Friday, February 29, 2008

This might be quite good after all!

Men watch out!

As is tradition every four years, today sees an opportunity for unmarried women to take the bull by the horns and propose to their men (or women, um does this mean lesbians can only propose once every four years!!). I caught a snippet of the BBC Breakfast news and there was a emailer who was planning to propose to her boyfriend and was so confident that she had also planned a wedding and a reception for the same day! Just imagine if he says no...awkward! I remember when I proposed to K, that was scary enough without the worry that I'd organised a party that might need to be cancelled!

It's also the day where K has to try her hardest not to go into labour. While it might sound cool to have a birthday once every 4 years I don't think I'd like it so I'm hoping that we go another week yet. Especially as we have defied convention and are away visiting family in Norwich Saturday/Sunday...its that or another weekend in the house going slowly crazy.

Just one week to go and its occurred to me that a number of my reports exist solely in my head and I better get them down on paper if the team has any chance of uninterrupted service when I go on paternity leave!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fire of Wrath!

Ah good times!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

High Adventures in a World of Magic

BGG reminded me of an old game I used to play when I was much younger HeroQuest. Thanks to the joys of ebay and everyone's desire to sell off stuff to buy videogames I was able to pick up a cheap second hand copy!

Since there was only 2 of us K had to play as all the 4 heroes while I took on the role of the Evil Wizard! K picked some inspiring names for her characters (Dwarf - Niles, Elf - Bob, Wizard - Leigh, Barbarian - Brutus) and barely made it out of the practice dungeon (The Maze) alive. The next dungeon (The Rescue of Sir Ragnor) went a little better and next time we'll swap roles and K can be the evil one (a part she was born for).

I was ready to go back to reading or lolling on the sofa but K wanted to play some more games. And not being one to miss an opportunity I picked up Alhambra and San Juan. Alhambra is always good value and we had a good game (this time remembering all the Dirk rules) but much to K's shame she lost out to Dirk!

I managed to win at San Juan today, thanks to my Palace and I do like a game with an enforced time limit (in San Juan's case when 12 buildings have been built).

Also managed to get some gardening done (the front) and will try to do the back garden tomorrow (assuming the baby isn't here, K seems to be having Braxton Hicks quite regularly at the moment!)

Still no sign

With no sign of baby yet I feel like I'm starting to go a little stir crazy! Perhaps working from home has its downsides as I barely left the house this week. I think I need to start getting out more but with K struggling to walk anywhere if I go out it'll have to be on my own. I may start to walk in the mornings again I think. A brisk twenty minutes around the block before I start work will probably do me the world of good.

Fortunately I have managed to avoid succumbing to the f-EVE-r. I played it a few days in a row but my starting character was clearly not designed with what I like to do in mind and so I have no desire to continue without re-rolling my startup and the thought of doing that puts me off. In another place/time I sense that this game would have really appealed to me but with a baby on the way and my new work pattern I'm conscious of doing any activity that isolates me from other people.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Damn you Foster!

Its a quarter to midnight and instead of being tucked up in bed I'm updating my blog while I wait for a computer game to manufacture a perpetual motion device so that I can finish my quest early and get the bonus mining lasers!

Its all Alex's fault! An offhand comment on K's blog now means not only have I checked out, downloaded and created a trial account for Eve Online, I'm sat here thinking about how much quicker I'll be able to mine stuff with my new lasers! And even when I go to bed, I suspect that I won't sleep for thinking about it!

I suppose I have to do these things now as anytime soon sleep will be the only thing I want to do at night.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Speedy Limbo

Its 11.30am on saturday and the weekend is stretching ahead with nothing more pressing to do that decide what to eat and put some stuff in the loft. The bed has been changed and I've been out and had my haircut (although not very well and I'm too British to say so to the hairdresser). K is sat by my side reading her book and I'm just frittering my time away on the interwebs.

My boardgame obsession is still going strong with new games arriving almost daily. My only justification is that once the baby is here I'll have a much reduced disposable income so I won't be able to spend it so I may as well do it now. My fixation has had an odd effect on K though as she now seems to be dreaming about games! It seems like my plan to corrupt her is working!

