Monthly Archives: April 2016

Life, don’t talk to me about life

Yesterday it was Queen Elizabeth II 90th birthday. To celebrate the local council organised a birthday cake and giant card for the serfs of Wisbech to sign and munch on.

The Mayor (I'm sure he's got an evil plan just like the one in season three of Buffy) turned up to cut the cake and make a short speech to a crowd of locals eager for cake. Yeah the crap we will put up with for free cake. To add to the occasion the vintage fire engine was also out on display.

In the evening our Scooby gang met up to tackle the month of September in Pandemic Legacy Season 1.

After a short discussion about the misplay from the previous month, we decided to play as if we hadn't made completed the immunologists goals yet, well we hadn't. And that was the misplay, or egg on face bit.

Apart from the objective of finding the virologist which we needed to do as part of finding the bits we needed for the immunologist. We now had to find the paranoid soldier.

As is normal we started with one objective complete, we had a military base in each of the zones. The faded were starting to build up, we had cures for two diseases, close to finding the virologist, and on the way to finding that paranoid soldier.

We had a lucky break and found the paranoid soldier. Another goal achieved, one cure and September was ours. Box six was opened, as the cards were read progressing the story, “wait! What? No go back what was that?”


Colonel Mustard was a traitor to the group! WTF???? He was lost, and had to be torn up. Our means of controlling the faded gone. For the rest of the game I'm a civilian.

OMG!!! The objective we auto complete is gone, replaced with a new one. What's just happened? We were further away from victory.

It turns out CoDa is all part of a complicated plot by a group called Zodiac, and was man made back at the CDC in Atlanta. We now had to start destroying military bases as acts of sabotage against the military plot of Zodiac.

Matt managed to destroy one military base, we just needed to get round again to him to do the second one. Jonathan had the cure for our final disease ready to go.

However we ran out of the faded to place on the board and therefore had an instant loss. The game had given us hope and then delivered a crushing soul destroying blow to us.

Apart from the hurt of losing another character (yeah I need to choose a new one for the September replay), the plot twist is cool, it wasn't cool losing a completed objective.

But this story is rather cool, I have loved the two major plot twists of the faded and now Zodiac. The searching for characters is good touch also. I am enjoying this story driven element of the game.

There wasn't enough time to do the second attempt at September that will have to wait until next week.


For the giggles

A lovely sunny spring day, having a life and commitments, whatever the reason it was a small turn out for last nights meetup to play games at the Chatteris Warlords.
As usual a variety of games were being played. March Jamie was constructing a Magic commander deck. A game of Bolt Action once more pitted allied forces against axis forces. Whilst Cthulhu had infiltrated the Fluxx universe in Cthulhu Fluxx. In a far corner four player Star Realms was taking place, followed by a just for the giggles game of Warhammer 40k Conquest by a couple of players.
My gaming for the evening saw me playing Robert at Ashes once a group discussion about Wizkids and how horrid their release schedule was with their games.

I was playing the constructed deck for Maeoni, while Robert played the constructed deck for Nessa. Instead of selecting our starting five cards we just dealt the top five of the deck to make up our first five. Well it made sense since we didn't know the decks or what cards would be good to start with.

I like that Ashes has suggested decks for all of the six Phoenixborn in the base box. It does allow noobs to the game to get up and running straight away, and then allow them to move onto deck building.

Despite loosing, I was only able to get gilders out, and the silver snake didn't make it until it was too late, I enjoyed playing.

Maybe we were playing slower than experienced players but we were noobs to the game after all.

The dice as a resource you have to manage is a great idea that works well. It'd be great to play this more often. Hopefully it will catch on. Then I can delve into the deck building side. Deck building is fun.

My second game of the evening and last was a couple of games of Cthulhu Fluxx. I broke even here with a win and a loss. My win was even sweeter than normal because it was given to me. March Jamie played an action that involved collecting up all the keepers and creepers out in front of people, shuffle them, then deal them back out to everyone. We had a few of both. Guess what got dealt to me? Yep the keeper and creeper that were needed to meet the active goal. I instantly won. Sweet.

Some great gaming again, well worth the thirty min drive.


Just chewing the fat…

Today is Ashes Tuesday. I declared it that when I knew that the new Ashes expansions would be delivered today by DHL.

But it got me thinking there is Friday Night Magic or FNM for the weekly playing of Magic at the LGS. A while back I came up with Skirmish Saturday for playing Imperial Assault skirmish games. However it could be for any skirmish style game. It would have been cool if that had caught on.

Ashes Tuesday is a thing that might have legs. Run it like a FNM evening for the Ashes community.

I've been trying to think of something catchy for Android Netrunner. Could the Android community steal Cyber Monday from the marketing demons?

