Monday, March 20, 2006

GAME STORE CONFIDENTIAL ~ I changed the names to protect the guilty


"DW's Game Shak, DW speaking"

"Hey! You buy used D&D books right?"


"How much do you give for them?"

"I'd have to see them first."

"Mine are in good shape, like new man."

"Like I said, I need to see them."

"Well, I need at least $50 for them, are they worth that?"

"I dunno. I'd have to actually see them first."

"Well, they cost me over $100 so I need at least $50 for them."

"Okay, hold them up to the phone so I can get a better look."


"Hold them I can't see them otherwise."



"That's not what the rule says DW!"

"Look Gare, if you read the entire sentence, you'll see that it says specifically that your Orc is NOT ALLOWED A FREE ATTACK UNLESS HIS LEADER IS WITHIN FOUR INCHES."

"But it doesn't specify when the leader had to be within four inches, my leader has been within four inches of that Orc a number of times."

"Gare... will you open your mouth very, very wide please?"


"I just want to make sure I can get the entire rulebook down your throat."

"Gurk. Glak. MMMMmmmpppffhh. "


"Hey DW."


"That hot chick from the deli is out here...she wants to talk to you."

"Really? The one with the body that was personally handcrafted by God to punish every man on planet Earth and remind them of the fact they are worthless and undeserving of such grace and beauty? The one who causes men to line up for blocks just to watch as she sensually spreads mayonaise on the tuna salad? You mean the 5'3" vixen Heather? The 22 year old bombshell who single-handedly caused the corner deli to be awarded the most successful small business of the year plaque?"

"Yes, that one. And she's dressed to the Nines dude."

"Well, no wonder you're shaking uncontrollably. Let's go see what she wants."

- sounds of men struggling to get through a narrow doorway at the same time -

"Hi DW"

"Uhhh.... hello.... errrr.... Heather."

"I was thinking, how would you like to go out with me and have a drink or two this evening."

I knew it all along... Gamers really are chick magnets...


"Hi there Sally, can I help you?"

"Yes. My loser husband got arrested again and I've had it with him this time. He's going to prison, I'm filing for divorce and taking the kids back to Pocatello."


"So I'm selling all his game stuff."

"I see, well you have three large boxes there. How much did you need?"

"Just gas money. How about a hundred bucks?"

"Done. I sure hope I can get my money back though for all these old Beta Magic cards, this set of Unlimited Magic cards, the complete D&D library, the unpunched copy of Campaign for North Africa, the three 40K armies and all those old Avalon Hill games."

"Whatever DW, I just hope he misses the stuff. Bastard!"

"Oh, I'm sure he will Sally."


"blahblah, gurblegurble, argueargue, bleatbleat, grumblegrumble, me-me-I-I-me-me-I-I-me, moangroan moangroan, etcetcetc!!!!!!!"

"Hey Bruce!"


"I want you to walk out of my store this instant and then stand outside for a moment before getting in your car and look the place over very carefully, noticing each detail and lovingly committing to memory all the pretty games in the window and seeing all the laughing gamers inside at the tables having fun and partaking in the pleasure of each other's company."

"Why would I do that?"

"Because it's the last time you'll ever see this place."

A round of applause is heard as Bruce storms out the door.



What? 7:30 already? {{{{yawn}}}}

I need to get to my pc right now and write this stuff down so I won't forget. You know how dreams tend to fade..... wait a minute! Those weren't dreams! They were memories.



Before I finish this week I figure I'd better rant a bit about game production. In particular, Euro Games. And in specific, particular games like Princes of Florence and Medici. Why those two? Well because they are very good games that annoy the hell out of me due to the stupid cards and the idiotic fonts and artwork chosen by the Euro Snoots who published them.

Medici is one I just played on Saturday when a bunch of BGG locals got together again and had a game day. The cards are just dumb. The flowing and near unreadable script adds at least twenty minutes to the game as each person in succession needs to ask the current player what each card says. They're unreadable. The ages ranged from old (me) to young (Ro-Bee) to very young (the 11 year old and annoyingly intelligent son of JohnnyBravo). None of us could read the cards. And the art didn't help.

"I've got one of these piles of stuff that says 5 on it", was the most common conversation as the player held up the card for all to squint at. The grain looked like a heap of dead convicts from 2 feet away. The furs looked like...well... piles of yard debris. The dyes looked like paint pots at my boy's pre-school.

