Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Calliope Games: Got ‘Em!


Got ‘Em is  a delightful way to corner your friends- literally! Trap their pawns in one of two games of escape and capture. In Bright Got ‘Em! you outsmart and corner your opponents through savvy card play, sly movement, and clever placement of blocking walls. In the still-casual but even-trickier Brainy Got ‘Em! you toss aside card actions in favor of a purely strategic challenge.
Surround yourself with friends and family and get ready to enjoy two great games that hold more fun than any four walls can contain!
My family is super competitive- so I knew this game would be a hit in our house. The game is pretty simple to play. It does require a bit of planning ahead and thinking strategically to survive so the age range of 8+ is pretty accurate. The color side is provides easier game play and the colorless side is more for older kids and adults!
I love strategy games, but just do not have time to play them most times because they take hours on end and tons of focus to win. Got ‘Em! challenges my mind, but does not take hours to win. Actually sometimes the game goes by so fast we can play five or six games with in an hour!

Buy It: You can purchase Calliope Games: Got ‘Em! for 20.81!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tabletop–Wil Wheaton hosts online gaming show

Rod Roddenberry’s website (where the son of Gene Roddenberry sells and promotes a lot of Star Trek replica merchandise, among other things) put me onto a new Internet series on gaming.  It’s not about video games.  It’s about good old-fashioned “game night” games, board games with dice and cards and tokens, and it’s called Tabletop.
If you’re a fan of Wil Wheaton, it’s the show for you.  Wheaton is best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and as the young star of the Rob Reiner/Steven King film Stand By Me, but he has been quickly branching out as a stellar guest star on series like Leverage (as a superb IT villain) and Big Bang Theory (where he often plays himself), showing he’s gone beyond the kid actor thing.  And even if you’re not a Wheaton fan–like you thought Wesley Crusher should have been left on Rubicun III–give this series a try anyway.

Tsuro game in play on Tabletop.
My favorite thing about Wil Wheaton is he seems to thrive at all things geek and nerd.  He’s not apologetic in the least, and in chatting up his love for games and TV and books, he is bringing everyone along for a fun ride.  He’s a regular at San Diego Comic-Con, and I saw him at a Star Trek writers panel with Star Trek authors where he showed a great rapport with fans, and seemed to love talking about what he liked (and didn’t like) about Trek.

Wil Wheaton with authors Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward on a panel at Comic-Con in 2008.
Tabletop is an online half-hour, biweekly series just beginning and in its first five episodes, which is a bit like Comic Book Men and Celebrity Poker, but far, far better than both of those shows.  In fact, the introduction, production values, and content should get some network exec to take notice.  This is the first online-only series we’ve taken note of here at borg.com that we think is worthy of another look and we think a wider audience is out there for this show.

Tabletop has host Wheaton playing a few board or dice games with some friends, including explaining quickly and clearly the game’s rules, and just chatting it up around the table with people like Rod Roddenberry, Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Monk, House, M.D., Eureka), Colin Ferguson (Eureka),  Grant Imahara (Mythbusters), James Kyson (Heroes, Hawaii 5-0), and Neil Grayston (Eureka).  I think it would be an interesting twist to add in other celebrities, maybe genre actors or legends Wheaton himself is a fan of, but may not previously know personally.  I’d love to see someone like Billy Mumy do an episode and see what these guys would talk about while playing Apples to Apples, or pull some obscure old games out of the game closet that are long forgotten but still fun, like Bionic Crisis or the Star Wars board game.

