Blueprints – Board Game

blueprints

Following on from yesterday’s post about board game stores in New York, today I’d like to introduce you to a current favourite in Maison L&A… Blueprints!

We picked Blueprints up on a whim while in the Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn, NY (which is very unlike me, normally I research the any game I buy endlessly before I buy it!). I had no idea what the game was about but the box caught my eye and the theme of the game grabbed me instantly.

In Blueprints, players take the role of architects and compete against each other to construct the best building possible out of several different materials. The game is played over the course of 3 rounds. At the start of the round, players take a random blueprint and hide it behind a screen. Then a bunch of dice are randomly drawn from a bag, rolled, and put in the centre of the table for all to see. Next, everyone takes turns to choose one die, place it anywhere on their blueprint (effectively building a 3D building with the dice) and drawing a new die from the bag until everyone has taken a total of 6 dice. The buildings are scored and you start all over again. Simple as that.

The scoring is where the most interesting part lies. There are 4 colours of dice, each representing a different type of material (green is recycled products, black = stone, transparent = glass and orange =wood). The final building can be made with any combination of these dice but buildings are scored based on the individual usage of each type.

For example, glass dice in your final building are scored individually by the number shown on top of the dice, so a glass dice with the number 6 will be snapped up quickly as that’s worth 6 points. Recycled material is scored according to how much of it there is in your entire building and the value rises exponentially with each additional die. Stone is worth more the higher up in your building it is. 1 point each on the ground floor, and an amazing 8 points each on the 4th floor or higher. Wood gives you 2 points for each other die that touches a face of the wood die.

blueprints coverAs you can see, every turn presents you with plenty of agonising moments – whether is choosing which die would give you the most points right now or sitting quietly, sweating while your opponent’s eyes and hand hovers slowly toward that one die you need and have been waiting forever for.

It’s those moments that have made this a firm favourite in our house. The game is amazingly simple to learn and play but it gives you a great sense of satisfaction at the end of each round when everyone’s screens are lifted up and you sit back and admire the incredible/bonkers buildings people have made. Everyone I have taught it to has loved it and asked to play against immediately after the game wraps up.

Blueprints treads a fine line between filler and full-length board game. However, it is ideal as a warm up for a big games night and can be enjoyed by all ages (I taught it to 7 year old Japanese kids at school and it’s all they ask to do in lessons now!). The game comes in a really small box making it a great choice to be tossed in a bag and played in a café over coffee.

Since buying Blueprints in New York, Vanessa and I have so many games of this and we’ve yet to grow tired of it. If you get chance, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Blueprints gets a full two-thumbs up and the official L&A nod of approval!

Board Gaming in New York

Whenever we go travelling, we always make sure that we eat our way through the town. Food is definitely main factor we consider when planning our any trip. As you’ve already read, we definitely worked hard to cover all bases while in New York!

However, no trip is complete without a little visit to the area’s (friendly) local game store. New York is definitely a fantastic place to explore as a gamer — with tonnes of locations to geek out in – and we managed to squeeze a visit to two stores during our limited time there.

The Compleat Strategist

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The first store was “The Compleat Strategist“. The store is less than a minute’s walk from the Empire State Building, in dead centre Manhattan. From the outside, it looks like a tiny shoe box of a shop but once you go inside, you notice that the back wall extends out almost to the horizon and every wall is covered in games. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a store with so much inventory crammed inside. They had a great selection of all sorts of games and gaming accessories. I think I came close to frothing at the mouth when I saw all the gaming goodness inside.

I spent a good while looking around and went to speak to the lone staff member in the store. Unfortunately, he was rather rude and dismissive which spoiled over the over all experience and turned me off the idea of supporting the store with a purchase. All the games in the store are also at full recommended retail price so without some kind of welcoming atmosphere, it is hard to justify handing over money to the staff. Afterwards, I read many similar stories about customer experiences there so it seems like I was not the only one. It’s a shame really as the store is wonderfully stocked and it never hurts just to smile and say hello to customers!

