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Toy Sale at Amoeba SF, 1/25-1/27

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 17, 2019 04:03pm | Post a Comment

The toys and collectibles department at Amoeba San Francisco is fully stocked with those hard-to-find and rare fan favorite items you've been searching for your entire life! For ONE weekend only, it will ALL go on sale!

That's right. Starting Friday, January 25th, all new and used toys, collectible figures, and games (excluding video games) at Amoeba SF will be a whopping 20% off! Sale ends Sunday, January 27th.

Don't miss this shopportunity for fun!

Toy Sale at Amoeba SF

International Tabletop Day Is Happening this Saturday!

Posted by Amoebite, April 25, 2018 06:20pm | Post a Comment

International Tabletop Day

By Chris Curtis

Nice selection of used games hitting the floor on ITTD!

Here at Amoeba Music Hollywood, we just wrapped up another epic Record Store Day, a key annual event promoting the vitality and excitement of brick and mortar music shops. RSD (first held in 2008) actually took its inspiration from an earlier yearly event: Free Comic Book Day, which launched in 2002 as an effort to bring more potential readers into comic shops. Seeing the positive effect from such events, other retailers and media purveyors hoped to get in on the action, and subsequently we’ve seen Free Role Playing Game Day, Cassette Store Day, Independent Bookstore Day, and International Tabletop Day (ITTD). The latter two events are coming up this Saturday, April 28th, and we’ll celebrate both at Amoeba Hollywood! 

So what’s ITTD all about? If you haven’t been following the board game renaissance you might be surprised to know that more new games are coming out than ever before, and sales in the industry have been steadily increasing for a decade. Beyond mere numbers, game design has evolved dramatically and many new play mechanisms have been introduced or refined. Modern games are generally less luck-based, play faster with less downtime, and involve more decision-making by the players. There is also a vast array of themes and concepts, from historical events to fantasy tropes to space exploration and dozens more. Board and card games have unquestionably gotten better since the 1990s, and it’s exciting to see the medium mature! It's also great to see people rediscovering the importance of social interaction in our increasingly impersonal digital world.

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Score Board: Soundtracks for Tabletop Games, Part Two

Posted by Amoebite, April 2, 2018 02:59pm | Post a Comment

By Chris Curtis

Howdy gamesters! Welcome to the second installment of an occasional series of articles on soundtracking your board game experiences. In part one I made the case that the right music can elevate your fun around the table as much as it can with any social gathering. The tricky part with tabletop game ambience, though, is that you’re generally avoiding lyric-centric music, which wipes out a huge swath of choices.

My search for appropriate gaming background music has led me to dig into some neglected corners of my own music collection. Lately I’ve been re-listening to some '90s electronic and ambient releases that have survived years of collection culling.

For a brief period, ambient or electronic listening music was being heavily hyped by the music press. During the height of the British house and techno scene, clubs had begun to offer a separate music room apart from the main dance floor where clubgoers could take a break from the unrelenting beats. Adventurous DJs played a mix of '70s electronic LPs, mellow psych and prog, sound and nature effects, NASA recordings, and custom samples, along with current beatless 12” mixes - a blend designed to sooth the savage breast of the ecstasy eater. These “chillout” or ambient rooms became quite popular, and after album releases dubbed “ambient house” by The KLF (Chill Out) and The Orb (The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld), a spate of similar releases surfaced, most on independent labels, and a new (sub)genre was born. The scene flourished for a couple years but ran its course by the mid-'90s. Truth be told, not a lot of the material holds up, and, arguably, only a handful of classic records emerged from the heyday years.

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Games for Gala Gatherings: Tabletop Gift Guide 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 07:52pm | Post a Comment

Tabletop Games Gift Guide 2017

By Chris Curtis

With the holidays upon us once again (yipes!), thoughts turn to gift-giving and social gatherings. How about giving a present that pulls people away from screen-staring for an hour or so? One that provokes human interaction, giggles, and cognitive function? Tabletop games (which are better than ever) provide all this and more, and when stacked against other forms of (more passive) entertainment like a night at the movies, are a real value, especially when replayability is considered.

So let’s take a look at four worthy titles all (except one) released in 2017, and none priced at more than twenty dollars. If you want to go the extra mile with your gift, check out the rules or a tutorial video online, and straightaway you’ll be ready to explain the game and join in yourself!

Sundae Split (Renegade Game Studios, designed by Nate Bivins)

Ingeniously efficient, Sundae Split utilizes a simple game mechanism and manages to create a great deal Sundae Splitof suspense, tough decisions, and lots of laughter and fun. The ultimate goal of this fast-moving card game is to have the best scoring combination of ice cream flavors and toppings, while avoiding the negative points from vegetable cards (I love broccoli but not with whipped cream and sprinkles!). If you’ve ever shared a piece of pie with a friend by slicing it into two portions and letting the friend pick one of them, then you’ll get the gist of this easy-to-learn title.

The mechanism the game is based upon is called “I split, you choose” (someone needs to come up with a catchier term!) and in Sundae Split it can be a challenge for both the splitter and the chooser! On your turn you will arrange the cards into as many piles as there are players and, starting with the person on your left, each player will take a pile until you are left with the last one remaining. Clouding the decision-making process for the choosers, several cards can be placed face down. So the splitter might hide the vegetables by turning them face down, or perhaps hide some good cards by turning them face down and having the vegetables face up to dissuade others from selecting a particular ingredient group. It’s impressive how much decision-making can be derived from such a simple concept, as it’s surprisingly tough to make your crappy piles desirable and your coveted piles unattractive.

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Score Board: Soundtracks for Tabletop Games, Part One

Posted by Amoebite, October 2, 2017 07:55pm | Post a Comment

By Chris Curtis

Nearly any social gathering benefits from the addition of well-chosen music, and a board gaming get-together is no exception. Of course, you could just throw on some random favorite albums and leave it at that. But it’s easy to take your game session to the next level by selecting an appropriate, themed musical backdrop! Just as an artfully composed soundtrack greatly enhances the movie experience, the proper choice of gaming music can help create atmosphere and accentuate the drama and laughter around the table.

So let’s see if we can make some connections between playing music and playing games, and generate some enthralling synergy from their combination. We’ll start by taking a trip back to the Middle Ages by way of the 1960s…

After more than a dozen years of success with folk-based indie label Elektra, which he started from his college dorm room, Jac Holzman established Nonesuch Records in 1964 with the goal of making classical recordings affordable and accessible. Nonesuch LP releases were priced at $2.50, half the cost of a typical classical release, comparable to that of a quality paperback book. The label’s first album was a French recording of Renaissance vocal music and it set the template for the first few dozen subsequent releases: quality European recordings licensed by Holzman at cut-rate prices, attractively packaged in the label’s house graphic style.

By the 1967 release of In a Medieval Garden by the Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble, however,Splendor, In A Medieval Garden Nonesuch had begun picking up domestic talent and expanding their musical scope (including commissioning a groundbreaking electronic piece by composer Morton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon, itself an excellent board game accompaniment). Buetens, a former New Yorker attending graduate school at Stanford University in Northern California, recorded just one LP for Nonesuch, but it’s an evocative delight. With the group’s focus on the lute, a stringed instrument descended from the Middle Eastern oud with some similarities to the later-to-come guitar, this gentle album effortlessly conjures up another era and milieu. Recorders and vocals offer up subtle melodies over instrumentally sparse but often rhythmically complex backings.

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