Monthly Archives: October 2016


Well with Essen keeping our Esdevium/Asmodee overlords busy last week it was rather quiet, with a game (Escape from Colditz) and an expansion (the Mystic Vale one) having sold out before the update was released!

So now we are going to start seeing a tidal wave of games coming out after the Essen announcements and trying to hit the shelves before Christmas.

This coming week sees a new CCG hit, this one themed around the ever popular Final Fantasy video games. The Final Fantasy Trading Card Game is using the money sink hole model of the collectable random booster packs. Which is why I won’t get it. I don’t have that space in my life or budget for such a game.

The big must get for me next week is the first expansion for 7 Wonders Duel, Pantheon. I’m really looking forward to this as is Nath. We love 7 Wonders Duel, however this expansion may push the limits on Naths small table he has in his room in halls.

Krosmaster 2.0 hits also next week. I did like the first edition. This is Final Fantasy Tactics the boardgame really. I sold mine in the end as the skirmish game I wanted to try and get to the table more was Imperial Assault. Although I am tempted to get again. 

Continuing the rerelease of expansions using the new artwork comes one of my favourite expansions for Carcassonne Princess and The Dragon.

Although I haven’t got Civil War yet for Marvel Legendary (yeah shocking I know), it won’t stop me picking up this Deadpool expansion for the game. Now if only they’d release Howard the Duck that came out as part of their 3D cards in the US last year.

As you will know at the last Fenland Gamers monthly Meetup we got to play Keyflower. Now Key to the City – London is hitting the stores, which I believe is basically Keyflower at heart. Now I know Jonathan has a London boardgame fetish! So I imagine he will be getting this. I hope so, then I can decide which one I want in my collection.

Finally some rather nifty Star Wars The Force Awakens card sleeves are out next week.

So that’s it for the coming week. It’s just going to get more manic and expensive the closer we get to Christmas.

Achtung Baby!

It’s been a very quiet week from me on here and that’s been down to “manflu” taking me out for most of the week.

Luckily after going through the worst patch Wednesday night and Thursday, things started to improve. The downside of the bad patch being having to miss a first playthrough of Escape from Colditz that Jonathan and I had just got through the post.

So Friday was once again on us, I was feeling much better, not great, but functioning. So FEG@WL was a go.

So with Jonathan putting on his German prison guard hat, Deigo, Les and myself formed an orderly line in the middle of the courtyard to plan our Escape from Colditz.

Opening the box, this game oozes theme, and I just love the production quality of the game. A lovely touch was the separate history booklet that was included. Rightly so much thicker than the rule book.

We played with the new “updated/modified” rules of this 75th Anniversary edition. I will say the rules aren’t that clear. Ideally they should have reworked this making them easier to follow. Looking at them for a first time I found them a little difficult to follow.

All I can say is we had a blast playing this game. It really was a lot of fun. 

Yes there is that competitive element on the prisoner side with the first getting two prisoners out being the winner. But you also have a collaboration side as well.

In the early game I was deliberately taking out guards to give my fellow escapees a window of opportunity to move around without threat. I also hit on the idea of it getting the inner solitary confinement cells full so I’d get placed in the outer one and need less items to escape one let out!

We would be swapping escape equipment making sure Jonathan had no idea of who had what. That way we kept him guessing how we would be trying to get out.

We’d even be giving equipment to aid escape when a run for freedom was being made.

We’d make dummy runs to try and distract Jonathan.

There was one moment on my escape when Jonathan really should have arrested my prisoner instead of blocking me. But I’d tried putting doubt in his head, suggesting he’d missed some-one else’s plan. I couldn’t believe it when he blocked me, Jonathan thought he was blocking my escape. Which he hadn’t I just went out the other way open to me. The other way he’d missed. The other way to freedom!

I wasn’t the first to escape. That honour fell to Les. We had a dual escape going on, the other escapee being Deigo. This was presenting Jonathan with some hard decisions to make. We liked watching him squirm!

I was getting very few opportunity cards to help my escape because I was doing my usual rolling high! While Les was pulling loads of them.

