My failed weekend

If you are a geek/nerd of any kind you can’t have missed all the coverage of the annual geekfest known as Comic Con held at San Diego this weekend.

This is the place all the areas of geek culture such as comics,movies,tv, collectables, toys, cosplay gather to celebrate all things geeky.

In reality it’s a load of media companies vying for attention and approval of what at best be described as desperately needy fanatical geeks.

To grab that all important stamp of approval and get that oh so important buzz for whatever “product” they are whoring out at the con. The marketing departments enter into a geek version of an arms race, dragging out actors (the bigger the name the better) from the shows/movies to perform like dancing bears on stage in the form of panels. They also have “exclusive” clips for those lucky enough to get into the packed hall to see the performing actors. Which somehow find their way onto the Internet afterwards, either officially or unofficially.

If comic book guy from the Simpsons died this is the heaven he would go to.

Due to my weekend getting totally borked. I ended up not seeing Nath (that’s next weekend now), missing the Imperial Assault organised play at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole, and sitting in front of my TV with the fan on watching Comic Con coverage between episodes of Deep Space Nine on Netflix. It got so bad that when I was buying tickets for the opening night of Suicide Squad yesterday, I bought a ticket for Star Trek Beyond for this morning.

I have to say there have been some great trailers for movies coming out. And yes the Suicide Squad ones are getting me excited despite that awful looking Joker.

The teasers for Wonder Woman, and Justice League looked good. I particularly liked the Justice League one.

The trailers/teasers for the upcoming Netflix Marvel shows look awesome. Not long for Luke Cage, the Defenders didn’t show much, but the Iron Fist gave a first look but no clue to the tone. It was confirmed Daredevil series three and a Punisher series.

Love the look of Dr Strange in the new trailer, which now starts to show the use of magic. Captain Marvel had its casting announced for the titler character of Brie Larson, and it’s logo revealed. 

Love the trailers for the returning DC tv series, like Arrow, The Flash.

There were some “sizzle reels” (read we haven’t finished the movie yet, but needed something to show you so we can build buzz) shown for the likes of Guardians of the Universe volume two.

Even despite all that riveting coverage of companies going “me,me,pick me” I did make it out in this excessive heat not only to see the new Star Trek, but also to Costa to enjoy a caramel latte cooler, and a read of the latest Retro Gamer with a slice of cake. 

So that was my weekend, no gaming, lots of geeky stuff.

FEG@TA 22Jul16

Last night it was once more the time to celebrate the start of the weekend by playing games whilst enjoying adult beverages at the weekly FEG@TA. 

My gaming started off playing 7 Wonders Dual with Debbie while we waited for others to turn up. I won this game with a military victory. I just need a points win over Debbie and I’ve beat her using all three win conditions. But that may sound arrogant. Oh wait it is, but I will laugh the loudest if next time we play I lose big time.

As we were finishing Jamie and his son arrived. So a current favourite Qwixx hit the table. Debbie knocked it out of the park in this game, winning with an epic 98 points. That’s an amazing score. A well deserved win.

We finished Qwixx just before Jonathan and his daughter arrived. And she had only one thing on her mind, to destroy me at Bohemian Villages. Something she had been plotting all week since I beat her (and everyone else) last Friday.

So while the “grudge match” which Jamie’s son wanted in on took place, the others split off to play Pandemic the Cure.

Our game of Bohemian Villages saw mind games, plots and alliances. Mainly against me. But once more I was victorious. Do I feel big and clever beating two kids? Oh yes too right I do. What we can be sure of is Jonathan’s daughter will be plotting my downfall. 

During these two simultaneous games being played Jeff arrived. 

Niagara looks a nice game, visually attractive, especially with the moving discs simulating the flow of water and having the board on top of the game box then acting like the waterfall. I didn’t get to play, that will have to wait for another day. I instead I played another game of 7 Wonders Dual with Jamie. This time I lost to a science victory. But it was close, we were five cards from going to points, which I would have won. In our game we had some nice chaining of multiple actions to be able to build two or three wonders between us.

Our evening of gaming ended with a game of Dalek Dice. Dalek Dice was ok. It’s a more complicated push your luck style dice game along the lines of Zombie Dice. I don’t think the additional complication improves things. I prefer the simplicity of Zombie Dice, it flows better, and is more fun.

