Chip chip

Everyone seems to be doing a kickstarter podcast or YouTube video. So who am I to not jump on a band wagon. Here's a relatively short post of kickstarter projects I think are worth backing at the moment.

Project Sidologie looks amazing. Back in the day as hip and trendy people say the Commodore 64 battled with the ZX Spectrum for supremacy of these emerald isles. In those heady ground breaking days of the home computer there was a flourishing demo scene on the Commodore 64, helped by the Commodore owned Compunet dial up network where demo writers distributed their latest opus on the 64. These demos pushed the limits of the hardware and then stepped over them often doing what people thought impossible. Some of these demo writers went on to be recruited into the games industry.

It was on Compunet that I sent my only piece of fan mail to Jeff Minter, and he replied! Anyway I have some fond memories of the demos from this time. To hear Axelf, Stairway to Heaven, Zoolook or Rendevous IV blaring out of the speakers of the tv, generated on the computer sitting in front of you was amazing. So amazing, the memories are still with me now as I write about this walk down memory lane, and the notes of these famous tunes as they sounded on the SID Chip playing in my ears.

Even now when I'm not listening to audio books or podcasts on the way into work I listen to the chip tunes from my childhood. If you were next to my car you would hear the likes of Hubbard, Galway et al and their classic tunes emanating from my car stereo.

Into this nostalgia comes Project Sidologie being Jarre inspired Commodore 64 music remixes. I'm looking forward to hearing these albums. Jarre was a big influence at the time for some of the musicians creating tunes on the Commodore 64 and the demo writers. This kickstarter is a tribute to this fact.

One Night Resistance will be sooo cool. Resistance is a favourite with students when I take it in. I'm looking forward to this hitting the shops. It will be interesting to see what students think when they play this.

The other games in the list are cards games (I seem to be into those at the moment). The Apocrypha Adventure game looks cool, plus can be played as a card game or RPG. So two games for the price of one. Best Treehouse Ever looked a fun little card game about building the best treehouse strangely enough. I think along with A Chaotic Life a fun “filler game” to use on a game night or like I have done with other small games something that can fit in a pocket and be taken down the pub to play with friends over an alcoholic beverage.

I hope these words have helped and that seeing the list has given you an idea of something to back that will reward you with hours of fun gameplay.


Catan Day is getting closer

Is getting closer! 24th of this very month in fact. I'm hoping to play the game in the meat world, but if my plans to do so are as unsuccessful as my plans for a gaming night last night (ie no one came) then in reality I will end up playing the app version as my part in the day.

Don't forget you don't have much longer a day if that to get the games in the Humble Bundle Tabletop deal, of which Catan is one of the included games (don't forget Ticket to Ride and Smallworld). Quick aside on this its a pity the expansions you get on Ticket to Ride and Smallworld don't carry across your account onto the iOS version. I did try it to see if they were, but this deal isn't as generous as White Wizard are with Star Realms and their buy on one platform get on all policy.

Here are some clips that will hopefully if you haven't played the game get you interested in playing the game.

Or if you are a Trekkie there is a Star Trek themed version of the game. Which the episode of Tabletop below shows being played with Jerri Ryan who played Seven of Nine in Voyager. Oh and we can't forget Will Wheaton was also a Trek alumni. And let's face it who wouldn't love to play Star Trek Catan with a cast member of one of the many series.


Casual Tournament Número Five

SPOILER ALERT: this story does not have a happy ending so if you want a happy ending this is not the post you are looking for and you need to move on and find a story with one. We don't do safe boring stories here. These stories are edgy and will give you nightmares. You have been warned.

Yep yesterday saw the start of the Fifth Star Realms Casual Sunday Tournament. So how I do?

Things were starting really well with me winning the first game. The cards had been kind to me. Somehow I had won against the script for these tournaments, I was adlibing. The second game saw the natural order of things re-establish itself with me clocking up a loss.

The final deciding game. Crunch time. Through out the game I was chasing the game having a slower start, and being on the receiving end of more damage whittling down my authority. But I was starting to pull myself back into the game. Through luck of the draw and the card gods our authority got to the state of 8 v 11 in favour of Jovel. Sitting in my hand for my next turn was a minimum of 14 points of damage plus a card draw. I needed Jovel to have a draw of cards that I normally get in this situation, one that is all credits and no damage, or very little damage. Sadly for me but great for Jovel the cards fell kindly for him. Once more a final knock out blow is delivered to me, giving Jovel the tie breaking win and a well deserved place in the second round of this tournament.