We did find that maybe the rule about getting of solitary was maybe a little broken. The rules state you needed to roll a double to get out. So we found there were sometimes several turns where you could do nothing while you waited to roll that double to get some-one out, or draw an opportunity card that got a pow out. We may house rule this next time to even things out.

I’d highly recommend this blast from the past, if you can get a copy (Esdevium had sold out before they did their weekly update sheet!!) I will warn you it’s a long game. We cut our game short because of time, we’d taken 30 turns approximately in 2 hours. So you may want to pencil in an afternoon playing this.

This was a really fun evening of gaming. A great way to start half term.

This Is Saturday…

Saturday mornings growing up meant watching Swap Shop and/or Tiswas. 

I have to admit along with almost every teenage boy and adult male Sally James was the fantasy woman to dream about.

Adult me know spends his Saturdays now and again playing board games. 

This Saturday was one of this occasions.

My FLGS The Hobbit Hole was running an Imperial Assault Summer 2016 game kit.

I haven’t played Imperial Assault for a year and a half, and then it was a learning skirmish game!

So as you can see I was in great shape for a tourney. I’d thrown together a Jedi team to play with, could hardly remember how to play. The omens were good.

I was up against two regular players who “toured” the local game shops playing these tournaments. So yeah they were experienced. Whilst the third was the brother of one of them and had been playing for two days. Two days of intense training I think.

As you can imagine out of three games I won precisely zero. In my first two games I did score some points by eliminating a unit or two. 

But the cursed reinforcements command card stopped me scoring any points in my last game. 

It was evident especially in the last game being familiar with the scenarios, their objectives and tactics, was a big advantage.

So the most predictable result happened I was fourth, or last as it’s officially known in a four player tourney.

It was then onto Cambridge and meeting up with Scott to collect the two latest Phoenixborn, and play a game or two of Ashes.

I’d been lazy about what deck to play and build against Scott when I hit on the genius idea mid week of using one of the new Phoenixborn and the deck that comes with them.

Victoria Glassfire was the one I chose. Boy did I enjoy playing her. I loved some of the new cards. The art as usual is out of this world.

Scott won our first game whilst I was getting to grips on how to play Victoria.

But our second game was a different story, especially after I tweaked the starting five by swapping out one card. 

I’m still sure there was a more optimal way to play Victoria but I’ll take the win.

I think despite no Sally James teenage me would have enjoyed spending his Saturday this way.

FEG@WL 14Oct16

A bit like Crackerjack when I was growing up, it was Friday, it was 6pm, it was time for FEG@WG. Not quite as snappy or as popular as Crackerjack, and also not at five to five!

The first game of the evening for the four amigos that had assembled to play games was Splendor.

Deigo crushed this game. An easy win he put down to the many defeats he’d suffered at the hands of his partner. 

Earlier in the day the postman had delivered the playmat for Tiny Epic Western. So naturally I wanted to take the mat out for a spin.

So with our Mexican stand off set up on the playmat it was time to admire it.

This is a massive playmat. 

But a lovely one, that not only really captures the poker element of the game in its colouring trying to evoke the baize of a poker table. It actually captures the feel with a baize like feel! What a great use of texture.

Gamelyn games make some really nice playmats for their Tiny Epic games. However they do take the games away from the Tiny ethos. 

In our Mexican stand off Ben was quickest on the draw and won. 

A great evening gaming once again! Some nice banter, great company. All finished off with the now traditional dodgy meat fest.

Fenland Gamers Oct 16 Meetup

Last night saw the October meet up of the  Fenland Gamers at the White Lion Hotel. This was a first for the monthly Meetup.

Our first game of the evening was Keyflower. 

Part worker placement, part bidding. It’s a nice challenging game. 

You have to decide whether to use a tile for its ability or to try and bid on it to get ownership.

There is an advantage to owning the tiles. Points for starters, plus it may increase the number of workers the next round that you have to play with. Because if another player uses on of your tiles you get those meeples at the end of the round. 

You also get to bid for choosing bonuses at the end of the round. Get a chance using tile abilities to gather resources that you can use to upgrade a tile. 

