A Games Club of Maryland Meeting Site located at Bridge Church in Annapolis.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Time and More Gaming Opportunities!

Hi Everybody!

Over the past few months as leadership has changed with FND, it appears that this blog is no longer to be used - something I (Lee) have no qualms with!  The guys in charge have done a great job and I've been thoroughly enjoying coming out to FND as a member, not a leader!

That being said, since this blog is now up to over 2,500 views and continues to get hits every day, I thought it would be wise to post an update on behalf of the guys at FND.

Friday Night Dice is now meeting at 7:00 PM instead of 6:30 PM so please be sure to adjust your calendars.  Additionally, the guys are using Facebook as a means of communicating changes to events so check it out here:

Finally, I'd like to toss in a shameless plug to anybody viewing this site.  If the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of the month simply aren't enough games for you, please head on over to to check out my new gaming group that meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month in Severn!

Hopefully you are all well!  Many Blessings!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Friday Night Dice General Update

Greetings Friends of FND!

This post is simply to give a general update of some of the activity of Friday Night Dice.

As many of you know, the leadership group of FND to this point has been a three-man team of Brian Chamberlin, Drew Knudston, and myself (Lee Nicholas).

Recently, after large amount of prayer and seeking, Beth and I have decided we will be shifting from Bridge Church to calling a different church our home.  This is a move that is 100% out of feeling called elsewhere and we are leaving with the full blessing of both Pastor and church leadership.  I genuinely insist that there are no ill feelings or anything of the sort leading to this!

Unfortunately, however, this means that I will know longer be able to participate in the leadership of Friday Night Dice.  While FND is a part of GCOM, it is also an important ministry associated with Bridge Church.

As far as we know now this shouldn't impact FND in any meaningful way!  Brian and Drew will be taking over the blog and any communications via the FND account.  And I love you all and will still come to FND with a truck-full (Honda Fit-full?) of games, just as a patron, not a leader!

Personally, it has been a tremendous blessing to be part of this leadership team and helping to run FND.  Getting to know everyone at FND has been wonderful - we couldn't have asked for a better group of gamers.  I am looking forward to continuing to game with you all!

Many Blessings!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1/30 Featured Games

Hi everybody!

With January being one of those awesome months that contains five Fridays, we at FND will be having our bonus 5th Friday of the month session!  Woo!  This means that there'll be two FNDs in a row - on 1/30 and then subsequently on 2/6.

This upcoming session (on 1/30) we will have a unique theme:  Arabian Games!

Oddly enough there are a good amount of games that involve Arabian and they are all quite different.  Now some of these will be a bit of a stretch, but most of them very specifically involve an Arabian theme set in the world of the Arabian Nights.  Let's check 'em out!

Tales of the Arabian Nights

I don't think we could have this theme and not feature this game.  This is possibly the most unique game I own.  It is a storytelling game (not quite an RPG) in which you move your character around a map of Arabia and respond to various events.  There is a massive tome of a book that details various interactions and how your responses influence them.  It is more of an experience than a game and is extremely enjoyable.

Five Tribes

Five Tribes is one of the hottest games of 2014 and it is also set in the world of the Tales of the Arabian Nights.  Admittedly, the theme in this one is a bit less consequential and certainly not as rich as in Tales, however it is definitely present in the artwork.  This game is very much a medium-weight Euro game and it is one of the best games of the year.  It incorporates the mechanisms of mancala and various other things to create a wonderful and thought-provoking package.


Okay so this one technically takes place in Spain, however it is in Grenada during the Middle Ages which is a time when this part of their culture and architecture was heavily influenced by Arabia.  So it flies.  This game, a former winner of the Spiel de Jahres (in 2003 I believe) award, is an excellent gateway-level game in which players are trying to build their own Alhambra.  Players are awarded points for the amount of various types of buildings they have for each type.  It has very similar mechanisms and feel to Ticket to Ride but with different scoring and theme.  This is a terrific game, particularly if you're relatively new to the hobby.

Camel Up

Camel Up is the somewhat controversial winner of the 2014 Spiel de Jahres award.  Many people felt that it should have gone to Splendor instead of this light, almost family-style game.  Well, after having played both Splendor and Camel Up, I firmly agree with the choice of Camel Up.  I've played Splendor more times in 2014 than any other game (mostly because my wife loves it so much) and it is a great game.  However, I recently played three games of Camel Up in the span of 24 hours and afterwards it was generally agreed that we had so much more fun playing Camel Up than we would have with Splendor.  Camel Up is a betting game where you wager on a camel race.  It is very luck driven and there is only so much you can do to control things.  But that's why it's so fun!  We had a group of adults hooting and hollering over which of these little wooden camels would cross the finish line first and it was a fantastic time.


