Category Archives: The Gaming Annex in Muskegon

The Gaming Annex’s newest additions

Christmas 2014 is now in the books. And, as expected, I received some games. Here is a brief rundown.

1. Clash of Cultures: Civilizations

Muskegon's favorite civilization game: Clash of Cultures
Clash of Cultures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved Clash of Cultures when it first came out. Building a civilization from scratch, exploration and warfare. What’s not to love? But the opening moves seemed a little scripted. The opening play was some variation of making one city happy and then using that city to get +1 resources.

The expansion fixes that to an extent. Players take on specific civilizations each with their own tech tree and abilities. This means that players may (and often often should) choose a different opening.

We’ve played this three times since I’ve gotten it. And it’s been a big hit! Thanks Santa!

 

2. Rampage 

Monsters are on the Rampage in Muskegon!
Rampage: Terror in Meepleville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a video game called Rampage many years ago. Players would take on the role of a monster and crush as many buildings as possible. The board game recreates this video game perfectly. In fact, the board game is much better than the video game. Players drop their monsters onto the board to crush buildings and eat meeples. The game is very cute. And kids love it. I got a copy to play with the young’n’s in my life.

 

3. Forbidden Desert

The Forbidden Desert covers all of Muskegon
Forbidden Desert by Gamewright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the longest time I disliked cooperative games. I snubbed all of them that the Muskegon Area Gamers made me try. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t actually dislike cooperatives–I only disliked Pandemic!

I’ve decided to add a lighter coop to my collection. I need a good gateway game that is a coop. I was torn between Forbidden Desert and Castle Panic. After a 7 player game of Castle Panic at Jeremy Scott Pyne’s house, I realized Castle Panic was kind of a debacle.

I opted for Forbidden Desert.

 

4. Apples to Apples

Muskegon prefers Cards Against Humanity
Apples to Apples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas gift.

 

5. Bigfoot

Bigfoot is on the prowl in Muskegon
Bigfoot from Game Salute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bigfoot from Game Salute caught my eye for several reasons.

  1. The designer is also responsible for Tiny Epic Kingdoms
  2. It’s a filler
  3. It’s a deductive/bluffing game

I’m hoping this fills a missing niche in my collection.

 

6. Small World expansions

Muskegon is a lover of Small World
Small World from Days of Wonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to introduce wargaming to newbies, Small World is an excellent choice. The art work is cute and the theme is fun. Players will not be horrified by the wargame theme. Also, the rules are easily learned. This is not Sword of Rome.

Days of Wonder released a few mini-expansions for this a couple of years ago. The expansions were quickly bought up. Sellers on eBay were selling the Necromancer Island expansion for $60 and the Royal Bonus expansion for $80 in October. Days of Wonder reprinted them and now they are selling for $5 and $10 respectively. Also, Days of Wonder released another expansion, The Spider’s Web, that includes a carrying case. I picked up all three of these expansions.

-Chris, on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers.

 

If you are interested in playing these or any other games, get a hold of us here.

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

Check out this Meetup Group →

Out of the Box Games’ new location and its effects on local gaming

Out of the Box Games has opened up a second store, this one in the greater Grand Rapids area. This is great news for the gaming community because this is a great STORE, not just a great GAME STORE. However, it didn’t occur to me initially that the opening of Out of the Box would have side effects.

 

1. Schuler Books & Music

Schuler Books on 2660 28th St SE
Schuler Books on 2660 28th St SE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schuler Books on 28th Street has typically been a robust venue for gamers in the Grand Rapids area. Their venue has often had 30+ people who would RSVP on the West Michigan Tabletop Gamers meetup (WMTG). Since Schuler Books sells board games, this was a great boon to their Wednesday night sales. In exchange for these sales, Schuler Books offers WMTG members a nice 20% discount on board games.

Then Out of the Box Games (OotB) opened up in Kentwood, about 5 miles from Schuler Books.

