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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Gaming Year in Review

Posted by Brian on December 30, 2007

One of the nifty things about the boardgamegeek website is that I can keep track of every game I play… I now have complete records going back to early 2004. I’m currently at 1,111 games played since then.

Well, my friend Eric offered up his top 5 games played for the year, so I figure I’ll do the same:

  1. Caylus: I finally played this game for the first time this year, and it is just as good as people were making it out to be (29 plays).
  2. Apples to Apples: I can recommend Apples to Apples to anyone looking for a light, fun family game. I even played this with my parents and grandfather (28 plays).
  3. Zooloretto: This is another great family game that is both cute and challenging (15 plays).
  4. Battlelore: I played this a lot early i nthe year but not much since then (9 plays).
  5. Squint: I played this with students back in Korea… they liked it a lot (8 plays).

I’ll be doing some New Year’s Eve gaming tomorrow night so my top 5 might change a little…

UPDATE: By “top 5 games played,” I’m referring to games played rather than favorites.

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Poker Notes

Posted by Brian on September 17, 2007

I couldn’t find a table of 7-card stud so I played Texas Hold’em on two nights while in Vegas. HEre’s how it went…

I was wary about playing at one of the bigger casinos, so I went to the Flamingo across the street from Caesars Palace and found a $2-$4 Hold’em game (not no limit). After watching for a bit, I worked up the nerve to buy some chips and sit down.

Things started out well. I won two big pots early on (and for the record, my first ever winning hand in a real casino was two pair, aces and sixes). Things turned south later on though with some bad luck (of course!). On one hand, I found myself with a straight on the flop. This is medium strength hand, so I followed the advice I read from some poker book somewhere and bet strong in hopes of driving out the competition* (see below for an explanation). Things were looking good up to the river, as the up cards ruled out the possibility of a flush, full house, or 4 of a kind; I was in a good spot. Unfortunately, the river card proved my undoing, and it wasn’t even something I was keeping an eye out for. The 5th card revealed a natural straight on the table, meaning that *everyone* still betting then had a straight. In the end, I had to share the pot with another player because we both had straights. Any other card on 5th street would have given me the whole pot.

The other incident of bad luck was on my last hand for the night. I had pocket queens and a  third on the table, given me an excellent hand from what I could see. I bet hard and went in with the rest of my chips. When it came to the showdown, another player had pocket aces, to go w ith an ace o nthe table; my Queen trips was beat by his Ace trips. It was a terrible way to go out…

The next night was one whole episode of bad luck. I blew it early when made some bad bets holding pocket aces. Unfortunately, there was a pair of jacks on the table and in my enthusiasm (“cool, a pair of aces!”) didn’t take into account getting beat by a player holding the third jack. That left my bankroll short and had to spend the next hour or so playing very tight poker. I didn’t win a single hand and decided to save 10 bucks by cashing out early. The second night was a mess.

It was fun though, but also stressful and a bit intimidating. I wasn’t too familiar with the Texas Hold’em style betting structure so it took me a bit to get a handle on everything. I’ll probably try to continue practicing by playing at local casinos. 

As for my wife, she sat down to play roulette and started out strong; she was up about 30 bucks at one point. But the house always wins in the end and after about an hour of playing she was broke. She also did a bit of slot machine play as well.

* Regarding the poker notes above, general strategy (at least from what I’ve read) is that with a medium strength hand, such as a straight, low flush, or trips, the wise move is to bet strong as to force the other players out before they have a chance to improve their hands. With a super-premium hand, such as a mid-flush or better, one way to play is to slow-bet, which means to check and call without raising in hopes of keeping as many players in the hand as possible. Ideally, you’ll find some chump at the table who thinks he has the best hand and will do your raising for you.

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Board Game Review: Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Posted by Brian on August 2, 2007

The best children’s games will have an appeal that cuts across generations, making it fun and playable for kids and adults. Klaus Zoch’s Chicken Cha Cha Cha is one such game that puts adults and kids on a somewhat even playing field and provides a fun gaming experience for all involved.

The components are absolutely stellar. The game comes with 12 thick, octagonal tiles featuring cute pictures of chickens, snails, worms, and other animal mascots. These 12 tiles are placed face down in the middle of the table. Each of these tiles has a matching oval pair, which are shuffled together and placed in a circle around the center tiles to form the track. Last, and this is really what sends the components score over the top, are the 4 wooden chickens with detachable tail feathers. These suckers stand about 3 inches high and make the game stand out in a big way. Kids love them, and even a 35-year old senior like me finds them cute. Each player grabs a chicken and the players place them equidistant on the track. Now, the game can begin.

The idea is to advance your chicken to the next spot on the track by finding its matching tile in the middle amidst the 12 face down tiles. For example, if the next tile in front of my blue chicken is the sandwich with the worm in it, I need to find and reveal that tile in the middle. If I find it, I can try again, and my turn will continue as long as I keep finding the correct tile. If I choose the wrong one, the other players get to see the tile I picked (a valuable clue) and then it’s placed face down again in the middle. It’s a simple memory game.

