The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Some TV thoughts

with 3 comments

I watched the first half of Game of Thrones, and I’ve been finding excuses not to watch the second half. (Not having a TV that is HBO-Streaming compatible are the easiest). I hear the series got better; only these 5 episodes and 13 more (over two years), and I’ll eventually watch them, but I feel like I’m committing the sunk cost fallacy. But right now I have no desire to watch it because ….

Bojack dropped yesterday, so I’ll be finished with that by the weekend. The (mostly) silent 4th episode is full of throwaway gags, reminiscent of Chaplin, possibly brilliant, beautifully animated, mostly amusing instead of laugh out loud funny, except for the times I laughed out loud. In other words, Bojack — still one of the best things on TV.

In older animation, I’ve been going through the Power Puff girls. It’s a clever trifle, but some of the S3 episodes involve very clever deconstructions … “Ridiculous Lucky Captain Rabbit King, Nuggets are for the Youth!

After numerous recommendations, I’ve watched the first episode of Peaky Blinders. I’m intrigued, I’ll probably watch more, but I’m not declaring it good or bad yet.

I hear good things about Stranger Things, the Netflix homage to Spielberg and the 80s. It’s in the queue.

What’s your summer watching? (Remembering that I basically only watch Netflix and Amazon prime, although I’ll probably break down and trial HBO, just to finish GoT. At some point).

Written by taogaming

July 23, 2016 at 11:19 am

Posted in TV & Media

Things I could have told you without data

with one comment

“5000+ games were released last year. Most were mediocre.”

OK, to be fair, I didn’t know about the 5,000 number, and the second half was just my general theory about most things. But still…

Written by taogaming

July 23, 2016 at 1:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Mottainai Strategy

leave a comment »

After another burst of (2p) Mottainai I’m starting to see some patterns and harmonies. As my review of Mottainai noted, my chief complaint is that the game ends right after it starts; but that’s a pretty good problem to have. Mottainai plays like Pringles, a game, then a game, then a game…

Mottainai’s similarities with Glory to Rome tripped me up for quite a while. I noticed the subtle differences, but didn’t really grok the implications until recently.

Because of similarities in nomenclature, I’m just going to use Mottainai’s terms. I considered translating to G2R, but that would be a bewildering mess.

FIRST: You release your card at the start of your turn — In Glory, you lead/follow and then the cards immediately go at the end of each turn. So — in G2R — if you play a great role the next player will play Monk and then grab it as a helper for the rest of the game.  Experienced G2R players avoid playing a great role and use sheninigans like playing groups of three roles as a wild on the turn prior, just to get you the first shot at them.

In Mottainai tasks release on your next turn, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Related — when it’s your turn to lead you can decline to play a task, which lets you pray for a card. (You can still use the other player’s tasks to craft/pray). In G2R, skipping your turn is a mixed blessing. You fill up your handsize, but you don’t get control. You miss the chance to pick a role that others may not be able to follow.

In Mottainai, following is free — everyone can use your tasks (barring some buildings).

So I figured declining to play a task was fine. You don’t control tempo as much, but nobody can leach.

But you can punish a player who consistently skips by grabbing cards from the floor into your craftbench or helpers. Normally whatever role you select your opponent could take the task he played his prior turn. But no task last turn means nothing to grab, so they have to pray. (Or craft, but crafting stone instead of using a Monk requires a stone building in hand and a stone on the craftbench, and crafting clay instead of  using a Potter (laborer) requires two clay).

SECOND — Having cards in the craftbench is even better than in G2R. In Glory, you can either use materials in your bench to finish works or sell for VP. You can do the latter in Mottainai, but sales aren’t necessarily VP. To earn VP, you must cover the sale. Having the most of one material earns you the variable backorder points for cards in hand (instead of 3VP). But once you have something in the stockpile, it isn’t used up. If you have a clothe on your craftbench, then anytime someone plays tailor you can use the action or finish any grey work. Powerfully flexible. Having two clay or metal on the bench means you can craft instead of Potter or Smith. Again, flexible. If that doesn’t end the game, then you can craft to move a good or two into sales.

THIRD — Tempo! In general, you want to put your buildings on the sales gallery, to cover your sales. These are worth more points at the end. Also, splitting your works means you can’t control the end of the game. In general, you want to end it. There’s one exception (see below), so splitting works just to double the efficiency of a helper isn’t a great deal. You can always slap down 3-4 works on the sales side then start on the other gallery. (The exception? If you need a long game, you may as well start doubling helpers now).

FOURTH — Helpers aren’t as critical as clients in G2R. You still want them, but because you can have any number (not limited be influence). Grabbing a mediocre helper isn’t a problem. And because you pray by using a helper (or task), the more the merrier. Even multiple tailors may let you craft a cloth work, then tailor, then pray for a sixth card. Yes, you have to discard the sixth card at the start of your turn, but….

