Sunday Summary – Back to school, back to work, and back to #boardgame, #wargame, and maybe even #TravellerRPG #gamenights with @gmtgames @Academy_Games @IndependenceGa6

With Labor Day weekend just around the corner (at least for us ‘Mericans) it is officially the end of the summer season. This traditionally means back to school, back to work after summer laziness, and in the RockyMountainNavy household a return to tabletop gaming.

School

RockyMountainNavy Jr. is a high school senior this year. After being sidelined in online learning last year he is anxious to get back to school in-person and (more importantly) back to regularly seeing friends. He also has a driver’s license now which also means he has, perhaps inevitably, discovered that girls like coffee dates, ice cream, and movies. I have a sneaky suspicion that, given the choice between a family game night and, uh, “social engagements,” he will chose the later.

16 Candles

Work

The summer vacation season is coming to a close. Aside from vacation, I was already back to work 5-days a week. I suspect I will be just as busy between now and the Thanksgiving holiday. RockyMountainNavy T, my middle boy, is also gainfully employed (i.e full time—or more) as an Electrician’s Apprentice and his company which specializes in HVAC controllers (a COVID-era Upgrade of ChoiceTM for many buildings) has more work than staff. For both of us this means the occasional lite games in the evenings may become even more occasional.

Centralized HVAC Controller

Boardgame

The return to school and work also usually means a return to Family Game Nights. Given the, uh, “distractions” in RMN Jr’s life I am not sure I can totally count on him to be there for game nights. That said, there is a chance that we might have a multi-family game night at times with maybe as many as six-players. More likely, RMN T and myself will have Father vs. Son Game Nights…on weekends. One of the new-to-me games sitting on my shelf of shame that makes a good candidate for play is Space Empires 4X by designer Jim Krohn from GMT Games (2017 Third Printing).

Foundations Edge – Representative of Space Empires 4X?

Wargame

As always, wargames will be the core of my gaming time. Production and shipping delays mean that I will have time to work off my shelf of shame and get games to the table. I have plenty of Game of the Week titles waiting for me:

I am very interested in using Commands & Colors: Samurai, Strike of the Eagle, and even Space Empires 4X as possible games that RMN T and myself can play head-to-head on those Father vs. Son Game Nights.

There is also a possibility that new titles will trickle in although I am very unsure as to any timelines. I am positive that my uncertainty is nothing compared to the uncertainty that publishers have over the same issue. This past week, Gene from GMT Games dropped his monthly update that shows many of my titles are stuck. As Gene puts it:

Supply Chain and Shipping Slowdown. We haven’t made much progress from last month on the “P500 games shipping to us from the printer” front. Our printers are in the process of printing and boxing some of the 21 new products that are currently being printed. But the same global supply chain and shipping issues that are hampering businesses worldwide are hitting us, too. We THINK at this point that we will see three games shipped to us this month (to arrive in late September), but we can’t tell you dates with any certainty at this point.

Aug 2021 GMT Update

I guess this means I need to look at small, independent retailers to fill out existing-but-unowned titles in both my boardgame and wargame collections.

This is what I imagine my wargames look like waiting for shipping….

Traveller/Cepheus Engine Role Playing Game

This past week I also had a small, friendly interaction on Twitter with John Watts of Independence Games that served as a good reminder that the RMN Boys also asked for a return to some sort of RPG adventuring. I picked up a new ship book from Independence Games, the Brightwater-class Personal Yacht, that is yet another good adventure seed ship design. The real question is where do I fit an RPG campaign into the schedule?

Electrifying #boardgame with Forbidden Sky: Height of Danger (@Gamewright, 2018)

COOPERATIVE GAMES HAVE A SMALL PLACE IN THE RockyMountainNavy game collection. We own several Matt Leacock titles, going back to Forbidden Island (Gamewright, 2010) and of course Pandemic (Z-Man Games, 2008) as well as the wargamer version, Pandemic: Fall of Rome (Z-Man Games, 2018). Back in 2018, I almost pulled the trigger on the then-hotness, Forbidden Sky (Gamewright, 2018) but ultimately didn’t do so. Maybe it was because of some of the mixed reviews at the time. Several weeks back I had the chance to trade on BoardGameGeek for a copy of Forbidden Sky and it arrived and made it to the gaming table this weekend.

Boy, did we miss out on a great game – but no more!

In Forbidden Sky the players are adventurers who are stranded on a strange platform in the middle of a great storm. They must explore/build the platform to complete a circuit and launch the Rocketship before they are either electrocuted to death or blown away. Game play is very typical of many cooperative games; on your turn you take up to four Actions (Move, Scout, Explore, Wire) after which you draw a number of Storm Cards based on the current Storm Intensity. Every Adventurer has a special skill and a variable amount of Health and Rope. Truth be told, there is little exciting in the game play.

Instead, the tension builds as your team literally builds the platform. Along the way you must put together the Launch Platform and a requisite number of Large and Small Capacitors and Lightning Rods all connected by Wires. Not only do you have to have the right components, but they must be connected in a proper circuit. Forbidden Sky really is the ultimate hotwire game!

forbiddenskyproductshotwhite-web
Courtesy Gamewright

The combination of puzzle and circuit building sets Forbidden Sky apart from the other Forbidden titles and totally distinguishes it from the Pandemic series. The need to Explore (build) the platform and Wire it all together is challenging, but the rewards at the end is much more tangible than the ‘save the world’ of Pandemic or ‘whew, we made it’ of Forbidden Island.

Most importantly, RockyMountainNavy T, my Autism Spectrum boy who is working towards an Electrical Apprenticeship, totally fell in love with the game. He could not say it, but I can tell the game spoke to him. This game, themed around electricity, really is about him. Can he puzzle through a problem, build the circuit, and complete the job?

Although we lost our first game, RockyMountainNavy T was totally gushing about it. He studied all the Adventurers and looked through all the tiles and even put together a few circuits based on the different Blueprint Cards (challenge levels). He is very anxious to get this game to the table again, and again. I for one will be very happy to indulge him because playing games together and having an enjoyable time is ultimately what our hobby is about. Best of all, its good for the family.

Forbidden Sky has jumped to the top of the Saturday Game Night line up not because its a good game (it is), but it is a game that the entire RockyMountainNavy family enjoys together.

Forbidden Island makes a great Father’s Day present…from this Dad to the family.