Today I will be reviewing Fox in the Forest by Renegade and Foxtrot Games. Fox in the Forest is a trick taking game for 2 players that takes about 30 mins to play!
In this game you will be using a deck of only 33 cards, 1-11 in only three suits. (Moons, Keys & Bells.) The majority of the deck is made up of regular numbered cards in the three suits.(2, 4, 6, 8, 10) Wait a minute, you say!! There are some numbers missing and you are right. On of the coolest things about this game is that all the odd-numbered cards have special abilities when play!
Here the run down:
Sounds cool right?
Goal & Game Play:
Goal: Be the first player to score 16 points, (short game) or 21 points, (long game)
Deal each player 13 cards/ There will be 7 cards left over. Flip 1 card over and set it aside next to the deck. This suit starts as the trump suit for the hand. Non dealer starts by leading anything they want. You must follow suit whenever possible and if you can’t, play any card you’d like. Once everyone has played a card, a winner is determined. Either highest card of the suit lead, highest trump played or a special card is played, like a 1 or a 9 are played.
All of the odd-numbered cards powers either happen as they are played or are used to evaluate a winner at the end of a trick. Just read the text on the cards.
This continues until all 13 tricks have been played. Afterwords, each players scores based on the chart below.
As you can see the scoring can be tricky to work with from hand to hand. So, stay alert! After scoring, shuffle and deal the next hand! The first to reach the target score wins!
I love this one!! Fox in the Forest hit all the right buttons for me. I am a big fan of trick taking games and 2 player games. Once I heard about this game, it sounded interesting. Usually with card games like this, I will see if I can find the rules and make up a mock deck with just playing cards and give it a go! So I did, and it worked out very well.
There are a lot of reasons i love this game:
- The design on this game is great. The fact that it’s a 2 player only trick-taker and it just works really well with the back and forth that you get into during each hand. You want to win X number of tricks to score the most you can, but you don’t want to get too many
- This game is a traditional trick-taker at heart, but has just enough spice with the odd cards having powers that makes every game a bit different
- Beautiful artwork
- Easy to teach, hard to master!
- The game comes with victory point chips to keep score. I must be old-fashioned, just give me pen a paper.
I really enjoyed this game. If this sounds like something that interests you, look out for it at GenCon this year! I know I will be getting a copy.
As a continuation of the ghosting topic I discussed earlier, safety should be a concern for con goers.
It’s an unpleasant topic to discuss, and for the most part, most cons are a very safe environment with little worry about personal safety. Having said that, it is important to take practical steps to make sure your con is worry free and you come back with great memories.
It was reported earlier this year that there were assaults/robberies in a couple of the parking garages in Indianapolis. There are no security guards or people watching inside the garages, so if you are going to your car late at night, be aware of your surroundings. If you can get a group to go back to the cars, even better. Be prepared for anything if you are walking alone to a car. Have your cell phone out and keys at the ready, and follow your inner instinct that says beware (don’t ignore that inner voice that says watch out!). Having some mace or pepper spray at hand is a good idea, too. If it looks dicey, turn around and walk out. There are a lot of law enforcement officers out and about at all times in the streets (on bicycles and horses), so help is available if you need it.
ATMs and Credit Cards
ATMs are really convenient, but they are a magnet for criminals to steal your information. Skimming — grabbing your magnetic information and your pin with add on devices — is on the rise, and there have been reports of modified ATMs in hotel lobbies. Criminals put fake slots on the machines, then mount hidden cameras to get your pin when you type it in. It’s really hard to tell if an ATM has been tampered with, frankly, but look to see if the slot fits correctly and isn’t loose or odd looking. If your card doesn’t fit in smoothly, try another ATM. Hide your pin with your other hand when you put in the numbers as they can’t use your info without your pin.
Check your bank balance frequently if you are using ATMs — you can alert your bank to fraud if it occurs.
If you plan on using credit cards at the vendor booths and other places such as restaurants, call your credit card company or bank ahead of time and let them know what you are doing. It can avoid your card being pinged for fraud if they know you are getting charges from stores all over the US and abroad.
Secure Your Valuables
Petty theft of badges, personal items, and money does happen. Keep your stuff close at hand, zip up your bags or backpacks, and keep things out of your pockets if they are easy to get to. Thieves are really clever and can distract you and be off with your stuff before you know it. With 70K attendees and over 200,000 people going in and out, there will inevitably be some bad apples at the con. Just be aware that you can end up being a victim of opportunity if you leave your stuff out and are distracted.
