A Day at The Coast

I had to work, but Julie, Jacob, and Matthew spent most of Friday in Lincoln
City, the closest coastal town to our home in Sherwood. The summer is ticking
away, and Julie realized she had not yet taken the time to spend a day playing
in the sand and surf. The Oregon coast is a special place unlike most in the
world – it isn’t a place to swim or sunbathe since the water
is mostly too cold and warm sunny days are few and far between. It is a place
to play and gaze at the scenic landscapes. Jacob and Matthew mostly enjoy
digging in the sand, building walls, castles, moats, and burying each other.
We recommend avoiding the beaches on the main highway 101 drag in Lincoln City
– they tend to be overcrowded and a bit dirty. Instead head north of town,
past the casino, to Road’s End State Recreation Site. Of course you’ll need to
eat some seafood as well – your best bet is the Dory Cove Restaurant, also at Road’s End. Your best bets are
the clam chowder and the battered halibut.

FreshFish 0.9 Available for Download

I finally have another release of
FreshFish available for
download. I think this version looks quite a
bit nicer (thanks to Angela for providing some updated graphics), and the
usability is drastically improved. Most of the improvements though are in the
underlying game engine, since I had a number of things wrong with rules, end-
game, and certain game states in the previous
. I do
still have a ways to go though… some other points:

  • If you don’t know how to play, read the rules.
  • Scott Hanselman sat down for some pair programming with me and gave some great advice, most of which made it into this version. His most striking comment was this: “Is it a game or a business application?” This hit home… the use of status bar, menu bar, etc. does make it look too much like an office productivity tool. Expect a makeover in the next release.
  • I hope the rules are solid in this version, since I really would like to move onto networked play. Please report any issues you see.

Have fun!


For the thousands of you that check my weblog daily (OK, the 3-5 of you), you
obviously noticed I was down for a while. My ISP (Stormhosts – great prices
for ASP.NET hosting) had a major outage, presumably caused by the blast virus
outback. In any case, I’m back.

Busy week of travel – two days in Charlotte last week, one day in San
Francisco on Monday, and just got back from Phoenix tonight after a 24 hour

Session Report: Gaming at Kevin’s

I finally found some time for gaming last Saturday and spent the evening at
Kevin Graham’s, “connector” of all us
spielfrieks here in the Portland area. I’ve met most of my favorite gaming
folks through Kevin, and I know we all appreciate his efforts to create a fun
environment and a thriving gaming community in this city.

It was a fairly small crowd this Saturday, but we had a special guest: Mike
Oakes from the UK. He is in our neck of the woods for a 2 week RV tour of
Oregon. Doug, Mimi, Sabrina, and Greg were also present.


I brought this at Kevin’s request (along with Capt’n Clever and Aladdin’s Dragons) and we
decided it would be a nice opener. This is my second play, and I’m still not
sure about this one. It is a nice opener, very light, but with 5 players (we
were still waiting for Doug and Mimi) there isn’t much deception involved. In
Quicksand players are secretly trying to advance their adventurer to the
treasure. Advancement is achieved by playing cards of the same color as an
adventurer, and most of the time a player is forced to move someone else
along. With 5 players only one of the tokens does not belong to a player, so
bluffing is frought with disaster. I suppose there’s some strategy in moving
players onto the quicksand whenever possible. In this game, we all got
bottlenecked at the end of the board, and Sabrina was forced to move the
leader into the treasure since that was her only legal move. I don’t remember
who the winner was – maybe Kevin? I’ll rate this one a 5.


Doug remembered that I had been wanting to play this gamesince trying
Age of Steam and was
kind enough to bring his copy of the game along. I’ve heard from several
others that they prefer this game to the newer Age of Steam, and I can see
why. Volldampf is certainly a simpler game, and it keeps the features I like
most about Age of Steam (route planning and cooperation). The board routes are
fixed (in AoS they are built out by players), trains can carry goods up to 6
segments from the start (in AoS you have to pay money to upgrade your engine),
and there’s no income reduction. We played this in about 90 minutes (including
teaching) and I loved it. It helped that I won (I got very lucky with two of
the final goods placements) – Doug finished a close second. I’ll score this
one a 9 for now.

Aladdin’s Dragons

I helped Sabrina, Mike, and Kevin get started with this game – I wrote about
it previously here. Kevin doesn’t much like auction games, but I think he had
a fun time with this one. Sabrina managed to pull out the victory, from what I
here she took advantage of the spell cards.


I talked everyone into trying a 7 player game of Bang!, which I first tried at GenCon. I don’t
think this game works very well with 4 players, but I absolutely love it with
7. For the second time in three games, the sheriff (Sabrina) helped dispose of
the deputy. This light game is made even more fun by the social interaction
and bluffing. I’ll rate this one an 8.

Weekend Update – Camping at PGE Park and Matthews’ Birthday

We had a blast this weekend. Friday night Jacob had his first official
football practice Friday evening after a week of football camp in the evenings
put on by Sherwood high school. This will be Jacob’s first year playing
football and he’s very excited. Saturday morning we picked up his gear then I
took Matthew and Jacob out for 9 holes of golf. We like to have little
contests while we play – usually a team net score we’re shooting for and a
little bingo-bango-bongo competition. We missed our team goal of 160 strokes
by just 1 stroke – I was happy with my play – I took a stab at playing with
just a 5-iron, 52-deg wedge, and putter and shot a 34 (par is 30 on this
executive course).

Saturday evening we loaded up the car and drove downtown for the Portland
game for Scout Night – not just any
special night, but a night where we get to camp out on the field. This was
even more fun than I thought it would be. A perfect evening – the four of us
were called down to the field for a promotional tug-o-war and we won some bats
and balls. The game was a thriller – 4 runs in the bottom of 9th inning for
the Beavers to win the game, including a 3-run smash out of the park in left

After the game we picked up our gear and set up camp on the field.
InFocus sponsored a movie showing on the field
(The Rookie – great flick written by local
talent Mike Rich). The weather was so nice
that we eschewed our tent and slept under the stars (the nice artificial turf
in center field didn’t hurt either). That’s Julie and Matthew you see
engrossed in the movie. Definitely a late night – the movie didn’t end until
1:30am – and we had to head out early from the park since they had a day game

Sunday at least started a little bit more quietly – I joined the boys for a
2-lap race of Formula De and we prepared for
Matthew’s low-key birthday party this afternoon. We had some friends over, did
some tie-dye t-shirts, and played croquet and bocce balls. Matthew is now 7,
but given his penchant for dictating his personal fashion choices he feels
like 17 at times.