Before I begin, I would like to say one thing,
THE SIMPSONS NEWS
Hasn’t failed yet, every time I’m ready to go home, I’m given a scene that has to be done right away. I’ve been coming in at 6:00 am everyday for the last week or so (to avoid traffic). This means that I can leave work at 3:00 pm. Which is awesome. It makes me feel like I’m skipping out on work early. Well, without fail, around 2:45 or so, when I’m looking forward to going home, I always get, either a call, or someone comes by my desk with news about an emergency scene.
“Hey Luis, what are you working on right now?”
“I’m working on Scene 1, Sequence D4 05A.”
“Well you’re going to need to put that aside right now because we just found out that this scene has a big mistake in it and it needs to be fixed right away. It needs to be done by tonight because it’s going to be shipped tomorrow.”
Then I end up working for the next four hours, as fast as I can trying to get the scene done. It really stinks. At least it means I get overtime which is good. At least I have a job.
So far, as far as I can tell, the ride stuff is really funny. I’ve been working on the little animated vignettes that will be on monitors while you wait in line for the ride.
We got the twenty fourth off this month, so I got to relax. We also get the thirty first off so I’m looking forward to a little more rest.
Merry Christmas! I had a great Christmas. It was fun. I really enjoyed watching my daughter play with her new toys. It’s great that she got them because it makes my wife’s job a lot easier now that the Munchkin is playing with toys more and not bother her so much. She got this toy vacuum that she walks all over the house with. I wish it was a real vacuum because she would have had the place sparkling clean.
Christmas eve was a great day for me because my wife and I got to play Dungeon Twister while the Munchkin slept (no it’s not Dungeons and Dragons Twister). Dungeon Twister is a two player strategy game where you try to be the first person to get five points. It’s kinda hard to explain so I’ll just put the description of the game from Board game geek:
Dungeon Twister is a 2-player high level strategy game where 2 teams of adventurers with various powers are trapped in a dungeon. The board is composed of 8 rooms that can be moved and rotated by the players. Each turn, a player is able to spend actions to move around the dungeon, pick up and use items, battle with the opponents team, or turn and move the rooms of the dungeon.
The goal is to reach 5 victory points. Points are collected by moving adventurers out of the dungeon or by killing an opponent’s adventurer. Treasures are disseminated across the whole dungeon and will bring the adventurers well-needed powers.
Each player has the same characters, each with different powers. Some run fast, some fight or disarm traps. The cleric heals, magician burns everything in sight and the goblin is so weak that the simple fact of getting him out will bring you two victory points.
Combat and actions are managed via cards. To move, fight, heal or turn a room, you must manage action points obtained by playing cards. Those cards are not drawn but selected from a set of cards by both players. Both players have access to the same panel of cards at the beginning of the game so the game is really about managing the resources and adapting to the changing environment.
Dungeon Twister is the original game in the Dungeon Twister series
Home Page: http://www.dungeontwister.com/us/ (English)
It’s very unique. I’d played it three times before and didn’t understand why people liked it so much. Then I realized I was playing some rules wrong. After playing with the correct rules, I discovered how great the game was. It’s so much fun. It definitely flexes the same brain muscles that chess does. Highly recommend it. Read more about it at board game geek.
I think I’m going to give some of these games a shot. I just can’t decide between Settlers of Catan and Carcassone. I’m leaning towards Carcassone because I’ve been to that area, but frankly, they strike as rather complex. which do you recommend to a beginner that really enjoys the traditional old parlor games and board games because of the structure, but also enjoys the competitive ruthlessness of Risk and Monopoly.
The games seem really complicated only because the mechanics are unfamiliar but they actually aren’t any more complicated than any of the classic games. When I was younger, my brother and I used to play Risk, but we never actually read the rules, we had been taught the game by some other kids we knew. Later in life, I discovered that we were playing the game wrong. About a year or two back I decided to read the rules and found them to be as complicated as any other board game rules. Like I usually do with new board games, I sat down with the game and played a “test game” by myself in order to understand the flow of the game and how it worked. Even having done that, when I actually played the game with someone, I still had the rules out and I referred to them in order to remind me how something was done. Most people don’t have to do this anymore because they played the game so often, it’s ingrained in their brain now. We often forget the first time we were introduced to the classic games and how much effort we had to put into them in order to learn to play them. I’ve found that, usually, the first time playing a new board game is the trickiest time. Especially when the game is at the level of complexity as a game like Risk. The first time I play, since I don’t know the rules, I make mistakes, I’m trying to understand how to best achieve the game objective and it usually takes longer than the game should. The second time, I make far less mistakes and the game flows faster, not only that but I start picking up on strategies to use. By the third time, the game feels like a game I’ve played all my life.
