Monthly Archives: October 2016

Training Beach

Sunday afternoon I played a solo game of D-Day Dice.

I thought first play I’ll use the suggested training map but on its full setting, skipping the slow intro path to the game.

I did find this map easy. Largely helped by my good rolls of the dice. I rolled the deadmans dice three times! That’s three skulls, one red, one blue, and one white.

I had a load of specialists that made things less challenging. 

But I enjoyed the solo experience none the less.

I’m keen to try the harder maps. But I’m certainly glad I got the game.

Plus it takes up a small foot print. So ideal to take when I visit Nath.

Such a shame this is an out of print game now.

Fenland Gamers 2016 Survey

A couple weeks back I ran a survey on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page. 

What was the purpose of the survey? To hopefully get some feedback on how we could improve the club for members.

So in the spirit of openness here are the questions, and anonymous responses from that survey.

There are 51 members of the clubs Facebook page. 32 members saw the post about the survey. Or as a rounded up percentage 63% of the pages members saw the post.

We had 10 people complete the survey. So that’s 31% of those that saw the post actually clicked the link and took the survey. So rounding up that means the survey was completed by 20% of the pages members.

So some interesting numbers and feedback to crunch, process, cogitate.

Tech and Magic

Yesterday six people with nothing better to do than play a few games of the rather excellent asynchronous living card game Android Netrunner gathered at The Hobbit Hole to compete for the Summer game night kits main prize of some plastic tokens. 

Match 1 Phil 2 – 0

The cards were really against me in this first match up. 

Take for example our second game when I was the corp. Two back to back runs on R&D hits three agendas for the win. Well that is the danger of the high value agendas. Up until that disasterous moment I thought everything was going to plan!

Phil does take part in a lot of the organised play like regionals etc. He also is an Ashes player. So that makes four I know in the area. That almost makes a local meta if we all managed to play together! Sadly we are dispersed a little over the area. So will need to work on how we can get together.

Match 2 Kar-Fai 1 – 1

Two runner wins this time. Kar-Fai is fantastic at deck building. He proves you don’t need every card going to be competitive. With core sets, a deluxe set I believe he builds very strong decks. His deck building and playing skills beat mine hands down.

Match 3 Jamie 1 – 1

At last facing off against Jamie. We managed not to play against each other in the last tourney.

I was confused a bit initially by Jamie’s tactics during our plays. For instance he happily took tags against my NBN deck! 

Which has in other games been an issue. Because most now know to avoid that with my deck, because that then allows me to start messin with the runner and eventually scorch earth them.

Which is exactly how I killed Jamie for the win.

Jamies Jinteki deck is very punishing. Making runs and scoring triggers damage of some kind. He leaves servers open, plays lots of little agendas, daring you to run and score. Black mail allowed me to hit servers easily, and with Same Old Thing and Deja Vu made it seem like I had more than two copies.

But then Jamie returned the favour killing my runner!

Two corp wins for the record.

Finished joint 4th with Jamie

Phil was the winner. So being beat comprehensively by the winner of the comp wasn’t too bad.

Final thoughts…

There was definitely a bias towards Jinteki and Shaper decks this time round. A lot of fun was had. Sadly the next tourney will be in the new year. Once Esdevium manage to get their act together and send the kits out.

So while waiting for the Netrunner tourney to start yesterday I caved and joined the new Magic the Gathering league that’s started up at The Hobbit Hole. 

Yes I know I’m an ultra ultra casual Magic player. Mainly playing the duel decks, I have a green/black deck I built. Which I played once, but the deck I think isn’t currently legal for standard, but might be for modern.

So why have I entered a league? Have a look at the rules below. As the way it’s been setup, it’s ideal for new players, and ultra ultra casual players like me.

You buy three boosters and construct a deck of thirty cards from them. It means I don’t have to have a large collection of Magic cards, or have been buying lots of the latest set to take part and stand a chance of doing well. It eliminates that how deep is your pocket element.

In my three packs I got one shiny and a Planeswalker. The Planeswalker according to Chris (a much much more experienced Magic player than me) in this format is potentially a very powerful card to have in a deck. 

