Monthly Archives: September 2016

About last night…

It’s been a busy week, with only one post! Yeah that’s like me having the blogging equivalent of losing my voice or a sore throat.

Last night there was no FEG@TA arranged. Instead a plan was hatched to have a look at The White Lion. 

Jonathan and I were both running a tad late. But Debbie wasn’t there waiting for us, so we were able to be a little guilt free.

But Debbie wasn’t there! She was going to be there. She’d thumbed up on the mornings invite about meeting up. She never responded to a “where are you?” message on Facebook. How odd? Had she been kidnapped by space pirates? Or was she so guilt ridden she felt ashamed to respond? Who knows or cares? Jonathan and I had a large table that was well lit, two bags brimming with games, and our pints of cider. Debbie who?

So while we waited for Debbie to arrive in case she too was running late, Jonathan and I played Qwixx. Even if I hadn’t taken three negative marks during the game Jonathan would have beaten me, he had built up a comfortable lead to absorb any attempt at a come back.

Jonathan and I next played a game that he got in a trade and had been sitting in his pile of shame for a long long time, called Wurfel Express.

This was a German edition of Wurfel Express, with a poor translation of the rules. I do admire and appreciate that a bgg member has taken the time to translate the rules and make them available. However, (there is always a however) I wish they would take longer to not just do a straight translation but also make the rules readable!

This wasn’t the worst game I’ve ever played. That title is still held by Nantucket. But it this is a game that would never set the world on fire.

It’s got that push your luck Yahtzee  rolling of dice mechanic. And that’s about as exciting as the game gets. 

I know this is meant to be a family game. So it should be appealing to young and old. Which is totally possible to do. Apparently a good example would be the Stronghold Games Spiel des Jahres recommended game Animals on Board. I say apparently because I’ve not played it. But by all accounts it appeals to both young and seasoned gamers alike. Hey even Pixar produce films that appeal to all. Sadly this game doesn’t hold much to appeal to the more mature player.

So Jonathan can tick this game off his pile of shame and add it to his new gaming wing of crapness that takes it name from its founding entry The Nantucket Wing.

Our final game of the evening was the excellent small box pick up and deliver game The Great Heartland Hauling Co.

This game has a lot of replayability. In our game we used one of the alternate board layouts for two players called ‘Black Dog’. But there are two other two player alternate layouts, along with three and four player alternate layouts. You can play with the Badlands expansion (which adds a fifth player and two new location cards), and/or the truck stop cards (which offer upgrades you can purchase). We played with the truck stop cards last night.

During our game I got the truck stop that allowed me to move diagonally. Whilst Jonathan got one that when he stopped on the starting location he could draw five additional cards and then discard five cards. Jonathan’s was handy for that trying to draw to find the cards you need. But it doesn’t help if you are unlucky in your deck diving!

I triggered the end game, and when all the points were tallied I had won by a single mighty point. 

So after an evening of great company, drink, a fantastic gaming location, we took off to grab a wrap of dodgy meat for our supper.

That time of month… Again

Last night was the second Wednesday of the month, and thus the time of the monthly get together of The Fenland Gamers.

My first game of the evening was Bohemian Villages.

My opponents and attempting to stop my path to glory were Katie and Jonathan’s daughter.

I skilfully manipulated Katie and my young opponent using my Sith force powers to delay the game long enough for me to complete the village I had the town hall in.

It’s hard to gloat about beating an eleven year at the game. But this was my arch rival which made it a bit easier to do.

Our second game of the evening was the totally awesome, not so new and shiny The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction.

I got to set a new record during our game. Previously my games the greatest number of cards is managed to play on s turn was 16. Last night that was blown away when I managed to play 20! Yes you read that right I played 20 cards. I was drawing new cards, stealing cards, it was amazing.

We’d all managed to score bombs but I was in the worse position because I had no plutonium whilst the other two did. 

However one great turn and not only had I managed to catch up but was looking at grabbing a bomb that would trigger game end.

In the end I had scored enough points to hold off a late point rush from Katie on her last go to win by a single massive point.

While we were playing our games Jonathan, Debbie and her Nathan played our groups hot game of the moment, Saloon Tycoon. Which he somehow managed to win!

Our next club monthly meet is the 12/10/16 for those interested. 

