A Return to Blogging

Me in a viking hat

How I feel when I think about how long it has been since I posted on this blog

Hi! I’m back. Wow, it has been more than three years since my last post. I just read through my old posts, and it made me miss blogging about games.

My last post was at a time when I was getting really burned out at work. Not long after that, I gave notice at my job. I then freelanced for a year for that company, and I lived at our cabin for part of that year while we remodeled our house. I took our three pets up to the cabin to keep them out of the way during the biggest part of the remodel, while Sean stayed in Seattle to be close to his office and to oversee the remodel project. Every weekend, one of us drove to the other so we could be together, but it was a crazy time and very few games were played.

Since I was alone at our cabin for a while, I got into more solitary activities, especially running and biking (and, of course, my usual reading). When I returned home at the end of the remodel, I was very busy with some family stuff and with job hunting. I eventually ended up at a software company where I work now. I like my job and have a pretty good work/life balance most of the time.

Here are some photos from freelancing, remodeling, and outdoorsing during the blog hiatus… (scroll further for photos of our recent travels – including a trip to Carcassonne! – and a couple of games played recently). Continue reading

Martian Dice: It’s No Zombie Dice, But Still Fun

martian dice cow, chicken, human, tank, death ray

When I first heard about Martian Dice, I felt like I needed to get a copy, because Zombie Dice has been a hit with pretty much everyone I know. Martian Dice has some similarities, especially in appearance, but it’s a very different game with its own pros and cons.

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Treasure Hunting in Tobago Board Game

Game board early in Tobago game

Tobago may just be the most attractive looking board game I own. It feels like a deduction game, since players are narrowing down the possibilities to find the location of treasures, but the locations of the treasures are actually determined by clues played by the players.

I like Tobago a lot, but it isn’t one of my very favorite games because it feels a little repetitive (narrow down clues to treasure, race to treasure, dig up treasure, repeat). However, when I played most recently with Sean and Josie, they both said Tobago is one of their very favorite games that I own. So it is pretty appealing!

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Lost Cities Two-Player Card Game

Game box for two-player game Lost Cities

Lost Cities is a fairly popular two-player card game. I know many people love this game, but it isn’t one of my favorites. It’s okay, but it doesn’t stand out as being special in comparison to some of my other favorite games. I find it a little dull for what it is.

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Airplane Games

Hive, Blokus Duo, and Ticket to Ride iPad app on airplane tray table

I’ve had to travel for work lately, and I had the good fortune to sit with my friend and co-worker Charlie on a couple of fairly empty flights recently. We both like games, so we spent the time trying out games on the airplane tray tables. We played Hive, Blokus Duo, and the Ticket to Ride iPad app.

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Zombie Dice Snow Day at Carmelita

Sean standing outside Carmelita restaurant

On a recent snow day when Sean and I both worked from home, I got an email from Carmelita, one of our favorite restaurants, saying they were having all day happy hour for the snow day. When we both finished working, I put Zombie Dice in my pocket, and we took a long walk through the snow for some dice, cocktails, and yummy vegetarian food.

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Fruit Farming Fun in Finca Game

Midway through Finca game

Finca is a board game about fruit farming. That might not sound so interesting, but it is actually a fun strategic game that is focused enough that it doesn’t require terribly deep thinking, which is refreshing.

Turns are quick, the components are attractive and good quality, and there is something very satisfying about harvesting little pieces of wooden fruit. The windmill mechanic for moving farmers and getting fruit is also an interesting puzzle-like system.

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Playing Racko at Naked City Brewery

Game box for Racko next to Naked City pretzel

Racko is a simple and classic numbers game from the 1950s that is very heavy on luck. It’s light and enjoyable. I got it for Sean for Christmas after he enjoyed playing it at a game night recently. We took Racko along with us to dinner at Naked City Brewery after work on a Tuesday night. Naked City is a very cool local brewery with good beer, good food, and a board game-friendly environment.

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A Fun Sea Monster Bloodbath in Survive: Escape from Atlantis

Meeples on a boat in Survive: Escape from Atlantis

Survive: Escape from Atlantis is a game that is both silly and brutal–a fun combination! Players attempt to rescue their meeples from a sinking island, avoid sea monsters, and turn those sea monsters on the other players.

I’ve played some seemingly friendly games like Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne where players got upset with each other based on perceived mean behavior, but I have never seen any sort of hard feelings in games of Survive. I think that’s because the conflict is so direct and expected. You can’t really blame someone for killing off your meeples when you’re trying to do the very same thing to the rest of the players!

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