Game Day – Shelf Shuffling and Tile Pulling

In our game room there are two Expedit shelves from IKEA, one a 5×5 and the other a 2×4. While these look amazing, it can create some interesting challenges when the collection tries to grow…like after BGG.CON.┬áSo we sat down, pulled out some games to sell/trade, and reorganized the shelving. As we were reorganizing, we also took the time to flag the games that we haven’t played yet – a number that doesn’t seem to shrink.

While we both love playing games, the “what do we play tonight” game can sometimes get a little tedious. And pulling Terra Mystica off the shelf to be learned at 8:30 on a work night just isn’t wise. So we needed a system to figure out what to play, a way to do it well ahead of time, and time to get those games to the table!

Laura looked at shelves and had a great idea: since the Expedit is basically a bunch of cubes, we should figure out a way to assign a number to each and randomly select them based on that. Two shelves, the tops of them as well…add in a couple of stray shelves, and we figured out that we have 38 locations that have games in them.

Tile bagStep one? Assign numbers to those locations. Easy enough. There’s a “main” shelf, so that was our starting point. Step two? Figure out how to determine the number. Dice won’t work the way we wanted – we’ll wind up with a lot from the center as time goes by. Our next thought was just slips of paper pulled out of a hat. This would be fine, but not really elegant. And the paper will get worn out eventually.

Then we had it – there was a big box of spare parts in the corner, some of which were extra wood tiles from a block wargame. A LOT of them. So we took a marker, wrote the numbers 1 – 38 on them, and popped them in a small drawstring bag. Viola! Problem solved. Now we’ll draw a tile, find that cube, and figure out which games need to be played in it. If there’s nothing there that we need to play, we move to a different one. We will do our best to pull these tiles in the morning so that if a heavier game is pulled we can have the day to read rules or watch videos on the game.

In the first test of the tile bag (we need a clever name for that) we pulled shelf 27, which is where most of our Uwe Rosenberg games live. I had set up Merkator two nights before and ran through the rules, so I was confident that we could squeeze the game in fairly quickly. This game is often overlooked in the body of Uwe’s work, and I think that’s a shame. The mechanics certainly feel different from most of his games, so I can see why some would be turned off. But Laura and I loved it and found that even with two we had some very interesting decisions to make. She absolutely demolished me in this one, and I can’t wait to get a rematch in!

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