Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This movie is a Halloween/Christmas movie. I watch it every year. Gotta love Jack Skellington, who is a being from "Halloween Town,"  as he discovers a portal to "Christmas Town." Danny Elfman wrote the film score and and provided the singing voice of Jack as well as other minor characters. This was a 1993 film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

GreetingSpring.comHO, HO,HO!

Christmas Vacation

When this movie first came out, we went to the theater to see it. What a riot! I laughed so hard and still do everytime I watch it, which has been quite a few times! It's one of my favorites!


This film is a 1989 Christmas comedy starring Chevy Chase who just wants to have a "good old fashioned family Christmas." It turns out to be anything but that!! What a holiday classic!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2 Player Alhambra.....with expansions

Yesterday Tina and I played a game of Alhambra and we thought we would use the latest expansion that we had bought and hadn't tried yet. Expansion 3 has 4 modules as usual, the Thief cards, the 1pt coins in a bag, the trader meeples and the extra wall cards. We used just the thief cards the coins in the bag and the wall cards. Another player joined us for this game....Dirk....he always turns up for 2 player matches. I explained the rules for the additional modules and play started. When you don't pay exactly the right money for a tile you usually get nothing, but with the 1pt coins in the bag for every 2 you pay over the price of the tile you get to take 1 coin from the bag. This helps you to pay the correct money for tiles and get extra turns, very useful.

Alhambra with Expansion 3

Dirk always seems to get good tiles in our games and this was no exception, he led in purple for the first 2 scorings. In the rules for the thief cards it says that you cannot use them before your own turn....well, in 2 player that is a bit difficult, so we just played it that you could. But really we didn't find that we used them much and both had cards left at the end of the game. The extra wall cards we did use, although not until near the end just before the final scoring. Tina had led for all the game I think and with a couple of tiles left in the game she could see that she would win and played a tile card to complete her wall. Her Alhambra was now completely surrounded! For the last couple of turns she denied me tiles that I needed, so I managed to play tile card to complete my wall also, we now had both surrounded our Alhambras.

Tina celebrates victory

We didn't use the traders this time, you get a trader stall with 3 meeples on it which you place anywhere round your Alhambra, if you build a tile of the same colour as one of the meeples on the trader tile you can place it on the just built tile. You can then put another meeple on the trader tile to bring the number back up to three and place it somewhere else round your Alhambra. You then score points depending how many colours of meeples you have in your Alhambra at the end.
All in all I think this is a good expansion, we will try the traders next time. We don't use to many modules, 3 is max, I think it over complicates the game. I also really like the city gates from expansion 2.

Final Score
Tina 150, Colin 112, Dirk 104

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

St Wolfgang's First Beer Festival

This past weekend was the first beer festival in St. Wolfgang. I think this is just a reason for beer, music and sausage, and that's good enough. On Saturday the weather was just awful, rained all morning and into the afternoon. The Burgermeister was supposed to be opening a keg at 5pm but we didn't get there until nearly 6.30. The rain had stopped and we must have missed the keg opening because we didn't see anything. So we had a beer and listened to the bands for awhile, there were people about but because of the weather the attendance could have been better.
So Sunday dawned.......lovely and sunny....ah, this should be better. Today was the priest's turn to open a keg after a parade through the village of both local bands, choirs and various organisations, all in traditional costume. The place was packed with tables and benches lining the main street, beer stands everywhere, with bosna (local sausage) and bratwurst being consumed with gusto. The parade came at around 11pm and the priest, after a little difficulty with his hammer, opened the keg.

We walked out of the village to a little hotel alongside the lake for lunch, which was very pleasant. We sat on the terrace and watched the ferryboats pass by. After lunch we walked back to the village where the party was still in full swing, the little video clip may give you an idea of the atmosphere. This is better than commuting everyday to smelly London!!

A game of El Grande

El Grande board layout...who's nicked the Castillo?

El Grande, one of the first german games that I bought, waaaay back. I have the Rio Grande version so the text on the cards didn't matter. After a couple of years I thought the game so good that I bought all the expansions as well. So, when was the last time I played......good question because I can't remember. That good uh! There are so many games and only so much time to play them that, well that's life.
Anyway, with Pauline and Stephen heading back to the UK, well yesterday actually, we played El Grande last week.

Enjoying El Grande

We played the basic version, this is the classic area control game and I ran through the rules quickly. No one had played before, only me and as I said I can't remember the last time. After the first turn I think the importance of the Castillo had become apparent, because quite a few caballeros went in there. Some of the cards do have the option for some lovely screwage of your opponents but we played friendly....I think! I really enjoyed playing again and the next day started to have a look at the expansions, which I really hadn't done in much detail before, it was just nice to have them. It plays 2 so I think I shall have to get Tina to try some of the expansions with me.

Final Scores
Pauline 101, Stephen 95, Colin 91, Tina 71