Monthly Archives: January 2017

Geeking Out

These finally came through from Friday. If you stalk me on Instagram you already will have seen these earlier this evening.

Mind you Instagram is also the place to keep up on new arrivals (better there than clogging up here). The odd food photo, when I remember to do them live photos from gaming sessions.

Generally Instagram is my photographic version of verbal diarrhoea. Which I then push out to spam my friends on Facebook (I’m thoughtful like that) and Twitter.

Hope to see you over on Instagram.

My Click Bait Two Player Games For Valentines Day

Within the boardgame world you will start to see posts (written and video) and forum threads about two player games couples can play on 14th February or Valentines Day as it is more commonly known.

Boring! Another cliched trope, that I’m bored with. 

All you need if you are set on the idea of playing games with your partner on Valentines Day is your own common sense. Oh and the desire to crush your partner.

Yep play a game where you can destroy them, and shout angry lines at them like “in your face!” or “that’s two to the face”. 

Star Realms and now it’s fantasy version Hero Realms are fantastic for this. Inexpensive, quick to learn and play, these deck builders are great fun. But very in your face. And there is nothing more satisfying than pulling off those combos and smacking your loved one for lots of damage to their health/authority.

In fact White Wizard Games publish another game if you want that more Magic the Gathering experience called Epic Card Game. Epic is a little bit more complicated, but does offer more variety in play modes. It’s still inexpensive, and unlike Magic you are playing with big feck off monsters straight from turn one.

Mind you, you could go for Magic Duel decks if you want that exact Magic experience. These come as two decks, that are “balanced”. They save you the time of deck construction, and the expense of having lots of Magic cards.

I have two more for you that continue the true theme of Valentines Day of crushing your partner, before having angry make up nookie.

Next up Kemet. Such an aggressive game. It’s attack, attack, attack. Ancient Egypt hasn’t been more violent. Yes like the next game, isn’t a pure two player game. But is still fun as a two player game. 

Finally play as giant monsters duking it out over who is King of Tokyo. Such a fun game. Not too expensive, less than £30 iirc. Quick to setup, learn and play. Rolling those claws and laying the smackdown down on your opponent. So satisfying. Plus it’s the law that you have to shout aggressively “in your face!”

Well that’s my click bait recommendations for you to play on one of the most fake and commercial days of the year. Seriously why the feck are you thinking of just playing games with your partner on this cheesy day? Why aren’t you doing it all year round? Spend that “quality” time with them. Ask them what they want to do, find out what their favourite game is and play that instead of listening to me and other internet folks.

But hey if you are crazy enough to listen to me, don’t blame me if your evening ends up as one big train wreck.

Wrath hits Wisbech!

It’s a good job I checked how many were attending the planned “Sinning again” event for The Fenland Gamers yesterday before heading off to it.

I thought it was just going to be Diego and myself. So had packed just 7 Wonders Duel with the Pantheon expansion, Hero Realms and newly arrived that morning Inis. 

However Will and Lucia had signed up also within the previous 24 hours. Which was a pleasant surprise, because our planned play was for them and Diego when I created the event the previous weekend.

So I quickly unpacked and threw in everything I had for The Others

Having everything with me allowed Diego, Will and Lucia to choose which pre-constructed team they played with.

They choose to go with The Sons of Ragnarok. A play on The Sons of Anarchy but using Norse Gods in biker outfits!

As the sin player I went with Wrath and he was backed up with Corrupted Doctors as his acolytes.

We went with a terror story called Haven in Flames. In this scenario there were no corruption checks, but lots of checks against damage by fire.

Once more as the sin I was victorious. But I was wondering about the scenario. It wasn’t until the last objective that I started to claw back into the game by stacking up the bodies of the heroes.

Having Wrath in a district with abominations and acolytes did make it very hard for the heroes to complete the final mission. I was rolling 14 plus dice in any fight. I used a similar tactic the previous game. I’m not sure how you stop this, and get a win for the heroes. At the moment this allows me to pick off heroes one at a time as they enter. 

Diego identified a mistake from their side in not playing their team correctly. I don’t think they were using their abilities to their fullest. 