Kemet is also a bit of a stretch as it technically takes place in Ancient Egypt, but Egypt is pretty close to Arabia and they interact a lot so I'm tossing it in here.  This is a game that heavily involves player conflict and encourages you to attack each other.  Each player has a group of Egyptian warriors and you are both building up your civilization's technology while also vying for control on the map.  The game is gorgeous and the pieces are awesome.  You can recruit some giant god-like creatures from Egyption lore (huge Scarab beetle, Phoenixes, etc.) and it just feels awesome.  Each player as unique minis for their army and there are various ways to achieve victory.

A Distant Plain

The final game I'm 'featuring' is really one I don't expect us to play.  Not because it's not good - it's superb - but because it would jump to by and far the heaviest game ever played at FND.  This is a genuine War Game and as such it would probably be a bit of a stretch to play at FND.  If people are interested playing this or learning this, I'm all about it and feasibly if we started right at 6:30 we could probably play it by 11:30 but it'd be close with a thorough rules explanation.  I mention it this week because this game features the very recent conflict between the United States and its Coalition against the terrorist forces in Afghanistan.  It is a very recent theme and some of the beauty of this game is how educational it is.  It really helps you better understand the complex and volatile political climate of Afghanistan.  If you're interested in just checking it out, I'll have it there and perhaps we can try and schedule an extra time for it to be played.  I'm determined to make some War-Gamers out of FND, yet!

Well that's all of the featured games!  Invite some friends and bring any of your own Arabian games!  I'm thinking games like Jaipur, Istanbul, or any more I haven't heard of!  Hopefully we'll see you Friday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1/16 Featured Games

Hello Everybody!

This upcoming Friday (in two days!) will be our regularly scheduled FND.  Attendance has been great over the past few months and we expect that to continue as we push forward through this cold January!!  If you're not busy Friday night, come play some games in our lovely (and warm) facilities and Bridge Church!

Also, mark your calendars as January has five Fridays which means we will be having a bonus FND on the fifth Friday of the month!

This upcoming Friday we will be featuring games that involve BOATS.  Boats, Boats, Boats!

I (Lee N.) will not be there this upcoming Friday so our good friends Tish and Laura will be bringing and teaching all of these lovely aquatic games!

Tsuro of the Seas

I have never played Tsuro or its sequel (of the sea), however, I see them all of the time at game stores so I've always presumed they are solid abstract games.  Tsuro of the Sea has some nice artwork that features boats, so even though it is an abstract game (meaning the theme doesn't necessarily influence the mechanics), it still fits this theme quite nicely.  Again, I've never played, so I'm not sure how it works, but according to BGG:  The basic game play of Tsuro of the Seas resembles that of Tom McMurchie's Tsuro: Players each have a ship that they want to sail — that is, keep on the game board — as long as possible. Whoever stays on the board the longest wins the game.


Hansa is another game I've never played - in fact I'd never heard of it until Tish mentioned it (which is impressive - I'm pretty nerdy and have heard of most games).  Hansa is a neat Euro-game that has players taking the role of Hanseatic Merchants trying to buy and sell goods, establish trading posts, and do other Euro-y things along the coasts of Scandinavia. 

Settlers of Catan: Seafarers

Settlers of Catan was my gateway game and I personally own every expansion (except the newest).  Tish will be bringing her copy of Catan with the Seaside expansion.  While at this point in my life I generally avoid Catan, there is a certain degree of nostalgia when I think of it.  We played the heck out of Catan back in the day and Seafarers was always our favorite expansion.  If you've never played Settlers before then you should because its arguably the most important board game of the past twenty years (its that old).  Trading, bidding, rolling 7's.  It'll all be there.

Pirate's Cove

Pirate's Cove is produced by Days of Wonder.  Days of Wonder is probably the company that produces the most consistently good games of anybody out there. They don't make a lot of 'em per year, but when they do, they're great. Ticket to Ride, Memoir 44, Shadows Over Camelot, Five Tribes - all superb Days of Wonder games.  Pirate's Cove never really picked up the sames team as those other games, but it has gorgeous components and by all accounts is quite fun.  You're pirates.  You do piratey things. I've never played it, soo that's all I've got to offer as far as specifics, other than a complimentary arrrrr.


