Caught my eye

Thought I’d do a quickish blog post looking at a couple of games on Kickstarter that caught my eye, and then just let my mind wander and see where the post ends up. So expect complete drivel, no earth shattering revelations, and you should be good to go.

First up is Tao Long. I was sold on this the moment I saw it. For an abstract game it looks beautiful. It’s a two player game, so something I can play with Nath (although I have also gone for the four player add on). I love the theme, of dueling dragons. I like that there is room for variety, ranging from the basic setup, to adding portals and other obstacles. I’ve gone for the Deluxe edition (which sadly has sold out now, unless you go for the expensive Golden Bundle) because I prefer a playmat over a board. Plus the price is not that expensive in this post Brexit world we live in.


Ok this next one Sub Terra, is a co-op horror game. Explore the underground cavern to find your way out before your time runs out. It kind of reminded me of the horror movie The Descent. I’m hoping that it does indeed capture that movie, and the claustrophobic feeling of being underground. I’m still mulling over whether to go the extra and upgrade to the edition with the miniatures, or stick with the little meeples. I kind of like the meeples more I think.


Yesterday met up with my mate the internet famous Bouncy to get my copy of Timeline Star Wars edition back that I had lent him over Christmas. As a thank you he had a little something for me. First up was the Loot crate edition of the Orphan Black comic with it’s exclusive cover. That is an amazing tv series, so really chuffed to get that. Plus a dragon and dice bow tie! I think I could carry off the bow tie look. Well once I get a proper fitting shirt round the neck that is.

I’m starting to think the game Santorini may be the game I regret not backing for 2017. The game looks so good. The whole 3D element of it is a showstopper I think. People can’t help look at it and go wow! Santorini is starting to arrive with those that had the foresight to back it last year. And I’m looking at the photos that those wise people are putting up and drooling, turning green with envy, and kicking myself for not having backed it.

UPDATE: As I was writing that last paragraph about Santorini a copy went up on one of the Facebook selling and trading pages for the UK. So I am currently negotiating with the seller.

 

The Marcy Case

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t played this scenario yet you may not want to go any further on this post.

1…

2…

3…

Right I’ve given you a chance to avoid this post and any included spoilers that it may or may not include. 

“Save the cheerleader, save the world”, well nearly. In the second scenario The Marcy Case for T.I.M.E. Stories it’s “save the kidnapped girl”. 

The first thing that struck us all for this scenario was the change in art style. This was very much more comic book style. But still looking bloody awesome. 

We also had less characters to choose from, there are only four. Which worked for me. It cut down on some of the decision time of who to play. I ended up playing a former marine. My only critism here is that only one of the options was female, and she was a reporter. While the male characters were all badass types. Not very gender aware. Yes the scenario is in the 90’s but still women were doing awesome badass things then. 

The main map was also a very different style to the floor plan from Asylum. Which I felt worked well. They could have gone for a street map, which I’m sure they may have considered. But the look they went with fitted in with the art direction a lot better than a street map would have.

We had a blast playing this scenario. Playing with the same group through the scenarios I think is important for the game. Shared experiences as you travel through the missions will then influence decisions, discussion, banter, etc. Even only having played the initial scenario before, we were had lots of laughs during the game referring back to the previous mission.

The Marcy Case is a scenario that once you know the “solution” can be optimised to about five locations, and minimum actions in each,to get to the end. Whilst in Asylum I didn’t get that “you can optimise this to a bare minimum” feel. I also felt that the main puzzle was easier than the puzzle in Asylum. It was more a process of elimination based on gathered evidence than a real puzzle. 

Yes this is a zombie game. Or I should say infected. It has the usual cliches. But I’d say it has that kind of Residence Evil (especially the movie) vibe. City quarantined off, secret research, something gone wrong, etc.

Value for money? Five people (Jeff was acting as our DM again – which I’m very very grateful for again) – just over four hours playtime. I think we got more than our monies worth. Plus the time flew by. It didn’t seem that long at all.

We did complete this mission successfully this time. Which was a nice feeling. 

I loved Asylum. But The Marcy Case for me just one upped that. I can’t wait for the next scenario next month. Yes we have sessions setup for all the currently released scenarios. With new ones due out any week now, we will be adding new dates to play them. I could easily play A Prophercy of Dragons today (Sunday the day after, and when I’m writing the post). 

