A Black Aggro Deck

I enjoyed the pauper black aggro deck that Strictly Better MtG did. So once again I felt inspired, and decided to build a black aggro deck.

For my deck I wanted to make use of some of the cards I thought were cool in Rivals of Ixalan. I love Ravenous Chupacabra, a 4 cost 2/2 that removes an opponents creature also when it enters the battlefield, I’ll take that. Especially when I can get it back from the graveyard to my hand easily. Tetzimoc is my big hitter, and also with his ability removal. When you start putting out those pray counters it’s putting a timer on your opponent. Do something about this fast or you are stuffed. I love Mastermind’s Acquisition, being able to go and get the exact card you need is awesome.

Naturally I have removal in my spells, but I also have a little graveyard hate available to me just to make sure some stuff stays dead! The nice thing about Scarab Feast and Wander in Death is they can also cycle. So I have that option there depending on the game of going searching for the card I want.

Ok here is a look at the mana curve for the deck. I’m pretty happy with that and having the AMC under 3.

So here is my black aggro deck list…

Creatures:20

4 Skittering Heartstopper
4 Vicious Conquistador
3 Dinosaur Hunter
4 Gifted Aetherborn
3 Ravenous Chupacabra
2 Tetzimoc, Primal Death

Spells:16

2 Duress
2 Fatal Push
2 Scarab Feast
2 Walk the Plank
2 Never // Return
2 Recover
2 Wander in Death
2 Mastermind’s Acquisition

Lands:24

24 Swamp

Sadly there is no sideboard at the moment. But when I do come up with one I think it will have the other two copies of Fatal Push and Never//Return. I’ll probably look at Gonti and Dire Fleet Poisoner also. After that I don’t know.

What would you have in the sideboard? What would you replace in the main deck?

On the road to recovery

This flu thing has ruined half term for me. Today is the first day I’ve felt remotely human, and not one of the living dead. Unfortunately my Mum and Nan who live next door have now got it too. Which is the last thing I wanted to happen. Nan is 91 as of the start of the month. She takes much longer to get over these things than younger people do. Yes both of them have had the yearly flu shot, but it’s done little to protect them from this evil thing.

So with illness curtailing my half term gaming, it is going to impact into next week as well. Luckily my suffering from physical ails timed with life events affecting others in my gaming group meant very little gaming was going to happen anyway.

With the Ta Seti expansion for Kemet on its way from the publisher Matagot, a couple of other expansions landed on the door mat today. Which I think is going to sum up my gaming year for me. There is still no game I’m thinking “yeah I can’t wait for that to come out” (although I’m thinking that about one game hitting Kickstarter hopefully soon). I’m more concerned about making sure that when expansions drop for games I have and enjoy, that I get them. Maybe 2018 will be a year of old favourites getting new fresh leases of life.

BTN January 2018

Wow am I late in getting this post out. Better get on with it…

January is that one month of the year that seems to drag on. I think the blindingly obvious thing from last month is I played a lot of Magic the Gathering. This won’t be the case for much longer. From May onwards it will drop considerably, I’ll still be playing it. Just not as often because the opportunities to play won’t be there.

Two legacy games (Gloomhaven and Charterstone) started last month. I enjoy that style of game, I like the way actions have an impact on future plays. It gives them extra meaning.

Three new games got to the table. One of them a legacy game.

Sadly I only played seven games all month. I think due to scarcity of funds, the start of the legacy games, being able to afford the other meet ups has been hard. So it’s meant I’ve not attended those and thus the opportunity to play more games has been less.

Anyway here are the stats…

Here are the updated measurements of my averages.

The final section as usual presents the data graphically so we can try and see trends. As you can see MtG has been distorting things a lot recently.

My Game of the Month…

This can only be Charterstone. Lovely art work (which I will go into a bit more in my next game report for it), worker placement (a mechanic I really like), legacy element, great components, once finished as a legacy game can still be played, a recharge pack allows the legacy side to be played a second time using the flip side of the board. Yeah delightful legacy game, and well deserved winner of game of the month.

Worst Game of the Month…

Yep there is a “winner” of this infamous award this month, and it’s down to its butt ugly awful artwork. Yep Escape the Dark Castle despite being an ok game, has dire art that puts me off wanting to play it. So for the art alone it’s getting this award.

