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Thrift Score Sundries March-April 2016

Just a couple of quick after-work stops.


Mille Bornes ($3) – Mille Bornes isn’t a game that I would choose to play if I had other options, but I think it’s a solid enough game to be included in a family game collection.  Mille Bornes gives the player some choice in play, rather than relying on fairly telegraphed moves or chance.  To be sure, there is some real “take that” in Mille Bornes, but I like that there is some counter-“take that” with the “coup forre!” plays that makes it somewhat risky to decide to start dumping on a single player.   A coup forre is when a player tries to play a hazard on you (flat tire, out of gas, accident, et c.) but you have the countering super-card in your hand.  Instead of taking the hazard, you play the super-card and get bonus points for the well-timed dodge.  The game can bog down, and a player can have supreme bad luck (if you don’t get a Go, you can’t go) but there is more here than mere Crazy 8s.


Jenga ($3) – This one is still a get because it has lasting family appeal.  Even though it is a very simple game with a little balance and skill, it doesn’t take long to set up and the rules explanation is about 3 sentences.


Sorry Sliders ($3) – Sorry Sliders is always a consistent performer in the used market, and it’s a worthwhile set of components for the price. Sorry Sliders has nearly no resemblance to its namesake game other than the pawn shape, but the bearing and pawn combinations glide well even over the cardboard boards to make for cheap and ersatz puck-flicking games.


HaPe Quattro ($3) – HaPe games are generally the cutest wood games on the market, right up there with Haba.  This game actually isn’t anything special, it’s just Connect 4, but the execution of it is just darling.  Instead of sliding chips down into a plastic frame, players are putting dark and light tubes on poles, and the resulting game makes it look like a small stand of bamboo.

Wise & Otherwise ($4) – This fun party game pops up now and again, and it’s usually priced well enough to make it a worthwhile get.  The premise here is much like Dictionary or Balderdash, except that the subects are real proverbs from other cultures and they can be a little obscure.  The good news here is that with a mildly creative group, it’s pretty easy to make plausible-sounding proverbs, especially when the real ones seem to lose something in translation.

Leaping Lizards ($1) – I picked this one up because it’s a simple game for small children that lets them learn a little about random chance, but also taking turns and recognizing order.  It ended up being short a couple of beads, but they’re easily replaceable.


Jungle Speed ($2) – This is a classic that’s now available at mass merchant retailers for a reasonable price.  I first learned to play this years ago with some French students who would curse and smoke while we played (how cliché), but it’s usually a fun one to bring out for light gaming.  Be forewarned, though, there is a good possibility that someone may draw blood, drinks will get knocked over, or the totem will go flying.  Fortunately, the widely-available version has changed to a hollow plastic totem instead of a solid wood cone, so it is less of a hazardous projectile.

Word Search ($3) – I was on the fence about getting this one, and I might just give this to a friend.  Goliath had been flogging the hell out of this one at trade shows, so I thought there might be something to it.  In reality, it’s a lot like an elementary word search, where players are trying to be the first that spots the word that is revealed, and players get points for the letters covered by their tokens. Seems like it might be fun for younger children, but I would think that adults would be pre-spotting words that fit with the subject matter of the puzzle, waiting for them to come up.

Shuffleboard ($5) – I originally resisted this one, but I realized that this was something that doesn’t come around too often. I occasionally see Carr boards by the Carrom Company, and I’ve seen enough copies of Rebound (like shuffleboard on a half-board with ricochet rubber bands) but this is a solid 4′ board for tabletop shuffleboard with roller-bearing pucks.  I’ll put it along with Skittle Bowl as a ridiculous large game that I can have in a full-sized gaming room.

En route to Essen

We’re on the way — hanging out in Bruges, on the way to Germany next weekend. I’ve been reading up on Reddit and talking with colleagues about what games to check out. Chris says that he’s pre-ordered a bunch of Japanese games and unique items. Ryan is looking forward to seeing the selection of Haba games. If it is anything like years past, there will be a large kid-friendly display with a broad selection of games. On the whole, we’re all looking forward to seeing the big presentations of all of the big gaming companies in their collective face-to-the public showing. Apparently, Pandemic Legacy is to premier at Essen, so that’s something to see. 504 also sounds like a completely novel way to play a game, so it will be worth a look (and it’s always pleasant to chat with Friedemann and Henning). Though we’re still unsure about luggage space to haul games home, there is still the siren call of the flea market and used games area (still trying to pick up a reasonably-priced copy of Infarkt).

