Question: What Was Your Best Game Store Find?

Question: What Was Your Best Game Store Find?

I have a secret game store. It's not hidden, or out of the way. It's in a major city, full of gamers. But almost every time I go to visit family, I visit this store, and come away with a treasure. Maybe you've experienced the thrill of walking into a game store and finding a treasure. So what's your story? What was on the shelf that made your jaw drop? 

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Commemorate D-Day with a New Memoir '44 Expansion

Commemorate D-Day with a New Memoir '44 Expansion

By Firestone Days of Wonder released Memoir '44 nearly 10 years ago--on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of WWII. On their 10th anniversary, and the 70th anniversary of D-Day, they're releasing a new expansion for their hit game.

Memoir '44: D-Day Landings is a set of six large battle maps that you'll use to recreate some of the pivotal battles of that fateful day. According to the News on Days Of Wonder's site:

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Fantasy Flight Announces Battlelore 2nd Edition

battlelore2ndFantasy Flight has announced a second edition of their popular squad-based 2-player game Battlelore—based on Richard Borg's Command & Colors system, used in games such as Battlecry and Memoir '44.

Apparently the new edition will be changing things a bit, and will keep the Command part of the system, while ditching the Colors part of it.

"While the first edition of BattleLore utilized the 'Command and Colors' system, and while the command cards have been updated and remain, the 'color' system has been changed. Instead of the color system, which dictated the movement and combat ability of units, each unit type now carries its own unique stats for moving and combat. These unique stats allow for the existence of an even greater variation in play experience between the two armies.

BT01-plasticBattleLore Second Edition has now been firmly placed into the fantasy world of Terrinoth, joining other classic games set in that universe like Runebound, Runewars, and Descent: Journeys in the Dark. The warring armies in BattleLore Second Edition are the Daqan Lords and the Uthuk Y’llan barbarians, battling beneath the walls of Nordgard Castle.

In addition, the figures included in BattleLore Second Edition are presented in a different scale than the units used in the first edition of BattleLore. Rather than the 20 mm scale used by the original BattleLore, BattleLore Second Edition presents its figures on a 28 mm scale. This new scale allows the armies of the Daqan Lords and the Uthuk Y’llan to be rendered with a new level of detail, drawing you into the experience of epic battles and brutal warfare. Because the figures are bigger, the number of figures in a unit is smaller. Instead of four infantry and three cavalry figures per unit, BattleLore Second Edition uses three figures for infantry and three figures for cavalry. The rest of the game board has also been scaled up accordingly."

Another change is that instead of winning by defeating a number of opposing troops, now you'll be trying to hold certain objectives on the board, and complete specific goals.

The game is set to come out in Q4. What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited at the prospect? Do you have a bunch of now-useless 1st Edition stuff and now you're ticked? Have you never played the game, so not sure what to think? (Like us.) Let us know in the comments! And thanks for reading!

2012 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide—Family Games

The next category in our Gift Guide is Family Games. This is kind of a tough one to land on, because the notion of "family" will vary depending on the makeup of your family, whether or not you have kids, how old your kids are, or if you even like playing game with your kids... (Kidding.) And some games from our Kids Games list could have gone here, too (like Sorry Sliders, for instance). But it's our list and our blog so we'll be coming at it from the viewpoint of people with two boys under the age of 10. Castle Panic—All of our kids love this game. It's a cooperative game where you're trying to fight off hordes of baddies trying to attack your castle. You can adjust the difficulty up or down depending on how old your kids are; and there's an expansion that adds some more difficulty, options, and monsters. You can check out our review of the base game right here.

Cost: ~$27

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store

Ages: 6 and up

Forbidden Island—A great game of adventure, treasure hunting and team work! Players in this co-op are a group of treasure hunters searching for 4 different treasures on an island that's sinking into the sea! A great bonding experience as players have to work together to accomplish the task of defeating the game—all of the players win or lose together! If you have kids who are a little older, check out Pandemic. It's very similar to Forbidden Island, but you're trying to stop diseases from spreading across the planet. It's more complicated, has some more things going on, and is harder to win.

Cost: ~$14

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store

Ages: 8 and up (10 and up for Pandemic)

Hike—A fun card game that simulates a hike in the woods. Players take turns playing cards representing a segment of the hike. It's great for young kids because all cards (except the special cards) are icon/art-driven, but fun for the family because of the special ability cards, which add another layer of strategy. It plays like a thematic Uno game, with less luck involved.

Cost: ~12

Available From: Amazon , and your friendly local game store

Ages: 6 and up

Zooloretto—You're a zookeeper, trying to create the best zoo by buying truckloads of animals and putting them in your pens in the most efficient way possible. It's bright and colorful, and kids love animals. There's also a slightly more complicated sequel called Aquaretto that has you running an animal water park.

Cost: ~$30

Available From: Amazon, Target, and your friendly local game store

Ages: 7 and up

Snow Tails—Race games make for good family games. They're usually not too complicated, they usually have some randomness, and races are just fun! (And parents, it'll force your kids to do some simple arithmetic, but they won't even realize they're doing it!)

Cost: ~$35

Available From: Amazon , and your friendly local game store

Ages: 8 and up

King of Tokyo—In this game, you're one of a group of monsters who are trying to become the King of Tokyo by beating up on your opponents. There lots of randomness and crazy special powers, so it's just the sort of game that works well for families. Check out our review right here!

Cost: ~$35

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store.

Ages: 8 and up

Memoir '44—This is a 2-player very, very light wargame that my (Firestone) 8-year-old LOVES. You'll be able to re-create battles from World War II, with each person playing a side of the conflict. There are LOTS of expansions, so you can play in Normandy, Russia, and the Pacific. If you have a kid who loves WWII history, consider this gem.

