Song Remains the Same

Yesterday at my place of employment on our day off, my colleague and I met up to take on the zombie horde in Epic Zombicide!

I set up a six by five city map, with our soul objective of getting from our start position to one of the two exit points.

I’d tailored the search deck with a mixture of weapons, and useful stuff (no food basically). We were up against regular zombies, brutes, skinners and toxic zombies. Plus those crowz. 

Throughout the map were randomly placed cars to be searched and driven. In the car search pile I did have one aargh card shuffled in. Just to give it a little tension while searching.

We managed to get everyone out. And that’s despite whenever we thought we would investigate a building it only made things worse. The building I was going to look in revealed a fattie. While the one my colleague was going to go into introduced an abomination onto the map! Luckily it was a regular abomination with three hit points, and I had a weapon that did three damage.

For me this randomly thrown together scenario and objective was easy. Maybe too easy. But for introducing a noob to the game like my colleague, I think this was pitched nicely at the right level.

Tomorrow it’s more Epic Zombicide. I may step it up by putting an objective that forces us into a building to achieve before making a dash to the exit point.

Last night saw the start of season two of our Formula D League.

Spoiler alert, the Formula D machine that is Katie continued off where she left off from the inaugural season of our league, with a win.

Katie won the first season with a clean sweep of victories.

For our second season we upped our game and moved on to the advanced rules. We haven’t gone “complete” advanced and started using weather and deciding our own wear points. That will be season three. 

In the meantime we are still wondering what exactly we have to do to beat Katie.

During both laps there were brief moments when I was in front. But on both occasions that lead was squandered somehow. Most of the time I was battling it out with Jonathan for second place. 

Somehow in the last third of the final lap  I went from second place to fourth! Debbie did amazing to come up and take third from me on the final two corners.

In fact I’m still in shock.

Wow the advanced rules! Having all those   different wear points. It makes decisions like over shooting, collisions, dropping gears far more “interesting”. They all have different impacts on the various aspects of your wear points. And severly  limit the number of times you do any of them. 

The overshoot spin out rule on corners is cool, and adds even more consequences to the action.

Jonathan particularly liked the changes to the pit stop rule. Which made it more realistic. And I did like it too. Like a real pit stop the only thing that gets repaired are the tires, plus you have to roll for how quick the tire change was done. Brilliant.

Plus we now get debris on the track from collisions etc. Cool!

Yeah the advanced rules are fun, forcing you to be more thoughtful in your driving! Love them.

But who will dethrone Katie?

Why I keep extending my pile of shame

A conversation with my bestie North of the border, or the Scottish me as I like to refer to him, Duncan at the weekend bought up an interesting point. Which we both agreed on if the short time between writing this and the conversation hasn’t faded my poor memory too much.

That point was “why do we still buy new games, despite having a nice healthy pile of shame, that the new games will just make bigger?” and our joint answer was “because if we didn’t buy them, when in the future we did want to play them they would be hard to get, and cost a lot more than they did.”

That last bit I can back up with various examples, for instance lets take Glen More (which I now have thanks to a generous trade with Jonathan). The English edition is out of print, and hard to get hold of. If you don’t mind German and one of the bgg translations you can get it easily enough. It’s why I backed Lunarchitects at the time on Kickstarter. It’s basically Glen More but set on the moon! Despite the controversy that happened between the designer of this version and the publisher and original designer, at the time it was the only way to get an English version of the game. The publisher did say they would reprint the English version however that hasn’t happened yet.

Mind you I want to get a replacement copy of Viva Java the dice game (it’s the game I traded for Glen More), guess what thats “between printings” at the moment, and hard to get.

You want to play Starcraft the boardgame? Unless you are my friend Bob who got an amazingly rare bargain, good luck on getting this for less than £100. FFG no longer have the license so we won’t see it reprinted. Forbidden Stars was meant to be an “improved” version of this. However that is going to be just as rare now due to FFG and Games Workshop “falling out”. Oh and because of that break up good luck on getting Fury of Dracula Third Edition, or Space Hulk Death Angel and it’s expansions, or Blood Bowl Team Manager and expansions. Which reminds me I need to get the expansions for those two games.

Or take the Fantastic Four expansion for Marvel Legendary. You can’t get that at all now, because of Marvel killing off the Fantastic Four in an attempt to suck the life out of the team so that the movie rights get passed back to them. Which we all kind of want really. If you have seen the three movies you would be backing that decision too. However it means that expansion is like super rare and expensive now. Luckily I got it before this all kicked off.

So as you can see, yes I might not get the game to the table right away. But if I’m interested in playing that game, then buying it upon release is my best option to being able to play it in the future. Or I could just try and live with the fact that I don’t need to play the game, and concentrate on playing the ones I have more. Oh wait thats crazy talk.