We are now 3 weeks away and time seems to be moving both very quickly and very slowly at the same time! I can scarcely believe its the weekend again but the baby seems to be taking forever to come out. I think we're both ready now....come on baby! we want to say hello!

Monday, February 11, 2008


Went to see Juno at the cinema yesterday and it has made me more excited for the baby coming along! It was very funny and a touching story to boot! It has had an unfortunate side effect that I've started to make up little songs and nicknames based on our potential name choices!

Even before the film started K got very excited with the Doctor Who cinema trailer (I must admit it was pretty good!) preparing us for the new series in the next few months (Spring apparently but who knows when that is?). Even Donna looked quite good as she chatted to Bernard Cribbins (wasn't he in the Christmas episode?) about wanting to find the Doctor.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


The dining room cleared, the floors vacuumed, the washing-up done and the cardboard taken to the tip and everything was ready for the first CAPLE GAME-A-THON!

We decided on 8 games (perhaps we should have picked an odd number) with 2 of them card games (taken from my new book Blazing Aces) and the rest an agreed mix. We settled on Alhambra, Boggle, Carcassonne, Dungeon Twister, Lost Cities and Ticket to Ride: Europe. Space was made on the table and we were ready for the off!


1st CAPLE GAME-A-THON, 03/02/08, L & K

Each game was written on a piece of paper and put in the exciting ‘Chalice of Destiny’ (green cereal bowl).

Round One – Card Game 1

We plumped for a new game from our book and settled on ‘Sitting Bull’. A poker based game where 2 players try to form poker hand combinations from a reduced 32 card deck with 7 cards removed. Players alternately play cards to form a 5 x 5 grid with one player scoring horizontal rows the other vertical columns.

Result – With 8 points (to K’s 6) I emerge victorious and take an early lead.

L: 1 K: 0

Round 2 – Boggle

After drawing another card game from the Chalice we agreed to put it back and pick another game. This time out came Boggle. Good for me as I’m quite good at it!
After 3 very close rounds including words such as Streets, Tenets & Tresses we had a winner!

We managed to get 35 words (between us) from this selection in 2 minutes. Can you do better?


Result – With 61 points after 3 rounds, K is the winner (to my measly 51 points). So much for my gaming prowess at Boggle.

L: 1 K: 1

Round 3 – Alhambra


Hooray! We both really enjoy this game and it's usually quite close so we got ready for a nail-biting one. It's a combination of getting sets and laying tiles in a pattern to build up your palace. It's great because you have to ensure that you get first place in some sets but try to get second place in others. Winning by coming first in a set is not enough if you've focussed on that exclusively.

After getting to almost the last tile in the bag with no second scoring card in sight we realised that we’d forgotten to remove a quarter of the currency cards! K was gutted as her Alhambra wall was big and it looked like a victory was guaranteed. We agreed to abandon the game and have a rematch.

But first we popped out for lunch! Off to Nando’s, chicken wings for me, and halloumi/portabello mushroom pitta for K. Yummy!

Round 3 – Alhambra – Take two!

Determined not to make the same mistake again, we double-checked that the extra currency cards had been removed. They had and so we were good to go! The game proceeded much better this time and we got to the second scoring card with many more tiles still left in the bag! It was at this stage however that we realised we had forgotten to give Dirk his second set of tiles at the previous scoring round! D’oh! With so much at stake neither of us was prepared to leave the game as it was so we were forced to abandon the game for a second time!

Round 3 - Alhambra - Take Three!

To be honest I was crushed! After the first round I was beaten into 3rd place by Dirk (the shame!) (K11, D9, L4). The second scoring round saw me claw back some dignity and draw level with him (K43, L32, D32) and finally I edged ahead and beat him by 1 after the final scoring round (K132, L114, D113). Bear in mind that Dirk doesn't score for the length of his Alhambra wall (worth around 15-20 points) and you'll see how badly I was doing.

