This post is a bit of a mash-up of two topics that I wanted to talk about. First off I’d like to apologise for being absent for so long. I’ve been out of action for a couple of weeks after heading over to Seattle to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends, James, to his lovely wife Jana. If you’re reading this guys, then “Congratulations to you both!”
Although I wasn’t blogging whilst I was out there; I was spending plenty of time enjoying the sun and locating the friendly local gaming stores. Being fresh in my memory I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about the great gaming locations they have out there!
From Heroic Knights… to Egyptian Gods…
First up, my friend Andy and I paid a visit to Heroic Knight Games in Issaquah. Whilst browsing the shelves he asked me to recommend a game that we could take back to his place to play. After working out what kind of gaming group he usually has round, I came to the conclusion that Kemet was the key to his gaming needs.
He grabbed the copy they had on the shelf and we headed to the till. Oddly enough the guy who served us was from the UK and we had a little chat about where we were from and the popularity of Star Trek Attack Wing miniatures.
After leaving the store we headed back to Andy’s house where Andy’s girlfriend, Amber, and some of his friends joined us to play Kemet. I quickly ran them through the rules and got the game rolling. Everyone seemed to enjoy playing – and it was the most bloodthirsty game of Kemet that I’ve ever played, It really made me realise that I can’t wait for the Ta-Seti expansion to release later this year!
The Kingdom of My Dreams… Lost in Time and Space…
Later in the week I was told that I should visit a store called Card Kingdom, so James and I headed out to find the place. When we got there and walked through the door I thought I’d walked into heaven. This store has to be one of the biggest board game stores I have ever seen. The selection of games available was excellent and I ended up leaving with some titles that aren’t even available in the UK. Ghost Stories Black Secret and the Star Trek Attack Wing Borg Cube (two weeks before the UK release.)
I was simply in my element wandering round explaining to James what all the different games were. I’m sure he was sick of listening to me by the end of it all but I was loving every second of it.
After trawling the store for what felt like minutes, I suddenly realised we’d been there well over an hour. We headed to the check-out and got talking to the very friendly woman there. She asked if we were sticking around to play some library games. It was at this point that we noticed the decently sized bar attached to the store.
Gem Collections… Stolen by Ninjas!!!
I asked what games they had in the store library and the assistant turned and gestured to the wall of games behind her. I was amazed… There were more games in the library than I’ve seen in some stores in the UK. It was fascinating and exciting all at the same time. In the end we asked her to recommend a game and she handed over Splendor which we thanked her for and scurried through to the bar to set it up.
After having some food and drink and really enjoying Splendor, we decided that the sales assistant had good game taste. I went back through to ask for another recommendation; this time, she produced a game called Shinobi Wat-aah!
It wasn’t a title I’d heard of before, but it was published by Iello and unsurprisingly we thoroughly enjoyed it! The art work is nice, there’s an element of set collection, a sprinkling of deduction, a touch of corruption, and little wooden tokens in the shape of ninja stars. What more could you possibly want?
Seriously though, I’ve not seen Shinobi Wat-aah over here in the UK yet and I regret not picking a copy up whilst I was out there. Unfortunately I had an annoying luggage weight limit to think of, but I’m sure it’ll surface on the pre-order section of the store soon enough!
We went back to the library once more during our visit and borrowed Marvel Legendary. James had never played a deck building game before so, Legendary was a no-brainer suggestion, with it being my favourite deck building game ever. It went down well, and although James didn’t quite get an engine going he was doing some cool combos amongst the characters we’d selected.
All in all, our experience at Card Kingdom was amazing and I was highly impressed. I can’t wait to visit my friends over there again and to drop in to this wonderful store for some more US gaming fun.
Back to Life… Back to Reality…
So that was a brief insight into my gaming experience over in the US. But before I finish off the post I wanted to follow up on my previous post about the UK Games Expo 2014. Specifically I wanted to write a bit about a great little game that was receiving a lot of attention at the show. Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to take a proper look at it before the expo ended; however, Nigel managed to get his hands on a prototype copy for me to check out.
The game I’m referring to shares its name with a very special dance, performed by the humble Honey Bee, called the Waggle Dance! This post isn’t going to be a complete review of the game because I want to save that for when it’s officially released and when I can comment on the non-prototype components.
Waggle Dance was successfully funded on Kickstarter and reached all of its stretch goals. With an estimated release date of November 2014 it looks like it’ll be with gamers in time for Christmas, so bare it in mind as a great gift for the gamer in your life.
To Bee? Or Not To Bee? That is the Question…
Overall Waggle Dance is a very tight game! My last play ended with all of the players converting their seventh hex to honey at the same time. This meant that the overall winner was determined by the amount of pollen cubes in each players hive at the end of the night. We were all surprised to find that there was literally a single pollen difference between first and second places.
Waggle Dance ticks all of the right boxes for me; short, easy to learn, a good level of strategy, family friendly and a theme that I’ve not seen in a game before. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fun gateway games or wants to transition their friends and relatives into more serious gaming.
So, to finish this post I’d like to leave you all with the immortal words of Waggle Dance designer Mike Nudd, “Get your Waggle on!”
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Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.