I love a good bandwagon to jump on, and this time of year has a doozie. You can't move online without coming across the ubitugous retrospective look back over the previous year. So who am I not to jump on that overcrowded bandwagon?
My most played game of the year, taking into account app versions of the games too, and this will come as no surprise to anyone, is…
I love this game. It helps that the app is so great, and has online play. Even having played over a couple thousand games, it still brings a smile to my face while playing.
Take last night for instance, one of my on going twenty odd games I have on the go at one time was against Freddy. For a large part of the game I had two Star Empire Fighter Base outposts camped out frustrating Freddy. Each time it was my turn it they triggered each other forcing Freddy to discard two cards each turn. It took him a while to get enough attack together so that he could knock them out. I had Freddy down to,nine authority, I was on sitting on thirty. Freddy did a massive play that combo-ed the hell out of things, drawing extra cards, adding a little more authority, accumulating attack. As I watched those cards being played, and the attack building up and then passing my authority, I was smiling and laughing. At the end of playing his cards, Freddy hit me for forty seven damage, killing me and winning the game.
Such a great game between us. I loved the fact just two cards caused so much frustration to Freddy. Freddy dug deep (his words) and pulled out a win with a stunning play. How could you not smile, and enjoy the experience?
I have played some great games this year, my collection has had some great games added to it (new releases and existing games). I've definitely played more games in real life this year, and that is thanks to the great people I met at the Fenland Gamers group.
Meeting the folks who make up the Fenland Gamers was another highlight of the year. It has been a blast meeting local people as keen on gaming as me.
I visited my first UK Games Expo, which was great fun. So much fun that I have tickets for next years already bought.
This has been my best gaming year to date, here's to an even better one next year.
Last night saw the last of the Fenland Gamers Christmas program of meet ups, and the last one for 2015.
For this end of year game fest, Jo, Debbie, their Dad and brother to Jonathan, Katie, Jonathan and myself met up at the usual location.
After a couple of false starts on games, we played Bang the Dice Game. This warm up game with the whole group playing saw the outlaws sneak the win. Sadly I wasn't on the winning side, I had been cast as the deputy.
For our next games we split up into two groups of three. Jo, her Dad and myself made one group and played one of Jo's favourite games Machi Koro.
Once again I rocked this game, and romped home with the win. My tactic of buying the expensive land marks early once more paid off. Next time I think we will play with the Harbour expansion, that should shake up the game a little.
While waiting for the other group to finish their game we played Love Letter The Hobbit. I like this version for the couple of new bits it introduces. I like the zero value One Ring card, that if you have it at the end of the game becomes a seven in value. Plus the two different three value cards. One being Legolas and if you have the lower value card in the hand comparison you are out (nothing new there), and the other being Tauriel which switches that comparison totally around, so the person with the highest value card is out.
Coming from behind I managed to get the win. By the time I had achieved my victory, the other group were coming to the end of their game and using advanced calculus working out the scores and who had won.
We split into different groups this time, Debbie, her Dad and myself played Kingdom Builder, whilst the others went off to play at bomb disposal.
A victory for me at Kingdom Builder gave me a hat trick of wins for the evening.
While we were waiting for the other group to finish their game, I quickly set up and read the rules for Codenames.
Codenames is a game Jonathan had been wanting to try for a while. Well it has been getting a lot of buzz earlier in the year when it came out. It also has made a few top ten lists of games of 2015 since.
We split up into two teams, blue and red. Blue was Jonathan, Debbie and Jo. While Red was myself, Katie and the girls Dad. Jonathan and I were the clue givers for our respective teams.
The history books will record that Blue won two games to one. But the history books won't show that we had a great time playing this. It's always a good sign when folks ask to play another game when the first play finishes.
I liked Codenames (which is cool because I bought it!). But boy giving the clues is hard. Trying to find clues that relate to more than one word is hard. You may think the clue is obvious and it just doesn't click with the guessers on your team. Keeping that poker face amid frustration seeing the guessers go down the wrong path is hard.
Then there is the doh! moment when you the second after you give a clue you suddenly realise it applies to more than one word, and you had missed that!
The game has a lot of replayability, and is a steal at the price. A great party game (which I'm not usually a fan of).
The other group played the new Pennsylvania map for Ticket to Ride (which I want to give a try), and also the rather good Bomb Squad Academy.
Don't forget if you are local and into gaming, or would like to try something more than mainstream fair, why not come along to one of the Fenland Gamer sessions.
Costa and Gaming… Reprise
Once again I had an errand to run in town, so plans had been made to again meet up at Costa for coffee and games. This mornings casual gaming session was attended by Debbie and her visiting Dad. Jo had decided the warmth and comfort of staying in bed asleep was more preferable than enjoying a hot beverage, got d company and games. That or she didn't fancy hanging out with two old fuddy duddys like her dad and myself. Which is totally understandable.