Epic the card game is crying out for similar evening. Luckily sticking Epic in front of any day of the week sounds good.

Having these themed evenings as Magic has shown is great for growing the community of a game. And a growing community means more people playing the game, and these types of games need people playing them. A healthy community means also your LGS being able to run tournaments and getting in OP kits.

Are there games you really like that could do with a cool name for the night it is played? What about Dice Masters (which I found out today has its first banned card! Which may or may not be a temporary thing), or Mage Wars?

There’s a what?

Was my exact reaction to the Dice Tower review by Tom Vasel of the second edition of Room 25, a game inspired by such movies as The Cube, The Running Game and Tron (I find this one a bit of a stretch, but who am I to argue with the designer?)

Room 25 had been on my wish list for a long time, and had eventually moved into the collection in the later half of last year. Since entering the collection it has been sitting in my pile of shame waiting patiently to be played.

So when the Dice Tower review went up yesterday I was a bit taken aback. When was this new edition announced? How had I missed it? What's different? Then Tom mentioned in his review there was also an expansion that was a must have for the game.

WTF?!!! How had I missed that?

I knew about season two, but thought that was a stand alone follow up to the original game. You could play season two without the first game was my impression.

Right I need to research this. What version do I have?

So a bit of research on the publishers website I concluded I had the second edition. Which means I had the bigger box with the plastic tray organising insert in it. Why the publisher just didn't write second edition on it I don't know. Apparently the rules have changes, some additional tiles. I also think the colour miniatures are new.

Phew that was a weight off my mind. But what about this mysterious expansion?

It turns out season two is that expansion, and is not in fact stand alone. But there are two versions of this depending on the edition of season one you have.

Season two adds two extra players, unique character abilities, more tiles, robots!, adrenaline, and a deck of cards that are basically events but given some other name in the game.

If you have the second edition of Room 25 then the version of season two you need to buy is slightly cheaper. Less required.

The second edition of Room 25 with its insert is big enough to hold the base game and the components that make up season two.

My research had been fruitful, and managed to calm my worries sparked by the Dice Tower reviews. It would really have peed me off if I had bought an old edition of the game so close to a new one coming out. It's why I'm not buying Robinson Crusoe from Portal Games. I know there is a Game of the Year edition coming out later in the year. So I'm holding off until then, despite some tempting deals on the Facebook selling and trading page.

So with the storm in a tea cup calmed I was able to get to sleep, and sleep the sleep of the innocent. Now how to get Room 25 off the pile of shame…

New Series 15 Arrivals

So the local Asda is doing a two for four quid deal on Lego Minifigs at the moment. Which is cool.

So apart from one double (the astronaut) I'm very pleased with the others. Ok I'm pleased with the astronaut too it's pretty cool. With the “hawkman” one I keep thinking it needs a Brian Blessed beard so I can say “Gordon's alive! FLASH! Aaahaaa saviour of the universe”

When I saw there was a shark guy, I had to try and get that one. You'll see more of him when I think a post is jumping the shark!

I wouldn't mind getting the farmer one with its pig. But I do like this series.

X for expand 17Apr16

The weeks new arrivals started off with the arrival of the two player micro experience of Eminent Domain, in the form of Eminent Domain Microcosm. To take up some of the empty space in the small box there were promos for the big brother and also Battlecruisers. It will interesting to see what Nath makes of this.
With the new edition of Viticulture some of the expansions that make up Tuscany are in it. However Tuscany will never be reprinted, so if you want to play with the extended game board this is the only way of going about it. Already this goes for more than the retail cost and is hard to get. So being able to get a copy for its rrp is good going. At the time of pre-ordering the Tuscany expansion I also pre-ordered the new Moor Visitors expansion.

All these fancy words are saying is I have two expansions for a game I don't have yet! At least it's an investment!

After seeing the Anonymous sleeves below on a TeamWorkCast video I thought I've got to have them for my Noise anarch deck. Also while shopping for them came across the card dividers. Which are going to be used to organise Marvel Legendary and all the expansions. Forty mad a small dent, but I'm going to need a lot lot more.

Also I thought it would be an idea to be able to mark which tiles had been used when playing Suburbia. Getting the official licenced 3D tokens is soooo expensive. So these are the my alternative.

After being bitterly disappointed and rage posting on the Kickstarter page because the publisher of Kodama wanted those outside the US to pay postage on replacements, and an email exchange with the publisher, I now have the replacement card for the miss cut card that was in my deluxe Kickstarter copy I got last week.

