A Book A Month Challenge

On my way to drop off some bits for this Thursday's Play Pandemic to fight Ebola event I passed a sign in a local Christain bookshop window promoting read a book a month list of Christain books. This got filed away for later today in my mind. Unlucky for you dear reader I remembered this and my thoughts that went with seeing this sign.

I've seen this sort of thing before in other places, such as Twitter where some teachers are reading an educational book a month as part of their CPD. I've read in newspapers about book groups etc doing this. So it seems a popular thing to do. Seeing that sign earlier reminded me of this. And I'm never one to miss jumping on a bandwagon, even when that bandwagon has nearly come to a halt.

So then the cogs started turning in mind and I thought “wait why don't I do something like this for this blog?” But are there enough gaming books to do this? I'm not sure, but I know four to start with.

  1. Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It
  2. Modern Perspectives on Game Design
  3. Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games
  4. Boardgames That Tell Stories: The funniest Guide To Game Design

So starting in February I'm going to read the first book on the list Chicks Dig Gaming. Then at the end of the month I'll write a blog post about the book, and have a discussion in the comments for that post about the book. Then in March I'll read the second book, write a post and repeat.

In the meantime if there is a relevant book about gaming you think should be added to the list leave a comment below with your suggestion. I know there is a book looking at the history behind the game Monopoly. Which even though I don't enjoy the game I think could be very interesting. So I will find out the books title and author and add it to the end of this post as an update.

Hopefully this post has made you think this is a cool idea and would like to join me in this challenge.

 

A Pandemic Party This Thursday

This Thursday sees a Pandemic Party being held in Wisbech at The Entertainment Centre in aid to raise funds to help fight ebola. I wrote about Pandemic Parties previously here. Hopefully if you live locally you will be able to attend, have a great time playing Pandemic the game and help raise funds to fight ebola.

Click HERE to get full details of the event (it's a facebook event page)

 

 

Potentially Busy April

April (at the moment) sees two international gaming events being held. Or opportunities for fans of board games to get together and play games. Well it's not as if gamers need an excuse. But these global events kind of have the feel of taking part in something bigger, being part of a larger community.
I'm hoping that The Rift or The Entertainment Centre will be doing something on these days (nothing announced yet). If I haven't heard anything by the end of February I'm going to organise something for my friends and me. If I end up organising my own thing I know it's a long shot, as you normally have to be a store, but I'd love to get my hands on some of the promos they usually do for these days to give out to those that attend.

11th April sees the Third International Table Top Day. This is a general gaming day, with the intention to just play games, maybe try something new, meet new gamers, possibly introduce new people to gaming. Wil Wheaton is one of the brains behind this day, and his excellent web series Table Top.

25th April sees the first International Catan Day. A day celebrating the game Catan (that's the new official name for Settlers of Catan). So an excuse to play this modern classic.

So I hope this has given you a heads up to maybe organise something for these days yourself, or to ask your FLGS if they have plans for these days.

 

Eggbox Terrain Starscapes Playmat

Finally my starfield playmat for X-Wing arrived! This was an Eggbox Terrain Kickstarter for Starscapes that I backed last year, £26 for a 3' by 3' playmat. Amazing value. It looks gorgeous. Look how awesome it looks with a couple of ships on it.

 

The only drawback is my “gaming table” (a fold down dining table) is about an inch not wide enough. But I will work round it. I'm so excited to take this with me on my next visit to Nathan for us to play on.

 

Mid January New Arrivals

 

Well technically one is a new arrival (today) the other two came just after the New Year.

First to arrive were two promos purchased from Board Game Geek (BGG) for the games Alhambra and Tokaido (top half of the photo). I like that BGG gets promos (not all sadly) to sell. Most promos are gained from attending conventions (majority based in the US). So the only chance to get one is either eBay or BGG. BGG tends to be the kinder option of the two selling the promos at a reasonable affordable price.

