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    Boardgamers of Singapore #5: Xeno (The One Man Army)

    Boardgamers of Singapore #5: Xeno (The One Man Army)

    Singapore is small and one of the most densely packed populations in the world. Thus when it comes to doing activities here, space becomes more of an issue than distance. Thus to those who are regulars in the board game community here, meetups are usually the way we indulge in the hobby and meet others to widen our circle of gamers.

    The fact that Singapore has such a thriving community of gamers is thus owed to a large extent to the selfless hosts like Xeno who keep their sessions not only enjoyable but regular too. 

    Xeno started his board gaming career at Braddell Heights Community Center (CC) around 2010. At the time, his colleague had started a board gaming meetup there and invited Xeno to come and try some games. He recalls how mind-blowing an experience it was for him and was amazed that there were so many different games other than the classics like Monopoly. Also at the meetup, he played what would become one of his favourite games, Agricola. He was seriously beaten in the strategic game about building a medieval farm and was determined to get better at it in subsequent games.

    Time passed and Xeno found himself at Cheng San CC with some friends to indulge in his new found hobby of board games on some Sunday afternoons but noticed all the available space. He felt it would be ideal if the group could be expanded into something more public. This was achieved when he discovered Meetup.com. Since then, the group has grown vastly and now sees an average of 30 gamers attending the monthly meetup.

    Ironically, as the group has expanded, Xeno has found himself playing less games during the meetup in lieu of making sure everything runs well. His main focus always on the newcomers as he understands that the future of the hobby is achieved by growing the number of gamers.

    Now for most hosts, this is where the story would have ended but Xeno has gone beyond and has even expanded into bigger events like 2016's It's Time to Play!, also held at Cheng San CC but in the event hall, which hosted over a 100 gamers for a full day of gaming, competitions, prizes and was a great success.

    The selfless work that Xeno applies to his meetup has definitely benefited the community and he does it all for free. Thus his effort and motivation equaling the efforts of many others, truly fitting of the nickname 'One Man Army.' 

    Related: Boardgaming Meetups in Singapore: It's Time to Play! Event at Cheng San CC

    Xeno's recommended game of the day is Ascension, especially the Immortal Heroes and Storm of Souls expansions. Ascension is a deck-building game in which players spend the currency of the game, 'Runes' to acquire more powerful cards for their deck from a lineup of available cards.

    Each player starts with the same few cards but as the game goes on, one has to not only buy cards that improves their deck but get cards that counters the ever changing deck of the opponent. In the end, the player with the most honour points wins the game.

    Xeno loves Ascensions, especially with the above-mentioned expansions because it allows for more interesting big plays and rewards strategic planning.

    His one flaw of the game but only if he is nitpicking is that there are not many cards in the game that can affect the other player's deck, thus equaling a less interactive experience.

    Overall, the mix of strategy and mitigation of luck is something Xeno looks forward to in Ascension. If you are interested, do turn up at Cheng San and ask him to teach you the game. I can assure you he will be more than happy to. 

    E: huibin@toytag.com
    Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.

    A monthly schedule of places to play board games regularly in Singapore

    A monthly schedule of places to play board games regularly in Singapore

    Want to meet more board gamers? Need more board game sessions? Visiting Singapore but feel the need to indulge in this great board gaming hobby? This listing will definitely be of help to you. 

    Below is a curated monthly schedule* for board gaming meetup events held in the Lion City as of May 2017. Do check out the respective linked meetup websites provided for exact dates and in case there are any changes in the events.  

    That being said... Play More Games!  

    Details of Meetups in order by date

    Game Night Mondays: Every Monday, 7pm - 11pm at Battle Bunker

    Cost: Make a drink purchase at least at the store ($2 Bottled water or $2.50 Bottled Drinks).