Looking at the Planeswalker if she is going to be in my deck then she has made my deck a blue/red which after a quick Google is known as Izzet. 

Luckily with this colour combination I have enough cards to make up the suggested numbers from above. How well it plays is another thing.  

Now all I need to do is get along to the store and play some games!

FEG@WL Extended Edition! 

With half term coming to an end Fenland Gamers celebrated it with an extended Friday evenings gaming session. 

Our extended session started off with Jeff, Jonathan and myself playing Piece o’ cake. Which is no longer in print. However it is coming out again rethemed around pizza. 

This really simple “I split, you choose” mechanic based game is really deceptive. 

The splitting the cake into enough pieces for each player can be really really tough. You are trying to split it so you get left with something of use for yourself, whilst tempting the others with pieces that won’t score them too many points or give them an advantage. 

Then again choosing which slice to take can be just as tough a decision.

No despite its apparent simplicity this is a nice quick filler game. Don’t be surprised to see the pizza version in my collection at some point in the future.

The history books recorded that Jonathan won the game.

Our second game of the evening was Roll for the Galaxy

Yep I know what you are thinking, “wtf how did you get Jonathan to play a sci-fi themed game?” 

Well like BA in the A-Team and getting BA in the air, we had to use copious amounts of drugs, brainwashing and hire some of the best hostage negotiators to get Jonathan at the table to play this game!

And you know what? Jonathan enjoyed the game. Yeah I know. I have to respect Jonathan a lot. Despite knowing the theme was one he didn’t like, he still gave it a shot. 

Our game will have the history books recording a victory for Jeff. However that was down to a split decision by the judges because we tied on the victory points. But his number of credits and dice in his cup broke the tie.

Next up to the table was Splendor, with the official playmat being used. 

That playmat may seem expensive. But it is a really nice mat. It feels quality, thicker than the playmats you get for the likes of Magic etc. Plus there are some nice setup prompts reminding you the correct number of gems to use Baer on players , and the same for patron tiles.

After taking an early lead and getting the first patron I wasn’t prepared for Jeff’s engine kicking in and taking him to the victory. Jonathan and I tied for last place.
We were joined by Diego and Les, with no sign of Debbie. So Ticket to Ride hit the table. 

I was totally and utterly shit at the game this time. I got blocked out of completing one of my two starting tickets. And it tanked from their. 

Jeff once more walked away with the victory. Are you getting a theme here with the games we played?

Luckily I managed to avoid any “banter” for being last.

After establishing that Debbie had not died from her cold and turned into a zombie, Bohemian Villages hit the table.

Well I think you can guess who won the game. But it was fun played my with five players. And even more fun with Jonathan coming in last with a really low score! Yes some friendly banter was had.

Our final game of the evening was the same game that started the evening.

Long story short Jeff won this too.

This was a great extended gaming session. 

Finally I don’t think we have enough pictures of me. So here are some taken by Jonathan during the evening of fun!


In a poor attempt to shake things up here is a short video showing the new releases for next week from our Esdevium over lords.

Yes as usual there are other things coming out next week, and I’m not interested in those ones. This is what’s caught my eye. Hopefully these will interest you also. 

I keep thinking I want to do a podcast of some sort but I’m not sure what format yet. For me I’m bored with what’s out there at the moment.

The current formats are tired, clones, predictable.

I want something fresh, me. 

Oh well will have to wait for what I come up with.

Ramble on

Oh wow I’ve managed to write a second post that has a title of a Led Zep song title! 

We really are lucky at the Fenland Gamers in the locations we play at. 

Thanks to the kindness of The White Lion Hotel we had use of the lovely big table to play on yesterday. We get to use this fantastic table 99% of the time we game there. And I think I speak for all the members in our appreciation and gratitude for being allowed to game there, and the warm welcome we get.

Yesterday Jeff and I met up lunchtime to play War of the Ring (First Edition) before the evenings entertainment of Epic Zombicide.

