Quick Post

Start of the month goodies arrived yesterday. Not all of the ones I was expecting but hey ho.

With the arrival of The Source and The Spaces Between data packs for Android:Netrunner I now have all of the data packs (apart from the just released one – awaiting Amazon to send it). Next up is to get the remaining two big expansions that I need to complete for the time being having all the available cards for the game.

As you can also see I have the Why Can't We Be Friends expansion for Imperial Settlers. Just a bloody shame Amazon decided not to send the game at the same time! So have expansion but no game!!!

Yesterday I also got a chance to play AGES with one of my students. The student had heard about the game on the Star Realms Fan page on Facebook, and I did say I'd bring the game in for him to play. Now the student is just waiting for the kickstarter to start so he can pledge for a copy of the game.

Finally there are plans for a Tuesday night Netrunner to start running at the Kings Head in Wisbech starting on the 7th of this month. So next week basically. Hopefully. Maybe.

 

Bargain Hunter

It's that time of month when monies bounces into the bank account and then instantly bounces back out again. A lot of the time it bounces out to pay bills. But sometimes it results in goodies arriving.

One game that has been sitting on my list of games to get (and there are a few games on this list) has been Run, Fight, Die a zombie game, and I do like zombie themed games.

About a month ago Freddy bagged a bargain getting this game with I think all of the expansions for around $100 I think it may have been a tad more but my failing memory forgets the exact amount paid. He got an amazing bargain.

Well as I said at the start of the post its that time of month that for a brief flicker of time I have cash available. So while I was watching a Netrunner hgame on YouTube a random thought hit me, I wonder how much Amazon is selling the game for.

So a quick visit to Amazon got me the above prices. So just under fifty pounds for the base game, but I really would like that five and six player expansion. Aaaand it would be nice to have that Expansion 3 that adds co-op play to the game. Some quick advanced maths using a super computer and an abacus, then having Loki check my sums I came up with a figure of roughly one hundred pounds in real money.

That was a bit more than I was wanting or able to afford at the moment. Maybe I should put off purchasing the game, or just buy the base game this month. Decisions, decisions.

Then I asked myself I wonder if I can get the game cheaper elsewhere? I'll do this as an academic exercise I thought. I estimated maybe I might be able to save potentially ten pounds.

So with my ninja Google skills I went looking for UK based games retailers selling Run, Fight, Die. My journey led me to the web pages of Games Lore. Wow I wasn't prepared for their prices.

For the princely sum of fifty six pounds (which includes p&p and a 2.5% Discount for spending over fifty pound) I was able to get the game plus the two expansions I wanted for just over half the price of buying them on Amazon.
Wow that was an amazingly good deal. Somewhere inside my head any nagging doubts about getting the game were silently smothered with a pillow. Before I knew it an order confirmation email was sitting in my inbox.

I do like Amazon especially with next day delivery (part of my Prime membership). However they are not always the cheapest, as this post has shown. It does pay to shop around.

 

Star Realms 2.3 Out

Today saw the release of the latest version of the Star Realms app. For those who read this blog and don't know what Star Realms is (is there anyone?), it's a two player (although can be more) deck building game where each player is trying to remove the opposing players authority (life) down to zero. Now Star Realms is not just a physical card game but also an awesome app available on iOS, (dirty) Android, OS X and Windoze. The app allows you to play online against other players, there is also solo play modes like against an ai or a campaign mode.

What makes the app stand out is its cost. The app costs £3.99 which gets you the app across all the platforms the game is available. So many months have to buy it again to,play it on my Mac or for for some reason I want to play on a PC. The same also goes for the Gambit expansion you can buy for the app which costs £2.99. Once again that means you have the expansion on all the other platforms also. So amazing value.

So what have they introduced in this latest update? Well instead of me telling you here is the summary from the iOS App Store.

The biggest improvement for me is the being able to have the greater granularity when playing with the Gambit expansion. Personally I can take or leave the Gambit cards, but some of my favourite ships were introduced in the Gambit expansion. So being able to select just the ships and bases now and leave out the Gambits is a big big thing.
Campaign sync is nice but I play mainly online against others these days. Campaign was great at helping me learn before stepping out into the big wide world of online play.
The auto updated is also a very nice touch on OS X and Windoze.
So a nice little update strengthening a great app.