So that was another great evening of gaming, which can only be finished off one way. Yep dodgey meat in naan, salad and chilli sauce. So one or two of us headed off to the Charcoal Grill to pickup some totally unhealthy meat to take home and eat.

Same again next week…

Resistance is futile

It’s being reported today by the industry news website ICv2 that the Asmodee Borg is assimilating its latest victim. Which this time is F2Z Entertainment. So that’s PlaidHat and their stable of games e.g. Ashes, Mice and Mystics and Dead of Winter; and Z-Man games. 

I did the above for when they assimilated Catan. But it still nicely represents how it seems Asmodee are operating with this latest acquisition. 

I think the Borg look will suit Isaac and Coby at PlaidHat. Isacus and Cobus of Borg anyone?

Who knows how this will shake out, and just what the long term impact of this news will be. Personally I’m not a fan of these big all encompassing companies. And our Asmodee Borg masters have shown they are not above throwing around their power to dictate terms to shops, and trying to artificially control prices of their products. 

I’m sure there are “economic” reasons for why they are assimilating other companies. It sure beats developing new IP, just buy other people’s! 

But it will be interesting to see what happens. I can’t wait for the next PlaidHat podcast and see how honest they are about all this. 

Read the ICv2 source story here

Cool Games, Shit Company

Oh yes the title says it all. I’m naming and shaming today those companies that produce great games but undo it all by doing some pretty crappy stuff that undermines all that good work.

CMoN they produce some great games, they set the benchmark that other games minis get judged. But all that is undone with their piss poor project management, and crap customer communication. In fact if you looked up “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery” CMoN would have its photo there. 

So what evidence do I have of this? Just go look at the Kickstarter projects The Others, Zombicide: Black Plague. Unrealistic delivery dates, failure to take into account delays caused by previous projects, poor communication, screwing backers over by giving priority to retail or the US, giving bullshit excuses to justify their decisions (you should hear the one for why the EU had to wait until September for The Others, while the US is starting to get shipping notices).

CMoN should be sacking people for their incompetence. All I know is they are leaving a bad taste these days, having had previously good experiences, something has changed at CMoN. Are they getting too big for their boots, too complacent?

Fun Forge publishers of Tokaido. Which is a beautiful game that I really like.

But oh I hope you don’t have to use their customer support. It’s none existent. Slow responses to emails, making promises they don’t keep. 

If you remember back at the end of February I got the Collectors Deluxe Accessory box for Tokaido, which had a broken figure in it.

After contacting them numerous times now, eventually some of the emails get responses with promises of a replacement. But here we are mid July and no sign of a replacement. My last email two weeks ago chasing up where the replacement is has had no response.

Fun Forge have what can only be described as the worst customer support I’ve experienced.

So there I’ve had my little rant about too poor companies. To even things out I’ll do a post praising those companies that do get it right. 

FEG@TA Tonite

Just a reminder that this evening is the regular weekly Fenland Gamers meet up that we have at The Angel Inn in Wisbech.

Start time is approximately 5pm, finishing roughly around 9pm-9:30pm. Followed usually by a run to a near by perveyor of dodgey meat with chilli sauce establishment to top the evening off.

So if you fancy getting out of the house for a reason other than the enjoyable pastime of collecting pokemon in Pokemon Go, playing some great games whilst enjoying a grown up beverage, followed by the optional questionable meat in a wrap. Then we’d love to see you at The Angel this evening.

My Two Overrated Games

In this weeks Dice Tower podcast starring Tom Vassel and Eric Summerer they do their top ten overrated games.

I think in the last year I’ve played two games that would make it onto my list.

The first up is Between Two Cities, the tile drafting game, ranked 423 on bgg.

When this came out it was getting some good reviews, a little buzz. But when we played it, it left us feeling “meh”, and rather unsatisified. There was nothing about the game that excited us. Jonathan and I couldn’t see what all the fuss was. I personally think this game is too high up on the bgg rankings. I would easily drop it a couple of thousand places.

My second game that would make this list is a more recent darling of the gaming world, and that is Quadropolis.

This was an even bigger “meh” than Between Two Cities. How this got to position 286 on bgg is a mystery. I can only think too many people fell for the hype for this city building game.

This game is just dull. No redeeming qualities. And should be so so much lower down.

