Monthly Archives: November 2015

Let them eat rock

The Tabletop Effect – Tabletop a popular internet based to show about playing boardgames. Hosted by Wil Wheaton, where each episode he plays a boardgame with a group of celebrity chums. The Tabletop effect describes the phenomenon of a game featured on the show selling out very quickly as fans of the show rush out to purchase the game featured in the just aired episode, making the game hard to find for purchase.

I have in previous posts hinted at this effect when I've talked about when I first purchased Marvel Legendary. To be totally honest I have given in to this effect/hype myself. However I have managed to resist the effect. Yes I know shocking.

After watching the episode where Wil and friends played Stone Age, it looked interesting, and I nearly did buy it. But for whatever reason never did, and it hasn't even made my wish list on bgg.

So I was rather glad to get the chance to at least play the game last night with Jonathan and Mat.

Just before we started to play Stone Age, Jonathon said he wasn't going to take it easy on Mat and myself, and play to win!

During our game, Mat had to resort to feeding his workers with brick/stone to make up his short fall in food. Which kickstarted some capitalist/Tory banter with Mat, that resulted with Mat being renamed Tory Mat for the duration of the evening.

Jonathan walked away with a massive victory, while Mat took a respectable second place, while I dragged the score curve down by not even hitting one hundred points and coming in last.

So what did I think of Stone Age?

I enjoyed playing Stone Age. As a lightweight introduction to the worker placement genre of game, it certainly succeeds.

It did seem that if your first action when it was your turn as first player wasn't to grab the farming spot then you were at a disadvantage. My first time as the first player I didn't do this but went for one of the cards on the river. I didn't struggle to feed my workers, but it always meant I had to allocate two of my five workers to make sure I was bringing in food. So basically I had only three workers instead of four available for collecting resources to collect huts and the cards on the river.

I liked that you could block cards/huts to scupper the plans of the other players. Although this effectively also slows down your plans as well.

Our second and final game of the evening was Istanbul.

During the game the capitalism banter continued with Mat. Who did admit he was starting to like being a capitalist. If only we had recorded that quote.

I really liked Istanbul. We used the “beginners” tile setup. But with a “more advanced” setup and random tile setup there is a lot of variety of setup, which I like. It means the game board looks can be tailored for first time players and “experts”.

Right from your first turn you have several options to choose from. You don't get that “your first move has to be…” that Stone Age had.

The family members are a nice touch. Releasing them from jail to send them off to take an extra action. Or getting a reward for capturing another persons family member. A nice mechanic.

The tiles with abilities, bonus cards and the ability to increase the number of goods you can collect, nice additions that allow you to get an engine going. I had a tile that allowed me to pay two coins to recall an assistants. A useful ability that saved me having to return to the fountain to recall all my assistants.

The governor and smuggler were also a nice mechanic, especially with them being moved randomly around the tiles based on the role of the two dice.

Jonathan also won this game with Mat and myself drawing for last place! I had a nice little route going at the end. My mistake was not paying attention to the jewels that the other players had, especially Jonathan. I think I would have played with a bit more urgency otherwise.

Final thoughts…

Out of the two games played this evening my favourite and one I'd happily add to my game collection is Istanbul. I'm glad I played Stone Age, but it is not a game I'd ask to play, although I would happily play it if it hit the table.

Just in…

T.I.M.E. Stories, I think I already said in my Game of the Year predictions that I would get this game to play with Nath over Christmas. I will be getting the first expansion for the game The Marcy Case before my visit. Tom Vasel said that the Marcy Case is his favourite zombie game! High praise indeed. Nath will like playing that, he enjoys zombie themed games. Plus as the photo shows above they already named and given the genre/theme of two other expansions that will come me out next year.

I finally got fed up with waiting for Amazon to get this Deluxe expansion in. Not even a remote hint from them as to when they could deliver it. In the meantime every podcast going is discussing the cards in detail. It's frustrating to see everyone else with the game, and not hear anything from Amazon.

So after finding a rare online retailer that had it in stock, yes most have sold out. I now have my copy. Just need to play some games now!


Win Bang the Dice Game

I really think this photo of Loki is crying out for a witty caption. But I don't think any efforts should go unrewarded. But I can't reward everyone. So let's make this my first competition for this blog. So the funniest/best caption judged by me will win a copy of Bang the Dice Game.

The closing date will be 30th November 2015.

Oh yeah put your entry in the comments below

Forever Fire

A new tee arrived from Qwertee today, I love the design. No matter which version of Pokemon I play I always pick fire. Naturally Charmander is my fondest memory, because he was my first! It was meant to be harder starting with Charmander because of the initial gyms being types that were tough for a fire Pokemon to take on. But I never found that because I levelled up Charmander so he was tougher than the Pokemon I would be facing in the gyms.

