Monthly Archives: February 2017

NSPCC – Big Board Game Day 2017

31st March, Save the date, because the NSPCC are holding a “Big Board Game Day”, supported/sponsored/whatever by Hasbro, to raise money for the NSPCC. A bit like their version of that MacMillan coffee morning thing, but with board games.

Yeah I know it would be nice for none mainstream games to be promoted along side the ones in the picture. Hasbro own Magic the Gathering. But hey it’s for “muggles” not us! We have International Tabletop Day. 

It would be nice to think there are promos and such. But I’m not holding my breathe on that.

We at Fenland Gamers are possibly planning something. More details once we have firmed up our ideas. 

You can find out more HERE. And a big big thank you to Bouncy spotting this and kicking the group into action!

Mad King’s Salt Mines


“Plans go to hell as soon as the first shot is fired.” – Jack Reacher, 61 Hours.  Plans change. And our original plans for yesterday had changed.

We were scheduled to over throw the tyrant King Joffrey aka Jonathan in A Game of Thrones the boardgame. However the numbers weren’t looking good for running the game. On Friday we were down for three definites and a possible. Although playable with three, we wanted the minimum to be four players. Four players would allow us to play using the rather excellent A Feast for Crows expansion.

So Friday evening at FEG@WL we made plans. Plans for if the possible didn’t turn up. 


Saturday arrived, I packed a bag of games that included our planned game and optimistically the newly arrived six player only expansion A Dance With Dragons. Keeping it company in the bag was Adrenaline (with the also just delivered Chainsaw weapon promo, that was given away at Essen)  and Scythe.

Well only the three of us that had committed turned up, so plan B from Friday night kicked in. Which meant we were going to have to live under the tyranny of King Joffrey for a bit longer.

Our first game of the afternoon was Castles of Mad King Ludwig

This game had been on my wish list for a long time. As I’ve previously pointed out I narrowly missed out on buying a second hand copy to Diego recently. So it was cool we were now getting a chance to play it.

Wow how bloody good is this game? We really liked it.

The initial bonus cards you select help guide your buying decisions for the rest of the game. Luckily in our game one of my bonus cards also tied up with one of the Kings demands.

And those Kings demands are random each game. So there is a lot of variety/replay ability there straight away.

Having a kind of “I split, you choose” mechanic for deciding the trade row of rooms was a fantastic idea. So the master builder populates the trade row with rooms, and decides where they go pricing wise. The player to their left then gets to choose which room they want to buy (if any) and the money for that room goes to the master builder. The player then adds the room to their castle and scores it. And it goes round the players like this until the master builder is reached, who is last to buy anything from the trade row. Then the master builder token moves to the player on the left, who becomes the new master builder, and we start all over again the process of buying and building.

Now I liked that a lot. As the master builder you have some tough decisions to make about which rooms go where on the trade row.

The room placement is great fun. Completing rooms fires off a bonus based on the colour/type of room. While placing the room in the wrong place could cost you points.

The one thing I didn’t like about the game was the point tracking board. It just didn’t work for me. I found it at times confusing on who was in the lead when glancing at it.

Yeah this is a very satisfying, enjoyable game, where you have to be aware of what the other players are doing. Diego got a gem of a game here. We will be playing it again.

What turned out to be our last game of the day due to how long it played, was Magnum Sal.

This was another bargain, this time for Jonathan. The cardboard was unpunched. Which is rare on second hand games.

So we were salt mining in medieval somewhere, in this pick up and deliver, worker placement game.

Naturally for a learning game, after unpunching tokens, and setting up, we ended up making some major boo boos while playing. Hey it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t make mistakes.

So I think it’s unfair to make a report of what we liked about the game yet.

I would say our misplays may have slowed the game down a little. One was discovered after the second phase, so we had one final phase playing the correct way. The other big misplay was only discovered this morning by Jonathan.

But despite these misplays there was a lot there to warrant playing again. We all still enjoyed the experience. Which is more than can be said when we misplayed Deadmen Tell No Tales.

I will say there were one or two times we had to consult the bgg forums because the rule book was a little ambiguous.

A great afternoons gaming. I enjoy playing with Diego and Jonathan. But then I’ve said this before I’m lucky in that the members of Fenland Gamers are great people who I enjoy playing with.

Can’t wait ’til our Formula D finale on Wednesday.

The Planets Align

I’ve not posted for a day or two. So I know you must have withdrawal symptoms from being denied your fresh dosage of poor attempts at humour and bad English. But fear not I’m back today with this post.

It probably doesn’t feel like it but I do only post when I have something to say, and don’t post just any old thing!

Now I have been gaming during the week. But it’s been at work. And for obvious reasons I’m going to keep that to a minimum on here. 

