All posts in Board Games

At the closing of the year

This will be my last weekly post for the One a Day project. While I veered off course during the last few months, I think the important thing is that I followed through to the end. Finishing something after making a commitment is important to me. I haven’t completed the Dune game yet. In the coming year I need to figure out how to partition off time for creative projects in my post-single life. I think I will actually make new year’s resolutions for 2012. I want to lose some weight, figure out some other life stuff, and re-prioritize.

This was a great year for me. I want 2012 to be a year where I shape and focus the potential energy from 2011.

Bye for now.

Happy Birthday 2011

I love my birthday. For me, it has lost that quality of a milestone that comes around to prompt reflection on the past year. Those milestones are happening throughout the year. My birthday is MY day. I get to do whatever I want, no matter how ridiculous. Usually this involves a party. This time around I had some folks over early in the afternoon to play the board game Talisman with almost all of the expansions. Later on, more people arrived to play Rock Band and enjoy beverages. My house was partitioned into the Rock Band Room, the Board Game Room, the Chill Out Room, and the Smoker’s Back Porch. While I did enjoy myself a great deal, I wish I could have had more time to hang out in each area.

Close to 30 people showed up, and that isn’t even all of my Austin friends. For me there is no fame, no heaven, no children, no inheritance, no stock options. There’s just my friends. They are my only reward in this life. Having a house full of them for just a few hours is the only metric I need to assess how I did this past year.

Thanks, guys.

BoardGameGeek.Con 2011

Here are some of the games I played at BGG this year.

Last Will – Your eccentric uncle has died, leaving you with a fortune. Thing is, the will stipulates you must spend your inheritance before the rest of the family in order to get the real inheritance. You can accomplish this by making poor real estate decisions, hiring expensive servants, going on expensive cruises and generally surrounding yourself with freeloaders. I liked this game enough to play it three times at the con. There’s lots of strategies to try once you get past the daunting list of special abilities the cards grant you.

Blood Bowl: Team Manager – I had initially blown this off as Fantasy Flight saying “Blood Bowl would be too expensive to re-issue, so here’s a card game knock off instead.” Thankfully, I was wrong. This is a fun game that distills an entire season of Blood Bowl into just the best parts.

Eminent Domain – Sleek, sci-fi deck building game with Puerto Rico-style role selection. Only got to play it once, but eager for another go.

Auf Achse – An older Wolfgang Kramer game about trucking. Think Ticket to Ride but with money and cargo. Only some of the cards had English translations, so I employed the magic of Google Goggles to do on the fly translations.

Panic Station – I really need to give this game another shot as I seem to be the only one who didn’t like it. The game aims to recreate the events of John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” Each player controls a human and an android who are searching through an abandoned science station in search of an alien hive. One of the players is secretly infected with an alien parasite, seeking to infect the other players. I found the game clunky and full of odd design choices.

El Caballero – The love child of Carcassonne and El Grande, two of my favorite Euros. Supposedly Rio Grande is putting this game back in print.

Lost Temple – Citadels Lite in the jungle. Fun, light game for people who have never played Citadels.

Kingdom Builder – Being the designer of Dominion probably gives you carte blanche to make any kind of game you want. This includes very light, Through the Desert-esque games. Pretty but not very fun. Good intro game, though.

I played a lot of other games, mostly short filler games, but these were the ones that stuck in my mind.


Rex Commeth

I have not touched my custom Dune board game project in many months. Mostly this is due to my weekends being taken up by Scare for a Cure and the overwhelming success of the Find a Girlfriend project.

This month, Fantasy Flight is releasing Rex: Final Days of an Empire, which is a re-themed version of Dune set in the Twilight Imperium universe. My plan is to play it (maybe at BoardGameGeek.con) and see if Fantasy Flight has any ideas worth stealing. They have an impressive track record for taking old classics and making them better.

Regardless of any game mechanic changes, I ought to return to making art for the game at some point. Anyhow, that’s all for now.


I admit it, I am phoning it in today. I can’t think of anything to write about. I hadn’t been working on the Dune artwork for a while, so I spun that up today and rendered out another character. The impending release of Rex took the wind out of my sails a bit. I know it isn’t Dune per se, but it has the same game mechanics. Since it is from Fantasy Flight, I’m sure it will be fantastic. The same thing happened when I started work on a custom Cosmic Encounter set. Fantasy Flight brought it back so there was no point in making my own.

In other news, the girlfriend project is going really well. 🙂 I look forward to experiencing even the most mundane events like doing laundry because I want to see what it is like to do them with Bess. I see her just about every day and she isn’t sick of me, which I take as a good sign.

