Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

Archive for March, 2008

Video Game Collection Updated

Posted by sodaklady on March 25, 2008

I’ve noticed that quite a few people come here through a search for “video game collection” so I figured it would be nice to update it. After all, the last post of my game collection was more of an April Fool’s Day joke and I feel a little guilty that they come expecting something special. There are also a lot of Calvin & Hobbes fans out there who come through various searches such as “Calvin & Hobbes snowmen”, “Calvin snowmen”, and “dead snowmen”. That last has me a little worried about the stability of some of you readers. Well, for all you sickos out there, I had planned a new snowman display this year but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate here in the Black Hills. What little snow we did get was too dry to build a snowman. Better luck next year. On to the video games.

Video games 1 - 2008

PS2 GAMES

  1. Shadow of the Colossus
  2. Max Payne, a gift from my son.
  3. Deux Ex
  4. Grand Turismo 3. Bought in hopes of getting my husband into video games. It didn’t work. Nothing did until Rock Band.
  5. Ace Combat 04. Another lure for my husband.
  6. Midnight Club
  7. ATV Offroad Fury
  8. ICO
  9. Portal Runner
  10. Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
  11. Baldur’s Gate, Dark Alliance
  12. Baldur’s Gate, Dark Alliance 2
  13. Haven
  14. Psychonauts
  15. Resident Evil 4
  16. Lego Star Wars, original trilogy. I also have the first trilogy but it’s out on loan.
  17. Ratchet & Clank
  18. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
  19. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
  20. Ratchet: Deadlocked
  21. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus
  22. Sly Cooper 2 – Band of Thieves
  23. Sly Cooper 3 – Honor Among Thieves
  24. Sphinx
  25. Prince of Persia
  26. Beyond Good & Evil
  27. SSX 3
  28. Psi-Ops
  29. XIII
  30. Project Snowblind
  31. Half-Life
  32. Time Splitters 2
  33. Time Splitters Future Perfect
  34. Okami. A wonderful game that I highly recommend if you like the Zelda games.
  35. Katamari Damacy. Such a silly premise and oh, so addictive.
  36. I Love Katamari
  37. Jak & Daxter
  38. Jak 2
  39. Jak X – Combat Racing
  40. Burnout 3

Video games 2-2008

PS3 GAMES

  1. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
  2. The Orange Box (Portal is Brilliant!)
  3. Rock Band

Wii GAMES

  1. Pinball Hall of Fame – The Williams Collection
  2. Elebits
  3. Zack & Wiki
  4. Super Mario Galaxy
  5. Resident Evil – The Umbrella Chronicles
  6. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08
  7. SSX Blur
  8. Wii Play (not as much fun as Wii Sports that comes with the console)
  9. Excite Truck
  10. Zelda Twilight Princess
  11. Super Paper Mario

Posted in Video Games | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Glory To Rome, Version I.V

Posted by sodaklady on March 15, 2008

In keeping to the Roman theme, this updated edition is I.V (or 1.5 for anyone unfamiliar with Roman numerals or just plain didn’t get it).  

Glory to Rome, box

In Glory to Rome you’re tasked with rebuilding Rome after the fire of 64 A.D.  You hope to gain influence and wealth (Victory Points) by completing structures and selling building materials that you’ve filched.

 This is a role-based card game, each role giving its user a specific action.  The starting player (Leader) chooses a role, then each player in clockwise order decides if they will also choose that role or Think (draw cards).  Starting with the Leader, each player uses that action if they’re able.  That ends the first player’s turn and the Leader passes to the next player.  This will sound familiar to many but the difference is in the details.

 Let’s start with the cards.  Each card represents a Role and a Material (6 different types, color coded), a Value (1-3, represented by coins), and a Building with an ability (40 different types).  Each building is built using the same colored material; the number of material cards needed is represented by the Value.  The Value also represents Influence when you finish a building, and Victory Points at the end of the game.  There’s also 6 Jacks, which are wild cards, and a start player card for the Leader.

Glory to Rome, cards

The Patron role (purple) lets you hire Clients from the card pool.  Each Client you hire will allow you to use their action even though you have chosen to draw cards rather than follow the Leader.  This is a unique way to let you choose the direction in which your strength will lie.  The number of Clients you can have is limited by your Influence, which starts at 2 and increases with each building you complete.

The Laborer (yellow) role lets you take one material from the card pool and put it in your Stockpile.  These materials will be used to build Buildings, of course, but they can also be moved into your Vault (which simulates you taking them to sell for personal profit).  The number of cards you can put in your Vault is also limited by your Influence but your Stockpile has no limits.

The Architect (gray) and Craftsman (brown) are both used to build.  They can both be used to take a card from your hand to lay the Foundation for that Building.  The Building’s Value is the number of Materials you need to finish the Building.  The Value is also the amount of Influence you gain when the building is finished, and the Victory Points at the end of the game.  Either role can be used to add materials to the building but the Architect takes cards from your Stockpile, the Craftsman takes cards from your hand.

The Merchant (blue) lets you take a card from your Stockpile and move it into your Vault, face down.  The Value of the card will count as Victory Points at the end of the game.

The Legionary (red) lets you Demand Materials, both from the card pool and from the players on either side of you.  You must have the material you want in your hand since you have to place it face up on the table when you make your demand.  You can then take one card from the pool and one from each player next to you that has this material in their hand.  These materials go into your Stockpile but the one you placed on the table with your demand is placed back into your hand.  This makes it vulnerable to the demands of either of your neighbors if they take this action, too.

