Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Little Train That Couldn’t

Yesterday really did turn out to be an awesome day. It started off me getting a coffee bought for me. Free coffee is always good. Then at break time there was chocolate cake and banoffee pie! from Doreen (mother of a colleague and friend who makes these to die for cakes) for the staff room. Yes I had both, it would have been rude not to. Both were amazing. But I handled the sugar rush that followed, I'm a serious cake addict so my fix needs to be larger than this.
When I got home two more kickstarters had arrived. One Night Revolution and Coup Rebellion G54 were in one box. Wow this version of Coup was a tad larger than the original. It certainly isn't portable anymore in the same way that Coup is. Coup Rebellion G54 is the sequel to Coup, and is stand alone from the original game. While One Night Revolution is a version of One Night Werewolf, but with some tweaks! Oh and naturally set in the Resistance/Dystopian Universe.
The Diamonster promo cards for Machi Koro also arrived, along with the final expansion that I needed (if we don't include the original Mutant Boss sculpt) for Run, Fight or Die, the Zombie Horde expansion.
The second Kickstarter to arrive was the long delayed and over due (although not by some Kickstarter projects standards) King of New York tee. Doesn't it look awesome? This just had to be worn for the gaming evening.

Fenland Gamers

Snowdonia a beautiful part of Wales. Sadly during the Summer so over crowded, it's hard to find that quiet remote spot away from the maddening crowd. But it is possible.
The Snowdon Summit is probably not my favourite, with the cafe and train line scaring it (despite the rebuilt cafe that is meant to be less intrusive). However its popularity can not be denied.
Last night Jonathan, Mat and myself got together to play a game of Snowdonia. Where we are trying to build that train line I described as a scar from Llanberis to the summit.
This was the first time any of us had played the game, which meant there was regular referring to the rules, and taking a round or two before things started to click.
Jonathan had two promo engine cards for the game, the kids favourite Ivor the Engine, and Jimmy and the Little Old Engine (a character I've never heard of). I think these are a pretty cool promos for the game really, and the publisher did really well getting permission to do them. Maybe I'll get Blood Rage when they produce a Noggin the Nog promo for it (I was more a Noggin the Nog fan than Ivor the Engine, but I did really like Ivor the Engine too).

The final turn of the game involved Jonathan stealing seven points from me by claiming a fourteen point rail slot that I was going for. I thought he didn't have the resources to get it! Mind you even I had got it, I still wouldn't have come close to coming second let alone winning. On that front Jonathan and Mat well and truly beat me.

So what were my initial impressions of Snowdonia? I enjoyed our game of it. But there is a but. I think I need a couple of more plays. It took me a little bit longer than I liked to get the hang of the game. I enjoyed the weather mechanic effecting what actions can be used, I liked the bag of resources with the use of white cubes mixed in that when drawn from the bag trigger certain events.

We finished the evening off by playing Lords of Waterdeep. With the amount of time we had left sadly we couldn't use either of the two modules from the expansion. It's well known how I feel about Waterdeep, and Jonathan and Mat had not played the game before, so after setting up it was time to teach Waterdeep.

Waterdeep isn't a difficult game to teach, and can be picked up very quickly. Which both Jonathan and Mat did.

I made a token attempt at trying to complete quests that would earn me extra victory points at the end of the game from my Lord of Waterdeep. Instead I kept going for high value quest cards, and trying to deny them from the others. Obviously this tactic was doomed to failure, even though it gave me the lead score going into the final round of the game.

During the final tallying of scores from the left over workers, money and bonus points from the Lords of Waterdeep cards that lead just slipped away. Jonathan just ran away with an amazing winning score in the one hundred and forties, while Mat got a comfortable second place, leaving me trailing far behind in last place.

Luckily Waterdeep didn't disappoint Jonathan and Mat. Which was my biggest fear. They enjoyed the game itself, and were impressed by the high quality of the components and packaging. Which to be fair is very good. Next time they both want to play with the expansions.

So free coffee, cake, stuff arriving, and an evening of great gaming. Yes yesterday was a truly great day.


The Big Box Expansion

There I was expecting some Kickstarter stuff to arrive any day. I get home ask the neighbours if there have been any packages, and where is my tea? (It's handy having Nan and Mum living next door) The neighbour (mum) said there was. I started to get excited, at last the Kickstarter had arrived. After get the wolf pack back I ripped open the box, only to be be pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the Kickstarter but just as good, it was my pre-order for the Run, Fight or Die Big Box expansion.
The Big Box expansion is basically a bigger box to store the base game and all its expansions in one box! To up the value side of things the Big Box expansion also comes with a “running late but we're worth it” expansion.

So the “Running late” expansion adds five new character cards, a pink dice! and other cards to be shuffled to the appropriate decks.