I do need to say a big thank you to The White Lion Hotel in Wisbech for letting us use their facilities for the afternoon. Great, friendly staff. Great facilities. Great beverages.

Friday Night Treachery and Bluffing

The start of Friday had so much promise with my car headlights illuminating the flecks of snow from the light snow flurries as I drove across the Fenland landscape in the dark.

The snow got heavier, but sadly wasn’t settling. I’d been looking forward to our first real snow since about 2010. Loki and Nico hadn’t seen snow. I was hoping to introduce them to snowballs.

Luckily our weekly Friday night gaming meet up at The White Lion is the perfect antidote to the mornings disappointment, and a great way to get the weekend started.

Our evening started off with a learning game of Dark Moon.

You look at the games rule book and think “wow this is a complicated game”. But in reality it’s pretty simple once you start playing. 

One of us was a traitor. But who was it? I knew it wasn’t me. Was it Jonathan or Diego? 

Ever since Jonathan and I first played Memoir ’44 it has been a running joke about his bad dice rolls.

That running joke was all the evidence I needed to accuse Jonathan of being the traitor. 

Dark Moon was ok with three players. But I would like to try with higher player counts. I think identifying the traitor will be harder, more accusations and votes being made. Overall more what the game is all about.

Although this game has a sci-fi theme. The theme is almost none existent. It could almost be any theme.

Jonathan thought the tasks and events were too easy to complete. But I’m not sure. It’s a nice touch that you can adjust the difficulty of the game for either side using one of the variants suggested in the rule book.

Oh yeah, Jonathan was the traitor and totally failed to stop us winning.

House of Borgia was back to the table completing a theme of betrayal, bluffing and lying for the evening.

It’s amazing what a big difference playing the game correctly makes! 

I enjoy the liars dice mechanic of this game. I really must get my copy of Perudo (which is the other name for Liars Dice) to the table.

Luckily for me I was the most “sneaky” and won the game. 

Do I have to tell you how we finished the evening of great gaming off? By celebrating with meat of unknown origin soaked in chilli source, some “salad”, all held together within a wrap. 

I’m looking forward to next weeks meet up. Finally Mechs vs Minions gets to the table.

Panicing Popes

By the Gregorian calendar, yesterday was the second Wednesday of January 2017.

Which means it was also the first monthly meetup of The Fenland Gamers for the new year. 

Our first game of the evening was Braggart

This is quickly becoming a favourite filler game for me. Well not just me, Debbie also I think. I’m assuming that after she asked if I could pick up a copy for her from The Hobbit Hole (my FLGS) if they had any left. 

Debbie went on to win the game.

I think the secret of games like Braggart, Fluxx, Love Letter etc is to not over dose on them. But to rotate and vary the games. Often I’ve seen people online say they no longer like a game because they over played it. So I’ve taken that information on board and I’m trying to avoid that situation. I think I’m building up a nice little selection of games that I can rotate and keep things fresh!

House of Borgia had the honour of being our second game. 

We were not impressed with the five player version of the game. It seemed broken! 

Egg on face time. After further investigation (Jonathan found the time to do the research) we had made a serious misplay! We hadn’t taken the action after making a successful bid. We only did the action after being challenged if you won. Which in our major misplayed game meant only one action took place! How embarrassing. 

So it’s back to the drawing board in playing a game with more than two players. But playing it correctly this time.

The final game of the evening was Castle Panic.

You know what I think about the game, but would Jonathan like it?

Well he did! He liked the co-op side with the winner element based on scoring points for killing monsters. 

With Viticulture when you got the Tuscany expansion you had “legacy” like elements to add to the game. Which worked by mixing in a module from the expansion into the base game. And repeating after each play. Thus the base game would change based on the module added. 

I think Castle Panic and it’s three expansions could work similarly. We are adding in the Dark Titan expansion for our next game.

In our game last night we managed to defeat the onslaught of monsters, with Jonathan being the victor having slayed the most points. But that was a slim one point victory over Diego. I wasn’t even close to challenging.

What would one of these game session write ups be without your dose of me in the form of photos taken by Jonathan?