Stay organized! I have terrible trouble with this myself, but making sure you have a spot for your cash, cell phone, identification and credit cards that you can easily get to but is secure. Fumbling around and digging in bags always ends up with items on the floor, and you may not see them fall. Bring a minimum of things to avoid this problem — a bag full of stuff gets disorganized quickly. Use good backbacks or carryalls that have pockets for items so they stay in one spot and you can find them easily.
Keep track of your cash expenditures — it’s not a safety issue but if you are missing some, you will know right away.
Obviously, make sure if you get a wad of cash from the sale of magic cards or games you don’t wave it around. Most of the booths can help you be discreet about it, but be aware there are probably 100 people watching you get the cash.
Don’t leave money, your cell phone or credit cards on the counter while you transact business. Count your change! People make mistakes.
Check your bags before you leave a booth. Do you have all of them? Take an inventory often.
When you are demoing or playing games, put your items in a place where you can keep an eye on them at all times and they aren’t in the open. Wrap bag straps around your chair legs to discourage snatch and grab attempts.
Magic cards are especially vulnerable to theft, since the criminals can just grab your collection and go sell them immediately.
Separating cash into two places, one even in your shoe, can be helpful. You won’t lose it all if something unfortunate happens.
It’s never a bad idea to use a waist pouch that goes under your clothes for your valuable stuff. They sell nice ones fairly inexpensively at places like TJMaxx and other discount stores. It’s a great solution to carry extra cash or an emergency credit card.
Tickets to events should be handled as carefully as cash — since they can be used by anyone.
I don’t know if there would ever be a reason to remove your badge from around your neck, but obviously if you do, keep an eye on it! Badges are going to be a coveted item this year. Badges can fall out of their holders, so a quick check every now and again that it’s still there and secure is a good idea.
GenCon has emergency medical staff available if you feel sick or have a problem. They have a room in one of the hallways. It’s easy to get overheated or stressed in the crowds and all the chaos. If you feel very ill, go see them. Remember to drink and stay hydrated! Bring a water bottle you can refill from a drinking fountain or faucet.
There will be a quiet room this year where attendees can sit and get away from it all for a while (listed in the catalog). Take advantage of it if you can and give yourself a break.
As a final note, just be aware of your surroundings. It’s so easy to get distracted and lose track of your things, allow people to get into your personal space that shouldn’t be there, or find yourself in a situation that you are uncomfortable with. Think ahead, and stay as organized as you can. And of course, have fun!
Do you have other tips? Let us know!
Now that GenCon has announced there will be no more sales of four day passes, and probably a very limited number of one day passes left, the chatter has turned to the practice of “ghosting” or coming to the convention without a badge.
There are two kinds of ghosting: one is sneaking into events that require a badge, the other is hanging around in the public areas without a badge for the con. Sneaking into an event is stealing — you are taking something other people paid for. Hanging out in the halls just makes it more crowded.
This is the first year that GenCon has limited attendance. Many people in past years bought four day badges at the con the day of the convention, but this is no longer possible. Buying four one day badges is much more expensive ($270), if they will even be available.
It is prudent for GenCon to limit badges simply because occupancy codes make sure that if there is a problem, no tragedies occur with overcrowded venues. Panicked, running crowds can literally trample people to death — so there are fire codes and other regulations on how many people can be in a building at any time to prevent it from happening.
The other reason to limit badges and attendance is the sheer number of people all trying to do the same thing. Frankly, the vendor hall is already way too crowded, and if there are just too many people no one gets a good chance to demo games or browse the vendor booths. It makes sense for the GenCon organizers to say they have a capacity and they aren’t going over it.
So why not try to get in without a badge and see what you can enjoy?
First of all, there’s little you can do without a badge. You can’t buy tickets to events or participate in most things. They do check badges and ask for ID at the ticket booth.
Secondly, “ghosting” means you are crowding the halls and public areas and making it more uncomfortable for everyone else. It really is crowded at GenCon — and this year it’s going to be wall to wall people who did pay for the con. It also requires more staff to check badges at every access point to events and in the convention center, which just creates more lines and bottlenecks for legitimate attendees.
