Monthly Archives: June 2016

Some OP News

Finally after much nagging and a Twitter conversation I managed to get to the bottom of how my FLGS can get their hands on organised play kits for Epic and Star Realms from the distributor Esdevium. So hopefully we will be seeing some organised play for them real soon.

The observant will notice a new menu option that takes you to the details about the Ashes OP that I'm organising that is being held at my FLGS. The page has the OP details and a link to the official Plaid Hat event page.

On other news bgg have an Origins clip showing an early look at the amazing looking Tokaido app that is coming out Eisen time iirc. I'm definitely going to get that when it comes out.


Drive By

At last nights Warlords weekly meet up I got a chance to test drive my first attempt at a Criminal deck. 

I’m an Anarch at heart, I love playing Noise (although the leaked/spoiled Anarch id null from the next data cycle may tempt me away) especially with Faust/David/Street Magic/Wylde Side/Pancakes – which has most people online raging against them (this might be gutted with the first update to the most wanted list due to drop any day now).

So playing a faction I don’t usually play is a big thing.

However I was tempted to come up with this deck after the Run Last Click guys mentioned the Drive By card in the live broadcast they did at the UK Games Expo.

In my hunting online to find out just what the good ice breakers are for Criminal, I stumbled across a card combo that would install Femme Fatale for free! It was out of faction but had to be used a nine cost ice breaker is way way too expensive.

The main thing I wanted to play with in this deck was the Drive By, Gang Sign and Rebirth.

My starting id for this deck is Andromeda giving me an initial massive nine card draw. If that doesn’t give me rebirth, it should allow me to fish for it using some of the card draw or planned assault. 

Once I get rebirth I can then swap to a Criminal id more suitable for the matchup I’m facing.

From what I can tell Criminal is all about the central servers particularly HQ. 

This deck is running a lot of events for me , giving economy, exposing cards, making the hit on HQ more painful for the Corp, and finding cards.

Running one copy of my breakers may seem recless but with the events I can get to them quickly if need be.

Window I added because how many times after losing has the card you really needed been on the bottom of the stack? 

In the game last night I mulliganed, in the second hand I drew I got two sure gambles. A cash rich start. Ben iced up HQ quickly. So a Sneakdoor Beta on an unprotected Archives scored me an agenda. Guess who iced up archives then?

Gang sign scored me an agenda when Ben scored his first agenda. I managed to score a third agenda from HQ. I was sitting on six agenda points while Ben had five. 

My biggest problem was having enough credits to drive my ice breakers in the lay stages of the game. Which slowed down my assault on HQ. 

Ben scored the final agenda he needed to get the win.

I liked the way this deck played. The combo worked to get Femme out for free. Drive By did its job a couple of times. Gang Sign got me an agenda. So the little ‘tricks’ worked. 

We followed up our Netrunner game with Firefly Fluxx which Ben won. 

My final game of the evening was a four player game of Epic. The decks were dealt randomly (in the interests of time), and we played it that you could only attack player to your left, with only the two players doing battle able to play events to influence it, however everyone else could play events when the current player tried to end their turn.

I was the first to be knocked out. However I’m pleased with that, considering the random element to the decks, the cards I had drawn were not bad. I could have been dealt worse cards. In the end Ben emerged triumphant again. A clean sweep for him.

Great evening gaming. But now I have to decide if I play this new Criminal deck at Saturday’s comp at my FLGS or stick to my tried and tested, but more importantly familiar Noise.

Here is my deck…

Drive By Swap
Andromeda (Humanity’s Shadow)
Event (28)

3x Drive By (The Underway)

2x Easy Mark (Core Set)

1x Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus)

1x Express Delivery (Honor and Profit)

2x Infiltration (Core Set)

2x Inside Job (Core Set)

1x Lawyer Up (True Colors)

2x Legwork (Honor and Profit)

1x Lucky Find (Double Time) ••

1x Planned Assault (Honor and Profit)

1x Rebirth (The Liberated Mind) •

2x Satellite Uplink (Trace Amount)

2x Scavenge (Creation and Control) ••••

2x Special Order (Core Set)

2x Sure Gamble (Core Set)

