Other Wise

Twitter Week: 2009-02-28

  • Tired, cranky, looking forward to getting out of resume hell and playing tonight. #
  • In founding the local 18xx group, what is the realised value of session reports and score reporting? I am unsure. #
  • Saw Push this weekend with Q. Disappointing. It spent more time setting up the sequel than delivering plot coherence. #
  • Tonight was my night — won all three games played: Imperial & two games of Army of Frogs (the latter is much better with 3 than 4). #
  • Ideogram makes a nice distinction among types of economic games: http://tinyurl.com/d94vdm #
  • Yale has released a most excellent series of game theory class videos: http://tinyurl.com/5mbqev #
  • If you haven’t seen Coraline in 3D yet, do so before Saturday. It is about to lose it’s 3D screens for the next 3D movie. Well worth it. #
  • @Crumpleton you’ll save the ticket cost? If you are a Gaiman or Laiko fan and wish to see the movie as intended you’ve but few days left. in reply to Crumpleton #
  • Dinner at Trends (lots of prickley ash) then gaming at SVB. #
  • Skylon reusable orbital lifter: http://tinyurl.com/99nk83 #
  • RT @neilhimself: Philip Jose Farmer died. He was 91, wrote many wonderful things. A worldbuilder, of influence and some real magic. Sigh. #
  • RT @raphkoster: Blogged! Another silly game design meme http://cli.gs/apa6NB Ahh a boundless source of questionable game themes. #
  • A nice discussion of intricacy, decision points and the role of a game player as spectator: http://tinyurl.com/atmskf #

Wabash Cannonball set piece: #2

Note: This article was also posted to Boardgamegeek at Wabash Cannonball set piece: #2.

Given the following situation in a three player game of Wabash Cannonball after the starting auction:

  • Player #1: PRR $20 Cash $20
  • Player #2: B&O $20 Cash $20
  • Player #3: C&O $20 NYC $20 Cash $0


  1. Was Player #3 right to force-win that share of the NYC or should he have let it go to another player instead after enforcing a minimum bid level?
  2. What did Player #3’s choice to force-win the NYC share do to his position?
  3. What does each player do for their first action? Is this an easy or automatic decision for each player? Why?
  4. For each player, are they in a good or bad position? What are their primary risks and opportunities? Compare and contrast their positions.
  5. Have any of the players adopted game-length postures yet?
  6. Have any decisions been made which will affect how many General Dividend are likely to be paid in this game? If so, what were they?


SVB – Dinner at Trends, Axiom x 3, Medici

A fine dinner — I ate so many peppers I was slurring words. I should put myself through this abuse more often.

Played 3 games of Axiom and lost them all — I blame low blood sugar from an overly replete belly! Axiom is both less and more than I was expecting; a fine but not terribly engaging combinatorial game. I still somewhat wish Axiom were the game I imagined it to be on first sight, a game of moving pieces about the entire exterior surface of a constantly changing 3D shape which the players held in their hands and manipulated (changing the shape and the locations of their bits) before handing it to the other player to do likewise.

I screwed up the last auction of Medici, simply wasn’t paying attention again and drew an extra tile to a set that was already worth nothing to every other player but would also have given me biggest ship plus a max on the wheat track for a +60 bonus (I was already at +5 on wheat). Apparently I let my internal snoring break my absent concentration. Gahh.

Wabash Cannonball set piece: #1

Note: This article was also posted to Boardgamegeek at Wabash Cannonball set piece: #1

I’d promised a while ago to post a move-by-move analysis of one of our Wabash Cannonball games but for various reasons that hasn’t happened and is unlikely to happen. But there is hope. I had an interesting discussion with Adam Kao last night regarding Wabash Cannonball tactics (the game has been popular at Eudemonia). During the discussion we worked through a few set pieces in order to illuminate some of the points I was making. The first set piece is below. If this proves popular/effective I’ll see about posting other set pieces.

Assume a 4 player game of Wabash Cannonball and that the initial share auction resulted in the following share distribution:

  • Player #1: PRR $15, B&O $15, Cash $0
  • Player #2: Cash $30
  • Player #3: C&O $15, Cash $15
  • Player #4: NYC $16, Cash $14


  1. Why did Player #4 spend $16 on the NYC? Is this a good or weak position?
  2. Is Player #2 in a strong or weak position? Does Player #2? control initiative?
  3. What is each of the four player’s posture as regards game length?
  4. What is the first action of each of the four players in the first round of the game? Why?
  5. Do they have any other reasonable choices? Why?
  6. Might any of the players use a Develop action during the first round? If so, why?


SB-Boardgamers 5th anniversary

Last night was the fifth anniversary of SB-Boardgamers. This is also my first attempt at a blog post using my iPhone from end-to-end. It was a fairly typical night at SB-Boardgamers, perhaps a little low on attendance and most people left a bit earlier than usual (morning meetings), but that happens now and again. I took some quick snapshots (see below) to give an idea of the evening.