They seek him there…

For the record

Let the history books reflect that I in fact won our first play of Saloon Tycoon on Friday at FEG@TA.

Saturday on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page Jonathan pointed out we had misplayed a couple of things. Sadly after a soak in the bath Sunday morning reading the rules ready for the afternoons play, we had miss played a few things! Like the outlaw cards for instance. But the one that gave me the win was the end game turn. I had triggered the end game on my turn, a turn in which I had stole Jonathan’s character from him. On his final turn he stole it back. But according to the rules this action was not allowed. So in fact Jonathan had scored five less points, and I’d scored five extra points. Thus I had scraped a win by one single point. 

So Sunday afternoon saw Jonathan, Matt and myself get together to play some games!

Our first game was Saloon Tycoon. This time we had the expansions mixed in also. I don’t know why you wouldn’t have them in, they add in more of the same. 

I grabbed the gardens tile early, to do so got me the outlaw that gave me minus one gold nugget each income stage. That got cancelled when I completed the gardens tile, which gave me an extra gold nugget. I then moved that outlaw to Jonathan to cripple him. But I’d need to grab that outlaw back near the end to complete my secret objectives.

Jonathan was struggling to do stuff because he ended up with three of the outlaws. I nearly gave him the fourth too, just for the giggles, but I needed to slow Matt down.

My inability to get the outlaw and character I needed to complete my objectives cost me the game? If I hadn’t triggered the end game I might have got one of the needed cards to get one objective completed and the win. 

Instead I lost to Matt by a point. While Jonathan coasted in to last place.

A bit like the law that whenever more than one Python fan gathers together they will perform the parrot sketch. It is fast becoming a law that if ever three to five Fenland Gamers should be in a room together they will play Thiefs Market.

And so it was. There was three of us, and Thiefs Market was played. 

As the photo shows I ended up winning and claiming my first win, and the title King of Thieves. Now I will have to defend my title against all pretenders.

Matt had to go after witnessing my glorious win and coronation. However Jonathan and I carried on gaming with our first play of Spectre Ops.

Spectre Ops had been sitting on my pile of shame for over a year now. It felt good having this opportunity to play the game at last.

Jonathan played the infiltrator while I played the hunters. My team for this game were The Beast and The Prophet. I chose these because they would work well together I thought in locating the infiltrator. 

What I like about Spectre Ops over Letters for Whitechapel is that the hunters do have unique powers, they aren’t just the same. Ok Jonathan didn’t “enjoy” being on the receiving end of those powers. But I felt they were balanced out. For example the Prophet had a post cog ability that if he didn’t move allowed him to see where the infiltrator had been two moves previously. The balancing bit was that the Prophet had to be stationary to use that ability and couldn’t act upon it straight away, but had to wait until their next turn before they could move. 

I felt this was the same for the Beasts abilities, and the motion sensor of the car.

This as a two player game worked well as a game of cat and mouse. Which along with a simpler turn order than Letters from Whitechapel for me was a more enjoyable experience.

In our game there were moments where I thought I knew where Jonathan was. But turned out I was completely wrong.

The hunters won in the end but it was close. Jonathan had completed all three objectives.

So with two hidden movement games down our next one to play surely must be the infamous Fury of Dracula.

This was such a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

WS12Sep16 deep pockets alert 

It’s that time of week where I pick through the scattered remains left by Esdevium on the side of the road, and choose the tastiest morsels for our table. 

There are some pleasant surprises this coming week. 

Having just got my Kickstarter copy of Saloon Tycoon I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was so soon hitting the shelves of your FLGS so soon. I was a little smug also to see I’d saved a little money on the game too. You can see what I thought of the game by scrolling to yesterday’s post. 

Another pleasant surprise was that Grifters, another recent arrival from Kickstarter is also coming out. This is a nice card game with a cooling off mechanic for played cards. 

The third instalment of the Valley of the Kings game Last Rites is out. I like the original game, the theme, and it’s drafting mechanic. The only draw back for this is I understand it’s just more of the same, not introducing anything new mechanics wise. 

A game that had a bit of buzz at GenCon and does sound fun is Potion Explosion. 

They were bound to release this next one at some point despite the low opinion fans have of the source material. So next week Timelines will see an edition out that covers the Star Wars prequels. 

