Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cord Cutter

I'm a cord cutter as I believe the term is in the U.S. Of A. Where across the pond in means dropping the cable subscription over here it means I've stopped paying for Sky and I don't have Virgin or BT. In fact I don't have get the UK terrestrial channels either. Mind you I had given up on ITV and Channel 4 and 5 years ago, and hardly watched the BBC (usually only tuning in for Doctor Who and Sherlock).
Even with Sky it was mainly used as background noise. Most of my viewing was and still is streaming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and getting all the latest episodes of shows I like from the U.S. weeks if not months ahead of the UK. So even Sky was irrelevant to me.
So when my Sky box gave up the ghost I saw no point in continuing paying them money for Malcolm in the Middle, Modern Family and Simpsons reruns. When I cancelled Sky did their damnedest to stop me leaving, and I still got letters and phone calls trying to woe me back.
Still the money I saved from Sky paid for an Apple TV, which for me an Apple Fanboy was a no brainer. With AirPlay I can watch my shows from the U.S. or Amazon Prime (although I also have a Fire Stick now also due to a nice little pre-order offer from Amazon for Prime members). I can watch Netflix, Sky News and YouTube on the Apple TV.
YouTube now makes a much bigger chunk of the content I watch now. Well being able to view on a large screen does make a big difference.
Now my YouTube subscription list is of actual use. There are some great shows on YouTube around my interested of gaming (video and board). They vary in production values naturally. Some are good enough that they could easily be on a regular channel.
I wasn't able (and not likely to be able) to get to Origins last week. However thanks to one or two of the channels I subscribe to I've been able to see game previews and interviews from the show. This coming week E3 happens and there will be loads of content from there. Then not long after there will be coverage of GenCon and Dice Tower Con.
Already I have even more games on my radar now. Like Tides of Time, Nations the Dice Game, Cthulhu's Vault, Ninja Camp, Extra Extra, City of Gears, Epic (backed on Kickstarter), Council of Verona tabletop edition, and Tiny Epic Galaxies (backed on Kickstarter). Ok I've also added Imperial Settlers too after seeing the expansion preview.
It's also nice to see game play videos. I can watch live streams of National or World tournaments of games I play, or the video afterwards. These are great not only in helping to improve your own game play, but if you are looking at getting a game they are also good at giving you a feel for the game.
Then finally there are the reviews and how to play video, which I find helpful in learning a game and making my mind up if a game is for me.
It's great I have what can be best described as my own personalised channel of content that I'm interested in. Maybe I'm late to the party and more hip and trendy younger readers will have been doing this for years. However I hate watching TV on a small screen like an iPad or laptop when I have a large screen in my living room. So I've never been a big fan of watching stuff on those devices. The Apple TV has made it feasible for me to cut the cord, watch programs that I want, when I want and not be dependent on some-one else making those decisions for me.


Part of the Collection

At the weekend I think it was, a little spatte of posting a picture of your game collection on the UK Boardgame Chat group on Facebook occurred. All the folks that posted had a nice little area of shelving where they were storing their games.

Sadly I don't have that “fancy” storage area to photograph for that thread. My games are spread around the house in various “deposits”. Oh ok more like piles. A lot of my filing systems could at best described as piles of stuff. It may look like chaos and a mess to others. But amazingly I know what is in each pile. I like to call it organised chaos. The system works for me!
So for my participation to that meme of photos of your collection, I gathered together the majority of the games I have downstairs on to my “gaming table” and took the above photo. It was only after I'd posted the photo that I realised that I had forgotten one or two games like my X-Wing miniatures, Dicemasters and Perudo that were also downstairs.
I think the follow up question for that thread should be “how many of the games haven't been to the table yet?” To my great shame my “pile of shame” of unplayed games is large, not as large as my “pile of shame” of video games. But still I need to play more games!


My First Skirmish

Thanks to Luke coming round I was able to finally get Imperial Assault to the table for a skirmish game. We used the suggested first time skirmish teams from the skirmish manual, and played the Moisture Farm map using scenerio A – “Close to Home”. I was playing the Imperial forces who had initiative, while Luke had the Rebels.

Above: Darth Vader about to show just how destructive he can be by attacking Luke and Gaarkhan (the wookie) using brutality.

I was going to go off onto some fanciful journey of self awareness inspired by the battle between the fictional father and son Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Comparing their relationship and portrayal to that of being a step father and my relationship to my step sons. With the battle between father and son in the game representing the struggle and conflict within the step family I was part of. Followed by some inner reflection on my regrets and failings as a step parent since the break up of our step family.