2x Test Run (Cyber Exodus) ••••• •

1x Unscheduled Maintenance (The Spaces Between)
Hardware (6)

1x Desperado (Core Set) ☆

2x Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead)

2x Public Terminal (Honor and Profit)

1x Window (Honor and Profit)
Resource (8)

2x Gang Sign (The Underway)

3x Same Old Thing (Creation and Control)

2x Security Testing (Honor and Profit)

1x Street Magic (Kala Ghoda) •
Icebreaker (4)

1x Aurora (Core Set)

1x Femme Fatale (Core Set)

1x Leviathan (Second Thoughts)

1x Crypsis (Core Set)
Program (2)

1x Sneakdoor Beta (Core Set)

1x Au Revoir (The Source)
48 cards (minimum 45)

14/14 (=15-1☆) influence used

Cards up to The Liberated Mind


Plans change, and it’s our ability to adapt and make the most of the new situation that makes the difference between success and failure. What’s this got to do with this post? Who knows I thought it might be possible to segway into the fact we had an unplanned games night. But reading it, it doesn’t really work. Let’s get on with this post and forget this bit.

Last night Jonathan and I met up to play The Voyages of Marco Polo (again) and Spiel des Jahres nominee Imhotep.

First to the table was The Voyages of Marco Polo. Jonathan suggested we could use our ids from the previous day but swap them over so we played each other’s. But we went with random selection instead. Funnily enough I drew Jonathan’s id so I could set the dice to whatever value I needed. Jonathan got Polo and his wife, giving him two figures to move around the board.

I was the first player and held that advantage until the fifth and final round. My first move each round was get six camels and buy a black dice. Which shut that option down for Jonathan unless he wanted to pay for it. But he still was able to get camels from other sources. As I also did. 

I reached two cities that were on my hidden route objectives. But I wasn’t really trying to move round the map. My tactic was to score points completing contracts. 

Jonathan was moving around the map using actions on the map that traded goods for moving. He wanted to steal first player but needed me to move first.I wasn’t doing moves, so he’d hold off and hold off and then not have the resources to do the move action.

In the end Jonathan was getting frustrated but still enjoying the game!

You can guess I was victorious. We were playing with part of a mini expansion that added gifts to the game. I can’t really say if they added much to the game because I didn’t get any. Jonathan got two or three, one even gave me money. But they didn’t seem to make a big impact on the game.

Imhotep sold out at the UK Games Expo, won’t be back in stock until the Autumn, had the nomination for a prestigious award. So it definitely qualifies as a hot game of the moment.

It’s a simple game with basically four actions. But there is a surprising amount of depth to the decisions you have to make with those actions. Especially where to move the boat to. 

My downfall was not really appreciating how many points were at stake on one location. The one where you score points based on connected stones of your colour. It not only allowed Jonathan to catch up but take a massive lead, that I did well to close to four points. 

I love the 3D element of the game. It looks lovely.

This is a good, quick game. Ideal for noobs to the hobby and also has enough there for hardened gamers. Which seems to be a new trend, because the same is also being said about the Spiel des Jahres recommended game Animals On Board from Stronghold Games.

A great evenings gaming, thanks for the invite Jonathan,

Three Camels Walked Into A Bar

Sunday started off with bitter sweet news from Jonathan. The sweet, he was able to come out and play that afternoon, did I want to have a learning game of his new game The Voyages of Marco Polo and potentially if time allowed his other new arrival Isle of Skye. The bitter part he wasn't able to make a Monday or Wednesday gaming evening this week. I must show him how to forge his wife's signiture on the permission slip.

So at the usual Fenland Gamers hang out, Jonathan, myself and Jeff gathered to make trade routes between the east and west, and try and become king (time permitting).

Our first game was The Voyages of Marco Polo. For the majority of the game I was trailing behind score wise. Jeff and Jonathan were clocking up points, completing contracts. I was also completing contracts but nearly as many as the other two. I had already dismissed going for the most completed and the seven additional points that would have given me.

Instead I went and completed my secret trade routes, picking up some nice bonuses along the way. I was the first to hit Bejing for the ten point end game bonus. I was a tent away from getting the end game bonuses for using them.

In the end I had enough of a late points splurge from my completed routes to take second, and narrowly miss taking first place. One more placed tent would have given me five points and the win.