 

It’s Going To Be Legendary!

This morning (US time or afternoon/evening for the rest of us) at Dice Tower Con Upper Deck did a presentation of up and coming products.

Upper Deck is the company behind Marvel Legendary and Legendary Encounters Alien. I love this game. It’s great with other players and as a solo game. Both carry the theme really well.

In the presentation today the big news was (for me) that in the new big box expansion Marvel Secret Wars you will be able to add a sixth player who will play as the mastermind with their own mastermind deck! There is also a very high chance this is also backwards compatible so you can play with the original core set masterminds!

Going from the box art I’m making a big assumption here but I think Doctor Strange (one of my fav characters – yes I’m looking forward to the film coming out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Wave 3) will be a character I can choose. Also I’m crossing my fingers here Captain Britain. Yep I’m a Captain Britain fan too. I am so excited about be able to play teams with those two characters in.

I think it was last year Upper Deck released a collectable trading card set called 3D which was Marvel character based. Within the packs were some character cards for Howard the Duck and Man Thing to use in Marvel Legendary along with a Stan Lee Bystander card. Not sure if they did any other characters like this for the game. However one of the questions asked from the audience was about these cards. The good news, Upper Deck will be making these available however they weren’t sure how yet. But they did say they didn’t like seeing fans fleeced on eBay for this sort of stuff, and that’s why they were going to make these cards available. I’m not sure if the Stan Lee card would be included but hey I hope so.

I’m a really big Howard the Duck fan. I have the original 70’s comic run, which has the very first comic book appearance of my favourite group KISS in. One of my guilty secrets is and I feel ashamed to admit this, but I enjoyed the Howard the Duck movie. There I’ve said it. I’m not saying it’s a great movie. Just I enjoy watching it. Boy did a get a little fanboy tear of joy when I saw Howard’s guest appearance at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I so want Howard in my Legendary games.

The new Legendary Encounters Predator game is 700 cards, co-op play and pvp. Super hyped over this.

There was one mistake on the slides. It said that the Alien expansion was coming out this year. But earlier in the week a person from Upper Deck more in the know said that it had been put back to first half of next year.

Not sure what to make of the announcement about the reboot of VS. Never played the original. Like the fact that they have moved away from a collectable game to the more democratic everyone has the same cards. They are calling it a 2PCG or two player card game. The initial set will be Marvel based, however they said they would be using other IP like Alien and Predator, Firefly and The Crow. So I calling it that they have gone to a similar format as FFGs Living Card Game format. Which I prefer to that collectable format of Magic. My question will be once I’ve this game in action is do I have room for another game like this in my life?

Which segways nicely into the announcement of The Crow boardgame. Sadly no photos of the game setup. However it does sound interesting with one player playing The Crow trying to stop the bad guys that killed him and the love of his life. While the other players play the bad guys. I know I said this so much this post but I LOVE The Crow movie. Apart from being an awesome movie and fitting tribute to Brandon Lee, the soundtrack for the movie is AMAZING! So I’m really hoping that Upper Deck nail this one.

You can watch the Upper Deck presentation here : http://youtu.be/wfhDA-e5eig

Finally if that isn’t enough excitement around this awesome game next Thursday the game they are playing will be Marvel Legendary. If you were going to buy it, I’d do it now before the episode airs, because afterwards the Tabletop effect kicks in. Which basically means it will be flying off the physical and virtual shelves and in all likely hood be hard to get for a while.

On a different note if you play Dead of Winter and missed out on the Felcia Day promo character from this years Tabletop Day, and quite rightly shocked and disgusted by the price this goes for on eBay (due to a small number of these in the kits sent to stores). Have no fear, Plaid Hat Games are selling it on their website for $5 plus postage (which I think I may of mentioned already). However I ordered one a couple weeks back when they were being re-ordered. Today I got the good news is mine got shipped today.