Trying to get into events without a badge, or with someone else’s badge is stealing. GenCon, and other cons like it, work very hard to organize the event. Badge fees pay for the staff, the programs, the clean up, and everything else that makes the con a fun place to be. If you don’t pay to get in, you are taking advantage of what others paid for to be there.
Edit: The Indiana Convention Center policy is that it must be open to the public, so hanging out in the halls can be done — but please, there are plenty of places to meet outside the con in Indianapolis that aren’t nearly as crowded as the halls at GenCon.
Staff always check badges at paid events, so there’s no point in even trying to get in without a badge. If you are going to try to get in with a badge from past events, they check that, too — if your badge is flipped, for instance, they ask you to turn your badge around and they do scrutinize them carefully (again, making more work for everyone because people try to cheat the system).
For those who do have badges, please keep an eye on them. Sneaking in without a pass is one thing, but stealing someone else’s badge and using it is quite another thing altogether. Let’s face it, it does happen. With the sell-out, if you lose your badge you aren’t going to be able to purchase another one at the con. So be careful!
If you didn’t get a badge, there are still ways to get a pass into the convention center. Volunteer! Vendors and GenCon need people to help out. I am sure there are still opportunities to work. AEG was asking for volunteers for their Big Game Night, for example (you will see me there). As the con gets closer, confirmed volunteers will drop out, and there will be openings. Check out the BoardGameGeek.com GenCon threads, or the GenCon Facebook page, or ask your favorite game publisher if they need people to work for them (you can find a list of all the game publishers attending on BGG). It’s a little more of a commitment, but if you are determined to go, it’s a legitimate way to enjoy the convention and it can be a lot of fun.
When I first entered the hobby a few years ago, I remember being astonished at the sheer number of choices. It was insane. I had no idea what I really enjoyed or how to decide what was worthy of my hard earned dollar. I turned to the internet for help, specifically the various board game Facebook groups. Holy moly. The recommendations. They flew at me with every post at lightning speed. “Such and Such is the greatest game you can buy!” or “You need to own this one yesterday?”
I took to looking on Amazon. Searching and scouring for hours, trying to find a great game. I’d present my findings to the group like a cat bringing a dead bird to the front door. “How’s this one gang?” I’d ask. “Um…that one is okay…but this is better!” And they would rattle off dozens of games that instantly jumped onto my wish list.
Then something happened.
I asked about Munchkin. And the comments kinda went south. “Do you hate fun? Play Munchkin!” and “Worst game ever!” There weren’t recommendations for better games…there was a strange, palpable negativity about this topic.
So I didn’t buy it and I didn’t play it. Life moved on.
But one common message remained. “The only game worse than Munchkin is Monopoly”
Wait…what? My infantile gamer mind was confused. I loved monopoly. I grew up with it. My family played it throughout my entire youth and the memories we created with it were priceless. And people were saying that was bad? Again life moved on. And so did I.
Until recently when I picked up my first Munchkin.
And I loved it.
So what’s the point of all this? The moment I walked into the store, grabbed a copy of Marvel Munckin and tossed it on the table, I remembered that I get to control what I play, when I play and why I play tabletop games. And this all came to pass once again just a few days ago with the release of Monopoly Gamer. Remember, I actually do like Monopoly, but I hadn’t played it since I was a wee lad. I’d actually been looking to get a new copy of Monopoly to play with the family, when I saw Mario and Bowser and all the Nintendo gang staring at me on top of a Monopoly board.
I practically ran to Gamestop to get my copy.
So…now here we are. I’ve played this game nonstop the past few days. Is it good? Were those people right? Is it to be avoided at all costs? Is it for me?
It’s totally for me. Maybe it’s for you too. Let’s see.
Monopoly Gamer is a stripped down and leaner monopoly. It does away with most of the complaints people have about the game. “It’s too long.” “It has zero strategy.” “It’s boring.” Monopoly Gamer solves all these problems in a rather elegant way.
Meet the power up die.
This little guy is the single greatest addition to the game of Monopoly. As you roll your way around the board with the movement die, you are also rolling this little guy each turn. Its various sides are all filled with nasty “take that” in various forms directed at all the unsuspecting fools sitting around the table you call family and friends. Pop them in the head with a turtle shell or hit the POW block to make em all drop some precious coins. You even have some choice with a well aimed red shell which allows you to choose who you are sending the smack down to. But this super mean little die never really feels super mean. Similar to King of Tokyo, all the evil that you are bestowing upon your hapless victims always stays in the realm of “it’s all in good fun!” You don’t even have to feel that bad when you bankrupt your grandma with an inky, squid coin steal. It’s just what you rolled and it made the most sense. Fun!