Eugene Huang gave a short speech about the history of the group and awarded prizes to the people who had played with the most different people (thus fostering the group’s goal of evangelising gaming) and there were pies, cake and cookies to munch. Ted Alspach’s table were surprised that I did not win the award; they thought it was a given for me and not by a small margin. So goes perception bias. It may have been close but Randy Farmer and John Yeager took the prizes instead (a copy of Tadsch Mahal and one of Knizia’s Lord of the Rings games) which seems reasonable (I’ve no interest in either game).

I played 5 player Imperial (won) and two 3 player games of Army of Frogs (won both). Apparently it was my night. Adam Kao (my primary opponent in all of the night’s games) was excellent competition. I had to (surreptitiously) muster and coordinate all three other players against him while also playing tempo hard against him, pushing him to decelerate when he really needed to keep accelerating the game in order to win Imperial. It was an excellent game!


  • Army of Frogs does not suffer the uncontrollable blocking problem with 3 players as it does with 4.

  • My iPhone camera skills need improvement.

  • The native camera application on the iPhone is poor. Darkroom does image stabilisation and is much better.

  • Lack of cut’n’paste support on the iPhone is a problem.

  • Lack of integration between the iPhone’s WordPress application and the NextGen gallery module I use on this blog is unfortunate. I will probably end up post-processing all iPhone posted entries with pictures to move them over to better gallery product. Bah!

  • Lack of easy cite support (partly a function of the lack of cut’n’paste support) for AREFs and the like (mostly for boardgamegeek links) is annoying. It is tempting to write a WordPress module to extend the markup language for Boardgamegeek links.

Nurse, I really can’t wait any longer

I’m currently fiddling about with integrating my iPhone, various supplemental iPhone features (eg camera), Twitter, Facebook and this blog. There will be some noise and dust. Patience!

Rules deux, n’est-ce pas?

New rules for Muck & Brass. There are no substantive changes, just a few minor clarifications for items already raised in the playtest discussion. The changelog:

  • Many missing commas fixed
  • Few typos fixed
  • Clarified bank pools
  • Clarified multiple ports in Liverpool and London
  • Fixed bad reference
  • No more merger shares (finished the job)

This is not an official re-release of the prototype (ie it doesn’t have a new release number). It is just a touch-up of the rules in attempt to say the same things they did before, more clearly. Enjoy.

Chrome, comments and this site

One of the Muck & Brass playtesters has been unable to post comments using Google Chrome. I don’t know why as I can’t test here with Chrome as I don’t run Windows on any of my machines. I’ve tested with multiple test accounts under Firefox, Safari, Konqueror, Lynx and W3: all have been able to post comments without trouble.

Comments are moderated in order to trap spam. When you post a comment, the next page should show the original entry and its comment thread. The last comment in the thread should be the one you just submitted, along with an annotation that it is being held for moderation:

Author: Test User | Date: Saturday 21 February 2009 | Time: 11:20

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

This is a test comment.

If you are having trouble posting comments, please email me directly with the details.

Muck & Brass — Revision #65 released

I have posted revision #65 of Muck & Brass1 to the distribution point and access instructions are about to be sent out2. Future releases will bear their own release numbers. Please append commentary, questions, reactions, thoughts etc as comments to each version’s announcement3 post so we may easily track exactly what is being talked about4.

  1. Yep, this is the 65th revision of the game since I started formal development.
  2. I apologise for any roughness in the rules due to the various inserted notes for playtesting versus a presumed real copy.
  3. Upload images and other media to the FTP server and then mention the upload in your comment.
  4. If you’d you like to follow Muck & Brass development specifically, please use the Entries and Comments RSS feeds linked from the bar to the right.

Be free my son, go forth and conquer

The playtest files for Muck & Brass are ready and I’m braced to let them rip on the unsuspecting. Those that have contacted me should expect to be receiving a message with the super-secret (hush now!) instructions on how download the files.

I’d like all textual feedback (session reports, questions, reactions, commentary etc) posted as comments on this blog, I’ll post an entry to the blog with each new release of the game files (hopefully there won’t be many) and y’all can append comments to that for feedback etc. Then as I make a new release, there will be a new post and an associated comment stream etc for that version of the game. I’m hopeful that the only needed changes to the game will be small rules tweaks for clarity and perhaps the odd adjustment of a port or city value1. Pictures, movies and other media are always welcome and may be sent to me via email or even better, uploaded to my anonymous FTP server at ftp://ftp.kanga.nu/incoming. Please mention the FTP upload in a posted comment so I’ll know to get the files!

Brace yourself Edna, they’re comin’ ovah!

  1. Yeah, right!