Guardian Games – Portland, Oregon

June 17, 2016

Guardian Games

Local game stores are becoming a thing of the past. There are a few where I live in Salem, Oregon, but honestly they are not that great. Some of gone to just fantasy game stores, which has little interest for me. Another seems to be in that downward spiral with declining stock, and it seems to have last been cleaned in the Bush era. I can order most of what I want online, but there is just something valuable about actually seeming a product in person. Also there are products I have never heard of that you often find (and want) in a brick and mortar store.

My friend Mark lives in Portland and recommended that I should go to a place called Guardian Games. I had decided that I needed to go there, even if it would require a 50 minute drive to get there. I knew that my wife and children would not be that excited about going, so I thought I would have to go it alone. I have another gaming friend, Shane, who lives nearby. I have known Shane since my Tucson days. If I remember correctly, Shane and I have been playing games together since about 1982 or 1983 (yes we are old guys). Shane lives in Oregon, but works in Tucson, so we don’t often have the time for games, instead we just get together for dinner and beers. Shane is back in Oregon and wanted to get together, so I suggested a trip to Guardian Games if he was interested. Shane said he was, so we went up to Portland yesterday to go to Guardian Games.

Guardian Games had a slick webpage (, which was a good sign. It was fairly easy to get to the store via I-5. We did have to fight a lot of horrible Portland traffic (the next mayor of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation really need a plan to deal with Portland’s poorly thought out traffic network!). and made it to the store. Guardian Games has adequate parking, but I suspect that on a Friday or Saturday night parking might be a problem.

Our drive was clearly worth it as Guardian Games is a really amazing store. First, it is huge, not your typical dreary little game store. Secondly, it was clean, something that many game stores seem to lack these days. The staff were friendly and helpful, but not pushy or gamer-weird. There were several sections of the store that really interested me. Guardian Games has a very extensive board game section with both Eurogames and wargames. They had a number of older second-hand wargames that interested me. The miniature section was also very extensive. They had a good selection of the Wings of War games and miniatures (which I would like to get into), the typical fantasy miniatures, a good selection of the Star Wars games, a huge selection of Flames of War miniatures (I don’t play Flames of War, but I use the miniatures to play Nuts!), and a lot of other miniature games that looked interesting to Shane and myself (like Dystopian Wars – Additionally, they had a fair selection of Vallejo paints. I limited myself to about $100 in spending, but I could have spent $500, and not regretted a single purchase.

So quality brick and mortar game stores are not dead. There are just fewer of them, but Guardian Games is clearly worth the trip.


Speaking of the 1781 South Campaign

June 7, 2014

One thing I found while search around the Internet was a Cyberboard copy of a game called “Tarleton’s Quarter” by Against the Odds. It had an excellent area movement map (game board) for the Southern campaigns of the American Revolution. The map covers northeast Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. I also found a copy of the rules and read them. I have yet to play the actual game, but this is one of the best board games about the American Revolution I have ever found. It also includes scenarios starting in December 1778, February 1780 and March 1781. You can find out more about this game at: I was so impressed with the Cyberboard version that I ordered a physical copy from Against the Odds (and it arrived very quickly). The physical quality of the game, especially the map is excellent. As maps for campaign games are the hardest part for me (I’m no cartographer or graphic artist), the map from this game could very well be used for a December 1780 to April 1781 campaign game that I have been thinking about for many years.

Here is a sample of the Tarleton’s Quarter game board:


August Game: Zombies!!!

August 25, 2011

Mark and I had a busy August in terms of non-gaming demands on our times, butĀ  we were able to get together for a couple of Zombies!!! games. We played two games of Zombies!!! and both enjoyed them. I have also played about six more games with my son. In all cases, all of the players have loved this game. All of my games have been with 2 players, but I think that it would even work better with 4 to 6 players. Hopefully in September, I’ll get up to Rainy Day Games in Aloha, Oregon to buy more of the supplements as they are well worth the price.

Why Board and Miniature Wargames are better!

August 12, 2011

The National WWII Museum has a good explanation as to why board and miniature wargames (I have played a lot of both) are better than electronic games. I think first person shooter games are possibly the worst development in games in my lifetime.


Zombies!!! A Great Miniatures/Board Game

July 24, 2011

Last week I was stuck in Portland for most of the week as my kids were at the Oregon Zoo’s summer camp. That left my wife and I with time to wander around Portland and the OregonĀ Coast as our kids were at Zoo Camp from 9 to 4. One of the advantages was we had time to kill so we were able to go to several game and hobby stores in the Portland area. One place we stopped at was Rainy Day Games in Aloha (Oregon). It was a great store all around. The service was great and it was a professional store (meaning clean and safe to take the wife to, unlike another game store we stopped at). There were bought a puzzle for our daughter, a few dice, and I picked up a copy of Zombies!!! to try out.

Zombies has 3d figures, about 1/72nd scale (22mm) so I guess it qualifies as a miniature game. The game cost $29.99 and comes with 100 zombie and 6 human figures as well as 30 map tiles, 50 event cards, and 2 six sided dice. Up to six players can play at a time, but in our first game it was just myself and my eleven year old son. The rules are simple, like four pages, and we were able to quickly learn the game (although I think we did a few things wrong, but that always happens in the first game). As the game goes on, players lay out more map tiles (a city map), fight zombies and try to get to the helipad to win (or kill 25 zombies). My son won by killing 25 zombies. All in all we both really enjoyed the game. It is simple to learn but has some real strategies to win. I’ll be buying more zombies soon as well as one or two of the game expansions (new settings). I may even paint up the figures for the hell of it. All in all, Zombies!!! is an excellent game and I’ll try to get Mark to give it a try in the near future.