All of the information you need to remember is beautifully laid out for you on your player mat, which also keeps track of your Influence, Clients, Stockpile and Vault.

Glory to Rome, mat

Now that you have the basics, let’s look a the details of play.

The Leader chooses to either Think or Lead.  If he Thinks, he draws cards to fill his hand or takes a Jack.  The Jack may be used as any Role when Leading or Following.  The Leader’s turn is then over and Leader card passes to the next player. 

If the Leader Leads, he plays a card from his hand as a Role.  Each player then decides if he will Think or Follow.  Thinking lets you draw cards or a Jack.  Following means you will play the same Role from your hand.

Finally, all players starting with the Leader take one action for the Role that they played and one action for each Client that they have in that Role.  Even if you chose to Think rather than Follow, you can take an action for each Client you have hired.  Now you see how the Clients you choose can have a big impact on the game play.

When all actions have been taken, the Role cards that were played are placed into the card pool to be drawn later as Materials or Clients.   The cards in the pool will never become Buildings so if you have a card in your hand that you want to use as a Building, you won’t want to use it as a Role.  This is where the Jacks become important, allowing you to keep a card in your hand for later use as a building or materials or to deny it to another player but still letting you Lead or Follow.

End game scoring includes one point for each Influence, the Value of the cards in your Vault, any points given by a Building you’ve finished, and a 3 point Bonus for each Material to the player with the most of that Material in his Vault.

There’s a lot of game here to investigate and experiment with considering 40 different building abilities and the unique rules for role selection so I do not feel qualified to give a detailed opinion right now.   My initial impression is very good.  I love that you can choose your strengths via the Clients you hire, and that you can collect cards and still use these roles’ actions.  I’m impressed with the draw pool concept as opposed to discarding cards to a pile as it gives another layer to your decision of which cards to play as roles.  I enjoy managing multi-purpose cards, which also has a positive influence on my opinion.  My initial instinct is to say that if you like role-selection games like Puerto Rico, San Juan and Race For The Galaxy, I think Glory To Rome is different enough and deep enough that you would like it.

Posted in New Game, Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A Visitor and A New Game

Posted by sodaklady on March 11, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I got an unexpected email from fellow board gamer, Rick Thornquist, saying that he would be traveling through Rapid City and asking if I’d like to get together to play a couple of games.  Tough question.  Hmmm, let’s see…someone in my house who is actually itching to play games; someone whose time I can monopolize talking about board games; someone with similar tastes to my own.  Well, I guess I can stand it for a couple of hours.  Oh, and if you need a place to stay, you’re welcome to spend the night in our spare bedroom.

 It’s a long day’s drive from Spokane to Rapid so Rick didn’t arrive until 8.  My husband, daughter and I were in the middle of a 3-song set on Rock Band so I explained to Rick that the games would have to wait until we finished.  He surprised me by saying that he’d been wanting to try Rock Band since he’s a fan of Guitar Hero.  So for the next half hour our band had an extra member as Rick tried out all of the positions including singing.  Now I’m not saying that Rick has a bad singing voice but consider yourself forewarned when I say don’t ask him to sing Juke Box Hero.  We all had a great time and it’s a shame that there wasn’t more time so we could have rocked out a little longer and still had time to play board games.

 I had received a new game just a couple of hours earlier, Glory to Rome, and it was set up on the kitchen table ready to play.  I had only had time to open it and play a couple of sample rounds but I had read the rules a couple of times, and stumbled through a passable explanation of the game play.  This is a card game with cards serving multiple purposes to select roles, build buildings, and collect money and prestige.  I would put it in the same family with San Juan and Race For The Galaxy (although I haven’t played RftG).  There are some very clever twists, though, which make it a unique experience.  Like San Juan, the start player chooses a role to play for his turn.  The twist is that even if you pass on playing a particular role and choose to draw cards instead, you can still take its associated action if you’ve managed to add that role to your list of clients.  Secondly, the cards that are played are not put into a discard pile but into a pool from which players draw for materials and clients.  Your prestige rises with each new building you complete (there are 40 different buildings), and you can then use the building’s special power.  Each rise in prestige lets you attract more clients and move more materials from your stockpile to your vault (this simulates your snitching materials from a building site to sell, and earns you points at the end of the game).  That’s a very quick explanation of the game.  I hope to write a full review when I’ve had a chance to play it again.

 Glory to Rome’s artwork is very light and cartoonish but the design of the components is excellent with all the information you need handy and easily understood.  Don’t let the graphics fool you into thinking this is a light, foolish game; it’s a serious game with plenty of tough decisions, and room for strategic and tactical plans.  I think I can say that we were all impressed with it after one play.  And if anyone’s wondering, Rick won by several points. 

 By now it was after 11 and my husband had to be off to bed so he could go to work in the morning.  Rick and I stayed up and talked board games for another couple of hours before calling it a night.

 Rick left this morning to finish is cross-country journey but my family and I greatly enjoyed his company and hope he can stop in again sometime.  (Same time next year, Rick? 😉  )   

Posted in Game-related Thoughts, New Game | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Snowy Checkerboard

Posted by sodaklady on March 5, 2008

Snow on the patio

This sight greeted me when I went outside this morning.   I went right back inside and got my camera before the dog or cats could mess it up.  I hope you enjoy its simple beauty as much as I did.

Posted in Non-gaming | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »