Category Archives: Board Game News

The Food Court Gambit

There’s a chess club in Vancouver, British Columbia that meets at a local shopping mall. They’ve been meeting there for a while now. How long? Fifty years. Recently, the management of the mall issued a letter to the club stating the food court was only for paying customers not chess loiterers. The chess club was told to pack up their rooks and rent space at a library. That was on April 1st. Here is what happened next…

 

Park Royal Shopping Center, West Vancouver, BC

Park Royal Mall
Park Royal Mall

The Park Royal Shopping Center is Canada’s first covered mall, having been open in 1950. The mall has 1.4 million square foot floor space, 280 stores and two stories.  This makes it roughly twice the size of our own Lakes Mall.

It was here that a rag tag group began their five decade long tradition of meeting to play chess.

 

A 50 year tradition

Muskegon needs a chess club
E.S. Lowe’s Chess Set

The mall has been home to an informal chess club. With no official newsletter or website, the club simply showed up to the mall pretty much every day since the  Lyndon Johnson administration. Or the Lester Pearson administration if you’re Canadian.

George Ingham has been going there for the better part of 50 years. Indeed, he even met his wife there while playing chess. (Note: I wish I met my wife while playing Twilight Imperium).

Inuvik
Inuvik

Another chess playing comrade is Terry Fellows. Terry was living in Inuvik back in 1983 when rumors of a chess club in Vancouver reached him. Don’t know where Inuvik is because you’re a Yankee?  Well Inuvik is in the arctic circle, due east of Alaska’s northern coast.

Terry took a vacation in West Vancouver in 1983 to see what the chess scuttlebutt was all about. He was so enamored by the group, he moved to Vancouver. I’m sure the difference in weather (Vancouver’s weather is like Seattle’s) played only the teensiest part in his decision.

The rag tag group isn’t just for geriatrics and retirees. Ashley Tapp, a 16 year high school student, meets with the group. And she is a competitive player. She has represented Canada in international championships in Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates. She drops in on the Park Royal Mall group, mopping up the competition.

With a such a prolific history and such rigorous competition, one must wonder why the management of mall told the group they were no longer welcome.

 

“No alternative but to reach out to the West Vancouver Police”

Muskegon's Harry Morgan
Muskegon’s Harry Morgan

The mall has a sizable food court. The chess group occupies seats and tables there to play games. And the management of the mall had enough of that.

Park Royal’s management sent a letter to Terry Fellows regarding the new direction of mall. The food court was for paying customers. Occupying tables and chairs for over an hour was loitering, leaving “no alternative but to reach out to the West Vancouver Police”. I imagine the police in W. Vancouver have nothing better to do than round up dangerous chess players.

Billy Mitchell, King of Kong
Billy Mitchell, King of Kong

But the letter does conjure up an image. When I read the letter issued from the manager, I thought to myself: is the Park Royal Shopping Center being run by Billy Mitchell?

The letter (linked below) does offer the club a few alternatives. All of them charge for space (including the library). The mall offered the club $500 stipend as a one time hush money.

Terry and the chess club were aghast that the mall no longer welcomed them.

 

An April Fool’s Day Joke?

Fast food sushi at Park Royal
Fast food sushi at Park Royal

The mall had originally wanted the group to meet there. There was a 12 foot by 12 foot chess board in the middle of the mall. The group purchased thousands of dollars in equipment and stored it at the mall.

Renovations over the years forced the group to move from one area of the mall to another. But the group always met at Park Royal. Eventually, the food court was the only place where adequate table space was afforded to the general public. And it was here that the chess players would play.

Members of the club state they have always yielded seats to other patrons. The chess players also said they patronized the food court everyday, eating A&W and drinking Tim Horton’s regularly. The notion that they are non-patrons using the food court’s seating is confusing and absurd.

The group has not gone down quietly. Which brings us to a cunning chess counter known as the Food Court Gambit.

 

The Food Court Gambit

Queen's gambit
Queen’s gambit

The group reached out to the mayor of West Vancouver. On their behalf Mayor Michael Smith intervened. He told the management that the decision to disallow the chess players was not a “shrewd move”. I love it when municipal leaders make chess references.

Unfortunately, the mall inexplicably stood their ground.

A local church, the West Vancouver Presbyterian Church, is going to have a sit in and play chess at the mall. The minister said he does not anticipate mass arrests, this despite Billy Mitchell’s threat.