FIFTH — Extra hand size (even though discarded before you can use it) is amazing. You may turn your enemies Smith into a metal work. There are only 10 metal cards out of 54, so the odds of getting three metal out of five random cards are only 3% or so. But getting up to a seven card hand nearly triples the odds. And — more importantly — you’ll be well placed to handle whatever your opponent does. Beware of playing an action that the opponent can craft on (particularly with multiple helpers) or beware the smith if your opponent has a full hand.

Incidentally, the exception about ending the game? Backorders. Like many Chudyk games, the game ends right away, nothing else, when it triggers. Which means if your opponent has a 7+ card hand, they all count for backorders. If they aren’t winning anything, fine, but if they are … particularly with a single ‘3’ card sale, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

More thoughts later, if I have any.

Written by taogaming

July 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Posted in Strategy

Tagged with

Imhotep One Word Review

with 3 comments


Rating? — Imdifferent

Written by taogaming

July 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with

Some links

Back from my vacation — I took a number of games (“for the kinder”) but there was no rain and so everyone was outside. Did get in a few games of scrabble.

A good article on the Battle of Midway and how the historical view has been changing as more and more records get examined. (Old, but interesting. I never really played much WWII naval, because they are fiddly, but then again — so is history).

My beach reading for the last month was the incredibly long serial Worm. Looking for an angsty super-hero story (superpowers are usually the product of severe trauma) with interesting powers and exploitation thereof? This will keep you covered for 1.7M words.  Some sloggy points, but taut for something that was cranked out in 2.5 years (which means 15k words/week).

And — for a change — some minor game content!

I was looking over the GenCon list and saw that Acquaintance (and Homonym) of this blog, Mr. TauCeti Deichmann, has a game that sounds like something I’d like to try. And an Archer-themed Love Letter? Insert your best archer-phrase review in the comments. (But the Rick and Morty dice game sounds dire, so no link for that). There were also a few other games I’d like to try (A Chris Cieslik/Asmadi Nethack-ish card game? Yeah). Also looking forward to the new Quartmaster General Expansion and the 2-4 player Peleponessian wars game….

Rather a lot of games I’m going to try. Not even counting the dice dominion game I didn’t play at the Gathering that got good buzz.


Written by taogaming

July 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Linky Love

It was bound to happen

I think I’ve burned out on Mage Knight for a while … a quick check of my year to date games log shows 80 plays this year, which is impressive but I’m suffering diminishing hedonic returns … so away the game goes with my final two articles on ice until such a time as I’m not burned out.

I may also — to a lesser extent — be burned out on bridge after some mediocre sessions where I’m either over- or under-thinking. At least I qualified for the club level of the NAOP. Last year was embarrassing in that we had to go to an out-of-the-way club to make the final qualifier after posting a sub 50% game in a terrible field once or twice. Just one of those games where I make a ton of mistakes and some of my good/reasonable decisions fail.

Similar to yesterday: Stupid mistakes mixed with hands where we get to the correct place to no avail. A nice safe 3m when 2N is dangerous because one suit only has a half stopper (Kx in dummy) so even if it is a stopper we need to find 7 more quick tricks. Of course every card is on so 2N makes 3 to outscore us. But I sadly admit the mistakes were a bigger factor than the bad luck in the last few games.

Still — at least I won’t have to scramble to qualify. (It really annoys me that there is perhaps one qualifying game a month that is not during working hours). I’ve got no bridge (except online) scheduled for a few weeks, and that should be enough to get out of this funk. MK may be a bit longer. (If the TaoLing asks to play, then I’ll still play, but I think it may be time to pull out Sentinels…)

Also time to start perusing the store shelves and BGG and just buy a game. I haven’t actually done that in a while (apart from Food Chain Magnate). We’ll also have some extended family in town, so I will probably play the closet game to figure out what may be interesting for the seven year old niece as well as the not-quite-eye-rolling-age-teenager nephews, should they declare that they are bored. Probably stick with some classic high luck games, or the newer staples like King of New York.

Hopefully that will get the spark back.

In any case — since the store thing is an option, (and I actually swung by the store last week, but I had barely heard anything about the new games) I’m wondering what to buy. Another Dominion expansion seems safe enough… Rebellion intrigued me, but I still have War of the Ring for that itch. So — open thread on new obsessions!

Written by taogaming

June 26, 2016 at 9:48 am

If you are anything like myself

5,000 words, many pictures, and (yes!) a few embedded videos on the typography of Bladerunner will make a brilliant addition to your day. Courtesy of the soon to-be-read-cover-to-cover site of typesetinthefuture.

Written by taogaming

June 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Linky Love, TV & Media

Tagged with


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers