Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Friday, June 02, 2006

BGTG 59 - June 2, 2006 - SR: Settlers of the Stone Age, Wyatt Earp, Safeknacker, Modern Art, Pirate's Cove (and Feedback)

Once again, I hope people are reading the blog as well as listening to the podcast. Because I often think of things I missed after the podcast is finished. (It's not just me--the host for the highly recommended BBC Radio 4 program In Our Time does the same thing via post-show emails.)

I really want to talk about the family gaming (and other non-gamer gaming) I've been doing lately, but that show takes a little more prep. Hopefully next week. Also, I haven't forgotten that I still owe everyone more explanation about my lack of enthusiasm for Hacienda and Elasund. What can I say? The SdJ jury agrees with me! :-) Ok, cheap shot. I'll still share this as part of that "Dave Arnott leftovers" show.

By the way, I've all but given up on playing Vassal anytime soon. Now I've actually got two people who have volunteered to help me (or learn with me). And I still want to do that. However, it's going to only be a little bit at a time. (Because if I had more time than that to poke around on the computer regarding boardgames, I'd be recording more podcasts!!) For the moment I've let my play-by-web games wind down to completion, taking a break from starting other ones up. But I'll definitely get back into those again, especially when a new game is added to the lineup.

Oh, and you've got to read this butchered english translation of the rules to Safeknacker. Clearly, this is a machine-translation with minimal touching up for idioms. It begins...
Hey, let us gather hot cash! We have a beautiful society of evil boys here: safecrackers by occupation. Five worthy families contend in the not quite voluntary teamwork.
And the ending is just as good!
...The game ends as soon as all safes are cracked. Now cash is counted the carried off. The winner, with the most hot cash in their pocket, is more or less enviously celebrated. However only briefly, because immediately Schimunsky comes and snatches you anyway. Then in the clink - fraternally unites - could they dare a game-ette again...
I don't mean to tease. I'm just tickled to see this, having struggled with a few translations myself. After you type all that German in, pipe it through babelfish or something, you're just happy to get something out the other side that lets you play the game. You've got no energy left to deal with this.


Vote for the Deutscher Spiele Preis!
Geeklist on past DSP winners
Settlers of the Stone Age
Wyatt Earp
Die Safeknacker (and Searauber)
Modern Art
Pirate's Cove


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mark,

Good show! Here's my take on the Pirate's Cove issue you raised...

I'm sorry to say that I do believe that, have you announced the target before throwing the 3 sixes, that player would not have won the game. I'll nuance this affirmation by saying that if a player is the only one who never battles or never lose a battle, he's sure to win that game, however badly he played. Or, putting it more midly, the winner is usually the one who loses the fewer battles.

That being said, I still like this game. The mechanics fit the theme very well and, as I recall the pirate movies I've seen, it does seem that the outcome of battles are purely random in real life too! We could consider this a simulation game!!!

As for the show's "infrequency", it does not bother me. What does bother me, 'though, is your obsession with it!!! ;-) So stop apologizing!

Longueuil, Qu├ębec, Canada

4:57 AM  
Blogger Flieger said...

i enjoyed your show as always. Here are a couple of pronunciation tips:

The German company Ass is pronunced like the English word "us". Ass is German for Ace. They are a company that is famous for their playing cards see:

Safeknacker (pronunced as spelled, except the k and n are sounded separately (not together as in 'n'))= safe breaker (i.e. someone who breaks into a safe.)

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice show Mark! Particularly nice since I had played some of the games.

9:38 PM  
Blogger William said...

Hey Mark, (and readers) interested in a game of Amun Re on, by chance? I'm losing to everyone else, so I figured I'd offer to lose to podcast listeners. :)

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can explain part of the reason why some games feel longer than others.

Let's look at a game like Fury of Dracula, surely a long game. The reason it feels long is that everyone takes turns in order. When dracula is taking his turn the hunters are sitting around waiting and doing nothing. If one person takes their time, everyone else is held up.

In a 4 player game assuming everyone has turns of the same length that means each person spends 3/4 of the time doing nothing but waiting. That makes a game feel longer than it is.

Now take a game with simultaneous turns, or a game where players can act out of turn. Puerto Rico is a good example because everyone does something on everyone's turn. If player's spend a greater percentage of the game time actively engaged in the game, rather than waiting for other players, then the game feels shorter.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great show.

You made some cogent observations on Modern Art. I'd like to point out a small correction-- unlike Medici, Modern Art can only handle 5 players max, not 6.

These days, I'm trying hard to find games for 6 players, so this small point seemed noteworthy to me.

Thanks for all your great podcasts.

9:50 AM  

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