The group was officially offered the use of space in the mall by some of the mall’s tenants. White Spot and Whole Foods don’t want the chess players to leave. Management from both retailers have said the chess players are welcome there.

 

The End?

Chess players
Chess players Credit: Arlen Redekop

As of this blog post, the chess club of Park Royal Shopping Center is still meeting in the food court against the whims of the management. There has been no police intervention as of yet. The group has the support of the community if not the legal standing for use the mall’s private property.

Since the story is still ongoing, I’ll keep my finger on the pulse and keep you up to date.

Here are some links for you to read if you are interested in this story.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/chess-players-struggle-to-keep-meeting-at-park-royal-1.3520739

http://nvs24.com/news/canada/West-Vancouver-chess-players-defy-Park-Royal-ban-4976967.html

Front page

 

The Park Royal Chess Club is always welcome here…

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
139 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

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Sept. Games

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016, 6:30 PM
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Asmodee Group, the local game store and our hobby

Asmodee, the publisher of such games at Formula D and 7 Wonders, has been making waves in the past several months. They cannot seem to go even a week without someone comparing them to the evil Games Workshop. A recent announcement from Christian T Petersen, CEO of Fantasy Flight Games, sent some users on board game geek intoa tizzy. In this post, I will, to the best of my ability, break down the recent events at Asmodee, the recent FFG announcements and what this will mean for the gaming hobby.

 

1. What is Asmodee?

Asmodee logo
Asmodee logo

Asmodee is a French board game publisher. Founded in 1995, Asmodee has published many hits like Formula D, Dice Town, Ca$h and Guns and Hanabi. Asmodee has a reputation for making not just good games but for making excellent components for games. This is why Wizkids and Pokemon gave Asmodee the European publishing rights to their respective intellectual properties.

I’ve been a fan of Asmodee’s games. Their gameartwork and component quality are almost Fantasy Flight or Days of Wonder level in their excellence.

So what’s the humdrum about?

 

2. August 25, 2015: Asmodee buys Days of Wonder

Days of Wonder logo
Days of Wonder logo

Days of Wonder, the publisher of Ticket to Ride and Memoir ’44, was bought out by Asmodee. This took the game world by surprise.

Days of Wonder, the Los Altos, CA based company, makes a small cache of games with high quality components. This purchase gave Asmodee a substantial U.S. presence. According to Forbes, this acquisition would not affect the overall direction of Days of Wonder. They would act as a studio in the Asmodee Group.

This news was greeted by users on BGG very positively. “Can’t think of a negative”, “Two class acts merging”. Positive post after positive post.

 

3. November 17, 2015: Asmodee acquires Fantasy Flight Games

Fantasy Flight Games logo
Fantasy Flight Games logo

From Forbes:

Paris-based board game giant Asmodee announced on Monday that it is merging with independent U.S. publisher Fantasy Flight Games. It’s Asmodee’s second major North American acquisition in the last three months, and more evidence of the company’s desire to expand out of European markets.

The merger works well for both concerns. FFG now has access to the European market for its games and vice versa for Asmodee.

Asmodee was no longer a small fish. They made their move. And we welcomed our new Asmodee overlords. If Asmodee buys one more game line, they can form Voltron.

 

4. January 6, 2016: Asmodee buys Catan

Settlers of Catan is a classic board game that Muskegon still enjoys.
Settlers of Catan

So Asmodee can form Voltron now. They’ve acquired the rights to Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games.

The press release from Mayfair Games is a boilerplate.

Voltron, defender of the Universe
Voltron, defender of the Universe

It says the “Catan Studio” was acquired by Asmodee for English language rights. Which, in layman terms, means everywhere but France and Quebec.

With the rights to Catan, Asmodee now has a strong Euro portfolio to go along with their FFG and DoW line up.

But the news didn’t stop there…

 

 

5. History is repeating itself: the evils of Hasbro

Hasbro
Hasbro

The Hassenfeld Brothers, Hasbro for short, founded their company in 1923. They didn’t become a toy manufacturer until the 1940’s. They struck gold in the 1960’s when they got the rights to make a doll for boys: the G.I. Joe action figure.

In 1983, Hasbro acquired major game publisher Milton Bradley. Hasbro acquired major game publisher Parker Brothers in 1991. And 1998 and 1999 saw Hasbro add Avalon Hill and Wizards of the Coast to their menagerie. Gamers are keenly aware of this history. The acquisition of Avalon Hill by a department store game publisher like Hasbro was ill received.