Our next game has actually won the Spiel de Jahres award and did so back in 2005.  I've never played Niagara, but generally speaking games that win the Spiel are quite good.  According to BGG, here's what you do:

Niagara is set in the not particularly safe world of rushing waterfalls. In the late 18th Century, the Shawnee and Iroquois Indians pointed white Desperadoes, Mercenaries and Adventurers in the direction of hidden caches of valuable jewels, in the hopes of turning them against one another and away from their territorial expansion ambitions. Players play as some of those Adventurers.
The first player to be able to claim ownership of five jewels is the winner. But the chase after the riches has some snags. The speed of the river is always changing, since the speed depends on the decisions of the players and the changeable weather. And once a canoe goes over the falls, it's a hefty investment to replace it. And there are also the Desperadoes to contend with, who aren't above trying to plunder the riches from Adventurers returning home. Niagara is distinguished by an innovative movement mechanic as well as a beautiful three-dimensional rendering of the waterfall setting.
Dominion: Seaside
Dominion is a very famous Deckbuilding game that has roughly six thousand expansions.  The one we will be specifically featuring this Friday is the Seaside expansion which has several boat and port related cards.  In this game, everyone starts with the same ten cards and as the game progresses you add cards to your deck to try and create the most efficient engine of cards.  It plays fast, is immensely replayable because each game has different cards, and overall is a very good game.  It also is a Spiel de Jahres winner (I think).

Well, that's all of our featured games!  We hope to see you out at FND this upcoming Friday.  Bring some friends and have fun!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1/2 Featured Games

Hello current and prospective FNDers!

First and foremost, Happy Belated Holidays and Happy New Years!  Hopefully if you're reading this you had a blessed season and are continuing to do so.

In the midst of this busy time, we have one more thing to add to your list - our upcoming session on Friday, January 2nd, 2015 at 6:30 PM!  What better way to start of the new year than with some board and card games?!  I sure cannot think of one!

This upcoming session we will be featuring Games We Got For Christmas!  By "we" I don't just mean Beth and I, though those are the ones I'll be writing about, but rather everyone who comes!  So bring your new games and let's give 'em a go.  Or, if you want to play some games you've owned for a while, that's fine to.

Here are some of the featured!


Concept is a game I absolutely love - it is one of my favorite party games.  It is essentially 20-questions with pictures instead of verbal clues.  Well... Kind of.  On your turn, you get a word or phrase (anything as easy as Polar Bear to as difficult as "It is what it is").  On the table is a large board with many pictures, each a simple clip-art style image depicting some kind of 'concept.'  Using pawns of various types, you must get your team to guess your word.  If you got Polar Bear, for example, you could use a pawn to indicate it is a white animal.  If they still didn't get it, you could further indicate it is cold.  It requires a surprising amount of logical AND creativ
e thinking, which is why I love it so much - it really uses both sides of the brain.

No Thanks!

No Thanks! is a quick and light card game.  We'll probably play this between games at some point.  On your turn you either take the current card (which has a numeric value of either 3-35) or pass on it.  If you pass, you must put a chip on it.  If you're out of chips, you have to take it.  The catch is, you don't want points, so you never want cards.  But you have to take some.  When you take a card, you also get the chips that are on it - so maybe that 26 is rough, but it has 10 chips on it so it's not as bad.  Finally, if you have cards that make 'sets' of sequential numbers, only the lowest is counted.  So where as having 33 and 35 would net you 68 points (enough to give you last place almost certainly), having 33, 34, and 35 give you only 33 points.  It's fun and easy but still allows for interesting decisions, which is exactly what I look for in a card game.

Snake Oil

This was the Christmas of party games for us as we also got a fun one called Snake Oil.  This game is similar to Apples to Apples (or another game that comes in a Black Brick that shall go unnamed) in the sense that on a player's turn all other players are trying to win your vote.  In this one, on your turn you draw a card telling you what kind of  customer you are - you might be a cheerleader, or a homeless guy, or a pirate.  Then, from their hand of six cards, each other player combines two words to make a type of item.  This could be Joy Closets, or Stalker Vests, or Urine Bombs - and then they have to try and convince the consumer why their product is the one they want.  It is hilarious.