It was Friday yesterday. The end of the working week. Always after a break, that first week back seems longer usually. But this week it’s flown by. Maybe it’s because we survived Storm Doris and the excitement and route finding challenges (blocked roads due to blown over lorries) that it presented.

Still that pint of Thatchers cider sure did taste mighty good and well deserved during our gaming session.

Our first game of the evening was going to be Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It had just arrived in Diego’s collection. I’d had just missed out on buying it second hand. But wasn’t too upset when I saw it was Diego that had beaten me to get it. I knew I’d get to play it. 

However before setting up I got a message from Chris to say he was 20 minutes away and had Blood Rage with him. Diego and I were happy to hear that news. We both wanted to play that game.

We chatted until Chris turned up, and with no arm twisting, tummy punches, bullying, water boarding, kidnapping or chemicals, Jonathan (under his own free will) said he’d also play Blood Rage.

So we were doing this. We were playing Blood Rage. A game I listed in my “Don’t wanna buy, but wanna try” post.

As usual for a CMoN game the minis, especially the big monster ones looked stunning. 

As much as I hate and despise CMoN, I can’t take away the fact that they nail it when it comes to making great minis in games.

I liked the card drafting at the start of each round. Plus using a different deck each time, that ramped up how powerful the cards got.

The three rounds went fast. Surprisingly so. The game had a nice pace to it. It didn’t drag.

The combat worked well, it was simple and fast. Which helped the pace of the game.

There is a nice resource management element that works well. Having to decide how to spend your rage. Installing upgrades, taking actions, and which ones. If I hadn’t been stealing rage from the others I might have had some really difficult choices to make! Also deciding which trait to upgrade, do you want more rage next round, or more warriors on the board, or maybe more points when you win a battle (which didn’t benefit me with my tactic).

Oh and it’s a very easy game to learn. Like all games with a drafting element it’s going to take a few games to see all the cards and learn what they do. But rules, actions wise so easy to pick up. 


In our game the planets aligned for me. This was probably my best ever first play of a game.

I stumbled upon the tactic of wanting to get into battles and lose. Losing and dying, sending warriors to Valhalla was with the cards I drafted a devastating tactic.

In the first draft I got both Loki cards that if I lost a battle allowed me to steal rage from the winner. Which was backed up by a clan upgrade that allowed me to place a warrior back into the area I had just been defeated in for free. I then had the quest that gave me points for having more than four warriors in Valhalla at the end of the round. The sea monster also joined my clan. Which was to prove handy.

In round two I got both of the Loki cards that allowed me to continue with the losing tactic, but gave me even more rage. I was also allowed to get the same quest again as the one I had in round one. But I added a ship upgrade that included the sea monster (it counted as a ship) that gave me points whenever a ship was destroyed. Add in a clan upgrade for double Ragnorak points. I was swimming in rage in the second round. Whilst my opponents had none. Some git (me) like the first round had been stealing it from them. 

Third round saw me lose my Loki card early on. But by then it was too late, the damage had been done. All I had to do was make sure I stayed in the zone for Ragnorak, complete the same quest again. Upgrade my clan with an Odin card that doubled completed quest scores, upgraded my points for destroyed ships, and I was golden.

The cards really fell for me in the drafting round. None of the others hate drafted! I did in round two. I took the second Loki card so the others couldn’t have it. I was surprised I was able to get those cards in the second round after the others saw how powerful they were in the first round. The whole combination though of the cards I had just fuelled each other. I got lucky. But it was a nice feeling to be this lucky for once.

I liked Blood Rage a lot. Most definitely want to play again. But won’t buy! I know my “got to have it all” gene would kick in, and I’d want the Kickstarter exclusive stuff too.

I agree with the comment Diego made after the game about Blood Rage being better than Inis (which we liked). But I added I still thought Scythe, and Kemet were above it. Now I just have to work out where Cry Havoc fits in the ordering. Oh an excuse to play that again ūüėČ

We finished off the gaming with the liars dice inspired House of Borgia. Jonathan really did have no luck in this game. However Diego won by being sneakier and more manipulative than the rest of us. 

There is as you know only one way to finish a great evening of gaming. The consumption of unidentifiable meat products smothered in chilli sauce and “salad”. If I had been drinking the Thatchers from a horn cup, and eating this pile of meat, with my unkept beard, you’d almost think i could have been a portly Viking!

Another great start to the weekend.

Enrichment

Where I work we run enrichment sessions for our students.


I’ve recently turned mine into a boardgaming club. So I’m introducing students to modern hobby games.

Due to the length of time of the enrichment session and that the students are new to these types of games, I’m sticking to the lighter, gateway type of games.

So we’ve played Braggart, Age of War, Adventure Time Fluxx, Love Letter Batman, and Star Realms.

Plus the students introduced me to Exploding Kittens yesterday. Which was great that they wanted to bring in their games.

