Tag Archives: 100 play challenge

The Big Game

by April-Lyn Caouette

It’s all fun and games until you’re desperately attempting to kill off a Star Spawn before he can escape into the world, and suddenly your insane teammate starts chanting in an otherworldly language and sacrifices [user=duggo42]another investigator[/user] to Shub Niggurath with the ritual dagger he picked up a few turns ago. Game over, man. Game over.

We also chased off some settlers, terraformed Mars (and Venus), built a dinosaur park, appeased the Mayan gods, and polished off 7 lbs of buffalo wings and a crockpot full of chili (not to mention chips, salsa, guacamole, salad, Girl Scout cookies…)

Oh, and there was some sports thing on the TV in the other room. :what:
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Sand Castles and Sea Breezes

by April-Lyn Caouette

Strangly, I could smell pre-rain ozone in the air as I made my way towards our weekly Wednesday night games meetup at the family restaurant by the sea. But there wasn’t a cloud in sight or any hint of rain in the forecast. The breeze was blowing in from the ocean, and the marine haze was thin enough that I could see the Channel Islands in the distance as I sat at the off-ramp traffic light. The sunset was beautiful, the palm trees were swaying, and when I left my car I could smell salt in the air. Just another night in Southern California.

It was a banner night for me: I won all but one game I played, for a total of four wins. Granted, two of the games were cooperative and one of them was largely luck based, but I’ll take what I can get!

As people were trickling in, Baker Josh and I started with a game of Codenames Duet (which quickly turned into Codenames Triad and then Quad and so on…) We lost our first game when Josh unwisely gave the clue “sand” when “castle” was an available choice, especially when I and my reluctant partner [user=daylighter]Matthew[/user] had been considering castle for the clue “fish” earlier. He was attempting to push us in the direction of “bikini” (which was my next guess) and disk (as in “disk sander”, which I never would have thought of).

The next game went much better, with the other side guessing our last word in sudden death. Then we split off into groups. Since we had two new women joining us with very little experience in the realm of strategy gaming, I opted out of the offered game of Spirit Island, which normally I would never turn down. I figured most of the guys wanted to play something meatier and I should focus on making the newcomers welcome with something a little tamer.

After playing the “what game should we play?” game for a while, four of us settled on Sleuth and the other half dug in to a game of Raiders of the North Sea (must be another new Kickstarter acquisition because I’ve never heard of it).

It’s been a while since I played Sleuth, so it took me a few moments to remember my game-winning note-taking strategy. Said strategy won me two games in a row against [user=bigft64]the game’s owner[/user], so I was feeling pretty good about myself. One out of the two newcomers seemed to be as taken with the game as I am – she was the one who suggested the second play, and the only thing that kept me from agreeing to her suggestion of a third play was that the other woman who’d joined us didn’t seem to be enjoying it much, and was struggling to grasp some of the mechanics of the game.

We finished off the night with a quick game of Qwixx, which I also won – not an earth-shattering victory since it’s a dice game, but like I said, I’ll take what I can get, considering I usually win a pretty small percentage of games I play.

Playing with newcomers is sometimes a struggle – I want to make sure we start light so they don’t get overwhelmed with heavy strategy too early on and get discouraged, but our group generally favors heavier games and the cult of the new at that. We have one woman in particular who shows up on occasion and tell us “I don’t care what we play; I’ll play anything,” and then doesn’t understand why this is a difficult concept for us. I don’t think she understands that when she says this, we have to take into account her experience level (low), ability to process new-rules and complex strategies (still developing) and how willing we are on that particular night to slow down our game significantly to walk her through it (varies by person and week and moment). But it’s hard to say that without being rude or alienating.

I think I need to acquire a few more starter Euro games to bring with me for occasions like that (usually someone brings Carcassonne or Stone Age, but I dislike the latter and have limited patience for the former). Like Puerto Rico. Or even Catan! What are some other entry-level (and yet still fun) Eurogames I should consider for my collection when I have some spare funds? I guess I should probably give Ticket to Ride more credit than I do.
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Trucking along

by April-Lyn Caouette

I want to write about this past Wednesdays’ game night, but no time right now. However, I just read an excellent Galaxy Trucker retrospective that I think anyone familiar with Vlaada, this game, or its excellent witty rulebook, should go read. So I’ll leave you with that, and try to blog about Mansions of Madness and Camel (C)Up tomorrow.

Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Gamer Problems

by April-Lyn Caouette

Us gamers have weird problems. Mine, at the moment, are:

– After surviving hours of of zombie onslaught in our heavily fortified base on Friday night in 7 Days to Die, exactly one quarter of the rooftop farm I spent hours working on inexplicably collapsed under my feet at midnight as I tilled one of the last squares of soil, and I plummeted 60 m to my death. As of yet, no one in my group (which comprises several engineers and computer programmers) has been able to figure out how to fix this. Game physics are weird.