    Game Night Thursdays: Every Thursday, 6pm -11pm at NTU Macdonald

    Cost: Free

    SOG@ Bukit Batok CC (1st Saturday Edition!): 1st Saturday, 2pm - 7pm at Bukit Batok CC

    Cost: $2

    Pasir Ris Meetup: 1st Saturday, 5pm - 9:30pm at Pasir Ris East CC

    Cost: Free

    Games Sunday: 1st Sunday, 3pm - 7pm (E) at Toa Payoh Central CC

    Cost: $2

    Singapore Monthly Meetup:1st Tuesday, 6:30pm -10:30pm at Settler's Cafe

    Cost: $7

    Board Games at Kembangan: 2nd Saturday, 2pm - 9:30pm, Kembangan CC

    Cost: Free

    Singapore Open Gaming @Ci Yuan CC: 2nd Sunday, 1pm - 6pm at Ci Yuan CC

    Cost: Free

    Meetup @ Play Nation Scape: 2nd Wednesday, 6:30pm -10:30pm at Play Nation @ Scape 

    Cost: $6

    Singapore Open Gaming @ Bukit Batok: 3rd Saturday, 2pm -7pm at Bukit Batok CC

    Cost: $2

     Board Games at Nee Soon: 3rd Saturday, 2pm - 6pm at Nee Soon East CC

    Cost: Free

    Pasir Ris Meetup: 3rd Saturday, 5pm - 9:30pm at Pasir Ris East CC

    Cost: Free

    Boardgamers at Cheng San: 3rd Sunday, 2pm - 7pm (E) at Cheng San CC 

    Cost: Free

    Games Sunday at Serangoon: 3rd Sunday, 2pm - 6pm at Serangoon Library

    Cost: Free

    Games Cavern @ Bukit Panjang CC: 4th Saturday, 3pm - 7pm at Bukit Panjang CC 

    Cost: $2

    Boardgame Interest Group (B.I.G): 4th Sunday, 2pm - 9:45pm at Bradell Heights CC

    Cost: Free

    (E) = The event could be extended to 9:30 pm. 

    *: Dates and days of meetups might change due to various reasons.

    E: huibin@toytag.com
    Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.

    Suburbia: It's Sim City without a Computer Screen

    Suburbia: It's Sim City without a Computer Screen

    For the masses, the equation of city building equating to fun was probably first started by the world renown series of computer games called Sim City. In fact, Will Wright, the video game designer of Sim City found that out too by accident, when he had more fun designing the city background to a game than playing the game itself. Thus Sim City came to be. 

    Since then, there have been many city simulation games made in the digital form. This demand not going unnoticed by the tabletop hobby and especially Bezier Games, who made Suburbia, the highest ranked city building board game on BoardGameGeek, the world's most popular boardgaming site. 

    In Suburbia, you are in charge of building a borough and you want it to be the most populated among all your other competitors.

    The board game feels like one of the scenario campaign missions in Sim City as at the start of the game, several public victory goals are decided on randomly with each player getting one private one too, which only that player can do. Thus like one of those scenario missions, you have a niche way you want to build your borough that accomplishes as many goals as possible. 

    During a player's turn, they first choose a tile from the row of those available and then after paying for it, build it in their borough for it's effects. Such as green tiles are residential areas and usually gives you population while blue business tiles usually gives you money.

    Related: Toc Toc Woodman: One knock from Cheers to Disaster

    Add to that, many tiles are connected indirectly to other player's boroughs. Such as airports that gives that player a benefit everytime another player builds an airport. Thus Suburbia is not a multiplayer solitaire game. You actually want and have to keep track of what the other players are building and doing to win. 

    Although the art style is somewhat bland. At the end of the game, you do feel you have built a borough with a distinct personality and probably will still want to take a picture of it as i did with my libertarian borough called Independence Hill. 

    Suburbia has many pros, it is fun, plays in about an hour and a half, is interactive and has quite a bit of strategic value to each decision. The downsides of the game is that it is probably on the heavier side strategy wise for newer gamers to the hobby and the luck of what tiles get revealed during a player's turn . 

