Board Game Mini Reviews [EN]

bgames-popuriIt’s time to post about 3 more games which i had an opportunity to try out recently.

La Isla

I’ve seen a video review of this game recently. It seemed simple and kind of interesting. I’ve read the rules and decided to give it a try on Yucata. And.. didn’t like it much. It just has too much choices and the game itself felt a bit dry and “mathy”. When you are choosing which card of 3 to use for what purpose you have to to go through the whole map, and evaluate where you can use it most effectively. And as there are also 3 phases where you can use a card, brain burning process intensifies even more. Same as with Helios game, this one is too heavyweight and you don’t enjoy it while playing, but it feels like you are solving a hard mathematic exercise. 6/10

Port Royal

This game was available on Yucata for a long time, but i’ve decided to try it only after seeing a video review by Tom Vasel. I’ve started playing it even without reading the rules. That’s how simple this game is. Money, special abilities and victory points, everything is in a single cards deck. The game is of “push your luck” type, when you are revealing card by card and hoping that bad card won’t come up and you will manage to gather more money or get some good character or a lot of points. But the risk grows with every revealed card and you have to weight it. Although there are ways to mitigate this risk, but the game felt too much depending on luck. So, after playing more sessions of this game i’ve ranked it one point lower than at first. 6/10

Cacao

After just seeing first pictures of this game, first review, i thought, i must like this game. I have played 3 sessions of it so far, but impression is good so far. It reminds Carcassonne a bit with tiles laying on the table (although there is no puzzle mechanism in this game). But the game is very different of course. And very simple. It will suit families and those, who is doing their first steps in the modern board games world. You lay your workers tiles next to already laying tiles on the table and try to gather more resources or sell for the highest price ones you already have. There are also a few other options to score points, which you shouldn’t overlook. So far i have a hard time winning in this game (i haven’t figured out what is the best balance between different points scoring strategies), but scores are usually very tight by the end of the game. 8/10

/top10: Favourite 2 player games [EN]

bgames-popuriIn this post i will present a list of my favourite games for two players (starting with 10th place and till the first). Some of the games i mention have special variants for larger number of players or team variants (two vs two), bet they are usually considered as games for two players, so i have included them in this list.

 

So, let’s begin:

 

10. Memoir ’44

The only war game in my collection and on this list, though it’s considered as a very light war game. Very eye grabbing with colorful maps and plastic soldiers. Apparently this was the main thing which stimulated the purchase, that i haven’t played toy soldiers enough as a kid 🙂 Game’s system is very simple, based on cards pointing on which side and with what number of units you can attack. In the battle dice with special symbols are used. I’ve played a few games with father and maybe with brother, but unfortunately this game is not seeing any day light since. For the most part because of the long setup time and because board takes much space. But also because of a rather high luck factor while drawing cards and rolling dice.

 

9. Gobblet

Very simple abstract game, though forcing to crunch your brains and training memory. Maybe this game got on this list also because we got a very pretty wooden version of it from suppliers (which we later gifted to our co-workers in another department), or maybe because from the very beginning i was winning almost every game of it with my colleagues. Although, my unbeatable rank went down later 🙂 Oh, those diagonals, never forget about the diagonals!

 

8. Hive

Another abstract game. Very portable, because in the box there is a baggy which can hold all the components and the rules. Whole game is consisting of 22 tiles made of pleasant to hold plastic. This game can be played on a grass, sand, without worrying that a wind may carry cards or components may be damaged in some other way. Every tile has its own unique movement. The game is simple and fast, but it stimulates you to think hard on your moves, foresee moves, prepare for your opponent response. Maybe it can be compared with chess, but in a smaller scale, with a shorter play time and playful theme (insects).