The coffee shop gaming experience started off with a game of the push your luck dice game Age of War. After Debbie beat the two old dudes, we played Oink Games little push your luck game Deep Sea Adventure. Whilst playing a lady from another table enquired about the game we were playing, because she hadn't seen anything like it before. In the meantime Debbie's Dad and I struggled to get any treasure to the surface, whilst Debbie once more racked up the points. After the third and final dive, Debbie was the only one to score anything, a win by default!
Our final game of the mini meetup was a game of my favourite version of Love Letter, Batman. Look I'm a Batman fan, so why wouldn't this be my favourite version? Anyway I managed to get a convincing victory and stop Debbie walking away with a clean sweep of wins.
Another great caffeine meetup, thanks Debbie and Debbie's Dad for a great time.
Boss Monster II Final Part of Kickstarter Jigsaw Arrives…
For the Christmas break I took a “few” games to play. It will come as no surprise that we didn't get to play most of the games. I even have a semi-valid reason for not playing one of them!
I had packed Magic the Gathering Arena of the Plainswalkers for Nath and I to play. However there was one slight flaw in my plan.
About a week before Christmas I had decided that it would be a good idea to use the rather nice storage box that comes with the Zendika Fat Pack to store the spell cards and character cards for the game.
Can you see where this story is going? Yep I remembered to pack the little storage box I am using to store the dice and tokens for the game, but had forgotten to pack the box with the cards in. A fact that I remembered about 3am Christmas Eve, when during an awake moment I thought we can play Arena of the Plainswalkers, “oh bugger!”
Due to the fact Nath had to work over Christmas, we didn't get to play as many games as we would have liked.
As I have already written we got to play Netrunner, Magic and Star Realms Colony Wars. But with Nath now having the full Star Realms app, we had played a few games of Star Realms.
There has often been the old running joke about couples being in the same room, sitting on the same settee, only talking to each other through their phones and Facebook/Twitter. Well that was Nath and I playing Star Realms. It was funny because after taking his go, Nath would lean across to see what cards I was going to play!
I will say that my coverage of Star Realms Colony Wars were I was going to look at the cards is going to have to wait. As I was dropping Nath off at work yesterday before heading back to the windswept plains of the Fens, he asked if he could borrow Colony Wars to play with his girlfriend on Wednesday when she was visiting his. Naturally I said he could, but I went a step further and said he could keep them, I would get another set when they were released in the new year.
Jonathan and I met up at the local Costa for a coffee, catch up and possibly a game or two.
After catching up on our gaming Christmas, Jonathan introduced me to a new game to me called Haggis.
Haggis is a trick taking card game for two or three players.
Now I'm not saying the following because I won, or due to the fact I CRUSHED Jonathan. But I liked the game. At first I was a little “confused” about the game play, but soon picked it up. I liked the tokens Jonathan had made to record what bet you made at the start of a round for if you will be the first to get rid of all your cards. If I got the game I would be knocking on his door for a set.
The idea of each round is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, whilst winning tricks. Some of the cards like the 3,5,7 and 9 (iirc) are worth one point, and at the end of the round you score that point for each of them in your pile of cards won. There are also wild cards represented by the Jack, Queen and King that are also worth 2,3 and 5 points. If you are the first to get rid of your hand, and you made that bet at the start you get those points on top of the cards you scored. Plus as a reward for getting rid of your cards first you get the “haggis”, which is a small pile of left over cards that you also score (if there are any scoring cards in it).
I won the first two rounds, and decided to take a bet that I would again be the first to get rid of his cards and did a thirty point bet. I was half expecting that this would be the round that I would not be the first to get rid of their cards. But my doubt disappeared after I made a very strong start, getting down to about four cards in three tricks. After a little comeback by Jonathan I did get rid of my last card and score a massive amount of points, including the bet, about sixty five points!
Afterwards Jonathan admitted that he used to play the game a lot with his daughter, but not only that but using an online app (can't remember the name) he'd been tutored by the game designer on how to play and tactics. So luckily for me beginners luck trumps skill and being rusty at the game.
It was a great way to spend a bit of time, I enjoy my coffee shop gaming sessions. They are always with great company.
Trying a new thing…
After watching the latest Boardgame Blender and the Suzanne segment where she showed an app for tracking the games played, I hunted down the app she was using because it looked interesting. I liked the idea of tracking the games I've played and producing stats based on that info.
Ok yes I know I write about them here on the blog. But the stats angle is something that appeals to me. Plus this app ties up with bgg, and updates there for you too. It's not a free app, costs under three coins of the realm.
So we'll see how this goes. I'll try and post the stats each month on here.
Yesterday I taught Nath how to play Netrunner. We used the core set. Nath played my favourite runner, the anarch Noise. While I played the corp NBN.
This was the first time I've taught the game to anyone, and I was a little nervous about it considering I'm such a noob myself.
While explaining the game to Nath there was little bits I didn't explain, for example the influence cost of cards. That isn't important unless you are building decks. I also used a six sided dice for Nath to track his mmu with. Plus I didn't cover mulligans either. Well for a first game, how would Nath know if he needed to mulligan or not?