Moving on to our 2nd gaming store visit…

Twenty Sided Store

20sided front

We travelled across into what seemed like the middle-of-nowhere Brooklyn, down several residential streets before bumping into the “Twenty Sided Store“. The store may not be the best located, but what it lacks in prime real-estate, it makes up ten-fold in friendly staff and a well presented store. We were welcomed into the store by two members of staff and immediately asked if we needed any help looking for games. Vanessa and I immediately felt this was the better store. The collection of games on sale is no where near a large as most other stores but it was reasonably sized nonetheless. The nice thing about the Twenty Sided Store is that they don’t have to rely solely on board game sales as a business, they serve food and drinks to be enjoyed in the huge area at the back of the store; filled with tables, chairs and an extensive games library just waiting to be played.

After poking around the games for sale, Vanessa and I both picked out a random game to buy based purely on how nice the game looked. Vanessa chose a small two-player game in a tin box called BraveRats by Japanese games designed Seiji Kanai. I went for a game called Blueprints because I loved the box art and the idea of making little buildings out of dice really made me smile.

Anyway, that about rounds up our board gaming adventures in New York. It was fun to check out some American stores and see all of the different games that just aren’t (easily) available in the UK or Germany.

If you’re in New York and looking to play some games, definitely check out the Twenty Sided Store for a lovely store that welcomes gamers. If you don’t care about customer service and just want to look at millions of board games all under one roof, then head to the Compleat Strategist.

Tune in tomorrow to L&A for my review of Blueprints! :)

 

The Compleat Strategist

11 East 33rd Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenue), New York, NY, 10010

TEL: 212-686-3880

 

Twenty Sided Store

362 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11211

TEL: 718-963-1578

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FREE (Non-Food) related things to do in New York

I wanna be like you…

So when we went to New York, I had a huge list (I mean HUGE list) of things to eat. We managed every single one of them except the Ramen Burger – partly because we ran out of time, ate far too many burgers (4 in two weeks is a lot apparently) and friends who had tried it said it was just an over-rated mess. I’m still gutted we didn’t go, but it means we have to go again! And in case you were wondering, we did actually get a few things done that weren’t food-related. Check this stuff out:

Walk The Brooklyn Bridge

It was cold but sunny when we wandered across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so lovely – snow still covered the sides of the walkway and the views were immense. You can cycle, roller-blade, skateboard, or even just slowly wander across and there’s a great ice cream on the Brooklyn side too. Really cool and FREE thing to do that’s a little bit different to a normal pricey day out in the Big Apple.

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Superbowl

If you are lucky enough to be here for Superbowl, get to a sports bar and find a team to support. Our timing was amazing – and the sports bar was fun.

Ground Zero

Pretty crazy to think that two towers used to stand in the area. We wrote more about it here.

Karaoke

Not technically free, but had to put it on the list as it was super cheap. We met up with a load of people we had met in Japan at DUET 35 and all descended into a karaoke booth for singing the evening away. Good price, good drinks and lovely place.

Walk the High Line

This used to be a rail track until 1980 and it’s now been made into a lovely elevated walkway covered in green and with amazing views. I can imagine it being absolutely rammed in the summer months, but in winter it was a calm and quiet place to wander for an afternoon.

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Macy’s

You could probably hang out in Macy’s all day long – it’s the world’s largest store!! It’s huge and famous and even has THREE Starbucks inside (they have Matcha Frappachino!). The old wooden escalators are famous and it’s a lovely place to hang out if you’re cold or it’s raining outside.

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Times Square

It’s a must-see when you are in New York. I didn’t know whether to even put it on the list, as everyone would go and see the bright sparkling lights, but it’s free after all. The New Year’s Ball is the most disappointing thing I saw in America. It’s absolutely TINY – no idea why they made such a big deal out of it. In the middle of the square there is a Toys ‘R’ Us – it was amazing. They have a ride inside, roaring dinosaurs and some of the coolest stuffed toys ever and all your favourite cartoon friends waiting to get their photo taken with you!
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IMG_6476Eat a Big Apple

I know the title says ‘not food’, but you guys know me by now. My life revolves around food and this just has to be done – I always find an apple to eat when I’m in NY – it’s silly but fun and it’s probably the only bit of fruit we ate during the whole trip haha!

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