Archive for September, 2011

Anticamente in Rome

The Anticamente tournament in Rome at last! The date was past Sunday in the glorious Miles Glorious club, a huge space for gamers here in Rome. If you don’t know what is Anticamente (a game for ancient and medieval periods based on area movement), you can go to the link on the right column.

I passed a lot of hours (and an entire day off work) to structure a scheme to sum the rules in a easy way to remind them, but something were out as I expected. I always make schemes because I have a visual memory, and with this form of study I took my university degree. So now I have this help to play, and another time I can spend less energy on the understanding of the rules.

Fabio, the mind after Anticamente, lent us his armies because there are always new players who haven’t the pieces to play. I haven’t an army too, so I took a feudal one, a heavy army, but at the end I don’t liked its composition. So at the start I didn’t understand what I could do with some pieces and I wasted them with bad moves. Gasbarri, the evil one who wins all tournaments, instead built his army with his soldiers. So, not only he is a great gamer, he has got even a tested army. The same day I bought from Fabio the rough pieces (his TB Line produces them in 10mm) for a Roman army, so the next year I will have got my army. And I’m thinking about a medieval army too. However the pieces are too small for my father painting skills, so I will give them to a friend.

We played three games. The first one was against Gasbarri. In the beginning I almost won, but I hadn’t the forces to give the last shot. So, with my army scattered around, this devil under man appearance, kill my pieces one by one. He plagued the loo too, because he is really a demon. The second game was against Paolo “Ronin Clan” with Mongols. I waited a lot to move my heavy cavalry while his light cavalry harassed my troops. I sweared a lot because of my bad dices. At the end Paolo thrown away his cavalry against mine and there was no story: I won.

Here you can see Bizio, the other man after Anticamente. He is under the curse of the creator of a game: he write the rules but he cannot win! And this was true even this time, with the last position of the day. He played a great game but my army was too hard to scratch under clouds of arrows, so I waited until the end to strike back. My victory was little because the time was finished, but I had all my tough troops available so I could do anything.

Here you can see a human figure compared to a Zen Garden board. I showed my game to Bizio. He promised me to do some graphics for the game. Instead Fabio forgot to take me some quartz dust for the boards I’m producing. Shame on him!

Fabio and Bizio came in Rome Saturday. We made a walk in the centre and ate traditional food. Sunday we all ate other traditional food for lunch in a restaurant near Miles Glorious. I even met a Frenchman who is looking for other players. I passed two days of carefree. I like tournaments with friends, I like those moments.


One year of blogging

It was only a year ago that I put this blog online. In the meantime I posted almost a message (with photos) every 3 days. So, a lot of words and a lot of images. It is fun to speak to the world about this hobby of mine. But it is even a hard work to do. I hope you find interesting these my things. I browsed all my past post and I found a lot of memories. It was a happy year, a year of my life. Here you can find only a slice of my existence obviously, it is a portrait of myself with my hobby and related friends. I’m ready for another year of blogging. And today I’m involved in Anticamente tournament here in Rome. The report in this blog in the following hours. Let’s go on…


Zen gardener

A brief note to say that we (me and Andrea “Ganesha Games” Sfiligoi) are thinking about the realisation of a limited edition of my game Zen Garden with some revised rules and better materials. It will be handmade but with professional elements. In the following weeks we will start the production. A demo will be present at Lucca Games at the end of October. You could see the real game ready for Christmas, I suppose. Now I’m a game producer too…


Another day with SDS LB

Another day in Terni, another day with Song of Drums and Shakos Large Battles (maybe in the final version the name will be without “Song”). The train left Roma station at 7.48 in the morning. This time Federico from Rome was with us. He is a veteran of Napoleonic battles. Our guest is Sergio as usual, with his game, his kindness and a powerful pasta with red and green pesto, red and green as Terni’s coat of arms.

I resulted in a very bad performance. I act as an amateur. I went straight ahead but enemy cavalry was not so convinced to permit this to me. It is true that in this manner we could destroy it because was alone in the field and under fire from our forces. At the end I put my soldiers at the will of my partner in the game, Sergio himself. But Sergio wrong move was that he didn’t develop early the reserves, especially the artillery.

