October 30, 2008
Prometheus - Web Comic
Tribune and The Gathering Storm - first impressions
Played the Race for the Galaxy expansion yesterday and definitely found it a good and interesting expansion. All the new cards seem generally good (and the Green windfall world will probably be my new favorite for a multiplayer game) and the goal tokens (4 3VP first to X goals, 2 5VP longest road style goals) seem interesting too and for those who mistakenly think the game is multiplayer solitaire, this definitely helps to dispel that. My only immediate concern is that the central goals make getting off to a bad start a harder problem to overcome and the bigger deck also creates a greater chance of a string of bad cards (for your strategy). In both games last night, one player got absolutely crushed, scoring like half of the player a position above them and a third of the winner's score. Interestingly, one of those players was me despite my being the one to end the game with 12 cards using Improved Logistics twice but still having an absolutely horrible score, but keeping the game going would have only made things even worse for me.
Related to the above, Tom (designer of Race) had highly recommended Tribune to me a while back so when I saw it on Felix's shelf I requested it and people were kind enough to agree to play and teach it. I thought the game was quite good but did have a couple of issues with it. First, we played a 5 player game and I went last. Getting late choices for the first 3 turns (game went 5 turns [which I gather is unusual] but the early ones seem much more important to me for various reasons) seemed to not nearly be offset by only a few extra money. I also had a poor hand (like never got a leader the whole game or think I even could have gotten one except so late and of a color where the existing group was so strong that would have been useless) and ended up being unable to take over any faction in Turn 1 and only one on Turn 2. This is just luck but it felt like very important luck in such a short game and I don't feel even in hindsight that there was really anything I could do about it. Also, like every time I took over a faction, the next turn it was immediately taken away while two factions that were taken on the first turn were then kept for nearly the entire game despite no Chariot defense of either. Again, just luck but how does one catch up in this game at all? I am sure I didn't play great in various respects but still, I kind of felt doomed from the beginning given the early luck. Definitely interested in trying this again though. Doubt I would ever buy it but worth exploring some more.
October 06, 2008
Another Amazing Photo Set - Yann Arthus-Bertrand's Earth From Above
Another bunch of just amazing photographs from Alan Taylor's Big Picture blog - the images are all by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and part of his "Earth From Above" series.
October 02, 2008
Warrent Buffett on Charlie Rose
Warren Buffett was on Charlie Rose for the whole hour last night (and broadcast at 9pm rather than the usual 11pm at least on WGBH) and is really worth watching. I think he avoided saying a large number of negative things about Wall Street thinking this is just not the time for that but trust that what he did say was honest. His comments on Paulson made me more confident in this package being effectively administered and his comparisons ('economic Pearl Harbor' and 'patient with a heart attack') were new to me and seemed quite effective metaphors. Anyway, I recommend watching the whole thing.
It is also really worth reading this excerpt on derivatives from the 2002 Berkshire annual report. This is the report from which the phrase 'financial weapons of mass destruction' comes from but it is really worth reading the whole thing (only 2 pages).
October 01, 2008
Games Last Night: Gulo Gulo & Barbu, also BGG.Con
There was already a game of Gulo Gulo (my #1 recommendation for a kids game to buy - fun for both adults and kids and fairly self-balancing by kids' small fingers making up for their weaker strategy) going when I arrived at D&M's last night. Ella, at 3 years old, won that which was great, followed by a 6 player game I joined. I got the first chance to go for the 5 end tiles and got lucky and found the purple tile you can win with (and also had a fresh bowl of eggs). This was all good. However, the purple eggs were SERIOUSLY buried - couldn't see one at all and the other was at the bottom of the bowl and I am not at all adept at this kind of dexterity element. However, despite my poor technique and sort of bashing around lots of eggs I somehow miraculously managed to retrieve the winning purple egg. Anyway, for anyone looking for a game to play with even VERY your kids, this really is my very first recommendation by a pretty big margin.
We then played a fun game of Barbu where I played well but also got quite lucky pretty much throughout. Led the game after like the 3rd hand, had a positive score throughout, and won by like 300 points. Probably the best Barby game I will ever have, and against three experienced and skilled players.
Oh, also I am again going to BGG.Con this year in November and have a room but no roommate at the moment. If you are going and interested in sharing (and don't snore), let me know. Arriving Thursday and leaving Sunday and if you also have a room reserved, we can just cancel one of them.