Last week, someone on the WMTG meetup asked if people were still meeting at Schuler Books? The response came back that all of those meetups were moved to OotB. With one fail swoop, Schuler Books lost its gamer base. The migration appears to be complete and swift.

I’m not sure what Schuler Books’ contingency plan will be. They may be able to weather this storm and still serve the gaming community because they are well established and respected in GR. But to weather this storm they will need to be much more knowledgeable about games than they were before. Schuler Books had relied on the WMTG to handle the meetups and the technical side of board games while Schuler’s merely supplied the venue. Going forward, Schuler’s will have to handle the technical side to compete.

I can see Schuler Books’ offering a niche venue for Grand Rapids. Children game events? Senior game events? I don’t know what exactly, but there are some opportunities that Schuler’s could pursue.

 

2. Whitecap Comics/Outer Limits

White Cap Comics & Games
White Cap Comics & Games

White Cap Comics on Cummings Avenue along with their sister store the Outer Limits on Burton Street will have to undergo substantial changes just to survive.

Here are the problems.

  1. There is no play area at the Outer Limits.
  2. The parking space is nonexistent (Outer Limits) to bad (White Caps).
  3. White Caps is difficult to find while the Outer Limits is unworthy of being found.
  4. The hours at White Cap comics vary from day to day and are not conducive to a gamer’s lifestyle.
  5. The discount White Cap gives to gamers is a punch card system that amounts to about 12% or less.
  6. White Cap Comics does not use the WMTG meetup.

White Cap Comics does have a nice selection of games. And it is a nice GAME STORE albeit not a nice store (more of a mediocre store). And they seem to have a loyal following of gamers. Their floor space includes many tables for gamers. It would be unfortunate to lose such a gaming resource. But unless substantial changes, I cannot see a scenario where they survive.

Here are some ideas that would send some of my OotB money their way:

  • Become the gaming experts about some facet of the hobby. OotB is really good in a general sense. If you cannot compete with them in location or ambiance, you will need to be THE roleplaying store or THE Magic: The Gathering store or what have you.
  • Have gaming events that other local venues aren’t doing. They will have to be creative here because Big Kidz Games, Grand Lan and OotB have much of the gaming hobby covered.
  •  Bigger discounts. The “get a punch for every $10 you spend–10 punches you get $15 off” amounts to about 9% to 12%. Even Schuler’s demolishes that puny discount.
  • Augment the business with something in place of or in addition to comics. Comics stores cannot survive. Apparitions Comics off 28th Street announced they were closing their doors just weeks ago. If they cannot make it, then White Caps will have to retool also. Mainstream Toys that the department stores don’t carry (like high-end Legos) would be an idea.

Even if they jump through all or most of these hoops, I still don’t see their small Outer Limits storefront surviving. Consolidation of their two stores seems almost inevitable.

 

 3. Big Kidz Games

Big Kidz Games on 3661 Plainfield Avenue Northeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Big Kidz Games on 3661 Plainfield Avenue Northeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Big Kidz Games will suffer some of the issues that both Schuler’s and White Caps will suffer.

  • Big Kidz Games is an active venue on WMTG  but should see a decline in participation due to OotB (like Schuler’s).
  • Big Kidz Games relies on game sales to stay afloat but will probably take a hit due to OotB (like White Caps) .

Big Kidz Games is very knowledgeable about miniature wars and Magic: The Gathering. This gives them a niche to survive. OotB only dabbles in those areas. This will be Big Kidz Games avenue to survival. If the M:TG and mini wargaming community in GR remain strong, Big Kidz can stick around. If the gaming community migrates to a more general gaming atmosphere, Big Kidz could be in trouble.

 

4. West Michigan Tabletop Gamers

WMTG
WMTG

WMTG is trying to be synonymous with the Grand Rapids gaming community. And to a large extent, WMTG has been successful in this regard. Overall, the Grand Rapids gaming community will be greatly served by Out of the Box’s new store in Kentwood. But will WMTG be served by the new OotB location?

Initially my response would have been a resounding “YES!” But now I’m not so sure.