And for good reason. Hasbro had little interest in reprinting Avalon Hill’s wonderful catalog of high strategy games. Hasbro only wanted the rights so they wouldn’t have any competition.

The question on everyone’s mind is: Will Asmodee do the same with the wonderful catalog of games they have now acquired? The answer is: probably not. Hasbro spent a lot of money on all those brands. When Hasbro wouldn’t reprint games, little publishers came out of the wood work to make games. Hasbro’s attempt to eliminate the competition has only made the competition more competent. I doubt that Asmodee is going to do the same. Unlike Hasbro, Asmodee wants its subsidiaries to continue to do what they do best: publish awesome games.

 

6. History is repeating itself: the evils of Games Workshop

Games Workshop
Games Workshop

Asmodee Group has released a statement regarding a new pricing policy for its distributors. This has sent the board game world into its current tizzy. There have been howls from right field that Asmodee has become another Games Workshop.

The announcement about new pricing was met with great apprehension. Why acquire all these companies and then announce that you’re updating your pricing? The CEO of Fantasy Flight Games, Christian Petersen, gave an interview to clarify the policy.

Asmodee, and therefore FFG, want to nurture the local game stores over the online game stores. This is the heart of the new pricing policy. Asmodee values the local game stores and the new customers they bring to the hobby over the online game stores. As such, they are going to give better discounts to local game stores than to online game stores.

This can be taken to mean that local game stores will get a steeper discount. But more than likely it means that online stores will get worse discounts while local game stores will get the existing discount. Which means that Asmodee is simply increasing their own margins at the detriment of online stores. Coupled with their massive acquisitions, this can be seen to be bad news for our hobby. A good game company is now buying everything it can and screwing over its customer base.

Games Workshop indeed.

 

7. Of Monopolies and Paydays

Waddingtons' Monopoly
Waddingtons’ Monopoly

Asmodee’s price restructuring was met by lots of apprehension and teeth gnashing by gamers. But owners of local game stores were very happy with the news. Jeff from Out of the Box

Century Club in Muskegon
Century Club

was very vocal about it. He believes he can sell more Asmodee products with such a scheme. Other game shop owners have said the same thing.

This new policy will undoubtedly mean that if you buy games online, you will be paying more than before. Before you might now get 25% less than MSRP whereas you’ve been enjoying a 30+% discount heretofore. This policy will level the playing field between online and local game stores. It sucks for people who buy their games online because they will just be paying more.

But what about those of us with a local game store? How will it affect us? First off: it won’t affect us financially. We will not get games cheaper than before–it’s just that online stores will get their games more expensive than before. Second off: it will drive local demand. This means that your local stores will see an influx in consumers. People who shop for games online are not opposed to making local purchase when the prices are comparable

And this should make things more comparable.

This means that local game clubs (like the Muskegon Area Gamers) could see growth. This is the true goal of the new pricing. Petersen said he estimates that 10% to 20% of the people in our hobby leave each year. This means he needs more gamers to make up the deficit. I agree with him here. We see gamers leave our group all the time. This means we need to constantly recruit.

With all of these mergers going on, the specter of antitrust has reared its head. Do all these recent acquisitions along a new price structure constitute a monopoly or unfair market practice? Probably not. Asmodee is simply paying for a more prominent location in the stores of its choosing–the stores that Asmodee believes will drive demand long term.

The real question is: with Asmodee becoming the size it has now become…when will Disney or Hasbro make them an offer to join their collective?

Resistance is futile
Resistance is futile

Fantasy Flight is about to do it again! Star Wars Rebellion!

Fantasy Flight Games has been releasing lots of Star Wars games lately. Star Wars: Imperial Assault, which is a reimplementation of FFG’s Descent system comes to mind. But FFG has also released a Star Wars LCG, Star Wars X-Wing fighter and the SW:RPG are other examples. Many of us remember the PC game Star Wars Rebellion. It kicked total butt. Wouldn’t it be great if Fantasy Flight turned this into a board game? 

1.  Star Wars Rebellion: The PC Game

Star Wars Rebellion from LucasArts
Star Wars Rebellion from LucasArts

In early 1998, a new PC game hit the stores. The game was LucasArts Star Wars Rebellion. And the game play is great. How great? Its game play holds up well even to this day.

Player(s) marshal forces, send major characters on missions and attempt to enslave or free the galaxy (depending upon which side you play).

The game captures the Star Wars saga at every level: strategic (building fleets, capturing planet) and the heroic (sending your favorite characters on missions). The game is so well implemented, games have been pining for an updated release of this.

