Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dominion Unboxing

The second Game I got myself for Christmas was Dominion from Rio Grande Games... Here is the unboxing video I did for the game.

Two things I found in error... First, I turned the background music down too much and it is almost completly lost, second, I state one of the cards shown is the Thief, when in fact it is a Spy, but I'm to lazy to re-record the whole thing again and I don't have the know-how to cut and splice the audio track. Live and learn!

Master of his Dominion

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Elementry My Dear...

The buddy flick set in late 1800 England.

That is the new Sherlock Holmes in 7 words. Not that it is bad, far from it, it is a very entertaining movie that hits all the right wickets for modern pop culture.

Quick Take Aways:
  • Robert Downing Jr. - He is still on the rise and does a wonderful performance as Holmes. When first cast I was a bit apprehensive, but he pulled the accent out well and his slightly neurotic (OK, really neurotic) take on Holmes was interesting and entertaining. I really liked the director's approach with the character where he digested a scene, typically fights, but would have liked to have seen that break out with other items.
  • Jude Law - As the 'retired' military surgeon, this Doctor Watson was a bit younger then those portrayed in the past, but so was Holmes for that matter. Law is a great actor, with a wide range and he did well in this film. My biggest complaint was the limp. An injury suffered in the line of duty mysteriously disappeared in fight and chase scenes, but reemerged in conversation/dialog intense scenes. Huh?
  • The 'Buddy Flick' - Holmes and Watson played off of each other extremely well, and the interjection of Watson's future wife played to the conflict of the buddies being ripped apart.
  • The Action - Hey, it is the modern pop world that we live in and if we don't have the prerequisite number of explosions and bloody fight scenes, then it ain't going to cut. Come on! I think some story got left on the floor, I'm not going to spoil, but a few spots could have used an additional scene to help tie things together a bit better, especially at the end.
  • The Big Professor M - Professor Moriarty plays a very minor, behind the scenes, wait for the sequel roll. He is there, but he isn't the force to be addressed in this film, but I'll be you my stake in the Baker Street Irregulars that we see him in his full glory next time.
  • The 'Tag' - Didn't happen. I sat through the credits, expecting to see a sneak peak of Moriarty or some other thing, but it didn't happen. :( Oh well.
In the end I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it for the theater for its full large screen effect. I give it 202 out of 221B Baker Streets.


And they are off!

On Tuesday, as part of the triple play, we held the third race of the Grand Prix League event. We had three new teams come into the frey and three returning teams. The new teams were:
  • Smuggler's Paradise Racing (SPR) with Solo and Chewie (Team Owner: Paul)
  • Valkyrie with Titania and David Kidder (Team Owner: Susanne)
  • Shadow Racing with LaMont and Margo (Team Owner: Leah)
The starting field for this race was as follows:
  1. Kalev for Team Zealot
  2. LaMont for Shadow Racing
  3. BJ Foyt for JP Racing
  4. Titania for Valkyrie
  5. Solo for SPR
  6. Lugi for Team Ariete
The race was held in Zhuai, China and consisted of two laps. The race looked ominous with the first turn producing our first debris field due to a collision. This same turn had five of the six racers in the turn zone and within three of the end of the turn on the same round. However, Solo took a quick and commanding lead and pulled a good 40+ car lengths ahead of all the competitors.

Coming out of the last turn of the first lap, with Solo having a firm lead and a solid car, he opted to skip the pits and head directly into his second lap. Kalev trying to make up ground also passed up on the pits. BJ Foyt, Titania, Lugi all entered the pits next and LaMont by passed, allowing him to pass Lugi who had a hard exit.

In the first turn of the second lap, Solo misjudged his distance and burnt all his tires to spin out just outside the turn. This allowed Kalev to move ahead with the lead. BJ Foyt coming in quickly attempted to pass the slowed Solo, but couldn't maintain his momentum before Solo had his car running again at speed.

Unfortunately for Solo, on the hairpin turn, he lost control of the car and slammed into the wall. Having received major injuries, will be unable to participate in the next race, but he did make the ESPN highlight reels. This left Kalev in a resounding lead and the rest of the pack clumped together in attempt to win second place.

Kalev crossed the finish line with two turns to spare, hitting the last turn perfectly to accelerate to 6th gear to head across the finish line uncontested. The pack hit the final turn in tight formation, with Titania and Lugi neck and neck, but in fourth gear. BJ Foyt timed his gear shift and entered the final turn in fifth, allowing him to accelerate to 6th and zoom pass both Titania and Lugi to steal second. Titania finished third followed by LaMont making a strong showing at the end and Lugi puttering across on the final roll.