Hopefully hitting the table in February…

I failed miserably last month to get these two classics to the table. So let’s see if I have better luck in February with them.

  • Suburbia – I really need to get this to the table. It’s been sitting in my collection for a while now. It’s shameful I haven’t played it yet.
  • Ghost Stories – another classic that has been sitting in my collection. About time this saw the light of day also.
  • Tao Long – I like abstract games, and I really need to get this Kickstarter to the table.

  • The weekly Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion (or FEG@WL as I call it)
  • Every second Wednesday of the month we have our monthly meet up. This month that second Wednesday is next week. Which I’m not sure will be well attended by people in relationships. Their partners might get upset.

If you are in the area and want to attend one of the events, please visit the Fenland Gamers Facebook page for further details about the event. Hope to see you there

3D Tokens Revisited

After my previous post about the 3D tokens for Imperial Assault I’d had printed. A friend pointed out that I should have printed the ones that allowed the actual tokens from the game to be used. Apparently from time to time the token colour may matter for a mission. The friend also kindly linked to the 3D designs I could use.

So here we are with the new version of the crates and terminals that allow the original cardboard tokens to be used with them.

More viewing recommendations

If you get a chance, I highly recommend Please Stand By starring Dakota Fanning.

I thought it might be the Star Trek answer to Fanboys. But it’s a different movie entirely really. I think Fannings performance as an autistic girl is really good. I think she portrays the character well. For me the star of the movie is the chihuahua Pete, her pet dog. He steals the scenes that he’s in. But overall I think the movie treats Fannings character and her autism very sympathetically, and in a very positive light. With this movie and The Alienist I think Fanning has upped her game, and putting in some really solid performances.

Yet another Star Realms video

I’m sorry these videos must be incredibly tedious for you all. But I’m gobsmacked at how this game went. I’ve not had a game like it in an age.

I think this is also the highest authority I’ve finished a game with. I think my previous record was over 120. I also like that I finished in style as well. And this was incredibly badly written. Sorry.

Gloomhaven – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Once more the merry band of adventurers gathered one Sunday afternoon to head off to seek fame and fortune. Oh yeah, there may be spoilers ahead. So if you want to avoid them please head off and read some of my other posts, or something more interesting elsewhere (which is more likely).

Our band of brothers and sisters had decided to help the merchant make an “example” of some caravan raiders. We arrived at the Inox Encampment in the Dagger Forest where these caravan raiders were camped.

My secret objective for this scenario was simple kill three or less enemies. I could do that I thought. I’ll just deliver the finishing blow to an enemy once one of the others had done all the work. I’ll sit back then, do some damage, heal the others, and hopefully stay alive long enough to see the end of the mission.

To get our reward from the merchant all we had to do was kill 20 Inox. Yeah we were making that sort of “example”. Would the metaphorical 30 pieces of silver we would receive upon completing the mission be enough to ease our conscience?


Charlie and Justin went to the left and took on the Inox guards and archers that side. While Edmund and myself went right to deal with the threat that side. We had started our mission with 3 damage already. So my first action was to heal myself with a healing potion. I think my Glamdalf is the weakest health wise of the party. So I needed to make sure I was able to survive a hit or two.

I did manage to kill an Inox guard, went invisible with my invisibility cloak, hid behind our Inox brawler that was Edmunds character. I can’t imagine how that big brute felt killing his own kind for money. But picking up the extra money left behind by their fallen corpses must of made it easier. While we were ducking and diving, stabbing and slashing. Justin was busy letting Charlie take the slings and arrows thrown at them on the left. Which eventually left to Charlie becoming exhausted and out of this mission, midway through.

If we were going to succeed I needed to abandon my secret objective and step up and get my magic ridden hands even bloodier than they were. By the time the body count had reached the target needed to set an “example” to these caravan raiding Inox I had killed 5. But more importantly I was just short of reaching enough experience Glamdalf to get to level 2 and those 2 spells I could add in.

On return to Gloomhaven we got into a bar fight that pushed me over the line to get my hands on those level 2 spell parchments. Now we have to decide if we are going to do more dirty work for this merchant. Or help the city watch take down this apparently up to no good merchant.