As a board gamer, I’ve been pining for a board game release of this…

2. Fantasy Flight has published some good news

Star Wars Rebellion from FFG
Star Wars Rebellion from FFG

From FFG’s press release:

Star Wars: Rebellion is a board game of epic conflict between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance for two to four players!

Experience the Galactic Civil War like never before. In Rebellion, you control the entire Galactic Empire or the fledgling Rebel Alliance. You must command starships, account for troop movements, and rally systems to your cause. Given the differences between the Empire and Rebel Alliance, each side has different win conditions, and you’ll need to adjust your play style depending on who you represent:

• As the Imperial player, you can command legions of Stormtroopers, swarms of TIEs, Star Destroyers, and even the Death Star. You rule the galaxy by fear, relying on the power of your massive military to enforce your will. To win the game, you need to snuff out the budding Rebel Alliance by finding its base and obliterating it. Along the way, you can subjugate worlds or even destroy them.

• As the Rebel player, you can command dozens of troopers, T-47 airspeeders, Corellian corvettes, and fighter squadrons. However, these forces are no match for the Imperial military. In terms of raw strength, you’ll find yourself clearly overmatched from the very outset, so you’ll need to rally the planets to join your cause and execute targeted military strikes to sabotage Imperial build yards and steal valuable intelligence. To win the Galactic Civil War, you’ll need to sway the galaxy’s citizens to your cause. If you survive long enough and strengthen your reputation, you inspire the galaxy to a full-scale revolt, and you win.

Featuring more than 150 plastic miniatures and two game boards that account for thirty-two of the Star Wars galaxy’s most notable systems, Rebellion features a scope that is as large and sweeping as any Star Wars game before it.

Yet for all its grandiosity, Rebellion remains intensely personal, cinematic, and heroic. As much as your success depends upon the strength of your starships, vehicles, and troops, it depends upon the individual efforts of such notable characters as Leia Organa, Mon Mothma, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Emperor Palpatine. As civil war spreads throughout the galaxy, these leaders are invaluable to your efforts, and the secret missions they attempt will evoke many of the most inspiring moments from the classic trilogy. You might send Luke Skywalker to receive Jedi training on Dagobah or have Darth Vader spring a trap that freezes Han Solo in carbonite!

From my press release: OMG!

3. A Closer look at the game: the minis

Star Wars Rebellion: the pieces
Star Wars Rebellion: the pieces

The game will boast over 150 plastic pieces. Here is a pic from Fantasy Flight. There will be two Death Stars, just in case those pesky Rebels destroy your first one.

There will be space combat and ground combat. The game will come with several different units to accommodate both. Judging from the pieces, and from what I know about previous FFG games, the combat system will probably be awesome. They could lift their existing systems from Middle Earth Quest or from Forbidden Stars and I’d be tickled pink 🙂

4. A Closer look: the heroes

Han & Boba Fett
Han & Boba Fett

The game would be pretty cool if it was just “Axis & Allies” meets Star Wars. But they added a hero mechanic to the game. And the heroes will steer your strategy and the course of the game.

Seen here, Boba Fett is attempting to play the “Carbon Freezing” card on Han Solo at Bespin.

Wedge Antilles and General Veers
Wedge Antilles and General Veers

This is what really interests me about this game. Not only will you be able to recreate your favorite cinematic scenes from Star Wars, like Wedge taking down General Veers. But in order to win, you will have to outmaneuver your opponent’s heroes with your own.

Count me in!

5. The political aspect

Planet blowed up
Planet blowed up

The game has a political aspect to it, sort of. Unlike Axis and Allies where the last person in a territory controls it, Star Wars Rebellion will add another consideration.

Systems will swing from one side to the other based upon player decisions. I can’t help but think the Death Star’s power will have a political impact.

I’ve waiting a long time for a board game, any board game, that would really capture political swings of fortune against a war backdrop. And I’m excited to learn the backdrop might be a galactic civil war!

6. Final Thoughts

Probe Droid Initiative & Yoda
Probe Droid Initiative & Yoda

If this game is as good as it looks, it should surpass War of the Ring on boardgamegeek.com’s ratings. A 2-4 player game that captures the Star Wars saga will be better received than a 2-4 player game that captures the Tolkien saga.

The probably will be stand alone. It is difficult to imagine how FFG could squeeze an expansion out of this. This will help the game’s rating, since the users at BGG tend to be suspicious of FFG and of expansions.

