Clones and Survivors

After suffering that mauling by Loki, Raoul was beyond saving. Surgeons tried for hours, working in shifts to save him. But alas their epic struggle through oceans of blood and tissue was to no avail. Raoul was declared legally dead on the operating table and his remains immediately handed over to some shadow cybernetics skunk team trying to develop cyborg soldiers.

Luckily with advances in medical technology thanks to the imagination of science fiction writers cloning has come far enough for Raoul to be cloned. Yesterday straight from the cloning vats the new clone Raoul arrived.

Clone Raoul has been placed in a secure secret location to protect him from any future attempts on his life by the diabolical Loki.

I thought that while I was talking about the new clone for Zombicide that I was forced to get after Loki decided he wanted a plastic snack! I'd belatedly go through some of the figures from the Zombicide Season 3 kickstarter I got. These figures aren't from the actual episode 3 boxes but stretch goal figures and add-ons.

The attraction of these figures is that they are charactures of well known celebrity figures. Naturally the publisher hasn't licensed anything so they can't call the figure the actual name of the person it is of. However you can make an educated guess who they are meant to be.

These figures just add another bit of fun to the game.

First up is Bastian. I had to look this one up for who was a parody of. Apparently it's Ben Stiller from Zoolander. The character looks cool with the double Uzi guns and double axes in his zombivore version. But and this may be blasphemy to some but I'm not a big Ben Stiller fan so unless a friend really wants to play this character in a game he won't be seeing much game play.

The potty mouth, no holds barred, tell it as it is, Gordan Ramsey is the next to be parodied as Jesse. I love the art work and sculpt, they really do capture Gordan Ramsey so well. I wonder if he is aware of this characture? Not sure I'd play him much but I can see myself doing so on the odd occasion.

Finally for this post for fans of the Luc Besson film Leon we have Lucius as the parody of Leon the professional. This sculpt just oozes cool. I know a couple of friends that might play this character.

These figures have also joined Raoul in the top secret safe house in a witness protection program so they can escape the clutches of Lord Evil himself Loki.

 

My Awesome Weekend

Saturday saw me driving up North to the shadow of Kinder Scout to visit friends. As the photo below shows I took the odd game with me. I had ordered some new games that I was hoping would make it before I set off. Unusual for the Royal Mail they actually attempted to deliver my parcels, and they did it at half eight. Which meant I got them on time for once.
But I still had no idea what time DPD would be arriving with the one game I actually did want to take with me specifically for the weekend. Then a text message arrived letting me know they would be delivering the game Castle Panic before ten fifteen. Score I'd have everything before my planned leave time. For once the stars aligned for me.

Once at my destination for the weekend it was Netrunner time with my guru Todd. Todd was using his newly constructed HB Cybernetics Division deck against my Noise deck. Two games, two loses. But I did score some agendas so it wasn't a white wash. Then we swapped I played Todd's HB corp deck, while he played my Noise deck. I think this was maybe my third time playing corp. I haven't really looked at trying to construct a corp deck yet. I'm not really sure which corp is me yet.

I won this role reversal game, and then had feedback from Todd on where he thought my short comings were for my deck. I basically need to look at my economy (there wasn't really enough being generated), while there was also not much synergy going on in my deck either.

After a break, Todd constructed a runner deck that he wanted to test. So I played his corp deck again (well I don't currently have one) it was a tense game. But in the end Todd ended up winning.

While we were playing the last game it was getting near to the bedtime for his boys, and they wanted to play a game with me. So before they went to bed we had a couple of quick games of Batman Love Letter.

Tea for us grown ups had been an awesome homemade chilli made by Todd. It was just right, not over hot, but not bland like the chilli at work. There was a really nice heat to it. Perfect.

Sunday morning after breakfast was a quick game of Batman Love Letter with the boys. Then with the table in the middle of the room it was time for a game of Zombies! a favourite of the boys.

