“Board” games: Wooly Bully

Posted by barb on Jan 29, 2014 in Games

Wooly Bully Game

2014-01-18 19.49.51 copy

Several years ago we took a board game class through our county’s community education series. One of our favorite games (as evidenced by the fact that we bought it) was Wooly Bully. In this game, each player is a farmer with a different color (black, blue, red or yellow). Your goal is to fence in as many of your sheep as you can by the end of the game. This can be done in one large enclosure or in many small enclosures — whatever sheep you have completely enclosed scattered around the full playing area count toward your score.

At the beginning of the game, only you know what color sheep you have. You lay tiles, matching sheep colors and/or terrain (there are “village” sections and forest sections — see the detail picture showing a few tiles). When you lay a tile, you replace that tile but you also get to pick additional tiles if you match more than one side of the tile you laid — this way you can get more tiles in your had to choose from.

The village and forest tiles count as “fences” to completely fence in your sheep. However, you need to beware the forest — there are a four wolf tiles that can be played at any time. These wolves in the forest nullify any sheep enclosures that use that forest to close them. If you are lucky, you might have a hunter in your hand that can also be played at any time. The hunter kills the wolf, thereby making your sheep safe again.

To make the game a bit more complicated, each tile is double-sided, so you can play the reverse side of the wolf or hunter to get four additional sheep of a single color — this is a bonus if you happen to get the hunter or wolf with your color of sheep. But, of course, there’s some strategy to how and when you play that tile!

We’ve found that this game isn’t quite as fun with just two players, but works quite well for 3 or 4 players. The rules are very simple, so it’s also the perfect game when you don’t have a lot of time to explain the rules of a complicated game or you just want to get right into a game. The strategy shifts from game to game as you try to figure out whether to make a lot of small enclosures to to go for a ginormous, rambling pasture.


Two-player games: All Creatures Great and Small

Posted by barb on Jan 21, 2014 in Games

All Creatures Great and Small Game

Andrew and I have gotten back into board games. We first got into them a few years ago when we took a couple board gaming classes through our county’s community education program. We’ve played on and off over the last few years, but not with any regularity.

For 2014, we’ve committed to two things that will help us reconnect with our gaming-selves. First, we are hosting a gaming event at our house once a month for a small group of gamers (at least a small group to start). Second, we’ve committed to playing games together at least once each week or every-other week (if we’re busy on gaming night).

Our first game of the year was All Creatures Great and Small, which is a 2-player version of the game Agricola. I’ve never played either, so I can’t say how the 2-player version relates to the full version.

Each player has a farm, and the game is played in eight rounds, with three turns for each player in each round. There are several actions a player can do with their turn, from building fences for their animals, collecting resources, taking in animals, building stables or a new cottage. At the end of the game, players get points for the number of animals of each type and certain buildings. Once an action is taken by one person, it can’t be done by the other. (At least, not in the exact same way.) At the end of each round, pairs of animals have babies (as long as you have enough room for them).

I kept finding that I wanted one more turn each round, which, of course, is the point of limiting the rounds. There was a balance to how early to obtain animals, when to build a structure and when to enclose a pasture. We played two games, and I certainly didn’t feel like I figured out the strategy in that time. I suspect, as with any good strategy game, the strategy changes each time, depending on what your opponent does.

I’m looking forward to playing this one again, and might even look into the full game for our gaming parties.

Here’s my board at the end of one of our games:
All Creatures Great and Small Game


Parlor Magic

Posted by barb on Oct 12, 2010 in Around DC, Entertainment

I’m usually on the look-out for fun and different things that we can do in DC, so when I saw the Glenn Gary Parlor Magic show on Groupon, I thought it would be fun to give it a go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we had a great time! The show is in the Fireplace Parlor in the Westin Hotel in DC. The venue is small, and so only about 30 people can be in the audience at a time. This made the show feel very intimate, and ensured that nearly everyone was included in some part of the show. While tricks are important, a magic show is really only as good as the magician’s banter. Glenn’s banter started out a little slow, but picked up (and because a bit blue at points!) – by the end I was giggling quite a bit.

As far as tricks, Glenn did several standards, like handkerchiefs and rings. Also card tricks and sleight-of-hand. The most impressive was his closer…I don’t know how much I should give away, but Andrew and I walked out of there wondering how he did it!

If you’re in the DC area, this show is definitely worth a visit. (And yes, even at full price!)



