Posts Tagged ‘Richard Garfield’

Gaming on the road

Friday, March 15th, 2013

This tour I decided to try to bring a nerd game on the road and see if I could get the guys into some geeky board games. It’s been a huge SUCCESS! There ends up being quite a bit of down time when you are on tour. So having something to do together that doesn’t cost money and doesn’t involve just vegging out in a hotel room watching crappy tv has been a hit the guys. Here’s a closer look at the game we’ve been playing called “King of Tokyo”.



The idea of the game is that you are one of six monsters that a battling for control of Tokyo. You choose between the King, Kraken, Meka Dragon, Cyber Bunny, Alienoid or Giga Zaur. Each monster starts with 10 hit points and zero victory points. The first monster to twenty victory points or the last monster standing wins the game. Right now there are no differences between the monsters but apparently there is a expansion pack that introduces individual traits to each of the monsters. We’ll definitely be getting the expansion pack for the next tour.

You take turns by rolling six dice and depending on the result you can attack, heal, score victory points or gain energy. If you are in Tokyo while you attack you damage all the monsters outside of the city but all the other monsters also attack you. What changes the game from a simple bash your opponent game into a game of surprising complexity and variation are the special ability cards that you can buy with your energy.


There are a lot of special ability cards and many synergistic combinations between the cards that make for fun and varied gameplay. Each game is slightly different and overall the game is well balanced. It’s been a ton of fun and I think this is a start of another On Ensemble tour tradition.

Mountain Home wrap up

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

It’s been a busy year for On Ensemble. In January we did a cross country tour with performances in Montreal, NY and Cleveland with many workshops and educational activities along the way. Kris continued on the road to the East Coast Taiko Conference while Maz went on the road with Taikoproject for a Iowa tour and I spent a week in Maui (I know poor me) working with Zenshin Daiko. Then Kris, Kelvin and I reconvened in Tucson with a set of educational outreach programs for schools all around the Tucson area. We flew Kelvin out of Tucson while Kris and I had a workshop with Odaiko Sonora then drove all night to get back to Los Angeles. The next day Kris got a plane to Japan and when he returned we hit the road again this time to Idaho and Wyoming.

To give you idea of how we tour here’s our trusty Toyota Sienna that we inherited from my generous aunt and uncle in law. We hook up a small trailer to it and we are off in style.





We kind of stumbled upon this combination but it’s really a great way to tour. First of all it’s very roomy in the minivan once you take the middle seats out. There is all kinds of lounge room in the back to take naps or eat a meal. It’s a very efficient use of space as we absolutely pack the trailer but still get relatively decent gas mileage considering we are carrying four people plus equipment. The front wheel drive Sienna struggles a bit in the snow while trying to pull a trailer but I’m not sure another vehicle would do that much better. Parking and backing up the trailer also takes a bit of getting used to. So far Kris and Maz have pretty much mastered the art while Kelvin and I are still quite lacking in trailer backing skillz. We need to up our game. Speaking of games…


I brought a board game on the road to see if I could get the guys in to some geek gaming. I love geeky board games. Luckily my wife also loves games and recently we’ve had some success introducing Settlers of Catan into the pool of acceptable family games. This has led to me to see what kinds of other games are out there and while attempting to get a gift for my 6 year old niece I accidentally bought a Richard Garfield game called Kings of Tokyo. It was a hit with 3/4 of On Ensemble. Kelvin had a few games and was all monstered out but Kris and Maz got pretty into it. It’s a fun game. For hard core geek gamers there is probably too much luck involved but there are a surprising amount of ways to win and interesting interactions with various ability cards that makes every game slightly different. The games go by quickly and it’s perfect after a long day of driving. Much better than just watching the 30 minutes of ESPN over and over.

This morning we had a educational outreach performance for the students at Richard McKenna Charter High School. It was a really fun and enthusiastic group of students and teachers and we had a great time sharing our music and giving them a chance to try taiko.





After the school performance we packed up and headed to the High School where we had our full concert performance. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the performance because well… I was performing so you’ll just have to imagine how awesome it was. We are continuing to refine our newer pieces that will be featured on our upcoming album Bizarre Heroes. It’s a constant process of tweaking, improving and just taking the time it takes for the pieces to reveal themselves to us. There is no substitute to just performing the pieces over and over and constantly trying new approaches to get it right. The newer pieces are approaching “right” and it’s been a lot of fun shaping and molding them with the guys.


After the concert we headed to the local sports bar where one of the patrons of the Mountain Home Arts Council generously provides meals for the artists. We celebrated a good day of making music with a round of IPAs and some burgers and wings. We had a great time in Mountain Home and would like to give a big shout to Sally, Sylvia, Betty and all the Mountain Home Arts Council staff and contributors who made our visit possible. It’s really fantastic to visit these beautiful small towns that have vibrant arts organization like Mountain Home. It’s inspiring to know that there are many people out there who believe that the arts are important and make sure that their community has access to great performances. Thank you Mountain Home Arts Council!

Tomorrow we are headed to Ontario OR for a performance at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. More updates from the road coming soon!

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