Wow I love this game. The dice placement is awesome. I really loved it.

You start off with five dice of your colour. Or if you had Jeff's character an extra white dice to use, and a special contract each round. But using camels you could purchase once per turn, an extra black dice to use during the round.

Now at the start of a round you roll your dice, these numbers basically decide how much of an action you so. For instance to get more camels if you placed a dice with a six showing you would get six camels. However if the number was say a four you would only get four. But a six on the new contracts action would get you a new contract, plus two coins and something else (I can't remember the exact bonus). If someone has already taken the action you want, you can still place your dice there but you pay the number of coins matching the value of your dice.

You can use camels to manipulate the value of a dice by one up or down. So you can mitigate bad rolls to some extent. Plus if the sum total of your dice is less than fifteen you get the difference in coins.

The player powers were interesting, some have said they are too over powered. But I like them. Mine allowed me to not have to pay to place my dice on an already used action. We know Jeff's I mentioned it already. Jonathan's let him set his dice to whatever value he wanted. Which he did use well to shut Jeff and myself out of one action really well. My power meant money was less important to me, and only really needed for some routes and moving. I think the powers and the advantage you gain balances out.

I liked the way the first player is chosen each round, with it being the player who took the last move action.

There is a lot to the game, plenty of opportunities to score bonuses. The secret trade routes is a nice touch. Unlike Ticket to Ride you only read to reach the start and end points, and not actually connect them. Some paths have a cost to use them, so not only do you have to pay the movement cost but a path cost too. Which could be payable in coins or camels.

And camels are the real currency here. They allow you to do so much, such as manipulate dice, buy black dice, complete contracts (they are usually part of the fee needed to complete it), act as toll on a route. Without camels you don't stand much chance of getting much done. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities to get camels in the game.

Sooo sooo much to talk about, this game is very deep. Love, love, love it.

Oh Jeff won by three points.

We did indeed have time to play Isle of Skye, and compete to move up from chieften to King.

I like the use of the tile placing mechanic, aka like Carcassonne (I bet they are fed up with that being said). But there is so much more to this. From the use of money and pricing the tiles, being able to buy other players tiles, to the turn structure and different score at the end of each turn.

I enjoyed this game, would definitely play again. However I still think by far my favourite Scottish themed game is Glen More.

Jeff had a clean sweep of wins today, as did Jonathan in coming last. But we played two great games, had a fun afternoon gaming, lots of banter. What more could you ask for?


Gaming at Costa 25Jun16

The nice thing about playing games at Costa is great company and beverages.

Our “mini” meet up started off with Debbie and Jo being introduced to Roll For It! Debbie won this nice little light filler game.

We followed up Roll For It! with Council of Verona. Which saw my machiavellian plans to control the two competing families and the council, dominate to give me three wins out of three.

With no Jonathan there to defend his newly acquired or rather stolen title of Harbour Master, it was the ideal time to play Harbour again.

This time we played with the unique player buildings. I dealt each player three cards and let them select the one they wanted, returning the other two back to the box. Mine gave me a resource of my choice everytime an opponent used a building owned by another player. It also gave me a warehouse and an anchor, plus if I used the building I got a wood (I think) plus a good of my choice.

We also used the secret end game bonus cards as well. I ended up with the stone one.

Having these unique abilities did make things a bit more interesting. With a second warehouse added I was keeping two resources from the selling. Which is pretty powerful. It did speed up the process of being able to buy the next building. How Jo wasn't winning with her ability of being able to keep the excess goods I don't know.

The bonus cards were a fun little end addition, giving a potential nice little points boost at the end. More than enough to steal a win.

All in all I like these additions to a game I already enjoyed.

We were going to make that our last game of the afternoon. However a thunderstorm with hail put an end to that thought. So while we waited for the storm to pass we played that old favourite Batman Love Letter. Which I won.

As I said at the top of this post a great afternoon gaming with great beverages and great company.


skullduggery at the angel

Yesterday evening despite the earlier news that just shy of 52% of my fellow countrymen were gullible sheep that believed the fud of the mass media of the country and were talked into self harming, the evening of gaming at The Angel still went ahead.