2010 Movie Project I & J Movies

Posted by barb on Sep 28, 2010 in Movies
  • The Incredibles – This is what movie-making should be all about. A favorite when it was in the theater, and a favorite today.
  • Independence Day – I don’t care how cheesy or cliche everyone says this is, I still like it. Maybe it’s Will Smith…maybe Brent Spiner in Area 51…maybe just the whole over-the-top-ness of it all.
  • Indiana Jones 1-4 – My favorite will always be “The Last Crusade”, because of when I first saw it. But, I have to say that “Temple of Doom” is not as bad as I’ve made it out to be in my mind. Not the strongest of them, but not as bad, either. And I don’t care what anyone else says, I liked the latest one, too. Cheesy? Duh…but if you tell me that “Raidiers” or “Last Crusade” aren’t cheesy, then you’d be a liar.
  • I, Robot – Yes, more Will Smith…so sue me. Yes, more cheesy scifi…again, sue me. I happen to enjoy watching it…and him.
  • Iron Man – Proof that Robert Downey Jr. may be redeemable. This is one of the superhero movies that actually works, even for a non-comic-book-reader like me.
  • Judgement: The Court Martial of William Calley – Ugh. This was supposed to have Harrison Ford in it, which is why I have it, but I only made it about 30 minutes in, before he showed up. The movie looks like a 70s TV show (which it might have been…at least a TV special?), and was essentially just a slow, plodding courtroom scene.
  • Just Like Heaven – Another romantic comedy, not my favorite, but one that I’ll watch occasionally.



2010 Movie Project G & H Movies

Posted by barb on Aug 28, 2010 in Movies

I didn’t exactly power through these…must pick up my pace if I’m going to finish by the end of the year!

  • Galaxy Quest – Sorry, I still love this movie. I thought it might lose its appeal, especially since I’m not quite the Trekker that I used to be, but it reminds of the days when I was more of a sci fi geek.
  • Gladiator – Beautiful, artistic movie about a former Roman general reduced to life as a Gladiator, bent on revenge. Not sure how often I’ll want to watch this, but I shouldn’t be afraid of it (as I was this time around: I put it off for a good long time), because I really do like it.
  • The Golden Compass – I wish this had done better at the box office, because I’d love to see the other books made into movies (no, I haven’t read them yet, but I will at some point). I actually quite liked this one, even if it was obvious that parts were compressed in translating the book to a movie.
  • Good Will Hunting – any movie that features combinatorics is a-o-k with me. Love movies that feature smart people as smart people relating to the world.
  • Hairspray – Not the musical; the original. I refuse to watch the musical…some things just don’t need to be re-made. I still believe that after re-watching.
  • Hanover Street – This is another of my Harrison Ford movies. It was an odd WWII love story where a married woman falls in love with an officer. Her husband gets tapped to do a spy job, watched over by the officer. It was so-so, but not a favorite movie.
  • Harry Potter 1-6 – Love, love, love. I could watching these again and again without getting bored.
  • Hercules – This is the Disney animated version of Hercules. The animation style is much different from most Disney movies, and its refreshing to see such a difference every once in a while. It’s also refreshing to have a main character who is not a princess.
  • History of the World Part I – Ahhh Mel Brooks. Throw in the kitchen sink, and everything else in the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. Still, I can’t dislike this movie, not matter how “80s” it feels…that, and I love quick-time harch!
  • Hitch – Yum…Will Smith and romantic comedy. Another that I can watch over and over…love it every time, but I won’t admit to crying when they finally get together.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Slick version of the Douglas Adams classic. Quirky, as befits the book, so it’s fun to watch, if a little weird.
  • Hollywood Homicide – It’s nice to see Harrison Ford embracing a little comedy. This isn’t the strongest film, but it’s fun to watch.
  • Hot Fuzz – Big-town cop gets relegated to a small town where there’s never any crime…well except for the serial killings that have been hidden. Add in some British comedy and the cast of “Shaun of the Dead”, and you’ve got a fun movie. Just as fun on a second viewing.
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Another of my favorite romantic comedies; a women’s magazine writer is looking for a guy to “lose” in 10 days using age-old bad relationship tricks, but gets pitted against an advertising man trying to win a bet that he can get any woman to fall in love with him.



2010 Movie Project E & F Movies

Posted by barb on Aug 20, 2010 in Movies

I’m definitely falling behind on the movie project, though I finished the E & F movies a long time ago and have just been too lazy to write them up. So, here goes.

