A group of gamers that gather around Stanley Street, Longwood, FL.

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Through the Ages on iOS

Social Distance Gaming

If you are anything like me, you miss playing games with people face to face. Board games are my way of disconnecting from the work screen, the tv screen and mobile device. And while I miss my gaming group, I am very thankful for all the ways that technology can keep us connected and playing games.

I thought I would take the time to publish all of the different ways that I am available to play online.

Board Game Arena

You can find me on BGA. My username is rburkej.


I am also on Yucata.de as rburkej as well. So far I have only played:

Vassal (Engine)

For the historical conflict simulations (and a handful of others) I prefer Vassal. On Vassal I would love to play:


I am also up for learning games too, if someone knows a game and wants to teach. Let’s play some games! Feel free to comment here, or send me a message on Mastodon.

Pumpkins and candles.

You’re Invited to Dine with Darkness.

The nights are growing longer and winter’s icy breath encroaches on your mantle. Welcome to the season of All Hallow’s Eve, or in the old world, Samhain. Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. The dead, not so dead, and undead await you!

Count Strahd von Zarovich

Lindsay and I have been discussing playing Dungeons and Dragons again. Fall and Winter are our favorite time of year and with Halloween right around the corner, we have decided to play through The Curse of Strahd.

Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia. A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner—and you are invited.

The Curse of Strahd

We would like to get 4-6 players signed up for a bi-weekly game night for the next 2-3 months. Previous experience playing D&D isn’t required, we can teach you how to play, we also have all the necessary game materials. I will likely use DnDBeyond to keep the campaign notes. The game style will be less crunchy and more story driven, as I personally prefer the narrative above the game mechanisms. Here are some primers for the uninitiated:

Please drop a comment here, an email or text if you are interesting in joining in. We hope to play either Thursday or Saturday nights, more details to come!

Wingspan | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games.You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play themThe winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.If you enjoy Terraforming Mars and Gizmos, we think this game will take flight at your table.—description from the publisher

Source: Wingspan | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

2nd Generation D&D Players

After searching in the ancient desk, you find a blank piece of paper. After giving it a good look, you can’t see any visible marks on it. While lost in trying to figure out its meaning, you become aware of someone or something breathing behind you. What do you do?”

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was younger than ten years old, in a small space the floor between the bed and wall with my brother, five years my senior, when we were supposed to be sleeping. I clearly remember the funny looking dice, coloring in their numbers with the included crayon, tracing the numbers like one would go over a line, thinking to myself, this is dumb. I pretty sure I was an adult when I learned how it was supposed to be done.

Underneath the night’s veil, my brother Scott would tell me stories of combat and fierce creatures, and we would roll funny dice, their results helping dictate how well my character performed or if the enemy heard my hopefully silent foot steps as my character tried to sneak past them.

Unfortunately, I did take most of two decades off from the hobby. From my late teens to my late 30s, I didn’t play much. I tried my best to be a good adult, the best father and husband I could be. The hobby fell away as my friends also tried their hands at adulthood. Fast forward many years, and I find myself sitting in front of my son and a few of his friends with the 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, and I am immediately reminded of the joy of unbridled, youthful imagination.

Max draws his character's avatar.
Max draws his character’s avatar.

There is any number of things that a father can do with their children, and it would be a success. However, D&D is special. It allows for a myriad of things to converge in one time and place. Imagination, teamwork, social experiences, math, history, problem solving, morality and storytelling all come together in a simple, but amazing time and experience.

Playing the game with my son and his friends, reminds me how amazing they are. And to me, that makes D&D amazing.

My Thoughts on Terraforming Mars

Setting up and teaching the game.