Through out this hack and slash mission I definitely was managing my cards better. At no point did I feel that I was going to be exhausted or getting close to that point. So Iflix was a lot happier with that side of things.

This mission was very much a kill everything in sight. No emphasise on exploring, or getting a particular item. I have to admit this mission kind of reminded me of the US Cavalry and the American Indians. Were we really the good guys in this? I think morally it was ambiguous at best. Were we the cavalry riding into that native village, killing anything that moved? Am I reading too much into this mission, or am I right to feel a little uncomfortable with it?

Netflix/Amazon Prime Recommendations


Netflix and Amazon knocked it out of the park this weekend with two new releases. You want a great cyberpunk sci-fi series to watch? Go watch the amazing Altered Carbon. Want a gritty, suspenseful mystery, that leads you down several plot dead ends before the big reveal then watch Absentia.

I really enjoyed both of these series. Very different, but also very similar in many ways to. Just watch both you won’t regret it.

Istanbul going digital


The tail end of last week saw the announcement that the board game Istanbul is going digital. No eta or pricing info in this initial press release apart from it will be available on all the usual suspects when it comes to platforms. The developer Acrum is responsible for the digital version of 8 Minute Empire (which to my shame I own but not fired up). But if my fading memory doesn’t fail me got good reviews at the time of its release. I’m hoping that it’s not just the base game we get but the expansions too. Or that they release an update with the expansions (at an extra cost naturally) not long after. Istanbul is a great game, which came in at number 7 in my Top 100 games last year. And I love the game with the expansions. In fact unless I’m introducing the game to a new player, I only want to play it with the expansions. They just take the base game to a new level.

Naturally it has the normal functionality you’d expect from a digital version of a board game. Although in the past one or two developers have released versions with some core features (as I would consider them) missing, and not always promised for a future update. So at the moment I’m giving the developer the benefit of doubt and assuming this following list is going to be there from day one.

• play with AI, with friends or both

• pass and play mode

• online multiplayer with asynchronous mode option

• modular board

• official rules plus extra additions

You can read the full unedited press release HERE, or sign up for email alerts HERE with the developer.

With Scythe hitting Steam soon (well this year) with hopefully the iOS version not far behind its a great time to be playing digital versions of board games.

Angels crash to earth

We started a MtG Tournament at work this week. Four rounds of swiss, over 4 weeks with 12 competitors. Each round is the best of 3 games, with the whole thing being run on the Challonge.com website. At the moment there is no prize support, we are currently playing for honour.

I’m playing an angel deck in this tournament. Which I didn’t do too well with in my first round match I lost 2-1. The first game I won, things went to plan. Which in the second game they didn’t. Things went down hill in that game when Overwhelming Splendor was removed from my hand just before I could play it. Sadly at the moment I only have the one copy (Yes more are on the way). But it’s a funny card to play.

It does a good job of buying time for the Angels in my deck to come out, and shutting down planeswalkers that my students like to play. But with the card discarded from my hand my “Great Wall of Darren” as I call it (I have 12 walls in this deck) managed to only delay the inevitable in this game. I just wasn’t hitting my Angels.

In the third and final deciding game things just got worse for me. I just wasn’t hitting land. I was stuck on 2 or 3 mana for a long time, unable to play most things except my walls, cycle the odd card in the hope of hitting land. It was a quick death luckily for me. And a poor start to the tournament.

On a brighter note in a “friendly” game earlier in the day I did get to transform Bruna, The Fading Light and Gisela, The Broken Blade into Brisela, Voice of Nightmares.

This does look really cool on the battlefield.

All booked

In a shocking display of being organised I’m all booked up for the two big expos this year. Long time sufferers of this blog will recall that I’d already booked my accommodation for both expos before Christmas. Which was a rarity for me. Normally the accommodation is left to March time or nearer when all the cheap rooms are gone, and I have to hunt around for something I can afford. So I really did surprise myself when I booked rooms early at the cheap rate. I blame Jonathan for that when he booked his room for the UKGE, and talked about going to the TTG:Live one.

So with payday injecting much needed funds into the bank account I’ve decided I better secure my tickets as well. So that’s it, apart from getting there and having a good time I’m all paid up.