Jo was at the Angel when I arrived, so after getting refreshing beverages I introduced her to the ccg/lcg experience by teaching her the gateway drug of Epic.

We used two pre-constructed decks using the suggested deck lists for the demigods (Kickstarter stretch goal cards) Riksis, Dancer of Destruction (Jo) and Shadya, the Shadow Walker (me).

As you can see the demigods also have a special ability. Did we use them? Nope! 

I like to think of these decks as the Epic version of the dueling decks for Magic. Having pre-constructed decks available other than the mono colour ones I think makes for a better experience. The mono is there if you want to play that way. But I prefer these decks. Also pre-constructed decks allow you to jump straight in and teach the game, without the overhead of explaining drafting and the other player not knowing what the cards do, combos etc. 

Without my playmats there, scoring was done using the awesome free Epic Score app. Hence no photos of the game being played.

Jo took an early lead delivering some damage to me. But after some exchanges between our champions I was able to get a wind to deliver some damage of my own, which would prove fatal and give me the win.

During our game Debbie arrived, so with Epic finished Batman Fluxx hit the table. We made reference to our last marathon game of this and the Eric Sommer house rule of stopping at the half hour mark if it went on that long. 

Our game was pretty quick, in fact it was still the basic rules of draw one, play one when I won.

Jonathan arrived at that point, so we played another game of it. 

This time it went on a little longer, and I was looking at another victory that relied on me being able to play three cards in the correct order on my go. Jonathan and Debbie took their turns,  I was still on to be able to win. To get in Jonathan’s mind and show him how he could have won, I pointed out if he had zapped Bane in front of me he would have won! Then Jo threw a spanner in the works by resetting the rules back to basic ones. I was stuffed. No way I would be able to take three turns to get the win, the game changes so much between turns. I needed a card that would allow me to play more than one card this turn. I draw my one card. OMG I’d top decked the perfect card to give me the win, Play All! I play the card, the win was mine, I just had to play the three cards in the correct order. Steal Batman from Jonathan,  get rid of Bane using his ability, play my keeper, play the goal to give me the win.

Jo abandoned us to go have a KFC with her boyfriend! Really? Choosing the abysmal local KFC over gaming with us! Wow that stung.

Batman Fluxx was followed up with intrigue, skullduggery and bluffing when we played Council of Verona. 

I thought I had a good chance of Romeo and Juliet being together because I had them both, plus I had two cards that allowed me to move cards. However my plans were thwarted by Jonathan who split them up after I had played my last card. I was scoring nothing. Debbie took the win after we explained to her how she should have used her last cards ability to swap two tokens to remove Jonathan from the scoring and give her two scoring opportunities.

We played a second time where Debbie decided to use a unique tactic of not using her tokens! This time my plans worked  and I won. 

There was a final game but using the poison expansion. This was a first for us. I liked what it added to the game of that extra bluffing. Had they just tried to poison your scoring opportunity or were they trying to jump on the bandwagon? I was in that exact situation with Jonathan on Romero. I played an antidote token to counter a possible poison one. My final placed token was to poison Jonathan’s scoring opportunity. Still Debbie didn’t play any tokens!!!! 

Once more luck was on my side and my plans were victorious.

The final game of the evening before Jonathan had to rush off to the Jolly Fryer to take a fish and chip supper home for the family, was Harbour. 

Jonathan had never played this before, despite once owning it. 

Our opening buildings to buy weren’t very good for a first game. So upon a group concensus I dealt six new buildings. 

I like Harbour, it is a nice little worker placement game. Although the changing market place isn’t to everyone’s taste, it is one of the mechanics I like. It forces you to be aware of what the other players are doing, who is close or about to build, and changing your own supplies to ready for the new market place. Plus in this game there were a couple of cards that allowed you to manipulate the market place. Which lessened the impact of some one building a building.

Having the one worker can be frustrating because you want to do more than one action. But it does force you to make hard decisions about which action you really really want to do.

Jonathan triggered the end game, and with my last go I was able to build a final building snatching me second place. However Jonathan ended up being crowned the new Harbour Master. 

We will be playing this again soon so I can win my title back. I do like these social media bragging cards.

