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The Game Ranch
Ed & Susan's home for boardgame related information.
  • Game day after a long hiatus
    Having recently and successfully launched our elder son into society (egads, I feel old) we are all of a sudden finding ourselves in the bewildering, unheard of position of having free weekends (as in, no soccer games). So, we've kickstarted our gaming hobby again and hosted the first of what we hope are regular, monthly game days. A total of 19 people showed up, burying us in awesome food and causing a panicked scramble to scrounge up enough chairs. Mansions of Madness SPOILER ALERT So what would YOU do if your car broke down in the woods and you and...

  • Wiled Gaming in San Antonio
    If you frequent the Chit Chat forum at Geekdo (BGG), you must know Amy and Jeff Wiles as they are very active there. Myself, I'm a lurker, but Ed practically lived on the forum during his year of unemployment. I love having lots of "virtual" friends, but I love it even more if I get a chance to meet them in person and put faces to names and avatars. So, we were really looking forward to driving down to Jeff and Amy's house for a day of gaming and a chance to meet a few other Chit Chatters as well...

  • Goa head and wake me when it's over
    Last night I played Goa and was so bored by about the second turn that I was fiddling with my phone and checking Facebook updates. Not a good sign. The irony of it was that I was the one who suggested the game. There were murmurings of playing Caylus (which I loathe) and I panicked and tried to divert them to another heavy eurogame that I vaguely remember sorta liking about 6 years ago when I played it once or twice. Okay, so I've changed. A lot. This two-and-a-half hour exercise in tedium drove home a few points for me:...

  • It's been Ages
    Soccer practice started this week and it was my turn to take Kevin, so I missed our weekly gaming group. However, last week I was able to go and miraculously got to play an "older" game - Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery, while the hardcore Cult of the New members (I used to be one) struggled through some new game called Carson City at the other table. AoE III shares the honor of being my favorite worker placement game along with Pillars of the Earth. With both games, I feel the theme as I play, and both...

  • A New Year (thank goodness)
    Well, I can't let Ed take over this blog completely with his Descent reports, so I better get with it and post something. My blogging dropped off significantly this past year. Frankly, it's been a pretty bad year, both personally and for gaming. Ed, the primary breadwinner of our household, spent almost the whole year unemployed. Not only did this take a huge bite out of our game buying budget, but it also meant that we weren't able to attend the gaming conventions that we normally do. We also spent much of the year unable to attend our regular gaming...

  • Descent Campaign 2 - Session 5
    So, way back in the Dark Ages of 2009, I was reporting the progress of our second Descent: Road to Legend campaign. I seem to have "forgotten" to update the blog with our progress. Yeah, that seems like a good excuse. Anyway, I have actually posted the session reports over in the Road to Legend forums on BoardgameGeek, but if you don't follow those, you may not have seen them. You may be wondering about the adventures of our heroes, Nanok of the Blade, Landrec the Wise, Verikas the Dead and Grey Ker, as they struggle to stop the evil...

  • Witch of Salem review
    Witch of Salem is a cooperative game for 2 - 4 players that is based on stories by Wolfgang Hohlbein set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft's mythos. The designer is Michael Rieneck and it is published in an English edition by Mayfair Games. Players are helping Robert Craven, the powerful Witch of Salem, close the portals located around the city of Arkham and to banish the Great Old One imprisoned in the underwater city of R'lyeh. Opposing them are the evil magician Necron and hordes of evil creatures. The Goal The players win the game if they manage to...

  • Roll Through the Ages and more Tales
    Well, we didn't get to go to game night this past week. Ed had to take our eldest to soccer practice and I got to go...grocery shopping. Yay. This full-time job gig is taking some getting used to. Oh Free Time, how I miss thee! Last week, though, I got to play Tales of Arabian Nights again. Once again, I really enjoyed it. This time, I fared miserably. In fact, my first character died after finding a door hidden in the sands. Upon descending, she found a woman imprisoned below and tried to save her. An e'freet (sp?) jumped out...

  • July Gaming
    Once again, my gaming blog has been neglected but this time I have a real excuse, and one that doesn't involve World of Warcraft. I've been working part-time at my local library for the past six months and have now accepted a full-time position. I've gone from doing stem cell research as a medical lab technician to being a full-time stay-at-home mom and am now headed in a totally new career direction as a....librarian. Well, only pretending to be one for now as I don't have a Master of Library Science degree yet. That's probably in my future though. The...

  • Game Awards
    What's the world coming to when you can neither complain about the Spiel des Jahres winner nor poke fun at the Origins winners??? While I had a slight leaning towards Pandemic, I'm still thrilled that Dominion took the SdJ. It's innovative and fresh and very addicting. It's got a bit of a CCG vibe going for it, which helps. Those Origins people finally got it right. Pandemic was chosen for best board game with Dominion taking the honors for best card game. The choice for family/party game was Say Anything and the best historical game was Conflict of Heroes: Awakening...

  • It's a Small World after all
    Ha! Can't get that song out of your head now, can you?? As I mentioned in my previous post, Ed and I were lucky to be invited to spend Memorial Day weekend playing games with three other couples. We stayed in condos on Lake Palestine near Tyler, in the piney woods of northeast Texas. This is quite near my mother's house and where I spent my teenage years, so it was very convenient to dump/drop off our boys with her for the weekend. The condos were shabby, but adequate, and the views were beautiful when it wasn't raining and we...

  • 2009 Spiel des Jahres Nominees
    Ed and I spent a fabulous gaming weekend with three other couples over the long Memorial Day weekend. I played two of five newly announced Spiel des Jahres nominees there, so I thought I'd do a quick post about them. I'll write more about the weekend and the rest of the games I played in the next post. Given how behind we are in playing the new stuff, I figured that I'd be mostly clueless about the nominees this year. Surprising, it turns out that I've actually played three of the five and unlike the past few years, the list...

  • Game Day Report part 1: Monsters Menace America
    Every time we go to Gulf Games, one of my kids latches on to some game that they play there and as good gamer parents, we are obligated to obtain a copy for them once we get home. My kids know that this is one purchasing area where no arm-twisting or whining is required! Anyway, for my younger son Shea, that game one summer was Monsters Menace America. Happily, we were able to get a copy in a math trade on BGG, trading a copy of A Dog's Life that had been plucked off the Gulf Games prize table in...

  • Gamer's Notebook
    I always feel flattered but very self-conscious when my blog gets linked somewhere else or somebody I don't even know mentions that they read it. It's even worse when somebody as respected in the hobby as Mike Siggins calls attention to it in his column. Yikes! I often forget that somebody besides my local group and me might be reading it. I guess that I shouldn't be too surprised as I "lurk" on many blogs, too pressed for time or just too lazy to comment on the entries. I'm also reminded once again that I've been horribly neglecting my blog...

  • Oldies that definitely aren't moldy
    Today was a day of golden oldies in which I discovered an old gem that definitely reinforces the idea that one should not judge a game by its box. And I mean a box with really, REALLY hideous art, the kind drawn by a nerdy teenager. The fact that the game is an old Avalon Hill game with handfuls of little chits (confetti - whee!) and those typically awful black and white rules with a tiny font and numbered sections should not be a deterrent either. Well, not in this case, anyway. The game that I'm talking about is Merchant...


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