So, I’ve played quite a few more board games since my last post (games like Battlelore, Liberatalia, Summoner Wars, Valley of the Kings, Smash-Up, Splendor, Lords of Waterdeep, etc.). I think they are all awesome. A couple have already joined my growing collection while the others definitely made it to my Amazon wishlist. I’ve been doing some research here and there at the two resources below and found both to be really helpful for anyone looking to expand or grow their collection.

https://boardgamegeek.com/
This is a great website where you can get reviews, post on message boards, track your own collection, or buy/sell/trade with others. There is so much here and I’ve barely had the time to really dig into it.

http://www.dicetower.com/
Dice Tower is an awesome site in that it gives video or podcast reviews of seemingly every game out there. There are also quite a few top ten lists that I’d highly recommend. Besides being very informative, I think they’re also pretty entertaining.

I’m also hosting my first mini game night this weekend with three other people. They’re all pretty big into gaming so I expect it to be a blast. My hope is that we can get together every 4-8 weeks. Eventually, I’d like to throw in a couple of game nights with a large group of people. However, before doing that I need to increase the number of seats in my home. My wife and I plan to remedy that as we’ve been building a large dining room table that should seat between 10-12 people. We had talked about doing this because our home actually has the space for a large dining room table. The fact that this can be used for a bigger game night is sort of the icing on the cake.

So, any thoughts on the games I mentioned above? Any recommendations for what I should look into next?

Been listening to the new Armored Saint album quite a bit since I saw them open for Saxon a month ago. Just as good as their classic stuff.

Win Hands Down


Mess


An Exercise in Debauchery

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I only own two soundtracks. One is a greatest hits CD of all the Rocky movies. The other is from the movie Singles. The movie itself isn’t very good, but the CD is unbelievably good. AIC, Hendrix, Screaming Trees, Mother Love Bone, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Lovemongers.

I could pretty much link each track from that album, but that seems a bit excessive. So, below are two of Pearl Jam’s best songs, a really heavy Soundgarden song not on any of their regular studio albums, and one of the best things Chris Cornell ever did.

State of Love and Trust


Birth Ritual


Breath


Seasons

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One of my favorite Green Day songs and unfortunately it rarely gets any recognition.

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As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of board games at work with my coworkers during lunch. This has led me to buying several newer board games for myself and making a massive Amazon wishlist for many more. Thankfully, my wife has been indulging me in this so far.

I’ve also recently met several people at the church we meet with who are into gaming as well. So my opportunities to geek-out are exponentially increasing. For someone who always loved board and card games, but found it hard to find people with similar interests, I am getting closer and closer to nerd heaven.

Anyway, below are the top five games I’ve played so far since February (I hadn’t even heard of these before then.)

5. Carcasonne – This is an easy game to learn, but for some reason I haven’t figured out a solid strategy yet. Still fun. I’ve only played the expanded base set.



4. Ticket to Ride – Super easy to play and pretty fun as well. I’ve only played the original version, but I hear the Europe expansion is also cool since it introduces new features to the game.



3. Citadels – This one is a lot of fun. The one downside is that it takes longer than the an hour lunch break so I’ve only had a chance to play it with a large group once and then once again with four people. However, the two-player option works really well as my wife and I have played it several times.


2. Dominion – Easy and a lot of fun. I’ve only played with the base set and the Intrigue expansion so far, but I have fun with it every time. The games go quick which means we can usually play 2-3 during lunch.



1. Seven Wonders (with Leaders and Cities expansions) – I’ve played this game the most out of all others, in part because everyone likes it, and also because it plays 8 people so there is no splitting up into two groups. We can usually do a full game (including scoring) in less than 40-45 minutes.



I’ll get a chance to play Forbidden Island, Flashpoint, Liberatalia, and a couple others in the next month or so. Others I’ve also played that didn’t make the list (but still really enjoyed) include, Dixit, Sushi-Go, Guillotine, Poo, Word on the Street, and Wits and Wagers. Any cool games I should know about? Or thoughts on the ones listed?

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This Music Monday is for my son. At 5 years old, this is probably one of his favorite songs and he’s turning into a big fan of Deep Purple (which is awesome).

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I haven’t done a very good job of updating my blog these last six months or so. Other than a few random posts and some end of year lists, it’s mostly been information about new releases. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not ideally what I’d like my blog to be about either. Even my Music Monday posts are getting less consistent.

There are a lot of reasons for that, but mostly it goes back to time and priorities.

You see, though I do get some traffic here, it isn’t a huge amount so it is hard for me to justify writing a deep and meaningful blog post that may take 30 minutes to 2 hours (depending on content and length) only to have it go mostly unread. Especially because I can be more productive using that time to write and get my next book out sooner (something most people reading this would probably rather anyway). Even still, I’d like to get a bit more regular with blogging again. I thought the best way to do that might be to get some general updates out the way.

New state, new house, new job and so on . . .
We moved from North Georgia to North Texas (in order to be closer to family) in February after a quick job search and house hunt. It was in the middle of all the crazy snow and ice storms so that made life pretty interesting for us (try traveling with 3 kids under 5 across that many states and then camping out in a single hotel room).

We got a lot more house than what we had before with only a fractional increase in price (Thank you Texas!). Overall, we love it, and the area. However, like most people we’ve been busy with all the small things you have to do with a new place: a heavy cleaning, some painting, fixing clogs and leaky toilets, replacing ceiling fans, etc.

Most of the pressing improvements are out the way, but there’s still a few things we’ll be working on in the coming months.

The new job is great too. It’s a step up in position and salary with lots of room for growth. The work is interesting and the people are really great (a few are big geeks like me). The one negative is that I don’t have quite as much personal time as I did before. 7:30-5:00 are the core hours with not much in the way of flexibility. The different hours and the inability to write during my lunch break as I used to have taken some getting used to. Making my word count is a bit more difficult.

Though I can’t write during lunch, the group I work with plays board/card games in the conference room during that time (pretty geeky ones) and that’s been really awesome. I’ve always loved that stuff, but rarely have I been around people with that interest. I’ll have to do a separate blog post on those I’ve played so far.

Writing . . .
Wayward Soldiers came out earlier this year. It’s sold well so far and helped increase sales on the first book in The Tyrus Chronicles, Forgotten Soldiers. I’ve been really pleased with how well the series is doing, even more so because there has been a carryover into my backlist. Hopefully, that continues.

Overall, they books have been well reviewed too, especially from those with a military background or interest which really means a lot to me. Granted, the series is different than most of what’s out there so it doesn’t necessarily resonate with everyone. That’s ok. To paraphrase Wayne’s World: “Even Led Zeppelin didn’t write songs that everyone loved.”

The fourth Andrasta and Rondel book, The Maze of Hidesi, is off with betareaders right now. Fingers crossed on feedback. It should go to my editor in early July. I’m hoping for a late August release.

I’ve started work on the third Tyrus book, Resurrected Soldiers. Though it’s early, I’m really enjoying the process so far. Ava gets to take a more prominent role in the narrative than she has in the past, and I think the story will be better because of it.

So, that’s it for right now. Busy as usual. Lots of stress and little sleep. But isn’t that everybody?

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