So there you have it my two overrated games. Which I’m sure would get me lots of heat if this was a widely read blog. But I know regular readers will be of a similar opinion to me on this.

UPDATE: it was pointed out to me over on Facebook by Jonathan that he’d add the newly crowned Kennerspiel winner Isle of Skye (IoS). Now I liked IoS more than Jonathan, there were bits to like. Which is more than I could say about my two selections above. After playing IoS for me at least I came away thinking I’d played an OK game. Should it be 209th on bgg? Or even have won the Kennerspiel? No way.
UPDATE: on Instagram this morning nettersplays finally played Quadropolis. You can see her reaction below, sounds like her reaction was just like mine. As is one or two of the commenters. 

Half Year Stats 2016

I thought it would be a cool thing to look at the stats for the first half of the year.

I can't believe in just over a half year I've played 88 games! That's insane. My guess would have been 30 to 40. Not 88. Wow!

I'm not sure where the BG Stats gets the times for time. It's a new addition to the app. I'm assuming its picking these up from bgg. It's an interesting stat that I think isn't very accurate. We certainly took longer than 10 hours playing Pandemic Legacy.


Yet another award for…

So today saw the announcement of the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners.

The winner of the Spiel des Jahres was the super popular game Codenames. Whilst the winner of the Kennerspiel des Jahres was Isle of Skye.

So I’m betting you are just dying to know what a middle aged, rotund, balding man thinks of the results.

So fitting that demographic perfectly let me tell you.

I think Codenames is a good winner. I’ve heard Tom Vassel throw around the figure of over 400,000 copies sold already. So it’s a very popular winner. But is the game any good? I think so, as does the majority of the Fenland Gamers. We enjoy playing it. One or two have bought their own copies. I have to say I think I’d be happier if Imhotep had won. For me it’s a better game.

Considering the games Isle of Skye was up against this is the biggest surprise. For me Pandemic Legacy is a better game. I can’t say if Time Stories is, because it hasn’t hit my table yet. But if I had to put money on it, I’d be betting that Isle of Skye is the weakest of the three games.

Unusually for me, this year I’ve played four out of the six games in the two awards. I do think it’s a very strong selection of games. My feelings about Isle of Skye will be backed up when it’s award will die of loneliness, whilst Pandemic Lagacy will be building an extension to house all of its. And the only game(s) that will match it for awards collected will be Codenames and Time Stories.

All Change – Again!

Last week seemed the week that FFG and PlaidHat decided they would release errata to their LCG/miniature games.

First up PlaidHat have released an errata for one of the cards from Ashes. Not much of an inconvience for me as I'm not deckbuilding yet (although I need to start pdq). But what I like about this announcement is that although people are going to have to print out the correction, and use sleeves, PlaidHat are looking at ways to make replacement cards available. My suggestion would be to make the updated card available from Drive Thru Cards, it takes the production costs away from PlaidHat. I wish FFG would use something like this, or make the errata'd cards they announce available to buy somehow.

Above: original card on left, errata version middle & right, right OP kit alt art errata version

Naturally the errata'd version of Enhanted Violinist will be the only version allows at the OP event I'm organising in a months time.

PlaidHat have also released “improved” draft rules for Ashes too. I've not played the game in draft format, but they do seem better than the ones in the included rule book.

Oh oh oh, just thought please please PlaidHat could we have another alt art Enchanted Violinist but this time using Lindsey Stirling as the art? It would be soooo uber cool if you did that.

Right FFG have released a LOT of errata and updates. For me this means I have to look at the Imperial Assault (IA) and Netrunner ones. I've not looked at the changes for IA, but would expect to see new tournament legal skirmish maps to include the wave 6 skirmish maps. Plus more cards being “tweaked” so they are not breaking the game any more.

The one I have looked at naturally is the Netrunner updates. I play anarch and NBN and it seems these updates are specifically aimed at nerfing them. On the most wanted list, Faust and David have been added along with Wyldside. Which hits my Noise deck big time. I've got some decisions to make now if I want to keep playing them. I'd just been looking at Mumba Temple for my NEH deck, but hey guess what is now on the list? Things are even tighter on my NEH deck, not sure I can get rid of anything to give me the two influence I'd need. Plus Breaking News has been added to the list. And that really screws me. I may have to review the use of this agenda. But what to replace it with?