Promos aren't necessary for a game. There said it before someone else did. So why do I like them? I have a character flaw. Sadly companies exploit people like me. My flaw? I'm a completesionist (is that a real word?) If I like something I have to have all the bits for it, expansions, promos, different covers (if comics), appearances (even if it's a single panel in a comic). So you get the picture. Yeah I'm weird. Besides my flawed character, promos add a little variety or new options to a game. For example the Takaido promo I got adds a new character for players to chose to play with. While the the Alhambra promo adds new tiles (buildings) to purchase.

In the later half of last year Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) announced the Scum and Villainy faction for the X-Wing miniatures game, which is wave 6 iirc. Now the Scum and Villainy version of the Aces packs for the Imperials and Rebels comes with extra cards etc that convert one or two ships to the new faction if you want to use them with the new faction. One of those ships that can be converted will be Slave-1 which I didn't have. Now the ships in X-Wing have print runs, and if you try and get a ship between runs it can cost you a lot more (depending on how desperate you are) than the rrp. Luckily Slave-1 and the Falcon (already got) have just been reprinted and the container ship has hit our shores and the contents distributed to the game stores. Which means these ships can now be bought for a sensible price again. Hence I've bought the Slave-1 while it is available. There will be many like me that will have waited for this reprint, and snapping up the ships at the correct price. Which means they will sell out quickly again and become scarce and expensive once more. It's a vicious circle.

 

A Look At The Official Diceamasters Dice Bag

 

I think it's pretty clear to regular readers how I feel about Dicemasters. For those still wondering I LOVE it. There are some official accessories for the game, such as setup boxes, card storage boxes, playmats and the subject of this post a dice bag. Below you will find an attempt at reviewing the bag using sketchnotes!

I'm still learning to sketchnote, and my “artistic” abilities are a bit basic but with practice I will improve. So bare with me as I find my voice and style.

 

A Game Night With Friends

Last night I held a gaming night at my home. Before everyone arrived I relocated the two canine criminals next door with Nan. They may look all cute and innocent in the photo below. But those innocent faces hide two of the most jealous attention seeking individuals you will come across.

Those two won’t let me speak to anyone even on the phone without getting jealous and demanding my attention be given to them instead. So for the good of the evening the wolf pack spent some quality time with Nan.
We started the evening playing Zombicide. Sam, James and myself controlled two characters each to take on M02 Food! from the game night scenarios. Our mission was to get into the fast food diner, and eat there. But before we could do that we had to collect the objective tokens in the other two buildings. However there was just the small matter of the zombie horde between us and our objectives.
The game kit comes with 6 Kyoko characters, the zombivor version of Kyoko, plus the ID card for Kyoko. There are also 6 experience trackers, six green Zombicide dice, and the campaign book. Sam played with the Kyoko character during the game. I used one of each of the items to form the basis of a little gaming night goody bag. The rest of the goody bag was made up with a Lego Wood Elf minifig, and a comic based on the rebooted Gauntlet video game. Well the game kit is meant to be used as “prizes” and I can only play with one Kyoko, so no point holding onto them all, and I like to share.
Back to the game, the spawn cards were mostly kind to us, our characters did get wounded especially after one or two extra activations. The game came down to a couple of key turns. We were surrounded by two fatties, runners and walkers stopping us getting into the diner.
If the dice went against us we would be wiped out. It was close but the dice were kind to us and we managed to clear away the zombies to buy us enough time to eat in the diner and escape. We got real lucky that an abomination wasn’t drawn. If it had been we would of been stuffed because we had nothing to kill it with. By that I mean weapon powerful enough.
Having successfully survived the zombie horde we moved on to Munchkin (playing the Deluxe version). Gary arrived just at the right moment to join us.
As the above photo shows I ended up with a character that was half dwarf and half halfling, or as I declared the love child of Thorin and Bilbo. I know, I’m not going to let biology get in the way of a joke, and what an image to plant in people’s minds.
As per usual for Munchkin our game consisted of backstabbing, revenge backstabbing, monsters getting power ups, curses, running from monsters, getting loot, killing monsters, making deals and lots of laughs. Sam ended up winning the game.
I hadn’t played Cards Against Humanity before, I was aware of it and its reputation. We played the original cards and one of the expansions. Sam gave everyone a blank card to write an answer on that would then get added to the deck of official answers. I have to say it was a very funny game, and it is definitely a game you need to have the right people to play with. I know Nath and his friends would really enjoy playing this.
The final game of the evening was Zombie Dice. We played two games. I narrowly missed winning the first game that was stolen from me by James. Who then went on to win the second game too. I like Zombie Dice, it’s a nice light game, friendly banter, a great game to end the evening on.
I really enjoyed the evening, great company, great games. Thank you Sam, James and Gary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Goal For 2015