I do have to take my hat off to Plaid Hat Games for making promos available for a reasonable price for those that failed to get them.

 

A Couple of Random Thoughts

1st July sees the return of Spellslingers. For those not in the know this is a web show about Magic the Gathering where the host plays a game of Magic against a guest who is “semi” well known. Ok maybe well known in some geek circles. It's shot in a similar format to Tabletop where the game play is interspersed with off camera interview clips related to what is happening in the game.

It's entertaining to watch and very over the top banter for the camera. I don't play Magic but I do like this show. I'd love to see something similar for games I do love playing. I think it would work well with Dicemasters, Star Realms and Android:Netrunner.

While talking about Geek and Sundry output, I just don't get their Twitch channel. Watching some-one play a game is boring! Their “regular” style shows are poor. The dancing by the presenters anytime some-one subscribes to their channel is annoying. I have to say the live Q&A stuff Dice Towers does is not perfect but miles better than the G&S Twitch output. In fact as I'm typing this I'm watching a live Q&A from the Dice Tower Con that started today. It just seems in a different league. I think the first thing that makes it stand out is the lack of stupid subscriber dances and not trying to constantly get folks to subscribe. G&S really need to take some notes from Dice Tower.

A question I posted on Twitter as a random tweet/thought was the following:

“Has anyone played K2 or Everest at the respective base camps for those mountains? Or even more cool on the actual mountains?”

Ok I know that last bit is very very unlikely and would be considered a waste of space and weight for a very dangerous activity. But hey I think it would be pretty cool playing the games in the shadow of the mountains they are about.

I’m Not A Champ

My continuing hunt to complete the set of Star Realms promo cards has taken one more step towards completion. This morning two copies of the Starmarket a Trade Federation base and The Ark a Machine Cult card arrived.

The nice thing about the Star Realms app is that these two cards are in the Gambits expansion, so I'm used to playing with them.

The Ark is an amazingly powerful card and rightfully expensive. It definitely is one of my favourite cards in the game.

I also like the Starmarket probably in my top five bases in the game.

Below a photo of all the promo cards I have for Star Realms so far.

To complete the set I need to get/find two Battle Barges and a Breeding Site. But I'm a patient man, I know these will turn up and when they do I'll be there. I know there are some alt art cards that have been done for promos at various cons. However I try and avoid them because that way lies madness and stupid high prices.

8th Casual Sunday Star Realms Tournament

Oh for those interested I once more lost in the first round of the 8th Casual Sunday Star Realms tournament. I lost 2-1, all three game were close. I actually won the first game to my surprise! I had made the tactical decision to buy bases and follow a bases strategy, which is unusual for me as I normally buy maybe two or three bases at most. Towards the middle of the game I accidently scraped a Trade Federation Trading Post (I think it was), which is easy to do. As soon as I did it, it was “oh crap I didn't mean to do that”. I needed to keep that base as part of my big plan. “I've bloody lost this” kept running through my head afterwards. But I hung in, stuck to the plan, kept buying and fielding the bases, and slowly chipped away at my opponents authority to get the win.

Games two and three were much more aggressive hardly any bases! In the second I hadn't scraped enough so that when I got my opponent down to under ten authority I wasn't able to finish them off, because as so often happens in this game you then draw scouts or non offensive ships. Which then gives your opponent the window they need to get back in the game and steal the win.

I'm not a store champion

We all know I'm a noob at the game, struggling to find games locally. Heck none of my local stores even run Netrunner events (but I have a plan for solving that).

However FFG do produce some rather cool looking play mats as prizes for stores to use. The fact is I'm nowhere near good enough to enter let alone win a tournament (this will come). So how does a noob or pleb like me get their hands on such good looking mats?

Well you can sometimes find a complete store kit on Amazon for around £70 plus. While eBay you are more likely to find individual bits like the play mat on sale for silly money. The play mats alone on eBay can be £40 or more. Then sometimes on the Netrunner Facebook pages stuff will pop up for sale.