Then after this navel gazing I'd come back to the reality of playing my first skirmish game of Imperial Assault. Luke and I had to reference the rules a few times, but that was only natural for a first game. Luke made a good tactical decision of trying to take out Darth Vader first. Which he nearly pulled off. Vaders survival had hinged on one key decision. Down to two life points, Vader was nearly out for the count. One successful attack by the right character like Luke Skywalker would of finished him off. However the wrong character was activated first giving Vader a window to wipe out enough rebels to grab the win.

A couple of days later it was time to duke it out French anime style in Krosmaster Arena. What I loved about learning this game was the fact that the manual has a tutorial mode! Just like a video game the tutorial took you through playing the game gently using mini maps, and introducing new elements of game play in each of the seven tutorials. Sadly I didn't win any of the tutorial games against Luke. I'm not the tactical genius I thought I was.

Playing Krosmaster Arena really is the boardgame experience of playing Final Fantasy Tactics. Luke even made the comment while playing he wanted to play FFT later because of this game.

Apart from cost (for both games) being a possible sticking point in playing these games, they are not cheap. But then as soon as you start adding miniatures to a game the price always shoots up. Both games have gorgeous minis. I can see people being put off Krosmaster Arena by its cutesy cartoon look, especially of the chibi style characters. But don't let that put you off, there is a nice skirmish game here which can play up to four players.

There are some similarities between both games mechanically. But it's the differences that give each their unique feel. I love in Imperial Assault the turn order, and initiative swapping each turn, and being able to choose the order you activate characters. While in Krosmaster Arena I like how order of play for your team is decided by character initiative. Team building in Imperial Assault is more in-depth than Krosmaster Arena because you are also having to build a command deck.

I enjoyed playing both and want to get both to the table on a regular basis. However Luke preferred Krosmaster Arena. So much so that a regular thing has been set up to play the game. Next time it's a full game, with us drafting our teams from the limited pool of characters that I have. And yes the future does seem to see me at some point buying more figures.


My Noise Deck

Here is my Noise deck that I put together to play against Todd. As the feedback from Todd was I didn't put him under enough pressure or as I like to put it I was not aggressive enough. I just wasn't drawing viruses, which put me off running at ice. The cards I had in for economy worked really well. So I'm happier with that side of things.

My viruses/programs need to be worked on. So once Todd sees this list and what cards he has to work with he will make some suggestions on how to improve my deck.

In the meantime I want to replace Inject with something else. What I don't know, maybe use those as slots for more viruses. I know I have spare influence as well so using an out of faction card is an option.


  • Noise


  • Parasite
  • Clot (x2)
  • Darwin (x2)
  • Wyrm (x2)
  • Imp (x2)


  • Inside Job
  • Day Job
  • Wanton Destruction
  • Inject (x2)
  • Showing Off (x2)
  • Hacktivist Meeting (x2)
  • I've Had Worse (x2)
  • Infiltration (x2)
  • Surge (x2)
  • Deja Vu (x2)
  • Demolition Run (x2)


  • Scrubber (x2)
  • Utopia Shard
  • Hades Shard
  • Armitage Codebusting (x2)
  • Virus Breeding Ground (x2)
  • Kati Jones
  • Human First
  • Plascrete Carapace (x2)
  • Chop Bot 3000
  • Astrolabe
  • Grimoire
  • Cyberfeeder (x2)

45 cards in total

Built from the following:

  • Core set (x2)
  • What Lies Ahead
  • Trace Amount
  • Cyber Exodus
  • A Study in Static
  • Humanity's Shadow
  • Future Proof
  • True Colors
  • First Contact
  • Up and Over
  • All That Remains
  • The Valley
  • Breaker Bay
  • Order and Chaos



My Imperial Assault Wish List

I've just read a great post over on Couple vs Cardboard about 5 Things They Want In Imperial Assault.

This got me thinking what would I like to see added to this game?

First up on my list is I want character cards for the released allies like Luke, Han and Chewie so that those characters can be played in the supplied campaign instead of the characters that come in the base set. I don't just want to play with them as allies to a mission. I want to play the campaign as them.

I'd love to see a separate campaign/skirmish designer book released. One of the things I loved about the Zombicide scenario book that was released was the excellent designer advice section that gave advice on how to create your own scenarios. What makes a great campaign? How do you balance the game? What makes a great skirmish scenario? You get the idea. Add in a mini campaign and a couple of skirmish scenario s with maybe some designer notes and I think this would fly off the shelves. Imperial Assault screams making your own scenarios for it, and this would help guide people in making enjoyable ones to play.

I'd love to see an expansion that covers the conflict between the rebels and imperials on the planet Hoth. It screams tiles that cover the rebel base, and also the rebel defences. I can see the Tauntaun models now with plugin riders for Han and Luke. And how awesome would a Wampa model be?

