His Dork Materials

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I had long been under the impression was a bit short on outlets for nerdly pursuits.  Granted, there's the big Comic Convention every summer (Featuring the largest concentration of nerds in the Western Hemisphere!) but that feels more like an out-of-towner thing.  The biggest comic store represented there is always Comic Relief, down from Berkeley, and both the retailers and the con-goers all seem to be disproportionately from outside the San Diego region.  Near as I can tell San Diego has two dedicated board-game realtors, compared with, by my estimate, over half a dozen in the Bay Area (including two in Downtown Berkeley within blocks of each other). 

It turns out, though, that I've been missing the dorkiness under my nose.  There's actually a pretty fantastic gamestore on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, just off the 805.  It's called Game Empire and they have a pretty good selection: Eurogames from Carcassonne to Puerto Rico and everything between, smaller non-collectable card games, puzzle games, puzzles, a huge selection of RPG core books and supplements, table-top wargames, the ubiquitous Yu-gi-oh, and even a few American standards (Monopoly, Risk, etc.).  They also have a pretty sizeable playing space.

Moreover, two doors down there's a big Science Fiction bookstore, Mysterious Universe (which had George R.R. Martin scheduled to come in for a signing).  And in the next shopping center over there's a huge comic book store, ComicKaze.  So after living in San Diego for 18 years, it's only as I'm returning for a brief visit that I discover what seems to be San Diego's principal dork enclave (A dorkclave?).

Anyhow, I wound up with copies of Power Grid and Ticket to Ride.  Kelsey got some comic books.  Now I just need to figure out how to cram two more boxes into my already-burgeoning luggage.

(And for those who care, Ticket to Ride and Power Grid are both highly recommended.  Ticket to Ride's more of a fun family-type game.  Moderate levels of strategy, a good deal of luck, though the luck factor isn't dominant.  Easy to learn and fun to play.  It accomodates 2-5 players and plays in about an hour (though the time can vary wildly).  I'm almost never not in the mood for it (and if I'm not, it's usually because I just finished playing three games in a row).  Power Grid's a bit tougher.  The random element is pretty minimal and there's a lot of strategy involved.  It combines bidding, resource management, and careful city selection.  And it teaches basic economics while you play!  When I sell it to people, I tell them that it's a really fun game that rewards careful budgeting, rational planning, and sensible development.  Surprisingly few people take me up on the game, though.  Power Grid also, in addition to requiring more strategy than Ticket to Ride, has a lot more rules.  Each turn has multiple phases, and the whole game is played in 3 different parts, with the ground rules changing from part to part, so it's a bit heavy for the first-time player.  But it's quite rewarding once you get into it, and can be played by 2-6 players in an hour and a half to two hours.)

1 Comment

Of course Zach! Didn't you know we use to be a haven for science fiction writers? UCSD churns them out of their real science programs.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on March 17, 2006 7:36 PM.

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