Okay, so Carcassonne vs Settlers. To be honest, Carcassonne is by far the easier of the two games to learn. It’s almost like learning a slightly more involved game of dominos. I could usually teach the game in about five minutes or so. In fact, click on the following link to get the Carcassonne rules so you can see them for yourself:
You’ll find them less intimidating if you can read them, although it’s trickier to understand the game if you don’t have the game itself to try the rules out with. If you want to play a game of Carcassonne for free on the web, go to asobrain.com you have to register to the site but all you need is a nickname and a password. You don’t even need to put in an e-mail address or your real name. The game is called Toulouse on that site. You can play against an actual person and ask them to show you how to play or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can create a game and play against computer controlled “bots”. When you make a game, make sure to uncheck the expansion boxes (you don’t need them. You just want regular Carcassonne) On your turn, in order to get a tile, grab and drag the tile from the right hand corner of the screen. In order to rotate the tile press the ALT key down and click the left mouse button. To place a tile you just drag it to were you want it and press the left mouse button. In order to place a Meeple, grab and drag a Meeple from your group of Meeples above the “table” on the screen. The computer does all the calculating for you. This is how I learned Carcassonne before I bought it. If you have an Xbox 360 you can download the game for about five bucks.
Out of the all the “modern” board games I own, Carcassonne has seen the most play time. Not because it’s the best game in my collection, but because it plays just as good with two as with five players, it’s easy to teach, it’s fun and it can be played in about fourty to fourty five minutes (sometimes less).
This isn’t to say that Settlers isn’t an easy game to learn. It’s just that the mechanics are so unfamiliar that it may seem more complicated than it is. The last time I played Settlers, I taught that game in about ten to fifteen minutes. I asked my wife to compare Settlers to a more classic board game to see how complicated she thought Settlers was. She told me she thought the game was as easy to pick up as any of the classic board games and my wife is not a “gamer”.
The majority of people who’ve gotten into playing “modern” board games have done so because they where blown away by how much fun they had playing Settlers. The last two times I played the game was with people who hadn’t played the game before and they caught on to it really quick . They had a really good time. It was a big hit.
Settlers is a really easy game to understand. The point of the game is very simple. The first player to ten points wins.
How do you gets points?
You get points by adding up the value of the things you own on the board (Think Monopoly properties, houses, hotels, and cards).
- For every settlement you’ve built (think Monopoly house) you get 1victory point (vp).
- For every City you’ve built (think Monopoly hotel) you get 2 vps.
- For every Development card you own that gives you a Victory point (think get out jail free card) you get 1 vp.
- If you built the longest road in the game (think owning the most Monopoly properties in a row without a break) you get 2 pts.
- If you built the biggest army (think holding the most get out of jail free cards) you get 2 pts.
How do you build things and obtain Development Cards?
You build things with resources (think Monopoly money) in the form of cards with pictures of said resources. The resources are: Lumber, Brick, Wool, Wheat, and Stone. Every player gets a “cheat sheet” that tells you what combination of resources you need to make things. For example: One Lumber and One Brick makes a road; two Wheat, and three Stone upgrades a settlement to a city; one Wheat, one Wool and one Stone allows you to pick up a Development card…etc. In the last “phase” of your turn, you can trade any combination of cards that you want into the “bank” in order to build what you want on the board (in accordance to rules limitations).
How do you get resources?
This is the very heart of the game. This is what the game is mostly about. Getting the resources is what makes the game fun. You get resources by:
- The roll of two dice.
- Trading and bargaining with other players at the table.
- Stealing other players resources.
In other words, it’s almost like a party game. It has just about as much player interaction as a Cranium game. If the above three things sound like good, clean, goofy fun (and they are), then you’ll love this game. Settlers is almost a strange combination of a Monopoly game and a party game except that it has a lot more strategy in it.
The first time you play Settlers it might feel a bit long. Have no fear though, the more you play it, the shorter it will get because strategies will begin to develop and players will find ways to be more efficient, and a lot sneakier, in their resource gathering and building.
That’s Settlers in a nutshell. I’m not gonna go into the details of how you roll up resources or how you steal resources from other player here. If you want to try out the game for free on the web, you can download a demo version at:
A word of caution. These board games are not nearly as fun on the computer as they are around the table. I’d only use these free versions of Settlers and Carcassonne to familiarize myself with the games and decide what game would be best to get. Eventually you’re gonna want to have both.
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