The game is slated for a early 2016 release. This will mean it will get a boon from the new movie The Force Awakens. The crowds standing in line to buy tickets will be chomping at the bit to buy this game.

And I’ll be standing in both lines: to watch The Force Awakens and to buy Star Wars Rebellion.

7. Where Star Wars fans play board games…

 

 

 

 

Force Friday…your guide to the new Star Wars Games

Force Friday is now about three weeks behind us. Disney seems to be picking up where Lucas left off: inundating the marketplace with Star Wars merchandise. And Hasbro is only too happy to do their part: retheme games with Star Wars licenses. Here is a look at what Force Friday brought us, what games are tired retreads and what games are hidden gems.

 

1. Loopin’ Chewie

Loopin' Chewie
Loopin’ Chewie

Loopin’ Louie was an old Milton Bradley game where a motorized airplane would fly around a farm. The players would bat the plane around in an effort to save their flock of chickens. Despite its absurd theme, Loopin’ Louie is quite highly rated, garnering a solid 6.97 on BGG.

The game is out of print. But Hasbro has held the rights to the game since taking over MB in the 90’s. Now with Force Friday, Hasbro has released their Star Wars retheme: Loopin’ Chewie. Chewbacca flies around the Death Star, picking off stormtroopers. Players bat the Millennium Falcon around in an effort to save the stormtroopers from Chewbacca.

While the theme is still absurd, Loopin’ Chewie looks like its a heckuva lot of fun. It only plays up to three players (Loopin’ Louie played up to four). But if you want a good family game, Loopin’ Chewie has you covered.

 

2. Star Wars Monopoly (2015 Edition)

Star Wars Monopoly (2015)
Star Wars Monopoly (2015)

Oh good! Another Monopoly™ iteration. And another Star War Monopoly iteration at that. This marks the 7th iteration of Monopoly with a Star Wars theme. What more can they do to this game?

Well, a lot it seems.

This version of Monopoly has no trading. It has no player elimination. It plays in 30 minutes. And it is area control.

Whoa!

When did the brain trust at Hasbro lift Euro mechanics whole cloth and apply them to -opoly iterations? I guess the answer is: right now.

The game ends when all the properties (planets) are purchased. The side (Dark or Light) with the most planets wins. The particular player amongst the winning side that owns the most planets is the singular winner.

This game allows you to collect cards like they were action cards in Twilight Imperium and play them more strategically. Overall this game plays drastically different than Monopoly. Off hand, I would say most modern board games would be better than this version of Monopoly…but this version of Monopoly will certainly be a nice gateway for people new to the hobby.

 

3. Sorry! Star Wars Edition

Sorry! Star Wars Edition
Sorry! Star Wars Edition

Sorry! Star Wars Edition is a prime example why Hasbro is referred to as Hasborg by board game aficionados. Dear Hasborg: just because you own the rights to Sorry! (which you assimilated from Parker Brothers) doesn’t mean you have to reskin it with a Star Wars theme.

In a game of Sorry! players draw a card, follow the instructions on the card, then discard the card. The card will allow them to move one of their pawns 1 to 11(?) spaces on the board. The goal is move all your pawns from the start area to the end area. It is essentially a game of Trouble with the dice mechanic replaced with a card mechanic.

This Star Wars version adds deflector shields. Some of the cards grant your droids (pawns) temporary immunity to your opponents who would otherwise bump you, forcing you to start over. The board is shaped like the Millennium Falcon (and looks pretty cool). Other than that, you should spend your $19.99 on one of these other games.

 

4. Star Wars Battleship (2015)

Star Wars Battleship (2015)
Star Wars Battleship (2015)

In 2002, Hasbro released a Star Wars Battleship game called “Advanced Mission”. There were advanced rules for your ships. You had more search and fire options than you did with the pedestrian Battleship games.

So why, oh why did Hasbro take a step backwards and release this pedestrian Star Wars Battleship game in 2015? This new release is simply Battleship with Star Wars ships. The rules and goals are the same. The board is smaller (9×9 instead of 10×10). This is most likely a cost savings for Hasbro. Of course the cost savings is not passed onto the consumer since the MSRP for this Hot Carl is a staggering $19.99.

I would urge anyone looking for a Star Wars Battleship game to pass on this version and seek a used copy of the 2002 edition.

