Category Archives: board gaming

Posts on board, card, and table games

Flash Point: Urban Structures Strategy

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a new cooperative boardgame by Kevin Lanzing. Players take on the role of firefighters, and must collaborate to rescue trapped victims from a burning building. The Urban Structures expansion provides a new double-sided game board, including the High Rise, the most challenging building in the game. Having pulled out a victory on this board after a couple of false starts, I posted my strategy as an article on, which I’m cross-posting in its entirety here: Continue reading Flash Point: Urban Structures Strategy

Topics Too Small to Blog About

I’ve been reading The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design. I’ve been tie-dying shirts. I’ve been experimenting with GameMaker for the Mac, getting test libraries compiling in XCode, and making a simple version of Space Invaders in Scratch.

No single one of these things has turned into a project that was quite enough to write about. Either that, or I’m just having trouble writing lately. Could be both!

Boardgame Print Shop Adds Boards

As a print shop for boardgames, The Game Crafter has always had a fairly gaping hole in their service. They didn’t do boards. Yes, you read that right. Not what you would probably call boards, anyway. But that changed yesterday, with the addition of 18-inch quad-fold boards to their catalog.

I could pretend that I just whipped up a full-size Salta board today, but I won’t. This move was announced some time ago, so I had most of the graphic design ready to pull the trigger on.

Nothing to See Here…

I’m breaking with convention and not doing a Salta Champ update this week. Not that I haven’t worked on it, but it’s largely been refactoring my mostly-C code into proper C++. Which, aside from introducing a few (pleasantly few) typos that I’ve had to track down, isn’t too exciting from the outside.

It has been a good exercise, though, working yet more muscles that I hadn’t had a chance to stretch in a while.

Emergent Behavior

Here’s an entertaining failure case in my late-game pathfinding AI. As I’ve mentioned, after a certain point, the AI switches from a straight minimax strategy (carefully considering its moves vs. possible counter-moves) to a Djikstra’s Algorithm pathfinder with limited minimax elements. Which is to say, it tries to find ways to rearrange its own pieces to create clear paths to park its highest-priority pieces. Continue reading Emergent Behavior

As If On Cue…

Merchant of VenusThe same day I was posting about the planned reprints of Merchant of Venus, friends of mine were clearing some games out of their shelves … including a copy of Merchant of Venus. One day earlier, and I would have had to turn it down and tell them how much those things were worth (in fact, I passed up a copy of Hamblen’s Magic Realm not so long ago for that reason). As it is, well, it’s a vintage game and much appreciated, but no longer one I’d have to feel guilty about accepting.

Of course, this does no good for the list of board games that I own but have not played, especially with Flash Point and the special edition of Glory to Rome already ordered, not to mention Risk: Legacy on the horizon. Keeping that under control is a project that’s been making negative progress.

Merchant of Venus Reprint Announced … One Time Too Many

Merchant of VenusWell, this is awkward.

Richard Hamblen’s Merchant of Venus is one of the great out-of-print holy grails of the hobby boardgame world. Originally published by Avalon Hill in 1988, copies these days will run you in the $200 range. So, it was good news when Stronghold Games announced that they had forged an agreement with Hamblen for a reprint of the game. Unless, that is, you were Fantasy Flight Games, for whom it was terrible news, since it turns out they had licensed the same rights from Hasbro (now-parent company of the defunct Avalon Hill). Continue reading Merchant of Venus Reprint Announced … One Time Too Many