The last newsletter from WMTG came out in late November. (These newsletter are emailed and published monthly). The newsletter had this to say:

$10 MEMBERSHIP EFFECTIVE MARCH 1
When groups grow and become more successful, the costs of maintaining them increase.
There has always been a suggested donation of $10 per year from the members, and
WMTG is grateful to those who have generously given. But now, to keep up with
growing group expenditures throughout the year, WMTG will be making this annual $10
fee mandatory starting March 1, 2015.
Please be assured that these dues will go toward the continued growth and improvement
of the group. This will also mean new events and occasional tabletop prizes to be given
away to WMTG members. Please feel free to contact Brian W. Lenz (founder) if you
have any questions regarding the implementation of the mandatory dues starting in
March 2015

Requests for money are always tricky. I can tell that a lot of time and effort went into writing that blurb. It was a very nicely written request for membership fees. And if the meetup needs the funding, then the gaming community in GR should pony up if they want the WMTG to continue to exist.

But does the gaming community in GR want the WMTG to continue to exist?

There are 561 members on the WMTG meetup as of today. There will probably be over 600 by the time the March 1, 2015 deadline hits. But the actual number of hardcore gamers is much, much lower. I’d estimate it at about 125 to 150. And these gamers may question why they are paying $10 to the WMTG when they can game six nights a week for free at Out of the Box. It almost seems punitive to charge $10 to be a member of the meetup group when you could (and often are encouraged to) bring your freeloading buddies to the WMTG gaming events.

I’m not sure how draconian the WMTG is going to enforce this mandatory $10 membership. I am not paying it. If they boot me out of their group, then so be it. Membership in the WMTG is not required for me to go to Out of the Box anyway. And I think there will be many others who feel the same way. We will only pay $10 a year if we are getting value for our $10. With OotB so close, what value is WMTG going to provide?

 

 

5. Muskegon Area Games

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what effects will the opening of Out of the Box Games in Kentwood have on the Muskegon Area Gamers? Well, seeing as how it is 47 miles away from The Gaming Annex: not much.

This new store is another 20 miles farther away than the Zeeland store. Plus there was never much “competition” between Out of the Box and The Gaming Annex. The only competition was for the hearts and minds of the gaming community in Spring Lake and Grand Haven. We’ve had people from Holland and West Olive inquire about gaming with us but I typically send them to the OotB store in Zeeland–not because I don’t want to game with people from Ottawa County but because they probably don’t know that closer venues are available. If someone from GR inquires about The Gaming Annex I will have no problem letting them know about closer gaming options like OotB.

I think I speak for most of the Muskegon Area Gamers when I say that I am very happy for Jeff and his success with Out of the Box Games. I hope that the Kentwood store does so well that he can justify opening a store in Muskegon!

 

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

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

Muskegon Gaming News: latest developments

Iello's King of New York is the King of Muskegon!
Iello’s King of New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been working to recruit new players from the area. We have not been as successful as I would like. I think this is due, in part, to the fact that our gaming meetups (Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings) are not necessarily conducive to the broadest section of local gamers.

These are some of our ideas to correct this, in no particular order.

 

1. Another Day of Gaming

Muskegon Area Gamers meetup calednar
Muskegon’s meetup calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing on just Tuesdays and Sundays has not proven effect. Why not play on Wednesdays or Thursdays too? One of these days will be permanently added to our meetups. Stay in the loop at our meetup or facebook page.

 

2. Recruiting at Shoreline Minis in Spring Lake

Muskegon Area Gamers has a strategic alliance with Shoreline Minis
Shoreline Minis in Spring Lake, MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The folks at Shoreline Minis have reached out to us to teach their crew and clientele about A Game of Thrones: LCG. And we have agreed. We also have had several other demos there. And have hosted their demo once. The alliance seems to be working out okay. Now if we can turn a few of them into Twilight Imperium players, we will be all set!