Current Grand Prix Points

Driver Standings:

Great game of racing. We only had five debris fields on the board, but it was still alot of bump and grind between the cars. Looking forward to the next race!

The Comish

Tuesday Night Triple Play

I was able to sneak out for some gaming on Tuesday night and had a real good time playing a wide variety of games.

First up The Other Half and I ran some arrends to the doctors and the kitchen counter stores and got some samples. About three or so I made it to Steve/Rob's and started cooking up some chili.

Once that was started, Steve, Susanne, and I played the new expansion for Agricola, Farmers on the Moors. Moors added in some really nice items, taking an already pleasantly complex board game and cranking it up a notch. I really liked the concept of the fuel and how the executed. It provided motivation for conversion from a wood house early, to help pay for future fuel expenditures. Steve took an early lead using his wood hoarding techniques to build a five room house early, but fell into trouble with his massive birthing campaign and had to take a begging card. In the second to last round, I took both birth tiles that allowed me to push ahead of Steve and the actions needed to replace my wood house directly to stone with the conservator. I give the expansion a pretty high rating for the new stuff it adds to the game.

Second game was the next race in the Grand Prix League. We had three new teams show and a return of three teams for a total of six racers on the field. We raced on the Zhuai track that really limited the 6th gear action. I'll post a complete update in a new posting with all the action an current standings in a blatant attempt to get my blog post count up for the month.

The last game was again Steve, Susanne, and myself. I had opened up Dominion as it will be my next unboxing, but I wanted to at least play the game once so I could talk to it more intelligently during the video. I really liked the game and I can see that it will have a high degree of replayability. The player interaction is not high, in fact it can be pretty random given the cards that come up for the kingdom cards, which are chosen at random prior to the game. Once everyone knows the rules, it actually moves along very quickly. Each game will have a slightly different strategy, based upon the cards that are chosen again, but some key things we noticed was that concentrating solely on victory points (VP), which you need to win, diluted your ability to conduct actions, which you need to get VP. Also, concentrating to much on money development at the experience of actions or VP, and not making the switch to a VP build soon enough, put you in a hole when end game was approaching.

Solid night of gaming, with three very different game styles, all good stuff. Thanks for Steve for hosting on such an odd night and for Suzanne for the corn bread muffins.

Games x3 & yummy, yummy chili

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Repo Men...


Just Wow...

If you haven't seen the redband trailer for Repo Men, you ought to check it out. Talk about disturbing vision of the future. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are a pair of great actors that seem to really have a chemstry based on the trailer.

Should be worth the watch.

How's the Pancreas?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh Silent Night

Hey all,

No real gaming news to report. I did play a solo game of Pizza Box Football, which I won 24-21. Go Team!

The bad weather here in the Big O! kept everyone safe indoors as well as it being the holiday weekend, we didn't get a chance to get together to play. I got some Civ IV as well as good old spider solitaire in. The Other Half and I played two rounds or RummiKub and tried a few of Mexican Train (sans the contraption) while listening to Pandora.

We also watched Godfather III. We knew it was suppose to be bad, but I hadn't seen it. Good to get it out of the way finally.

My workout for the day called for bench press, which I don't have, but I chalked up 1 1/2 hours of shoveling show drifts as good enough! :)

Wednesday coming, the Eldest and I are off to see Sherlock Holmes. It has gotten some decent reviews and I'm looking forward to it... Sometime this week I've got to squeeze Avatar into the mix as well.

A brief calm before the new year storm

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Factory Manager Unboxing, now with YouTube


So, I guess I am geeking out a bit. I figured out how to use the Window's Movie Maker and it was pretty easy to get the pictures all together with some audio narrative.


Let me know what you think!

And Action!

Edit: I found out how to add both voice and audio, but it appears to have down graded the visuals. More tinkering to follow!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gentlemen, Start your engines!

And they are off!

Last night we kicked off the Grand Prix League for our Saturday group. Only four folks are in the league at the moment, but we have plenty of room for others to join in. Here are the quick Grand Prix Campaign Rules we came up with.

Quick Grand Prix Campaign Rules

Each player (team) has two drivers on hire. Either driver my race on a given race day, but only one driver per team on the track per race day. If four or less teams are present and they all agree, they may choose to run both racers on the same race. Races with five or more cars will be limited to two laps while races with four or fewer cars may be three lap races if all team owners agree.

Players use the rules for the Advanced play and may design their cars per the rules. All cars are returned to full operational capability at the start of each race

A team earns Grand Prix Points (GPP) based on the finish of their drivers.