But I also thought that this story unlike the previous one didn’t give the heroes much equipment. 

Playing as the sin is fun, and allows you as the sin player to ham things up a little. Letting out the odd evil chuckle or “muhaha” just as you play a sin card. Near the end the odd playful “I smell blood” before reacting helps lighten things up.

Having said that I do want to play as a hero next time. 

I do feel we still have a lot to explore with The Others. We have the different story types, different teams to try, different sins, team construction, Dark past cards.

So here is to the next chance to sin in Wisbech!

Trolololol Eric Summerer

Yesterday for work I got to go to the BETT Show at the Excel place in London with my colleague and friend Dale.

Basically under the disguise of being an education show aimed at teachers etc, it is in reality a hunt for loot on the bosses dime! Yep real life Munchkin. 

I’m pretty happy with my haul of loot. Free pens are great for bribing colleagues. Well technically I’m not bribing them I’m buying their souls very cheaply. I’m not sure they realise the real cost of my “generosity”.

Didn’t have to buy coffee during the day because we managed score free coffee from a stand. It was pretty good coffee. They actually had a hipster looking barista there making it to order. Unlike a lot of the others that did coffee that were using those pod coffee machines.

Dale got to witness how slow a striking king cobra snake is compared to me eating a chocolate covered mini ring donut from a chocolate fountain.

All in all a great first BETT for me, with many plans on spending my line managers budget in the next week or two.

It was seven when I finally arrived at The White Lion. Jonathan and Diego were two or three turns into The Streets of Commonville.

While trying to solve the crime, there were plenty of opportunities to have banter. Especially at the expense of Jonathan (who is fifty percent of the games design team!) 

Like Jonathan I too was a little rusty on the games rules. Last time I played the game as “Darren Consulting Game Tester” was in February of last year. While for Jonathan it was June of 2016. Which opened up the opportunity for lines like “did you not watch the Watch It Played video?” Or “Eric Lang knows how to play his games”.

 Jonathan tried to misdirected us from his Dr Kinky alter ego in the game. But in the end the evidence clearly pointed to Dr Kinky being the guilty party.

We managed to arrest Dr Kinky with a minute or two left. 

The idea came up of adding Eric Summerer as a promo character to the game. Maybe as a new cop to be played and have a matching suspect tile of Eric Summerer the dirty cop.

A great day out, a fun evening gaming. The weekend started well.

Tabletop Day 2017 Announced

Well it looks like my birthday weekend is going to be bloody amazing!!!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 comes out two days before my birthday on the 28th April. Then on my birthday The Luxe (best cinema in the area) is showing one of my all time favourite movies Robocop (original version) on my birthday! Yeah guess what I’m doing on my birthday, other than eating cake?

Now purveyors of click bait articles, paywall programming, Geek and Sundry have announced that the 29th April is International Tabletop Day. 

That weekend is just going to be one big geek out celebration for me. 

So I need to now book something on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page so that we can start organising our celebration of all things tabletop. I’m thinking cake for starters. 

Read the original story here.

Epic App Teasers

White Wizard Games creators of Star Realms (my most played app), Epic and Hero Realms have started to put up video previews of the app version of Epic.

It’s looking pretty good. Plus I’m getting excited for it. I enjoyed playing Epic the times it’s managed to get to the table. So to be able to play it more often via an app is the perfect solution for me. My only problem will be fitting it in with all my Star Realms games!

The app for Epic is hitting Kickstarter soon. 

Red Line

The weekend started off with a whimper when the dreaded lurgy hit some of those due to play Mechs vs Minions Friday evening. Which meant the game session never happened. I could have played a two player game with Jonathan, but lurgy plus a bad back from moving tables earlier in the day, meant Jonathan wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I might have taken advantage of this fact if we were playing a competitive game. But I’m not that cruel. We had a quick drink and chat about boardgames, before heading off into the weekend.

I’m pretty lucky when it comes down to it with who I get to play games with. We have a great bunch of folks in Fenland Gamers. I met up with three members Saturday afternoon in an attempt to survive in a zombie apocalypse world.

The morning had been spent making a couple of foam core card holders. I now only have to organise the player characters and I’m there. I need to get my head around the best way to do this. Research and brainstorming are in my future. 

