and you could use the plastic figures, too.”

The next day, my birthday, is uneventful until I get home. My daughters and wife greet me at the door with hand made birthday cards. After some hugs, kisses and thank yous I go to the kitchen and find the birthday cake on the counter. Awesome:

Memoir '44 Themed B-Day Cake

Memoir '44 Themed B-Day Cake

Memoir '44 Themed B-Day Cake

Close-up on the delicious terrain

She did a great job with the all of the terrain ’tiles’. I was very impressed with the forests and hedgerows. It even looks like it could be halfway through an actual scenario from Memoir ’44.

I didn’t get to open my birthday gift since it hasn’t arrived yet. But I’m excited about my copy of Manoeuvre coming in a few weeks.

After dinner my wife and I played a game of Carcassonne. This is when her generosity ended.


My blue meeples didn't do so well

Even though I scored a 52 point farm and 30 point bonus for goods at the end I still lost by ~30 points. But it was still a fun time and I had a great birthday.

Improving My Game Collection

September 3, 2010

Before I started visiting Board Game Geek on a daily basis and blogging about board games, my board game collection was typical. My cupboards growing up and now contained all of the classic board and card games: Chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, etc. Then my brother got me a copy of Ingenious and told me about games that were ‘card driven.’ Since then my board game collection has improved. And because I love numbers, below is a numerical comparison.

But First…
Board Game Geek (BGG) catalogs 48,190 board games (as of this writing). From their website:

Every game can be given a rating from 1 to 10. These ratings are entirely subjective but the suggested guidelines are:
* 10 – Outstanding. Always want to play and expect this will never change.
* 9 – Excellent game. Always want to play it.
* 8 – Very good game. I like to play. Probably I’ll suggest it and will never turn down a game.
* 7 – Good game, usually willing to play.
* 6 – Ok game, some fun or challenge at least, will play sporadically if in the right mood.
* 5 – Average game, slightly boring, take it or leave it.
* 4 – Not so good, it doesn’t get me but could be talked into it on occasion.
* 3 – Likely won’t play this again although could be convinced. Bad.
* 2 – Extremely annoying game. I plan to never play this again.
* 1 – Defies description of a game. You won’t catch me dead playing this. Clearly broken.

Of these, 6,349 games have enough user ratings to garner a ranking based on the “Geek Rating.” That number but is basically the user average rating with some filtering/weighting/black magic to make the ratings more accurate.

Fun Fact: The highest rated games are Puerto Rico and Agricola at 8.20/10. The lowest of the ranked games is Tic-Tac-Toe with a score of 2.89.

So using that rating system, I rated my all the games that I own and compared those numbers to the BGG numbers. Here are the results:

18 “Classic” Games
Average Personal Rating of my Games Collection: 5.1
Average Geek Rating of my Games Collection: 5.8

Games Since
11 “New” Games
Average Personal Rating of my Games Collection: 7.9
Average Geek Rating of my Games Collection: 7.1

All of my Games Combined
Average Personal Rating of my Games Collection: 6.1
Average Geek Rating of my Games Collection: 6.2

If I look back at the BGG ratings guide, I’d say I have to agree overall. That’s not to say all of my games were bad – I had some good games. But previously, board games were merely an ‘average’ activity or even ‘somewhat boring’. Generally when friends would come over we might have played a board game but it usually wasn’t my first choice.

Now when I get together with family and friends I’m usually bringing a board game (or two) along because I know it will be played. People find these games ‘fun’ and are ‘usually willing to play.’ I’ll still play “classic” games, but the “new” games are certainly going to see more playing time.

My games collection has certainly improved. That’s not to say all of my purchases have been winners, but I’m glad I’ve found this hobby. I just wonder what my kids will think of the games that have always been in their cupboards…?