I also pre-ordered at the same time the new mutant boss sculpt, who it appears now is called the Jivecat Boss, and is used to replace the mutant boss in the base set. Well the token that is included. But boy is the Jivecat boss awesome, and big!

Although Run, Fight or Die can be played solo out of the box. 8th Summit have also now published a separate solo mission, which I also pre-ordered at the same time.

So it's rather cool that these have arrived in time to be used at the end of the month. However it still leaves me with the difficult mission of trying to get a copy of the Mutant Boss sculpt to replace the token in the base game. These are pretty hard to get (they were the original Kickstarter exclusive).


Scoundrels hit Waterdeep

I like Lords of Waterdeep a lot. Plus using the excellent iPad app I can get my fix when I'm not able to get the game to the table.

Previously when playing the game with Jamie and his wife Alison I was introduced to the expansion for the game Scoundrels of Skullport. Which I enjoyed so much I bought the expansion for the app as soon as I got home from that gaming session.

Finally after ordering the expansion on Amazon at the tail end of last month they got the expansion in and sent me a copy.

Scoundrels of Skullport is not a single expansion but two, plus adding all the bits for a sixth player to the game.

The two expansions in the box are the Undermountain module, and Skullport module. Both bring new Lords, Quests, buildings and Intrigue cards to the game. Plus their own mini game boards to expand the main board and options available to players.

As the rule book describes them, the Undermountain module “focuses on new quests with great demands and greater rewards“. While the Skullport module “focuses on a new resource, Corruption, and the risks associated with being corrupt“.

The base game can be played with either module or both. To be able to play the base game with the sixth player (the Gray Hands) you need to use at least one of the modules.

Playing the base game has been something Jonathan and Mat at my gaming group Fenland Gamers have wanted to play for a while. Due to illness a planned session had to be cancelled, but I'm sure it will be hitting the table very soon.

I'm tempted at that session not to just use the base game but also to use the Undermountain module. It keeps the same base game mechanics the same without having to worry about teaching the corruption side of things.

I'm glad I've got the physical expansion now. It really does make a great game better!



So it would appear a previous post of mine started something when I mentioned that my dad was in 2 Para and the Arnham scenario we played was on the regiments battle honours. Somehow it started Gavin and Jonathan on a journey to find out about their grandfathers during World War Two. I'm not sure how far Gavin is on his journey, however Jonathan made some amazing progress. Which brings us to this post.

Last night saw Jonathan and I meet up to play a special Memoir '44 scenario. A custom scenario specially created for him to commemorate the memory of his grandfather.

The Queen's Westminters at Silvode, March 30, 1945 – Allies

We started the evening with myself playing the Allies and Jonathan taking on the part of the Axis forces. An initial analysis of the board, it was obvious that my forces were strong on both flanks against the Axis forces while the Axis forces were stronger in the centre. Moving up the flanks, trying to stay out of range of the artillery would have to be my strategy (cards and dice rolls allowing).

Luckily the cards and dice allowed me to execute this plan. Through out the battle Jonathan had the victory point advantage, doing better with his dice rolls. However it remained pretty close through out the game.

Jonathan's tactics did surprise me a little because he stayed out taking on my forces more than I would have. But as always sometimes in Memoir the cards don't go your way, and maybe this tactic was forced on him.

If my dice rolls had been better I think some of the latter exchanges between our forces would have resulted in a bit more comfortable winning margin. How bad where my rolls? Take this example below. I played the “Their Finest Hour” command card, I need to roll my units symbols or a Star symbol to be able to move my units. I got one dice to roll for each command card in my hand. Which meant on this occasion I rolled six dice. So an infantry, tank or star symbol is all I needed to roll. Six dice. I should have rolled at least one of those symbols. But no I roll six, yes SIX hand grenade symbols. Which meant I could do nothing. Jonathan couldn't believe this roll, and neither could I. It had to be photographed.

However I did eventually manage to steal the win. Although it could very easily have been an Axis victory. As the photos below show the Axis forces were left with a single artillery unit, while I managed to capture Varsseveld.

After the win it was time for a little photo session and remembering the fallen. Below Jonathan pays his respects to his grandfather and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice at the battle.

The Queen's Westminters at Silvode, March 30, 1945 – Axis

Round two. My turn to play the Axis powers. My tactics for this game were to try and utilise my strength in the middle against the Allies, and make use of the strong defensive positions my troops had, and let the Allies come onto my forces, hopefully picking up heavy casualties.

My opening hand wasn't brilliant, but I could work with it. I even utilised playing bad cards to just get rid of them from my hand, and in hope of drawing something better.

My forces retreated to form a defensive pocket, waiting for the Allie forces to break upon them like waves on a beach.

The Allies won the day again. My hand of command cards at the end where all left flank command cards. Useless to me.