So with the evening of gaming over. We went our separate ways, with me hitting what is fast becoming a part of the evening Jonathan’s favourite kebab shop down Norfolk street for my supper.

Another fun evening of gaming, looking forward to next weeks.


I rolled for the Galaxy 

So last night at the Chatteris Warlords after playing a two player game about a year ago with Nath, I finally got Roll for the Galaxy back to the table.

Once more my experience of the game was a two player one. I really must get this to the table with more players to see just how much the experience differs.

We both for a few turns didn’t have much of an engine to bring in money to buy more dice from the citenzary. Which meant I was stuck recruiting one or two dice at a time, and exploring/developing one or two point planets. I did manage a four point one! My tenth planet is one I wished I’d gotten much earlier in the game because it gave me a dollar/credit each time I developed/explored a planet.

In the meantime my opponent was scoring higher valued planets, and was producing a yellow planet which she shipped to get six dollars/credits. My only saving grace was she was conservative spending the money, and only buying three dice at a time. 

I hit the required twelve developed planets in my empire. Game over. But had I done enough to win?

We totalled up our scores and by the skin of my teeth I’d won! 

If my opponent had developed one more planet or had not had one of her starting worlds with no score, we could have been looking at a different result.

Thinking about the game now after the fact, I should have at least attempted to produce on my planets to increase my income. I wasn’t rolling more than three dice at a time. Which is shameful I think. I’m going to have to work out why I don’t do it. Is it confidence?  I like the game, I’m just not great at it. Well it is my second time playing.

I’m the Guild Master

Last night saw Debbie, Jonathan and myself manipulating the little people to try and become the Guild Master (TMG why isn’t there one of those social media bragging cards in this game?)

I’d not long gotten over my battle trauma from watching the brutal episode that was episode nine of A Game of Thrones. 

For me our game had started while we were setting up. I took seven points off the table straight away by picking the side of the Beagle card that gave guild cards instead of that massive point boost.

My guild card was going to give me a bonus based on how many livery men I had in the guild hall at the end. So I needed to make sure I bought more livery men.

Jonathan as I did in our first game took an early lead playing instant point cards and held that lead until the last two turns.

While the other two were building up to take over guilds I took an early two point guild unchallenged, grabbed five out of the six neutral livery men. Initially I was going to be very aggressive with these, but a guild card put an end to that when it gave me a point for each one I had at the end. So I was just going to sit on them.

This was to work to my advantage because Jonathan started to over commit livery workers to try and win guilds, just incase I used the neutral livery men to deny him.

It even worried Jonathan when I let him score a four point guild early on. Mind games folks.

With the guild that gave me the win if a tie happened when resolving a guild, I was basically set.

I stayed within reach of Jonathan until the last couple of rounds, where I over took him points wise. Debbie was trailing but I was concerned she had a load of guild cards. It was possible that she’d be making an end game surge scoring them.

It was funny because Jonathan trying to grasp points in the last round threw six points away to score four! He was feeling the pressure.

End game scoring saw me sail off into the distance, while Debbie narrowly came last by a point. Which if not for one decision in the last round, which was advised by Jonathan and myself because we thought that was the optimal play at the time (not knowing her guild cards), would have seen her second.

A great second play of the game. It was less mean with me sitting on the neutral livery men, Jonathan’s tactics failing, mine working. Looking forward to the next game.

Tanks and FEG@TA

Friday afternoon saw me at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole picking up some supplies. Whilst there I caved and got Jonathan (the store owner) to give me a demo of the newly released miniatures/war game Tanks: Panther vs Sherman.

Basically Tanks uses a cut down version of the Wings of Glory/X-Wing system. It uses just a single movement arrow that can be used in any direction, in stead of the multitude the others use.

In our demo game I was Brad Pitt in Fury and a n other tank, while Jonathan played Rommel in the Panther. Apparently according to the scenario we were recreating an infamous tank skirmish by a heroic German tank commander. Which apparently was more Nazi propaganda than reality.

Anyway I tried to distract the panther with one Sherman while trying to attack with the other. The panther took out one of my Sherman tanks. I liked that the destroyed tank stayed on the playing field turning into more cover to be used. The destroyed tank also gets a dying last attack. In this case it didn't do much.