  • Eagle Eye – Okay, this is not great cinema, but it’s a fun, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of action flick.
  • El Dorado – One of the few non-Disney animated flicks that I’ve liked…I’m usually opposed to animated movies that have to advertise their star voices, but this was one that I liked. Still do, and I love the music, too.
  • Enchanted – A fun take on the “princess” movies – I particularly love the scene where Giselle summons rats and pigeons to clean out Robert’s apartment.
  • Enemy of the State – The earlier version of Eagle Eye, I suppose. I love me my Will Smith, so can always watch this.
  • Ever After – The ultimate girly flick re-telling of the cinderella story. I could watch this every day.
  • Fantasia – This one has a special place in my heart – Andrew and I went to see this in the theater on our first date. The Firebird Suite is always a favorite.
  • Finding Nemo – I hadn’t actually watched this one since it was in the theaters, and I wasn’t really looking forward to it…can’t say why not. And after watching it, I really can’t say why not. Loved it the second time around.
  • Firewall – Part of my Harrison Ford collection. I can’t say its one of my favorites, but I can always watch him kick some butt.
  • Force 10 from Navarone – Another of my Harrison Ford collection…I had never seen this one. It’s a war flick, a genre I’m not terribly up on. I found some of the music to be disconnected to the action – for example a happy, peppy tune when they’re being captured or detained or something. Can’t say I liked this one much, but I’ll keep it as part of the HF collection.
  • Frantic – Yet another Harrison Ford movie. I didn’t remember much of it from my original viewing (when it was in theaters), so didn’t have many expectations going it. Not a bad thriller, though more low-key than more recent ones.



2010 Movie Project C & D Movies

Posted by barb on Apr 11, 2010 in Movies

Finally watched all of our C and D movies (didn’t help that we bought some new movies a couple weeks ago at a Blockbuster that’s closing its doors – many of the new movies were C and D movies, d’oh!)

Here’s the rundown:

  • Casa de los Babys – This was really Andrew’s movie, but I wanted to see it. It’s the story of several women waiting in South America to adopt babies. A moving drama, but I can’t see myself watching it again.
  • Catch Me If You Can – This one is fun, and I enjoyed watching it again. Based on a true story of a young man who successfully conned millions before his 19th birthday impersonating an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – This is the re-make with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Love this one almost as much as the original. The oopma loompas creep me out less, and just make me laugh.
  • Charlie’s Angels – Okay, so not great drama or comedy, but a fun action flick. Totally fun watching chicks kick ass.
  • Cinderlla – Classic Disney. Haven’t watched this in forever. Glad to get a chance to see it again.
  • Clerks – Had forgotten how much I liked this one; I wasn’t really looking forward to watching it this time, but really enjoyed it.
  • Contact – I know a lot of people don’t like this; it’s not as good as the book. However, I was at Tech when it was filmed, so I have fond memories of the excitement that was on campus and in town. Frankly I like it.
  • Coraline – This was just as fun the second time…not much more to say.
  • Crossing Over – I had never even heard of this one until we saw it at the Blockbuster that was closing. It stars Harrison Ford as an immigration officer, and tells the stories of several immigrants, immigration officials, and an immigration lawyer. It was quite good, and I’m not sure why it didn’t get more attention when it was out.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – I probably will get my geek card revoked for this, but I’m just not enamored of “kung fu” dramas. It was okay the second time; though I think I was more absorbed in it the first time in the theater. Don’t really need to see it again.
  • The Cutting Edge – Two words: “toe pick”!
  • Dead Poets Society – Watched this numerous times at Tech; still as powerful and speaks to me even more than a decade later.
  • The Devil’s Own – I hadn’t seen this in the theater, and had meant to watch it many times since. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t exactly it. Having said that, it was quite good, with Brad Pitt as a IRA terrorist and Harrison Ford as police officer. Not sure how often I’ll watch it, but it was very good.
  • District 9 – Saw this in the theater, too. Wow, what great movie. And what a surprise. A spaceship stalled over Johannesburg 20 years ago. In this mock documentary, the 1.2 million aliens are being moved from the make-shift ghetto that was created for them in Johannesburg to a new facility outside of the city limits.
  • Don Knotts Collection – This is a collection of 4 movies: The Relucatant Astronaut, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Shakiest Gun in the West, and The Love God?. I mainly got it to see the first two again, since I hadn’t seen the last two. However, I really enjoyed Gun and Love God a lot…maybe even more than the other two. Probably will send this collection on my Mom.
  • Down With Love – Love, love, love, love, love this movie. That’s all I want to say.



2010 Movie Project A & B Movies

Posted by barb on Feb 27, 2010 in Movies

We have a lot of DVDs in our house…not scary-numbers, but a lot. We have a 4-shelf case full of movies and a 5-shelf case full of TV shows. I have my favorites, and when I go to watch something, it’s usually one of my favorites because those are the ones that catch my eye on the shelf. That means I have a lot of DVDs that I haven’t watched in a long time (a few that I haven’t actually watched at all).