At some point there has to be Ewoks. Toughest creatures in the Empire! Look how easily these little guys with little more than sticks and stones took on superior forces that were far better equipped and won.

What would you like to see added to Imperial Assault?


Tabletop Gaming the Magazine

At the UK Games Expo a brand new tabletop gaming magazine was launched called Tabletop Gaming.

As the cover shouts out in no particular order they list 101 games that you need to play. I'm not going to comment on the list too much, these sort of things are always contentious, everyone will have some games that they think should be on the list and there will be others on the list that they think shouldn't be.

Each game has a small but reasonable bit written about it, that summarises the game nicely. But I would have liked to know why the game made the list, what made them stand out as a must play.

It's because of this list of 101 games that I feel it's unfair to really judge the magazine as a whole. The list takes up the majority of the first issue, space that I'm hoping in future issues will be taken up by other features and reviews.

I will comment on the features and interviews that the magazine manages to squeeze into its pages.

For me in both the features and interviews way too much space is spent describing the game itself. In the case of the features that is the majority of them. The first looks were more the style of writing that I was expecting in the features. The best example of this is the Guild Ball first look. My ideal feature tells me about the game, the ideas behind it, influences, what makes the game unique. I want a bit of the writers personality to come through.

I grew up reading the video game magazines like Crash! And Zzap64. What I liked about the reviews in these two magazines (both by the same publisher) was that you had little talking heads for each of the reviewers on each review giving their personal view of the game. You got to know what the reviewer liked and didn't. It was then possible to judge a review by the preferences of the reviewer. If that reviewer had similar tastes to yourself and they liked a game, then you knew there was a good chance you too would enjoy it.

I would like to see something like this come through in the reviews for this magazine. It is sadly missing from magazines these days, very few credit who is writing the review. Hopefully when proper reviews start appearing in the magazine they will be in the Crash,/Zzap64 style.

Another thing missing from the magazine were columnists. It would be cool to see regular columns on various aspects of gaming, such as maybe a Netrunner column, or Magic the Gathering. I'd love to see Leigh Alexander write one of these columns. Her writings in Edge were always a joy to read, and her pieces on Shut Up, Sit Down continue to be a joy to read

In this modern digital age with so much content being free and more up to date it has been a rocky time for established magazines. So for a new publication to start up they are facing an up hill struggle in a shrinking market place. However there is hardly any competition for Tabletop Gaming magazine, especially as a general gaming magazine on the newsstand, but it is the online stuff they have to compete against.

Tabletop Gaming needs to offer something that stands out from the online competition, and there are glimpses within the magazine that they are able to do that. It's early days, the first edition so it's hard to be too judgemental. I think a truer indication of the type of magazine this will be will come in the second edition.

Terminator Genisys

For the duration of the show those that purchased the magazine also got three plastic figures for the soon to be released miniatures game Terminator Genisys. I wasn't really impressed with the figures, especially that they required some assembly, and seemed really delicate. These figures were an opportunity to sell me on the upcoming game. They just didn't grab me.

There was a photo of the game in the magazine, that showed the game being played on a war torn landscape with the odd semi destroyed building, very reminiscent of a post apocalyptic future showing the aftermath of the war between man and robots. No boards or game tiles, looking more like something a war gamer would be playing with.

I already have miniature based games like X-Wing, Imperial Assault, Zombicide, and the just added Krosmaster Arena, and they are all pretty heavy on the collectable side. So despite liking the first two Terminator movies a lot (the remaining films were watchable at best) and being predisposed to wanting to play a Terminator themed game, this game is not the game for me.

Tabletop Gaming will be available from a local newsagents/supermarket magazine shelf from the 19th June.



Summer 2015 Hot List Predictions

Below is a list of games and expansions I think will be “hot” over the Summer months. These are all being released and available (allegedly – delays do happen for whatever reason) between now and September. I'll do a new one of these types of posts then with what I think will be “hot” for the Autumn and Winter.

Naturally it will be safe to assume one or two of these will end up in my collection ^_^

  1. Star Wars Imperial Assault Twin Shadows Expansion
  2. Star Wars Imperial Assault Ally & Villians Packs: Boba Fett, C3-PO & R2-D2, Kayn Somos
  3. Five Tribes The Artisans of Naqala Expansion
  4. Ghostbusters the boardgame
  5. Legendary Encounters Predator
  6. Alien v Predator: The Hunt Begins boardgame
  7. Bang! The Dice Game: The Walking Dead
  8. Machi Koro Millionaires Row Expansion

Hopefully this have given you some ideas, maybe alerted you to something you had missed was coming out. What do you think will be hot? What are you looking forward to buying and playing over the Summer?

UPDATE 2/6/2015: How could I miss off the list Magic the Gathering the board game?! It really should be on this list as well