One down, eleven left to go!

Vasels Law Hits Again!

For those fans of The Pillars of the Earth boardgame prepared to be just a tad more patient the following tweet from BGG last night will save them lots of money. 


Yes Vasel’s Law (“The games that are good enough will come back in print.”) once more comes true! This game and its expansions have been out of print for ages, and go for stupid money.

It’s meant to be a really good worker placement game. So it might just find itself in my collection. Now I know Jonathan will be tutting and pointing out he did have it. So I’m sure on Friday he will give me the low down on the game and his thoughts on it. 

In the meantime I’ve got time to hopefully cash an Audible credit in to get the book the game is based on. Assuming it’s available as an audio book. 

OMG! Did I just hear that right?

Each day I have an hours drive to and from work. I love it. Yeah sounds weird I know but hear me out. I usually take back roads, avoiding the main A road that I could take. It means I get to go along bumpier (Fenland roads aren’t known for being flat, it’s the shrinking peat etc they are built on) and more scenic roads than I would. I’ve seen deer, red kites, hawks, barn owls, pheasants etc on my drive into work.

It also means I listen to podcasts and audio books on my commute. I have a US and UK Audible account, plus naturally I listen to gaming related podcasts.

On my drive in this morning I was listening to the latest podcast from The Dice Tower, episode 490. In this episode Tom Vasel and Eric Summerer in the main spot after answering some listener questions did their top ten most anticipated games of 2017.

They did Tom’s list first, it was the usual fare. I think maybe one or two had made my radar as well. They then went on to Eric’s list. Once again an interesting list until he got to number two. Wait! What did Eric just say? Streets of Commonville? How does he know about this? He’s a big Police Precinct fan? OMG! Thats Jonathan and Rebekah’s game!!!

I wonder if Eric knows this is as far as I know only going to be a print and play. Or was the last time I heard any news about the game. Has there been a change of plans and this is now getting the full blown treatment?

This is sooo amazing. So excited for both Jonathan and Rebekah. To get this sort of exposure, is really cool. Super awesome in fact.

It wasn’t there on the website this morning, but hopefully you can pick up the podcast any day now. Or if you can’t wait here is the link to itunes.

Chatteris Warlords Christmas Party

Yesterday was the Chatteris Warlords Christmas Party. Gaming and free food, the perfect Sunday afternoon!

Just for the record so that you know what all the cool kids are playing at the Chatteris Warlords and my FLGS The Hobbit Hole, it’s Blood Bowl. When I arrived at the Christmas Party there were three or four games of Blood Bowl on the go.

What surprised my was I saw a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse taking place and I didn’t laugh. It’s not my favourite superhero inspired game. It sits there at the bottom, a hairs width above the DC Deckbuilding Game.

Sadly I missed out in joining a game of Scythe. It was interesting to see how some-one else played Rusviet. Fate has dictated that I have only played Rusviet so far. Normally I build the Township mech first so I can grab a factory card early on. Hopefully being the first so I get the best choice of available options. Then I use the Rusviet ability to repeat the previous action to exploit that Factory card silly. Bob had gone River Walk first.

After correcting a rule misreading on combat and the loser being able to get a combat card as long as they had spent at least one combat point through either card or spending power. They were going to play it that you had to have spent a power, not a card if I remember correctly.

There was some confusion over the river walk ability amongst the players. I’m guessing that this was the first time they had played for most of them. I left them having that discussion to go play Small World.

My gaming for the Christmas Party started off with a game of Adventure Time Fluxx. Yes it’s Fluxx, so you either love it or hate it, just like marmite. I fall into the love it camp. Well love maybe too strong a word. I certainly like it, and enjoy playing it.

This was the first time I had played this version of Fluxx. I have to say I liked it. It’s a nice version with the keepers and creepers having different abilities that you can use. Especially because one or two of them allow you to steal keepers and creepers from in front of other players, allowing you to get that win condition you need to complete the current goal.