It seems timely getting this shirt now that it's been announced that Red, Blue and Yellow are coming to the 3DS on the eShop.

Which Pokemon did you start with?

My Aunt and Uncle recently got back from a holiday in the US, which saw them visiting Memphis. Naturally that meant a look round Graceland and Sun Studio. Knowing I'm a bit of an Elvis fan they bought me back a cool Sun Studio tee, and their tickets for Graceland. The paper bag was also rather cool.

Game of the Year Prediction

Below are what I believe are the top three contenders for game of the year. I'm basing this on buzz that I have seen online from various sources like bgg, podcasts, YouTube etc. Sadly I've not played any of these games yet.

I think the amazing thing is that two of these games are “play once” experiences. Which I believe from bits and pieces online has rubbed some gamers up the wrong way.

The main argument being they have paid forty odd pounds for a game, and expect that they can play it forever (well until it wears out, or they loose some pieces). Not play through the game once and then put it on the shelf never to be opened again.

Naturally the count argument defending these games compares the cost to other forms of entertainment, such as going to a movie or the theatre.

What I find interesting is that both Pandemic Legacy and T.I.M.E. Stories when reviewed or described by people are talking about the experience, comparing them to movies for their storytelling.

I will be getting Pandemic Legacy, and I can see myself getting T.I.M.E. Stories, and the thought of playing them excites me. Pandemic Legacy will be one I play with friends from the Fenland Gamers group (mainly because it is at least twelve games, upto a possible twenty four, depending on how well you do), but T.I.M.E. Stories I think I will be able to play with Nath.

Blood Rage although by one of my favourite designers I don't think I'll be getting. Famous last words I know, and please do remind me of them if I do add it to my collection. But from what I've seen, I would enjoy it, but I don't think there is enough there to justify getting it.

So out of these three games, which do I think will be game of the year? My prediction is Pandemic Legacy. With a dark horse prediction (well not exactly a dark horse or outsider) of Mysterium. Which also got a lot of buzz that seems to have been eclipsed by the other three.

UPDATE 17/11/15: I forgot to add Codenames to list of contenders for Game of the Year. I do have this one, but have not got round to playing it yet. This has been a lot of buzz too, but even though I think it will give my prediction a run for its money, and be very close. I'm still calling Pandemic Legacy to take the crown this year of Game of the Year.

On Twitter my friend Gav asked

And this was my Twitter reply



Inside the Carcassonne Star Wars Box


There is something satisfying about popping tiles from their spigots, or sticking stickers onto meeples. For me more satisfying than popping bubble wrap.

So I'm glad I had this to do this afternoon for Carcassonne Star Wars. It's that new game thing, where you are popping components, bagging various bits, organising everything. There is a reasoning behind this, having everything organised means faster setup when you come to play the game.

But even without that organising bit you still need to pop that cardboard. And that is soooo satisfying.

It's a shame that when I buy a used game that I'm denied that pleasure, but hey can't have everything especially if it's a hard to get out of print boardgame.


Who Dice Tower is it?

Next years UK Games Expo looks not only to be its biggest yet, but also its best! In the last week or so the shows organisers announced the Colin Baker the sixth Doctor will be a special guest at the show. Then today the shows organisers announced another piece of amazing news.

I'm a big fan of The Dice Tower and its host Tom Vasel and grumpy side kick Sam Healy. The likely hood of me making it to the US and one of the conventions that they attend, or even Essen in Germany is very remote.

So to have them come to the UK is awesome. I know they will be mobbed by their UK fan base.

But wow! This guest list for a geek is becoming amazing.

Read the full announcement here


Micro Costa Saturday

Debbie and Jo kindly joined me at Costa in Wsbech to have a coffee (actually no coffee was consumed! The girls had hot chocolate, while I had my usual chai latte) and play some games.

While we drank our hot beverages, we played our first game Age of War. I like Age of War, it's a nice push your luck dice game. A step up from Roll For It, but not as complicated as Elder Sign.

I like the fact that you are able to steal scoring cards from other players. It's a nice, simple, easy to teach dice game. Jo walked away with an easy win. Sadly for Debbie the dice were not in her favour for this game, and it didn't help when Jo stole her only completed card at the time. Debbie did manage to score another card so that she did have some points on the door at the end of the game.

Our second game was our first play of Deep Sea Adventure. This is a really nice push your luck game from Japan. You are divers diving for treasure. As soon as anyone picks up a treasure the air supply timer starts to count down. Fail to get back to the surface before the air runs out and you have to drop the treasure you are carrying so you can get to the surface and score nothing.

The thing is carrying treasure slows you down! So not only is the air running out but you are not moving as fast either. I like that touch. I also like the fact any dropped treasure falls to the bottom of the sea and and gets added at the bottom of the path you have created for the game.