Nath drew a medium early, while I was drawing agendas and no ice! Although with two pad campaigns in play my economy was good. Nath hit HQ, scored an agenda for two points. I replied by scoring a one point agenda. Then he hit R&D which I was unable to defend and built up that medium. Nath scores another agenda for two more points on one of his R&D raids. I'm still not hitting ice, and have three agendas in HQ. Then Nath hits a winning three point agenda on a run on R&D that saw him accessing six cards.
Between our game of Magic and this game of Netrunner I'm not having much luck against Nath. I'm doing much better against him playing Star Realms. Since Nath has joined the online play via the app I've been kicking his butt. Which is funny because since Rich started playing online he's been kicking my butt!
Christmas Eve saw Nath and I at the cinema to see for the second time Star Wars The Force Awakens. Although we were only watching the 2D version of the movie, I had to get the 3D glasses the Vue Cinema are selling.
They look so blooming cool. Apparently Odeon cinemas are doing Star Wars branded Google Cardboard so will have to find time to visit one of them.
After the movie we ended up in Sainsburys for some very last minute veg buying, and somehow this piece of Lego ended up in the basket too.
I think it helped that it had been reduced by a fiver. But this is a great little model of Rey's speeder from the new movie. I also love the Rey minifig, especially with the head gear on.
After I had built my little Lego treat, I finally caved and bought Nath the full version of the Star Realms app and its expansions. He's been playing the app but just not online. So now father and son can play Star Realms while apart. Oh if you wish to challenge Nath on Star Realms his in game name is banjo.
Christmas Day, the miracle for me was how Nath cleared his plate! Our plates were piled high. I couldn't clear my plate, yet Nath wiped his clean.
Before Nath performed his man verses food Christmas challenge, we played a couple of games of Star Realms Colony Wars. I won our first game when we played with gambits also. While Nath took the second game, which was just a plain vanilla game. There are some awesome cards in Colony Wars, however in a later post I will look at the cards.
Nath and I also played our first Magic the Gathering card game. We used the two thirty card taster packs I was given. Nath had the Gideon Jura White Planeswalker deck, while I had Nissa Revane Green Planeswalker. I got hammered by Nath. I never even got a point of damage in. I nearly had a mighty fourteen points hit land. I had a Terra Stomper fielded, which had trample, and is an 8/8. I summoned Yeva's Forcemage that is a 2/2 creature, but gave a +2/+2 to a target creature when fielded until the end of turn. Which I naturally directed at my Terra Stomper. I then played Titanic Growth that pumped the Terra Stomper with an extra +4/+4 until the end of turn. I then attacked with my fielded 2/2 Prized Unicorn, and 14/14 Terra Stomper. Nath had to block the Prized Unicorn with his creatures because of the text on the Prized Unicorn “All creatures able to block Prized Unicorn do so.” Which meant I'd be smashing Nath for fourteen massive points to his face!
Nath plays the instant Divine Verdict that destroys target attacking or blocking creature. Bam!! That super beefed up Terra Stomper sent to the graveyard.
Two turns later I'm dead, I had nothing to stop Nath's attacks with. That instant by Nath won him the game. I had a chance upto that point.
Oh well we both enjoyed playing the game which is the main point. A fun first experience of the game. Swap colours next time I think.
Oh what games did I get Nath for his Christmas present? Dead Panic, the zombie themed version of Castle Panic, Marvel Legendary Villians and Star Realms Cosmic Gambits.
Jumping on the seasonal band wagon I'd like to wish friends, family and readers of this blog a very very Merry Christmas from Nath, myself, Strider, Nico and Loki (aka the wolf pack).
This year is the first time in six years that I have been able to spend Christmas Day with Nath. For me this is the best present ever. I hope everyone is spending the day with loved ones, and has a great time.
Today Nath and I saw Star Wars The Force Awakens again. There is nothing like a Star Wars movie for a father and son cinema experience.
Although we didn't see the 3D version of the movie, I had to buy the promotional 3D glasses that the Vue cinema we saw the movie at are selling. Yes I'm that sort of fanboy. What you hadn't already guessed with all those Lego Star Wars advent posts?
Have a great day tomorrow, eat, drink and be merry.
So our final piece of Lego joy from this amazing advent calendar is a Santa C3PO!
I've really enjoyed this advent calendar. It really has been great value. For starters look six minifigs were included. The little Lego versions of robots, machines, and ships from the Star Wars universe were inspired bits of Lego design to represent them.
I'm definitely going to get this advent next year (assuming they will do one).
The second scenario for T.I.M.E. Stories The Marcy Case, it's meant to be be less puzzle focused and has zombies!
So the Cosmic Gambit expansion for Star Realms is for Nath, while Colony Wars is mine.
I have a bag(s) of games plus Nath's Christmas presents all ready to go. So looking forward to seeing Nath and spending some quality time with him. I think there may even be a visit to see the new Star Wars movie again on the books.