I have played the game three times now. It is a weird, but great game. The first time I played it, I wanted to play it again immediately. I was left knowing that while I didn’t score well, knowing the game would return a deeper strategic experience. The second time it got to the table, I was eager to play knowing how the game works. However, that game left me slightly perplexed; it seemed to deny me the cards that I knew I wanted which ended up frustrating me. However, I tend to dislike card drafting in games, so I don’t fault the game for that. The third game was down right fun. The game design is elegant and quick despite having so many options for play. I knew my wife would love it. She learned it so much quicker than I did; and no surprise there, she just “gets” games and patterns. I don’t expect to beat her much in the future.

The game engines are starting to kick in.

Additional Thoughts on the Components

If you read the forums on BGG, which you should, you will see that the components vs the price tag is an issue for some. I will go on record and say that for a $70 game, in general, the components should be a work of art. However, they are not. The overall design is inconsistent, at best, and downright ugly in some cases. Ooooooh, metallic cubes you say? Look at the corners:

Photo uploaded to boardgamegeek.com by Stephen Buonocore.

The corners have the metallic “paint” chipped off. The first time I played this game I thought this was due to standard game play. However, when I purchased my copy, it was the first thing I checked. There they were. Chipped. I have later learned it is from the cubes being on a the sprue and when they are knocked off, behold, no paint. Remember, this is a $70 game. 🤔

And yet, sometimes the game looks great.

Terraforming Mars City and Greenery Tiles. Photo by Henk Rolleman.

Some of the photos on the cards are illustrations and some are photos, seemingly stock photos. I wish I kept the link so I could properly source it, but someone on boardgamegeek.com said the game reminded them of their high school science textbook. Sums up the design and might lead to some of its quirky charm.

Final Thoughts

Here is the deal, the game is great. Price and components aside, the game is just down right fun. It has all the complexities of Through the Ages, but somehow manages to be “easier” and more fun. Perhaps streamlined? Not sure. In the end, the weird art design choices leave this game with a lot of charm. If that was intentional, the designers are brilliant.

DesignerJacob Fryxelius
ArtistIsaac Fryxelius
PublisherFryxGames, Arclight, Fantasmagoria, Ghenos Games, Intrafin Games, Kilogames, Korea Boardgames co., Ltd., Lautapelit.fi, Lavka Games, Lex Games, Maldito Games, Meeple BR Jogos, MINDOK, MYBG Co., Ltd., NeoTroy Games, Rebel Sp. z o.o., Reflexshop, Schwerkraft-Verlag, Siam Board Games, Stronghold Games
Year Published2016
# of Players1 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5+ players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players
(1443 voters)
Playing Time120
Mfg Suggested Ages12 and up
User Suggested Ages12 and up
(225 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(74 voters)
CategoryEconomic, Environmental, Industry / Manufacturing, Science Fiction, Space Exploration, Territory Building
MechanicCard Drafting, End Game Bonuses, Hand Management, Hexagon Grid, Income, Set Collection, Solo / Solitaire Game, Take That, Tile Placement, Turn Order: Progressive, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionFrench Championship Promo Cards (fan expansion for Terraforming Mars), Terraformacja Marsa: Zestaw dodatkowy #2, Terraforming Mars: Atmo Collectors Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: BGG User-Created Corporation Pack, Terraforming Mars: Big Box, Terraforming Mars: Big Box Promo Pack, Terraforming Mars: Colonies, Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium, Terraforming Mars: Jovian Lanterns Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Lunar Exports Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Penguins Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Prelude, Terraforming Mars: Self Replicating Robots Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Small Asteroid Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Snow Algae Promo Card, Terraforming Mars: Turmoil, Terraforming Mars: Turmoil Promos, Terraforming Mars: Venus Next
FamilyGame: Terraforming Mars, Mechanic: Tableau Building, Players: Games with Solitaire Rules, Series: Future Timeline (Fryxgames), Space: Earth's Solar System, Space: Mars
Primary NameTerraforming Mars
Alternate NamesA Mars terraformálása, Mars: Teraformace, Teraformarea Planetei Marte, Terraformacja Marsa, Покорение Марса, Тераформирай Марс, Тераформування Марса, พลิกพิภพดาวอังคาร, テラフォーミング・マーズ, 殖民火星, 테라포밍 마스

More info on BGG.