 

3. Local Libraries

Muskegon Area Gamers may meet at the White Lake Community Library
White Lake Community Library in Whitehall, MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White Lake Community Library has game days once a month. A couple of us have been flirting with the idea of going there and seeing what/who these game days are all about. The stock photo they use on their facebook page shows people playing Small World–which is very promising.

Other libraries do not have game days per se. But they could be talked into it with a little effort. The best bets would be Walker Library in N. Muskegon and Norton Shores Public Library.

A few years ago there was a game day at NSPL and a few of us attended. The attendance was low overall. But if we built it up, we could have a gaming community spring from library goers eventually.

 

4. Barnes & Noble

Muskegon Area Gamers may meet at Barnes & Noble on Harvey Street once a month
Barnes & Noble on Harvey Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The West Michigan Tabletop Gamers (in GR), meet at Schuler’s Bookstore on 28th Street. They typically get 30+ people to RSVP. This is very impressive. And Schuler’s sells board games. Which makes this store/game community alliance quite beneficial for everyone. The gamers get a gaming venue that is clean, well lit and friendly; Schuler’s get people to play the games they sell, potentially buying them there.

There is a B&N on Harvey Street. Why don’t we do the same thing? Maybe once a month or so, we meet there. We introduce the bookworms to our games. B&N sells these games so they should embrace us if we help build their customer base. Look for the Muskegon Area Gamers to have some meetups at Barnes & Noble in 2015!

 

5. Grandiosity

Muskegon Area Gamers and Grandiosity in Norton Shores? Maybe!
Grandiosity in Norton Shores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not yet approached Grandiosity yet. For some reason, I have just not been able to broach the subject. Grandiosity is a manufacturing and venue for miniature wargaming. An alliance between Grandiosity and the Muskegon Area Gamers seems completely natural and mutually beneficial. Yet I have not done so. I must have some subconscious hang up about them.

But that’s about to end.

I need to make up some business cards (see below). And I need to get over to Grandiosity and make their acquaintance. I think they sell some board games as it is. They may be very receptive to having us demo some games there. Check the meetup in 2015 for more details!

 

 6. Business Cards

Muskegon Area Gamers Business Cards
Muskegon Area Gamers Business Cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve come up with a couple of different designs for business cards. What do people think? Which do you like better? Could these be better?

 

 

 

 

New board game acquisitions

I think an additional column regarding new games our group has acquired would be a welcome monthly read. Here is our first official installment. If anyone else in the group has anything to add, please comment below. This will keep everyone abreast of the the Muskegon Area Gamers’ growing gaming library.

 

1. Broadsides & Boarding Parties

Muskegon loves classics like Broadsides & Boarding Parties
Broadsides & Boarding Parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1982 Milton Bradley released the first of its highly successful Gamemaster Series games: Broadsides & Boarding Parties. And I wanted it ever since.

Now I own a complete albeit used copy for $70 plus shipping.

Anyone up for a game?

 

2. The Amberden Affair

The Amberden Affair comes to Muskegon!
The Amberden Affair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the Box Games had their grand opening in Kentwood last week. Of course I had to attend. And I picked up the Amberden Affair. This game may be a nice fit for our group. Some social intrigue and deduction, a hidden traitor, multiple paths to victory and short game length are all positives. Looking forward to bringing this out sometime in December on a Tuesday.

 

3. Blockade Runner

Confederate blockade runners threaten Muskegon!
Numbskull Games’ Blockade Runner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first time I heard the term “blockade runner” it was in relation to the Millennium Falcon. I fell in the love with that term immediately, needless to say. When I saw there was a game bearing that name that dealt with piracy in the Confederacy, the theme along with the title grabbed my attention. I shipped out Sherwood Forest for this game in trade.

 

4. Mage Wars with all the accouterments 

The Muskegon Area Gamers love Mage Wars more than Magic: The Gathering
Mage Wars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mage Wars is like Magic: the Gathering in theme but without the constant need to buy new cards. Players take on the roles of powerful spell casters. There is customizable spell books plus lots of expansions. The game is very good. I picked up the entire Mage Wars collection in trade, giving up several DOW games. I was more generous in this trade than I normally would be but Mage Wars is a good fit for the Gaming Annex.