    Overall, a thumbs up from me and it truly gives me the feeling I had from playing Sim City when I was a child and yet, does it in less than 2 hours. 

    E: huibin@toytag.com
    Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.

    4 Best Brain Games to Keep Your Child Learning Throughout Summer

    4 Best Brain Games to Keep Your Child Learning Throughout Summer

    Summer is fast approaching and kids across the globe are getting ready to forbid learning for the next couple of months. As parents, simply thinking about the kids being off for the summer is exhausting and then, it becomes quite concerning. When your kids aren't spending their days at summer camp, they'll likely be lazy, indoors, and playing video games. Oh, how times have changed. Children don’t spend their free time exploring the great outdoors like you used to in the good ole’ days

    Fortunately, there are many games for kids that are just as educational as they are entertaining.  And as the saying goes, “if you don’t use it you lose it”. So, let’s make sure your child uses his or her noggin this summer. Keep their mind sharp and active with these brain games.    

    Zip It for High Speed Entertainment

    No parent wants summer to feel like school for their child but no parent wants their child to waste the months away playing a video game either.  So, the key is to find games for kids that are highly entertaining and just as educational.

     Zip It is one of those games for kids. It's a fun, educational game that's similar to Scattegories, only designed for kids. Zip it is a two-player game where they race to create as many words as possible, which keeps the energy and learning exciting. As a bonus, the pouch makes this brain game perfect for those long road trips to your next summer vacation.

    Keep a Young Mind Sharp Throughout Summer with Rush Hour

    For the kids who really like to put their brain to the test, you have to get them Rush Hour. This game is ideal for kids 8 and up – and yes, even adults enjoy playing it just as much as the young ones.

    It's equipped with 80 challenges, so it's not one of those educational games your child will get sick of the next time something cool pops up on the television screen. Since it is so progressive and versatile, this brain game can also be used to keep the mind sharp and active for many more summers to come. Children simply don’t grow out of this kind of fun.  

    Keep the Brain Buzzing with HexHive

     Some of the best brain games are the one where kids have no idea they’re learning. After all, we’ve all heard the, “I don’t want to go to school,” or “…but learning sucks.” So, it’s important to disguise learning opportunities every chance you get – especially during the summer months when most kids aren’t excited about anything associated with the words “education”.

    HexHive is one of those brain games. The learning aspects are masked by the entertainment of the game. Your child uses the pieces to strengthen their logic, concentration, and math skills while building a hive at the same time. There’s also many expansion pieces available, so your little one is certain to never get bored of these brain games.    

    The Never-Ending Puzzle for Never-Ending Education

    brain games, games for kids, educational game

    Kids love puzzles. There’s no other way to say it. As soon as a child gains control of their motor skills, they're reaching for those puzzle pieces and they'll continue to do so as long as the puzzle is a challenge. However, replacing puzzles every time they have memorized each pieces’ position can get expensive.  

    Fortunately, you have the Yottsugo brain game - a puzzle that never ends. It incorporates spelling into to the mix to enhance the educational value of the game. As for the fun, it comes from the Clue Book. Each clue results in your child rearranging the pieces and building new words. So, the game never ends and it never gets old. 

     

    These brain games for kids don’t even begin to skim the surface. ToyTag has educational games hidden in forms of entertainment for every age group. Whether your child is a visual learner, auditory learner, read-write learner or a Kinesthetic Learner, there’s many options that’ll help keep their mind sharp throughout the summer season. So, don't let them waste away in video games and grab your educational toys and brain teasers today. 

     

     

    3Doodler PRO, the future of 3D Printing is now!

    3Doodler PRO, the future of 3D Printing is now!

     #What will you create, this is the tagline for WobbleWorks, the company that creates the latest generation of the world's first and best-selling 3D printing pen with accolades such as Toy of The Year 2016 under their belt. At this point, some companies might sit on their laurels but not WoobleWorks, who has this year come out with a pen that will shake up the market once again. 