I hadn't played Zombies! before, so this was a new experience for me. My initial impression of the game was it was a lot of fun. Building the map as you go along was a nice mechanic. The game has a lot of opportunities for player interaction, well a take that interaction. It was very easy to screw over another player, forcing them to skip a go, stop them moving, surround them with zombies etc. One of the boys was really getting into this side of the game. That did add to the enjoyment of the game.

Run,Fight or Die! Fails

I tried to teach the youngest age seven Run,Fight or Die! However it didn't really grab his attention, especially with Cartoon Network on the TV.

How unfit I am?

After lunch we all went for a walk. The weather was hot, and the route took us over a hill to a conviently placed pub that used to be a mill. The hill was hard work, I'm so out of shape. Well more than usual. Luckily the return journey didn't have as much up, which was welcomed. The boys were amazing, not a single word of complaint, they really enjoyed themselves. It warms my heart to see kids enjoying the outdoors.

But boy was I knackered and sore afterwards. I really must get back into shape for the outdoors.

With the car packed it was time to say my good byes. I'd had a really great weekend. Great hosts, a great time. 'Nuff said.

Chris Shaner GenCon Star Realms Champion

Well the subheading says it all. A really big congratulations to Chris on becoming the champ. I don't think I'd be wrong in saying this competition is the nearest the Star Realms has at the moment to a world championship.
For an amazingly long time Chris was the top Star Realms player online however due to his alterism (he is no longer actively trying to push up his ranking since hitting level 40) he has been over taken and currently sits at number 4 on the all time league table. So really when you are that good at the game is it a surprise that Chris did so well in the GenCon competition?
Chris regularly thrashes me at Star Realms online. Sometimes I even make him work hard for his victory. Even more rare is the below photo, a victory for me. It just happened I managed to score this ultra rare win yesterday on the day I find out about Chris's well deserved title win.

Imperial Assault Wave 4 Announced

At GenCon this years big Imperial Assault announcement from Fantasy Flight Games was details of the wave four expansions. Wave four will have another big expansion which will return us fanboys back to Hoth.

Above photo taken from The Dice Tower stream from GenCon iirc ^_^

My favourite GenCon coverage from the week has been from Team Covenent and their unboxing and looks at the Wave Two expansions for Imperial Assault and the next big expansion for Android:Netrunner Data and Destiny. The videos give a great look with initial thoughts on the expansions, the enthusiasm for the contents, and the games really does come across in the videos. It's infectious and makes the videos a delight to watch.

The other coverage I have enjoyed is the MeepleWorship Instagram feed. This has been a great personal view of the show. Some great photos from the show floor, including loads of selfies with industry figures, celebs from the bloggersphere and of purchases.

New Arrival To The Pile Of Shame

The Recon expansion for Arctic Scavengers arrived this morning. It comes in a pretty big box. But there is a reason for that. The box is designed to hold not just the Recon expansion but also the base game and the HQ expansion (the right half of the photo above shows this). Apart from adding 140 new cards for the game, it also comes with the rules for using the Recon expansion, plus an updated rule book for the base game and HQ expansion. Now to just get the game to the table! Which is easier said than done.

 

Overrun

Last night had an unexpected gaming session. A friend was working behind the bar at a local establishment, and it was a bit empty. So I was invited up to help pass the time with some boardgames.

Being such a Star Realms fanatic I took that with me, and also I thought I would introduce Run Fight or Die!

We played a couple of games of Star Realms first. Fun games, my friend enjoyed learning and playing but I don't think it was as big a hit as it had been with Nath (side note Nath is playing the app but not forked out for the full version yet, so no online games together. But so looking forward to my next visit and seeing how much he has grown in his game play.)

Next up was a couple of games of Run Fight or Die! I lost the first game we played when I got over run by zombies. The second game ended up with my friend being over run by zombies. Both games the mutant boss appeared. In the first game I did manage to hit him once. But the second game our card draw just kept adding more life to the mutant boss. There wasn't much chance of us getting rid of the mutant boss. Plus we were both having to concentrate on trying to hold back the zombie horde. I was having a modicum of success. However my friend was mounting up wounds fast, zombies knocking on the door, but it was a mutant card dealing two wounds that finished them off.