So I'm a happy bunny…

Two Down One To Go

With life events putting a stick in the spokes of life's bike, Ben was unable to attend the Friday night gaming group in Wisbech. Which meant that our gaming plans were also in chaos. I hadn't bought anything with me to play, because I had been expecting to play Agricola.
So my first game of the evening was my second game ever of Cthulhu Realms. If you remember I'm not a big fan of this “improved” Star Realms. Unlike Star Realms there is zero buzz for the game. Even with the imminent release of an app version (apparently due in next month or so) I don't think this will change.
I think Cthulhu Realms does have better rules for multiplayer. Particular how it handles the trade row, or rows in this case, and dealing the damage out to the players on either side of you. But these rules can be adopted in a multiplayer game of Star Realms. Which I may well do.
I still dislike the iconography, and decoding. Yes more plays will make it easier. But I'm very loath to put that effort in.
Playing the game this second time didn't warm me to the game, I'm still frosty about it.
Next up instead of Agricola we played a five player game of Caverna.
“Have you played Caverna?”
“Don't worry it's just like playing Agricola”
“Er I've not played that either”

I'd say the rules explanation at best could be described as lacking. Much of the start of the game was spent in frustration.

Ok, it's worker placement. I worked that out. Oh wheat gives me points at end, and can be used for food. Cool. I can work with that. Sadly I wouldn't work with that if I'd known it was half a point per wheat token I had.

Happily breeding pigs and sheep. Oh they are worth points at the end. Cool. What if I don't have a cow or dog I get negative points?!!! Why wasn't this mentioned at the start, but left to scoring.

Why were they levelling up their dwarfs? What benefit did that give you?

Ok you get the picture. It was like playing a game with a fog of war. The rules were need to know, and I didn't need to know.

I can't say I really enjoyed the game. But I think that is down more to being in the dark a lot.

Plus on top of all that another week with that bloody loud music being played. One more shot I think then my Friday's may just be free again. This group is fast becoming an unpleasant experience.


Fenland Gamers April 16 Meetup

Last night saw the monthly meetup of the Fenland Gamers.

Our first game of the evening was the latest “accidental” addition to Jonathan's collection, the chilli growing themed game Scoville.

Wow is the game good, and I'm not just saying this because I won. Ok won is an understatement I knocked it out the park.

There is a lot to love about this game. Each round (apart from the first where the order is selected at random) the players bid in a blind auction for the right to choose where they want to go in the turn order. You may actually want to be last guaranteed! In our game I was the highest bidder and first most rounds. I was using the market to keep topping up my cash each round to power this. After the order has been sorted, players form first to last get to choose an auction card from an auction row. These cards give you extra chillies dependent on what is depicted on the card. So one card may give you a black chilli, while another may give you a yellow, green and blue.

I love the auction mechanic for deciding turn order. Whether it's a blind auction like this or the one in Five Tribes. So much is involved in that bid you make. How important is it you go first? What is the least I can spend to make sure I get the position I want? Etc.

I loved the fact that the last (fulfilment) and first (planting) stage of a round went in the order first to last. Then in the middle, harvesting the order gets reversed. So it may be important that you go first harvesting to get that particular coloured chilli you need. Which means winning that blind auction and putting your marker last is an option.

Fulfilment is cool too. Being able to complete recipes for points, and/or buy from the farmers market to gain combinations of points, money and chillies. So I could trade two green chillies to get four points, three coins and a brown chilli. Plus I can sell chillies to get money. Of which the price is decided by the number of chillies of that colour being sold that have been planted divided by two.

When planting chillies you can also score points by planting a chilli that matches one of the trophy tokens (which vary in value). So there are lots of scoring opportunities through out the game.

You also get three bonus tokens that give you extra abilities, like planting an extra chilli, or moving one ,pore space and changing direction. However if you don't use them they are worth extra points at the end of the game. This is very similar to the bonus abilities in Seasons.

How many recipes, chillies, money etc you have is all hidden information. And there is a player screen provided for each player for them to hide their bits behind. So you are having to remember who is going for what.

The wooden chilli tokens are awesome. I would like to have seen some bigger size coins. They are on the small side. Plus the player screens could be larger. Having holes in the game board the shape of the chilli tokens to hold them in place really works.

Overall I love this game a lot. Like the theme this game is hot! Definitely going on the wish list.

We followed up Scoville with intrigue and political manoverings by playing Council of Verona.

For such a “simple” game, this is really good. It has a mini card draft where you are drafting cards to help you to hopefully achieve the agenda of a character on the cards. Not all characters have agendas some have abilities that allow you to switch cards around, or tokens.

The game plays quickly, which is lucky because it took one play through for everyone to get the game.

It's a shame this game and it's expansions are at best a pain to get in the UK. And describing it as a pain is an understatement. I think this would be far far more popular if it was easier to get. It's quick to play, has a surprising bit of depth to it. Plus if you are teaching Romeo and Juliet (the world it is set in) this would make a great game for students to play.

