Having played the heck out of Lords of Waterdeep, I thought it might be fun to try another worker-placement type game and settled more or less randomly on Agricola. In it 2 – 5 players (there’s also a solo version) start out as a lowly farming couple in the 1300’s with a 2 room wooden hut and have 14 rounds to improve their lot in life by various methods: farming, raising livestock, adding more family members, improving their house, etc. it has a lot of different options and a ton of things to think about each turn. I got a chance to try it out over the Thanksgiving weekend and it was a pretty fun time.
Let’s talk a little more about Lords of Waterdeep! When you buy the base game you get the big board and you can have from 2 – 5 players. There’s also an expansion called Scoundrels of Skullport. The box actually contains two independent expansions called Undermountain and Skullport. You can add either one to the main game or even both at the same time. The expansions add a lot of new options (including the ability to have 6 players) but in different ways.
I played Lords of Waterdeep for the first time in September last year. A couple of friends were really into the iOS version, so when I had a chance to play the board game version with them I pounced on it. On my second turn of the first game I said to my friends “OK, you know it’s a good game when by the second turn you’re already going ‘Is it my turn yet?'” I quickly bought my own copy of it, adding the expansion not long afterward, and have been playing the heck out of it since. I’ve actually started to wear out the pieces and cards; I may have to eventually buy a new set to replace my current one! I have a pipe dream that WoTC will come out with a fancy deluxe version sometime, but I’m not exactly holding my breath on that one.
If you’ve never heard of Star Reporter it’s not too surprising. It’s a board game that was first published in 1937 with various incarnations coming out until the last version was printed in 1960. My dad played it when he was a kid (I didn’t realize until recently he never actually owned it, he always played a friend’s copy), and he’s mentioned occasionally over the years how much he enjoyed it and would like to play it again. So I found a nice copy of it on eBay and gave it to him for Father’s Day this year. As soon as he opened it and looked at it all he said, “OK, let’s play a game!” My mom was like, “Right now?” and Dad replied “Well yeah!” I’ve now played it twice and Dad has played it three times. It’s an absolutely classic board game, a real slice-of-the-times kind of thing, and pretty fun to play to boot!
Well I ended up finishing the book very soon after the last update! I didn’t make 50,000 words; the book ended up being only around 41,000. But that’s fine, the 50K was their thing not mine. As I told a friend, I was using their thing to motivate me to do my thing; reaching 50K was never the goal, finishing the book was. I would like to make the book longer though; I’ve already been thinking about more plot I can add to it. And of course my description was extremely sparse (I’m not big on description anyway, and when you’re writing for NaNoWriMo it tends to get done even less).
Well it’s sort of a good news/bad news, good news/bad news situation. The first set of news is:
Bad – I fell behind on my word count last week. Work kind of kicked my butt and I didn’t have a lot of energy.
Good – I almost completely caught up this weekend. Here are the current stats:
Words written: 38,027
Words remaining: 11,973
Completion date at this rate: 12/1/14
I wrote 4,209 words today alone! It actually didn’t seem like that many though; I did a lot of short writing bursts throughout the day. 500 words here, 1,000 or 1,500 here and eventually I got to 38,000.
Here’s the second set of good news bad news:
Good – I’m very near the end of the story. Like very near.
Bad – I still have almost 12,000 words to go to hit 50,000.
Of course, that’s not an insurmountable problem. There are many, many spots in the book that can use more explanation, more description, more polish, more of a lot of things. In No Plot, No Problem the founder of NaNoWriMo addresses this issue, and says don’t worry about it because there is plenty to go back and do if you finish the story and are short on words. So I’m not too worried about it.
So next Sunday is the last day of the month. I’ve got three days of work this week, plans to spend all of Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, and 12,000 words to write. Should be an interesting week :)
Just a quick update on my progress for the novel. I didn’t do this on purpose, but I was just about to hit 10,000 words when I posted the first entry (I did make it that night before I went to bed), and on the night of the second entry I’ve hit 20,000. Actually 20,223 to be exact. Here are all the stats:
Words written: 20,223
Words remaining: 29,777
Completion date at this rate: 12/3/14
As you can see, I have fallen a little bit off pace, but nothing too horrible. I’m less than a day’s worth of words behind. My plan is to kick butt over this weekend and the next. I didn’t realize until a few days ago that Thanksgiving is the last weekend of the month. I was thinking I had another weekend after that to catch up, but nope. I don’t mind doing some writing over that time, but I definitely don’t want to leave myself a huge bunch of writing for that weekend.
Writing a book has been a fascinating experience. I had the basic plot line in my head, but when you sit down to do the actual writing all sorts of little things crop up that you hadn’t thought about. “Wait, why wouldn’t this character have done that earlier?” “How am I going to get the group from point A to point B?” “If X is true, then wouldn’t Y be true also, and won’t that mean this other part isn’t right?” It’s been a lot of fun and very rewarding. I’d like to talk more about it sometime, maybe with the next update. Thanks for reading!
This isn’t game related, but I just wanted to put it out there that I am attempting NaNoWriMo this month! I have had an idea for a book rattling around in my head for a few years now, and I’m finally actually writing it. If you’re not familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), the idea is to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. At that pace there’s no time for careful crafting of sentences, perfect editing, or anything else except furious, warp-speed typing of whatever comes to your mind. And it’s fantastic.
My friend gave me this game for my birthday last year. It’s a cooperative game for 2 – 4 players (although you can totally play a solo game too), meaning either everyone wins or everyone loses. There are four characters to play: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern (the real GL, Hal Jordan), and Flash (Barry Allen, the best speedster). Each character has 5 enemies (called Arch Villains) that range from weak to powerful. The villains are trying to reach the Justice League satellite and destroy it, your goal is to take all the bad guys off the board before that happens. It seems pretty straightforward, but there’s a surprising amount of strategy.
For my second Pick 6 I decided to share my six favorite Weird Al songs. I’ve been a fan of Weird Al since the In 3-D days, and narrowing this down to my favorite six songs was tough. Picking #1 was easy; it’s been my favorite ever since it came out and probably always will be. But after that there’s a group of 15 or 20 songs that I could have picked. In fact I picked the final six a couple weeks ago but when I sat down to write this I changed one song out for another. Most of these don’t have official videos, but I embedded some unofficial ones for you to enjoy. And now let the parody begin (btw, it’s a bit of a misconception that all of Weird Al’s songs are direct parodies of other songs; about half of them are totally original)!