The next brick in the pathway to elegance comes from the time slashing Boss deck.
As you make your way around the board you are collecting properties just like in normal monopoly, but in the back of your mind you are thinking about one thing. Getting to that boss battle! You start the game with a set number of boss cards (8 in a four player and 6 in a 3 or 2 player) and every time someone passes GO! an ultimate mega showdown ensues. One that we will surely see in the history books for generations to come. The battle involves payment to start the fight and rolling the die to hit a threshold. Hit the right number or higher and you reap the rewards, points and an effect that is sure to make your momma sigh, but if you fail then your opponents get a chance to jump in the fray and snatch those goodies from your grasp. Or everyone can chicken out and pass and the Boss runs away. There is no endless game here. Once the boss deck runs out, the game ends and you all stare at each other and say “Sooooo…who wants to play again? I’ve got plenty of time for another round!”
And the final feather in this “Fast-dealing property trading” hat is a doozie.
Variable player powers! IN MONOPOLY! ARE YOU KIDDING? Every single character in the game has unique powers. Two of them in fact. One is triggered by the Star spaces on the board. Land on them and you get to use your power. The second power is triggered by a specific face on the Power Up die. That’s right, folks. He’s back and meaner than ever! When rolled, each character has a specific side that they can “boost” in all sorts of crazy ways. It all leads to chaotic, replayability through the roof.
Is this game for you? That is a tough question.
I absolutely know that it is for me. And I’ll crow from every rooftop about its greatness because I’m thrilled with this release. But, I know that some people will hate a lot of what I love. Heavy take that layered on top of high luck. It’s still got a good dash of what makes monopoly tick and I know that no matter how much awesome they pile on top, there will still be people who this cannot and will not ever appeal to.
And that’s okay.
Does Monopoly Gamer get my recommendation? 100% yes. Excellent components, great price point, quick and simple, highly interactive game play. Go buy it if any of this sounds interesting at all. I’ve been really having a blast with it!
In this first episode, we talk about Origins, games, channel news, and a group review for Century: Spice Road.
Part One: Shelving and Other Storage Solutions
Eventually, for most board game enthusiasts, the conundrum of storing is going to happen.
Most board gamers start out with just one or two games that fit nicely on a shelf or in the closet, but once the bug hits, a dedicated shelf becomes a requirement. And then maybe another one. Then a third…and now you need to maximize space.
So what’s the best way to store games? And why should you care?
First of all, modern tabletop games hold their value. A game kept in good condition, with an intact box with no scuffs, dishing of the top or bottom, or crushed corners, is worth something. Don’t ever tape a box with sticky tape – it will tear the paper– or stack games 5 or 6 high, as the weight from the top games will dish the bottom boxes. If you have kept your games in good condition, they can be sold on or traded to other gamers. But they have to be in good shape and well taken care of if you want to get a good trade or price for them.
Plus, they look so pretty on display! The box art is meant to be appreciated.
Storing games in a climate controlled environment, away from damp, heat, and excessive humidity will keep the playing boards from warping and in good condition. It goes without saying that smoking around cardboard board games makes them really smelly! It’s almost impossible to get smoke odor out, too.
There are some great shelving options out there now. Here are some of the more popular choices.
One of the standards for game storage, due to the depth of the unit, as well as the sturdy construction, is the Kallax shelf from IKEA.
It also comes in white, and in a half size from this one. The problem with a shelf from IKEA is you really need to live near a store to pick it up (shipping is exorbitant) and you need to build it. This shelf runs around $140.00.
I have a half Kallax, shown here in use:
As you can see, the shelves are quite deep and tall enough for Euro game boxes. It’s a very heavy piece of furniture.
More commonly available from WalMart is the Better Homes and Gardens shelf, which looks similar.
However, it is not exactly the same in quality as the IKEA model, so you have to decide if convenience is worth a slightly less well constructed product. You also have to build this one, but it’s a lot easier to get. Selling for about $70, it’s much less than the Kallax.
