Saturday, October 22, 2011

Event Report: Rainy Day Games Game Day and Auction!

by Randy

Hello! Welcome back! As you all may know, we were at Rainy Day Games' Game Day and Auction at the Washington County Fairgrounds last weekend, and we had an excellent time. Angie and I arranged a weekend in the Portland area to coincide with the event so we could get in some gaming, and haul out a few games. We were not disappointed.

We got things started by playing a great game called Mermaid Beach with its twelve year old designer! How often do you get to have a game taught to you by its designer? Emily Ehlers was fun to play with, and we enjoyed playing a couple rounds with her and her mother. In fact, we like it so much we're going to need to Katie to try it out and share what she thinks.

Next, we played a little Ascension with James Eastham and his son. James is one of the designers (along with Steve Ellis, one of the owners of Rainy Day Games) of the Railways of the World Card Game, another game we think very highly of. Sadly, we had to call it quits before we finished up. Why did we not finish, you ask? The auction started!

For those of you who haven't seen this auction, let me tell you... it's a lot of games. I was amazed at the sheer number of games on the tables. Chances are, your local game store doesn't have this many games, and this was probably the main attraction for most of the attendees. The bidding started silent auction-style, with bidders writing a bid on a sheet attached to the games. After a while of that, an auctioneer then started doing live bids for items that received three or more written bids. All in all, it was handled very well.

One of thee tables of games!
You're probably wondering what we walked out with. We certainly left with a nice armload. Here's the list:

-Lords of Vegas
-Runebound 2nd Edition
-Bringing Down the House
-Munchkin Holiday Edition

That's seven games... and we paid significantly below retail. Next year, we're going to be a little more prepared. We didn't put any games into the auction to sell, but we will next time. Sellers receive the sale price in in-store credit at Rainy Day Games. It's a great way to turn games on your shelf into new games. And even better, some other gamer is going to get to enjoy the game! As far as I can tell, that's a win all around.

Well, I'd like to wrap this up by saying a big "Thank You!" to Steve and Amy Ellis of Rainy Day Games, as well as Emily Ehlers, James Eastham and everyone else who gamed with us. We had a fantastic time and hope to do all of this again!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rainy Day Games Game Day!

by Randy and Angie

Hey there!

We want to alert everyone to an upcoming gaming event in the Pacific Northwest, particularly for people in the Portland/Beaverton area. If you've read our blog, you have certainly heard us speak about our good friends at Rainy Day Games. In our opinion, this is the best game store ever. And in no small part due to the great events they put on. Today we are talking about the Rainy Day Games Game Day and Auction happening on Sunday, October 16th at the Washington County Fair Complex.

The first component of this daying is the gaming. From 9am to 11pm you can play games. All day. Board games will definitely be the most represented, by there will also be roleplaying events. You will at the very least find D&D RPGA and Lair Assault events for official offerings. For the board games, people may sign up to run their favorite games throughout the day. If you are in the area and like gaming, I would advise you to consider saving this date on your calendar.

The second component is the auction, and this absolutely rocks. Gamers bring in their old games which can be bid on in auction. A live auctioneer will be present starting at 2pm. If your game gets sold, you get that much in-store credit at Rainy Day Games. And other gamers can pick up games at well below retail. A completely win-win situation! Note: Game drop-offs for the auction are 10/1-10/12; hurry if you want to put your games in!

And what's more is that we (the Growing Up Gamers crew) will be present for at least part of the day to cover the event, game, and (hopefully!) add some gems to our collection. We hope to game with you!

Complete details can be found at this link:

Rainy Day Games Game Day!

Join us for a great day of  fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conquest of Planet Earth!

by Randy

Greetings, gamers of the internet! We of the Growing Up Gamers collective come in peace to be your benevolent and protective game reviewers. Do not be alarmed.  We have recently acquired a review copy of Conquest of Planet Earth from Flying Frog Productions and wish to impart our wisdom upon you. Or consume your resources and leave it a dried husk. Whichever works. We have not yet come to a decision, so on with the review.
Are any of you familiar with Flying Frog Productions? We certainly are. I really enjoyed playing Last Night on Earth, their scenario-based zombie survival game. Complete with a soundtrack and stunning photographic art, it is a very nice game and worth a playthrough. So we were pretty excited to try out Conquest of Planet Earth, with its quirky 1950’s B-movie saucermen theme. And we love it.

How it looks
For starters, it’s pretty . This game does not use the fun photography and makeup of the Last Night… series. Instead, this goes for a more traditional painted/drawn style. The alien races are all well illustrated and really convey those B-movie tropes. You could totally see these in a monster movie from the 50’s or 60’s, or maybe even off of the original Star Trek series.  The Rantillion Beetlemen, the Fishmen of Atlorak, the Vyborian Arbiters…  heck, there’s even some warrior-women and and space emperors in faux-Roman clothing. The miniatures are well-scuplted, with four tokens of each color (all the same sculpt), and four unique ally tokens. They very much capture the theme. Embrace the cheesiness! And then there’s the soundtrack…

Player tokens

Why a soundtrack for a game? Why not! On the CD, there are eleven tracks of instrumental music that goes a long way to set the mood for the game. Most of the ten alien races have tracks named after them, themed after their breed of vileness. Crazy, spacey, atmospheric… I highly recommend those of you trying out the game play this in the background. Sure, it’s not absolutely necessary; but don’t let that stop you from turning a playthrough of a boardgame into an experience.
 Four different games in one!

The Orzax
For those of you really trying to make the most of your gaming dollar, I want to point out that there are four ways to play this game. That’s right: four. The first is the competitive game. In this, each player  plays an alien species bent on taking over the Earth, but there’s these pesky humans in the way… not to mention the other aliens who want this prime real estate! The second is the cooperative game, in which the alien players join forces to take over the Earth, but the humans are much craftier and have a more active resistance. The third is a team game, which has two teams of two aliens fighting for the planet. And the last is the solo game, which is just like the cooperative but it is played solitaire, with the player choosing to play one or more alien races, again, trying to subjugate Earth.  Of those four, the competitive and cooperative games fit our play style the best, and both offer great gameplay.

All styles have a similar board setup, with a central human capital and an additional adjoining board for each alien player. Location cards are played on the spaces when aliens move to an undiscovered one, and each have a Terror rating (victory points for the controller) and a Resistance score. The resistance score determines the number of battles a player will do with human defenders from the Resistance deck. Watch out! Those crafty humans have ways of joining forces and some cards will stack and give bonuses. Woe to the saucerperson who finds Captain Fantastic… he’s the toughest the humans have to offer, a pulp-era hero ready to swing his super-powered fists at any alien daring to land on his planet! A dice roll for each side, plus modifiers, determines the outcome, though cards in players’ hands can, of course, alter outcomes. Simple resolution, meaningful choices…  perfect for a theme-heavy game of this sort.

Our thoughts
The Venezian Matriarchy
We love this game. It’s just that simple. This is a game that can be equally enjoyed by those looking for a game with a quirky, fun theme, or a more strategy-oriented player. Granted, there is enough randomness here that hardcore eurogamers may have cause to turn up their noses, but this isn’t for them. This is an experience in a box. If you have ever delighted in watching a cheeseball low-fi movie with aliens and rayguns, check this game out. You won’t regret it. My advice is to make a night of it; try watching something like The Green Slime (1968, rating a whopping 3.8 of 10 stars at IMDB!), or maybe just an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series after playing the game. You'll have a blast!