Saturday, August 17, 2013


My wife mentioned to me that I've not been gaming much recently.

It's true.

Although it hasn't been quite this long: Oldest Gaming Tokens Found in Turkey.

Found in a burial at Başur Höyük, a 820- by 492-foot mound near Siirt in southeast Turkey, the elaborate pieces consist of 49 small stones sculpted in different shapes and painted in green, red, blue, black and white.
All I can say is, those would make great meeples for my Agricola games!

I've not been watching much sports on T.V., though that will probably soon change. For one thing, the N.F.L. season begins in a few weeks, so there will be plenty of 49ers games to watch, as well as a few Raiders games to watch (and more to listen to on the radio).

For another thing, the U.S. Men's National Team is rocking, and the fans are nearing delerious ecstasy, producing articles like The Great Strike Hope: Is Jozy Altidore the first great goal scorer in U.S. soccer history?

it was Altidore's first strike that signaled something different was afoot. With the United States down a goal in the 59th minute, winger Fabian Johnson dinked a shallow pass into the box for Altidore to run onto. Well-marked by a defender, Altidore settled the ball with his right boot and, with his left, instantly whipped the ball across the goal and into the net.
All U.S. soccer fans (14 of us, counting me) are now waiting eagerly for the September 6th and September 10th matches with Costa Rica and Mexico, hoping to see the U.S. cement their World Cup bid for Brazil.

Meanwhile, in soccer with a bit more money behind it, NBC Sports has announced the schedule and format for their bold move to cover the English Premier League: WATCH: Premier League TV Schedule for opening weekend

Excitement levels are through the roof across the world as the 2013-14 PL season promises to be the most exciting in the league’s history.

And you can watch every single second of every single game live via NBC Sports Group platforms.

It's exciting, but note that those times are Eastern Time, so I'll need to be particularly motivated to catch , say, that Fulham v. Arsenal match in order to arrange to have the tube on at 4:45 A.M. Saturday morning my time.

Meanwhile, in news of another World Cup, Dana Mackenzie updates his results for his entry in the Prediction Contest in the FIDE World Chess Cup 2013. Go go Hikaru Nakamura!!

Back to gaming more close to home. It's been 9 months since we picked up any new board games. We loved Ora et Labora, but Trajan didn't seem to have much staying power. My mother-in-law will be here in a few months for a moderate-length stay, so it's time to start planning.

Here are 5 games on my list; knowing that I like games such as Puerto Rico, Agricola, Ora et Labora, and Caylus, what do you think about these:

  • Castles of Burgundy
    The game is set in the Burgundy region of High Medieval France. Each player takes on the role of an aristocrat, originally controlling a small princedom. While playing they aim to build settlements and powerful castles, practice trade along the river, exploit silver mines, and use the knowledge of travellers.
  • Terra Mystica
    Terra Mystica is a game with very little luck that rewards strategic planning. Each player governs one of the 14 groups. With subtlety and craft, the player must attempt to rule as great an area as possible and to develop that group's skills. There are also four religious cults in which you can progress. To do all that, each group has special skills and abilities.
  • Mage Knight
    The Mage Knight board game puts you in control of one of four powerful Mage Knights as you explore (and conquer) a corner of the Mage Knight universe under the control of the Atlantean Empire. Build your army, fill your deck with powerful spells and actions, explore caves and dungeons, and eventually conquer powerful cities controlled by this once-great faction! In competitive scenarios, opposing players may be powerful allies, but only one will be able to claim the land as their own. In coöperative scenarios, the players win or lose as a group. Solo rules are also included.

    Combining elements of RPGs, deckbuilding, and traditional board games the Mage Knight board game captures the rich history of the Mage Knight universe in a self-contained gaming experience.

  • Troyes
    In Troyes, recreate four centuries of history of this famous city of the Champagne region of France. Each player manages their segment of the population (represented by a horde of dice) and their hand of cards, which represent the three primary domains of the city: religious, military, and civil. Players can also offer cash to their opponents' populace in order to get a little moonlighting out of them—anything for more fame!
  • Lords of Waterdeep
    In Lords of Waterdeep, a strategy board game for 2-5 players, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder – or help – the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.

I'm thinking that both Castles of Burgundy and Terra Mystica look good. Any opinions?

And, as long as I'm casting about for ideas, I have to confess that Dragon's Dogma just didn't quite grab me. The pawns are fascinating, but I don't quite grasp what's going on with them. I don't think it's a bad game, it just didn't work for me.

Unfortunately, so many of the new games are online MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Dragon's Crown.

I looked a little bit at Tales of Xillia.

I've also been looking quite a bit at Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

It would be nice to get a game that my grand-daughter and I would enjoy playing together, and either of these looks possible.

I'm leaning toward Ni No Kuni. What do you think, Ni No Kuni or Tales of Xillia?

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