I’d never played War of the Ring before, but it was on my list of games to play, along with Battle of the Five Armies. Plus being a Tolkien fan who wouldn’t want to play it? 

I chose being the Fellowship over the forces of Mordor.

The turn order isn’t too bad to learn, from there its specifics.

My overall tactic of using my armies to draw out the armies of darkness, giving the ring bearer a clear path to Mordor, was confusing to Jeff.

It meant the ring bearer was sitting in Rivendell for a few turns. Even separated from the fellowship. 

The main flaw with my plan? Apart from poor implementation? It left too many easy points for Jeff to pick up undefended.

I enjoyed the game a lot. I liked the ability to pass when taking actions. It meant that I could choose which actions by Jeff to react to. Which is handy when he has more actions to take on most turns (unless he’s ultra unlucky with his dice rolls).

This is a long game to play and set up. However when playing the time flies. There is little downtime. 

This is definitely a game I want to play more of. There is a lot to this game, and it does need multiple plays. And my words above should really be considered initial thoughts, and only scratch the surface of the game.

With Sauron enjoying his comprehensive victory, it was time to see what the zombie horde could do.

Yep it was time for Epic Zombicide. That’s right day two of back to back Epic Zombicide. How insane is that?

So today’s Epic Zombicide was a three by six map that Jeff and I put together.

By the time Debbie had arrived after finishing work, we had setup and were ready to fight for our survival.

In this Epic! scenario we once again had to make it to one of the two exits at the other end of the board. However we also on the way stop in one of the buildings to find a map we needed before leaving.

With that tweak I felt that the game was more balanced and a little more challenging than the previous days initial trial of Epic Zombicide.

Naturally tweaking the draw deck for zombies is another way to increase the difficulty level. Like I could include cards that spawn out of the sewers, tweak the search deck with more aargh cards etc.

I really do like how this plays for introducing noobs to the game. And it’s nice having a location games of this scale can be played. Plus as one of the photos above shows we can get nachos! 

I just need to finish off my inserts now for the final two boxes. Which is basically the tokens, cards, and characters.

Yesterday really was a great afternoon and evening of gaming. I had a totally enjoyable time. Oh and we out ran the zombie horde! 

Song Remains the Same

Yesterday at my place of employment on our day off, my colleague and I met up to take on the zombie horde in Epic Zombicide!

I set up a six by five city map, with our soul objective of getting from our start position to one of the two exit points.

I’d tailored the search deck with a mixture of weapons, and useful stuff (no food basically). We were up against regular zombies, brutes, skinners and toxic zombies. Plus those crowz. 

Throughout the map were randomly placed cars to be searched and driven. In the car search pile I did have one aargh card shuffled in. Just to give it a little tension while searching.

We managed to get everyone out. And that’s despite whenever we thought we would investigate a building it only made things worse. The building I was going to look in revealed a fattie. While the one my colleague was going to go into introduced an abomination onto the map! Luckily it was a regular abomination with three hit points, and I had a weapon that did three damage.

For me this randomly thrown together scenario and objective was easy. Maybe too easy. But for introducing a noob to the game like my colleague, I think this was pitched nicely at the right level.

Tomorrow it’s more Epic Zombicide. I may step it up by putting an objective that forces us into a building to achieve before making a dash to the exit point.

Last night saw the start of season two of our Formula D League.

Spoiler alert, the Formula D machine that is Katie continued off where she left off from the inaugural season of our league, with a win.

Katie won the first season with a clean sweep of victories.

For our second season we upped our game and moved on to the advanced rules. We haven’t gone “complete” advanced and started using weather and deciding our own wear points. That will be season three. 

In the meantime we are still wondering what exactly we have to do to beat Katie.

During both laps there were brief moments when I was in front. But on both occasions that lead was squandered somehow. Most of the time I was battling it out with Jonathan for second place. 

Somehow in the last third of the final lap  I went from second place to fourth! Debbie did amazing to come up and take third from me on the final two corners.

In fact I’m still in shock.