 

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Latest purchase – Huawei MediaPad X2 [LT-EN]

honor-x2-unpacked[LT] Mano senukas Nexus 7 3G (2012) pasidarė pernelyg lėtas (po kelių Android atnaujinimų, 4.4 ir po to 5), o be to kažkas pasidarė su ekrano apšvietimu ar matrica (labai ryškios šviesios spalvos, išdegusio ekrano efektas grįžtant iš pilno ekrano vaizdo). Savo laiku tai buvo nuostabi maža planšetė su puikiu ekranu ir švaria Android operacine sistema (tokia, kokią ją sugalvojo Google inžinieriai, be kitų gamintojų papildinių ir išvaizdos pakeitimų). Bet šiai dienai jis jau morališkai paseno. Jo procesorius nesusitvarkė su nauja Android versija, dažnai strigdavo. Be to 6-tos Android versijos jis jau negautų. Dėl visų šių priežasčių pradėjau ieškoti jam pakaitalo. Deja, bet 2013-ujų metų Nexus 7 jau neparduodamas, o ir jis jau būtų senokas pasirinkimui. Nors Nexus įrenginys man būtų idealiausias, kadangi jau pripratau prie sąsajos, taip pat mėgstu bandyti naujoves ir gauti naują Android versiją kuo greičiau. Bet naujausias Nexus planšetas yra net 9 colių dydžio. Mažų planšečių pasirinkimas mūsų parduotuvėse ne ypatingai didelis.

Taigi iÅ¡sirinkau kiniečių gamintojų (nors beveik visa įranga surenkama ten pat, bet Å¡i kompanija pati įsikÅ«rusi Kinijoj) Huawei produktą, kuris buvo pristatytas tik Å¡ių metų sausį, taigi pakankamai naujoviÅ¡kas ir turintis galingą “geležį”. Modelio pavadinimai kažkodėl skiriasi. Gamintojo puslapyje jį vadina MediaPad X2, bet kartais jis parduodamas su Honor X2 pavadinimu (aparato iÅ¡vaizda ir vidus identiÅ¡ki). Man ir atiteko honoras gauti Honorą 🙂 Gaminio modelio numeris GEM-701L. Aparatas labai galingas, greitas, iÅ¡vaizda ir surinkimas geri. AiÅ¡ku yra minusų, kaip Huawei grafinė sąsaja ir pan. Apie patikusius ir nepatikusius dalykus paraÅ¡ysiu vėliau Yes-No rubrikoj. O kol kas laikas sudiegti visas reikiamas programas, suderint nustatymus ir iÅ¡bandyt jį kasdieninei veikloj 😉 Read More

Board Game Mini Reviews [EN]

bgames-popuriOccasionally i try out some new game. Live with my friends or colleagues or at one of the sites i’ve mentioned (Yucata, Boardgamearena). One time i just want something new. The other time i decide to try a game which i heard about on the Dice Tower channel or somewhere else.

 

I will describe in short my impressions about games which i tried out in the recent 2-3 months.

 

Nations: The Dice Game. I haven’t played the Nations game. I saw good ratings of this version from the Dice Tower team. And when this game appeared on Yucata site i hurried up to try it. And.. it seemed too primitive and short to me. Although its shortness has to be its merit, but i want a bit more from a game than 4+ rolls of dice (yeah yeah, there is an option to re-roll if you doesn’t like the results). Also it seemed that selection of new cards, which you could acquire to acquire more dice, was limited and not interesting. You get the same thing, just in a bigger amount, so you could buy more of the same thing (dice). This game lacks diversity. I’m still trying to play it (and win 🙂 ) to see something i didn’t see yet. But i rate it 6 out of 10 so far.

 

 Seasons. The game i wanted to try for a long time. It looks beautiful. Chunky, nice dice with symbols-resources, pretty art on the cards. The game is interesting, but it didn’t impress me that much. I’ve mostly played it with 2 players (on the Boardgamearena site), because playing it with more players creates too much chaos and it is hard to plan or strategize. A lot depends on dice in this game and on who is picking the needed resources first. The thing that by the end of a game some players were able to pull such combinations, so it completely out weighed the results in their favor, also contributed to a bit of weaker rating of this game. It looks like i didn’t like the game, because i lost so many times 🙂 Partially true. But i didn’t like that there could be such leaps of points in the game. However the game is really peculiar, interesting and unique. I really liked the start of the game, when players in turn are picking cards (“drafting”) and put them aside for the first, second and third turn. The game is demanding to think through your strategy very well from a very first minute. My rating 7/10.