The great thing about Run Fight or Die! is it's portable (easily more so than Zombicide), doesn't take up loads of space to play (ideal for last night), quick to setup, and quick to teach. The game captures that constant threat, overwhelming odds feeling so well. I get the same feeling while playing Zombicide (which I love playing) and it's a part of playing the games I love. That feeling of impending doom, attempting heroic moves that if successful keep you alive another turn, or if you are lucky a bit longer until the next wave of zombies hits. Then after that intense feeling of impending doom comes a wave of serenity when you accept your bloody fate. Pure gaming delight.

The plus side is that at our next game night if we play Run Fight or Die! there is someone else to help teach the game to the others.

New Additions to the Pile of Shame

So the first expansion for Five Tribes called The Artisans of Naqala has arrived. Yes an expansion for a game that I haven't got to the table yet and is sitting proudly in my pile of shame. But I know that if I don't get it now after it just came out, when I do want to use it I won't be able to get it. Or I would be able to get it but it will be mega expensive on eBay.

This expansion adds a new tribe to the game, with the supporting tiles, tokens, meeples, cards etc for that tribe to added to the game.

Next on to the pile of shame is the game Biblios Dice. I haven't played the original card game Biblios or the earlier versions Scripts and Scribes (card and dice), so why the interest in the dice game? It looked cool in the YouTube video I saw of it being played! I had heard it was good before seeing the video, had a look for it on YouTube. Liked what I saw, thought I can see others I play with liking it. And it wasn't mega expensive.

In Biblios Dice you play a monk (no jokes about my love life please) who has been tasked with increasing the prestige of the abbey's collection of historical and sacred texts. Doesn't sound an exciting theme to be honest. But the video of it being played really sold me on it, the mechanics, DICE, and it looked fun.

Finally

The button was pressed on the Amazon cart this morning, about five-ish. A couple of items will arrive sometime next week, but I knew that before hand. It's now a race against time hoping that the courier Amazon have used (DPD according to the text I received) will arrive before eleven tomorrow morning so I can take Castle Panic with me. Here's hoping.

 

’twas the night before payday

When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even an attack chihuahua;
The Amazon cart was filled with care
In hopes that Prime would have them there next day;

So if you haven't guessed already by that rather lame parody intro its payday tomorrow and my Amazon cart is all loaded up and ready to fire off first thing in the morning.

Are you wondering what is in the cart? What made the cut for this months hard earned cash?

For starters there is nothing Android: Netrunner related, the last data pack of the SanSan cycle seems to still be on the boat! Still no sign of the second wave Imperial Assault expansions, but they are on pre-order.

So now let's look at what is sitting in the cart.

  • Castle Panic
  • Recon – Arctic Scavengers expansion
  • Spectre Ops
  • Discoveries the journals of Lewis and Clarke

How did I arrive at this list?

This weekend I'm visiting Todd, Zoe and their boys up in the shadow of Kinder Scout. Todd is my Netrunner guru! So there will be one or two games of Netrunner over the weekend. However we will be playing other stuff also. I met up with them all at the con in May, sadly the boys at the con didn't get to play the giant sized Castle Panic. They are at an age where they would really have enjoyed play the game. So I thought I'd get the regular size game (well it's the only option available because they don't sell a giant sized version – although that would be cool to get for induction days at work) for the boys to play this weekend. I think they will have a lot of fun playing this co-op game.

Even though I haven't got Arctic Scavengers to the table yet I want this just released expansion for it. What I do like is that those that want to get the game can also buy a version of the game now that has the base game and all the expansions. I'm taking my copy of the game with me this weekend on the off chance we get to play it.

I'm a cyberpunk fan, I have been since the mid eighties. Since being introduced to Android: Netrunner earlier in the year, my love for the genre has been rekindled. Spectre Ops has been described as Metal Gear Solid the boardgame. Which basically means it's a stealth game on a board. How they achieve that I'll cover when the game arrives. But it has a cyberpunk theme which tickets the box for me, plus the way it implements the stealth is cool (ok if you want to know more just go and watch the Watch It Played how to play video). So this edged it above Dark Moon this month, although that will most likely be top of the list next month.