I really did like this game, it's a really nice. And I'm not saying this just because I won. I was losing until the third and final round.

We finished off with a game of Harbour. I'd played Harbour once before (a few months ago now) so I was semi familiar with the rules. Don't think I did a good job explaining them (that seems to be a thing of mine). One of the things I like about Harbour is the changing market place, which apparently is the thing that Tom Vassel from The Dice Tower doesn't like. It means that while you are trying to get goods to sell to buy a building based on them being worth one rate, that rate instantly changes if some-one else in the meantime buys a building. Which scuppers your plans temporarily. I like that, being able to influence what the other players plans are.

In this game we had a couple of buildings out that for their action allows you to manipulate the market place without buying a building. Which I thought made this game a bit more accessible for first timers, because you could manipulate the market to match the goods you had.

I was on the receiving end of one of these actions near the end of the game. I had six stone, which I was expecting to sell at the top price of five dollars, to allow me to buy the fourth and final building I needed. But Jo went and used one of those manipulate the market buildings and dropped the stone price to be the least possible. This only delayed things for me. I had to wait to Jo to leave that building on her next go, and hope Debbie didn't then use that building. Luckily things went to plan, I was able to put the stone back to the price I needed, and buy my fourth building to trigger the end of the game.

The game was not a hit with the girls. Jo didn't like the game at all, while Debbie was undecided and would need another play to make a decision.

However I'm still the Harbour Master (I did win that first game ages ago too)

A great couple of hours micro gaming girls, thank you.


Trains and Bombs

Last night saw another evening of gaming with the Fenland Gamers.

First up to the table was Colt Express. This was a new game to all of us. The game looks fun and attention grabbing with its 3D train and carriages for the play area. Sadly Gavin (owner of the game) didn't set up the scenery for the game as well to complete the illusion that we were bandits raiding a train. Mind you it doesn't actual have any affect on the game play.

With characters selected we set off to rob the train blind. You control your character by programming it by playing a certain number of cards from your hand that is determined by the round card. You get six cards in your hand at the start of each turn, that are dealt from your characters deck. So a round card may say that each player first plays one card from their hand face up (all cards played are placed in the middle on top of each other), the second time round they then play a card face down (to simulate going through a tunnel), followed finally by playing a third card face up.

These cards are then played in turn, with the action selected by the player being acted out with their bandit Meeple on the train.

So basically each player has programmed their bandit, however the action may not be successful or have the intended outcome because another players action before yours is played changes things.

I really like this mechanic, the programming and the enacting them in sequence. You may start the turn thinking you will play a certain three cards, but end up playing different ones because you have seen the ones played by the other players and alter your selection to try and counteract them.

You really do need to be paying attention to what the other players are laying down for their Meeple. Oh and not forget where the sheriff is. That can ruin even the best laid plans before they even start, as my experience in the last round taught me.

The sheriff is another cool mechanic I like. It provides another hazard, one that can be controlled by the players using one of their cards. A carefully timed move of the sheriff can throw a spanner in the works of the other players.

This is a really cool looking game, and it won't be long before it will be in the collection. However I know there are some promos I will want. For example the playmat! Or the Back to the Future Delorean that was available at this years Essen show.

Having robbed trains, it was time for us to become Dr Oppenheimer and build bombs for the arms race in the Manhattan Project.

Luckily for me, Gav had watched the videos of how to play and did a better job of explaining the game than my poor attempt.

For a good portion of the game I thought I was going to win. But then all of a sudden Johnathan and Gav started making bombs. My countries ability allowed me to use the other players buildings just like a spy, so I used that to good effect to get resources I needed. Which tended to frustrate Gav, well he did have what I needed! Plus during the game Deb according to Johnathan had become psychic and was taking actions just before he was going to do them, and thus blocking him.

I really did enjoy playing the game, which is lucky really because it was mine! I'm not sure if the girls enjoyed it, but Gav and Jonathan did.

The little Nations mini expansion I thought worked well. And didn't over complicate the game for us beginners.

Oh Gav won the game.

So another great evening gaming with great company.


Current Stuff I’m Backing

Thought I'd just share with folks the projects I'm currently backing on Kickstarter. As you can see a couple are just about to come to the end of their funding round.

From about March next year I think the delivery schedules of these projects if they hit their predicted target dates for delivery will see one will give me nice little “love” packages to myself most months. I've just reread that sentence and it just sounds so wrong and sleazy.

With The Others and 7th Continent already funded, I think I've backed some interesting games for next year.

I'm not suggesting or telling you to back these games. I'm just letting you know of some games that caught my eye. For all I know the games I've backed are not the type of game you are interested in. Which is cool, I'd love to know what Kickstarter projects you are backing, and why.