As I thought, this is not the last version of SDS LB (from now DSLB). Other tweaks have to be do. Nothing so big, but something to improve the game in some situations. Linear games are even a bit complicated by geometric messes, and we don’t want a game for land surveyors.

Maybe we could see the complete game at the end of the year…


Try this (SDS LB) at home

Some weeks ago, in the middle of August, during a hot evening, me and Diego tried in a private session the last release of Song of Drums and Shakos Large Battle. As I said before, Diego is very involved in the Sergio’s project, so he wanted to taste some of the rules to understand if all is smooth and fine. He set a scenario and adapted his 1/72 miniatures to the game. And he introduced some different composition of the armies to create peculiar forces, a variation to the more aseptic battalions that we used before for the tests.

I’m not an expert of Napoleonic warfare, but now I know some of the basics, so I moved my pieces with skilfulness, or almost I believe it. At the start I strike very hard, and glory was at hand. But in the following turns, a hill slowed my paces and I couldn’t give the final punch to the enemy on my left flank. Maybe the rule for hills are not good, because to climb them you must spend two activations only for movement. So I had too many turn overs. And to this followed a general change of situation on my throws: it meant a drawback and after defeat.

Another test and a list of observations to Sergio. Tomorrow we will have another playtesting day in Terni. Sergio tell us that this is the last test for the rules. I don’t believe him…


GiocaRoma 2011

At last, my report on GiocaRoma 2011, the boardgame convention of Rome. I repeat myself: I like these events build by gamers for gamers. There were tournaments, boardgames presentations, wargames, vendors, free toy library with people who explain rules and follow you during the first turn. All inside a sporting centre near the underground, with pool and tennis camps. We don’t use the pool, usual clients did. There is a restaurant inside with low prices (water + potatoes + pizza = 6€) and a bar. The sad thing is that there was a misunderstood and the restaurant owners don’t know about the event so ice creams and other food disappeared too soon. And GiocaRoma is always very hot, so ice creams were a necessary resource!!!

This is the free toy library before the assault, early in the morning…

Over 1000 registered visitors, but hardcore gamers were less. Among boardgame players there are even women, a factor unknown by wargamers. And a lot of women are brides of other gamers. So here we aren’t only among bald and fat men as usual.

An interview for tv to Bao (an African game) promoter. He runs an international tournament and the diffusion of the game for beneficence purposes.
The orange dress of the interviewer was very pretty, indeed. Look at the shoes, she is moving like a child…

These are the cups for tournaments played in GiocaRoma.

During the first day I presented Zen Garden. Read the other post to know more about it. When I will find the time I show more on it.

Here you can see a Miles Glorious‘ delegation playing with Zen Garden.

And here other players. On the right Sinclair from Ratio Ludica, on the left Lorenzo from Zerloon Place. Their comments were enthusiasts!

And now some words about games we tried on Sunday. Carson City is an interesting game. Someone say that it is a sort of Caylus without too many mental calculations, with a far west flavour and some dices to add fun. Well, if you don’t know Caylus, I can say that this Carson City is about a placement mechanism of meeples with added a terrain where you can buy land and put buildings to have revenues. And if you want the same resource, placing your meeple (who resemble a cowboy) on it where just where another gamer placed his, then there is a duel! More fun than Pillars of the Earth! So, a great far west game!

It was a long time that I wanted to try Letters from Whitechapel because of the setting in actual Banglatown. The map is gorgeous. The game is a more complicated version of the old Scotland Yard. Fun, but not so intriguing as the box and the map. For a night with friends and a smart guy as the fugitive. I was not so smart so the play ended before than I expected.

Ventura is an Italian game distributed by Fantasy Flight Games. It is a classic game with a map, some armies around and your zone of control where you take your money to built armies. But this time all is packed in the age of mercenary armies in Italy, the age of condottieri. The new thing is that you can built the map adding terrain hexagons with specific values. So, it is a great-grandchildren beautiful variant of Risiko in a great setting. Some material are of the highest quality, others are not. However some rules are weak, so he urges some tweaks, as hidden composition of armies. I think I play again with this game because Paolo bought it.

