Our TRIP! We’re heading on a cruise to the Nordic Countries later in 2015! The trip will start in London, go over a wide range of stops in the north from Dover to Dover, and the trip will conclude in Paris!

Watching Max grow! Max’s intelligent and sharp observations about his day, life, and the universe are really something. His latest kid obsessions are Minecraft and his new Linux Lego-Guide-Simple-To-Build Kano computer. Once he clears the Kano blocks, I suspect he’ll be programming in python in short order.

New stores nearby! Both Safeway and The Habit are coming to Alameda Landing, which is within a long walking distance of our Bayport community…Safeway is, well, Safeway. But it’ll make getting the essentials a LOT easier than driving to the other side of the island to get them. The Habit is my “mid-range burger joint” (above FiveGuys and InNOut, to be sure) – their mocha shake is great as is the BBQ Charburger.

The EndGame Café! I love the idea of a eat-n-hang out board game area.  Additionally, I may be able to learn the rules of stuff I already have… and that leads me to…

Learning about games I already own! Caverna, Castles of Burgundy, Show Manager and Junkyard Racers, I’m looking at you!

Drooling Over Games I want to own! Xia: Legends of a Drift System, Dead of Winter and Police Precinct, I’m looking at you!

Looking at Board Games coming to iOS that I’m interested in! Galaxy Trucker and Twilight Struggle, I’m looking at you!

and other stuff in the works! As Max would say, 2015 is going to be “epically awesome”!

Yee hah!

So for the New Year, our family game group decided to pull out an old favorite, Alhambra.  While Valerie’s game is clearly Carcassonne, I’d have to say that after a few rounds on Ne Year’s Day, I think my version of EuroGame CalvinBall is Alhambra.

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basic box for Alhambra

Alhambra starts as a card trick taking game, with the prize being (a) a tile for your Alhambra and (b) if you get the value in addition to the right amount or more of color for the tile, you get an extra turn.  So the ability to get multiple actions means you can do more things, such as get more money or yet another tile, reassemble your Alhambra, and more.

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large Alhambra formation toward end of the game

Points in the game are assigned by (a) the color of the tile acquired and within that, whether or not you are first (or first, second or third) in that color holding, (b) the longest continuous outside wall you have formed around your Alhambra, and (c) other stuff.

In the basic game, the value of the tiles (i.e. which colors are better than others) is fixed, which means that after a while, it’s pretty easy to figure out which tiles folks are going to try to get first.

Image scoring lists by color and reserve board to keep tiles purchased but not in your structure

The basic “gold” anniversary set version of the game was recently featured on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop as well!

However, with expansions, the expansions basically allow to selectively “break” some rules and/or add variations, but only at certain times.  Additionally, there’s other ways to make victory points as well.

Now, while we do get fairly expansion crazy with Carcassonne, we temper the crazy a bit when we play Alhambra.  Why?   Read on!

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