This was a fun scenario to play, I think with the right card draw and rolls my tactics would have worked better and possibly won for the Axis powers.

This scenario was made more poignant with the personal connection it had to Jonathan and his family. We really didn't mind losing as the Axis forces (this time).

Jacques 'jdrommel' David on the Memoir '44 forums did a really great job designing this scenario. He dedicated it to Jonathan's grandfather Private Kenneth W. Warren of the 12th KRRC, who was killed in this battle on the 30th March 1945, “and to all soldiers who have lost their lives during these forgotten battles at the end of the Second World War.” And I have to say I totally agree with this dedication.

You can read Jonathan's blog post and personal journey here.

The evenings gaming was bought to a close with me teaching Jonathan how to play Tiny Epic Galaxies. This was the first game I played since it arrived that I won! Jonathan really was impressed by the production quality of the game, and the game itself. I wouldn't be surprised to see it end up in his collection soon.

Another great evening of gaming. I felt honoured that Jonathan shared this scenario with me, and gave me the opportunity to play it with him. Thank you Jonathan, it was an honour to be able to have an opportunity to pay my respects this way to your grandfather and the other fallen.


This weeks arrivals 16Oct15

I think I must have been one of the last to have their Thunderbirds game posted out to them, because it only turned up yesterday.

With Pandemic Legacy Season 1 hitting the shops and Thunderbirds coming out this has been a busy month for game designer Matt Leacock. Although I think somehow Pandemic Legacy is going to get all the limelight.

Will this be a sleeper hit for Matt? Very possibly, but I need to play this first. Which means getting it to the table with the Fenland Gamers at some point (soon hopefully). Plus hopefully in time for Christmas gaming the expansions should be sent out.

It can't have been missed that Lego Dimensions launched recently for home consoles. Lego Dimensions is the Lego version of Disney Infinity and Spyro Skylanders.

Now I've not got into the whole Skylanders and Infinity thing on the consoles. I liked the idea but the whole price thing of the figures kind of put me off.

And it's for that reason that I'm not going to be jumping on the Dimensions band wagon. HOWEVER! That hasn't stopped me from buying one of the Level packs for the game. I had to buy the Portal 2 level pack. I loved the Portal games and I wanted the figures. Sadly the only way to get them is to buy this Level pack.

The only draw back is that to make the sentry and companion cube you need to have the game for the inbuilt instructions. Luckily YouTube comes to the rescue in that front.

But still the Lego looks good.

Still in the postal system is my King of New York tee, One Night Revolution and the Coup G54 games, and a mystery package from the BGG store. Plus at some point towards the end of the month my pre-orders should be arriving (Pandemic Legacy is one of them).


Barbarians Are Dicks

Last night saw another mid week meet up of the Fenland Gamers. The group is growing with six of us attending this meet up. Which meant that we split up into two groups of three to play games. I'm looking forward to the time when we can reminisce about the humble beginnings of the group. Jonathan and Matt deserve a big pat on the back for starting this group up.

While the other group adjourned to another table to play some games, myself, Gavin and Debbie set up to play Imperial Settlers.

Imperial Settlers

Gavin had been wanting to try Imperial Settlers, I had been wanting to play a full give ever since the aborted short game with Nath that he didn't enjoy. The game had been sitting on my game shelf ever since mocking me.

We chose our factions, Gavin took the Romans, Debbie the Egyptians while I took the Barbarians. Which meant no one had to play the Japanese who apparently are a little different/more difficult to play as a beginner faction.

We did our initial card draw, and then started going through the phases of the first round. Resource wise the Barbarians compared to the others were resource poor. Their main resource being people! Just to be able to building buildings I was having to trade people for wood.

Debbie and Gavin were getting resources quicker than I was. At the end of the first round they definitely had the beginnings of their engines in place.
But I hit pay dirt with two cards. I got a resource card that I could use twice in a round that allowed me to get wood cheaper. The two uses was all I needed to get a resource out that would then allow me to get two wood for one person. This allowed me to be able to get the resources I need quickly to start building my kingdom.
In the third round I got lucky and drew some awesome faction cards. Well awesome for me, super annoying for the others. I was able to get a victory point bonus when I razed something. Another resource allowed me to get two raze tokens for one person. One card allowed me to get the resources or victory points when I razed an opponents building. This would give me in combination with the other card five victory points every time I razed an opponents building! Then another card allowed me to get rid of opponents Deals and get victory points!
The thing is it seemed to me and probably the others too, that the Barbarians were too over powered. I'd have to play a game with them in again sometime, but with someone else playing them instead. It could be I just was getting better card draw than the others and got an efficient scoring engine going.
But the Barbarian faction cards are super thematic, and basically force you as the Barbarian player to go be a dick to the other players. And yes there was some inner turmoil about being so aggressive in a first game for us all. But I managed to beat that conscience back into its box, so that the Barbarian side of me could continue commanding its hordes to go out and conquer.
My last actions in the final round, round five where basically me spending raze tokens to raze the buildings of Debbie's and Gavin's little empires. So reducing their score, while pushing mine up even further. Remember five victory points each time I did it.
Unsurprisingly my Barbarian horde conquered all before them, reducing the surrounding civilisations to ruins, giving me a convincing victory.
Below Jonathan's photo of my Barbarian Horde.

