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Safari Sunday: a leopard in the grass

Posted by barb on Sep 17, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

Remember those mating leopards we spied at Kwara? We sat and watched them for a while. They would go at ti for a while, then take a break. Between their…um…dalliances, they would separate just a bit and maybe curl up. During one of those breaks, I caught the male in the grass like this.

Leopard in the grass

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Safari Sunday: Running Ostriches

Posted by barb on Sep 10, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

We didn’t see many ostriches on our safari – a couple individuals, and then this group that we found in Kwara. We came upon this group consisting of a male and several females in an opening in the Okavango Delta. They tolerated our presence for just a minute, and then got upset and ran to the far side of the clearing.

Running ostriches

Running ostriches

Running ostriches

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Solo Play: Little Circuses

Posted by barb on Sep 6, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

While I didn’t get to all of our games with solo variants while my husband was away, I decided to finish after he got back. For this post, I pulled out a new acquisition, Little Circuses.

In this game, each player builds their own circus with attractions in an attempt to entertain crowds and collect sets of different-colored attractions. you do this by buying attraction tiles such as a strong man, balloon vendor, elephant or giraffe, and contortionist. Then you move your spotlight around, guiding the visitors to the attractions you want them to see.

Ringmaster meeple

A huge note – the first edition of this game has a lot of mistakes. In the rulebook, the “clown” and “elephant” icons are mixed up, so I played this game a couple times thinking it was much harder than it needed to be. Those icons are also wrong on some of the star attraction cards. The rulebook has no explanation of the tiles with two colors, and my bleacher cards are all the same color, even though the rules refer to bleacher cards matching the color of the player score markers.

The solo-play variant isn’t much different from the multi-player game except you can only use the blue side of the star attraction cards, not the red side. This makes sense because the red side has a bit more player interaction.

My circus

In the solo play game, you are trying to get the highest score you can, and will get a ranking according to the score chart in the rule book.

Solo play score chart

I played five times in the last couple of days, including two games before I found the errata online. Every time I was in the “Nice Try” range. I’m just not sure how to get a higher score!

My best score

All in all, though, I found the solo play game to be fun. It’s a puzzle to try and figure out which tiles are the most valuable. Do you go for sets of colors? Or the ones with the powers you want to use most? Some combination of both? I’d definitely pull this one out again.

 
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Safari Sunday: One of the “little five”

Posted by barb on Sep 3, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

While we were on a drive in Chobe, Andrew called out, “hey, what’s that guy?” The guide stopped and told us that Andrew had found the leopard tortoise. I’m not sure how Andrew picked him out, but I’m glad he did! We didn’t catch all of the little five, but this would have been my top choice among them.

In Africa, the “Big Five” are the must-see animals for many folks (or in previous eras, must-kill for hunters). They are the water buffalo, lion, elephant, rhino, and the leopard. These are considered the most dangerous animals to hunt. For those aiming a little smaller, there are the “Little Five” – the elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, antlion, and rhino beetle. On our travels, we found the leopard tortoise, antlion, and (maybe?) the buffalo weaver.

Leopard Tortoise

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Safari Sunday: A grazing water buffalo for

Posted by barb on Aug 27, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

On our boat trip during our full day in Chobe, we spied this guy on the shore. He was our first water buffalo (unless you count the carcass we saw the lions munching on). We saw a few more throughout our stay, but this was definitely the best look we got – the others were either further away or running away, or both.

Hello buffalo!

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Safari Sunday: Zebra reflections

Posted by barb on Aug 20, 2017 in Pictures, Recreation, Travels

While we were on a drive in Chobe, we stopped for while near the river just watching the herds of zebras, kudu, and impala. Our guide noticed this zebra about to cross, and drew our attention to it, knowing the reflection would make a nice picture.

Zebra reflections

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Safari Sunday: Kudu with their bird friends

Posted by barb on Aug 14, 2017 in Recreation, Travels

On our first game drive in Chobe, one of the antelope we saw was kudu. Many of them had bird friends who I assume eat insects off of them. Not much else to say about them, but love the goofy looks on their faces.

Hello Kudu!

Kudu

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Safari Sunday: Troublemaking lion cub

Posted by barb on Aug 6, 2017 in Recreation, Travels

On one of our game drives at Pom Pom Camp in the Okavango Delta, we came across a pride of females and their young cubs eating a kudu. One of the cubs, though, wasn’t interested in just sitting around and eating. Instead he prowled around, tried chewing on the kudu’s ear, went after the horn, and crawled over the other lions. Of course this one was my favorite.

Fierce Lion Cub< Troublemaker

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Solo Play: Valley of the Kings Afterlife

Posted by barb on Jul 7, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife box

Up next on the solo-play list was Valley of the Kings: Afterlife. Valley of the Kings is a Egypt-themed deck-building game where you build-up your deck with purchases from a pyramid and then must destroy your deck strategically by entombing cards. Only cards in your tomb earn victory points.

There are three types of cards: starter cards, set cards, and unique cards. The starters are cards with low purchasing power but with actions that help you build up your deck with better cards. The set cards are cards have different themes, such as mummification, jewelry, and tomb art. Your score for each set is equal to the square of the number of unique cards in that set – duplicate cards are worth nothing. Unique cards are just that, one-of-a-kind cards available in the stock, each of which with it’s own victory point value.

In the solo variant, you play essentially as usual, but are attempting to entomb exactly a complete set of everything – your 10 starter cards, one of each of the set cards, and each of the unique cards. Any duplicates in your tomb count against you.

I came very close to winning, but I had one duplicate card in my tomb. It was my own fault. I made a conscious decision to have a duplicate because I thought I had a card that would let me essentially trade that for another card. Well, yes, I had such a card, but the duplicate that I put in my tomb didn’t meet the other conditions of the card that would let me trade it, so I was stuck with the duplicate entombed card.

It was a fun game; almost too easy. There is a harder variant, which I’ll likely try once I win the easy version once!

 
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Solo Play: Lost Woods

Posted by barb on Jun 29, 2017 in Entertainment, Games

Lost Woods

Next on my solo-play adventure was Lost Woods. Lost Woods is a map exploration game where adventurers collect gold and unique weapons all while defeating monsters and trying to avoid gold-stealing gnomes.

In the traditional multi-player game, each player is trying to escape the woods with the most gold. There is a cooperative variant which has players working together to ensure all 6 adventurers escape the woods with a minimum amount of gold. The co-op game adds the element of food, which counts down each round – run out of food, and you lose the game. The gnomes steal food instead of gold, and adventurers who lose fights against monsters must wait to be revived by a fellow adventurer, rather than simply losing a weapon and returning to the campsite.

For the solo-play variant, it’s played as the cooperative game, with the player controlling all of the adventurers. The adventurers must find one of the woods exits, battle the exit’s guardian, and then they all must exit with a minimum amount of collective gold before food runs out.

Blank character cards

Adventurers ready to go

It’s a fun single-player game. The added element of the food, and the danger of losing a fight (especially before you’ve uncovered the “revive” spell) makes it a challenge.

I ended up losing, but just barely. Most of my adventurers needed just one more round to get out of the exit, but there was one pair who would have needed an additional round to get out. I should have kept them all together better, I suppose.

Adventurer cards at the end of the game

Final woods layout

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