Boardgame(s) – Pick your game chart

From the LifeHacker web site today, the chart to help you pick what game to play. Some errors in it, but it’s a good start.

See Pick the Best Board Game to Play in Any Situation with This Flow Chart: (bigger chart there)



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Boardgame(s) – Pillars of the Earth

Moving back to board games today, and to one of the favourite games of my eldest child is Pillars of the Earth from Mayfair Games. The game is based on Ken Follet’s novel of the same name (see Pillars of the Earth (Novel) and also the TV series) based around the building of Kingsbridge Cathedral.

The game takes a bit of set up, and you have to concentrate for the whole game. Basically you need to acquire resources and workmen which help build the cathedral and in doing that you earn victory points. Along the way you need to make sure you have enough gold, avoid being taxed to much, dabble in some intrigue, and keep up with the other players – it’s hard to catch up at the end. The game takes a fixed number of turns – each turn adds a part of the cathedral – and is relatively complicated if you’re not a regular board gamer. New players struggle for the first few games and even non-newbies take a while to remember how to play, but if you played regularly it’d become more familiar.


Here’s the game we were plaining the other day – pretty much at the start of the game as there are no tokens on the board at the various “stations” or a cathedral being built yet. The cubes represent resources: metal (blue); white (sand); grey (stone); and brown (wood). You can also trade resources at the market in some situations.

If you like medieval game settings, and something to stretch the brain, this is a good choice for a rainy Sunday afternoon.


[Written with Ecto]

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Boardgame(s) – Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! from Rio Grande games is one of my all time favourite games – well, it does involve pizza – and a game that my kids have played since preschool (even though it says ages 10+). Basically you make pizzas by playing ingredient cards and order cards into the oven (a pile in the middle), and then when you finish the replacement card pile you flip the over over and deal out the cards. If an order comes up and the ingredients are in the oven then the order is complete and those ingredients are removed from the oven. Really simple to learn through playing, a good memory game, and short time play (three rounds and you’re0\ done). Like the box says, easy, fast and fun.

There’s also the spin-off game Sole Mio! which can be played on it’s own or with Mamma Mia!. They’re both Mamma Mia! Plus tin.


More details at:

Video review showing the game play

[Written with Microsoft Windows Live Writer]

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One year ago…

One year ago I was just about to start my current job. Heading back to work this Monday after three weeks annual leave feels like starting all over again (but with the stress levels turned up a few notches).

[Written with trial version of MacJournal. I’m sure I have a license for this, but can’t find the email with it in]

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Boardgame(s) – Coloretto/Zooleretto

Today’s games are the card game Coloretto and the related board game Zooloretto, both from Rio Grand Games/AbacusSpiele. Both of these require you get sets of cards or pieces which you then score at the end of each turn, but there’s an element of risk-taking while you let the sets build up because someone else might take the set you want or add in cards you don’t need or want.

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Coloretto is one of the earliest card games we got after we’d been playing Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne for a few years. Personally, I don’t really like it that much, but the rest of the family do, and that inspired playing the board game version based on the card game.

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The card game is relatively easy to learn to play, and the scoring system is straight-forward. Our kids have played from about age 4-5 on.

More details at:

There are some expansions and variations. For a fuller list see:

 [Written with MarsEdit] 

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Boardgame(s) – Alhambra family


Next up on the games shelf are the Alhambra family of games from Alhambra family of games from Queen Games. Alhambra is a tile-placing game where you purchase tiles on your turn to place on your own (hopefully) growing city and scoring points by having more of particular city tiles than other players. The basic rules are quick to pick up, though the occasional tile placing rules trip people up from time to time (e.g. moving a piece out of a repository). 

Alhambra has a pile of expansions (6 so far), as well as spawning various standalone games such as ‘Gardens of Alhambra’, ‘Alhambra: The Dice Game’, ‘Alhambra: The Card Game’, and new games such as ‘Grenada’ and ‘New York’.

Each of us has particular expansions we like, and once (see below) we attempted as many (4) as we had all at once, which took a very long time to play and to score.



By 2015 our collection of Alhambra games has grown to the set below and it’s all played with regularly with family and visitors.

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The game play for Alhambra is described here in this video. There is also a version for tablets but we haven’t tried that yet.

More on the game over at: Alhambra | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

NZ detail at: Alhambra – PixelPark

[Written with MarsEdit]

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Game of 2014 – 7 Wonders

IMG_2733Top of the pile of games in the lounge is Repos Production’s 7 Wonders, a game we came across back in April through friends at church. After a couple of games at their place we bought it the next day and it’s been a favourite all year. In it’s favour are:

  • Being able to be played with 6 players without needing expansions. (Big tick when we have 6 + others wanting to play a game).
  • Rule are reasonably straight-forward.
  • Everyone’s turn takes place at the same time – no waiting for 5 other players before your turn.
  • Different ways to win.
  • Set up is relatively quick and the game takes a relatively short time to play given it’s a set number of rounds.


Photos from that first game.


We’ve picked up some expansions for it, but to be honest I prefer the vanilla game. Overall though, probably an 8/10 and definitely the game of 2014. Wondering what 2015’s game will be.

[Written with Microsoft Windows Live Writer]

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Trying out ScribeFire

Next up on the list to tryout is the browser-based blogging tool, ScribeFire (from This has the possibility of running just fine on both the MacBook and the Yoga, so I’m giving it a go.

First up, I’m grabbing an image I took today for a later post on boardgames. It’s of the shelves in the lounge with a few of our games on it.

And here’s a link to Will Wheaton’s boardgame video blog that I watch sometimes.

And the link to the mother of all boardgame sites – BoardGameGeek: 

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Interesting day’s cricket so far

Interesting day’s cricket in the second test vs. Sri Lanka. Lots of wickets, a green pitch and a nice way to spend the afternoon with it on the background while playing board games and drinking cups of tea.

NZ vs SL Second Test | Live Scorecard | ESPN Cricinfo.

Excellent to see Kumar Sangakkara get 12,000 test runs.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 17.42.16

Following along on my Cricinfo phone app too –

[Draft written with WordPress’ “Press This” browser plug in, with image added in WordPress browser editor]

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Some highlights from 2014

Trying out the MarsEdit blogging tool to put together a few highlights from 2014. Works okay, on the whole, but doesn’t have the ability to easily embed YouTube videos or do Amazon lookups etc. 


Most enjoyable books of 2014

Didn’t really have have a lot of time to read much this year but the following stuck out as memorable reads:

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Most enjoyable films of 2014

A shout out here to Guardians of the Galaxy, but the film I enjoyed most this year (and I watched an awful lot of them on long-haul flights) was Next Goal Wins, the film about the American Samoa football (soccer) team and their quest to qualify for the World Cup.

Most enjoyable TV series

A toss-up here so I’ll have to call it a tie. On the one hand the new Constantine series has some potential to evolve into something interesting if it’s allowed to, while on the other hand I really enjoyed the cancelled series “Almost Human“.

 Most enjoyable trip/event

 The time I spent in Cape Town with the cohorts and advisors from George Fox’s Leadership and Global Perspectives Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programme was a highlight. Looking forward to the next meeting up. 

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[Written with MarsEdit] 

Posted in Faith & Religion, General, Pop Culture, Teaching/Education | 2 Comments