The BG Stat app will show that I won this game of Adventure Time Fluxx. What it won’t show is that it took me three attempts in a massive play all your cards turn to finally win. My first attempt was thwarted when an Action was played removing the goal that I had just played to win the game. My second attempt was down to my own unfamiliarity of the source material and getting characters mixed up. A mistake the others players took great delight in pointing out to me. But my third and final attempt to win was successful thanks to some great (if I say so myself) use of keeper and creeper abilities, and top decking a card or two that I needed.

My second game of the afternoon was losing once more at Batman the Animated Series Dice Game. I had the Riddler character, whilst my opponent had The Joker. Wow the Joker is a powerful character. Scoring an extra point for each set of coloured dice (yellow,blue, grey) that you have in front of you at the end of your turn.

Next up was a two player game of Braggart. Now there is some confusion as to whether this game has a minimum player count of two or three. The box clearly says two. However the rule sheet says three!

It does play ok as a two player game. Although I’m not sure about the Witness card being of any use. Unless you play a liar card on the other players boast, knowing you are now able to replace one of the cards with a lower value card, so instead you kind of then straight away play the Witness card so you can grab the highest value card for yourself! I kind of feel this is like going “LIAR!!!!!”, “Oh wait, nope my mistake it did happen like that”.

My final game of the Christmas Party was Small World. This is another one off my pile of shame. I’m not counting the game of it I played on my iPad.

This is a very nice game. I love the fantasy theme. Having the powers and race separate, and mixed at random when you create the “trade row” is a great idea. You can get some humorous combinations, and some really cool sounding ones (see photo above for an example). Plus it adds replayability. I like the variable cost to buying your race as well. The nearer to the pile of races and powers the more expensive your chosen race will be. But that money doesn’t go into the bank. No. You place one coin on each of the races before the one you want to buy. Then who ever buys one of those races with coins on also gets the coins that are on it. So there may be that situation that you may not want that particular race but the pile of coins sitting on it is too tempting.

There is also a surprising amount of depth to the game because of this variety, as you work out how to best exploit the abilities of the race you selected and it’s power. Some may require that you need to be in control of a particular land type, or that you have conquered territories possessed by others to get a bonus, or you might get a tactical advantage of some sort.

Then you have to decide when your current race has reached it’s limits and thus needs to be put into decline. Which then gives you the problem from the start of the game which new race do you select?

Haven’t got enough troops to do that final conquest before finishing your turn. Only short by between one and three units? Have no fear there are emergency forces on hand in the form of a dice that has values between 1 and three, plus a blank face. If the value of your forces and the rolled dice give you enough to conquer the chosen territory then you succeed. If it doesn’t your forces are forced to retreat to a territory you control.

After you have conquered new lands for your empire, it’s time to redistribute your forces. But where do you need to reinforce to protect your land from your opponents? More great decisions.

Yes I like Small World a lot. With expansions that add more races and powers, plus different maps. This game has a lot of room to grow.

Chatteris Warlords put on a very good Christmas Party that was family friendly, and a good time for all. Thanks for doing this folks.

Android Netrunner Store Champ Date For The Hobbit Hole

The Hobbit Hole (my FLGS) is holding their Android Netrunner Store Championship on the 4th February.

My FLGS is having their Android Netrunner store champs 4/2/17 for those who might be interested in taking part.

I think this is part of the November 2016 – February 2017 Store Championships. Which means from looking on the FFG website the following is up for grabs:

  • Top 32 – The top thirty-two players will each receive a copy of the alternate art card “Pad Campaign” – an easy, hands-off investment that can pay for itself…If you can protect it.
  • Top 8 – The top eight players will each receive a deckbox to hold your assets and hardware in.
  • Top 4 – The top four players will each receive a playmat depicting some Anarchs ready to run amok. 
  • Top 2 – The top two players will each receive a printed acrylic token to be used with the card “Femme Fatale”. 
  • First Place – The winner will receive a color printed plaque and a first round bye (not pictured) to a 2017 Android: Netrunner Regional Championship of their choice!

(Above taken from the FFG website)

I have to admit the Run Amok playmat and deck boxes are pretty sweet. 

Plus I do like the alt art Pad Campaign card. I may have to try and get a set of three. 

You can sign up for the store championship here if you are interested in fighting for that sweet sweet loot.

Holy Water Batman!

Fridays wasn’t just Crackerjack for British kids on tv. Over on BBC2 it was tv shows like The Water Margin and Monkey also.