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Board Game Review – Tokaido [EN]

yes-no-tokaidoContinuing Yes-No rubric lets talk about various aspects of recently acquired Tokaido game. As i mentioned already, i have played it a lot “online”. And a few days ago i have played it live for the first time with colleagues. As this game is amongst my most favourite games, it won’t have especially big negatives. Particularly about the game flow. So i would be nitpicking about components quality and other small details 🙂

Like:

  • As mentioned already turn order mechanism which designer Antoine Bauza uses often. One who is last on a road, goes first. If other players went far ahead, you may do 2-3 turns in a row, collect additional points, and later jump over them and take some good spot ahead. I like this balancing act between slow movement forward and an attempt to take best spots faster than the others.
  • Many paths to victory. There are a lot of opportunities to collect points and all of them are equal. And the winner is often one, who doesn’t follow one path, but gathers points bit by bit everywhere. Many additional roles, one of which you select in the beginning, add to versatility. They add additional traits, which allow to select a particular strategy. And finally, achievements cards allows acquiring additional points for completing various things during the game.
  • Two players variant. The art of the game could be in this place, because it is beautiful. Nethertheless i choose the 2 players variant. For a long time i have played Tokaido with 3-5 players only, thinking that 2 players variant won’t offer anything interesting and there will be less space for competition. But, as you have to move a neutral player’s figure time to time when playing with two, it opens other player’s blocking possibilities unseen in a regular game 🙂 Playing with three or more if you want to block another player, you have to do this with your own figure and maybe lose points from another spot. Here you can use unneeded little fellow for blocking, and do something useful for yourself. However, you need to remember that this variant can harm your relationship with another player, if you are both reckless players 🙂

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Latest purchase – Tokaido [LT-EN]

[LT] Iš mūsų skyriaus išeinančiam kolegai nusprendėm padovanot stalo žaidimą atminimui ir kadangi aš daugiausiai apie juos žinau (žaidimus) išsirinkau Tokaido. Nes ir žaidimo dėžė ir jis pats atrodo labai patraukliai, o žaidimo eiga tiks ir šeimai ir rimtiems žaidėjams. Kitas kolega turėjo šį žaidimą nusipirkt. Ir pasirodė, kad jam šiuo metu taikoma 30% nuolaida vienoje stalo žaidimų parduotuvėje (Hobbyshop). Man pačiam šis žaidimas labai patinka, dažnai žaidžiu jį online Boardgamerena puslapyje. Norėjau turėt ir jo fizinę kopiją, bet sulaikydavo gana didelė  kaina. Dabar gi sumedžiojau kopiją ir sau 🙂 Tiesa, jį greitai išgraibstydavo su tokia nuolaida ir teko užklausinėt skirtingose šio tinklo parduotuvėse, kol pavyko rezervuoti sau žaidimą.

Tokaido vaizduoja kelionę iÅ¡ Kioto į Edo. Pakeliui žaidėjai bando surinkti skirtingų kortų rinkinius ir taip gauti taÅ¡kus. Karts nuo karto reikia apsilankyti kavinėje ir nusipirkti valgyt. Todėl reikia labai gerai apskaičiuoti savo finansus, nes kitaip galima prarast daug papildomų taÅ¡kų. Žaidime naudojama įdomi žaidėjų eilės mechanika, kuri sutinkama ir kituose Å¡io dizainerio žaidimuose (Antoine Bauza) – žaidėjas esantis toliausiai kelyje nuo galutinio tikslo eina pirmas. Read More

In a world of Open Source [EN]

ir.org-front-smMy friendship with Open Source started during my studies in the university. Then i’ve found out that lots of commercial software products have their free equivalents which are not worse (and sometimes even better). I’ve found out about Open Source afterwards, also about various licenses types of this, you can say, worldwide movement, found out about Linux (free, open source operating system). Even my bachelor’s degree work was related to this thing. Because my work’s advisor was a huge fan of this stuff, used Linux operating systems and other open source programs. I won’t tell about my work’s results, there was not much practical use of it, more like a theoretical introduction about programs localization for Lithuanian language.