Result: K 132, L 114, Dirk 113

K started to take an early lead! L: 1 K: 2

Round 4 - Ticket to Ride: Europe

Another really enjoyable game but it can sometimes feel a bit like multiplayer solitaire with only 2 players (not a great deal of interaction, just focussing on your own routes). But a nice steal of Riga to Petrograd thwarted K's ambitions of having the longest route (and resulted in a station being played for the first time).


Despite this, a canny choice of destinations at the start of the game meant that K scored more bonus points and took the victory.

Result: K scored 108 (and getting Lisboa to Danzig really helped) and I only got 103 (my tactic of discarding my long route didn't help!)

It was starting to look like a whitewash!


Round 5 - Dungeon Twister

I was relieved when this one came round. We've only played this once before and I won so I was confident going into it. It's a fantasy based dungeon crawl but does not have any luck elements to it. Strategy and a clever guessing of what your opponent might do will win the game.

I secured an early lead with my wallwalker and goblin by getting them out of the dungeon with some treasure. I then cemented this by polishing off K's goblin for the final point and the win!


Result: My 5 points saw off K's 2 (but she was just glad to have scored some points!)

Finally regaining some dignity I started to draw level. L: 2 K: 3

Round 6 - Another card game

This time we played a game called 'Portland' where each player has a 52 card deck and has to win successive rounds with the highest poker hand. The twist being that each new card must be played on top of one of your existing 5 until you are happy with your hand. The winner of the round scores a point and all the cards are discarded and the next round begins. It becomes a question of whether to lose early rounds (worth less points) to preserve the cards in your deck for later rounds that are worth more points as the cards discarded i each round are removed from play in subsequent rounds!

After losing the first 3 rounds I managed to win the last 3 and take the victory!

L: 3 K: 3

Round 7 - Lost Cities (3 rounds)

Another fun one that has the benefit of being addictive and very quick! The trick here is to play enough of each set of cards to score points before the draw deck runs out. The tricky part being once you've played a number card you can only play higher ones afterwards and that you must play a card each turn. Added in is the ability to draw from either the deck or the 5 shared discard piles mean it's quite tense towards the end!

Not enough cards on the Stonehenge pile means I scored -4 points for this set!

Another trouncing by K with a combined score of 124 vs 36 for me after 3 rounds!

L: 3 K: 4

Round 8 - Carcassonne


After deciding to remove the River expansion we settled down to this great game that we haven't played as a 2 player in a while. Remembered how much fun it is (especially without the river) I didn't want it to end! And I had to win to force a draw otherwise the first GAME-A-THON would end in embarrassment for me!

Fortunately a clever placement of my farmers meant that come game end I had sufficient extra points to secure the win...phew!!

Final tally, me on 138 (those extra 32 farmer points really helped) and K on 116.

*drum roll* The final verdict of the 1st CAPLE GAME-A-THON....


A great result all round and a great way to spend a few hours!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Calm before the Storm

With nothing on at the cinema and nothing else taking our fancy and with no prior commitments the scene is set for the first (in hopefully a long line)....


And who will emerge victorious? Only time (and this blog a bit later) will tell!

Snothing Here

While everyone else I know (OK only three people) is revelling in a winter wonderland at the moment I'm looking out at quite a bright morning with nary a snowflake in sight. Which is slightly depressing because it means we may not get snow until much later this year....and I don't want snow when the baby is due.

Before I go any further I'm hoping a reader will be able to help with some grammar. In my first sentence I'm not sure whether that should have been 'is' or 'are'. If the bracketed bit wasn't there the 'is' is perfectly OK (I think) but the words in the brackets seem to invalidate it and would suggest that I should have used 'are' instead (because of the three people). Perhaps I should have changed those brackets to commas and had it as a clause? But even so the sentence should read correctly if the portion enclosed in commas wasn't there and so 'are' doesn't seem right either!

Perhaps if my school had split English into two subjects (Lang & Lit) instead of cramming it into one, I'd know the answer already? Hopefully one of you people can point me right!