A final admission before I close off this post. Since joining my local gaming group Fenland Gamers, my pile of shame has shrunk. The one thing I have noticed is that on the whole, my research into a game before getting them has paid off. So far as they have been hitting the table I haven’t hit a stinker yet or become candidates for Jonathan’s Nantucket Wing. Oh wait Dalek Dice was bad. Ok one so far. That’s pretty good going. Plus it wasn’t that expensive, not lost too much on that one.

PS Sorry for no snazzy image to go with this post


Epic Planning

I’m not going to finish my little project in time. I think I’m going to be a box short.

What am I talking about?

Oh this week Zombicide is hitting the table again!

But having so much stuff for it, like Season 1, Season 2 – Prison Outbreak, Toxic Mall, Season 3 – Rue Morgue, and Angry Neighbours. So that’s all the big boxes. Plus I have a few of the expansions adding more survivors, crows!, zombie dogs and companion dogs, extra zombies.

It’s not everything but getting there.

So I decided this stack of stuff needed organising.

I’m trying to get everything into the five boxes. Well that’s the ideal.

Which means I’ve been making inserts from foam core.

At the moment I’ve got three boxes done, which covers tiles, and zombies. I’ve just started on the counters and cards inserts for one of the remaining boxes. Which leaves the final box for survivors and their zombie version, plus character cards. And I need to squeeze rule books in too!

I was hoping to have this all done before I roll out Epic Zombicide.

What’s Epic Zombicide? 

Well since discovering the amazingly large table we are allowed to play on at The White Lion Hotel, it struck me this would be amazing to play Zombicide on.

In fact I thought I bet I could build a massive map with all my tiles on the table.

And thus the idea of Epic Zombicide was born.

So this isn’t one of the amazing scenarios or campaigns that come in the rule books or compendium. No this will basically be start at one end of the map, and fight your way to other. There will be spawn points all over the place, abandoned cars, waves and waves of zombies. 

I have a dry run of Epic Zombicide planned on Wednesday at work! Which will then with any tweaks needed return to the table that started this path the next day.

But the secret to success is going to be organisation. Hence my little project in foam core.

Once I’ve finished the project I’ll do a little video showing it all off!

I only have one regret for this insane idea of mine. That is I didn’t get the pack of 3D doors and barricades on the season three Kickstarter. They would make this super epic looking on the table.

Sadly can’t find them anywhere. Oh I can find the ones for Zombicide 2.0 or Black Plague as it’s known officially. But they have that medieval look to them that is out of place in a modern setting.

I wish CMoN (not my favourite company in the world, in fact I hate them) would do an “upgrade” kit for original Zombicide. Giving us the improved player boards of the 2.0 version. Plus give us a single sheet rule change that matches the 2.0 ranged weapon targeting rule (I talk about house ruling it here).

For me zombies are modern, not something for a fantasy medieval setting. It’s why I haven’t bought Black Plague. It’s what I have but with a fantasy theme! Why would I want to buy everything again!!!

Anyway I digress. I can’t get the 3D stuff anywhere. That’s such a shame. Hopefully I’ll stumble across them in the future.

Right I’ll love you and leave you it’s nearly my bedtime as I finish writing this! Yes I’m that sad and old!!

Shadows of Porta Nigra

Finally Porta Nigra hit the table. That’s another one off the pile of shame. Which is getting smaller and smaller.

So how did this bit of shocking news happen?

It all started with an innocent Facebook post enquiring what games members of the Fenland Gamers group were playing this weekend. I’d got nothing planned, except continue making inserts to organise Zombicide. So I was curious if others were enjoying life, the universe, etc. 

Not long after posting this probing question I received an invite from Jonathan to play some games at a long time Fenland Gamers haunt.

This was the first time either of us had played the game, so we were learning from the rule book (once again – yep we tend to break that gamer rule about not doing this).

It took a turn or three to get the hang of what’s what within the game. But it was a quick game to pick up.

I liked the use of the players deck to control the duration of a round. That was neat. 

Having the player choose two or three actions depending on the card from the available ones on it, with a mechanism to take extra actions, was really neat. 

Despite the limited choice you still have to make some tough decisions, the first being which action card to play from a hand of two. Then which actions and the order of them. 

You are having to manage your resources, aiming for majorities in each building area, whilst trying to score as many points for your building. 

Jonathan managed to get a bonus card that gave him 30 points at the final scoring. Which put huge pressure on me to try and negate that. That pressure only increased when that bonus got power up’d to over 50 points. It’s only in the third and final round was I able to cut that damaging point surge to twenty odd points with my own 30 points surge.

I loved the end of round scoring where you counted up number of building blocks used to build your buildings so far to split between money and points. I went for a fifty fifty split each time. 