We were playing the Game Night Kit #2 – Black Friday scenario two, Fortress Mall.

It was going to be the first scenario but it required the same tile twice! Well both sides of it. I may have to look into which box that tile was in and buy the tile pack. 

The nice thing about the Fortress Mall scenario is it’s four tiles. 

Yep Dawn of the Dead in four tiles! This is why I don’t want Black Plague. Zombie hordes are modern, not fantasy. I want to recreate the classic Romero films or The Walking Dead. Not pretend to be Gandalf fighting the zombie horde. If I want to be Gandalf, I want to be taking on Mordor and shit loads of orcs. 

The scenario starts off with zombies at the spawn points in the four corners of the map. We had to collect all the objective markers and make it to the exit. The exit was in the same space as a spawn point.

I was playing Spencer the not Breaking Bad character Walter White. Diego was playing the not The Big Bang Theory Raj character Kabir. Whilst Will and Lucia played the not The Big Lebowski characters The Dude and Walter, Gary and Ross.

Luckily for us one of the spawn points meant the zombies got trapped in a building. I say lucky. In reality it was a ticking time bomb. We had to get in that building to recover three objective tokens. So the longer we left them building up there, the harder it was going to be to get those objective tokens.

In the end we left the zombies building up in side the building. We reasoned we’d best try and find the ingredients to make a Molotov cocktail to take them out. 

By the time we were ready to take on the horde that had built up inside the building, I had the ability to get two Molotov cocktails instead of one when I had the ingredients. We had lucked out and had indeed built our petrol bombs.

The photo below shows on the right how the horde looked on the board. The photo on the left is how I imagined it.

Lucia opened the door into the building. She was the only one left that was able to open doors at this stage. I then did my part and tossed the Molotov into the jam packed room. 

BOOM! Burning zombie flesh, and 29 experience points (Diego totalled the corpses). I was well and truly into the red zone. This was a first for me. I’d never survived that long to even get close. 

In the end I think we were all in the red. We were zombie killing machines.

After wave after wave of regular zombies, toxic zombies, brute zombies, skinner zombies, zombie dogs, and murder of crows. We had finally collected all the objective tokens, and made a dash for the exit. We had survived and escaped. We were winners.

A great afternoon of killing the walking and running dead. We got fortunate no abominations appeared. But we did get plenty of fatties.

I must try and get Game Night kits 3 – 5. 

Short Rants

It’s been a quiet week for me on the gaming front, so I’ve not really had anything to write about. Which means luckily for you, you get a break from me and my ramblings. Unluckily for you I’m back with this post. A post of short topic rants!

Once more it looks like the UK is getting screwed over on the distribution front for a game. This morning I had an email from the online retailer that I had pre-ordered Inis from that the game “will be available in the UK next week for the first time“. However “it will be a very limited release with only a few copies available for each retailer.” I’d love to know what the feck is going on. Is this due to the publisher under producing the game, having not anticipated demand? Or is this the distributor in the UK redirecting stock to their US sister company so that they can meet demand there? Yes I’m thinking it’s you Esdevium and your Asmodee borg collective. Things are starting to smell. This is happening more and more frequently with new releases. I’m calling it, putting the conspiracy theory out there. One or two publishers under estimating demand may be. But this is too regular now.

On the latest podcast from The Secret Cabal there was a comment from Tony in answer to which game was his gaming group biting at the bit to get back to the table, that I totally agreed with. Tony basically said “there are too many good games to choose from, that it was hard to pick a single game”. It’s true. Scythe, Cry Havoc, Kemet, Viticulture, The Others, T.I.M.E. Stories, the list just goes on. Plus there are new games (when there are enough in the UK that you are able to buy a copy) that you add to your collection.  Then there is finding time and others to play with, and co-ordinating so you can play. I’m dying to play all of those mentioned and more. They are great games.