 

5. Gentlemen Thieves

Gentlemen Thieves: a game that really befits Muskegon :)
Gentlemen Thieves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up Gentlemen Thieves at OotB grand opening. Like the Amberden Affair, this game has a niche that our group might really like. Also, Asmodee Games makes really good components so I know there is a lot of quality in the game. This and Amberden Affair should be hitting the Tuesday night meetups in December. Check local listings.

 

6. Paradise Fallen

Crash Games' Paradise Fallen makes its Muskegon debut
Crash Games’ Paradise Fallen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Games’ Paradise Fallen was an impulse buy at the grand opening sale for Out of the Box. I’ll let you know if it makes the grade.

 

7. Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Muskegon is a Tiny Epic Kingdom
Tiny Epic Kingdoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Minute Empires was received lukewarmly from our group. Tiny Epic Kingdoms might be the game that fills the :30 minute civ builder game. It is infinitely expandable too which will help with replayability.

 

 8. King of New York

Iello's King of New York is the King of Muskegon!
Iello’s King of New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The game that fired King of Tokyo: King of New York was a must buy. And must buy it I did. The Gaming Annex now has a copy of this fantastic game. Come on out and play it with us!

 

Muskegon Area Gamers: Game plays so far this year

Muskegon Area Game Plays 2014
Game plays 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muskegon Area Gamers keep stats on a lot of our games. Our game plays is one such statistic. 

 

There are forty one days before the end of 2014. And I am 143 game plays from beating my record from last year. That’s a tall order. A very tall order.

I am going to need some help to break the 900+ game plays in a year.

Anyone out there up for a game? 🙂

 

 

 

Muskegon Area Gamers: Twilight Imperium Stats

Twilight Imperium is Muskegon's favorite game. The whole damn town loves it.
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muskegon Area Gamers keeps statistics on our Twilight Imperium games. Peruse our other posts on this blog for more details.

Yesterday we played our first game of Twilight Imperium in some time. It was also a five player game, our first five player game in about 6 years.

TI3 plays eight players much better than it does five; but five is all we could muster. So we went ahead with it.

I was the L1Z1X Mindnet, Mongo was the Naalu Collective, Matt B. was the Clan of Saar, Matt S was the Nekro Virus and Kevin was the Embers of Muaat. When the dust settled, Matt S. was the big winner. He orchestrated a victory that was so convincing that we conceding before the end of the round. He had The Alastor in his home system so even if we had somehow gotten to this home system (which seemed impossible), we would have to get their another time due to the ticking time bomb of The Alastor.

The fact that there are three untaken strategy cards each round, the five player game lacks the strategic choices of an eight player game. This reason will drive us to have 6+ players from here on out.

 

But enough with the session report. Here is the data.

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Race wins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another win for the Nekro Virus means the Nekro has tied the Mindnet and Sol for most wins in our group. Not too shabby for not being able to vote.

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Races points scored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nekro Virus are in the middle of the pack in average points scored. This means the Nekro are tough when played properly.

 

 

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Races amount of plays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We use an alternative rule set for selecting races. We require everyone to play all 17 races before they can select the same race twice. Players are given two races from which to choose. The two races are races they have not yet played since we implemented the Leader Board. The poor Brotherhood of  Yin has not gotten much love. 🙁

Our group loves the Naalu Collective!

 

 

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Player wins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt, after defeating us yesterday, is now tied for the lead in wins. Poor Dusty still hasn’t won since the Leader Board was implemented. 🙁

 

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Players average points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben is still in first place despite joining the Navy. Matt and Dusty are close behind.

 

Muskegon's Twilight Imperium Leader Board
Players Amount of plays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like I’ve played the most. Mongo, Ben and Dusty have 10 plays under their belt.

 

Our next game will be either in December (6 to 8 players) or will be a Long War Event in November/December. Check out our meet up or facebook for more details.