This is not a low scoring game I beat Jonathan by 2 points, 254 to 252. Which was much much closer than both of us thought it would be.

When the light was just right we got some awesome shadows on the board from our buildings. Plus I have an excuse to use a photo of me that is really all about the shadows taken by Jonathan.

Porta Nigra is a lovely game that looks attractive when you are playing it. I love that 3D element of it. 

We will definitely play this again. The problem is when now?

A great afternoon of gaming, thank you Jonathan for the invite.


Well with Essen keeping our Esdevium/Asmodee overlords busy last week it was rather quiet, with a game (Escape from Colditz) and an expansion (the Mystic Vale one) having sold out before the update was released!

So now we are going to start seeing a tidal wave of games coming out after the Essen announcements and trying to hit the shelves before Christmas.

This coming week sees a new CCG hit, this one themed around the ever popular Final Fantasy video games. The Final Fantasy Trading Card Game is using the money sink hole model of the collectable random booster packs. Which is why I won’t get it. I don’t have that space in my life or budget for such a game.

The big must get for me next week is the first expansion for 7 Wonders Duel, Pantheon. I’m really looking forward to this as is Nath. We love 7 Wonders Duel, however this expansion may push the limits on Naths small table he has in his room in halls.

Krosmaster 2.0 hits also next week. I did like the first edition. This is Final Fantasy Tactics the boardgame really. I sold mine in the end as the skirmish game I wanted to try and get to the table more was Imperial Assault. Although I am tempted to get again. 

Continuing the rerelease of expansions using the new artwork comes one of my favourite expansions for Carcassonne Princess and The Dragon.

Although I haven’t got Civil War yet for Marvel Legendary (yeah shocking I know), it won’t stop me picking up this Deadpool expansion for the game. Now if only they’d release Howard the Duck that came out as part of their 3D cards in the US last year.

As you will know at the last Fenland Gamers monthly Meetup we got to play Keyflower. Now Key to the City – London is hitting the stores, which I believe is basically Keyflower at heart. Now I know Jonathan has a London boardgame fetish! So I imagine he will be getting this. I hope so, then I can decide which one I want in my collection.

Finally some rather nifty Star Wars The Force Awakens card sleeves are out next week.

So that’s it for the coming week. It’s just going to get more manic and expensive the closer we get to Christmas.

Achtung Baby!

It’s been a very quiet week from me on here and that’s been down to “manflu” taking me out for most of the week.

Luckily after going through the worst patch Wednesday night and Thursday, things started to improve. The downside of the bad patch being having to miss a first playthrough of Escape from Colditz that Jonathan and I had just got through the post.

So Friday was once again on us, I was feeling much better, not great, but functioning. So FEG@WL was a go.

So with Jonathan putting on his German prison guard hat, Deigo, Les and myself formed an orderly line in the middle of the courtyard to plan our Escape from Colditz.

Opening the box, this game oozes theme, and I just love the production quality of the game. A lovely touch was the separate history booklet that was included. Rightly so much thicker than the rule book.

We played with the new “updated/modified” rules of this 75th Anniversary edition. I will say the rules aren’t that clear. Ideally they should have reworked this making them easier to follow. Looking at them for a first time I found them a little difficult to follow.

All I can say is we had a blast playing this game. It really was a lot of fun. 

Yes there is that competitive element on the prisoner side with the first getting two prisoners out being the winner. But you also have a collaboration side as well.

In the early game I was deliberately taking out guards to give my fellow escapees a window of opportunity to move around without threat. I also hit on the idea of it getting the inner solitary confinement cells full so I’d get placed in the outer one and need less items to escape one let out!

We would be swapping escape equipment making sure Jonathan had no idea of who had what. That way we kept him guessing how we would be trying to get out.

We’d even be giving equipment to aid escape when a run for freedom was being made.

We’d make dummy runs to try and distract Jonathan.

There was one moment on my escape when Jonathan really should have arrested my prisoner instead of blocking me. But I’d tried putting doubt in his head, suggesting he’d missed some-one else’s plan. I couldn’t believe it when he blocked me, Jonathan thought he was blocking my escape. Which he hadn’t I just went out the other way open to me. The other way he’d missed. The other way to freedom!

I wasn’t the first to escape. That honour fell to Les. We had a dual escape going on, the other escapee being Deigo. This was presenting Jonathan with some hard decisions to make. We liked watching him squirm!

I was getting very few opportunity cards to help my escape because I was doing my usual rolling high! While Les was pulling loads of them.

We did find that maybe the rule about getting of solitary was maybe a little broken. The rules state you needed to roll a double to get out. So we found there were sometimes several turns where you could do nothing while you waited to roll that double to get some-one out, or draw an opportunity card that got a pow out. We may house rule this next time to even things out.