Finish Results

GGP Earned


10 Points


8 Points


6 Points


4 Points

Other Finishers

2 Points

Did Not Finish

1 Point

Driver Points:

Drivers earn Driver Points (DP) for the following items (Cumulative):


DP Earned

Competing in a race

1 Point

Finishing a race

2 Points

1st Place

5 Points

2nd Place

3 Points

3rd Place

1 Point

Crashing Your Car, Minor Injury

1 Points

Crashing Your Car, Major Injury

2 Points

Crashing Your Car, Dead

10 Points, but then you can't spend them can you.

Use of DP. During the race a driver may spend their earned DP on the following three items:


DP Cost

Times Per Race




Extra Break



Extra Tire



DP can be used in race as they are extensions of the driver's experience and abilities in the thick of the race.


If a driver loses control of their car and it is eliminated from play, roll the black D20.

D20 Roll



Driver dies in fiery wreckage. Team hires new driver with no Driver Points

2 - 15

Major Injury, Driver is hurt and must miss at least one race.

16 - 20

Minor Injury, No impact on the driver

Campaign Winners:

Grand Prix Championship Team: Team that has collected the highest GGP earned. Ties for GGP will add the remaining DP of their drivers. Further ties will compare earned DP of their drivers.

Driver of the Year: Driver with highest earned DP

The Pericoloso Trophy: Driver with the highest percentage of DP used (Spent DP/Earned DP)


We ran two races for the night. The first one was Monoco that came with the new Formula D box set. Since only four team owners showed up, we opted for the dual car race, especially since all our drivers were newbies. Here are the teams and their drivers:

- Team Ariete (Steve) with Morboni and Luigi
- Team Zealot (Eric) with Zur and Kalev
- Chaos Inc. (Rob) with Eld and Val
- JP Racing (Me) with Dale Burnout Jr. and BJ Foyt

Race one was very competitive with 10 debris fields littering the track, most of them around the tight 3-stop corner. It was a tight two lap race with three racers not finishing the event. In the end Morboni lead the pack out of the final turn for the checkered flag. He was followed by Kalev, Eld, and Dale Burnout Jr. Team standings following the first race:

- Team Ariete with 11 points
- Team Zelots with 10 points
- Chaos Inc. with 7 points
- JP Racing with 5 points


Our second race took us to the Nederlands. With one of his racers out with a major injury (Luigi), we opted to run only single racers for this very fast track, but took it up to three laps. Morboni took a commanding lead, but was caught by Val of Chaos Inc, only to slingshot back into the lead again on the final two turns. Meanwhile, Dale Burnout and Zur spent time tight in the corners, trying to push their damaged cars a bit faster for third, with Zur finally hitting the wall and not finishing. Team results following Race Two:

- Team Ariete with 21 points
- Chaos Inc. with 15 points
- Team Zealots with 11 points
- JP Racing with 11 points

Racer Standings by Driver Points (DP):

Driver Rankings



DP Earned

DP Remain

% DP Used


Team Ariete





Chaos Inc.





Team Zealot




Dale Burnout Jr.

JP Racing





Team Zealot





Chaos Inc.





Team Ariete




BJ Foyt

JP Racing




Stay tunned for more racing news as the cars hit the course in the future!

Self Proclaimed Commish of Grand Prix Racing

Monday, December 14, 2009

Triple Header

On Saturday I got a full day of gaming... It was enough to make any gamer jealous! The day started off with me at the Gym working on the Cross Fit Total. Max weights for back squat, shoulder press, and dead lift. My total was still pretty low and it put me in the beginner category, but that makes since given I just started about a month ago.

Afterwards I met Phillip, Adam, and Dan for our minor little farewell to MkI game. We played a 2K point game with Phillip and I playing against Dan and Adam. Phil had Epic Feorra and Kreoss and I ran Epic Caine and Halley. Not very fluff, but that is OK. Adam had Epic Magnus w/ Bart and Dan had Epic Butcher with Irusk. I got very lucky. By all rights I should have been dead with Haley on turn two from a Obliterator and eCaine on turn three from a supped up Mariner, but Adam's damage dice just couldn't pull it off, leaving each of my casters with ~5 points each. I ended up gatecrashing Bart with eCaine and having a bunch of stuff pick on Magnus. Phillip put alot of effort on eButch and needed eFerrora in the front to finish the brute off. We called the game with Team Adam/Dan only having Irusk left but us needing to wrap up the game. It was a hoot to play, just felt bad that Adam couldn't capitalize on my bad play! Farewell MkI!

Afterwards I purchased a few items. A set of the Italian P40 tanks for the mid war monster tournament for Flames of War in January. I also got the girls their Christmas presents and picked up a pair of board games for myself. I 'hope' to do an unboxing, after my business trip, of Factory Manager and Dominion as well as a detailed review of the game when Steve and I can give the game a go.