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

Check out this Meetup Group →

The Gaming Annex’s October Wrap Up

Here is a list of the games we played this past month. If you weren’t here, then you missed out! Check out our meet up or facebook page and RSVP.

1. Mage Wars

The Muskegon Area Gamers love Mage Wars more than Magic: The Gathering
Mage Wars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Arcane Wonders’ Mage Wars, players take on the roles of powerful spell casters who seek to destroy their opponent’s spell caster. You marshal your mana in order to effectively stave off your opponent’s attacks whilst launching your own. You summon creatures to do your bidding. Sound familiar? It should. The theme is 100% the same as Magic: The Gathering. In both M:TG and MW, players can tweak their “decks”. In Mage Wars, however, your entire deck is a book that houses your spells. You have complete access to your spells.

Mage Wars in Muskegon: get on it!
Mage War spell book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The game is also customizable and expandable. You can swap out spells (within limitations) and you can buy extra books if you want a Necromancer or a Druid. I recently upped my rating of this game to “8”. It’s that good.

 

2. Poker

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gaming Annex held its first Texas Hold ’em tournament in October. I think it was successful enough to warrant a sequel. Look for one in December or January.

 

3. Advanced Civilization

Muskegon Avalon Hill Civilization
Old school gaming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Civilization/Advanced Civilization over two non-consecutive weekends is posing some challenges for the Gaming Annex. We played about 60% of the game in October. The remainder is scheduled for a Sunday in November. If this works out okay, we are going to schedule Twilight Imperium: The Long War in December!

 

 4. Battlestar Galactica

There's a cylon afoot in Muskegon!
Battlestar Galactica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We taught Dugas how to play BSG this month. He was a cylon from the beginning too. He and Jon managed to destroy humanity a turn before the rest of us would have won.

 

5. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Muskegon Area Gamers plays Betrayal at House on the Hill ever Halloween
Betrayal at House on the Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our Halloween Gaming session, we broke out this classic. Betrayal at House on the Hill is cooperative-turned-betrayer game. Players investigate a haunted house until the 2nd phase of the game randomly starts. Then one player is typically the bad guy and he is trying to defeat the rest of the team.

 

6. Touch of Evil

Muskegon has a Touch of Evil ever Halloween
Touch of Evil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touch of Evil from Flying Frog Games is a light strategy/strong narrative game. Players in colonial America (or is it Europe?) attempt to defeat the evil that is residing in this small town. The game can be competitive or cooperative. Not to be taken too seriously. As such, we usually break this game out at Halloween.

 

 7. Witch’s Brew

Witches are brewing up something fun in Muskegon.
Witch’s Brew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witch’s Brew is a light trick taking game where players score points brewing potions. While this is a good game normally, it seemed only appropriate to play this during our Halloween Gaming session. Jon kicked our butts.

 

 8. Eldritch Horror

Great Old Ones stalk Muskegon in FFG's Eldritch Horror
Eldritch Horror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusty taught three noobs how to play Fantasy Flight’s Eldritch Horror. The game lasted most of the night with Dugas’ character kicking butt against monsters. The Great Old One they sparred against was, of course, Cthulhu. And Cthulhu, of course, won. But the noobs seemed to enjoy the game. Dugas even went so far as to say he wanted to own a copy of it.

 

9. World of Warcraft: The Board Game

Muskegon World of Warcraft
Muskegon loves World of Warcraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We managed to get a six player game of World of Warcraft to the table in October. The reception was luke warm. All of us enjoyed the game but most of us thought it would be better as a three player co-op. In fact, this is probably how we will tweak the game if/when it gets scheduled again.

 

 10. Cyclades

Cyclades is a Muskegon favorite. And the expansions are worth owning too.
Cyclades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Matagot’s Cyclades, players take on Greek factions who bid on the powers of the Hellenic Pantheon in an effort to build or conquer two metropolises. Powerful monsters and brave classical heroes can join your side if you have enough gold. This game plays perfectly with five and is a great Euro/Ameritrash hybrid. A favorite around here!