While my Barbarian horde was off doing dickish things to all those before them. Jonathan, Katie and Jo were playing Brew Crafters travel card game (which I have and haven't got round to playing – so I'm up for playing this sometime) and Ivor the Engine the game. Yes a game based on the old childhood favourite, which apparently also has sheep it. I'm curious to give this a play sometime, despite I think when I was young being a bigger Noggin the Nog fan (although looking on bgg there is also a boardgame of this too, which is classified as a roll and move game)

Camel Cup

Our last game of the evening was Camel Cup. Which allowed all six of us to sit round the table and play.

Visually this game looks amazing. The pyramid dice tower in the middle just looks so impressive. Having to use it by tipping the pyramid upside down to get a single dice out does seem a bit gimmicky. But hey what a gimmick.

My tactic if you can call it that was not to bet on the camels during the race, but to try and cut that opportunity down for the others by rolling dice as often as possible to cut down on the opportunities of the others to gamble and earn money that way. Early on I bet that blue would win the race, and yellow would come last.

Then it was doing my best to try and facilitate that outcome. Sadly yellow made a surprise sprint to the front of the pack. However Katie rolled a blue dice that put blue in front. I could of done a loud “yes” at this point. Next round blue crossed the finish line first.

I had slowly been accumulating coins by rolling the dice, while the others won and lost by betting. Having called the winner I got a nice bonus, but was it enough?

Gavin won this game, but only just. He beat me by one coin. one coin!

Another great evening of gaming with the Fenland Gamers.


Bases and Battleships

Checked my app updates on my iPad just now, and this was there waiting for me.

Yep more ships and bases to play with in the app version of the game. £1.49 for this expansion is a bargain, especially when you consider that gives you the expansion across all versions of the game. So instantly I have it on my Mac, I have it on Windows (if I so wish to play it on the dirty side of my Mac) and if I have a a complete breakdown in taste an Android device (heaven knows why you would ever want one).

Slowly the app is catching up with the physical game. Just wait until they add events and heroes.


Finally In The Shops

Yep the big box art above gives the game away, but I'll spell it out anyway. Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn is out this week in your FLGS and online retailers. You won't be getting the promo Phoenixborn that came with the game when you pre-order/buy it from Plaid Hat Games, but I'm sure Plaid Hat will do as they did with the Dead Of Winter promo characters and make it available on their website soon.

Don't forget this will have expansions adding more cards/dice. But Plaid Hat are not following the Magic collectable model, but the FFG LCG model. However I believe Plaid Hat are not going to be doing such a punishing release schedule for these expansions.

Yes I have an alteria motive, I want more people to play with, especially locally (mind you I want that with Netrunner too). But this is a great game, looks AMAZING. Definitely a must buy.

The other new release I'm pointing out this week is Tiny Epic Galaxies. This is an awesome little game, I like playing this game. I've played this game with both none gamers, and none hard core gamers and they really enjoyed playing the game.

My Kickstarter copy came with a little expansion, but the good news is you are also able to purchase the expansion from the BGG Store. Even though the BGG Store is American, the postage they charge is minimal, and usually takes about two weeks to arrive.

Tiny Epic Galaxies packs a lot of game in such a small box. A definite addition to any game collection.


Some cool playmats on Inked Playmats

Just put up on Inked Playmats are some amazing new playmats by an amazingly talented artist Natascha Roosli also known as Kyena online.

As you can see from Tascha's photos from Instagram that I've “borrowed” for this post, she has an amazing talent.

Tascha I believe has done some work for FFG in the past too. Sadly nothing for Android:Netrunner. But I can hope that maybe in the future that will happen.

You can find Tascha's playmats HERE

Finally I have met Tascha. It was about three years ago at Eurogamer in the indie section. I was helping a friend promote his game Fist of Awesome that was just being released, by dressing up as a bear and having photos taken with people pretending to beat me up.

Tascha was promoting a puzzle game if I remember correctly, which did look amazing. However we did have our photo taken, but Tascha felt guilty hitting a bear so the below photo was taken instead.

Naturally since that photo was taken I have had a shave and hair cut.

I have to say that was a great weekend at the show. The indie developers were so amazing, really friendly, and supportive of each other. I love the indie section at shows, where else can you meet, chat and discuss games with the actual designer/developer?

Anyway go over and buy an awesome playmat, I will be on payday.