Now that I have all of the people together that I would want to talk to, this might also be the time to get a couple of podcast episodes in the can.

Thinking, Working, Designing

It’s been a busy year on a lot of fronts, and sometimes the creative gets pushed to the back burner for the sake of the professional.  For better or for worse, the professional is less of a concern at the moment, so it’s time do dive back into the creative.

I’ve been talking with some of the gaming group about the theoretical podcast (The Board Room?) and some podcast and site features.  I am putting some work into the writing on Ludography and I am going to hammer out a production schedule for content.

Coming soon:

  • Thrift Score Report — what’s been found, and what you should be looking for when you are scouring the thrift and used market.
  • Who Got the Better Deal? — Two or more people exchanged games, who came out ahead?
  • How Do I Start This Thing? — Getting into games and how to work toward a good collection you can enjoy.
  • The Game Group — What’s been hitting the table?  What’s a hit? What’s a miss?
  • D-Sign — musings on creating games and abstracted notions of what themes could be explored and how one would get there.
  • Like it or Limpet — What games are good and what games should be fed to mollusks in an awful pun of a name.
  • The Grind — drinking coffee, getting very excited and jabbering on and on while making fewer and fewer cogent points.
  • The Sale Pile — what we’re eliminating from our collections and why.

Ludography in the New Year

Not a lot has happened to in the past several months, but all of that is about to change.  Within the last week I’ve received packages of Chris Cieslik’s Heat and Crash Games’s Yardmaster Express, and I plan to have unboxing videos up for them soon.  I’m also awaiting delivery of the new Resistance expansions — Hostile Intent & Hidden Agenda — as well as Escape: Zombie City from Queen.  I’m a little behind the curve from the convention in November, but I also have One Night Ultimate Werewolf : Daybreak that is waiting in the wings to hit the table and get a review.

If you are interested in following me, my gaming Twitter account is @LudographyScott (  I tweet occasionally about things gaming-related, but I’ll have more to come in the new year, highlighting new content on as well as what’s going on in the gaming world.

Here’s looking forward to a great 2015!

Ryan’s thoughts on what topic areas will be covered by content

Re-Re-Re..  Re-theme  (Retribuo):  Great games don’t always have great themes; sometimes great themes never get great games.   In this segment we explore the options that should have been considered for some of the world’s boardgames.

Nuns on the Run:  Harry Potter
Love Letter:  Adventure Time Re-theme

Collector’s Rummy:  For sme of us, like Scott, the board game hobby offers one more delight — collecting!  and the subsequent re-shelving, again, and again.    There are some great collectible games out there.  Whether it’s a publisher’s series or just an odd misprint or rare unpublished gem, we’ll talk about them and see how far down the OCD rabbit hole we can take one of the hosts.

alea serieses

Parlor Game Pundits: Game reviews.  Scott has a great outline for game reviews…  Clear and concise, they offer a great analytical look at the game.  Our other contributors will add to this with their unique viewpoints…  Ryan will highlight the art and aesthetics, Jeff offers an offbeat newcomer’s perspective, and we hope to provide other industry insiders opinions as well.

Memory Lane:  Let’s go back to those technicolor, pre-cable-TV days…  sit down in the chairs outside the neighborhood filling station, with our ice cold 12 oz Coke bottles…  (mine is Mellow Yellow) and chat about some of the coolest games from our past.  Games that stand out or live in infamy…   After that we can go skip stones at the ‘crick.

Thriftstore Snapshot:  Got $20 in your pocket?  Wanna go pop some tags?  In this segment we take a look at an actual thrift store shelf and give you the run down on what you want to take away from what there is to offer.

Previews and Prognoses:  Let’s look at the upcoming games.  What titles deserve the hype, which titles probably don’t…  We’ll give our take on the properties, the games, the feedback and more.

More things coming

I had a meeting with Ryan on Friday and we discussed some ideas and potential products for, including several things we have talked about for years. I’ll post images and more information as it becomes available.