It was this last place that I got the above play mat from and deck boxes. Usually the Facebook side isn't too far from the eBay price. However recently there has been a spat of sales on one of the groups from people located in Poland. Not only that they have been selling at a really cheap price compared to the other places I've mentioned above. Naturally they tend to sell very quickly. That playmat cost $15! Yep amazingly low. The three deck boxes were $5 each. Plus the postage was rediculously low as well.

So now I have two great play mats for Netrunner. Back now to trying to play more games.

 

Setting Up AGES

In my previous post on AGES I looked at the cards that make up the game. This post continues looking at the game AGES, by looking at how to set up the game ready for play.

In total you will be creating seven decks that are used in the main play area.

The Elite Deck

First separate out the fourteen elite character cards. Then remove the four starting elite characters from the elite characters and put them to one side. The remaining ten elite cards will then be shuffled and placed face down on the table (see the diagram below label 1, and yes I know I show them face up but that's for illustration purposes to show the card is there). Then the four starting elite characters get placed next to the elite deck face up (see diagram below label 4) to form the elite deck trade row.

  1. Elite deck
  2. Gold coin deck
  3. Main deck trade row
  4. Elite deck trade row
  5. Destroyed cards pile
  6. Main deck discard pile
  7. Icon decks
  8. Main deck

Gold Coin Deck

Next find the twenty two gold coin cards. These will form the gold coin deck. Place the gold coin deck below the Elite deck (diagram above label 2).

Icon Decks

Now you need to find all the icon cards for the four icon types. Separate them into four piles, one for each icon. There should be twenty icon cards for each icon type. Place face up the four icon decks next to the gold coin deck as shown in the above diagram label 7. It doesn't matter the order the icons are arranged, but for aesthetic reasons I like to arrange them so the are in order to match the games name AGES.

Main Deck

To create the main deck from the remaining cards remove all the jester cards and single value gold coin cards and put these to one side. These will be used to create a players starting deck later on.

You should now be left with four gold bar cards, character cards, event cards, location cards, weapon cards and relic cards.

Take the cards just listed and shuffle them together to form the main deck. Place the main deck face down in the location shown in the diagram above (label 8). Then take the top five cards from the main deck and place them face up to form the main deck trade row (label 3 in the diagram above).

Main Deck Discard Pile

Some of the cards in the main deck when played get you to discard a card from the main deck trade row or discard a card from the main deck itself. The discarded cards get placed face down into this pile (label 6 on the diagram above). If the main deck ever runs out of cards the discard pile gets shuffled and then becomes the new main deck.

Destroyed Cards Pile

Any cards that get destroyed get placed here (label 5 on the above diagram) face up. The cards here are dead for the rest of the game. However you are allowed to look through this pile anytime you like during play.

Players Deck

The final decks that you need to create are the individual player decks for each player. The initial player decks are made up from eight of the gold coin cards and two jester cards for a total of ten cards for each player.

These ten cards are then shuffled and the player deals them self five cards for their starting hand.

So that's the game AGES set up ready to play. In the next post we will look at playing the game and organising the players play area.

 

 

Planning

At the start of July I'm planning to visit Nath. As the date gets nearer my excitement level goes through the roof. These father and son moments are not near as frequent as they should be, and the time is reduced even more with Nath having to work as well. But I'm grateful for anytime I get with him, and just happy that he still wants to spend time with his old man.

It helps that like his old man Nath has similar interests, video games, board games, movies and football (although somehow Nath ended up supporting the wrong team).

In the run up to my visit apart from getting excited I attempt to decide which games to take with me for us to play (or at least have the option of playing depending on the amount of time Naths work schedule gives us).

So many of my games I bought because they were two player or supported two player and I thought Nath would enjoy playing them. There are also a few (understatement) that we haven't gotten round to playing yet. In the meantime as you have witnessed my collection keeps growing, adding to the list.

So which games are on the list for making the journey to see Nath this visit?