Bit by bit i have get rid of almost every commercial program at home and replaced them with free analogues. And when i came to my first workplace i was given a task to install an internal instant messaging system, and of course, better if free of cost 🙂 So that’s was the start of my now older than 10 years acquaintance with Ignite Realtime. To be true, at first it was a free system (instant messaging server – Jive Messenger) distributed by a commercial company Jive Software. Already then an active users community started to build up around this and other free products of a company. Company’s representatives themselves (there were just two men in the company at first) also collaborated and embraced ideas of free open source software. Their business direction changed later and the current free products became not relevant to them. So the source codes of programs has been made public (became Open Source) and handed over to community, so they could continue improving it. Also, for many years now Jive is providing community a place for a site, tools for registering bugs, installers production, collaboration. Read More

It’s your turn! [EN]

bgamesgrandsAlmost 5 years ago i’ve watched a review of a board game on the Internet. It seemed interesting, so i started looking for more videos. I’ve also found a few shops selling board games. One week later i’ve bought very simple, little card game (“Saboteur”). Tried it with my father and brother. Then i brought it to office and showed to my colleagues. And so it began 🙂 I’ve started buying more games, looking on the Internet about which games are considered the best, about newly released. Once per week after the working hours we were playing with my colleagues one or two games. Although, a few years later it all calmed down a bit (work, families, kids). But then a few new colleagues came to our unit and we recalled our tradition, so once in a while we organize gaming evenings. Also trying to interest co-workers from other units.

Even when our gaming group was broken up for some time, i haven’t lost interest in the modern board games industry. From the very beginning i liked Tom Vasel’s channel about games on the Youtube page – The Dice Tower. I try to watch every his video (game reviews, top’s, game plays, videos from games conferences). Also i have quickly found a site, which is the main portal for all board game fans – www.boardgamegeek.com. You can find information about a particular game, discuss it in the forums with other gamers from all over the world, rate games in the catalog. I always try to rate on this page every new game i’ve played, add to the list of games in my profile if i purchase new one (a link into my collection (without the expansions)). Read More

Tell me, tell me, MS Office [EN]

excel-2016Newest version of Microsoft Office has been released yesterday – 2016. The look has changed a bit, added a bunch of new features. But! One thing first jumps into your eyes when you launch one of the Office 2016 applications. It’s “Tell me” search field, which sits above the tools ribbon. It seems, such a simple thing, but when you try it, you realize that it’s really useful and was needed for a long time. No matter how hard Microsoft tried to advertise new “ribbon” user interface since the Office 2007 release, people are still having hard time finding in there tools they need. And now you can just enter into the search field what you want to do (e.g. “insert table”) and you will be provided with the corresponding tools and selections. Simple and.. genius? 🙂 Of course, one who have used Office with such help will have a hard time doing anything when he sits in front of an older Office version. Still, just this one new feature is making me consider upgrading to this version in the office. We have a subscription contract for Office allowing us to freely install newest version after all.

Windows 10 Review [EN]

yes-no-win10Yes-No is a category in which I will list 3 traits and characteristics I like and dislike about a particular matter. Will start with already mentioned in the last post new Windows version. It is contrasting enough to be liked and hated.

 

 

Like:

  • Return of Start Menu. I understand that Microsoft tried to do something innovative with Windows 8. But the absence of good old known Start menu in a new Windows version was a very negative thing for simple users. Even for me, working for a long time in IT field and often trying out new stuff, it was a bit uncomfortable and inconvenient, when you had to catch screen corners with a mouse cursor or press Win button. I often paused for a bit after pushing the mouse cursor to the Start button and thought how should i do, what i need to do. In other words, this wasn’t a natural usage. Maybe i needed to get used to it, but in truth, i didn’t even wanted to get used. It’s no surprise that third-party programs providing Start menu replacement have become very popular. Though Windows 10 menu is not perfect, and is not a Windows 7 menu comeback for sure, but it is a step for Microsoft into people’s needs and habits understanding.
  • Virtual desktops function, which can be accessed with the Task View button (or on the Alt+Tab screen). Programs providing such possibility in Windows environment have existed for a long time. But you had to download them, install and run. And with Windows 10 this is part of the system, which is there already and always for your disposal, and besides is very simple and elegant. Not a new thing for sure (Linux systems have this for a long time), but handy.
  • Windows placement help (“windows snapping”). It may be odd, that this is one of the important improvements. But i can’t count how many times i have used Windows 7 Aero Snap function for a quick placement of two windows one besides other. And Windows 10 improves even more this, rather simple, but very useful function. Indeed i thought sometimes, that it would be convenient to automatically place more windows together. Now it is possible to place no only 2, but 4. And even Apple in its new Mac OS X version is introducing similar option 🙂

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