Some thoughts on Card Drafting

I decided to get back into board gaming, and ended up getting or playing the following games recently:

Last time I tried a board game was 2012. My girlfriend set up a surprise birthday for me over where we played a new game I had bought on a whim, Lords of Waterdeep (BGG Rank #51).

I am mentioning these games because all of those games happen to use a game mechanic I hadn’t seen when I was a serious board gamer in the 1980’s: card drafting. However, card drafting is a very popular mechanic today. In fact, over one third of the top 100 games on Board Game Geek use it!

The first time I had even seen this mechanic was when I ran across an early euro game known as Web of Power from 2000. Someone corrected me and said that, “there’s quite a number of earlier examples of drawing from a pool of face-up cards than WoP.” Well it was new to me in 2000!

Indeed almost 7600 games have been categorized as using the mechanic, and there are some examples in the early 1900’s using it, but nobody has heard of those games. This got me curious as to what are the earliest examples that might have influenced game designers?

Using the top 1000 as the cutoff, it looks like the first game to have this mechanic was El Grande in 1994. The next year, it won the Spiel des Jahres which must be what got people adding it to eurogames. That same year it looks like Wizards of the Coast modified Magic: The Gathering to create their smash hit Pokémon. Soon we find Elfenland, the Spiel des Jahres winner in 1998, Kahuna, a Spiel des Jahres recommended title in 1999. and Union Pacific, a Spiel des Jahres nominee also in 1999. This is followed by the aforementioned Web of Power which shares its birth year with Taj Mahal, Citadels, and  La Città, all four became Spiel des Jahres recommendations. Wow! Thanks, El Grande, and I guess, Pokémon!

Card Drafting, where have you been all these years?

My guess is if Illuminati (1982), a game I played as a kid, were made today, it would have that mechanic in it. But instead it has card drawing and then playing from the hand. In fact, Fog of Love has that same mechanic, and this is not actually card-drafting. And I think this explains is why the card-drafting mechanic is so popular: it adds an element of strategy through public information (you can choose to draft a card instead of drawing by luck). Games have moved into euro mechanics that want more public-facing strategy and less private hand-holding random draws, so we see more and more card-drafting.

Web of Power actually allows a choice/tradeoff: public drafting of a known card or private drawing of a random card. That’s something to keep in mind because I happen to think that balance between random ameritrash and dry eurogame mechanics are needed to make a good game today.

2019-02-08 Uncle Francis’s review on the movie “Roma”

From Uncle Francis:

After thinking the movie over this afternoon, it is a good movie after all. Writer & director Alfonso Cuarón is telling us about a woman’s story – mostly sad without explicitly saying so.

Namely,
1. mistreatment & abandonment by her boyfriend;
2. pain of losing her baby before birth; and
3. camaraderie of humanity irrespective of the race & age as depicted by saving two children from the sea.

I especially liked the last scene after rescuing two young children abd getting holding shoulder to shoulder with children around the bonfire.

merlin_146950056_edd65611-23f2-45f7-8909-a1b7d9942d0f-superJumbo-1

I think it may win the best picture academy award – a beautiful cinematography anyway.

These tweets spark joy

Marie has loved Marie Kondo since her book first hit the US four years ago, so of course last night we watched the first episode of her new show on Netflix.

This morning she’s been sharing with me these tweets.

“There is definitely something unique and fresh about Marie Kondo. That’s why she’s become so popular.” she said.

“I just hope that I continue to spark joy in your life,” I replied.

Back Kill Merlin!

My former CTO started to develop a board game with his kids back when I started working there. He just posted it on Kickstarter and you need to back it right now!

It’s pretty amazing seeing it evolve from just a bunch of handwritten cards and a board to what it is today.

But if you don’t believe my review, you can always check out independent reviews on BoardGameGeek.

It was a struggle balancing this game with his wonderful family and a startup to boot. I remember discussing with him the struggles of whether to go to GenCon and still making his kids’ events.

Personally, I wish the title of the game was someone else than Merlin , but other than that, I’d have given the game more thumbs up if I could.

And, Dave, if you are reading this. Yes, I was backer 139. I would have been a lower number but… well you know what’s happening on my end 😉

Light L16

After over two years of waiting…

The Light has arrived
Sab Francisco, California, United States

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone X back dual camera 6mm f/2.4
Live photo thumbnail

The CFL bulbs in the background are because a Phillips Hue kit arrived on the same day.

Around ten years ago, Hubert told me about a new light-field camera technology that he saw demoed. When that was productized as the Lytro camera, I pre-ordered it. After a bit of thought, I cancelled my pre-order. Why didn’t I do that this time?

It’s because back then, I thought original Lytro was marketed for non-photographers and capturing light fields meant that it would be a long time before it was ready for serious photography. This time, even though the L16 is poorly marketed and may flop, I sincerely feel that this camera is meant for someone like me.

It’s worth a shot (pardon the pun).

Continue reading and seeing a few photos after the jump

NaNoWriMo 2016

Ever since Marie wanted to learn to program in 2009, I’ve wanted to write a book to help her. But I never could get started.

The National Novel Writing Month is November every year for just this purpose: to motivate people to put 50,000 words on paper (about the size of the novel, Slaughterhouse-Five), editor be damned.

I first heard about it in 2007, when I started using Scrivener, but dismissed it because the requirement that a novel be fiction. I only just found about NaNo Rebels, which allows you to customize the “50,000 words” into nearly any other creative exercise, including non-fiction. So yesterday, this was born:

NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Badge

Nowadays, I use Ulysses. I simply created a group in the software and set a 50,000 word goal and started typing away!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 2

Goal setting on my iPad.

I don’t know if I can finish since it’s about a good sized blog article each and every day. We’ll see how it goes. So far it’s been a bit strange writing a book. For instance, I can’t use my WordPress shortcode macros lest I ruin the word count.

Periodically, I’ll dump the output to my blog, which you can track here. Wish me luck!

If you want to buddy up, I’m “tychay” there.

The Artist’s Handwriting

After a break and much debate, I decided to not skip Chapter 2 of Keys to Drawing.

Sometime in the future, I’ll most certainly need to go back and practice copying the other masters to make up for the fact that I’m doing things digitally, but for this pass, I simply tried my hand at the first artist mentioned: Eugène Delacroix.

Study of Study of Lions by Eugene Delacroix
Procreate on iPad Pro 9.7″

Liberty Leading the People this is not. I need more practice. 😉

You can find Delacroix’s original drawing here.

As you can tell from the date, I started the exercises in this chapter two weeks ago.

Continue reading about the long slog through this chapter after the jump