March 9, 2007

New Year Resolution Progress Report For February

by Susan Rozmiarek

Once again, I was successful at keeping my New Year resolution and knocked three games off the unplayed list. The three games were a very mixed bag, to say the least.

Twilight Struggle

This game has had gamers singing its praises before it even came out and has since been buried in awards. I was curious to see if I liked it. The rules did not seem that hard, although they were organized in that intimidating numbering style of many wargames. What was hard though, after sitting down and starting the game, was figuring out what to do. Deciding what parts of the board to concentrate on and when and how to use the dual-purposed cards was mind boggling. I had to admit that I was very intrigued even though I felt like I was in way in over my head. We were only able to slog through about three turns in one evening. By this time things were already looking pretty good for Ed playing the U.S.S.R. We left the game set up for a week hoping to get back to it but we never had time. This is the problem for us right now and makes it unlikely that long games will ever get played to a finish. Someday, someday.....

Run For Your Life, Candyman!

Since he discovered World of WarCrack about a year ago, it has been hard to drag my eldest son away from it to play a boardgame. However, he got in trouble and lost his computer privileges for a weekend this month. Never one to harbor a grudge against his cruel parents, he agreed to join his brother, Ed and me in game that Saturday night. We chose this silly game that we had seen being played at Gulf Games. It's a satirical knockoff of the children's classic, Candyland. Players are gingerbread men trying to be the first to escape a candy land, similar to the original. This is not a friendly little kiddie race, however. Players attack each other as they run by or force other players to fight them in cage matches. Who'd have though those smiling gingerbread men could be so vicious?! Movement is almost identical to that in Candyland. Players draw a "Dash n Bash" card on their turn and move to the next spot on the track that matches the card. Instead of colors though, the card and spaces depict different types of candy. The types of candy also correspond to regions of the gingerbread men's bodies. Each player has a sheet of paper showing a gingerbread man with boxes of damage to check off when they are attacked. If you land on or pass a space with another player you can attack them and draw another card, dealing damage to the part of their body that corresponds to the type of candy on the card. Certain spaces on the board allow a player to draw a "Special Treat" card. These are special attacks, weapons, defenses, etc.

We had a blast. We were laughing so hard I was practically crying. This game could be totally ruined by a bunch of serious gamers intent on winning. If players were to hang back and try to avoid contact with anyone the game could go on forever. However, that sort of playing style is totally against my kids' nature. Shea forced everyone into a cage match at every opportunity (special spaces on the board allow this). He and Kevin then ganged up on Ed and me. I had a wicked Licorice Whip until I lost the arm holding it. By the end of the game I was just a gingerbread torso crawling along the path before being taken completely out. Ouch! This is really a bad, bad game but we sure had a great time with it. I can't really bring myself to actually recommend it to anyone. It cries out to be played with real gingerbread men, though. Eating a head or leg would be so much more satisfying than checking off little boxes.

I got to be "Stinky." Lucky me. "Mr. Crumbles" won the game by being the last surviving gingerbread man.


This game is a little two-player dexterity "flicking" game in the vein of Crokinole or Carabande but on a tiny scale. Players have an island, a moose and some stepping stones. The goal is to flick the stones so that you can walk your moose over them to the other player's island. It's cute, but like most dexterity games it just feels like an activity to me to pass the time. I wasn't all that impressed. The wooden bits are nice and chunky but there isn't a whole lot in the box for the price. Meh.

As far as my other resolutions go, we didn't buy any games this month unless a few Hersocape boosters from WallyMart count. We did make huge strides in solving our gaming storage problems. We broke down and bought five "Billy" bookcases from IKEA. We put two height extensions on each to raise the height up to something like nine feet. They aren't the fanciest shelves in the world but they are sturdy and cheap, cheap, cheap. They didn't look too badly once the games were placed on them. There is now actual EMPTY shelf space! Woohoo! We are also going to get a couple of "Benno" shelving units for small games and card games when IKEA gets them back in stock

Two of the five new bookcases in the loft.

See the other bookcases here.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at March 9, 2007 3:46 PM


So glad to hear of your progress, and the bookshelves look great! Keep up the good work on the resolutions.

The candyland game does indeed sound hilarious, with the right group, in the right mood. But, I think I'll pass. Although, as you say, with real gingerbread men..... hmmmm.

Posted by: Gerald McDaniel on March 9, 2007 6:09 PM

I too am trying to play through my unplayed games, although I've had a little less success than you, playing only 2 so far this year.

Awesome bookcases. Why is it that everyone else's games are all the same size and mine aren't?

Posted by: Chris Lohroff on March 10, 2007 6:21 PM

I got ahold of a copy of "Twilight Struggle" recently, and I must admit that I fall in with the legions who adore it. However, after 5 games and 4 rather handy Soviet victories (and the sole US victory being a somewhat cheeky late-game European upset delivered on radium-plated Chernobyl platter) I have yet to crack the secret to an American victory.

Posted by: clark on March 27, 2007 11:45 PM
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