My biggest fear from my constant poor showing in these casual tournaments is that when the next invitational tournament is held I won't get an invite. But to be fair based on my performance in these casual events I don't deserve an invite. It's up to me to up my game and earn that potential invite. Or at least make the organisers seriously consider giving me an invite.

An OMG WTF Just Happened? Moment

How many times have I been on the receiving end of what I call “OMG WTF Just happened?” moment. I think I've mention at least one of them on this blog. Today the worm turned and I got to do my own “OMG WTF Just happened?” moment on some-one (name removed to protect the innocent).

I define the “OMG WTF just happened?” moment as that moment in the game when you are sitting on an authority score that you think you have at least another turn, maybe two or more with a bit of luck. When the cards align against you with your opponent who then gets a combo just working with cards and attack just racking up. Before you know it in a blink of an eye there is more damage than you have authority clocked up, and you have lost the game.


My International Tabletop Day 2015

Yesterday was International Tabletop Day, a day to celebrate boardgames by playing boardgames. So how did I spend this auspicious of days?
The most obvious thing to start this answer off with is I played some turns in the app version of Star Realms. Well it is my addiction and the games I'm playing go on whether its Tabletop Day or not. I think on the whole I broke even in the wins and loses columns.
Later in the day I got invited out to the pub to pick some leaflets that I had committed to deliver over the weekend for Sam. Sam is running for the local council on the Tory ticket. But I decided to take some games with me to play (just in case the opportunity arose). As the yellow dice bag (and yes it's the official one) above shows I took Zombie Dice along with the little score pad. But the Age of War game box I decided could be used to carry more than just the Age of War game.
So what games did I manage to squeeze into the small game box? Well Age of War for starters, Roll For It, Poker Dice and Batman Love Letter. So I think I squeezed a lot of game into a small box.
Did I get to play anything while out then? Hell Yeah! We played Batman Love Letter. Which Sam won. But it's one of those games where the mistakes give you the laughs and talking points. Like James who sat next to me, not keeping his card to himself at one point allowing me to play a Batman card to guess his card! I have to say I do love playing Love Letter.
There was a quick game of Zombie a Dice which James won. Followed by a game of Roll For It, which I house ruled that we played until some-one got 30 points instead of 40. And that game was won by a mate of James.

I would of gone to my FLGS but the announcement about what they had planned was very last minute, and seeing as it's just under an hours drive not worth a speculative visit (parking also costs), no mention of which promos they had or were giving away, or details on games being played. I feel a post coming on about game stores in general in the near future.

Geek n Sundry Live Feed

When I got home I decided to watch some of the live stream of the Geek n Sundry Tabletop day event. Which is basically Felicia Day or Will Wheaton sitting round a table with guests playing games. For whatever reason it was going out over Twitch (yes I know they broadcast on it). Anyway Felicia and three others were playing Batman a Love Letter when I “tuned” in. I didn't recognise a single one of the guests Felicia was playing with. If you thought Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 had obscure celebrities on it, the fame whores that it finds are major A List stars compared to the “celebs” that were sitting round this table. Maybe in the echo chamber that is Los Angeles these people have some standing on the celebrity scale. But outside in the real world they do not register.
Apparently for the next game Splendor the guests with Felicia were presenters on the twitch channel. So as I said in the echo chamber they may be “somebody” but for the rest of us its a game of “who the feck is that?” I think maybe in future instead of choosing nobodies from the echo chamber that Felicia and Will would be better off having members of the public attending plucked from the playing area and join them.
Of course trying to guess what the echo chamber “celebs” are famous for is a great game to play while watching. While guessing you are not allowed to look them up on the Internet to find out. You have until the end of the game being played to make a guess, using clues obviously from their playful banter between each other during the game.


I mentioned the other day that it was now possible to get the first data pack in the new Android:Netrunner cycle. The Valley arrived on International Tabletop Day. The first thing you notice is that the packaging has changed. The cardboard box is gone and replaced by a plastic case. I'll try and look at the cards during the week.
Plus Han, Leia and the Emperor arrived.


Crystal Maze Post

The forces of good gather to consider options to get Han out of the pickle he's got himself in. Obi Wan said Han shouldn't have failed his Crystal Maze challenge. But Luke and Chewie didn't like this change to the original Crystal Maze format. The ramifications of failing the challenge had a lot more serious consequences than just being trapped in a room.