So, I’ve decided that in 2010 I’m going to try to watch ALL of the DVD movies (all of mine, that is…I don’t have to watch the ones that Andrew bought, though I can if I want to try them). We have approximately 200 DVD movies — so in theory I need to watch about 16-17 per month. Oh, and I’m going to watch them in alphabetical order, so I can’t skip ahead to my favorites and leave all the others for later (when I might not watch them at all). (Okay, there’s a little lee-way with the strict order, because Andrew wants to watch some of them, and I don’t want to wait for him necessarily before moving on.)

So far I’ve finished pretty much all of the A-D movies (still have Crouching Tiger, which Andrew wants to watch, and still have a couple of Don Knotts movies, because I couldn’t watch them all in a row).

Here’s the run down of the As and Bs:

  • Across the Universe – I hadn’t seen this in the theater…it was Andrew’s movie, but I wanted to see it. Found it so-so — story was not exactly strong, music was fine, but I’d rather hear the Beatles versions of the songs. Probably won’t watch this again
  • Aladdin – A classic, but I haven’t seen it in a while. While some of the jokes are a bit dated (I knew they wouldn’t age well even when I first saw the movie), the movie is still a lot of fun to watch.
  • Amazon Women on the Moon – I got hooked on this at Tech, and I wondered if I’d still like it now. Definitely still like it now – made me laugh!
  • Anastasia – Not bad, not great account of the Grand Dutchess Anastasia. Enjoyed it again, but not a favorite.
  • The Aristocats – Hadn’t seen this since Kirsten got it when it was re-released in the mid-90s. Classic Disney faire. Definitely a 60s flick, but a lot of fun.
  • Atlantis – I’ve always loved stories of Atlantis. This one is no different.
  • Batman Begins – Have to say I love the Dark Knight take on the series.
  • Batman Forever – Sorry, this one has a special place in my heart…and there’s just something about Val Kilmer in a tux…Yum.
  • Beauty and the Beast – More classic Disney – love the story.
  • Being John Malkovich – I had forgotten most of the plot of this one, so it was fun to see it again.
  • Big Fish – Another one where I had forgotten much of the story — tall tales at their best.
  • Blade Runner – Classic Harrison Ford and sci-fi…’nuff said.
  • Bride and Prejudice – hadn’t seen this one. Turns out I’m not a huge fan of the story, but loved the colorful Bollywood-style
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary – ah, Bridget Jones. Classic girly flick (yes same basic story as Bride and Prejudice, but better disguised, I guess).

I’ve watched more, but will leave those for another post later.



Movie Meme

Posted by barb on Jan 5, 2009 in Memes, Etc., Movies

Via Terminal Degree.

Apparently, if you’ve seen more than 85, you have no life. There are 238 films on this list. Put x’s next to the films you’ve seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun.

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
(x) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
() Airplane
Total so far: 9

Read more…



The Police in Concert

Posted by barb on Aug 7, 2008 in Concerts, Travels

This has been a summer of shows for me – The Lion King, Indigo Girls, the NSO’s “Broadway Rocks”, and the NSO’s “Dial H for Hitchcock”. But the highlight for me so far has been The Police. (Followed very closely by The Lion King.) I’ll try to write up the other concerts here later, but I want to say a bit about The Police before it fades too much.

Sting on the big screen

I originally bought 2 tickets for The Police’s concert in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t sure who would go with me to the concert, but suspecting that I would drag along poor Andrew. Then I remembered that my aunt Maggie and I sang loudly to The Police on a drive down to the Keys one summer, so decided to invite her. No sooner did I get the words “I have two tickets to The Police in Pittsburgh,” than Maggie was saying, “I’ll go.”

Skipping ahead over our road trip (we totally got “Pixburghed”), and our fun for half a day in Pittsburgh (we really, really go “Pixburghed”), we made our way to the concert venue relatively early. We figured that we’d rather get there early and twittle our thumbs than get stuck in traffic or parking.

The venue, The Post-Gazette Pavillion, was rather nice. It’s an outdoor venue, and there are several food and drink vendors set up in a couple of cul-de-sacs on either side of the stage and lawn. (Maggie indulged in a glass of wine and a beer; I stuck with a smoothie).

The Police on stage

The concert itself was awesome! I heard later that the earlier concerts a year ago were a bit…er…well, not terribly good. But, this one was great – they seemed to have pulled it together over the intervening year. They played both Maggie’s and my favorite songs (“Wrapped around your finger” and “Don’t stand so close to me”).

Sadly, our seats were behind tall-boy and big-haired-girl, but there were large screens, so we could see most of what was going on. And, they sat down during Maggie’s favorite song, so we stayed standing and were able to see every minute of it.

As with any moment like this – one that you’d always hoped would come, but not sure it would – it ended too soon. Our trip back to the hotel was another little adventure, but I’ll have to decide later if it merits a blog post…let’s just say that this was the one time that having an airport hotel did not make it easier to find (hee hee hee).


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