 

 

5. Star Wars Risk (2015)

Risk: Star Wars Episode VI
Risk: Star Wars Episode VI

This marks the third time Risk has had a Star Wars edition. Each edition has its own Risk-esque rules. But each is a different game with a different feel.

And this time, I think they almost perfected it.

Star Wars: Risk (2015) will be a hot commodity for several reasons. The pieces? Awesome little Star Wars fighters. The rules? A simpler version of Star Wars Queen’s Gambit. The play time? 35 to 45 minutes.

Hasbro has really nailed it this time. And I think they know it too. They are releasing a “black box” edition in a couple of months. This too will be a hot commodity. I suspect this will be out of print before too long. Hasbro doesn’t keep these games in print for long. If you are a board gamer, this is the Force Friday to pick up. MSRP is $29.99 for the red box, $49.99 for the upcoming black box.

 

6. Where to buy these games?

The Gaming Annex is a huge supporter of Meijer on Norton & Henry
Meijer on Norton & Henry

These games are available at local department stores. The gaming/hobby stores may not be able to get these games. I haven’t seen them at Out of the Box for example.

 

 

7. Where to play these games?

 

 

 

Exciting upcoming game releases!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my board game wishes. And I don’t believe I’ve had an all-video blog post before so I thought I would make one. Some new games have whet my gaming appetite. Here is a list of a few of them.

1. Flick ’em Up!

If you know my gaming tastes, you know I dislike dexterity components in my game mechanics. Flick ’em Up! is nothing more than a series of dexterity components wrapped in bacon. And I love bacon.

The dexterity component is so well executed in this game I cannot help but be intrigued. You flick a disc to move your cowboy. You flick a bullet to kill our opponents. You have shootouts. It looks like it’s a lot of FUN!

Interest level: A-

2. War of Kings

I’ve been on the outs with A Game of Thrones: the Board Game. It’s not that great of a game. I used to like it a lot. Now I think it’s pretty good but has several flaws. I’m looking for a game that will scratch that itch.

War of Kings just might fit that bill. Action cards, trading, expansion, development…we’ve finally got a medieval fantasy 4X game!

Now if I can talk Nate into buying it, reading the rules and teaching me the game, I’ll be all set.

Interest level: A+

 

3. Port Royal

I’m a sucker for push-your-luck games. It’s a hard game mechanic to implement well. And if it is implemented well, I usually like the game. I came across Port Royal on boardgamegeek.com. And I think I found a good entry into the push-your-luck field.

I’m also intrigued by the card drafting mechanic. It seems Port Royal has solved the four player solitaire quandary so many other games nowadays seem to be stuck in.

Interest level: B+

 

4. A Study of Emerald

Neil Gaiman’s book “A Study in Emerald” is a cult classic. Martin Wallace is a game designer extraordinaire. When he published the board game of A Study in Emerald, it sold out quickly. Copies of it went for $200. Consumers beseeched Wallace to publish more copies.

And he has promised to do so.

The 2nd Edition looks awesome. Now if I can get Kevin to buy a copy, read the rules and teach me the game–I’ll be all set.

Interest level: A-

 

5. Spheres of Influence

I’ve been intrigued by the 80’s game “Supremacy”, a combination of Monopoly and Risk. A game about the Cold War to the War on Terror is a welcome addition to my collection.

Then I saw Spheres of Influence. It looks like a streamlined version of Supremacy. This MAY be a good thing. I’m intrigued by Spheres of Influence but I have some reservations still. The combat looks like it could be swingy. And I suspect the game could have runaway leader problems.

Interest level: B

 

6. Forbidden Stars

Jon and I played StarCraft: The Board Game back in the Club Sternberg days. The game didn’t go over well. Then Jon traded for El Grande, Junta and Perikles. Now he wishes he hadn’t made that trade.

Then Fantasy Flight decided to reskin StarCraft with a 40K theme. And I am very excited. This looks like it could be quite good. Tech upgrades, landing invasions, space combat. This could scratch my TI3 itch when we have fewer than 5 players. Now if I can get Dusty to buy the game, read the rules and then teach me the game–I’ll be all set.

Interest level: A+

 

Muskegon Area Gamers: Upcoming Events and other news

Here is the low down on what the Muskegon Area Gamers are doing for March and beyond. Also, there are some opportunities and changes in the air detailed below. 

 

1. Thursday Nights: Open Gaming

Oh no! Orcs are at the gates of Muskegon!
Castle Panic from Fireside Games

We’ve been holding game nights on Thursday now for several weeks if not a few months. Our attendance has been quite promising, hovering around six gamers on average. This is quite impressive considering how horrible the weather has been as of lately.