It can be tough making that decision what to do. 

The art isn’t amazing, but has a nice cartoony feel to it. I do like the player screens that are used to hide your meeples from the other players. 

Despite loosing to Deigo it liked the game a lot.

We finished off the evening with Isle of Trains.

I’d nearly bought this game at the expo. Which is a shame as I liked playing this also. And it won’t be long before it ends up in the collection.

I love the multi use cards. Using them to pay for cards, to use them as carriages/trains or as a resource to activate an ability. 

That activating of an ability is genius. Because that only happens when you put a resource on an opponents carriage. But if you do that you are helping them get nearer to completing their contract. If you do it on your own train, nothing happens, but you do have the goods to use for completing a contract. That’s an interesting decision to have to make. How badly do you need the ability to meet your goals? 

The records will show that I won this game.

A great evening of gaming. Looking forward to Friday now for the next lot.

Wait this had no title!

I have to admire Jonathan it takes a lot of balls to build the Nantucket wing on his house.

Last night I’d hesitate to say we played the game Western Front. We tried it is the best I can describe it as.

I’m not going to waste more time on this game at the moment. When the best you can say about the game is you like the linen finish of the cards. It says it all really.

We followed up with Karmaka, a game I knew the theme would not appeal to Jonathan. However I thought he might like the mechanics and art.

I called it right, Jonathan beat me whilst not disliking the mechanics, but not enjoying the theme.

Our final game was a two player Tiny Epic Western. Which was an ok experience but much better with more players.

Luckily for me I won. Which ended our gaming evening and despite the false start a pleasant evening of gaming.

Weekend At Naths 

I visited Nath this weekend. The weekend before his birthday. All of a sudden that little boy who looked up to you, is now towering over you, started a degree, and living the student life (despite being told to slow down, but it seems I’m old, and Halls has changed since I was in them last).

We only played one game Friday night. And it only just was Friday when we started it. That was 7 Wonders Duel. 

It was a close game, neither of us bothered attempting for a science victory. Nath progressed a military path early on, whilst I did grab matching science tokens to give me a bonus that was worth three points at the end. A decision that would haunt me at the end. 

I did manage to build all my Wonders early on, whilst Nath only managed one. But he was racking up blue victory point cards. Having forgotten his military plan during the second age. It was midway through the second age that I went big into the military path. 

During the third and final age I managed to get right up to the door of his empire on the military path. One more point and I’d have the instant win. One point that I would have had if I’d taken the right science bonus earlier. 

Instead the game went to points. Which gave Nath the win by two massive victory points.

Saturday saw me hunting down two lgs in Portsmouth while Nath had his football training.

Before I got to the first one I passed an artisan bakers. Who could resist one of them?

After being tempted to buy one of everything on the cake front, and narrowing the bread options down to two. I left the premises with a baguette, beer loaf, two cinnamon rolls, and a lemon meringue pie. 

All I’m saying is best lemon meringue pie ever! Perfectly balanced, lovely pastry. Amazing.

We started our gaming off with Timeline Star Wars. A nice light start. Although one or two cards did stump Nath to give me the wins.

We followed that up with a game of Karmaka, which I had just received after backing on Kickstarter.

First up I love the art on this game. The box is beautiful, as is the art on the cards.

There are some nice touches like the two cards you can use to replace the main board, allowing you to take the game on the go in a smaller box.

The components are of a high quality. I love the little meditating meeples. The insert is nice, and a great touch.

This game really does capture its theme of reincarnation and karma in its mechanics and art.

I like the whole having to decide how you use a card. Do you save it for your future life? Do you score it for its deeds value? Or do you play it for its ability and possibly have your opponent place it in their future life to possibly use against you?

I like how the death, rebirth works. The moving up levels of transcendence based on whether you have scored enough deeds. Or you might get stuck if you haven’t and get a karmic ring instead.

Nath and I found for a game about karma and transcendence this had a high take that thing going.

We enjoyed our game, another Kickstarter win for me, and a game win for Nath.

Next up was a game of Magic the Gathering using the latest duel decks Nissa vs Ob Nixlis.

