July 2020 in Review

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I feel like I’ve been all over the map this month. July 2020 has been all about:

  • Turning 39 year old / celebrating my birthday
  • Playing all the games
  • Continuing to read Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer (70%)
  • As part of my reading through the Bible in a year plan, I read/finished: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Ecclesiastes, Titus, Philemon, and Jude
  • And a sinus infection that won’t go away

Tabitha and Wyatt bought me Paper Mario: The Origami King for my birthday. So most of my gaming time has been spent working my way through an origami world with Mario. I’m loving the tight writing and unexpected moments of pure Nintendo delight.

Snacks are good

Wyatt and I have been playing Injustice: Gods Among Us a bunch. Nothing like Superman kicking the snot out of Superman.

With some of my birthday money, I picked up:

  • Battlefield 1
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • Doom (2016)

I should note that Paper Mario has been consuming my gaming time, so I haven’t given much time to the above games. Soon though.

Throw Throw Burrito - MeowCow

As a family, we have played a bunch of Throw Throw Burrito (think of the classic game Spoons but with a burrito war/fighting element where you chuck a burrito at fellow players. This game is super fun!

Throw Throw Burrito - Winners Badge

We also had a chance to sit down and play Disney Villainous, which I also got for my birthday. I like how you have your own character board/objective to complete while you also get to mess with fellow villains. Tab beat Wyatt and I with the Queen of Hearts (Wyatt played Captain Hook; I played Prince John). I can’t wait to play again.

Disney Villainous - Prince John
Disney Villainous - Prince John Card Back

My biggest project of all, this month, has been replacing all of the interior doors in the house. After this past weekend, I’m down to 4 doors needing to be replaced.

Door Replacement Project

What have you been playing lately?

Let me know in the comments below.

A Walk, A Birthday, And A Few Board Games

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Woke up this morning and went for a walk with Tabitha. My Apple Watch didn’t record any of our walk as exercise. So if an Apple made watch doesn’t record something… did it ever happen? From the picture below, yes, yes it did.

East Texas in July

I turned 39 this week. Spent my birthday working in the office with frequent breaks to text/talk with family and friends. I loved catching up with those who reached out.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) dominated many of the conversations I had on my birthday. I’m not complaining. But I can tell that the pandemic and the information roller coaster we’ve all boarded because of it, is weighing heavily on us all.

For my birthday, I received a few new board games. My parents bought me Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – The Thames Murders & Other Cases; Tab and Wyatt bought me Disney Villainous. I’m looking forward to playing and writing on both of these games.

Disney Villainous

As an observation, I was telling Tabitha this morning that I do not play video games like I used to–like, this surprises me–. Board games have become the thing I ask for and play more frequently. There is something about having screens off and being able to gather around the table with family and friends that is special and builds memories.

As a further thought, I am thinking about starting to write board game reviews. Trying to think of an angle that would best serve the JBG Community. All one of us. 🙂

Hope you all are doing well.

Date Night – Playing Detective

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A few weeks ago, I noticed that Portal Games was offering a free print n play / standalone short case for their Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game (you can find that link here). Having never played the game, I thought to myself:

“This looks like a perfect date night for Tab and I.”

You see, Tab and I love a solid police procedural. There is nothing quite like the two of us sifting through clues, testimony, and evidence in order solve a crime.

So, I printed out the:

  • Board
  • Tokens
  • Cards
  • And the “Suburbia” case introduction / information

After dropping Wyatt off with the grandparents, Tab and I picked up Thai food and headed home. Reading through Detective’s instructions, we decided that we did not want to play with the provided board. The game’s time element, where each player action equals a certain amount of in-game time, sounded a bit too constraining for us. Instead of following the game’s rules, we started reading through the individual cards; Each card offering branching story paths with different decisions to make.

Detective game components

We had a great evening reading through the cards together. As we played, I entered some of our case findings into the game’s online database (Antares Network). When we thought we had finally reached a solution, the Network then asked us a series of questions in order to solve the case.

We won!

Thai food + detective-ing made for a pretty amazing date night.

Is there a recent date night/date night idea you would like to share? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Fresh Air and the Ticket Queen

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Last night, we had dinner outside on our patio. Tabitha made this awesome shrimp stir-fry. Which may have even rivaled the Thai food, that we had picked up for date night, the night before. My wife is an amazing cook.

Sitting outside, enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze, I think we all felt liberated from the house. The warmer temperatures we’ve been experiencing, combined with humidity, have triggered us running the air conditioning.

Air conditioning, in the State of Texas, is a serious thing. Summers here make it feel like you are suddenly an astronaut. Your home, your car, even your place of work become your climate controlled spaceship. Every once in awhile, you’ll adventure out for an away mission. Perhaps you’ll even venture forth to work in the lawn followed up by a mandatory dip in the pool. But eventually, summers here make the pool water match the outside temperature. Nothing like diving into 80-85 degree water on a 90-100 degree day. Ah, so refreshing!