Imperial Settlers

This is the one I am most excited about.  This game just recently came out and is by the same designer as Robinson Crusoe - one of my personal favorites.  This is a civilization building game and it feels like it.  You are building an infrastructure based on cards that you put into play - some allow you to take worker-placement style actions, some give you production each round, some give you one-time scoring bonuses.  By the end, you want to be the civilization with the most points.  It is a very popular new game and is supposed to be quite excellent.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

This game I've had for a while, but I received the Rebel Aces expansion for Christmas, which features a fancy new A-Wing and a fancy new B-Wing.  Last time we did this with like six players - probably a bit too much - but still had a good time.  We have enough ships where we can definitely do teams of two.

The Ancient World

This last one didn't actually come for Christmas, it just happened to arrive via Kickstarter around the same time.  This is a worker-placement game with the most beautiful artwork I think I've ever seen in a game - it is truly stunning.  The game itself seems quite enjoyable as well and it is about the same complexity level as Lords of Waterdeep.

So those are the games that WE got - feel free to post in the comments what you all got and bring 'em along to play!  Hope to see everyone out this Friday!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

12/19 Featured Games

Hello Friends of FND!

This upcoming Friday (one week from the day this is being posted) is our next FND Session!

The past two sessions have been exceptional - over the course of them we've had five new people show up and have averaged around 16 people per night.  It's been great.

This upcoming FND is particularly exciting because it is our final one of 2014!  Our gaming group is approaching our one year anniversary in a few months, having started in Spring of 2014, and it's great to see how the group has grown.  Our first session had around six people.  Now we average fifteen and have had well over fifty total different people show up.  We look forward to seeing that growth continue!

As this is the final gaming night of 2014, we will be celebrating all of FND's favorite games of 2014!  Now the GCOM webpage has a system for ranking our most 'popular' games based on the amount of times they've been played, but I'm not strictly going to use that so much as the simple eye-test for what people seem to really enjoy and also play a lot.  Of course you are more than welcome to bring games not on this list and play them :-)  Our featured games are always just an outline, not a strict set of rules!


We've played this SO much over the past three months.  It's not my favorite game of 2014, mainly because personally its a bit abstract and light for my tastes, but it is highly enjoyable and is many people's top game of 2014.  It was the runner-up for the Spiel de Jahres (the German Game of the year award) and many thought it should have won.  In this game you either are taking gems or buying things with gems on your turn.  The things you buy make it easier to buy subsequent things.  They also give you points.  You want the most points.  Sound simple?  It is.  And it's very fun!

Lords of Waterdeep:

Lords of Waterdeep is probably the #1 most played game at FND.  It is a very intro-level worker placement game but it is great fun.  In this game you are different factions in the D&D universe competing for the most prestige in town (aka points).  You recruit different people (warriors, rogues, mages) to go on stereotypical fantasy quests.  Who ever has the most points at the end wins.  This is a great gateway game doesn't take too long provided everyone is efficient with their turns.

Battlestar Galactica:

The first night we played this at FND was somewhat of a revelation.  Nobody had played it before and it was such a great time - there was in-character banter, accusations, and monologues.  It was exactly what you wanted a game of BSG to be.  Since then we've played a few more times and it's always been great.  I've also picked up the Exodus and the Pegasus expansions since our first time and am anxious to implement some of those components.  I think we're going to try and start with this game so that we definitely can finish with time to spare.


Everyone loves Telestrations (or mostly everyone). You draw, you guess, you repeat.  Laughter ensues.  This game is the 'telephone game' with drawing.  If you're good at drawing it's fun.  If you're bad at drawing it's a riot.  Some of the hardest moments of laughter in my life were while playing this game and most of the top levels of hilarity at FND have occurred while flipping through Telestration's flipbooks.


Kingsburg hasn't hit the table a ton at FND, but each time it has everyone has walked away enjoying it.  And that's also true in my experience outside of FND.  So maybe this one is a bit of stretch, but when thinking of 'games people seemed to enjoy more than others' this one was near the top of the list.  In Kingsburg you are rolling dice, placing them, and taking resources.  It sounds simple (and it is) but it's a good deal of fun.

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

I almost didn't put this one on here because it is so similar to BSG but I've had SO many people say they've thoroughly enjoyed this game, myself included.  This is one of the best games (in my opinion, THE best game) of 2014.  It, like BSG, is a semi-cooperative game in which everyone is trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.  However, somebody might be a traitor.  Everything you do is highly thematic and the game itself is such a delight to play.  It is also very hard to find in the USA right now so if you come just to play a copy, I'm totally fine with that!