Cost: ~$40

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store

Ages: 7 and up

Pirate's Cove—In this game, each player is a pirate, who travels to different island to grab some treasure. But if you end up at the same island as another pirate, you fight! And there are some Legendary Pirates floating around, looking to challenge you for your treasure. The production values on this one are fantastic.

Cost: ~$45

Available From: Amazon, and your friendly local game store

Ages: 8 and up

An Interview With Board Game Luminary Mark Jackson!




Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions, Mark!

First tell us a little about yourself, and then tell us how you got involved in the board game hobby.

I am guy who wears a lot of hats: I'm the pastor of a small Southern Baptist church, the husband of Shari Jo (22 years!), and the father of two boys - ages 7 & 11 - who both (thankfully) love board games. I also blog on a semi-regular basis and have been a guest on a number of gaming podcasts, including The Dice Steeple.

I've played games all my life... my grandmother was a big part of that. Even as she got older, she'd get down in the floor with us to play Monopoly or whatever else I brought out of my room. And it was her daughter—my Aunt Nancy—who bought me my first Avalon Hill game (Outdoor Survival) and started me on the path to gaming geekdom.

• How has being a pastor enhanced—or run up against—your love of board games?

I've used board games in a number of different ways in ministry: as sermon illustrations, as ice-breakers in small groups, as social events (family game night) to connect people together. My church here has been gracious to allow me to host a regular gaming group in our social hall for a number of years, which helps me build relationships with people outside the "holy huddle."

• Have there been any games that you refused to play because you found the theme/ gameplay objectionable?

There are certain games I choose not to play (Hellrail, Lunch Money, Funny Friends, Chaos in the Old World, etc.) and other games I'm glad they re-themed (Twilight -> Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde) based on what I believe. I wrote some years ago that "my strongly held beliefs in Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible obviously play a role in my hobby. (If strongly held beliefs don't play a role in your whole life, then they're not strongly held beliefs.)" That's still true.

• You’re stranded on an island, but you somehow have the foresight to bring one game with you to play until such time as you’re rescued—or die due to exposure, starvation, or the awful disease those weird-looking lizards carry. What’s that game? (We’ll assume you’re stranded with the number of people that game plays best with…)

Oooo... so difficult. If I can carry expansions with me (I'll assume i can!), it would either be The Settlers of Catan or Memoir '44. (Just one? Seriously?)

• You have a wonderful blog. Which post has caused the most controversy?

Thanks for the kind words... it's a lot of fun.

I don't seem to generate wild levels of controversy, though I got some interesting private comments about my post The M Wordwhich was part of a series of posts about sex, pornography & passion.

On the gaming front, I got a bit of grief over my bad attitude about FFG and warned: I'm in full-on irritated fan mode in these posts,

I've also had a lot of comment about my posts about why I quit playing D&D: The Day I Quit Playing D&D, and DW, Bill Cosby & Evercrack.

• I can barely keep up with all of your updates on Goodreads. Who are some of your favorite authors?

On the theological front, I'm drawn to C.S. Lewis & Tim Keller. As a pastor, I've been mentored via books by Larry Osborne, Erwin McManus & Andy Stanley.

As far as fiction goes, I think Kurt Busiek's graphic novel series ASTRO CITY is tremendous... and Stephen Lawhead continues to write brilliant genre fiction.

My non-fiction recommendations are all over the map - though I'm particularly fond of Marc Reisner (Cadillac Desert) and Robert Andrews (The Storm of War).

• You’ve been able to play many prototypes and advance copies of games. Are there any (that you can talk about without getting a hit put out on you) that we should be on the lookout for?

Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts is a great addition to the franchise - and makes it easier for players who were overwhelmed by the previous trilogy of expansions to jump back into the game.

The Dungeon Lords expansion (Festival Season) is more of what you love IF you loved Dungeon Lords: more monsters, more heroes (minstrels!), more traps, and so on.

Matt Leacock has a fantastic prototype using his Roll Through the Ages system that I'm not sure I can say much more about - but it's a delightful twist that I've loved every time I've played it. (Yes, it's still an "ancients" theme; no, it's not a civ-building game.)

• Is your wife a gamer?

No. She'll play games - she likes cooperative games like Pandemic & Lord of the Rings - but she is definitely not a gamer.

• You have two kids with different ages. What are your favorite games to play with each of them right now?

My 7 year old has fallen in love with all things Catan - enough so that he told me the other day that he wanted to play "a game with hexagons where you get resources from rolling dice" - yes, that's kind of specific. He & I have been having a great time playing The Rivals for Catan and are looking forward to getting our review copy of the Age of Englightenment expansion.

My 11 year old has a wider variety of gamer interests - right now, we're particularly enjoying The Ares Project. He would gladly play Risk: Legacy every day if only we could convince his younger brother to join in.

Here’s the One-Word Answer section. • Favorite theologian who goes by his first two initials?

C.S. Lewis (with G.K. Chesterton a close 2nd)

• Favorite LEGO line/theme of all time?

Time Cruisers (I still have the blimp set!)

• Favorite Disney ride/attraction?

Radiator Springs Racers (CA Adventure), though Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom) is a close 2nd

• Favorite minor character in the Star Wars universe?

Admiral Ackbar

• Favorite comedian?

Bill Cosby (love me some of his OLD stuff)

• Favorite Batman villain?

Riddler (the comic book one, NOT the movie)

• Favorite Bible verse?

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Thanks, Mark, for taking the time to answer our questions! And thanks to you for reading!