Monday, January 3, 2011

Borderlinx Package

As mentioned in a previous post, I made an order from CSI and delivered it back to Singapore using Borderlinx. What impressed me was that I received the package in about a week from the time I made the order - that's fast considering I opted for standard shipping.

On the downside, the charges from Borderlinx were far more expensive than I expected. Despite

1. Free US domestic shipping from CSI (on orders > US$100),
2. a 10% discount off the games thanks to CSI's year-end sale and
3. a 15% discount off shipping charges from Borderlinx,

I ended up saving about $10 as compared to purchasing the entire package from local online retailers coupled with customer privileges. This was somewhat disappointing and the unanticipated cost largely boiled down to Borderlinx's volumetric charges. The actual weight of the package was about 5kg but the volumetric weight (the higher being charged) came up to just over 9kg . The calculation for volumetric weight seems to vary across the net and it was my oversight not to have double checked against Borderlinx's formula.

I did instruct CSI to pack the games in the smallest box possible and while there was excess space in the box, it was impossible to know if that was due to the lack of smaller boxes that were suitable or simply added caution to avoid damaged games.

While I did obtain the games much faster than if I had enlisted my local online retailer to procure them for me, I'm not sure whether the added hassle and risk borne was worth it, especially when void of the discounts I chanced upon this time round.

Oh well, it will all be forgotten when I get to table Navegador, Power Struggle and Vikings for my gaming session this week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 In Review

With the turn of the year, I was keen to find out what my gaming patterns for 2010 would reveal through the annual nickels and dimes exercise. I was divided as to whether to include online plays because coupled with my iPhone and OCTGN, I clocked a sizable number of games against others over the net. In the end, I decided to be a purist and only record F2F games, as I do on BGG.

My most played game in 2010 was...

A Game of Thrones LCG - 23 plays

No surprise here since I had a regular group with Ivan, Ben and Jo going early in the year where AGoT LCG was a weekly affair for us. While the weekly sessions dried up due to our various commitments over the course of the year, it remains one of my favs. I never had a chance to try a CCG in my youth despite my interest and AGoT LCG most definitely scratches that itch. Most of our F2F sessions were multiplayer in nature where the different titles add a different dimension to the game. In addition, I clocked 100+ 1v1 games over OCTGN with some of the best American and European players in the game. That has not only fueled my interest in the game but the privilege to play against opponents of such stature has also been a valuable learning experience.

Only other dime was...

Glory to Rome - 10 plays

Not a surprise - it is after all one of the few games that I rate a 10. Furthermore, it's a perennial favourite with Van and she still requests it from time to time despite her diminishing interest in games.

While AGoT LCG and GtR were my only dimes, I had a few near misses...

Hansa Teutonica - 9 plays

One of my new favs and my appreciation for it grows with each play. If I had to pick my fav euro for 2010, this would be it. I adore the depth that comes in the reasonably short playtime, the multiple paths to victory and the tense interaction between players. Looking forward to even more plays in 2011.

Dominion:Intrigue - 9 plays

I really wanted to like the game but eventually sold it after lacklustre interest from my gaming group. In all honesty, I too realized that its multi-solitaire nature was getting to be despite opting for the most 'interactive' expansion of the series. Nonetheless, thanks to its relatively short playtime, I did clock quite a number of plays while I owned it.

Monopoly Deal Card Game - 9 plays

A surprise here, but I suppose there were sufficient occasions that we needed a real filler or had non-gamers around to bring it to the table.

The rest of the nickels...

Dixit 2 (8 plays) - Wonderful filler that my non-gamer friends enjoy.

The Resistance (8 plays) - A newly acquired game but I can already see its potential in being my go-to game for larger groups, especially since it's relatively non-gamer friendly.

Yspahan (7 plays) - A fast-playing, medium-light game. It seems to fit the mold of the kind of game that sees play often but I have recently put it on my trade list. The different paths to victory are limited and the Caravan is overpowered when it sees little competition, which is often the case with new players.

Jungle Speed (6 plays) - Party game that saw more plays in the early half of the year.

Macao (6 plays) - I really like the wind-rose mechanic and the potential card combos, but the rest of the game seems 'meh'. I don't know whether it's a keeper yet but definitely one of the better games I was introduced to in 2010.

Ra (6 plays) - Another one of Van's favs so she does request it occasionally.

Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg (5 plays) - A fantastic game once players get a hang of the strategy involved. I much prefer this for large groups than The Resistance but it is a tad less unapproachable unfortunately. A blast with the right group.

Santiago (5 plays) - Another of the discoveries of the year. Unfortunately it plays best with 5 which means it faces tough competition from the Princes of Florence and El Grande when I have a gaming group of that size. What it has going for it is that it does play in half the time.

Summoner Wars (5 plays) - Another newly acquired game and a keeper already. I'm unlikely to find a ready opponent in Van but it is an ideal 2-player filler. The simple rules and use of dice keep it accessible too.

Final stats: 171 plays, 38 games (of which 19 were new)
In comparison, here are the 2009 numbers: 167 plays, 44 games (of which 29 were new)

Bottom Line:

While the number of plays rose, this was likely due to increased number of plays of shorter, filler/party-like games. What's telling is that I played much fewer new games, which suggests my gaming experience was more focused this year. While I always enjoy 'discovering' new games, it meant that I was also able to play the games I like more frequently and get a better handle on the their strategies and subtleties. All in all, a year I'm contented with on the gaming front despite the drop-off in activity.

Finally, while the figures didn't factor in this yearly review, boardgaming on iOS appear to be an increasing staple. I clocked in 70+ online games of Samurai, coupled with multiple Carcassonne and Tichu games. If I do acquire an iPad in 2011 as planned, F2F gaming on the iPad may be an added dimension of my future gaming experiences.