  • Star Wars Imperial Assault – we failed to get this to the table at Christmas, so attempting again. Nath loves Star Wars and he'll love this. Hopefully the new expansions will be out by the time of the visit also. I think they are due to hit stores at the end of the month.
  • Star Realms – how could I not take this? Star Realms is my most played game ever (thanks to the awesome app). Nath will love this.
  • AGES – I like this game and I think Nath will enjoy it too. Plus I value Naths opinion a lot and I want to see what a younger audience in their early twenties thinks.
  • Sushi Go! – a quick filler game ideal for us to play when we have a Starbucks moment.
  • Roll for the Galaxy – a new one for both of us, I think Nath will love this game.
  • Android: Netrunner – even being a noob I still love this game, and I'll be interested in what Nath makes of this game.

I'm pretty sure this list will grow, some will be replaced, others dropped. Or I may unusual for me try not to ponder on this too much and stick to this initial list. There is a first time for everything.

So what games would you take on a visit to family?

 

The Cards of AGES

In a recent post I mentioned that Luke and I had played AGES, a game I really liked. In summary AGES is a deck building game where the aim is to accumulate the most points. How do you do this? By purchasing some of histories most famous and infamous people, places, events, relics and weapons.

So in this post I'm going to look at the cards that make up the game. In the rest of the post I'll be looking at the front of the cards. Which is the side of the card we are really interested in. However I do love the back of the cards. Which is why I've included the photo below of it. In my opinion it is one of the cooler looking backs out there in a game.

Within AGES there are different types of card that unsurprisingly have different uses within the game. So let's look at our first card from the game.

Icon Cards

Icon cards are used to activate the abilities of a card. There are four icon cards representing Art, Good, Evil and Science. I really do like the look of these four cards, they are clean, simple and represent their type really well.

Some cards will require just a single type of icon card (below left), while others will require a combination of different icon cards (below right) to activate the abilities. As long as you have the correct number and type(s) of icon cards indicated in your play area you can then use that cards abilities.

You get an icon card of your choice at the start of your turn. Which then remains in front of you in your play area for the rest of the game.

Gold Cards

So you need to be able to purchase cards from the trade row or eventually the Elite row. Especially in the early game the main way you will be doing this is with the gold cards. Once you have purchased some cards you will be using the gold value of the cards bought plus your gold cards to buy more cards.

  1. Cost of card
  2. Value of card
  3. Title
  4. Type of card
  5. Flavour text

There are three different value gold cards within the game. A single gold coin (below left), two gold coins (below centre) and a gold bar (below right).

Luckily at the start of the game you receive eight of the single gold coin cards. If you want to buy a gold card while playing you can either buy one of the twenty, two gold coin cards that the game has or if they appear in the trade row one of the four gold bars.

The gold cards are probably my least favourite cards in the game. I just don't find them as attractive as the other card designs.

Other Cards

Having looked at the icons and the gold cards lets now look at the other cards, which can be broken down into five categories, characters, locations, events, relics and weapons. These five categories all share a common layout which is shown below.

  1. Cost of the card
  2. Icons needed to use the ability of the card
  3. The cards ability
  4. Value of card when used as gold
  5. Name of the card
  6. Type of card
  7. Art work!
  8. Flavour text

Character Cards

There are three types of character cards in AGES, Elite Characters (below left), Jesters (below middle) and Characters (below right).

Elite Characters

Elite characters are so special they have their own deck! Not only are they special they also happen to be the most expensive cards in the game.
So why are Elite characters special? In AGES after you have taken an icon card, there is an Elite phase that kicks in once one or more of the starting Elite characters have been bought. Each Elite character that is not a starting Elite character has a special ability that has to be used during the Elite phase of your turn. This is the red/white text in the ability area of the card, an example is shown below, and is only valid if the card hasn't been purchased and is in the Elite card trade row.

The white text in the ability part of the card is what the Elite character does when you play that card from your hand.

There are four special Elite cards that are the starting Elite cards, which are identified with the words Starting Elite (see below). These four cards form the starting Elite character trade row.