Wow the advanced rules! Having all those   different wear points. It makes decisions like over shooting, collisions, dropping gears far more “interesting”. They all have different impacts on the various aspects of your wear points. And severly  limit the number of times you do any of them. 

The overshoot spin out rule on corners is cool, and adds even more consequences to the action.

Jonathan particularly liked the changes to the pit stop rule. Which made it more realistic. And I did like it too. Like a real pit stop the only thing that gets repaired are the tires, plus you have to roll for how quick the tire change was done. Brilliant.

Plus we now get debris on the track from collisions etc. Cool!

Yeah the advanced rules are fun, forcing you to be more thoughtful in your driving! Love them.

But who will dethrone Katie?

Why I keep extending my pile of shame

A conversation with my bestie North of the border, or the Scottish me as I like to refer to him, Duncan at the weekend bought up an interesting point. Which we both agreed on if the short time between writing this and the conversation hasn’t faded my poor memory too much.

That point was “why do we still buy new games, despite having a nice healthy pile of shame, that the new games will just make bigger?” and our joint answer was “because if we didn’t buy them, when in the future we did want to play them they would be hard to get, and cost a lot more than they did.”

That last bit I can back up with various examples, for instance lets take Glen More (which I now have thanks to a generous trade with Jonathan). The English edition is out of print, and hard to get hold of. If you don’t mind German and one of the bgg translations you can get it easily enough. It’s why I backed Lunarchitects at the time on Kickstarter. It’s basically Glen More but set on the moon! Despite the controversy that happened between the designer of this version and the publisher and original designer, at the time it was the only way to get an English version of the game. The publisher did say they would reprint the English version however that hasn’t happened yet.

Mind you I want to get a replacement copy of Viva Java the dice game (it’s the game I traded for Glen More), guess what thats “between printings” at the moment, and hard to get.

You want to play Starcraft the boardgame? Unless you are my friend Bob who got an amazingly rare bargain, good luck on getting this for less than £100. FFG no longer have the license so we won’t see it reprinted. Forbidden Stars was meant to be an “improved” version of this. However that is going to be just as rare now due to FFG and Games Workshop “falling out”. Oh and because of that break up good luck on getting Fury of Dracula Third Edition, or Space Hulk Death Angel and it’s expansions, or Blood Bowl Team Manager and expansions. Which reminds me I need to get the expansions for those two games.

Or take the Fantastic Four expansion for Marvel Legendary. You can’t get that at all now, because of Marvel killing off the Fantastic Four in an attempt to suck the life out of the team so that the movie rights get passed back to them. Which we all kind of want really. If you have seen the three movies you would be backing that decision too. However it means that expansion is like super rare and expensive now. Luckily I got it before this all kicked off.

So as you can see, yes I might not get the game to the table right away. But if I’m interested in playing that game, then buying it upon release is my best option to being able to play it in the future. Or I could just try and live with the fact that I don’t need to play the game, and concentrate on playing the ones I have more. Oh wait thats crazy talk.

A final admission before I close off this post. Since joining my local gaming group Fenland Gamers, my pile of shame has shrunk. The one thing I have noticed is that on the whole, my research into a game before getting them has paid off. So far as they have been hitting the table I haven’t hit a stinker yet or become candidates for Jonathan’s Nantucket Wing. Oh wait Dalek Dice was bad. Ok one so far. That’s pretty good going. Plus it wasn’t that expensive, not lost too much on that one.

PS Sorry for no snazzy image to go with this post


Epic Planning

I’m not going to finish my little project in time. I think I’m going to be a box short.

What am I talking about?

Oh this week Zombicide is hitting the table again!

But having so much stuff for it, like Season 1, Season 2 – Prison Outbreak, Toxic Mall, Season 3 – Rue Morgue, and Angry Neighbours. So that’s all the big boxes. Plus I have a few of the expansions adding more survivors, crows!, zombie dogs and companion dogs, extra zombies.

It’s not everything but getting there.

So I decided this stack of stuff needed organising.

I’m trying to get everything into the five boxes. Well that’s the ideal.

Which means I’ve been making inserts from foam core.