We are still looking for more gamers in the area to join our Thursday night festivities. We have games scheduled every Thursday in March.

 

 

 

2. Tuesday Nights: Veteran Game Night

Clash of Cultures by Z-Man games is one of Muskegon's favorite games.
Clash of Cultures

After much consideration and discussion, we’ve decided to move to a slightly different format for our Tuesday night game crew. We are implementing a veteran gamer meetup every other Tuesday. On these days we will be playing the hardcore, heavy games that may be intimidating to new gamers.

This will also allow us to bring various titles to the table that would prove impossible if we are teaching noobs the classics.

We will have two veteran game nights in March. The rest of the Tuesdays will be open to the general public.

 

 

3. Twilight Imperium: Empire’s Last Gleaming

Muskegon's favorite board game is Twilight Imperium from Fantasy Flight Games
Twilight Imperium

March’s Twilight Imperium game (dubbed “Empire’s Last Gleaming”) will be on Sunday, March 15th.

We are holding this at 9am instead of the normal 10am due to time constraints. We may move to a 9am start time on Sundays in general if this works out.

There are still a couple of openings left to any TI3 wannabes.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Spring Lake Library

The Gaming Annex in Muskegon supports the gaming efforts of the Spring Lake District Library.
Spring Lake District Libary

The crew from Spring Lake will be heading to the local library on Saturday, March 14th. This will mark the first anniversary of their club–if I’m not mistaken.

That group has grown in leaps and bounds. They are a family friendly, light game friendly group of gamers. Check them out.

 

 

 

5. A Game of Thrones: LCG Championship

Muskegon's favorite LCG: A Game of Thrones: LCG
A Game of Thrones: LCG

Our partners at Shoreline Minis will be hosting a store championship for our favorite LCG: A Game of Thrones. The tentative schedule is Saturday, March 21st at 1pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Poker Game

Muskegon loves itself some Poker, especially Texas Hold 'em tourneys.
Poker

The Gaming Annex will have its second Texas Hold ’em tournament this month. I’m hoping for better turnout this time than last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Diplomacy: An Introductory Game

Muskegon loves classic games like Wizards of the Coast's Diplomacy
Wizards of the Coast’s Diplomacy

We play Republic of Rome quite often. But our group has yet to give Diplomacy the chance it deserves. And there has been lots of resistance from our group about playing this game.

Diplomacy: An Introductory Game will be on Sunday, March 29th at 10am. There is still room for more players as of this posting. Should the game be well received, look for Diplomacy to be offered as a alternative for Republic of Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

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I’m infatuated with Cthulhu Wars

The cult of the new has stricken me. I’m rather taken by a game called Cthulhu Wars. Evidently this was heavily supported through kickstarter and I missed the boat on it. Whoa is me. Anyway, here is a brief look at a game that I plan on adding to the library at The Gaming Annex sooner rather than later.

 

1. Tom Vassel’s review

I saw watched this review the other day. The game hasn’t left my mind since. 🙂

2. Plasticky Goodness

Muskegon loves HP Lovecraft's Mythos.
Mi-Go from Cthulhu Wars

Seen here is a Mi-Go from Lovecraft’s Mythos.

The figures in this game are extravagant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cthulhu Wars is a perfect fit for Muskegon.
Cthulhu Wars

I’m disappointed the figures are actually life sized. I guess I’ll have to make due with 8″ minis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cthulhu Wars will fit in perfectly at The Gaming Annex.
Close up of Cthulhu Wars

The game play is said to be a streamlined version of Chaos in the Old World. This is a strong recommendation for Cthulhu Wars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

Am I the only one infatuated with this game? Is it too extravagant? Does the Gaming Annex need a copy of this game? Don’t be shy! Reply here!

-Chris on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers

 

Upcoming game releases: Must haves for the Muskegon Area Gamers

The Muskegon Area Gamers are constantly adding games to our gaming library (especially me!) Fantasy Flight is releasing a slue of games that are on my radar. My wallet is going to take a beating in 2015 for sure.

1. Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Star Wars Imperial Assault will hit the gaming table a lot in Muskegon
Star Wars Imperial Assault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy Flight has tapped into a strong Star Wars vein. Maybe even a Star Wars artery. They have combined Descent with Star Wars to give us a unique game that I predict will be in BGG’s Top 10 with an outside chance of being #1. The Gaming Annex will undoubtedly own at least one copy of this.