Spiel des Jahres winner Codenames sees the anticipated follow up Codenames Pictures out. Plus in the US there was a Target exclusive edition of the game called Codenames Deep Undercover, which we are also getting the chance to buy. This is an “adult” version of the game with some risqué adult words and blank cards to add your own words. I’ll only probably bother getting the Pictures edition.

Like Pandemic? Like Cthuhlu? Well you will love this next game coming out in the week. Yep the much hyped and anticipated Pandemic Cthuhlu mash up Pandemic Reign of Cthuhlu is finally out.

Finally the Android novella Monitor is also out. As you know I LOVE Netrunner and the Android universe. So you can be sure this will be ending up on my book shelves.

So you can see our table is full from the abundance of games this coming week. With Essen approaching fast, and GenCon stuff starting to come, I think we are going to see our table overflow a lot in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: forgot Covert is also out next week. I’ve only just watch a video on it and it looks good. 

Oh and Blood Rage is restocked, and the poorly reviewed by The Dice Tower Ticket To Ride Rails and Sails. Which holds no interest for me.

FEG@TA Saloon Entrepreneurs 

You have just received your Kickstarter copy of Saloon Tycoon (hand delivered by the photogenic Jonathan), you are in a pub, what could be more thematic than playing the game in said pub?

I felt a bit guilty while we were setting up Jonathan’s copy of Saloon Tycoon. He’d still got some cardboard popping to do, cards were still in cellophane. 

Boy does this game take up a surprising amount of space. The table was just about big enough. If there had been another player we would have been screwed. Basically we’d have had to have put it away and play something else.

We have some beautiful looking games these days. You just have to look at Ashes or Hit Z Road as examples of the heights companies are reaching. However there is just something about a game that has a 3D element to it. Colt Express, Camel Up! and Imhotep (to a lesser extent) for example just have this visual impact that draws people to them. Saloon Tycoon joins that list of games that have that pleasing 3D visual impact when you build floors on parts of your saloon. I think it’s one of the things that attracted me to the game in the first place. For me this 3D element of the game, with each player board area being different, really works, both visually and game wise.

The rule books could be better. Probably with a reference book explaining the cards. Or more clarifying how they work. 

The player aid cards included I like. They provided a nice concise summary of a players turn, and scoring during play and game end.

Jonathan had an issue with the graphic design of the player score board. He thought it was a mess and hard to use. It was less of an issue for me. Although I think it could have been bigger! Score spaces are only big enough for a single cowboy meeple. At a minimum they should be big enough to have two meeples on a space.

A game turn is simple enough, I like the card driven play, but also being able to do something that doesn’t require a card, like draw more cards or take gold. 

With the cards controlling actions, you are able to get combos and have a little interaction with your opponents. Mostly in the form of taking cards from their hand or taking gold. There is also a bribe action that allows you to steal characters from other players.

It grates that when counting floors we are forced to use the Americian numbering. It’s just wrong, like the way they write dates and spell colour.

It’s also cool that each room type has some sort of one time bonus you get to perform when you complete building that floor/room. Before you can buy some of them they have prerequisites like you will need a specific room built already or have a first floor for instance. So you are not only deciding what to build on cost, but bonus and if it allows you to build a more expensive powerful room also.

I like the secret objectives players have, along with public ones anyone can go for. This goes a long way to adding to the games replayability. 

It was the secret objectives and completing his that made the difference and allowed Jonathan to come from behind and win.

As you may have guessed we liked playing the game. It continues a run of kickstarters that we backed that lived upto or exceeded what we thought they would be.

After building our Saloons it was time to hit the road and cross the zombie infested badlands of Route 66 in Hit Z Road. 

This time Jonathan made it to the end of the journey but fell short on the points front. Jonathan definitely faught more zombies than me, whilst I avoided them as much as possible. Yes I was more care free with my survivors and ended up with one making it to the west coast and safety. 

I’d also managed to amass more resources than Jonathan and was in a better shape for the last leg of the game. Plus it meant I was able to claim three of the four bonus cards at the end. Which was more or less the difference between our scores.

Yep this was just another Friday night of great games, friendship, finished off with dodgy meat covered in token salad and a liberal dash of chilli sauce. 

Star Realms on Penny Arcade

Woke up to find the following Penny Arcade strip in my social media timeline. 

Obligatory link to the source here

They really have captured how great and addictive the game is. It’s no secret how I feel about the game, I’m getting a warm tingly feeling just thinking about it now (Bill Hicks reference there).