Ok I haven't played the Lewis and Clarke game that Discoveries is a spin off of. But having seen a run through of the game, this dice game looked good fun. Besides if it isn't obvious I love dice games, as does my friend James. So this is something that should appeal to him as well to play.

So there you have the planned new arrivals for this month. If decide to get or even have any of the above please let me know what you think of the games.

 

AGES – Final Thoughts

You can find my earlier posts on AGES here. They look at the cards, how to setup and play the game.

Before I get into my final thoughts so that I am open and above board, I should point out I paid for my pre-production copy of AGES, I know the designer Chris Shaner from playing against him on Star Realms (he kicks my butt 80% of the time we play).

There with that information in hand you can now decide the value of what I am about to say.

Oh other information that you need to know, I love deck building games. Nope that's an understatement I LOVE deck building games. Star Realms I frickin adore, Marvel Legendary fantastic. Two games that if I had to do a top ten would be easily in the top ten if not top five. Plus I'm biting at the bit to get Arctic Scavengers to the table.

So now I've been completely open and declared interests, and you know where I'm coming from, let's get on with my final thoughts on AGES.

REMEMBER: This is all based on the none final version.

For those that already have reached the conclusion tl;dr for this post already here is the overall summary “I frakin love it”.

Right now we have got rid of those people with short attention spans, let's look into this in a bit more depth.

First off this game screams for a nice playmat for the play area. Similar to the board in Marvel Legendary or playmat in Legendary Encounters Alien. Luckily there are some designs Chris has been running by folks on the Edutainment Facebook page. So I know these are in the works.

You can see influences from other games within AGES. It could easily have been a train wreck combining the influences. However Chris had avoided this and they work really well together.

I love being able to react to another player as they are taking their turn with cards that have an immediate ability if I have any in my hand.

The game is very tactical having the Elite character row and the main trade row. Having to decide between the two for which card to buy. Are you buying to deny the other player? Runs the risk of revealing something better for them. I love that double edged sword.

The Elite phase, wow what a great idea. Love, love it. It does make that purchase decision harder. Sometimes you are buying an Elite character just to deny the other player the use of the Elite phase ability. Which feeds into maybe you haven't got enough gold to buy the Elite character, so end up buying a main card just to deny the other player of that cards ability in the Elite phase. This all feeds into the previous point.

I like how locations are used to give you and on going ability that you may use on each turn. This also gives another one of those hard choices to make during the game. There are going to be times in the game when you fall just short of having enough gold to buy that main card or Elite character that you really really want to buy. Luckily you have a location in front of you that is giving you a rather nifty ability that you have been finding really useful. But if you trash it you can use it as gold to get that card you really want. But that ability is really good and you don't want to lose it, even though eventually the location will come back at some point. There's the quandary. Love it, love it.

The cards look really cool, love the back of the card artwork. The cards feel nice and of a good quality. I'd love to see some custom card sleeves with the current back of card artwork on them to protect the cards. If I remember correctly I believe a handful (five?) of the cards will be getting new artwork. But the images used for the cards are cool and do a good job of capturing the person, item, location they represent.

As I have pointed out this version is not the final version of the game. The manual that I have does need a bit of work. And Chris is going to be working on this I believe.

I like this game a lot, nah LOVE it. I can't wait for it to hit kickstarter so that I can back it. Yes I will be buying it again! Why? So I have a final version of the game, and can get any promo cards that the kickstarter will have, and hopefully a playmat.

 

Sneak Peak

Here's a sneak peak of one of the photos for an upcoming post. The post is taking a lot longer than planned but I hope worth the wait.

So from the picture above can you guess the theme?

In the meantime don't forget this week is GenCon the biggest American gaming convention of the year. So there will be lots of coverage this coming week, plus a week or two after with the thoughts of those that attended.

