Mark Jackson's Visit  |   Back to Santa Clarita Boardgamers

Since our names are so similar, over email Mark Jackson and I are sometimes mistaken for one another. Over email is how I know Mark best, as we've been exchanging messages and participating on the same message boards since 1997 or so. We got to meet in person just once before, when I had the good fortune of attending Gulf Games 7 in 2001. Back then Mark lived in Tennessee, but last summer (2003) a job changed has transported him across the country. Now he lives in Easton, California (a suburb of Fresno), not quite four hours away from my home in Santa Clarita!

Hopefully we'll be seeing more of each other now--our tastes in games are similar, and we both enjoy playing them with kids (ours or other folks'). Our first chance since he moved came on November 10-11, when Mark spent a couple nights to attend a seminar for his work as a pastor. The first night we played a couple games with my kids, then some 2-player games together. The following night was a Santa Clarita Boardgamer session, augmented by quite a few friends in two other local game groups: the Left Coast Gamers and San Fernando Valley Gamers. This, then, is sort of a session report, but mostly a collection of photos from that visit.

Who was there

From the Santa Clarita Boardgamers:me, Ryan & Erin Wheeler, Greg Pettit, Greg Wilzbach
From the Left Coast Gamers:Jonathan Degann, Dave Arnott, John Margerum, Kathy Kunstmann
From the San Fernando Valley Gamers:Scott Woodard, Aaron Capocchi
Special Guest Star:Mark Jackson
and featuring:my kids!

What we played

First night (kids & 2-player): Apples 2 Apples Jr., Die Ritter von der Haselnuss, Rosenkönig, Battleship Card Game, Yellowstone Park, Sauerbaum x2, and Bonobo Beach

Second night (with gamers): Thunder Road, Space Walk, Rüselbande, Mause Rallye, Alhambra x2, King Me!, Piraten Pitt, Apples to Apples Jr. x2, Mampf x2, Nobody But Us Chickens, Kleine Fische, Streetcar, Time's Up, Cheops, Scream Machine, Die Fugger x2, Die Safeknacker, AffenRaffen, Bang!

My kids aren't big-time game players, but I keep trying. :-) Having Mark around may help, as he brings some good games with him, and has a way with kids. Here we're trying Die Ritter von der Haselnuss, one of Teuber's recommended kids' games. Molly liked it quite a bit (she almost won, too), but Sam later told me it was just okay. He's put off a bit by some of the childish themes and cartoon animals of many German games, preferring the excitement of . . .

. . . Thunder Road, an American game involving car racing, combat helicopters, and explosions. :-) This is the following night, with Dave, Greg P, and Mark Jackson around the table.

Now more gamers have arrived, and we're still playing some good kids' games. Mäuse Rallye is a recent favorite. John, Kathy, Aaron, and Molly are playing.

Even with no kids around they tried some kid games. Here's Ryan, Greg P, and Erin trying Piraten Pitt

Aaron and Erin!

Dave's true feelings about Alhambra are clear to see in his body language . . .

. . . though a second later he showed off his acting talents. Also playing are Greg W., Jonathan, and Mark Jackson

Later we tried a lesser-known Dorra game, Safeknacker. It didn't generate much enthusiasm, but I sort of like it. (It would be better with chips instead of paper money.)

Back on the main table it was time for the big Bang!, played by Kathy, Jonathan, Greg W, Aaron, Erin, and John (offscreen). Did you guys play with the High Noon expansion? We had it.

A new Essen game, Adlung's Die Fugger. We tried this a couple times, and I think I like it. That's Greg P on the left, followed by Ryan, Mark Jackson, and me (Mark Johnson). See? We're not that similar, are we?

Try another look from this angle.

And one more. Got it? (I wasn't nodding off, I was concentrating!

Here's Mark Jackson with Dave. Much easier to tell apart, I think.

I don't have the luxury of a game room, or even a basement to store & display games. Luckily, it's bone-dry around here, which makes storing games out in the garage acceptable. Finally I had my modest collection organized enough so that people could wander out to the garage, step over my old terrier sleeping on the doorstep, and pick a game. Doesn't sound like much, but I was thrilled to see it actually working!

Other comments

Mark Jackson:...a big "thank you" to everyone for making my time so enjoyable. You guys know how to throw a party!

Greg Wilzbach: Nobody But Us Chickens - A fun light game similar to Hick Hack but with a few new twists. I enjoyed this one.
Scream Machine - A theme park building card game that was fun but a little short for my taste. My theme park design experience didn't help me a bit...I came in dead last. REMATCH! I think I am going to buy it just for the theme.