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


Busy September!

Posted by Chris Aylott


Earlier this year, I asked what the group should be doing more of. Based on our September events, it looks like the answer is: lots!

We're halfway through the month we've had plenty of meet-ups, including special game nights devoted to Settlers of Catan and chess. There's even momentum building up for gatherings built around Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder roleplaying games.

The Hungry Gamer deserves a lot of credit for this activity. They've been proactive about organizing a variety of game nights, and their efforts have paid off. Hopefully this partnership will continue to benefit both local gamers and their mission of selling delicious sandwiches.

More September Fun

We've also got our monthly library meet-up chugging along, and we did our first Playtest Prototypes meet-up at the end of August. This playtest was a big help to me and another local designer, and it looks like there's interest in doing more.

We've also gotten a opportunity to playtest an upcoming game from two of the hobby's hottest designers. We'll be focusing on this game during our September playtest session and running some special sessions over the next few weeks.

Finally, I'm looking into the Envoy program. This marketing program partners with publishers, retailers, and game groups to set up game demonstrations. If the program is as good as it looks, then it could be a fun way to explore new games from some of the medium-sized publishers in the hobby.

Overall, September is looking like a great month. Let's keep the fun rolling throughout the fall!


Pandemic and the Perils of Pass and Play

Posted by Chris Aylott

Pandemic is one of my favorite games, and for good reason. It's one of the first and best cooperative games, with a strong theme that puts you in the role of fearless scientists trying to save the world from horrible diseases. It's easy to learn, hard to beat, and has brought more than its share of new gamers into the hobby.

Nice app, but I'd rather have cardboard.

Nice app, but I'd rather have cardboard.

So I should be thrilled that F2Z Media has put out a Pandemic iOS app, right? Well, not so much.

There's nothing wrong with the app itself. It's a solid translation of the game, and it seems to have been well-received in the iTunes app store. There's just one fly in the ointment: the only multiplayer component is "pass and play."

Pass and play is the multiplayer you build when you can't build a real multiplayer game. Board games are about connecting with other people, and the best computer adaptations of board games -- games like Ticket to Ride, Ascension and Carcassonne -- make it easy to play with old and new friends, whether they're across the street or on the other side of the world. The best apps give you more people to play with; pass and play does nothing but provide a small convenience when playing with the people you already know.

I can't completely discount that convenience, especially since it's a lot easier to go on vacation with an iPad than with a stack of board games. But I can't shake the feeling that the coders of Pandemic missed an opportunity here. Give me a great game and the ability to connect online and I'm the happiest gamer in the world. But in person, I'd rather have cardboard.


Good Times at the Library

Posted by Chris Aylott

Our July meeting at the San Marcos Public Library was also a big success! I actually took pictures this time, so I'll let them tell the tale.

I got to try out Kingsburg, a worker placement game where you roll dice and hope the barbarian hordes don't steamroll you at the end of the each year.

Meanwhile, another intrepid crew tried to save humanity from a Pandemic. Alas, the viruses won this time, and the world was doomed.

Undaunted, some players went on to race ostriches in Savannah Tails...

... while others explored a spooky mansion in Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Other games played included 7 Wonders, Set, and Zombie Dice. I took pictures of those too, but they're blurry and incomprehensible. (So were a couple of my rules explanations, but everybody seemed to figure things out.)

If my count is correct, we had 18 attendees, including several people who dropped in when they came by the library on other business. I gave them this website address, so if you've followed the link and are reading this, thanks for coming and we hope you'll join us again next time!

Speaking of next time, our next library meetup is scheduled for Sunday, August 25 at 1 p.m. Hope to see you then!