Which brings us to the episode with Rod Roddenberry, where they covered a few games including TsuroThe episode intrigued me enough that I wandered past a game shop this weekend while hanging out with family and I bought it.  We were able to pull out the board and playing pieces and start playing at a local coffee shop in minutes.  Just as I had discovered watching the players in the episode of TabletopTsuro is a blast.  In a nutshell, you have 35 cardboard tiles that players lay out one by one, in turn, and each tile has a different set of paths, some straight, some crisscrossed, some coming back at you.  The goal is to create a path for yourself and maybe even knock others off the board and be last player on the board.  Even the barista stopped by and commented how awesome the game looks (it has the beautiful Chinese red dragon board, parchment divider page, and cool rune playing tokens) and I passed along Wheaton’s show and the game shop across the street that had one more copy in stock.
We’ve played it three times so far and I can’t wait to play Tsuro again.  Thanks, Wil Wheaton!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tabletop, Geeks, Games and Me

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 Tsuro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized recently that I may have been wrong about myself, and where I fall on the geek spectrum.
See, I don’t feel like I have many of the biggest markers of true geekdom. I have never been a comic book fan, and I’ve never been to a convention. I’ve never played a RPG or LARP, but I know what the initials mean (I think) and I certainly have gamer friends. I’ve never managed to finish the entire LOTR series of books, and even the movies leave me a little cold. I’ve never dismantled a computer (but I know people who have), and my coding knowledge stops at basic HTML. I find video games fairly boring.
But–I did read the entire Shannara series, by Terry Brooks, in fifth and sixth grades, not to mention the Harry Potter series as an adult. I did play on my high school quiz team, my high school sweetheart was a Mathlete, and I did score a perfect score on my (verbal) SAT. I did teach myself HTML back in 1998 to put up my first webpage, and I remember the sheer thrill of figuring out how to make images become links. I’ve been blogging for about nine years, and I remember playing video games that were all text (“You go into a room. In the room, you find an Orc”). I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones and have read the first four books of the Song of Fire and Ice series.
My husband is a little easier to peg, I think. He played Dungeons and Dragons in his youth, treasures his battered copies of the Dragonlance novels, and can tell you more than you want to know about X-Men and the Avengers (before the movies came out, of course). He can also tell you lots about techno music and the impending zombie apocalypse, introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and enjoys Chemistry Cat a little too much. As a result, my girls already have opinions about their favorite superheroes and are waiting to be old enough to love Buffy.
I don’t remember the first time I read Wil Wheaton’s blog, but it’s been a regular read for me for at least the past year, and slowly but surely, I’ve become intrigued with gaming. Wil’s new webseries Tabletop got me hooked; I’ve seen every episode, but the real kicker came when my girls caught me watching an episode and wanted to see what was making me laugh. It was the Ticket to Ride episode, and they were instantly hooked! They have seen every episode now, and their favorite is the episode featuring casual games. So for their birthday, I bought Tsuro, and we have really enjoyed playing it! Lucy even likes to say, “Stop getting up in my dragon grill,” because one of the Tabletop guys said while they were playing. I think sometime this summer, we will end up owning both Zombie Dice and Get Bit, and then we’ll decide on a bigger game to purchase that we’ve seen on Tabletop, probably Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride, once we feel ready.
Are we raising geeky/nerdy children? I can only hope so, as one of the great accomplishments of my adulthood has been embracing the idea of being a geek or a nerd: a highly intelligent and passionate person who dives deep in each enthusiasm and is inherently curious and engaged in the world, someone who wants to share those passions with anyone who might be interested, and someone who always has a new fact or opinion to bring to every conversation. What’s not to like about that?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tsuro is one of my favorite casual games in history!

Tsuro is one of my favorite casual games in history, and one of the most popular games we’ve played on Tabletop. 
When I found out the game’s designer was Kickstarting a new version called Tsuro of the Seas, I backed it immediately.
There are 24 days to go, and right now, they are just 800 bucks short of funding… so if you want to make this happen, you know what to do.
(via Tsuro of the Seas… A game of treacherous waters. by Ray Wehrs — Kickstarter)

Tsuro is one of my favorite casual games in history, and one of the most popular games we’ve played on Tabletop.
When I found out the game’s designer was Kickstarting a new version called Tsuro of the Seas, I backed it immediately.
There are 24 days to go, and right now, they are just 800 bucks short of funding… so if you want to make this happen, you know what to do.
(via Tsuro of the Seas… A game of treacherous waters. by Ray Wehrs — Kickstarter)