After teaching Nath the game he too was hooked. He asked if he could have it for his birthday. This is a grown up early twenties, video game addict (like his dad) and he loved the game. 

We normally have three or four games in the amazing app of the game on the go. When I visit it’s normally the first game to hit the table. 

And it’s that app that has helped make this great game so popular. Like the physical game it offers great value for money, is available on several platforms, games can be played against anyone irrespective of the platform they have the app on. Plus the app really implements the game well. 

Physically and digitally this game is just such a great two player deck builder that doesn’t break the bank. Ok once you start buying the expansions, play mats, storage box and sleeves it adds up. However I’d say you don’t need them all at once, they are still cheap as expansions go. But just the base game has a lot of game play in it, whilst even adding like the Crisis expansions just increases that exponentially. 

You play with everything mixed in and you can get some crazy games. 

This is a game that definitely creates moments you talk about after the fact.

That madness, the cost, the in your face take that game play, oh and it has great art work too, backed up by an awesome app. It’s no wonder I love this game.

Catch me if you can

Monday night saw another Jonathan hosted that days arranged gaming session.

I wasn’t sure what we were going to play so I took a selection with me to play just in case. However it did turn out a game had been selected. That game being Letters from Whitechapel. 

In this game one player plays Jack the Ripper while the others play the rozzers trying to stop him. The downside for the coppers is they can’t see Jacks movements because they are hidden from them!

In our game I played the part of the hero of the game Jack the Ripper. While Debbie and Jonathan played the part of those killjoy coppers.

On my first kill I made what I realised later was a tactical error. I killed my first victim close to my hiding place, and made a quick dash back to safety. The persuing law enforcement were able to deduce easily the general area I was hiding. 

I like the phase where Jack and the police place victims and officers around London and the bluffing that goes on. Plus the little push your luck going on when Jack can delay his murder to try and gain a bit more information on police locations is nice.

Towards the end I started taunting my pursuers on social media with photos of them perplexed, and struggling to find me.

I thought that was very thematic and in keeping with the character I was playing.

I found playing Jack the Ripper enjoyable. Although Jonathan did find playing the rozzers frustrating because they basically had no clues to work with. However many a time Jonathan had guessed correctly my escape route away from the scene of the crime.

I’d certainly play this again, and would like to try being the fuzz.

Zombie Riders of Dystopian Pern

The nice thing about being Mr No Life, with no commitments is that when an impromptu gaming session is arranged you are free to partake. 

This was the case Sunday morning when Jonathan put a request up on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page asking who was free to play games that afternoon.

Our afternoons gaming started off with the fantasy themed worker placement game Simurgh. Or as I call it Dragonriders of Pern the boardgame. Which as an interesting (depends on your perspective) side note I’m listening to as my current audible book on my way to work and back.

I like worker placement games, and Simurgh is a really good example of the genre.

There’s a bit of setup, and the game takes up a lot of room.

Being able to decide the duration of the game is a nice touch. For our first play we naturally chose the short game option. Which was triggering the end game with either four objective tiles out or eight tiles in our chronicles.

Oh the choices you have to make while playing. Some really delicious ones. When and how many workers, and which ones to recall. Managing workers on the tiles in the wildes. Too many workers on a tile it gets moved to the chronicles and the game. No workers on it, yep goes to the chronicles.

You have resource management to look after. We had only fifteen slots to store our resources. Over flow and having to return the excess was an issue.

You have hand management to consider of your tiles. When do you play a tile to the wildes? Which one do you trash to make you? 

There is so much going on, it’s mind blowing fun.

When the main complaint about the game is the size of the player board needs to be bigger. Then you know that the game itself is a pretty solid game. The rule book is ok, although wording could be more consistent in places. 

Yeah I like this game a lot. Looking forward to playing it on its advanced Dragonlord setting, and getting its expansion.

For the record books, history and whoever Jonathan won by one point. It was a very close game.

Our next game was new arrival Hit Z Road.

The first thing that strikes you about Hit Z Road is it’s beautiful. The graphic style of a kind of fifties post apocalyptic fallout scavenged world just looks amazing. It looks and feels like they really did scavenge the bits together to make the game. 

The bidding phase of a round is a trap waiting for seasoned gamers to fall into. Waiting for them to over spend to get first player advantage and first choice of route to take. Eating up valuable and scarce resources.