 

New Imperial Assault Skirmish Rule

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) purveyors of addictive Star Wars related miniature based games (some other company has the rights for boardgames) has released some rule “tweaks” for the super amazing game Imperial Assault. Which would explain why I've put the logo of the game at the top of this post.

The main change they talk about is for the two player skirmish mode of the game.

The new rule is: “During a skirmish, if your opponent has more ready Deployment cards than you, you may choose not to activate a group and pass play to your opponent.” This rule goes into effect on August 15th, 2015, and will not be used at the Imperial Assault National Championships at Gen Con Indy 2015.

The new rule hasn't been added to the PDF of the rules yet. I'm assuming it will be around the 15/8/15. But I suppose for casual games we might as well assume the new rule is live.

The Tournament rules have also been tweaked also. There is some gibberish about their software TOME. But the main thing that will affect tournament players is the following:

In addition, with a new season (National Championships) comes a new set of legal skirmish maps, starting July 29th, 2015. We are keeping the Moisture Farm map from the core set and rotating out the other two. To fill the gap, we are adding the Kuat Space Station and Ord Mantell Junkyard maps.”

Plus FFG have changed some of the language so that it's consistent between all the tournament rules for Imperial Assault, X-Wing and Armada.

There is also an FAQ update, and also talk of monitoring certain characters (which they don't name). So I'm waiting with baited breath to find out which characters and what the outcome of their monitoring is. If I hazard a guess from stuff I've seen on line they are going to focus on the imperial officer.

You can read the full announcement here.

Like a lot of my games I just need to get Imperial Assault to the table more.

Upper Deck have been previewing some of the cards from the impending Marvel Legendary expansion Secret Wars Part One. Yep Upper Deck has soooo much stuff that they had to split it between two expansions! Or maybe they like to milk us fans of the game for even more money. Either way they are getting my money.

Yes I've blatantly ripped off their images from the Facebook page so that you dear reader can get excited about this new expansion as I am.

I have to admit that Zombie Mr. Sinister looks nasty. I can't wait to duke it out with him. I'd be half tempted to let him escape so there are two Masterminds to fight at the same time. That will be awesome and suicidally stupid at the same time.

You can read the new rules and see the information sheet for this much anticipated expansion here

 

A New Survivor and Another Bites The Dust

Bill arrived today. He is the character you get in the third game night kit for Zombicide. I got Bill from a trade on the Facebook selling and trading page I follow. Luckily I had something to trade. I traded Kyoko from the first game night kit. Which leaves me with one more Kyoko to trade at a future date.

At some point in the near future I will hold another Zombicide game night. For that I will use the game night two kit that I have. The game night kits are cool. They have scenarios specific to that kit, although you could use any scenario you want. Plus you get figures that you can give away to those who participate. For my game nights it means that my fellow gamers have a rather cool momento of the evening.

So even now that I have Bill. I know that I will be trying to source my own copy of the full game night three kit at some point in the future.

The replacement figures for Mitch and Elsa arrived this weeke also. Just in time to witness the demise of Raoul. How could this be? Well this morning when I was just about to leave the house I noticed the chewed remains of the zombivore version of Raoul.

During the night a little silent assassin had scrambled onto the table, by passed the decoy figures (the chewed models of Mitch and Elsa) and helped himself to yet another figure.

My cunning decoy plan failed. So once more I have to source replacements because a monster can't tell that Zombicide figures have no nutritional value and are not snacks.

It's that or I petition Cool Mini or Not to stop making their figures out of dog treats.

 

Two New Pages

For the observant amongst you, you may have noticed that I've added two new pages to the blog. The first one has a link to my Boardgame Geek page that lists my game collection (but not all the expansions). While the second page is my Wishlist of games. Which is basically games that have made my radar that I'm interested in getting. Once again I've not added expansions to this list. But in future I will be adding them also.

So hopefully you will find the lists interesting. Maybe they might give you an idea for a game you might like. If you know me, and we are meeting up, feel free to look at the list of games and hit me up to bring along games you are interested in playing.