– I only played THREE games this past weekend. And two of them were video games. That is not nearly enough.

– [user=dougmansion]Kyle[/user] and I were dragged through the streets, presumably to our death, by a creepy Innsmouth Mob on Sunday night after they burned down the dock that was our only hope of escape from the town. Jerks.

– Everyone other than me at our Gamechurch staff meeting yesterday has a Switch now, and they won’t stop talking about Mario and Zelda. I am feeling like an outcast and a bad gamer.

– My Mansions of Madness figures and monster tokens don’t want to stay in their bases, so I think I’m going have to buy some model glue. And a craft knife if I don’t already have one. Also my Star Spawns won’t keep their wings open. Also I want to paint them all. But that’s a rabbit hole I’m not sure I want to start down again…

– It’s over a week into the new year and I have yet to play a single new-to-me game for my 100 x 1 challenge.

– I’ve played my semi-annual game of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime with [user=dougmansion]Kyle[/user]. Now who knows how long it will take before we get together to take on the next level and fight Orion. 😥 And our little pink gumball spaceship is so badass now!
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

The Fearsome Four

by April-Lyn Caouette

Our air smells like a wet ashtray this morning. A reminder that our area is still in crisis recovery mode and will be for some time to come.

The air smelled much the same at the diner by the sea on Wednesday night for the not-so-triumphant return of our team, the Fearsome Four as [user=oi_you_nutter]Tim[/user] calls us, to the world of Pandemic Legacy. I won’t give any spoilers but I will say that Season 2 is proving to be a lot more difficult than Season 1. We’ve now lost three games in a row, and more and more often we find ourselves facing defeat before we even begin. This game is brutal.

Which didn’t help my mood. I started the evening in high spirits, ready to jump back into the fray. Then realized I didn’t quite remember how to play the game (our last play was in mid-November). Then realized we were going to lose. And lose again. Watching the world fall apart before our eyes, even in just a game, without any humor to accompany the crisis, combined with my already faltering self-esteem and motivation, didn’t really bode well for my energy levels. I was pretty well drained after two hours of gaming. Didn’t help that [user=runtsta]SOMEONE[/user] on the team played through the entire campaign with his other so-called friends while evacuated due to our wildfires last month, so he already knows the rest of the plot and has been banned from giving us any spoilers.

Fortunately, my friends were sympathetic to my plight when I told them I only had one more light game in me before I left for the night, and played a 7p game of 6 nimmt! with me. Which is always good for a laugh. It’s one of my favorite light card games for a group. It has some strategy… but just enough to give you a false sense of security. Still, I came close to winning for a round, which gave me a much needed boost.

In other news, thanks to a very kind soul I am now the proud owner of a brand new copy of Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed! I am super excited to get home tonight, unpack it, and get it to the table real soon.
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

New Year of Gaming

by April-Lyn Caouette

Happy 2018! Despite feeling like a useless, tired, unenthusiastic lump most of the long weekend, I did manage to spend a good chunk of it gaming.

Friday night my roommates [user=Percephony]Percephony[/user] and [user=runtsta]runtsta[/user] and their best friends gathered to celebrate runtsta’s birthday and play some Gloomhaven, and I retreated to my room to log on and play some 7 Days to Die with some other guys from our gaming group including [user=daylighter]daylighter[/user] and [user=duggo42]duggo42[/user]. We spent the evening leveling the top of a mountain and then after I logged off early at 10 they proceeded to stay up until 3am building a frickking tall tower. You know, the normal kind of exciting things you do on a Friday night… 😀

Saturday I dragged myself down to our Saturday gaming meetup where I mostly felt like myself (until I ran out of steam and had to go home around 9) and ended the year with three more new games for my 100×1 challenge, including an introduction to Kingdom Death: Monster. I’ve been watching our friend Oscar be obsessed with it from a distance and have been curious about playing with him. I’m still skeptical about the idea that hunting the same three monsters over and over again won’t get dull, but so far I’m intrigued enough to play through a couple more sessions and see. It has a lot of game elements that I find really appealing, and generally I trust his taste in games.

On Sunday the roomies and I ordered pizza and had a few friends over to hang out for the evening. I had been invited to a party and also to go out swing dancing, but I didn’t feel up to being around a lot of people, so I declined both offers. My original plan was Netflix and early to bed. I’m afraid I wasn’t great company and staying up until midnight was rough (and shows where I’m at health-wise considering I was not-infrequently staying up dancing or gaming until after midnight over the summer without trouble, even a few times on worknights). I’m grateful to our friends that they didn’t drag me up to the dining room to play board games and instead were willing to play Fibbage 2 and Quiplash for hours.