At the moment I’ve got three boxes done, which covers tiles, and zombies. I’ve just started on the counters and cards inserts for one of the remaining boxes. Which leaves the final box for survivors and their zombie version, plus character cards. And I need to squeeze rule books in too!

I was hoping to have this all done before I roll out Epic Zombicide.

What’s Epic Zombicide? 

Well since discovering the amazingly large table we are allowed to play on at The White Lion Hotel, it struck me this would be amazing to play Zombicide on.

In fact I thought I bet I could build a massive map with all my tiles on the table.

And thus the idea of Epic Zombicide was born.

So this isn’t one of the amazing scenarios or campaigns that come in the rule books or compendium. No this will basically be start at one end of the map, and fight your way to other. There will be spawn points all over the place, abandoned cars, waves and waves of zombies. 

I have a dry run of Epic Zombicide planned on Wednesday at work! Which will then with any tweaks needed return to the table that started this path the next day.

But the secret to success is going to be organisation. Hence my little project in foam core.

Once I’ve finished the project I’ll do a little video showing it all off!

I only have one regret for this insane idea of mine. That is I didn’t get the pack of 3D doors and barricades on the season three Kickstarter. They would make this super epic looking on the table.

Sadly can’t find them anywhere. Oh I can find the ones for Zombicide 2.0 or Black Plague as it’s known officially. But they have that medieval look to them that is out of place in a modern setting.

I wish CMoN (not my favourite company in the world, in fact I hate them) would do an “upgrade” kit for original Zombicide. Giving us the improved player boards of the 2.0 version. Plus give us a single sheet rule change that matches the 2.0 ranged weapon targeting rule (I talk about house ruling it here).

For me zombies are modern, not something for a fantasy medieval setting. It’s why I haven’t bought Black Plague. It’s what I have but with a fantasy theme! Why would I want to buy everything again!!!

Anyway I digress. I can’t get the 3D stuff anywhere. That’s such a shame. Hopefully I’ll stumble across them in the future.

Right I’ll love you and leave you it’s nearly my bedtime as I finish writing this! Yes I’m that sad and old!!

Shadows of Porta Nigra

Finally Porta Nigra hit the table. That’s another one off the pile of shame. Which is getting smaller and smaller.

So how did this bit of shocking news happen?

It all started with an innocent Facebook post enquiring what games members of the Fenland Gamers group were playing this weekend. I’d got nothing planned, except continue making inserts to organise Zombicide. So I was curious if others were enjoying life, the universe, etc. 

Not long after posting this probing question I received an invite from Jonathan to play some games at a long time Fenland Gamers haunt.

This was the first time either of us had played the game, so we were learning from the rule book (once again – yep we tend to break that gamer rule about not doing this).

It took a turn or three to get the hang of what’s what within the game. But it was a quick game to pick up.

I liked the use of the players deck to control the duration of a round. That was neat. 

Having the player choose two or three actions depending on the card from the available ones on it, with a mechanism to take extra actions, was really neat. 

Despite the limited choice you still have to make some tough decisions, the first being which action card to play from a hand of two. Then which actions and the order of them. 

You are having to manage your resources, aiming for majorities in each building area, whilst trying to score as many points for your building. 

Jonathan managed to get a bonus card that gave him 30 points at the final scoring. Which put huge pressure on me to try and negate that. That pressure only increased when that bonus got power up’d to over 50 points. It’s only in the third and final round was I able to cut that damaging point surge to twenty odd points with my own 30 points surge.

I loved the end of round scoring where you counted up number of building blocks used to build your buildings so far to split between money and points. I went for a fifty fifty split each time. 

This is not a low scoring game I beat Jonathan by 2 points, 254 to 252. Which was much much closer than both of us thought it would be.

When the light was just right we got some awesome shadows on the board from our buildings. Plus I have an excuse to use a photo of me that is really all about the shadows taken by Jonathan.

Porta Nigra is a lovely game that looks attractive when you are playing it. I love that 3D element of it. 

We will definitely play this again. The problem is when now?

A great afternoon of gaming, thank you Jonathan for the invite.