To win, a player needs to collect all the tail feathers form the other chickens. This is done by jumping over a chicken that blocks your path (sitting behind your opponent’s chicken, the tile his chicken is on is ignored and your target is the tile immediately in front of it). When you jump a chicken in such a manner, your chicken receives all the tail feathers that chicken had in its possession (each chicken has 4 holes on its rump for placing the feathers). Once a chicken has all the game’s tail feathers, the game is over and that chicken’s player wins.

Yes, it’s simple, but fun. The real appeal of the game is that it gives kids a fighting chance against adults. Even better, winning is meaningful, rather than just the arbitrary results of a collection of random dice rolls. No doubt a kid who beats his mom or dad at this game would have a lot to feel proud of. And on top of that, it’s a visual treat, with lots of color and cuteness to add to the enjoyment

Chicken Cha Cha Cha is the rare children’s game that can appeal to both kids and their parents. If my wife and I were ever to have children, this would be one of the games I would use to introduce them to the hobby. It’s far more deserving of a place in a young family’s closet than the umpteenth iteration of Monopoly. If you’re a parent and a gamer, it’s definitely worth purchasing.

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Remember when…

Posted by Brian on July 25, 2007

Remember when board games were usually nothing more than a square board, some dice, and a few counters? Well, compare that to this:


That’s Cleopatra and the Society of Architects, from Days of Wonder. The really neat thing is that the box itself is used as part of the game, as you can see from this picture:


Pretty damn cool, huh? Nifty bits aside, it’s a pretty fun game that I have at home in Seattle.

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Bad Night at the Casino

Posted by Brian on June 30, 2007

I went to the 7 Luck Casino at the CoEx center last night with my friend Chang-hwan. I lost 100,000W at the roulette table over the course of an hour due to risky playing. My friend did a bit better than I and was up 50,000W at one point, though he lost it all by the end of the night. To add insult to injury, I lost track of time at the end of the night and could only so far on the subway before being kicked off its last stop at Sadang; I ended up having to pay another 15,000W for the taxi fee home. And when I finally did make it home, all the comped food and drinks I took advantage of to offset my losses left me drunk and sick.

A bad night…

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Poker Night

Posted by Brian on June 24, 2007

I did pretty well at poker last night.  Iwas up 47,000W by the time we went home.  Iwas helped by some pretty good cards… such as not just one but two instances of pocket aces in Texas Hold ‘Em.

I’m going to try to play a higher stakes game some time before I leave. Just need my mates to agree to give it a try…

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Preference Bingo

Posted by Brian on May 9, 2007

I’m going to write about some of the games I’ve used in class that work pretty well. The first game I’m going to write about is called Preference Bingo.

Start by reviewing comparatives with your students. I then give them the pattern, “What do you prefer, A or B? I prefer X, because…” Encourage your students to use comparatives when comparing the two items. For example,

Teacher: What do you prefer, Burger King or McDonald’s?

Student: I prefer McDonald’s, because the food is cheaper.

Once comparatives and the basic patter are covered, you can move on to the game. Hand out a 5×5 bingo grid to your students (I make the middle square a freebie, but that’s optional). Now, the teacher should go through a list of 24 (or 25) “What do you prefer…?” questions, such as the one above. For example:

  •   What do you prefer, male teachers or female teachers?
  • Which actor do you prefer, Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise?
  • What do you prefer, going to the beach or going to the mountains?

This list of questions should be prepared ahead of time.

As the questions are asked, the students should write their own answer in any space on their bingo grid. When all the questions are asked, each student should have his or her own unique bingo board with their own personal answers, and the game moves on to its next phase.

Now, the teacher will go through the same answers again, but this time ask each question to an individual student.  The student will answer, but should try to explain his answer as described above (“I think X is better because it is better/cheaper/nicer, etc.). That student, and every other student with the same answer, can check off that square. Go around the room asking the questions to individual students until someone has bingo and wins the game (I usually play it out to the end just for fun).

If you have any leftover time, you can use some of the questions as discussion topics, such as male teachers vs. female teachers (which is a good topic; I’ve found that men tend to prefer women and vice-versa).

It’s a good activity that helps students with comparatives and gives them a chance to get to know the other students better. I highly recommend it.

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Screw Superpower Classic

Posted by Brian on May 3, 2007

Guanoisland comments on Superpower Classic in my comment section:

I was booted from SuperPower and Chile was reassigned to someone else … I have no idea why as I have even been participating on the threads and exchanged emails with other South American nations. That site is buggered as far as I am concerned.

That’s the second active player (that I know of) who has been booted from the game with no explanation. Add that to the constant “fucking newb” remarks directed at new players with the temerity to make a mistake or two and I have to say screw their site and their stupid game.

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