Our tank battle came down to close quarter trading shots. I had inflicted some damage to the panther, and the dice liking me more than Jonathan (only just) allowed me to survive repeated shots. But eventually the panther got through and delivered a killing shot. With my dying last gasp shot I delivered two critical hits that also destroyed the panther. The game was a draw.

Tanks is £18 of the realm. Which gets you everything you need for two people to play. You can buy more tanks for the game at £7 each.

When you compare this to oh say X-Wing, yes it's cheaper. However for that extra in X-Wing I get some nice painted models, that I don't have to cut off sprews, assemble and then paint.

I'm not sure who this is aimed at. None war/miniature gamers? If so then the whole cutting, gluing and painting is a major no no in my opinion. It's definitely a big minus for me. If it's aimed at the war/miniature gamers then I can't help feel that this is too light for them.

I think that the demo playmat the shop has should come with the game. Or at least be available as an addon for around a tenner.

The rules are very simplified. Especially the movement side. They have got rid of the simultaneous revealing of movement with the dials. Which gives an advantage to the player driving the panther, because the Sherman's move first, attack second. Thus the panther can move taking into account the actions of the Sherman. So to snatch the draw I feel was good. I also feel this is a weakness of the over simplification.

There are already addition tanks you can buy, plus there will be organised play support, play mats, etc.

Tanks is enjoyable, quick to pick up, however for me the models and having to build them is a turn off.

At the weekly Friday evening gaming at The Angel Inn this week it was super awesome.

The evening started off with a game of Love Letter Batman which my friend James and I introduced the barmaid/landlords partner. James took an early three point lead, before I heroically came back to get the win. Our second game saw Jonathan join us. James and I took a couple of early points but the game ended up being a battle between Jonathan and the barmaid. Jonathan held on and threatened to win, but in the end the barmaid won.

The end of the game was perfectly timed with the arrival of a new club member, but friend of Jonathan's Jeff.

Our next game was a four player game of King of New York. James committed suicide trying to brave it out in Manhattan so that he could get home to his luxurious bachelor pad. He had an early start in the morning to try and get a limited edition Clash vinyl record from the local HMV.

In the end it came down to Jeff and me trading blows, with the advantage firmly in my court. An advantage I wasn't going to give away, giving me the win.

Our next game of the evening was the totally under the radar game, that deserves its place in the sun, Bohemian Villages. After a run through of the rules for Jeff, the three of us (that's Jonathan, myself and Jeff) started placing our meeples in the villages.

Jonathan stormed to a new personal best score and comfortable win of 66 points, while I claimed second with a score that just missed equally my own personal best by one point. One point that I could have had if I hadn't forgotten to take it near the start of the game. Jeff got a very respectable score of 36 points for his first time playing.

Our final game of the evening was a new favourite The Great Heartland Hauling Co. The usual blocking of locations took place as people moved onto a location you wanted to go to. In the end it all came down to who could do that final bit of business to push them to the forty points needed to signal the end of the game. Which just happened to be Jonathan this game. After final tallying of scores Jonathan took the first place honours, closely followed by Jeff, with me hanging out in last place. Between first and last place the point difference was five whole points.

We had a great evening gaming. Don't forget anyone can turn up to play. So if you are at a lose end why not come along?



Portal Games announce a new faction for Imperial Settlers called Aztecs.

Here are the details straight off the web page for the Aztecs faction.

Imperial Settlers: Aztecs, an expansion that requires the base game to play. The expansion includes a new faction board, the Aztecs faction deck, blessing tokens, and expansion cards for the original factions that complement the Aztecs abilities.

The Aztecs bring new rules and a new resource to the world of Imperial Settlers! Prayer actions and blessing tokens will bring religion to the world of Settlers. The Aztecs build temples, organize festivals and ceremonies to gain favors and be blessed! With this expansion all other factions will also be able to add religion and their own pantheon of gods to their Empires.

So Aztecs becomes the sixth faction for the game, and the fourth expansion.

Not only that, but this weekend only you can pre-order the Aztecs faction for $20 plus postage instead of $30 plus postage. A ten dollar saving for those poor at maths. Here is the LINK if you are reading this in time.

I know need to get this to the table more.