I decided to add a spare black cloak to the Jedi Luke minifig to finish it off. I may get a black hood at some point to use with it.
A Darth Vader wearing a medal arrived escorted by two Stormtroopers. Wasn't happy with the state of one of the Stormtrooper helmets. I think bad feedback may be due.
Once again I've added to a minifig. This time Vader really did need a lightsaber.
Is it obvious what minifigs I'll be using on a certain day next month? I bet it is.
Some minifig props also landed through the door, four blasters for the Stormtroopers, and a trophy. I think there will be some end of year awards this year.
I also created a new minifig called The Establishment that was inspired by the cover of the book by Owen Jones. It was a simple figure to create, a Lone Ranger head(!) for the mask, a bowler hat, suit torso and plain black legs. Captures the cover rather well I think.

The second volume of Snowpiercer also arrived.

Android:Netrunner SanSan Cycle Data Packs

Super cool news saw that the first data pack in the SanSan Cycle is out to buy! The data pack is called The Valley, and that's all I know about it. I've not seen any spoilers for cards for this data pack, or cycle so I have absolutely no idea what to expect. This is going to be an unusual experience for me. Usually something I play I'm up on any spoilers. I don't recognise myself.



Weekly Humble Bundle

I think the image I swiped from the Humble Bundle site for this weeks weekly bundle says it all really.
Pay what you want for the following games:
  • Small World 2
  • Talisman Digital Edition
  • Magnifico

If you pay over seven dollars you unlock the following on top of the above:

  • Catan Creators Edition
  • Ticket to Ride
  • 100% Orange Juice
  • Soundtracks from the games

Plus if you splash out more than thirty two dollars you get the Humble tabletop box. Which is something that continues the Humble Bundle trend of having some physical element for people to opt for. For me this wasn't something that appealed to me. But its contents may be attractive enough to you to go for this.

Click HERE to splash out for these great digital versions of tabletop games. Don't forget a percentage (that you decide) also goes towards charity, and that these are DRM free and also on Steam (not 100%).


Remember remember


This Saturday is International Tabletop Day. It's smack dam in the middle of an awesome weekend that starts on Friday with DareDevil hitting Netflix. Then on the other side is the start of the new season of A Game of Thrones on the Sunday (plus a pub quiz at the Kings Head). How's that for a weekend sandwich of awesome?

If you have an Amazon Prime account you still have time to order a game or two in to play if you don't have any games. If you don't have a Prime account then you could always pop along to your local game store and pick something up.

If you are a none gamer and want some suggestions what to buy and play I would say you can't go far wrong with one or two of the following games: Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Catan, Fluxx, Splendor, Machi Koro, Tokaido, Star Realms, Munchkin, Harbour, Love Letter, King of New York, Cash n Guns 2, Resistance, Zombie Dice, Age of War, Bang the Dice Game, Lost Cities, Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Pandemic The Cure, Pandemic.

Some of the above suggestions are quick games, some are two player, some are group games. I think that they are all games that can be learnt easily and quickly, are accessible.

Or if you have some games already why not choose one of them to play? And yes despite my opinion on games like Monopoly, Cluedo, etc I'm including these to here. It's about having fun playing games, and if that's what floats your boat.

If you are lucky your local gamestore will be taking part and have stuff going on. I have no idea what either the local stores to me are doing on Saturday. I know one said they are doing something but what I have no idea.

I'll probably end up playing a solo game or two while watching the live feed of Will Wheaton and pals. I'm not going to count taking my turns at Star Realms.

I've been looking forward to this day, and feel I've let myself down not having anything planned. I did try organising something but very little interest was shown. And saying very little is being economical with the truth, no interest was shown.

But don't cry for me Argentina. I'm a big boy now, I can handle rejection.

What are your plans for the day? What games are you planning on playing? You can find out more here.