I’d highly recommend this blast from the past, if you can get a copy (Esdevium had sold out before they did their weekly update sheet!!) I will warn you it’s a long game. We cut our game short because of time, we’d taken 30 turns approximately in 2 hours. So you may want to pencil in an afternoon playing this.

This was a really fun evening of gaming. A great way to start half term.

This Is Saturday…

Saturday mornings growing up meant watching Swap Shop and/or Tiswas. 

I have to admit along with almost every teenage boy and adult male Sally James was the fantasy woman to dream about.

Adult me know spends his Saturdays now and again playing board games. 

This Saturday was one of this occasions.

My FLGS The Hobbit Hole was running an Imperial Assault Summer 2016 game kit.

I haven’t played Imperial Assault for a year and a half, and then it was a learning skirmish game!

So as you can see I was in great shape for a tourney. I’d thrown together a Jedi team to play with, could hardly remember how to play. The omens were good.

I was up against two regular players who “toured” the local game shops playing these tournaments. So yeah they were experienced. Whilst the third was the brother of one of them and had been playing for two days. Two days of intense training I think.

As you can imagine out of three games I won precisely zero. In my first two games I did score some points by eliminating a unit or two. 

But the cursed reinforcements command card stopped me scoring any points in my last game. 

It was evident especially in the last game being familiar with the scenarios, their objectives and tactics, was a big advantage.

So the most predictable result happened I was fourth, or last as it’s officially known in a four player tourney.

It was then onto Cambridge and meeting up with Scott to collect the two latest Phoenixborn, and play a game or two of Ashes.

I’d been lazy about what deck to play and build against Scott when I hit on the genius idea mid week of using one of the new Phoenixborn and the deck that comes with them.

Victoria Glassfire was the one I chose. Boy did I enjoy playing her. I loved some of the new cards. The art as usual is out of this world.

Scott won our first game whilst I was getting to grips on how to play Victoria.

But our second game was a different story, especially after I tweaked the starting five by swapping out one card. 

I’m still sure there was a more optimal way to play Victoria but I’ll take the win.

I think despite no Sally James teenage me would have enjoyed spending his Saturday this way.

FEG@WL 14Oct16

A bit like Crackerjack when I was growing up, it was Friday, it was 6pm, it was time for FEG@WG. Not quite as snappy or as popular as Crackerjack, and also not at five to five!

The first game of the evening for the four amigos that had assembled to play games was Splendor.

Deigo crushed this game. An easy win he put down to the many defeats he’d suffered at the hands of his partner. 

Earlier in the day the postman had delivered the playmat for Tiny Epic Western. So naturally I wanted to take the mat out for a spin.

So with our Mexican stand off set up on the playmat it was time to admire it.

This is a massive playmat. 

But a lovely one, that not only really captures the poker element of the game in its colouring trying to evoke the baize of a poker table. It actually captures the feel with a baize like feel! What a great use of texture.

Gamelyn games make some really nice playmats for their Tiny Epic games. However they do take the games away from the Tiny ethos. 

In our Mexican stand off Ben was quickest on the draw and won. 

A great evening gaming once again! Some nice banter, great company. All finished off with the now traditional dodgy meat fest.

Fenland Gamers Oct 16 Meetup

Last night saw the October meet up of the  Fenland Gamers at the White Lion Hotel. This was a first for the monthly Meetup.

Our first game of the evening was Keyflower. 

Part worker placement, part bidding. It’s a nice challenging game. 

You have to decide whether to use a tile for its ability or to try and bid on it to get ownership.

There is an advantage to owning the tiles. Points for starters, plus it may increase the number of workers the next round that you have to play with. Because if another player uses on of your tiles you get those meeples at the end of the round. 

You also get to bid for choosing bonuses at the end of the round. Get a chance using tile abilities to gather resources that you can use to upgrade a tile. 

It can be tough making that decision what to do. 

The art isn’t amazing, but has a nice cartoony feel to it. I do like the player screens that are used to hide your meeples from the other players. 

Despite loosing to Deigo it liked the game a lot.

We finished off the evening with Isle of Trains.

I’d nearly bought this game at the expo. Which is a shame as I liked playing this also. And it won’t be long before it ends up in the collection.

I love the multi use cards. Using them to pay for cards, to use them as carriages/trains or as a resource to activate an ability. 

That activating of an ability is genius. Because that only happens when you put a resource on an opponents carriage. But if you do that you are helping them get nearer to completing their contract. If you do it on your own train, nothing happens, but you do have the goods to use for completing a contract. That’s an interesting decision to have to make. How badly do you need the ability to meet your goals? 

The records will show that I won this game.

A great evening of gaming. Looking forward to Friday now for the next lot.