 

What do the above games have in common, apart from not being cheap? Have you guessed? They all come with a shed load of miniature models. Models that really need a coat of paint to make them pop. Don't get me wrong they are great models, really detailed. But they are unpainted.

It's customary at this time of year to make New Years resolutions. I'm not big on that sort of thing. But it did get me thinking maybe I should set myself a goal for the year. So not a resolution but something to aim for. Which means hopefully I'm more likely to achieve it. Well that's the distorted thinking I have.

Anyway I thought the goal I'd set was to learn and to paint my miniature models that came with the above games. I've watched That Teri Girl on YouTube on her own channel and her Geek & Sundry Vlog, and she makes it look all so easy. I know there are more videos by others on painting. But I think this is one of the things I think would benefit from some-one sitting down with me and teaching, demonstrating techniques.

What would be amazing is if a local game store ran a workshop teaching model painting for beginners. Turn up, pay say £40, which would get you a basic model painting kit (brushes, some paints), a model to learn with, and the workshop itself. Afterwards you would have everything to continue at home. There could also be a more advance class as well.

Why did I suggest a local game shop should run this? Well it would be something else they could offer to add value for the customer that online retailers can't. It gets people in the store, helps build community, another sales opportunity (sell more paint,brushes,models,etc). If I was a store doing this, I'd be encouraging customers to either display their painted models in the shop, or have photos of their painted models on display. Maybe run a regular model painting competition.

So that's one of my aims for the year, and some wishful thinking.

 

A wish list of games

Out of that great pile of games I took to play with Nath over Christmas how many did we get to play? Two! We played Marvel Legendary and Tokaido. There was a perfectly good reason for this. Nath had to work, and on his day off got called in to do cover. It's the one variable before Christmas we didn't know, what shifts he would be required to do. We did get to see two movies, Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Nath enjoyed both games. However he did prefer the collaborative deck building of Marvel Legendary where Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Punisher and Spider-Man defeated Magnetos evil scheme to turn the world leaders into killbots. And from the questions Nath was asking me I think he was interested in buying his own copy of the game. If he hasn't got it by Easter who knows what the Easter Bunny will get him instead of chocolate eggs.

While there Kate and I had a chat as you do. After discussing how Nath needs to work on his house keeping skills, the conversation got round to what sort of things a mother and son could do. So obviously I suggested playing board games. Kate doesn't do video games. I recommended the obvious ones that would appeal to her and Nath, and that could be played in under an hour (mainly), and were playable as two player games as well as with more players. So the recommendations some would describe as “gateway” games but they are games that meet the criteria I've just listed. So here is the list I suggested:

  • Carcassonne
  • Machi Koro
  • Tsuro
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Pandemic/Pandemic the Cure
  • Tokaido
  • Fluxx
  • Flash Point
  • Ticket to Ride

Are there any you would recommend that I have missed? If so leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Now I know in a post at the end of last year I wrote about games I was planning to buy at the start of this year (oh yeah, Happy New Year dear reader). Well I thought it might be an idea to share what my current wish list is for games in 2015. What am I looking forward to, what's on my radar, what do I like the look of. Now this list is in no particular order.