Now I have to admit I quite enjoyed Exploding Kittens. Pleasantly surprised even. I might add it to the collection so there is a copy for use in these enrichment sessions.

Yes I’m using games from my collection. I have no budget. So for the time being until I can show this as a success and has a positive impact, that’s the way it has to be. Oh and I’m also using my own folding 6ft table to play on in the classroom!

And it is having a positive impact. Already students from different courses are mixing and making friendships. In fact I believe when they bump into each other outside of work there is friendly banter about the next session and whose going to win. Then games like Braggart are helping students improve their basic math skills, and their confidence in them.

I do have Zombie Dice, King of Tokyo, Liars Dice and Epic ready to be introduced. The first two have been popular with students in the past.

Next introduce my colleagues to my addiction. 

Don’t wanna buy, but…

So the subject of this post is “games I don’t wanna buy, but I wanna to try”.

Which I think is pretty self descriptive. But for those having a hard time deciding it’s meaning, let me decode it for you. 


Basically there are games out there that I don’t want to buy. Yeah I know that’s a hard one to believe, and get your mind around. And truth be told I’m having a hard time accepting this fact also. But there are.

However for some of those games I do actually want to play/try them. It may be because I’m curious about how the game plays with a mechanic, or may be I would like it but there is something about the game that stops me wanting to buy it.

So here is my list of “games I don’t wanna buy, but I wanna to try”:

  • Mansions of Madness Second Edition – there is not a hope in hell I’m  going to part with just short of a tonne for a game that can only be played with an app (I think I’ve made that pretty obvious in previous posts I’ve written how I feel about games that rely on integral apps to be played). But I’m more than happy to play some-one else’s copy. I want to see how well it works with the app driving the game.
  • Blood Rage – this CMoN and Eric M Langa Langa Ding Dong (ok I couldn’t help myself on that one – sorry) game was getting a lot of buzz last year. I hate CMoN and don’t want to hand them money. I don’t like their Kickstarter exclusives policy. But I also want to try this Lang game. It’s often mentioned in the same breathe as Inis these days. So I want to see how they compare. Also I don’t want to buy it because I know that but inside me that hunts down promos etc would kick in wanting everything for it. 
  • Star Wars Rebellion – my biggest fear with this game is I’ll buy it after playing it. Two player, original Star Wars Trilogy in a box. Too damn right I want to play it. Is this the Star Wars War of the Ring?
  • First Martian – another “the app is so intregal to the game, it can only be played with the app”. So I’m out when it comes to parting with money for the game. But I like Robinson Crusoe, this is being described as that game on Mars. I’m sure with the app it will be a different experience, along with some game play tweaks. Plus how does it compare to Mansions of Madness Second Edition?
  • Star Wars Destiny – this game scares me. It’s a collectable game, my “got to have them all” would kick in. FFG have reinvented crack. Curse them. 

So that’s the current list. What’s on yours?

    Dragonslayers

    SPOILER ALERT! This post may or may not contain spoilers for T.I.M.E. Stories A Prophecy of Dragons. 

    A week later than planned due to illness hitting our party. But the gang was back together, ready to “quantum leap” it in T.I.M.E. Stories A Prophecy of Dragons. Sadly Jeff our “GM” was too ill to over see affairs. So we were leaping unsupervised.

    Like waves smashing against rocks we failed to crack this mission despite five or so runs.

    It started so well. We chose our recepticles. I was a wizard. But the usual fantasy tropes were there for choosing.

    Like all good D&D adventures our recepticles were gathered in the local inn. It was here that we had a moment of comedic gold. 

    In our previous two successful missions the first run through was a fact gathering exercise. Which hopefully leads to a more efficient next attempt, and so on. A plan we were once more utilising for this mission.

    As expected time defeated us. But we had a lot of useful information. 

    On our second run through I tried a bit of type casting and played the “halfling”. But returned to being a wizard for the remaining attempts.

    On one run through we had a Doctor Strange moment! 

    There is some stunning art work in this game. I particularly liked the colourful artwork for the Doctor Strange moment.

    We had forgotten to bring along anything to make notes with. Note taking has been key to successfully solving and completing the mission. Luckily so far it appeares that our poor memories were good enough.

    Based on our selected characters I think we had the optimal route through. But time is sooo tight. Too tight I think. You almost need, no have to, have a perfect run. Which after the fourth, fifth, possible sixth (I can’t remember exactly how many we did, it was more than three, so in troll counting falls under many) time of going through doing the same things, felt draining and demoralising. I think the break between plays is much needed to recharge our batteries.

    I liked the addition of magic, and spell casting. Plus the encounters were interesting. 

    The other surprise for me was we haven’t hit a puzzle to solve yet! Asylum was the most puzzle based so far. The Marcy Case much less so. But this scenario, no puzzle yet.

