Archive for October, 2011

Board Games and Hip-Hop

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Two things I love. And two things that, perhaps, some of my readers also love? I sure hope so.

In the Board Game arena, I have recently posted a review of Eminent Domain, which is a neat little game that combines mechanics from some of my favorite games like Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, and Glory to Rome. While not quite as addictive as its cousins, it’s still a very compelling game, and the fact that you have a lot more control over your hand and deck than the aforementioned games means that optimizing gamers will likely appreciate the possibilities.

In the Hip-Hop world, I believe I may have mentioned that Torrentz had released a (free!) new album called The Big Kahuna.* Here’s a pretty neat update: The Big Kahuna recently received an enthusiastically positive review in Wired. Granted, they gloss over my solo song¬†“The Big Cheese”, but at least they mention my guest verse on “I Like Cookies”.

And if you take a venn diagram of the gaming circle and hip-hop circle, the entire chart (but especially the overlap) will appreciate** my latest crazy idea: A boardgame review done in the style of a freestyle rap:

Rappin\’ Reviews: Belfort

The freestyle was easy enough***, but it took forever to take pictures and put together the slideshow, so I’ll probably only do rap reviews occasionally and mostly stick with written reviews. Still, this was pretty fun to make. Also, Belfort is a pretty great game; as I mentioned in the review, everyone at my game night immediately appreciated the high-quality components and great theme, and continued appreciating the compelling mix between worker placement and area control.

Speaking of compelling mixes, I recently wrote a North Adams Mayoral Election Guide for my fair city, where I repeatedly mixed up the letters in each candidate’s name to reveal the truth about them through anagrams. Granted, this may be of less interest to those of you not in the Berkshires, but ANAGRAMS ARE FUN. That’s why I AM ARRANGE SNAFU.

*Which you should download. For free. There’s a link in the review.

**This is, perhaps, over-optimistic. Might appreciate? Will not immediately flee from?

***Notwithstanding the mispronounciations, the time I said “arves and dwelves”, and the few times I started to get off-topic.

The Game of Gaming

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Do you play “social games” like farmville or sims social or mobwars, etc.? If you’re playing Facebook games, or know someone who is, you really need to read my guide to efficient social gaming.

Naturally, a gamer like myself tends to look at everything as a game. For example: Life*. This week, we made delicious enchiladas and tortilla soup, and I got to see Weird Al in concert. And I performed at two improv shows. So I get a lot of points this week.

A few weeks ago I lost some points when decided to let go all 72 of their¬†Contributing Writers. I was one of those 72 writers, and had been writing about Board Games for them since early this year. So that was a bit disappointing. But I’m a gamer, so when I lose points, I look for solutions to gain more points. And thus I came to the decision that I should continue writing about boardgames**, since I enjoy reviewing games and feel that I am good at it.

Thus, in the coming months you will start seeing me post more about boardgame reviews right here on Or, at least linking to and discussing them here. I’ll be posting the full reviews on BGG, because that’s where most serious gamers are likely to look first for reviews. Today, I posted the very first review for the upcoming Puzzle Strike Upgrade Pack***. And I’ve got a few older reviews on there, for games like Power Grid: Factory Manager and World of Warcraft: the Boardgame. Those older reviews lacked photos, but going forward I’ll include photos in all my reviews.

I’ve also got a crazy idea for an experimental… well, maybe I won’t spoil it just yet. Suffice to say, my next post will have something bizarre that may or may not work.

* Yes, I know technically there is an old boardgame called “Life”. It is a terrible game with little volition where everyone has to follow the pre-determined path and pre-set milestones. People who treat real life like this oft end up miserable. One day I may write a book about this.

**Albeit, not About Boardgames.

***Short version: I didn’t realize Puzzle Strike needed an upgrade until I tried this, but now I wouldn’t want to play without it.