But I would have been happy to play some medium-light tabletop games… if I could have played them from the couch. Why is this not a thing? Tabletop games that can be played without a common surface? This would be a great addition to my games collection. There are times that I am torn between playing a game and staying comfy in the living room, but even a lot of party games these days require a surface for cards or a board. We all have smartphones – what about games for Steam that we could stream to our TV and play on our phones, like Fibbage, but that are more serious strategy type games? I suppose Bidiots fits into that category (another Jackbox game we tried out on Sunday night,) but I never fully understood what we were doing. Maybe we need to give it another try.

Finally, yesterday, I was invited to try out TI 4th ed with some friends, but wasn’t feeling up to an 8 hour game or gaming with more strangers. After binging “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” all day on Netflix, my roommates played another game of Monuments with me, and I lost miserably. That’s what I get for playing with people who are a lot smarter than I am…

Now that I’m feeling a tiny bit more like myself and the holidays are over, my Pandemic Legacy group will be reunited this Wednesday, and I’m sure that people will be bringing their new Christmas acquisitions.
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek


by April-Lyn Caouette

For four out of the past six years, I’ve participated in a reading challenge on Goodreads. This is the first out of those years I won’t be completing my challenge, but that’s okay – part of the reason I didn’t complete the challenge is the large number of books I started reading and never finished. If I counted number of pages read instead of number of books read, I think that I’d be more than satisfied with my progress. (Especially considering one of those books was Anna Karenina, and one of the books I’m in progress with is War and Peace.)

I’ve also participated in challenges on BGG the last two years. It’s been a good way to push myself to explore different kinds of games and gaming, and it’s been fun to drag others into the madness. Last year my goal was simply to play all the games in the BGG top ten, and after reaching that goal, I’ve added it as an ongoing challenge for myself to always play these games that surge in popularity.

I also signed up for a 100 play challenge of Mysterium, without a specific timeline so that I could chip away at it at my leisure. “Where are you in your 100 plays?” is a question people ask me a lot… one day I’ll finish it….

This year I joined a 100 x 1: 100 different games in 2017. But that sounded too easy. So I made my own personal challenge to play 100 games I’d never played before. I thought even that would be simple, but it proved a lot more difficult than I expected. Going to Gen Con for the first time and demoing lots of games helped. So did having a very understanding gaming group with large collections of obscure games (and short games) they were willing to play with me to boost my numbers.

This past Wednesday we met for our regular Weds gaming night and we played five short, new-to-me games – entirely for my benefit. If it weren’t for my challenge, “Joking Hazard” would never have made its way to our table – we’re the Ventura County STRATEGY Boardgames group, not the Ventura County Light Party Games group. I think everyone is relieved that my challenge is over and that we can stop playing terrible games just for my benefit.

But now I need to find new challenges for 2018! I’m considering:

– 365 play challenge (365 game plays in 2018)
– 10 x 10 challenge (10 plays of 10 different games)
– bumping up my H index at least two numbers (doing a 10 x 10 would accomplish this as a byproduct)
– doing some sort of social challenge (eg playing x number of games with x number of different people, playing x number of games each with x number of specific people, playing x number of new games with one specific person, or maybe just making a goal of helping other people finish their own goals)
– playing every game in my collection at least once (with the goal of culling the collection to only the best games)

What gaming goals did you accomplish in 2017, and what are you thinking about setting as new goals for 2018?
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Games and Depression

by April-Lyn Caouette

Been struggling with a bout of depression lately, and long story short, it’s miserable.

Last night I had a few close girlfriends over to keep me company, and rather than talk endlessly about myself and how I feel, or sit there incapable of holding a conversation with them about the things on *their* minds, I suggested we play a game of Phase 10. Usually not my top pick for a game, but it was well-suited to the moment for a number of reasons. They’re not gamers, so I needed something they could pick up easily (and even then it took them a few phases to really understand what was going on – probably in part due to my rusty skills in explaining games to non-gamers). Also it’s one of my family games, so it’s familiar and comfortable, which was exactly what I needed at the time.

I realized partway through the game last night, and then reflecting on it this morning, that games will probably be a big part of my recovery. I didn’t have the ability to put together a coherent conversation last night, until we started playing. Then I was still sluggish, but my mind felt clearer. Having something to focus on that was strategic, and wasn’t my problems or my feelings or my fatigued body, helped me feel more like myself. And it was great.