Star Wars Destiny is a collectable game that I have managed to avoid. I was helped in this by my FLGS. My FLGS got distracted by Blood Bowl. That is the hotness there. The one everyone is playing. There is league play etc. Star Wars Destiny ticks a lot of boxes for me. But I was put off a little by the fact you buy a starter set and it’s not match legal! Apparently you need 30 cards in your deck to make a match legal deck in Star Wars Destiny. How many does the starter set come with? 20!!! WTF FFG? If you buy a starter set of any thing it should allow you to play a match legal game straight out of the box. Thats just shocking, and strikes me of them trying to exploit the gullible gamers and fanboys (of which I’m usually one). The collectable element also switched me off a lot, I don’t want that arms race, and having to spend lots to get that one card you need. I know I’d love this game if I played it, and be hooked. But thank god I’ve avoid it.

I’m hoping this new podcast starting up called The Five By will be a refreshing break from the usual tired old tropes of the gaming podcast world. For starters it’s got more women on it than men. A good start. Plus it has Shiny Happy Meeple as one of the founding voices. If you stalk her on Instagram, Youtube and read her blog, then you too will be hopeful for this podcast, because you know they are starting off with at least one quality host. Wait I’ve been nice about someone, that can’t be right. God I’m feeling more ill than I thought I was. Plus I’m finishing on a semi positive note. Oh that’s bought the tone of this mini rants post right down.

I do apologise for these poorly argued rants. It’s me just letting off steam. Venting my frustration. Plus who reads and listens to me anyway? I’m just this middle aged, over weight dude. What does my opinion mean anyway?

Right I better go and watch the The Watch It Played video for Mechs vs Minions, I’m playing that tonight…

Hard Decisions in Ancient Italy

Starting the week with a gaming session, is a great way to start. Jonathan played host Diego and myself for a three player game of Concordia.

I have to say this was a far more pleasurable experience. Especially now that we knew how to play it and all about the end game scoring.

There was a perverse pleasure watching Jonathan struggle with inner turmoil over his next move, or the realisation that he’d just made a mistake.

I do think this game is prone to the ol’ analysis paralysis. Which does slow things down a little. But still our three player game took just over two hours. 

Although I lost to Diego by three points, I beat Jonathan by the slimmest of margins. Thus I too was a winner!

I’m glad we played Concordia again. There was enough there in our first play that warranted the second play. For me think my favourite mechanic is the deck building side of it.

Caught my eye

Thought I’d do a quickish blog post looking at a couple of games on Kickstarter that caught my eye, and then just let my mind wander and see where the post ends up. So expect complete drivel, no earth shattering revelations, and you should be good to go.

First up is Tao Long. I was sold on this the moment I saw it. For an abstract game it looks beautiful. It’s a two player game, so something I can play with Nath (although I have also gone for the four player add on). I love the theme, of dueling dragons. I like that there is room for variety, ranging from the basic setup, to adding portals and other obstacles. I’ve gone for the Deluxe edition (which sadly has sold out now, unless you go for the expensive Golden Bundle) because I prefer a playmat over a board. Plus the price is not that expensive in this post Brexit world we live in.

Ok this next one Sub Terra, is a co-op horror game. Explore the underground cavern to find your way out before your time runs out. It kind of reminded me of the horror movie The Descent. I’m hoping that it does indeed capture that movie, and the claustrophobic feeling of being underground. I’m still mulling over whether to go the extra and upgrade to the edition with the miniatures, or stick with the little meeples. I kind of like the meeples more I think.

Yesterday met up with my mate the internet famous Bouncy to get my copy of Timeline Star Wars edition back that I had lent him over Christmas. As a thank you he had a little something for me. First up was the Loot crate edition of the Orphan Black comic with it’s exclusive cover. That is an amazing tv series, so really chuffed to get that. Plus a dragon and dice bow tie! I think I could carry off the bow tie look. Well once I get a proper fitting shirt round the neck that is.

I’m starting to think the game Santorini may be the game I regret not backing for 2017. The game looks so good. The whole 3D element of it is a showstopper I think. People can’t help look at it and go wow! Santorini is starting to arrive with those that had the foresight to back it last year. And I’m looking at the photos that those wise people are putting up and drooling, turning green with envy, and kicking myself for not having backed it.

UPDATE: As I was writing that last paragraph about Santorini a copy went up on one of the Facebook selling and trading pages for the UK. So I am currently negotiating with the seller.