Gaming in Redmond, WA at Wizkids

I enjoyed a fun night of gaming last week while visiting Bellevue/Redmond.
There’s a group that meets weekly on Tuesdays at the WizKids
in Redmond, so I headed up from
Portland a little early to join in on the fun. Fantastic group of people –
very welcoming and I hope to return and join the group soon. Let’s get to the


This is a simple, fun, pirate-theme game with a bit of luck and a bit of
strategy. Not for deep thinking, but a solid opener. It is hard (for me) to
resist any game with a pirate theme, and this was no exception for me – I
bought a copy of the game from WizKids. The game is for 2-4 players, and each
player is trying to gain the most victory points by boarding galleys. Galleys
have victory points commensurate with the difficulty of capture – based on the
number of cards necessary to attempt a board or the die roll necessary to
successfully complete a board. Player interaction comes in the form of
broadsides, where one player can fire on another and steal or destroy their
cards (provisions), or counter attacks, where a player can try to board a
galley after another player by beating his or her roll.

Apples to Apples

The largest game of Apples to Apples for me so far – at least 12 folks joined
in for two games. Fun stuff, but I was ready to move on the meatier stuff.

Puerto Rico

My second play of this fantastic game – there were 4 of us, 1 veteran, me
(played once), and 2 newbies. I went for a corn strategy but couldn’t get
enough to make a difference, and made one bad tactical move during the Captain
phase and shipped the wrong good. I probably would have still finished second,
but would have been much closer to the ultimate winner (the veteran). I hope
to play this again this coming weekend when I host some gaming down in


Another pirate game – arggh. This is better than Corsairs, in my opinion –
more tension and player interaction, and more strategy since you can customize
your ship. I’ve ordered this from Funagain and can’t wait to give it a try with my kids.

Quick Diversion – The Thorns

I just might be one of Matthew Sweet’s greatest
fans. Odds are, you haven’t heard of him, but from the moment I first heard
Girlfriend, I was hooked. His solo career, however, has tailed off over the
past 5 years. A low point for me was seeing him live for the third time,
opening for Guided By Voices. Matthew should
never be an opening act :-)!

Well, he has a new gig: The
, a sort of joint venture
with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullin. Check out their first single, I Can’t

Weekend in Newport, OR

We spent a great weekend in Newport, OR.  Our hotel was on the beach and the weather was perfect – 60s and sunny during the day.  Friday we took the behind the scenes tour at the Oregon Coast Aquarium – I highly recommend this, especially if you’ve been there before and want to try something new.  One highlight of the trip was sampling the various brews from Rogue brewery – I highly recommend the Yellow Snow Ale and the Buckwheat Ale.  The other big highlight was seeing migrating grey whales on our whale watching cruise with Marine Discovery Tours.  Jacob and Matthew each got turns at the helm of the ship.

A morning with Advanced Squad Leader – ouch!

Ken Rude and I spent a morning last Saturday with a local gaming group that regularly plays Advanced Squad Leader and is open to newbies interested in learning the game.

I played Squad Leader, along with the two expansions Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom, back in the late 70s / early 80s when I was very into the Avalon Hill war games. I loved the scale of the game – squad level tactics, with counters representing single leaders, tanks, or small squads of infantry. It was (is) a complex game, but it was clearly my favorite of the AH games.

The morning was a disappointment though. The hosts were very kind, and one of the group members walked Ken and me through a simple scenario (infrantry only, a few machine guns, basic rules). There is a price you pay for the realism of this game – rules complexity that almost demands you focus on this game in absence of any others. Ken crushed me (he was the Americans, I was German) but we both walked away wishing we had spent the morning playing lighter games.

I think in the future if I want that level of realism in squad level tactics, I’ll let the computer manage the rules and just play Laser Squad Nemesis.