 

Thrift Store Finds

Here is a list of my rescued treasures from around the Muskegon area in the past month.

I love going to thrift stores to find board games. Here are the latest additions to the Muskegon Area Gamers’ library.

1. Axis and Allies

Axis and Allies from the Goodwill on Grand Haven Road
Axis and Allies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this for $4. It is complete and in well-cared for condition. The clerk was chatting me up because her husband had been looking for this game for some time. Their family enjoys board games. Note to self: I need to make some business cards so I can hand them out to people!

 

2. Star Wars: Epic Duels

pic1248093_md

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a really lucky find! For $2 in Grand Haven, I found Star Wars Epic Duels. The board is missing so I will have to find someone who has a copy. But once complete, this game goes for quite a bit of money.

 

3. Can’t Stop

Gamers in Muskegon certainly Can't Stop
Can’t Stop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually cannot turn down a copy of Can’t Stop; I literally can’t stop myself. Plus, Mongo needed a copy. I found a copy in good shape in Hudsonville, MI.

 

4. Quicksand

Don't get caught in the Quicksand! Come to the Gaming Annex in Muskegon
Quicksand from Parker Brothers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found Parker Brothers’ charming Quicksand complete and in good condition this month. I think this will be a good addition to the family/children offerings at the Gaming Annex in Muskegon.

 

5. Stocks & Bonds

Take Stocks and Bonds at the Gaming Annex in Muskegon
Stocks & Bonds (Avalon HIll)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a rare Avalon Hill version of Stocks & Bonds. The 3M version is common enough but I don’t think I ever saw the AH version. Until now. $.99

 

6. Acquire

Acquire games in Muskegon.
Acquire (Avalon Hill)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did I find right next to Stocks & Bonds? You guessed it! Avalon Hill’s Acquire. Complete for $.99. I love thrifting!

 

7. Ticket to Ride: Europe (Days of Wonder)

Getcha ticket to ride some board games in Muskegon
Ticket to Ride: Europe (Days of Wonder)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found two copies still in shrink wrap for $15 each! I was amazed!

 

 

 

Our 2014 Bucket List

Late in 2013, the Muskegon Area Gamers had a discussion about what games and/or events we wanted to accomplish in 2014. There were about fourteen or so who gave contributions. In no particular order, here is what was discussed and what we’ve accomplished.

 

1. Twilight Imperium

Twilight Imperium box
Muskegon Area Gamers: we love Twilight Imperium

We resolved to play Twilight Imperium. Lots of TI3. We have accomplished this. But we also resolved to play The Long War–a 14 victory point saga of Twilight Imperium. As of this posting, we are still trying to get this scheduled. The constraint? We need eight players who will commit to coming to two consecutive Sundays to finish this beast. Due to various gamer/recruitment snags, we have not yet accomplished our goal of playing Twilight Imperium the Long War.

 

2. Avalon Hill’s Civilization

Civilization game box
Avalon Hill’s Civilization in Muskegon, MI

I used to play Civilization back in the day. Then we moved on to other gaming areas. But some of our group had never played and wanted to try it really badly. We managed to play this twice in 2014. We also have it slated again for a Sunday in October (see our meetup if you want in). The game was a success, as you can imagine.

 

3. Pax Britannica

Pax Britanica
Old time board game: Pax Britannica

I’ve read the rules to Pax Britannica three times now. And we still haven’t managed to get it to the table yet. This game has everything that our group would find interesting: negotiation, tactics, economics, historical theme. If we can set aside 7 hours on a Sunday to get it played, we will have an uproariously good time.

 

4. Formula D: with the advanced rules

Formula D
The Muskegon Area Gamers love Formula D. Or they at least tolerate it.

I’ve always enjoyed the base game of Formula D. But some members of the Muskegon Area Gamers didn’t like it so much. The desire to try the advanced rules has been mentioned many times. Well, we’ve finally tried it (twice!) in 2014. The advanced rules modify how you take damage, requiring players to manage several systems on their race card. These include brakes, body damage, tires and gear box. The advanced rules were a success and we will never look back.

