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2013 Travel Lookback: Winter Escape to Hawaii

Continuing my project to journal all of my travel adventures, we come to an entertaining entry: The Big Island of Hawaii and the Great Luggage Chase of 2013.The trip was well planned but poorly executed due to weather mishaps. I was supposed to fly DCA-JFK-LAX-KOA but snow dropped visibility to near zero at JFK so my plane was rerouted to Providence, RI after we took off from DCA. After several hours Delta put everyone back on a plane to JFK and rescheduled the connecting flights outbound from there. There was no way I was going to make it out to LAX in time to catch the Delta flight to Hawaii,  but as I was still a shiny Diamond Medallion back then and mattered to the airline, Delta put me on an AA flights to ensure I would get to Hawaii one way or another. The AA flight routed through PDX (Portland) and because of more weather problems our flight into Portland was delayed and I missed my Hawaii flight after all. Now I was stranded in Portland overnight, while my luggage (including m…
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Board Game Review: Heart of Crown ハートオブクラウン

Recently Japanime games sent me a copy of Heart of Crown. It’s a Japanese deck building game designed by Ginko (ぎんこ) that first debuted in 2011 and then was reprinted through a Kickstarter in 2016.  Heart of Crown  includes a handful of cardboard tokens and multiple card decks (which should hold up reasonably well under regular use, especially if sleeved) illustrated with family friendly anime. A small team of artists worked on the playful illustrations including  Haniwa, Yuji Himukai, Medilore, Chosuke O-ide, Yuki Takahata, and Nemigi Toto. In the game, we learn that the royal kingdom has experienced a great loss in the death of its Emperor. Seven Princesses are thus vying to take over the kingdom and each player has a responsibility to select a princess (or the twin princesses) for the position and attempt to coronate her by accumulating a minimum of twenty succession points.  Every player is dealt a starting deck comprised of worthless filler cards (value: –2 succession points a…

Board Game Review: Cyclades with the C3K (Creatures Crossover Cyclades Kemet) Expansion

My husband bought Cyclades some time ago, but after watching a few reviews of the game describing it to be slow building, he just couldn't work up the enthusiasm to get it on the table for play. So when I recently ordered Kemet directly from Matagot, I added the C3K Creatures Crossover Cyclades/Kemet Expansion (which allows players to use the monsters from each game in the other game) into my cart as well because I'd read that really spices up each of the base games, especially Cyclades. We have a regular group of friends we play area control/combat games with and I invited them over for a Cyclades game night a couple of weeks ago once the expansion arrived.  When we finally opened Cyclades, I was very impressed with the component artwork. Just as with the box cover art, the illustrations drawn by Miguel Coimbra and used on the game components are lovely and well suited for the Grecian theme. The miniature figures used in the game are detailed nicely. It’s a pleasure to play …

The Best of St Petersburg Crammed Into One Weekend

For our upcoming Azamara Baltic cruise in June, we will be docking in St. Petersburg. I am so excited about this because I fell in love with this grand city when I visited it once before, in the autumn of 2013. There was a discounted fare available to Russia at the time, so I took the opportunity to fly to St. Petersburg for a self-indulgent weekend. The city stands in sharp contrast to Moscow with regard to its culture, cuisine, and tourism (see the travel post on my Moscow trip here). Whereas it was difficult to find English speakers in Moscow, I had no trouble with language barriers in St. Petersburg as many people spoke English. The city has a European vibe and reminds me of Vienna. With just two days to explore the city that weekend, I tried to include the most interesting experiences into my itinerary. I had a scrumptious breakfast each day at Coffeeshop (a Parisian style cafe), wandered the streets people watching, toured the Winter Palace and felt like a princess (alas no time…

Board Game Preview - Glen More II: Chronicles

My husband and I started collecting board games in a purposeful and well-researched fashion in 2014. There are plenty of fantastic games that came out before then that are missing from our collection either because we weren't present for the wave of new-game-itis and no one we follow talks about them, or because the games are out of print and so we can't easily purchase them even if they've been recommend to us. Glen More falls into the latter category. Many gamers have told us how awesome the game is, but it’s no longer sold through retailers. So we were especially excited when it was announced that Glen More II: Chronicles was going to debut on Kickstarter this year. We were invited by the publisher (Funtails) to sit down with their team in Germany and play this sequel to the first edition a few month ago. We gathered around a virtual table, through the wonder of Tabletopia, and played through a full game. In Glen More II: Chronicles (designed by Matthias Cramer), we are…

Board Game Review: Master of Wills

We picked up Master of Wills from Stormcrest Games a few months ago. It’s the publisher’s first offering and originally debuted in 2017. If you haven’t heard of the game, or its publisher, I’m not surprised. It seems to be a publishing house with only about 1500 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined. A small operation for sure, but you don’t have to be big to be good. And Master of Wills is good. It’s very good. Master of Wills features a cyberpunk theme and is set in the distant future where factions seek to manipulate the community to build public support. Players align themselves with a faction of their choice and do everything they can to pull the most powerful collection of community members to their side. Gameplay extends over eight rounds, with a turn for each player (or team if playing two against two) during the round. Each turn begins with a move phase wherein the active player selects one of the cards from the community zone of the board (the neutral section in the mi…

Board Game Review: City of Gears

We added City of Gears from Grey Fox Games to our collection late in 2018, shortly after it was shipped to Kickstarter backers. We have other games that we love in our collection from this publisher and we thought we’d take a chance on City of Gears as it came highly recommended by some of the biggest influencers in the community, including the Dice Tower. City of Gears carries a steampunk theme wherein we are factory owners who control a legion of automaton workers that we dispatch into an abandoned city to explore and bring back to life. Featuring a pleasing muted color palette, the game’s artwork reinforces the theme perfectly. It’s a mashup of ancient looking gears, clocks, and architecture, with futuristic little robots. Artists credited include Anthony Cournoyer, Chris Leder, and Tyler Myatt.








City of Gears is designed by Chris Leder and Daryl Andrews. The gameplay is rather straightforward and easy to learn. Players alternate taking turns and during their turn they complete the …