 

2. A new faction for X-Wing Fighter miniatures

X-Wing Fighter's Most Wanted is already on Muskegon's most wanted list
X-Wing Fighter’s Most Wanted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another faction joins the fray in FFG’s X-Wing Fighter miniatures game. Scum and Villainy will add ruthless bounty hunters in the upcoming releases. And who doesn’t want a piece of that?

 

3. Star Wars: Armada

Muskegon eagerly anticipates the release of Star Wars: Armada
Star Wars: Armada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capitalizing on the success of X-Wing fighter, FFG has announced a capital idea: a capital ship version of X-Wing fighter (seen here in fierce battle over the capital Coruscant).

The only question is “How over-the-top will I dive into this game?”

 

4. A Game of Thrones: LCG 2nd Edition

Muskegon's favorite faction: House Greyjoy
Longship Maiden’s Bane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We knew something was on the horizon. Rotation was anticipated. But a new edition was actually decided. And color me excited. A new edition of A Game of Thrones: LCG will breath new life into this game and allow new players to start from scratch.

 

5. Another expansion for Eldritch Horror

Eldritch Horror Mountains of Madness should be well received in Muskegon
Eldritch Horror Mountains of Madness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountains of Madness was inevitable. There is a lot that could be expanded in Eldritch Horror. The choice of adding a new game board (when the existing one already included the entire world) was curious. I’m interested in seeing how it plays out. The Gaming Annex in Muskegon will certainly have a copy of this game soon.

 

6. XCOM Board Game

XCOM The Board Game has created a lot of buzz in Muskegon
XCOM The Board Game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FFG’s announcement of XCOM the Board Game has generated a tremendous amount of buzz at the Gaming Annex. At least one copy will be available to our group. I’m not sure whose duty it will be to grab a copy.

 

“Shut up and take my money!” Muskegon style!

shut up

 

The Gaming Annex will be updating its gaming library to include the following releases. If these publishers would simply shut up and take my money, I’d already own these games!

 

 

Cyclades Expansion: Titans

Cyclades titans

Cyclades is a decent game. With the Hades expansion, it becomes a great game. I cannot even fathom how good this game will be with Titans! Scratch $60 from my wallet right now.

 

Kemet expansion: Ta-Seti

Kemet

Kemet is a decent alternative to games like Small World where you want the combat interaction of a game but don’t want a 3+ hour marathon like a GMT offering. The expansion will add a fourth pyramid color (black) which I can only imagine will be necromantic in nature. The replayability of this game will increase and the strategy considerations will jump. I can hardly wait. Scratch another $50 from my wallet.

 

Star Trek Fleet Captains: Dominion

ST FC

The Romulan expansion turned this game into one of my favorite 3 player games. The Dominion expansion? That should make the 3 player meta of this game even richer. This game has so much potential that I hope Wizkids nurtures it. Scratch another $40 from my wallet. How much is that now?

 

Expansion for Letters from Whitechapel

LfWC

Letters from Whitechapel is like Scotland or Fury of Dracula. Except I like Letters from Whitechapel a lot more. I love playing the detectives and trying to out think Jack. Others love playing Jack and trying to slyly slip past my dragnet. The game is a solid “9” (if not a “10”) in my book. I’m really curious what the expansion could add. I trust the design team enough to scratch $30 from my wallet.

 

Clash of Cultures: Civilizations

Clash of Cultures

Clash of Cultures is a game that I do not get to play enough of. The expansion promises to make each player’s starting civilization unique. I already love this game. And the expansion gives me more plastic, more replayability and more theme. And you know what that means: scratch $50 from my wallet.

 

 

Merchants & Marauders expansion

M&M

The same publisher and designer as Clash of Cultures, Merchants and Marauders is a swash-buckling adventure on the high seas. Despite its swingy dice and card draws, this game is a welcome addition to my collection. The expansion? I don’t even care. Just take my $50.

 

 

Star Wars Armada

armada

Does Fantasy Flight Games offer a direct deposit program whereby I can have my paychecks go directly to them? That would save all of us some time. Because at this rate, my Fantasy Flight purchases will be outpacing my mortgage and student loan payments. Star Wars Armada will be to grand scale space combat what FFG’s X-Wing miniatures were to space dog fights. Same universe, same quality of components–BETTER THEME! Scratch approximately $500 from my wallet.

 

Can anyone think of any other games that The Gaming Annex is going to need? Please comment below.