    (Picture sourced from 3dengr.com)

    The 3Doodler PRO, which is made for professionals and the more in-depth user in mind. The PRO, unlike a 3D printer, allows a mockup to be made and edited in real time and space and in materials that one would not have fathomed could be moulded by a 3D pen before. These include filaments made of wood fibers, metals like bronze and copper, nylon and polycarbonate. The finished creations of wood even able to be stained, the metals polished and the nylon dyed. All this on top of the current range of vast filaments that the CREATE pen uses already. 

    Related: 3Doodler - The World's First and Best 3D Pen

    The way they are able to enable all these different materials to be used in the PRO is the range of different temperatures the pen can be set to, to melt the different filaments. This is all done ergonomically in a smooth carbon fiber shell with easily adjustable dials, that control both speed and temperature. An LCD display also ensures you always know exactly the temperature you are working at. Which is essential for precision for the professional user. The different temperatures and the high-speed variable fan also gives one control over how quickly the filaments cools, thus allowing more time for one to mould the filaments as the filament leaves the pen.

    The PRO is also able to keep going even under intense use as the drive system for the pen has also been revamped with the working professional in mind.  

    The future the PRO produces was one that was only thought of in movies before but is now a reality at an affordable price too. Watch this space or our Instagram to find out more and be introduced to the future!

    E: huibin@toytag.com
    Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.

    Boardgamers of Singapore #4: Rajeev Batra  (The Nice Veto)

    Boardgamers of Singapore #4: Rajeev Batra (The Nice Veto)

    The guts it takes to uproot and move to another country, culture and community is a trait that many would find enviable. This is because the experience can be a risky and harrowing one but some do find success. This is what has happened when Rajeev decided to progress his Finance career by moving from India to Singapore a few years back. 

    When Rajeev first arrived on our shores, he was not aware that board games had progressed as they did and was actually playing in Scrabble tournaments to indulge in the board gaming hobby. It was at one of these tournaments that he met Colin Lim, a local board game enthusiast who asked if he would be interested in trying some new modern designer board games. 

    Rajeev said a fateful yes and played Modern Art at Play Nation and from then on he would be spending on average more than a few good hours weekly with the board gaming community in Singapore. 

    Rajeev's strong suit is that he is open to trying all kinds of games as shown in the above picture. There, he is playing Fief: France 1429, a wargame, even though he is not the keenest on games with a lot of conflicts but still tries to enjoy the game as much as possible. 

    Also, if Rajeev has tried a game, he is willing to say he would rather not play a game in a respectful way. This is important as not only does it make planning game nights easier but also really helps to speed up the choosing of games during a game session. This simple veto, saving everybody in the group time so we can all indulge more in the hobby playing process rather than choosing. 

    Related: Boardgamers of Singapore #3: Andy Ng (The Discerning Organiser)

    Rajeev's recommended game of the day is Istanbul, which won the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2014. The Kennerspiel is a prestigious board game award given out in Germany during the Essen Spiel Fair targeted at experienced gamers.

    Istanbul is a game where you are a merchant in the grand bazaar of Istanbul trying to sell goods to obtain the most rubies. Gameplay is done by moving yourself up to as many assistants as you have with you. This is because you will have to drop off an assistant on every tile you move on. The final spot where you land is where you will perform the tile's special ability. The first person to get 5 rubies wins. 

    The reasons why Rajeev likes Istanbul are it is a fast and strategic game that plays in about an hour, has a lot of replayability as the many tiles can be rearranged for a different puzzle each time and the game's art also really appeals to him which is a great bonus for a Euro game.

    Istanbul though is not perfect as he states how some tiles do have an element of luck with the rolling of dice or randomized cards, which could possibly disrupt a good plan.

    Istanbul is a board game that won a world famous award for a reason and is very approachable for newer gamers. Do give it a try as Rajeev definitely gives it a seal of excellence. 

    E: huibin@toytag.com
    Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.