Horus Heresy

Horus Heresy

My friend Mark brought over Horus Heresy. Innovative design and loads of fun. Setup takes a bit of time, but a strong game and smart design.

DesignerJohn Goodenough, Jeff Tidball
ArtistTim Arney-O'Neil, Daarken
PublisherFantasy Flight Games, Edge Entertainment, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, Stratelibri
Year Published2010
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2+ players
Recommended with 2 players
(34 voters)
Playing Time135
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages14 and up
(16 voters)
Language DependenceExtensive use of text - massive conversion needed to be playable
(17 voters)
CategoryMiniatures, Science Fiction
MechanicArea Movement, Campaign / Battle Card Driven, Hand Management, Time Track, Variable Player Powers
FamilyPlayers: Two Player Only Games, Series: Fantasy Flight Big Box, Setting: Warhammer 40,000 Board Games, Setting: Warhammer 40,000 Wargames
Primary NameHorus Heresy
Alternate NamesLa Herejía de Horus, Horus Heresy: Der Grosse Bruderkrieg, L'Hérésie d'Horus

More info on BGG.

D&D Inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame

We are extremely proud D&D has been recognized by the Strong Museum, and we owe what the game is today to you, our fans. As stewards of D&D, we will continue to make great entertainment to inspire your creativity.Nathan Stewart, Senior Director of D&D at Wizards of the Coast, was on hand in Rochester, NY to witness the induction ceremony and speak on behalf of Dungeons & Dragons. D&D means so much to so many people, but it is especially important to young people as they learn and grow.

Source: Toy Hall of Fame | Dungeons & Dragons

ASL Special Weapons

ASL Special Weapons

ASL Special Weapons

Stacks of special weapons.

There is something to be said about the ritual of clipping counters for war games. To me, it is almost worth the price of the game. It allows you to get familiar with the game components as well. Serves an in game purpose as well; makes it easier to push counters around the map without moving other chits.

I think this is an exceptional photo taken by Jonathan Jacques-Belletête. Just had to share it. Check out his instagram feed. Loads of great historical board wargames.

Setting up Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory

Yesterday I had an opportunity to GMT Games’ Paths of Glory. I purchased it a while back, and aside from tooling around with a solo variant and getting a little used to the rules, I hadn’t really had the time to dig into it. My first game was fun; however, it was over quick. Really need to watch supply lines in this game.

DesignerTed Raicer
ArtistCharles Kibler, Terry Leeds, Rodger B. MacGowan, Mark Simonitch
PublisherGMT Games, Devir, DiceTree Games, Udo Grebe Gamedesign, Wargames Club Publishing, Wydawnictwo Gołębiewski
Year Published1999
# of Players2 - 2
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2+ players
Recommended with 2 players
(86 voters)
Playing Time480
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages14 and up
(31 voters)
Language DependenceExtensive use of text - massive conversion needed to be playable
(34 voters)
CategoryWargame, World War I
MechanicCampaign / Battle Card Driven, Dice Rolling, Point to Point Movement
ExpansionPaths of Glory Player's Guide
FamilyContinents: Europe, Players: Two Player Only Games, Region: Middle East
Primary NamePaths of Glory
Alternate NamesŚcieżki chwały, Senderos de Gloria, 光荣之路 (光榮之路), 패스 오브 글로리

More info on BGG.

Pokémon Go

I have yet to really post anything online (at least on social media) about how much I have been enjoying playing Pokémon Go with the family. It has been quite the social phenomonon, but aside from that, it allows you to see parts of your town that you might not get to enjoy that often. Have a look.

I haven’t a clue about anything regarding Pokémon. I don’t really care to know, but I do know that my son loves that I do something with him that he loves. And our family gets to get out and walk about and talk. And for that, it is a great game in my book.

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