The Coronavirus, or as those more in the know call it COVID-19, has forced upon us social distancing as well as self quarantine. Even as the Governor of Texas opens up the State, the virus damage has already been inflicted. Self quarantine has triggered those mid-summer cabin fever feelings already. It is only May, and I am ready to escape the spaceship–I mean house–and enjoy fresh air.

That is why last night, I enjoyed spending time with family outdoors. Being able to enjoy the non-spaceship air; being able to eat good food and not eat family. We even managed to get a game of Ticket to Ride going. Wyatt (green train cars) destroyed Tabitha (yellow train cars) and I (red train cars).

Ticket to Ride

Playing Ticket to Ride, as a family, is a completely different experience than the silent games Tabitha and I play together. No longer is the game a battle between two powerful rail tycoons. Instead, Wyatt introduces a random element to the mix, another player to foil our track laying schemes.

As Wyatt cut me off from a crucial move, I whined out loud, “No!”. And then I kept whining until he won. Darth Vader would be proud.

It’s interesting to think that one day we could have another Ticket to Ride player in our house (nothing happening on the adoption front, FYI, all is quiet). Until that day, I’ll be working on destroying a little boy’s dreams… I mean… blocking a young man’s trains.

As the final points were counted, I ended up placing third. I am in no way salty about my ranking, as I am used to being beaten by Tabitha. Tabitha is the Ticket queen. Or maybe I should say, she was?

Christmas Loot – New Board Games

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Our family is a family of first borns. We are all highly competitive with each other. This past year, I made a concentrated effort to introduce cooperative board games to our family game time. We’ve dove into:

  • Castle Panic
  • Forbidden Island

Both games are built around the idea of playing together, combining tactical decisions/special character moves in order to win. We’ve enjoyed these cooperative experiences, working as a team to beat the board.

For Christmas, I was gifted:

  • Pandemic
  • Jaws
  • The Game

I can’t wait to bring these games to the table. I’ll let ya’ll know how they each play. I’m curious to see if we stay alive going up against Jaws; also curious to see if we, Tabitha and I, can overcome the bad first impression we had of Pandemic (had someone quarterback us through a game).

How about you? Did you get any board games for Christmas?

From Across the Net – “Gameboard-1 will be a digital slate for your tabletop board games”

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There are somethings that I instantly understand… and other things that I just can’t wrap my mind around. The Gameboard-1 is one of those items that falls into the middle of that divide. I’m not sure I understand the why. When I play board games, I am playing them because I want to unplug.

Loved this random little “gem” in the article:

They also saw that today’s technology is seen as promoting isolation trends in our population. Video games are being blamed for depression, ADHD and many other ailments that plague our society. In order to break these trends, a gaming device should be built to enhance the human connection, they felt. Games should bring people face to face. That was how they came up with the inspiration for Gameboard-1. They started their company in 2019.

How does technology somehow become the human connection savior? So many questions that ultimately end in, why?

You can read more here

38th Birthday – Showered in Board Games

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I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. This is the first year, that I can remember, not receiving anything video game-related. Instead, thanks to generous/loving family and friends, I was drowned in board games!

I can’t tell if this means that I am growing up… or what.

The Mind

Wyatt and Tabitha gave me the card game, The Mind. Imagine playing with three to four other people. On level 1 (there are 12 levels), you are each given a single card. Without talking, signaling, or having to take ordered turns, you each have to place your cards down in sequential order. If someone plays their card out of numerical order, you lose one of your 3 lives. Once all 3 lives are gone it is game over.

Tabitha, Wyatt, and I played a few rounds of The Mind and became frustrated. The lack of communication makes the game difficult combined with a certain level of patience that is needed. Tabitha and I played the game later on that evening and had a great time. We even made it to level 8 (which equals each player having 8 cards in their hands to place down). There is something about The Mind which shouldn’t work but is almost magical when it does. I love the concept of it.

Azul is a tile-based game which was super fun. I’d like to play this again soon.

Star Wars: Destiny

The RavingLuhn sent me a copy of Star Wars: Destiny (thanks again, Joe!). Tab and I had a time with the rules. So we watched a Youtube video. The video we ended up watching was less about how to play and more about strategy. We are planning on watching the official Fantasy Flight Games video when we get a chance to play again. I like the dice mechanics. (Saving the video below for later.)

My brother-in-law and his family brought donuts over for breakfast on my birthday. We indulged in greasy goodness, conversed, and then got in the pool. They went home after the pool and we had a quiet afternoon until Tab’s parents came over that evening. I fired up the BBQ and cooked some chicken that Tab had marinated in a balsamic dressing. I then topped the chicken with cheese, tomatoes, and some avocado (except for Tab’s dad, who dislikes the green fruit). All which equaled an amazing birthday dinner.

My co-workers gave me a birthday card this year.

Getting closer to the big 4-0. Whatever that means…