The combat is light, simple and relies on resources to fuel it. Like spending bullet tokens to get dice to attack zombies from a distance before having to engage them in melee combat. Which you can escape by spending fuel tokens. The dice you roll in melee is decided by how many survivors you have. But extra damage can be done by spending adrenaline tokens when the appropriate dice faces appear.

This is a really nice light zombie game that plays quickly. Love it. And thanks to Jonathan and his survivors getting eaten by zombies I won,

We finished off the afternoons gaming with Grifters.

Set in the same Dsystopian universe as Resistance and Coup this new card game just sent out to backers is a nice card game with a cool mechanic.

That mechanic being a cool down period after playing cards. So you play a powerful card for its effect or combo of cards to complete one of the available criminal contracts they then are lost to you as the go through your HQ (the cool down).

This isn’t up to The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction level of card games. But it’s still pretty good.

It was a game I wasn’t sure how it’d work or play when reading the rules, but once you start playing it did click into place, and made sense.

And future history books will record that I beat Jonathan.

A great afternoon gaming. Thanks Jonathan for organising.

Rock Bottom

Yesterday saw my FLGS The Hobbit Hole hold their third game night kit for Android Netrunner event.

I’d spent the early morning putting my decks together and filing away the last three data packs. 

My first match up was against John the store owner which saw us both making mistakes in play/decisions and winning a game each. I don’t know about the poor play part but the other match ups also ended up in draws.

My next game was against Jo from the Critical Twits podcast. In our first game where I was playing NBN against Apex we were both pulling off our tricks. Jo took my tags early which meant I was able to play with him! Jo scored first and once I scored an agenda, which was a one pointer I was able to swap that over with him for his higher valued agenda. 

I repeated this later in the game also but with 15 minutes. But this was the fun but I force the swap of agendas giving Jo my scored 15 minutes (one I had been hoping he would score) and taking a three point agenda. I then spent the click to take 15 minutes back and shuffled it back into R&D. Loved that combo. 

I found Apex frustrating. Early on with the tags on Jo who had three cards in hand, I played scorched earth. But due to heartbeat I think it was, or whatever it’s called, he avoided the kill. Plus apocalypse was fired twice. That was annoying and the second time left me exposed and let Jo get the points he needed to win.

It’s fun thinking back on that game that I technically only scored two agenda points, but actually ended up with five due to the tags that landed.

Our next match saw Null getting killed, and giving Jo the clear two nil win.

My final match up was Kar-Fai winner of our first store competition.

Once again I started off as NBN. Kar-Fai did a great job avoiding my attempts to land tags on him. But he did fall for the traps! But eventually my weak ice could no longer delay the inevitable Kar-Fai victory.

Our second game saw me get reminded by Kar-Fai that fortune favours the brave, when I chickened out of a remote server that had been advanced once on his first turn, and then scored it on his next go. I suspected a trap, and instead hit R&D, and archives to pump up Datasucker. 

An early System Outage slowed Kar-Fai down a bit. But he had built a five deep protected scoring server. I just wasn’t finding my Faust or David to be able to start attacking it. I ended up having to do a same old thing to bring back a disguarded Levy AR Lab Access to force a reshuffle of my stack. Which worked I soon hit Faust but it was too late by that time. 

We did have our Doctor Who regeneration moment when I played rebirth. 

So a second loss that put me in last place. Jamie was the winner of today’s tournament, which he rightly deserved. 

My ccg/lcg play has been awful recently. Les hope this bad run ends soon. But despite hitting bottom, I had a blast playing.

FEG@TA 2Sep16

Last night saw the latest of the Friday night gatherings to play board games at The Angel. 

Our evening started off with a game of Thiefs Market. A game Jonathan had been wanting to try since getting his Kickstarter copy a couple weeks back.

I narrowly beat Debbie by two points to steal second place. The picture above tells you got to gloat on social media by winning.

Our next game before Debbie had to go was my game for the month of August The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. Once Debbie had got the hand of playing the game again, she was able to beat Jonathan into last place, whilst I took the honours and glory that comes with winning.

After Debbie left Jonathan and I talked games. But more importantly about a project Jonathan was thinking of working on. 

We followed that up by end the evening with the now traditional kebab.

A great shortish gaming session.