Melbourne for a bit

Currently visiting family in Melbourne for a few days. A few snaps (from different locations) of the cricket/footy ground right outside my folk’s place. Nice to see and hear the cricket game yesterday afternoon.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Boardgames – San Juan, Six and Oceania

The next game of the bookshelf in the lounge is San Juan from Rio Grande Games. This is a good game in terms of compact size, quick set up, relatively quick gameplay and scoring, and reasonably easy to learn rule. This game is the card game version of Puerto Rico, also from Rio Grande, set during the Spanish colonisation of the Caribbean. In the game you have to produce resources (e.g. coffee, silver, tobacco), as well as develop properties (which also convey certain advantages to the player). A round of the game, comprising a turn from each player, has the players selecting a particular activity (e.g. trading, building, producing etc.) and there’s an element of randomness governing the pricing of goods for sale. Overall, it’s a fun game to play – though as one commentator has noted, in a post-colonial context is might fall into the Best game with a morally repugnant premise: San Juan – 11 board games you should be playing as an adult – Vox category.

See also: San Juan | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

IMG_2877.jpg IMG_2879.jpg

Next off the shelf (and a game I played tonight with one of my children) is Six from Dr Wood/Foxmind. Basically it’s like two-player Connect Four played with hexagons on a flat surface, with the idea of creating six adjacent tiles in a straight line, a loop or a triangle. Very simple to learn, but you have to keep focused the whole time. Really good for introducting children to boardgames, while still challenging for adults.


More details at: Six | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

Video review at:

Another video review at:

The final game is Oceania from Mayfair Games. It’s a game my two older boys played for a while, and I’ve included it here because it’s one of the few games that is genuinely created for two players.


Posted in Games | Leave a comment

TEC – 2013 Tertiary Education Performance Report

The Tertiary Education Commission’s 2013 Tertiary Education Report is now available on their website, along with a set of interesting info graphic summaries of

As well as overall information and analysis of the NZ tertiary education sector (according to TEC’s criteria) it also highlights details for major players such as universities, polytechnics and wānanga. The information in the PTE section is of particular interest to me in my role.

Posted in Teaching/Education | Leave a comment

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)



Posted in Games | Leave a comment

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]

Posted in Games | Leave a comment

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]

Posted in Games | Leave a comment

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]

Posted in General | Leave a comment

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.

IMG 2763

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.

IMG 2764

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] 

Posted in Games | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

IMG 2738

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]

Posted in Games | Leave a comment

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]

Posted in Games | Tagged , , | Leave a comment