  • Star Wars X-Wing miniatures – it's a given really Scum and Villany is coming out. A new Imperial big ship has been announced. But that like the previous two rebel ships I won't be getting as I don't play Epic games (don't have the play space for it) and I don't play enough of this as it is. However Scum and Villany will be added to my fleet.
  • Star Wars Imperial Assault expansions – another given really. A no brainer.
  • Star Wars Armarda – I was undecided over this. When announced I was like “oh yes – just take my money Fantasy Flight Games”. Then I saw the cost of the starter set and expansions and was kind of put off. However Amazon put up a great pre-order price, so I've caved and pre-ordered the starter set. I don't see myself at the moment getting into this as much as I have X-Wing, but we will see.
  • Dice Masters – there are several new sets coming out this year. Main ones I'm interested in are the DC set and the next Marvel one. I might get the D&D set I do like D&D. But not a chance on the Yu-Gi-Ho set. I've never been a fan. I may buy the odd card and dice from ebay if they become important to the meta game to be competitive. But otherwise not for me. I'm just dreaming of building teams with the Joker in.
  • Run, Fight, Die! – a zombie dice game. Dice, miniatures, can be played solo, ticks all the boxes for me.
  • Machi Koro Harbour expansion – love the original game, so a no brainer.
  • Orleans – saw this today in a review on Dice Towers by Tom Vassell. Looked really really good. Described as a bag builder! Which is like a deck building game but using tiles and a bag. Not available yet in the US or on Amazon in UK. But when it does come out I'm there.
  • Zombicide Season 3 – well I've got this already (Kickstarter backer) just waiting for the late February/March delivery.
  • Zombicide Season 2 Prison Outbreak – the only main expansion I don't have. I need to get so I can use the Games Night 2 kit I have, but also I love this game, so definitely need this.
  • Zombicide Dog Companions and Zombie Dogs – really? And yes I will name my dogs appropriately. Nico and Strider for companions, Bud, Barney for the zombies. What? I love Bud and Barney they were loyal companions and deserve to be immortalised as zombie hell hounds.
  • D-Day Dice – Recreate the D-Day landings with dice!!!! Can be played as a solo game, and that's this main attraction for me on this one.
  • Battlelore second edition – fantasy war game that just looks amazing. Love the way setup has been incorporated into the gameplay.
  • Descent 2 – this is close to dropping off the list now I have Imperial Assault. But still it's fantasy.
  • Tiny Epic Kingdoms – looked like a cool game on The Dice Tower just waiting for it to finally hit retail!
  • Krosmaster Arena – final fantasy tactics on the table enuff said. Besides I don't have enough collectible miniature games! Yes sarcasm!
  • Star Realms expansions – when I can get my hands on them.
  • Cash 'n Guns second edition – just a fun party game – mainly want to use with my students
  • Formula D – which is odd as I'm not a formula 1 fan! But when I saw it on Tabletop thought that looked fun.
  • Room 25 – came across this as a suggestion on BGG forums for games that can be played solo. Looked interesting so here it is.

Expansions that are hovering on the wishlist

  • Ticket to Ride 1910
  • Memoir 44 expansions
  • Ghost Stories expansions
  • Run, Fight, Die! Expansions if I get the game
  • Pandemic On The Brink
  • Battlelore expansions if I get the game

So that's the current wish list I have. How many will I get? Who knows? It's always in flux. Like Orleans I saw that reviewed today, there will be new releases through out the year, and one or two will be must haves I'm sure and push one or two of the above further down the queue. It's nice having a list though, it doesn't mean I'm going to buy them all, it just means these games are ones I like the look of at the moment, and if I had the spare cash would consider spending on one of the above.

As I was discussing with my friend Alan over Christmas (and I must of bored him with my boardgame talk), well it was more explaining/justifying, that I spend a lot of time researching the games I'm interested in. I watch/read reviews, watch game plays (if available), read the forums on BGG. Money is not in endless supply, and some of these games can be an expensive investment. So time spent researching before hand in my opinion is time well spent. It doesn't guarantee that the game once played will be to my liking but it greatly helps to reduce that risk. So you can be sure that I've already clocked a bit of time in researching the games/expansions on the wish list above.

So what do you think of my wish list? Has it given you any ideas for your own list? Do you have any recommendations that you think I'd enjoy? Why not let me know in the comments below?