 

5. Titan

Titan
Titan from Valley Games. Titan is good; Valley Games is bad.

 

Matt bought the newer Valley Games’ edition of Titan, an old Avalon Hill game from back in the day. Matt had fond memories of this game and thought he would enjoy it with his new group in Muskegon. Valley Games, unfortunately, is a horrible game company and Matt’s copy of Titan (which cost him a small fortune) suffered from water damage from the boat trip from Asia. Boooooo Valley Games!

We did try this nonetheless. It was an intro with three of us. The game is kinda cool but might take a long time considering the object is player elimination. A full game of this may be scheduled in December. Check or comment on the meetup if you want to try it sooner.

 

6. Mage Knight

Mage Knight
Mage Knight is a favorite in the 49441

 

A few of our gamers are very fond of Vlaada Chvatil’s Mage Knight from Wizkids Games. So much are they enamored that they want it to get played once a month. It’s on the docket for tomorrow. If our showing is strong, it will be put on the docket again in November.

This game is a very heavy strategy game with lots of moving parts. To fully appreciate it, one would have to play it about five times in order to really be competitive.

 

7. Cabin Con in Gun Lake, Michigan

Map of Gun Lake
Gun Lake: where the gamers in Muskegon go to camp + game

 

We go to GenCon every year. Since GrandCon is so close to Muskegon, we usually go there as well. But what we liked most about all these conventions is just playing games. So why don’t we have our own convention? Dusty put together a trip for six of us. We spent the weekend in a cabin. We cooked our meals outside. We played games non-stop for three days. It was by far, the biggest success we’ve had this year.

 

8. A foray into Roleplaying games

Cthulhu
Cthulhu calls Muskegon. Will you answer?

Many of us board gamers were one time RPG’ers. We simply moved onto better rules, better games, better everything. But the RPG’er in us wouldn’t die. We have discussed the possibility of doing a one-off RPG session. Kevin, one of our regulars, is very theatrical and loves doing storytelling/RPG stuff. He has a Cthulhu session that he wants us to try. The session is slated for October, just in time for Halloween.

 

9. Memoir ’44: Overlord Campaign

memoir-44-sword-beach-800
Memoir ’44

I love Memoir ’44. It’s so much fun playing with toy tanks and infantry. And managing your hand to maximum the effectiveness of your units is very fun. The Overlord rules for Memoir ’44 look intriguing. Four players to a side with one of them acting as the general. He manages the hand of cards for his side. And then issues the cards to them. The cooperative/competitive nature sounds like it will be a coup-de-grace with our game group. Dusty has the rules. The game will probably take place in October or November. Check the schedule on meetup.

 

10. Blood Royale from Games Workshop

 

 

Blood Royale

 

GW’s Blood Royale was recommended to our group. On paper, this game appears to have everything we would like: negotiation, trade, warfare, conflict, deal making and deal breaking. In practice, it went over like a lead balloon. We tried it twice. We failed it twice. Jon’s copy and my copy went the way of the Dodo. Too bad. We really thought this game would rival Republic of Rome and Civilization.

 

-Chris

On behalf of the Gaming Annex in Muskegon

Muskegon Area Gamers

Our gaming group has been meeting steadily once a week since 2008-ish. We’ve been meeting regularly twice a week since 2012. We’ve been meeting regularly thrice a week since 2013. When will we start meeting regularly four times a week, you ask? When our wives divorce us or we retire.

Indeed, my overall game plays have been increasing each year. As seen below, I’ve been steadily ticking upward in the amount game plays I’ve mustered. Since 2012, there has been a strong 10% increase (known in Muskegon as the “Burkholder/Spencer Effect’)

New Picture (1)

With a solid showing in the last five months of 2014, I’ll surpass 900 game plays this year. On an unrelated note, my wife is very supportive of my addiction hobby.

-Chris from the Gaming Annex in Muskegon