Ultimate Werewolf

How could I not list this?  We play it at least once a month.  People request it.  It's great fun.  People get lynched and eaten.  If we're going to feature FND's favorite games of 2014, then this had to be on the list.  Hopefully we'll have a large crowd and can get a 15+ player game of this going.

There are so many more games that we played in 2014 and very rarely did it seem like people had a bad time playing.  Again, these games aren't the only ones allowed to be played, so feel free to bring your own and join in the fun!  If this is your first time coming, we're glad we go to see you at least once in 2014!!

Many blessings and hopefully we'll see you all Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

12/5 Featured Games

Hey guys and gals!
This past Friday we had an awesome night of gaming.  We played a few games with animals (as our theme indicated) and a few games without.  We got in a game of Smash Up, Lords of Waterdeep, Caverna, Robinson Crusoe, and Splendor.  I'm pretty sure an excellent time was had by all thirteen people, including our two newcomers Kevin and Clayton.

Next Friday marks an exciting day for us at FND.  It will be my wife's first day back since the birth of our son, Grady!  As such, since I'm in charge of this blog and the featured games, I'm going to be a bit selfish and have our next session's theme be "Games that Beth loves!"  I told her this recently and she responded "But then I won't be able to choose what to play!"  That's an excellent problem, my dear.

So, without further jibber jabbering, here's the games:


Splendor is super popular right now in the gaming community and our game group is no different.  I think FND has had it played each session for the past three or four sessions.  My BGG list of games played had Ticket to Ride easily at the top for the year 2014.  In two months of owning Splendor it has soared above it, due largely to Beth's unfailing love for it.  It is a very easy game.  You take gems.  You buy things with gems.  Those things let you buy more things.  You get points.  You win.  It takes like 20 minutes but its pretty fun.


Carcassone is a classic tile laying game.  It's kind of like Dominoes but fun.  You get points based on how you place your meeples and the tiles each turn, creating cities and fields and roads and farms.  It's really simple and is really fun.  We have the Big Box so we have a boatload of expansions and can play up to six (I think, maybe seven).

Castles of Burgundy

Castles of Burgundy by good old Stefan Feld is a very highly regarded game by Beth and most gamers.  It is very 'elegant' for lack of a better word - on each turn you roll two dice and those basically decide your options you can take.  You're 14th century nobleman in France building up your land.  Honestly the theme is pretty lightly involved, but it is a very enjoyable game of taking efficient actions and building your estate.


While we're listing Stefan Feld games, Beth also very much enjoys his game called Trajan.  Trajan takes the mechanisms found in Mancala and turns it into a way of taking actions.  Each turn you move little pieces around your roundel just like in mancala at whichever one you end on that's the action you take.  Now, I suspect when Five Tribes arrives at our house hold (the newest game by Days of Wonder) Trajan will go down a bit as it uses a similar mechanic in a bit lighter of a way, but nonetheless right now Beth really enjoys Trajan.

Ticket to Ride

Beth, like every other human being, enjoys Ticket to Ride - particularly on our fancy 10th Anniversary Edition.  Trains.  Tickets.  Pretty maps.  I don't think I need to explain Ticket to Ride much more than that.

Escape: Curse of the Temple

We literally just got this game, however we played it three times in a row just the two of us the first night - which is impressive because we don't play a lot of games two player.  This game occurs in real time (exactly 10 minutes long) and you are trying to escape a temple (picture Indiana Jones) before it caves in on you.  You are frantically rolling dice as fast as you can in order to get the necessary symbols to secure the required number of power gems needed to escape.  Curses can come up that prevent you from talking, make you lose dice that fall on the floor, and all sorts of other crazy things.  It is super fun and fast and frantic.


Kingsburg is a dice rolling game somewhat similar to Castles of Burgundy.  You use your dice to influence various advisers, thus getting resources, which you can use to build up your little empires defenses and infrastructure.  It's really simple and it is really enjoyable - I don't think anyone's ever played it with me and not had a good time.  Beth, of course, enjoys it too.

Ultimate Werewolf

And finally we couldn't have a game night dedicated to what Beth enjoys without it also including a chance for her to lie and betray all of her friends.  So we'll play werewolf at some point.  If you're new and have never played, essentially you lie to your friends about whether you're a werewolf or a villager and try to get them killed.  It's fun.

So, those are all of the games we'll be playing next Friday!  I hope to see everybody out!  Even though they're games Beth enjoys, I think overall they're games the majority of FND enjoys, too.  I will update this again if I a 'reminded' of any games I forgot :-)