Any one of the Age of Steam elitists who sneers at RailRoad Tycoon's score track just needs to play Medici. If that doesn't shut them up then they are just plain prejudiced against American production values. The Medici score track and money calculation is both bizarre and torturous.

Too bad. It's really a good game. Ugly thing though.

I ranted about the Princes of Florence cards for the same reason. It's as if the makers of Euro Games sit around their apartments at night, sipping wine, eating hard bread and stinky cheese and conjur up ways to make their game components appear elegant and superior while being nearly useless at the same time. Screw elegance, how about making a board or a set of cards that can be deciphered from more than 6 inches away?

Since we played all Euro-style games I just thought I'd comment on Modern Art and how I discovered something about it that reminded me of why I'll never play Puerto Rico again. It's the damned Fixed Price auctions. If you have a sub-optimal player or newbie sitting to the right of a competent player everyone else is screwed. Inevitably the newbie will throw out a card that is priced too low and will allow the superior player to his left to continuously control the game.

In the future I will only play Modern Art at JohnnyBravo's house if he's sitting to my left. And if I'm ever roped into another game of Puerto Rico ~ which is what I envision an eternity in hell to be ~ I want Ro-Bee sitting on my right. Unless, of course, I happen to run into Heather again, she'd make hell a whole lot easier to take and I'd play Puerto Rico with her anytime she wanted.


Shannon Appelcline said...

Most eurogames have exceptionally useful & usable components. The ones you complain about--very rightly--are the exception.

And I'll guess that you probably played the American-produced Medici, which was one of Rio Grande's first and only attempts at component design. There will be a new edition out this summer, and if it improves the atrocious design of the original, I'm sure I won't be the only one throwing out my old box and lining up for the new edition.


And the rest was all *very funny*.

DWTripp said...

It probably was the Rio Grande version, Shannon. I wasn't carping specifically about games "printed" in Europe, just the genre in general.

I'll agree that many Euro-snoot games do have good components, as do many "American-Style" games. In both cases there are plenty of games with fussy levels of detail and parts & pieces. World of Warcraft springs to mind on one end and Reef Encounter on the other.

I don't mind lots of stuff, I do get frustrated when the stuff works so poorly it makes an easy game difficult.

Anonymous said...

Well DW, it seems that your complaints of lousy graphics for Medici have not landed on deaf ears. Check this pic out - new graphics for that wonderful game (made even more wonderful by my stunning victory).

- Johnnybravoh

huzonfirst said...

DW, for once your screed against Eurogames has found an appropriate target. Medici (an excellent game, BTW) has almost criminally poor components. It goes beyond the fonts--the colors of the cards are very easily confused and don't match the colors on the board well at all. And while it's true that the Rio Grande edition is the worse of the two, the original Amigo edition isn't much better. Let's hope that the new edition has at least *decent* components (all I really want is something that doesn't get in the way of gameplay) and gives this fine game the look it deserves.

But, as Shannon said, this is a very unusual exception. Princes of Florence, for example, looks great. The cards have all the information you need on them and if you can't decipher the script on cards that you hold in your hand, your eyesight may be going--possibly from, uh, thinking a bit too much about Heather!

gamesgrandpa said...

Well, DW, I can't quite agree with you about PoF. I do admit that the script font used on the cards is more difficult to read than Times Roman or Courier New, but (being a theme fan) I find it appropriate to the theme of the game. I do not let it detract from the game play, and I find it adds to the "atmosphere" of the game. The cards are appropriate size and good quality, so I have no complaint about them.

I do, however, have a problem with the score track. Why use symbols that do not relate to numbers? Or, why not use the same symbol for the same digit each time? While the illustrations are interesting and also consistent with the theme, their use is just chaotic and confusing. The score track needs revamping. But, that's kind of nitpicking -- it's a great game.

Anonymous said...

Heather the Deli chick? What about Allison the hot legal assistant?

Anonymous said...

Actually the picture that Jon is pointing to is for the french "nouvelle" ├ędition of Medici that's available now. While I really like it, I wish the VP track playing pieces weren't cardboard boats in plastic stands. I would have preferred wood cubes over the cardboard counters for the goods as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jay comes up with for the new RGG release.