San Marcos Board Gamers More fun than you can shake a meeple at


The Top 5 Star Trek Board Games

Posted by Chris Aylott

"The Man Trap" premiered on September 8, 1966, which means that Star Trek has been living long and prospering for fifty years! If you'd like to celebrate with a board game and something... green...  here are five great choices.


April Library Meetup Roundup!

Posted by Chris Aylott

The dead were on the loose at our April library meetup! Fortunately, they were the polite sort and let us get in some other games too.

Short and evil were the order of the day early on, as The DukeHey! That's My Fish and Quicksand hit the table. Hey! That's My FIsh has sassy penguin figures and looks like it should be cute and adorable, but it's really a cutthroat game of carving out territory and leaving all the other penguins stranded.

Quicksand is just as vicious -- it's a race game where everybody pretends they're helping each other to the finish line, all the while looking for ways to get their own pawn out ahead and strand the others.

The pawn that will win the game for you is a secret, so there's a bluffing element, and I'm proud to say I had my own daughter fooled all game about which piece I was secretly rooting for. I'm not quite as proud about the fact that my pawn finished near the back of the pack, though.

Fleeing the dead at our April library meetup.

Fleeing the dead at our April library meetup.

Dead Panic was the big game of the afternoon. Its older brother Castle Panic is a local favorite, so we were eager to give this one a try. We were actually a little tripped up by our knowledge of Castle Panic -- the systems are just different enough that knowing the rules of the first game makes it harder to learn the new one.

The first round was a bit of a slog as a result, but the pace picked up as soon as we actually knew what we're doing. It's a fun game with lots of opportunities for roleplaying and zombie mayhem, so I suspect it'll be hitting the table again.

This week is a busy one for the group -- the April library meetup was yesterday and we have more Games at the Hungry Gamer tomorrow! Those Tuesday gatherings are off to a good start -- look for them to happen every couple of weeks, and we'll see you back at the San Marcos Public Library on May 18!


6 Months, 50 Members, 8 Meetups, Not Bad!

Posted by Chris Aylott

Exactly 6 months ago, I hit the "go" button and launched the Meetup group for the San Marcos Board Gamers. How have things stacked up in this time? Well, the headline says it all: "Not bad."

A few days ago, we passed the 50 member mark -- thanks for joining, Stephanie! We've met at least once a month, usually at the San Marcos Public Library. We've played a lot of great games from a lot of different styles and eras, including:

There are also a few things that haven't been accomplished yet, mostly because this has been a very busy winter for me at work. The Facebook page I've wanted to do hasn't happened yet, and I haven't been able to do much other promotion. Attendance is good, but it hasn't settled down to a steady, self-sustaining group of regulars, and we haven't had much chance to play outside of the library meetups. I would love to get together for an evening-long game like Battlestar Galactica or a full campaign of Risk Legacy, but it just hasn't happened yet.

Overall, though, it's been a good first 6 months. There is a lot of work to do yet, but we've met regularly and enjoyed games.

And really, that's what it's all about.

And really, that's what it's all about.



Last Month at Game Meetup

Posted by Chris Aylott

I've got a new game in that awkward stage where it needs lot of attention, so I'm just now catching up with an roundup of our October Library Meetup. Here we go!

The brave souls who (barely!) survived Castle Panic.

The brave souls who (barely!) survived Castle Panic.

Attendance was light last month, but we got in some great games. Our Castle Panic game was just about as close to defeat as you can get, with just one wall and one tower standing when the last monsters were defeated! I'd love to get in another game soon using the Wizard's Tower expansion.

The next game to hit the table was Sour Apples to Apples, a extra-goofy variant of an already silly game. In addition to picking the best card, the judge also picks a worst card, who has to click the green apple spinner and pay a small penalty. Messing with the apple is so much fun that you have the incentive to play the worst card you can.

Ninjas, Robots, and Dinosaurs With Lasers battle for the city cemetary in Smash Up

Ninjas, Robots, and Dinosaurs With Lasers battle for the city cemetery in Smash Up

Smash Up was the last game to hit the table, and it is a hoot. (It's a very popular lunchtime game at work, because it plays fast and has zombies and ninjas in it.) The concept is ridiculously simple and fun: there are eight different decks, each with a gamer-beloved theme like aliens or robots. Pick two decks, put them together and beat up the opponents' decks!

All and all, it was a fun afternoon, and this report is so late that our November meetup is just around the corner. Join us Sunday, November 24 at 1 p.m. at the San Marcos Public Library for more fun and games!


New Monthly Meetup on September 22!

Posted by Chris Aylott

I'm a little surprised at how much I'm looking forward to our monthly meetups. I didn't get to go to the Dungeon! game that Vincent organized last week -- I hear they had a good time -- so our August 25 library meetup is looming large on my calendar. I've also got our next library meetup set for September 22, from 1 to 4 p.m.


Don't get stuck in a cabin surrounded by zombies -- come to our monthly meetup!

The San Marcos Public Library has been very accommodating to us, and I'm looking forward to becoming regulars in the eyes of the staff and the library patrons. I think being a strong organization is more a matter of good habits than anything flashy, and I'm looking forward to the day when a visitor to the library says to herself, "Oh, it's those board game people having their monthly meetup. I think today I'll go check that out."

In the meantime, I'm watching the news from Gen Con and making little mental wish lists of games I want to play in the coming months. Austin-based games company Fireside Games is rolling out their new game Dead Panic, for instance. It's a cooperative game where you battle zombies -- not exactly the freshest of themes, but Castle Panic is a favorite in my family. Maybe I'll bring Castle Panic with me next week...


Event Zero

Posted by Chris Aylott

Our progress has been slow and steady over the last few days. Our meetup group got its promotional email today, and a bunch of people signed up! Musicians, artists, college students, tech guys and family guys... seems like a fun group to hang out with.

IMG_0208Before the Beginning

Our first meeting is set for Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m. at the library, and yes I'm driving that into the ground in every post. But I wanted to write about a sort of pre-meeting that happened last month.

In June, I helped the San Marcos Public Library run a board game afternoon as part of its Summer Reading Program. We wanted to get a bunch of kids together to play mostly traditional family games. As you can see from the couple of photos I had time to take, it went pretty well.


Summer Reading Game Day, June 2013

I brought a different pile of games than I would bring for myself, but we did manage to sneak in a few hobby favorites. My elder daughter taught a horde of ten-year-old boys how to play Castle Panic -- I think they were rooting for the monsters even as they tried to save the castle.

Another one of my favorite moments was when I walked into the library with the pile of games and a lady at the book return immediately recognized and called out Ticket to Ride. That wouldn't have happened five years ago!

All in all, it was a great event. A lot of people had, and I got some proof that the library's meeting space is a comfortable place to play games. I'm looking forward to playing there again -- maybe even getting to play this time -- and I hope we get to do more outreach events like that in the future.