Plus we have errata for some cards, these don't hit me, well I'm pretty sure they don't. But the fast advance NEH has had the breaks put on it with the Astroscript Pilot Program being limited to one per deck now.

I do like this approach by FFG and PlaidHat, I wouldn't like a card to be banned. At least this way I can still play the cards. It's just I have to make decisions about how much I really want to play them, and how I can fit them in, whilst working out what has to go to make way for them.

Here is the Ashes ERRATA

Here is the FFG ERRATA


FEG@TA 15Jul16

This week saw another game move off my pile of shame. Finally I got the game Biblios Dice to the table.

Debbie, myself and Debbie’s Nath learnt to play Biblios Dice whilst waiting for others to turn up.

While setting the game up, just like Dead of Winter I discovered that a dice was missing! This time a black dice, which I was able to use a regular white dice I had as a substitute. But regular readers of this very niche blog will know I’ll be testing the publishers support out when I get home. 

Talking of support Fun Forge still months after raising the issue with them of the broken figure, have not replaced it. They keep saying they will post a replacement but never do. It’s become a matter of principle now that they will replace the figure. But shockingly bad customer support from them.

Anyway once we had got what the game was about, and how to play. Which was pretty quick. We had a good time playing the game.

There are some nice touches to the game. Like being forced to move your counter up each of the tracks. Otherwise at the end there is a negative points penalty. 

I like the two end game trigger conditions. In ours it was reaching the top of the Bishop track. But we also had 50% of the other condition complete as well with a player at the top of two of the other tracks. 

The bonuses on the tracks at key points a nice touch. First player to reach one bonus spot gets the biggest bonus at that spot, next player gets a smaller bonus and so on. 

Plus player order on a track mattering at the end is nice when it comes to scoring a track. Tie that in with the manipulation of the points each track scores during the game, then things get very tactical. 

I love the dice selection, and the decisions you are forced to make, because there is usually at least two or more dice you’d love to be able to choose.

Auctions and bidding although not complicated is just right for this game. And I love what may seem like harsh reprocussions for over bidding. Loosing all your money, having to reveal victory points collected and being excluded from next auction. Tough but fair.

Overall a fun game.

While we were playing Biblios Dice, Jonathan and his daughter arrived. So while waiting for me to win Biblios Dice (spoiler I did), they tried to escape the Forbidden Island with their artefacts. But being a Matt Leacock game naturally they failed big time, with the game winning.

With us all now able to play a game together we played Qwixx. Jonathan had been wanting to play this game for a while. After being destroyed by his daughter at the game (I got my lowest score so far in this game), what did Jonathan think of the game? He went straight online to add it to his Amazon basket (assuming they would have it). So that’s a big he liked it I think.

What would turn out to be our final game of the evening due to The Angel getting rather busier than normal for the time we are there, and the loud “dance” music, one of my recent favourites Bohemian Villages hit the table.

As per usual for this game a player (Debbie) forgot to collect money before rolling the dice, so lost that money. Luckily it was early on, so just one coin. But a loud cheer from Jonathan and myself burst out when it happened.

Jonathan and myself were up to our usual self offering advice to the others on their turn to try and manipulate things to teduce the scoring opportunities of each other. Trying to get Jonathan’s daughter to choose Debbie’s meeple to kick off a building I said “remember all those cheap tacky birthday presents you didn’t like she bought you” only to be corrected by Debbie and Jonathan with “what presents?” Which helped my lame attempts at manipulation. 

Gaming etiquette was ignored this evening by Debbie’s Nath when he refused to reroll a cocked dice! Blasphemy! Not sporting and soooo wrong. So although he ended up just above (spoiler) last place Debbie or fourth. It was a tainted fourth because of this. 

Jonathan’s daughter and I destroyed the others in final scoring. And I narrowly beat her by three points. Our scores were my 66 points to her 63 points. The others were in the 40’s, not even close. What was nice was when Jonathan’s daughter having been possibly coached/egged on by certain irresponsible individuals (me) at the table returned the “in your face” to her dad. Family feud gold ^__^

But Jonathan’s daughter didn’t take defeat easily and threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to another game soon, promising to crush me.

A great shorter than usual evening of gaming, followed up with the now regular large lamb donar kebab. Which is a great way to finish off any gaming evening.