I loved those shows. Yes they were dubbed. But they had great stories that caught my imagination. The struggle between the rebels in Liang Shan Po against the corrupt officials. Or the moral tales and humour of Monkey protecting Tripitaka a monk on a spiritual quest to find some scrolls, aided also by Pigsy and Sandy, two guards from heaven punished by being changed to look like “monsters” and to help, if I remember correctly.

I look them up now and I’m surprised how few episodes there are of these two great shows. Time and fading memories seem to have made me think there were way more episodes.

Now grown up me has a new Friday routine. It’s Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion. Last night was the first one of the new year.

It was just Jonathan and myself last night.

After getting a pint of our usual beverage (Heck we have a usual! I think we are regulars now. How did that happen?), Jonathan and I had a two player game of the just arrived House of Borgia.

House of Borgia is Liars Dice with a twist or two.

I’m not going to say much about the game now. It works as a two player game. But this is a game that needs to be played with the higher end of players that the game supports, so 4 – 6 players I think. So once I’ve had a chance to play the game with that sort of player count I’ll go into the game in more depth.

I will say the production values of the game are amazing. Really high quality.

Our second and final game of the evening was another new arrival Batman the Animated Series Dice Game.

This is Zombie Dice with a Batman theme. Steve Jackson games have gone the AEG Love Letter route here. Take a classic, great, fun game, tweak a rule or two but keep what made the original so much fun.

This version is limited in that it is capped at a maximum of four players. That’s thanks to its first change to the classic Zombie Dice formula. Players choose randomly one of the four villain tokens at the start. So you are playing as a Batman villain in this game. Your villain has a special ability. I had the riddler that allowed me to roll four dice at the start of my turn and a reroll them if they were all alarms. Jonathan had Pioson Ivy who could ignore one blue Batman symbol on a dice. You get the idea.

There are ten great looking dice (not thirteen as in Zombie Dice), and you play to thirty points not thirteen. Plus there is a rule tweak to what happens when you can’t draw any more dice.

I really liked these additions to the core game. They improve the game, while not getting in the way or over complicating things. The designers behind Dalek Dice should take note.

This could replace Zombie Dice as a light filer game for smaller groups for me.

I hope that Steve Jackson games have promo characters to release for this game. I’d get them. I’m going to approach AEG to see if I can buy 120+ of the Love Letter Batman tokens to use with this game to track scores. Now that would be a great pimp out for this game.

Having finished our pints of Thatchers by the end of Batman the Animated Series Dice Game, it was time to return back to real life, pick up a kebab, and deal with reality once more. 

Yes it had been a shorter session this time. But sometimes life dictates that is the case. Still a great evening though.

Flight of the Concordia 

Lunchtime the magic of modern technology allowed Jonathan to send a “can you come out and play” message to me for a learning game of his Christmas present from his family Concordia.

Naturally being a person of no life and therefore free most nights, my response was in the positive.

This was as stated a learning game. So there were going to be misplays, and time spent looking up various rule questions.

I think our biggest mistake of the night for the game was not looking up how the end scoring worked.

BGG lists the mechanics for the game as card drafting, deck building, hand management and point to point movement. After we had completed the end scoring it was evident that there was an element of set collection as well. Which comes in the form of the personality cards you buy and the gods that they are aligned with. These act as multipliers in the end scoring (if we interrupted the rules correctly). So for instance, you have four cards for one god, then the points you gain for that gods scoring gets multiplied by the number of cards you have.

It is funny that this game has deck building in it as a mechanic. Deck building is one of Jonathan’s least favourite mechanisms. Me? I like the mechanic. I’ve not looked at all the starting decks, but I think they are unique to the colour you are. Well unique in that they are slightly different. I notice that for one card (can’t remember what it was called) Jonathan’s copy of the card was slightly different. It gave more money to him than my version gave to me. 

I think there may be a first player advantage in being able to build in cities to get resources. But that needs to be confirmed with more plays.

I wasn’t left speechless after playing Concordia. There was no “OMG this is amazing” moment. I had a little moment of glory blocking Jonathan for a turn or two. But it just came across as ok. It definitely has enough going for it to warrant another play.