A thrifty option is to find shelves at a local charity or resale shop. My local Habitat for Humanity always has a selection of bookshelves. I have found some really nice, quality shelving for $30-$50, so it’s worth checking out. Just make sure a shelf is sturdy enough to hold your games, and deep enough to fit the boxes vertically and horizontally. Game boxes can get tall and bulky. Bookshelves often don’t have the shelf width and height you need to store games but there is usually quite a variety to choose from. I have not yet found a Kallax but one can dream…
Another option is track shelving, which you can build if you have the space and the ability to change your walls (they are permanent, so if you rent, it may not be an option unless you want to patch and paint when you leave). Find track shelving at places like Home Depot. This is the bulk of my game storage. The advantages are it’s not that expensive, it’s extremely versatile, and it looks nice.
The system uses vertical hangers like this:
…and prefinished boards that sit on brackets that attach on the hangers. The beauty of this system is you can make your shelf heights adjustable, and the boards are quite wide, so you have deep shelving.
Here is an example of track shelving:
You can also get boards that are finished in a wood grain. One small issue is the brackets create a lower space than the rest of the shelf, so you have to find a shorter game to store there!
Now that you have a shelf, how do you store your games? Vertically or horizontally?
If you check out the box art on many Euro games, it becomes clear that they are meant to be stored vertically, like books. Vertical storage is advantageous for a couple of reasons – it frees up more space, and keeps the boxes from dishing and getting damaged. Games stored this way are also more accessible. Many game boxes are roughly the same height and width, which makes a pretty shelf display. Some games, though, are just too long or big to store vertically, so they have to be stacked horizontally. Three or four high is probably the most you ever want to stack, and make sure to put the heavy games on the bottom! Weight dishes the bottoms and the tops, and bows out the sides. Crushed boxes decrease the value, a lot, and they don’t look very nice.
For games that have lots of cards, it can make sense to store them horizontally unless you are sure the insert won’t have cards flying all over if it goes on its side. Those games tend to be heavy, as well, especially with expansions.
Once you have them on the shelf, then the decision of how to organize them is your next challenge. As you can see, above I have them by designer (Knizia and Feld are all together, but then it’s a hodge podge), or maybe just how they fit on the shelf will work. You can go by color, alphabetically, by genre, player count, complexity, mechanic, theme…just don’t drive yourself crazy. Good luck!
I have seen storage solutions where even large games are stored in large plastic bags or containers, which can make sense if you have space issues or the original box no longer holds the game and expansions.
My dog managed to destroy the box for my copy of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, so I now use a plastic scrapbook case for the game. Craft and hobby stores, such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Joanne Fabrics all have interesting storage solution ideas. Try the scrapbooking areas for inspiration.
Bagging games in jumbo plastic ziplock bags (I think they are gallon size) is a great solution if you want to pack a full-size game for a trip, especially if you are flying and have limited luggage options. I love the look of game boxes, but sometimes it’s more efficient to ditch them. Just save those boxes somewhere. Saving expansion boxes is more debatable – I don’t save them myself, although some buyers will ask for them.
For long term storage, plastic tubs that seal are really the best solution. Cardboard boxes are too vulnerable to vermin and damp, so put them in plastic. Label those tubs — you’ll never remember what’s in there in a month or two. Hopefully you aren’t storing your games for too long, though — if you aren’t appreciating them or playing them, send them on to a new home that will.
So much for the big games, but what about the small ones? As you can see in the Kallax photo, I have small games in a basket. The Kallax can also hold removable drawer units that can store small games. Sounds good, but there is an even better solution that makes all those tiny games storable, and portable: ditch the boxes and get a photo storage box at the hobby store:
It’s called an Iris Photo Keeper, and sells for around $21 (full price is $40 at Michael’s but wait until they are on sale). Pro tip: at the store open the case and check to make sure the boxes inside close well — I have found the Iris are better made than some of the other brands. The photo keeper is great for storing and getting small card, dice, and micro games to a game night. Just keep the original game boxes in case you want to move any along in the future. It’s portable, convenient, and frees up a lot of space and clutter.
Here is (one) of mine – I have several! I have my small games labeled inside, with player count. It’s not the prettiest labeling job, but at least I know what’s in there.
Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to display your game collection proudly. Have your own storage solutions? Share in the comments!
Next: Part 2: Storing Inside the Box