You will notice that the starting Elite card mentions the rapport ability. This means that the cost of that Elite card is reduced by one for each matching icon you have on the table in front of you. However there is a limit to this cost reduction. You can not reduce the cost of an Elite card by more than the number of icons required to activate its ability. Although not mentioned on the other Elite cards, all Elite cards have the rapport ability.
Finally when the Elite character deck becomes empty that signals the end of the game.

Jesters

When you start a game along with the eight single gold cards you also get two Jester cards. Jester cards act as temporary generic icon cards within AGES. This means that when you play a Jester card you place it with the icon type you want to use it as. However unlike icon cards which remain on the table in front of you through out the game, at the end of your turn Jester cards get placed in your discard pile.

Characters

Character cards form part of the main deck and are purchased from the trade row.

Location Cards

Location cards when played are the only cards other than icons that will remain on the table in front of you.

Like all the cards you can use the cards ability if you have the correct number and type(s) of icon in front of you. However you may only use a location cards ability once per turn.

Just like Character cards Location cards form part of the main deck.

Event Cards

Event cards form part of the main deck. You will notice in the ability text the word immediate is in green. I will cover that in the Weapon card section.

Relic Cards

Relic cards are also one of the cards that make up the main deck.

Weapon Cards

Weapon cards are mainly used to defeat the other players Character cards. Can you guess which deck weapon cards are part of? Yep you guessed it the main deck.

As promised earlier in the post let's look at that green coloured word immediate in the ability text. Why is it green? What does it mean?

When you see that green immediate in the ability text it means you can play that card at any time. How cool is that? This allows you to play a card in response to another being played. For instance your opponent plays a character card, before they activate that characters abilities you are allowed to play any cards you have that have the immediate ability. So if you had the above weapon card in your hand you could play that card and defeat the just played character before the opponent can activate its abilities.

So I hope this look at the cards in AGES has been of interest. In the next post on the game I'll look at setting the game up. Which will be a shorter post. I can hear the sighs of relief now.

 

 

Game of Thrones Done For Another Year

 

Last night saw the final episode of the current series of Game of Thrones (GoT). Which means a year to wait until it returns to our screens again. Naturally that wait is eased with the next season of The Walking Dead before it.

But what to do during the coming years wait for a GoT fan?

Obviously there is the option to rewatch the five seasons again, or re-read the books. However there are other options for the boardgame enthusiast.

FFG, the company behind some of my favourite games such as Android:Netrunner, X-Wing and Imperial Assault, have one or two options.

The first game from FFG to look at is A Game of Thrones The Board Game Second Edition. The game is for three to six players, plays apparently between two and four hours, and has a couple of expansions that you can buy to expand the game. From what I have seen of the game online I like what I see, and very interested in the game. The draw back for me is how often would I get to play the game? I think I could get enough players together but I'm not sure they would want to play a game of this duration.

Next up from FFG is their living card game (LCG) A Game of Thrones The Card Game. This LCG plays 2-4 players and the estimated game duration is one to two hours. From what I have seen online this is meant to be easier to get into than the boardgame, plays quicker, but… Is it for me? I already play a LCG but not as often as I like due to lack of players in the area. It's this fact that makes me less inclined to go for another LCG at the moment.

FFG also do the following GoT games Game of Thrones Westeros Intrigue and Battles of Westeros. I know nothing about these two games. However it appears that Battles of Westeros is based on Battlelore. I've not played Battlelore but it is literally top of my want list of games. So I'm going to spend a bit of time researching this version of the game.

There is also I think an RPG based on Game of Thrones but I'm not sure if that is even possible to purchase these days.

It will come as no surprise that there is a GoT Monopoly. However if that game floats your boat it maybe an option. However Monopoly isn't my cup of tea so not an option for this GoT fan.

However there is (if not out already) a GoT version of Risk coming. Which will have two maps to play with. I've not to my shame played Risk, but this does look like a possible option also.

So for this GoT Fan the top three of the options for me to consider are Battles of Westeros, GoT The Boardgame and GoT Risk. So don't be surprised to find one of those three in my collection soon.

As a final thought I might be tempted by the TellTale games GoT videogame. I really enjoyed their Walking Dead game, so more of the same but with GoT no brainer.