Moving On

into the sunset

Even at my best I don’t like change very much. Be that as it may, I’ve got a big one around the corner. I’m preparing to move from Kansas City to Dallas, my first out-of-state move in eight years. A lot can happen in eight years. In that time I’ve met my wife and had two kids. I’ve transitioned from a graduate student to an office worker and dad, and now back to a grad student again. And not least of all, I discovered board gaming and got lucky to make an extensive group of friends who enjoy it along with me. Continue reading

Cat Sack Fever – Felix: The Cat In The Sack Review

Felix: The Cat In the Sack

Seems like the internet’s kind of game

When I write about older games I try to find one that a lot of people have played, or maybe one that could be considered a classic. By that standard, Felix: The Cat In The Sack seems awfully slight. It’s a little 30-minute trifle by Friedemann Friese, who is much better known for his bigger designs like Power Grid. It was well-regarded when it came out several years ago, but like a lot of minor hits from that time period it’s been passed by in an age of deckbuilders and crowdfunding. Still it’s proven to be something of a gem in my collection, a short auction game that felt unique at the time and still does. And more than most games, it makes me laugh. Continue reading

Rumpus Room Top Twelve – Parallel Universe Edition


When I posted this year’s Top Twelve list to Facebook, a Euro-fan friend of mine noted that our two lists of favorites had now totally diverged. It’s true too. I started out as a fresh-faced fan of Eurogames, and then cynicism and darkness crept into my soul until only the deep embrace of dice could soothe my fevered brow. Continue reading

You’re Doing It Wrong

cracker barrel checkers

Just like gramps used to play.

I learned The Settlers of Catan from a college friend of mine, who explained it without glancing at the rules. We had a ball and played most of my senior year. It was only after I’d played some 25-30 games that I bothered to check the rules for myself, and discovered that he had taught us wrong on a couple points. For one thing, he didn’t use the alphabetical order for placing the numbers on the board. We just put out the numbers and tried to break up any adjacent red spots. But the rule that had a much stronger effect was how he taught us to trade: you could trade anything at any time, even when it wasn’t your turn. As you can imagine, this was completely bonkers, especially when we’d get six loud players around the table. Rather than the casual German game that it was, it transformed Catan into Pit with a board. Continue reading

The Electric Co. – Power Grid Retrospective

Power Grid cover

I wonder what this button does…

I don’t often talk about how much I like Power Grid. On F:AT, it’s usually regarded as one of “those” games, the kinds liked by boring accountant-types and fun-murderers. Besides being unfair both to Power Grid and to accountant types who aren’t so boring, it’s simply untrue. Indeed, another reason that I don’t usually let on much about my love of Power Grid is that EVERYONE I KNOW LOVES IT. I forget the last time I went to a large organized game night with at least one table of this Friedemann Friese favorite, no fooling. Perhaps in a feeble attempt to be cool (at a board game party, mind you), I downplay my affection for that big green box. Continue reading

The Expansion Bubble

Fat man = lots of expansions?

A human representation of Arkham Horror with all nine expansions.

The first hobby game that I learned to play was The Settlers of Catan, which I got into just prior to my senior year of college. Needless to say, it was a big hit with me and my friends, but we had a very real problem with the game: it only played four people. Imagine our delight when we discovered that there was a way to expand the number of players who could be accommodated by a small box with extra components to let two more people play. We played so much that it’s a miracle we graduated at all. Continue reading

Friday Fallout – October 26, 2012

sven's warning

I want to say ouch in Swedish, but I can’t get my keyboard to put that little line through the “o.”

Oh, hello there! Yes, it’s been a couple of weeks since the last Fallout column, but my excuses are that I had a very busy Friday two weeks ago, and I was on vacation last week. So there. So now you know that you, as my readers, are not more important than personal relaxation and being busy.  Continue reading