We give another try to 7 Wonders. I like it, but Paolo tell us it is only a card game with a high price. I hope Francesca buy it.

While I was involved with Zen Garden, Paolo run an exhibition game of MEKA, still in beta form. This time in a desert setting instead of the urban one. Zakus are always the best mechas around…

Our friend Di Bartolo showed his Napoleonic game, almost ready to be published. The best terrain and painted miniatures of the event.

Subbuteo football club. For football fans only. I’m not in this category, but I like stubbornness of Subbuteo fans from ’70s!

There was Miniature Mania, a painting service from Perugia. I take some pictures. I like the weird effect of miniatures at twilight!!!

I didn’t buy anything, but there were gracious games and related stuff. Another time. The hard true is that I buy things but I haven’t the time to play with them! Sad, sad, very sad. At the end I remained only with these tickets. They were for the lottery. 1000 tickets for 10 prizes (a holiday during Modenacon 2012 + 9 boardgames), so I bought 11 tickets for 11€, 1 to 100 to have something. I only had the pleasure to give away little money for 2 days of fun. Thank you GiocaRoma!


Playing in a Zen Garden

I’m just returned from the first day of GiocaRoma, the convention of boardgames here in Rome. Well, there is even a large section of wargames, very large indeed, but the people who organise all are from boardgames clubs. All the work is voluntary, so it is a great d.i.y. convention made by real gamers for other gamers. I want to do my part in this, so today I presented my game, Zen Garden.

Here you can see my space. A small place on a large row of tables but they hadn’t a 30×30 table…

All went fine, very fine. I was available all the day. Positive feedbacks. The greatest comment was: “a poetic game”!

And now a fast look to the finished game with all his components: dices for activations, dices for combat, measurements sticks (made from “samurai” labelled toothpicks!!!), counters for lack of fire and wounds, cards for stats.

Now is late night, and tomorrow I am going to have another full day in GiocaRoma, this time to play with games made by other people, so I close here. In the future I will spent more time on how my game works. And there will be a report on this edition of GiocaRoma.


Bulding a Zen Garden

A friend of mine, a real demented friend of mine, gifted me, some Christmas ago, a small Zen Garden that you can put on your desk. He thought to be witty, but I hated him (well, he is still one of best friends of mine, so I didn’t kill him). Now, what could I do with this little newage crap for puffs? I put it on a bookshelf for some years. After I had the right idea.
When you go to conventions you have to take with you a lot of miniatures and a beautiful terrain if you want to show a game. But the game is full of options and a convention is full of people, of confusion and of heat, so you cannot have the right attention from your guests. A easy move is to present simple scenarios with less rules and standard troops. That results as a watered down version of your game, and so you give away a poor aspect for your game. So I thought to a specific game only for conventions, with a small terrain, few miniatures, easy rules, fast explanations. A game contained in a zen garden that you can put on your desk…

My mini zen garden is really mini. It can be used only with 6mm miniatures but you have to buy an hundred when you only want ten. So I brought from IKEA a simple and small frame (Nyttja type) at 5 euros for a two pack. I closed one part with cardboard, put a lot of vinyl glue and spread quartz sand. My intention was to design the classical tracks of zen gardens, but the glue was too thick so I had a lot of lumps. I tried to solve this situation but the final effect was more a Lunar surface than a garden for Japanese monks. At the end, I didn’t give to it a particular importance, I have got my terrain, if it is not so zen I don’t care. I can always tell the story that it is a zen garden in the middle of the fighting storm! So no regular tracks, but scattered sand!
Then I added some trinkets I found in the mini box, as the rake, creating obstacles to miniatures.

For the miniatures I ask to Paolo (Ronin Clan) if he can gift me some of his 10mm samurai. Eight are enough for a scenario. To create the bases I brought some rings for rivets in a hardware store. I put here the result on cardboard, ready for the painting process. On a next post more zen on arrival…