An Embarrassment of Riches

I may have mentioned this before, but there are too many things. And by “things” I mean books, video games, movies, TV shows, board games, songs, apps, and any other media one might experience. Right now, today, there are probably more things that I’d like to have a look at than I have time remaining in my life to do so. And tomorrow, someone will add even more.

I don’t like to leave things unfinished, no loose ends. But now I have this frayed blanket of partially read books, half-watched shows, unfinished video games, barely messed with apps, and board games still in shrink wrap. At one point these things were rare and hard won. As a child I created an impromptu garage sale to fund the purchase of the BattleTech board game, shutting the sale down the moment I could afford to buy. And then I played BattleTech for ages. Now everything is so easy to obtain, effortlessly plucked from the ether. But I feel like it takes a greater force of will to slow down and appreciate a single thing, knowing there are thousands more awaiting my attention. It is like touring the Louvre in a formula one race car.

I’ve decided I need to shift my perception of all this media, or at least to try. I’m trying to see it as another planetary ecosystem, something vast and ever present. In the same way that I do not need to play with every breed of dog on the planet, I do not need to play every game. If I see one I like, I will pet it and enjoy that moment. I’m really happy just knowing that all those things are out there and that sometimes my path will intersect with some of them.

Thufir Hawat

I’ve worked out the art style for the Dune characters. I decided on a painterly look with unexpected colors. The character design is influenced by the French edition of the game with a bit of the Lynch film mixed in. Here is Thufir Hawat, Mentat Master of Assassins for House Atreides.

I’m working my way through all of the male characters and then I’ll do the females. Today I rendered out all the images for The Duel and started dabbling with designing each of the House planets. There are still a ton of Treachery cards to create.

That’s all for now.


A few weeks ago I sat down to write an email to invite people to a recurring movie night. But then I recalled some other ideas I had discussed with some friends about doing a kind of show and tell type thing. Basically I wanted an excuse to get a bunch of friends together to watch a movie or play a game and also have someone do an awesome presentation. So, instead of sending out an email about movie night, I created a group on Facebook. I called it the Symposium, after its Greek namesake, yes, but more for what we called those nights in Albuquerque when my friends and I sat out on someone’s back stoop, drinking wine, discussing geeky things.

Here is the mission statement of the Symposium:

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates

“He was a wise man who invented beer.” – Plato

Once a month I will host a Symposium which will always include three things: Amusement, Imbibement and Enlightenment (sometimes in that order).

Amusements will consist of games, films and interactive experiences. These amusements will be curated and presented with care by myself and other participants. The back story about why a game or movie is important will be an emphasized component.

Imbibements encompass all manner of drink and edible delectables. Strange wines, mysterious brews and home-made dishes are encouraged.

Enlightenment is the heart of the Symposium. Each Symposium will feature a presenter or topic of discussion. Every one of you has something to share. If you are a musician, you might have a new song. If you are a poet, a new poem. A game designer might discuss their new game or a work in progress. A writer might read an excerpt from a story they are working on. A scholarly presentation of a subject one has passion for is also possible. Alternatively, one may present a topic for discussion and debate. In any case, questions and answers are encouraged.

The first Symposium, called Symposium I: I Think Therefore I Game, happened this past Friday. About ten other people showed up to hang out, chat and drink wine. Then Marc Majcher led us through a couple of game poems he had created. A game poem can be described as the thinking person’s party game, or a very short role playing game. Or maybe a structured improv exercise. Each game was designed to evoke and explore a particular mood or concept. The first one was a study in fidelity and betrayal. The second one is a bit harder to describe. Maybe a study of identity and empathy? Both were really fun experiences.

After an intermission, game designer Jonathan Leistiko did a presentation on “Applying Philosophy to Understand and Design Board Games.” Really genius, mind expanding stuff about what certain game mechanics say about fate, the future and reality.

Everyone seemed to have a great time and I felt it was a resounding success. I plan on doing it monthly and I have a number of amusements and topics I’d like to schedule. Mostly I’m just happy to give friends a chance to demonstrate their awesomeness and have fun at the same time.

Is it really all that much to lug around

I’ve been physically depressed for weeks now. Makes it tough to get much done, even this post. I’ve started logging my sleep to see if I need to make any adjustments there.

Still working on images for the Dune game. I realized that I had completely forgotten to include the cards from the Spice Harvest expansion in my list of components. They are all pretty straightforward, but it is like three more decks of cards to do.

I have several collaborative projects in the works. I’ll see how they go. It is nice to have projects.

Went out with a really pretty redhead a few weeks ago, but she said there was no chemistry. 🙁

That’s all.


Not really feeling it today, so here’s an image of Burseg, one of the Emperor’s leaders.