Heinz 57 Post

About Last Night

Last night Sam (a friend) messaged me via that NSA friendly site Facebook inviting me along to the Kings Head and to bring along Munchkin. The pub was a little busier than was expected, but Sam, Duncan and myself sat down to play a game of Munchkin.
As the photo above shows my Munchkin character was an Elven Thief dressed in leather armour. That's one of the things I love about the game the crazy race and class combos that paint such vivid pictures (greatly enabled by the great art work on the cards) that become more vivid when you start adding on the accessories like armour and weapons.
The game started slowly mainly due to work (Sam having to serve customers) and very few monsters turning up in the Door pile of cards to fight. Once we started fighting monsters and levelling up, it becomes the case of stockpiling cards to stop your nearest rival from stepping over the winning line.
That arms race finally happened in our game between Sam and myself. I used my salvo of cards to stop Sam crossing over the line, depleting my arsenal. Then it was Sam's turn to use up her arsenal to stop me crossing the winning line. Which she successfully did. But then all sides are wondering did the other person have anything left to stop them when their turn comes around again. Back to Sam's turn and she draws a curse. Then it's my turn I too draw a curse, but protected from its effects by some magic footwear. Back to Sam and still no monster for her to fight. Which was lucky for me, I had nothing to stop her with in my hand. My turn. A level one monster (I forget which one) I very easily had more than enough to defeat the monster. Phew Sam was in the same situation as myself nothing left to stop me winning. We had both used everything we had in our previous exchange of blows. I crawled across the finish line to win.

When Worlds Collide

In the world of Minecraft skeletons are a minor irritation. They don't have it easy especially when they are on the surface, as soon as it turns daylight they burn up. Well one skeleton had had enough of the status quo. He reached out for some help. A pan-dimensional portal opened up and four Stormtroopers turned up to help even the odds up for the skeleton.

Luckily for Steve two other figures followed the Stormtroopers through the pan-dimensional portal, Jedi Luke and Stormtrooper Han.
So I have a nice little minifig Stormtrooper army building up.

Competition My Arse

The Pixel Tactics playmat from Level 99 arrived today but only after I had to pick it up from its kidnappers the Royal Mail. They had taken it hostage and were demanding a ransom before they would release it.
The ransom exchange took place at the nearest sorting office. Not exactly neutral territory but when a gun is being held at your head you have to go along with the demands of the man with the gun in their hand.
The thing about this kidnapper is that they are meant to be working in a competitive market place (except the last mile where they have a monopoly) for delivery of mail. But I call shenanigans on that. There is no competition in reality. If there was competition then the ransom fee I had to pay today would be a lot lower than it was.
I don't mind paying the tax on the goods I bought from outside of the UK. That is fair. What I do object to paying is the ripoff fee that the Royal Mail charge. The “handling” fee is total bs. It's like the extortionate fees banks charge. There is no way that the costs to the Royal Mail is that much.
However the “competition” only match or go higher on the costs they charge. A competitive market should see these costs dropping not remain stagnant and at a profiteering price.
I'm really resentful of this exploitation of a situation that the Royal Mail use to unfairly profit at my expense.

The playmat itself from Level 99 is lovely. Similar material to all my other playmats, but thinner. The thinness did strike me at first, but it doesn't detract from what a nice playmat it is.

Some Light Reading

I really did enjoy the movie Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans. It's one of those films that snuck out last year and didn't get the exposure the movie really deserved. Just go rent the movie you won't regret it.

The film was based on a French graphic novel. So I finally caved and ordered the source material to read. The second volume is in the postal system somewhere.

Star Realms An Easter Miracle Happens

A couple of days back I decided to check what if any my ranking was in the Star Realms Leaderboards. Bloody hell how did I get that high? Surely something was wrong with their leaderboard? Ok it dropped down after a couple of loses, but even then it was way higher than I was expecting.
Another loss and a further drop. But I tell you I won't see this again me higher up in the rankings than TheCutter.

Naturally on the monthly and lifetime leaderboard I don't even make a dent. That was more like it. The natural order of things is at least restored on those two leaderboards.


Halflings vs Elves

Yesterday we squeezed in another game of Age of War which I won. So that's a 50% win rate at the game so far against Duncan.

Duncan and I also got to play Tiny Epic Kingdom which saw the Halflings of Brysue (me) go toe to toe with the Elves of Galson (Duncan).

Tiny Epic Kingdom is a 4x game. What does that mean? Well I had heard it explained recently in reviews for this very game. However I am old and my memory isn't as good as it used to be, so I found this explanation for you.

“4X is a genre of strategy-based video and board games in which players control an empire and “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate”.” (Source Wikipedia link)

The expansionist plans of both our kingdoms over spilled into the lost kingdom of Ahlfors. This is a slight rule change for two players, one of a couple specific for two players. The high and mighty Elves had decided to go off on a quest to far away lands and came across the lands of the lost kingdom of Ahlfors, where they found a strange race of humanoids stopping their expansionist plans to colonise this newly discovered kingdom.