Next Nath and I tried to make our way across America and to safety while avoiding zombies in Hit Z Road.

Nath had a default win after my survivors failed to make it to safety and ended up as  zombie food.

Our gaming finished off with Star Realms. Which I won. Although Nath thought it was over kill that I added up my total killing blow instead of stopping once I’d hit enough to win. Well it’s not Star Realms unless you are hitting them for as much as possible.

Sunday started off really relaxed! It was half nine when I woke and made a coffee for myself. 

Finally with Nath awake we hit the local spoons which was literally a stones throw from Naths. 

Back at the bomb site known as Naths room there was time for one more game before I had to head back.

Nath chose the game our weekend started off with 7 Wonders Duel. During the Wonders drafting I drafted a couple with military bonuses to stop Nath having them. And then decided that I would go big on the military route to victory.

Which I managed to pull off despite Nath trying to slow me down once or twice.

A great game to finish on. 

I had a great weekend with Nath. I’m so proud of him. Can’t wait until my next visit.

New TIME Stories expansion announced

The next expansion for T.I.M.E. Stories has recently been announced.

Expedition:Endurance whisks us off to 1914 to find out what happened to a trans-Antarctic expedition.

The news site icv2 provides the following additional information:

Designed by Croc (Claustrophobia, In Nomine) and produced in collaboration with Space Cowboys, this new expansion explores the Antarctic, where an anomaly in time threatens to change history and make reality fall apart completely. Questions of life and death as well as sanity itself are at play in this expansion, set in 1914 during the failed trans-arctic expedition of the Expedition.

Expedition Endurance contains 115 cards and requires the base T.I.M.E. Stories game for play. MSRP is $29.99, with a US release scheduled for Q1 2017.

Looking at the bgg site those of us in Europe may be getting this new scenario a little sooner, like this month according to an official Facebook reply on the Official game/Space Cowboys page.

So Essen announcement/release?

The Impact of Games

It’s been a mad mad week at work. Somehow I’ve got through it. I’ve been shattered both physically and emotionally in the evenings. Often this week being out like a light by 8pm!

But it’s scenes like the above photo that make it all worth it.

In a workshop this week I introduced some students to a game called Ricochet Robots. My plan for the game and main purpose of the game was, and still is to use the game as a lesson starter activity. But I thought I’d test it out first.

The students loved it. Not only did the ones playing it really enjoy it. The game and the students playing drew in class mates too. Who couldn’t help but try to solve the current puzzle also while looking on!

At the start of this academic year I’d bought in some games to play in induction week. Love Letter Batman was a hit (I have four copies of this now specifically for using with students). A couple asking where they could get it. Sadly I had to tell them their FLGS had none in currently because I had just bought up its remaining copies for them to play with.

I’d also used both my copies of King of Tokyo with a class. Another hit. 

But with two students a game of zombie dice was enough to break the ice, that a real friendship has started up.

We’ve also had a six player game of ultimate werewolf as an ice breaker. But I’ve plans for that in the near future.

In the past Munchkin and The Resistance have also been popular. I’ve yet to get these to the table with my students here.

I love using board games with students. Especially in induction week as team builders, ice breakers etc. I prefer them to the old stale activities of build a bridge out of paper etc.

Back to the photo above. What hasn’t been told is the magic that the game worked on one of the students. The little break from their reality it gave, allowing them to be for a brief moment a teenager again without the problems of the world on their shoulders.

The students also remembered they had Doctor Who Risk at home. Which was bought in the next day and played at lunchtime in the canteen. Swines not inviting me to play!

But it’s these moments that make it all worth while.

Next up on my list of games to try is the Timelines series. I think this will make a great starter.

Plus I’d love to convince management that a board game club would make great enrichment along side the more traditional activities on offer. I can dream.
Epilogue: what makes a great game for students? For me it’s a game that ticks the following:

  • teach in less than five minutes
  • is quick to pick up
  • ideally play more than four players with little downtime
  • theme has to be appealing
  • Fun!
  • Ideally not expensive – this is my pocket it’s coming out of