The evening ended up with Love Letter The Hobbit (nope not going to use the full name it's too long winded, mind you it would be shorter than this little aside) and everyone type casting me as a hobbit or dwarf!

Every time the others played a Smaug, “Darren, are your Bilbo?” Or “Darren, are you Thorin?” Or “Darren, are you Killi or Filli?” Not “Darren, are you Legolas?” Or some other non vertically challenged race/person.

Nope little digs at my height, beard and receding hair line where the order of the day.

The game of hate on Darren, ended in a draw between myself and Gavin, as time had ran out.

Another great evening of gaming.


Street Magic in Chatteris

Last night was the now weekly journey from the frontier town that is Wisbech to further into the depths of the fens and the outpost town of Chatteris. The things we do to play games!

My first game of the evening saw Noise returning to the table to run against the Jinteki Personal Evolution. It felt good to have him back running. I really am an anarch at heart. My opening hand had Street Magic and Same Old Thing, plus a Hivemind and Streetpeddler. I decided to keep my cards.

The Corp scum took an early lead, after establishing a scoring server protected by three pieces of ice. I had none of my ice breakers (ok that's basically Faust and David, with a little help from Parasite and Datasucker) out. I did get Datasucker out early and an incubator.
The Corp did score an early Chronos Project taking out about five cards. The second one they scored took a larger chunk of cards out. Apparently this deck had been designed to cater for my Noise. Isn't that sweet?
My problem this game was econ, and not getting my ice breakers out. Aesops didn't appear to near the end, and the same for Faust.
I did score a couple of agendas, one from Archives and the other from R&D. And I could have won if I had the credits to score the agenda.
Looking back I think I should have done a mulligan on the starting hand. But I didn't want to lose that Street Magic.
I also got to play Star Fluxx. As usual this game is beautifully chaotic. Just when I thought I was going to win, but my plan was thwarted. Allowing the player after me to grab the win.
My final game of the evening was introducing Ben and some others to Love Letter The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies. That's a bit of a mouthful so I just call it Love Letter Hobbit.
I do like this version of Love Letter, but not the gem tokens. So I replaced them with small blue cubes. I love the touches like the one ring having a zero value all during the round until the end when it gets a value of seven. Or Legolas and Tauriel having different win conditions.
Batman Love Letter is still my favourite but this is damn close. Still neither Ben or I won.
Yes there was some Bolt Action last night. Over in another corner was a group doing a draft cube of Magic.

It did seem quieter than usual last night. But then there are going to be nights like this.

There was also a club committee meeting last night. Basically it was blah blah blah to me, well I'm not a committee member, but Ben is, and it was held during our Netrunner game! So while that was on hold I was at a lose end. Which eventually saw me passing the time playing Star Fluxx.

I was called into the meeting to confirm I was volunteered (thanks Ben) to help out on the clubs Facebook page.

But as usual another fun evening of gaming in the depths of the fens.

August and everything after

After an intermission last night the A Team were back fighting to save the world.

Each month we start with an objective completed, because we have military bases in each of the zones. It's a nice feeling knowing we only have two objectives to complete.

Before August started we had some cards to read. Suddenly we weren't just searching for a virologist but also an immunologist. Another search board was added. This time we had to be in a rioting faded city to look for them.

We had a new character join our team Colonel Mustard, he had been drafted in to replace my quarantine specialist who unfortunately died in July. Mustard had the ability to spend an action to remove a faded figure from a city, plus he could freely move through roadblocks. Plus as a character upgrade when he left a city with faded on it one of them gets removed. With all that cool stuff he also had a draw back. For Mustard to cure a disease he needs to have two extra cards of the correct colour to cure it. Mustard was going to be our engine for controlling the faded.

With a little help from Jonathan and Debbie, Mat was able to find this new elusive immunologist. Lots of stickers were added to the rule book to cover the new stuff bought to the game.

This is where (just been looking up some stuff, and discovered this) we have done a MASSIVE misplay!!!!

We had discovered two cures, starting to look at the third when outbreaks overtook us and we had lost.

August reset time for our second attempt. We needed a win else we would be opening that mysterious box four.

We'd won! Our player deck was dangerously low. So pretty close. It helped having the Colonel keeping the faded down. He even cured a disease! Ok it took seven cards but he did it.

I'm loath now to talk about the win and how we got there, or my thoughts on the immunologist and the bits we missed played.

I'm not sure how we move forward with the misplay. It's going to have to be a group discussion on our next play.

Once we have a decision then I'll come back and look at the bits. At the moment I feel dirty and foolish.