The Elves taking inspiration from US history engaged in a war with the indigenous population to steal their stone producing land to use in their own resource hungry master plan. The indigenous people gave little resistance to the superior invading forces. The Elves had been victorious and now controlled the valuable resource producing land. But not for long. No sooner had the surviving rightful people of this region of Ahlfors fled their homes from the marauding Elven armies, than a fleet carrying the liberating armies of the halfling armies of Brysue arrived to free the people of Ahlfors from the tyrannical yoke of the elves. Naturally the liberators had to stay behind and make sure that the indigenous people were exploited for the right cause.

Or in none fancy words I let Duncan take one of the Lost Kingdoms lands, depleting his resources that could be used in combat, then stepped in and took the land off him using just enough resources to defeat him. A cunning tactic on my behalf ^_^

What is amazing thing about Tiny Epic Kingdoms is that for such a small box, there is an amazing amount of game play, and good quality components. They really have captured a game that would come in a much larger box with tonnes more components and take many hours to play into a tiny box that plays much quicker.

Even though there are only six actions to choose from, there is a lot of tactical decisions to be made. Play an action at the wrong time and it could screw up your opponent easily that round. At one point I had the decision of questing or patrolling. If I quested I could of invaded an area on the Elven kingdom and won (I had more resources for fighting) and cut off the mana source Duncan needed to do research. Basically be a complete git. Or I could patrol and make a move towards a capital to give me a victory point at the end.

There really are some nice mechanics in this game from the selecting actions, sharing actions, end conditions, to the combat.

Naturally the forces of good depicted by the Halflings defeated the forces of chaos depicted by the Elves. Or put another way I beat Duncan.

I know Roll For It, Age of War etc have been out for a while. But there does seem to be a much welcomed new wave of small games punching well above their weight, Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Star Realms, Harbour. Games that can easily be taken around in a bag and whipped out at a moments notice. I'm loath to call these filler games, although they certain can fill that role at a games night. I think calling them such deminishes the games from what they are. I hate to call them micro or pocket games. I think these games are like the transformers of the games world, more than meets the eye. Whatever the tag you want to put on these types of games they are at the end of the day great games, with lots of replayability, and lots of fun.



The Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday saw the arrival of Duncan, who had travelled down from the semi-free people's Republic of Scotland. Thinking about it that gives the impression that those north of the border have more of a resemblance of democracy than we do down here in the oppressed Englandshire. But in reality they are ruled by just as corrupt politicians who seem in some areas more destructive than our temporarily out of power Establishment overlords. The ruling Scottish version of UKIP or SNP as they like to call themselves (dispute that? well you can't. You can take a speech from either party replace England/Parliament with EU and vice versa and you have the same speech, they are the same bigoted party) seem to have come up with a cunning plan that allows them to please their local branch of the Establishment, whilst ruining a national treasure that attracts the hated English oppressors. What is this Bond Villianesq plan? Why to build Windfarms in all the remote wild places, ruin the views and landscape. That way those nasty tourists and their money that gets spent in local rural communities will go elsewhere like the cities, and the landowners won't be inconvienced by unwanted visitors and can enjoy hunting protected species in happy bliss.

Anyway Saturday evening Duncan and I spent a little time playing Star Realms! Yes a chance to play the physical game once more. So these were learning games for Duncan as I taught him the game, and he started to,learn some of the cards.

Yesterday saw me introduce Duncan to Roll For It which he wasn't too impressed with. However I still enjoy the game.

We then had a game of Age of War which Duncan did enjoy. This was the first time I'd gotten to play the game since buying. It's a “simple” game to play using the same mechanic as Roll For It. For me Age of War is the natural game to move on to for those that like Roll For It. It's a bit more tactical, has the chance to steal cards from another player. If I could get it (it is proving hard at the moment) Elder Signs would be the game to play after Age of War, because it still uses the same core mechanic, but adds even more onto it. Once I've played a few more games I'll go into it in more detail.

For me these three games would give a smooth path for taking a non gamer from a simple quick filler game to playing a more substantial game using a simple core mechanic of rolling dice to complete cards.

Yesterday I did give Duncan a guided tour rounded the Capital of the Fens, Centre of the Known Universe on foot. The tour was bought to life with memories from my youth of terrorising the town and ruling it with an iron fist.

Above a picture of me impersonating a well known ex outdoor magazine editor. In the distance you can make out the monument to Thomas Clarkson the true unsung hero behind freeing the slaves. Sadly the public and history books have fallen for the better publicity machine of Wilberforce.