A week and a half ago I wasn’t in that place – I skipped my usual Weds games night in favor of Netflix on the couch. But now the medication has had a small amount of time to clear some of the fog away. I’m still withdrawn from much of my life, avoiding most of the stressful things except for the ones I absolutely have to deal with (like going to work). Every day I’m feeling slightly more like myself, but it’s still a struggle. I feel like I’m rebuilding the structure of my life one stone at a time, and sometimes I need to take stones away when I realize that the supports underneath them aren’t quite stable enough yet. And games help with that – they provide a framework when the structure of my day-to-day life activities feels too overwhelming. And the social aspect is key – the framework is one that my friends are building with me, by following the rules and strategies of the game. So without even realizing that they’re doing it, the people I care about are helping restore me to health, even if they’re bad at listening or empathizing or knowing what to say.

I’m going to attempt to actually keep up with this blog again. It seems that interacting with tabletop gamers is good for my mental health (and doing it away from the information overload of Facebook is even better).
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Gamechurch's Gen Con Games Jesus Would Love

by April-Lyn Caouette

I recently went to Gen Con 50 as part of the editorial team for Gamechurch.com, and we demoed tons of games. We also interviewed a bunch of game designers. After some deliberation, we came up with a list of games from the con that we think Jesus would love. This is part one of three of that list.

Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

All the Small Things

Warning: this is going to be an image-light post because my phone died at the beginning of games night last night. I managed to get exactly two pictures before we started our first game of the evening.

This was a night full of small games for me – I managed to get in six unique games, eight games total, over a period of four hours. Not bad! First up was Karuba. I’ve been wanting to try it for a month or so now, and B started bringing it regularly a few weeks ago. But each other time it came to the table I’ve been otherwise occupied.

Here is a picture of all my tiles laid out neatly in numerical order:


And here is a picture of the explorer and temple meeples. I’m a fan.

Immediately after this picture was when my phone died, so you’ll just have to use your imagination!

I liked this game. The combination of tile-laying, spacial puzzle, risk-management (should I lay down this good tile or spend it for movement points? Will I have enough movement left? Will the other players get ahead of me?) worked well for me. I wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of it, but I’d certainly play it again without hesitation.

While we played that, the other half of the room occupied themselves with a game of Monty Python Fluxx. I’m honestly surprised every time the more “hardcore” gamers play Fluxx – I’m not sure it’s anyone at our night’s favorite game, and even *I* wrinkle my nose up at it most of the time these days. It has its place – and that place is for playing in lines at con, playing late at night at con when your brain is tired but you’re not ready to give up and sleep yet… pretty much, its place is for playing at con.

This is the point where my memory of who played what when gets a little hazy. There was a long game of Panamax played off in one corner, a game of Evolution in the middle of the room, and on our side of the galaxy there were a half dozen shorter games, several of which I got to knock off my “to play” list. First up was Welcome to the Dungeon, one that I’ve been eyeing for months, but wasn’t entirely sure I’d like. “Press your luck” games can be fun, but most of the time they just irritate me. Welcome to the Dungeon turned out to be the former, I’m happy to say, although I wish it had gone on a little longer. I feel like just as we were getting the hang of it, it was over. Maybe if we were more devious with our playing we could have extended the game longer.

Next up was Monopoly Deal. I wouldn’t normally play this sort of game (ie games based on major game company franchises) but I’ve been more willing to give them a chance since I learned that Yahtzee Free for All is actually a pretty fun game. My mom sent me this one in her last care package, and I’ve been looking forward to giving it a try so I could report back to her. It was a success! It some of the parts of Monopoly I like (set collecting, demanding money from your friends) and none of the parts I hate (playing for much too long, landing on your opponent’s properties over and over and over again, hating your friends). Playing it also made me realize that I haven’t played actual Monopoly in maybe 15 years. My roommates and I may remedy that tonight so I can see whether it’s actually the terrible game I’ve been claiming all this time.

Since the rest of the room was still busy in their long games, the three of us kept gaming together, and found three more games we could all agree on – and they all happened to be cooperative! We played two rounds of FUSE, and didn’t win either of them. Although I think we would have won the second round if another restaurant guest hadn’t come over and said “Okay, I’m curious. What are you playing? It looks fun!” I think I did a pretty good job of chasing her away politely by saying, “We’re playing this game called FUSE where you have ten minutes to defuse the bombs in this deck of cards – and we have about four minutes left.” I would have loved to explain further but bombs are Serious Business. I did hold up the box lid for her to see, probably costing us the game but it made me feel less rude.

Two games of that was about all the stress I could handle, so then we moved on to a couple games of Mysterium (bringing my total count for my 100 Play Challenge up to a whopping 17). Turns out being a psychic in a three player game is even harder than being a psychic in a 4+ player game! Of course, we did play on hard mode, too, which made it even trickier. Winning one out of the two games felt pretty good.

To finish the evening off we played a quick 3-player game of Codenames, which we just barely managed to win against the dummy blue team. And that was that! Another Wednesday in the bag.

Now, I’m off to play Monopoly without the help of the “money on Free Parking” rule I’ve always played with. Wish me luck….