I headed over to the 'Man Cave' afterwards and Eric, Mark, Steve, Rob, Kyle, and I played that EPIC board game that had been itching at us. We chose Conquest of the Empire and had a pretty good time. Some really interesting mechanics in the game that I really liked and some that were a bit old... The premise of the game was Caesar had died and each player was attempting to take control of the empire. I really liked the alliance format. The real interesting mechanic that I really thought gave the game a twist was the alliance bidding. You had to form an alliance with half the players on one side and half on the other. You could not attack members in your alliance, but you could choose to lend support to attacks. This would not stop you from stealing influence from your alliance members, but you couldn't go all commando on them. Additionally although the game had huge armies, it wasn't about combat capability, but winning influence and victory points. I was able to gain control of Italia early which allowed be three scoring rounds at the max value, that allowed me to 'recycle' senate votes giving me a prime position to win more votes, especially the ones or additional victory points and chaos reduction. Once I got the solid lead, it was too late for the others to counter to any affect. Here is were the alliances become interesting as I was trying set up players to be on my side that were the biggest threat. The troop and combat roles were a little uninspiring, but like I said, it really wasn't the focus of the game.

Afterwards we introduced Kyle to Agricola on the family setting. It was another good game with each player being within 6 points of each other. I won in the end, but only because I stopped Steve from grabbing enough foods and forcing him to slaughter all his sheep to feed his family.

A great, fun filled day of gaming by any measure.

On Sunday The Other Half and I took the Dog to meet a co-workers dog that will be visiting over Christmas. It was a good encounter with dogs and people all getting along.

Icy as snot out today, and cold, with more cold to follow. I suppose you got to love winter, but I'm not sure why. :)

Game on!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Again with the Snow and a What If?

Greetings o' frozen ones,

Another day in the house after spending 45 mins snow blowing the drift out of the drive way. It has stopped with the snow, but the winds are wicked cold with wind chills in the -10's. Brr. Even when I had the day off (Thanks Uncle Sam), I still had to drive The Other Half into the hospital for work. The base may be unessential, but the hospital is not. I find that amusing. I needed gas after dropping her off and I got stuck twice in the neighborhoods trying to get to the gas station. Luckily the Subaru is all wheel drive and a bit of 'back and forth' got me unstuck in a few moments. When the gas low light came on during the second stuck, I was a bit nervous. Lessons Learned: (1) Fill up with gas before a big storm, and (2) stick to the main roads and out of the side streets.

I played one round of Grind solo, but think it needs a second player to get a better feel... Some of the odd rules (plays and what not) need to be hashed out between a few folks to get a better understanding.

With the down time I've been playing Sid Meier's Civilization which is always good for burning hours and hours of downtime. I've always enjoyed the series and if I could only play one more computer game for the rest of my life, it would most likely be this one. Luckily, I don't have to worry about that too much! :-)

Break - Break

I found this video on-line:

I thought it was a real neat piece. I've always enjoyed alternative history stuff and this just feeds to that premise. My earliest encounters with Alt-Hist was the Marvel Comic's "What If?" that looked at different views of the standard heros. That led to the DC's Elseworld brand that did a much better job of treating the concept with an adult flare.

That led me to read the works of Harry Turtledove that has written may Alt-Hist titles. I haven't finished the Timeline-191 series, but I did enjoy Turtledove's approach.

That is about it for today... Stay warm!

Cold is the suck

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow


One of the biggest benefits for being a civil servant is the 'Snow Call' Here I sit, all warm and cozy at home in front of my computer vice being warm and cozy in front of my computer at work. Now, I wish I would have known this before I made the 40+ minute trip to the office so I could go to the gym first only to get the call as I was getting to the gate and having to turn around and drive the 40+ minutes to get back home. Oh well.

Nothing really new on the gaming front. Haven't had the chance to do much since my last FoW game with Paul. The Elder came over to work on some applications and we played four quick games of Giza with me winning the first, her the second, drawing on the third, and her murdering me on the fourth. We then played a quick game of Race for the Galaxy with had me getting a score of 63 points to her 40+. Good game with me building Rebel military plus Imperium bonus cards while she had a lot of the developments that gave you free stuff (cards/vp) for any round.

I broke apart the Grind board game and put together the pieces. It is set up in the basement and I might try a solo round to give the rules a whirl. On Saturday Kyle and I are trying to move the group to a big 'Epic' board game. He has several of the Eagle Games that look pretty cool. The Conquest of the Empire or the Napoleon in Europe could be good ones for a long Saturday night. On Saturday morning four of us are getting together for a four way battle. May even bump it up to 1K all vs. all 20 minute turns for something different and interesting. That would be our own little farewell to MkI event.

More to follow this weekend, in the meantime stay warm and dry!

Waiting to shovel