    So defeated, we have sneaked off to lick our wounds, regroup and recharge. Bring on the rematch!

    Half Term FEG@WL

    The week ended with a longer session than normal of our regular Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion. It was also a great start to the weekend.

    Our gaming started off with (at long last) Mechs vs Minions

    This game is still getting hype, it’s print runs selling out. And no wonder really ¬£75 plus ¬£5 shipping, its redonkulous value for money. The production value is out of the park. 100 minion minis, all with a wash paint job to bring out details. Four fully painted figures. Custom metal counters, thick cardboard. The list goes on. Oh and the game box is massive and heavy.

    The game you may have guessed looks lovely.

    We played the tutorial and first mission yesterday.

    I liked the tutorial. It was similar to the approach taken by Krosmaster Arena. But better! Plus I believe the different missions will introduce new mission specific rules. You don’t even have had to read anything before hand, open up and just start playing. The tutorial is that good, fun and easy to follow.

    Which brings me on to the three rule books we saw, the tutorial, mission one and reference book. All really well written, easy to flow, clear, accessible style. 

    I like the use of mission envelops that you open when directed, and containing all you need for that mission, like extra cards etc.

    On the first mission it was rather cool making use of the timer for drafting after a certain condition was met. That made sure things didn’t go all ap on which cards to draft. Although you could game it a little!

    Really like the drafting, programming element. Taking damage, which can interfere with your programming is a great touch. Plus they put in repair and reorder mechanics. Which balances out the game nicely. 

    Oh and being able to boost/power up your cards abilities. Now that is cool. 

    We played this game for two hours, and it did not seem that long. The time just flew by.

    Yeah this definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a very nice game. Can’t wait to attempt mission two.

    After Mechs vs Minions it was nearly time for Diego arriving. So we squeezed in some games of Santorini. I didn’t win any of our three games. But still had a blast. 

    I said it wouldn’t be long before Adrenaline was in the collection. It had arrived that morning. So Jonathan and I introduced Diego and Chris to the joys of a fps boardgame! We played the full eight skull game with final frenzy.

    It’s just a great, light, fun boardgame. Still learning the weapons. But despite coming last again, I did pull off the kill of the game doing six points of damage to Diego to kill his character.

    Oh and the promo chainsaw weapon card may or may not be on its way to me!

    Jonathan showed me the new Pandemic the Cure expansions contents. He managed to get it at a more acceptable price of ¬£30 but there is no way the contents (despite being custom dice, and some cards) is worth it’s rrp of ¬£45. Jonathan was right when he said your paying for the Pandemic name. It’s almost like a tax.

    A really great game session. Great games, great company, great beverages. Oh and T.I.M.E. Stories the next day. I’m super happy.

    Gaming in Wisbech

    Just a short post about the gaming group I go to, The Fenland Gamers.

    We are a warm, welcoming board gaming group in Wisbech, who play modern hobby board games. Our members have a broad taste in games (I think my little write ups of our sessions show that) and more than happy to play most game types.

    Our regular meet ups are:

    • The second Wednesday of each month
    • Friday Evenings at The White Lion

    We also have other sessions that get organised for other days. Such as our T.I.M.E. Stories group working through one scenario a month. But we’ve had Saturdays when bigger games like Zombicide, The Others get played. Or like this current half term, and other holiday times (some of us work in education) more gaming sessions get organised.

    We are planning to celebrate International Tabletop Day (29th April) and May the Fourth Day (do I really need to say what date this is?) Details are still being finalised but bound to include cake. 

    Oh and it’s free to attend! No charge. We are extremely lucky that the venues we play games at don’t charge us. All we ask is that especially the establishments that sell beverages, is that you buy your refreshments from them as a token of appreciation and thanks for letting us use their premises free. 

    Plus finally club members get 10% discount at our FLGS The Hobbit Hole in Chatteris.

    You can find out more about The Fenland Gamers HERE on Facebook. 

     

    Another Train Wreck

    Today was our second half term gaming session.

    We started off with a learning game of Dead Men Tell No Tales.

    I think this learning game will go down as one of our better train wrecks. 

    This pile up wasn’t helped by a poorly written rule book.

    The game looks lovely. The little skeleton head pieces are super cool.

    But our massive misplay, what a doozie! When placing a new boat tile on the board we weren’t drawing a token each time. By the time we realised there was no way we could have won. So we weren’t finding stuff to fight or treasure to loot.

    The question I have to ask myself is “was there enough here to warrant me giving the game a second chance?”

    Our second game of the afternoon was on more familiar, well worn (ish) paths. We played a no thrills, no extras game of Viticulture

    There were two new players and it wasn’t fair to throw the extra stuff at them as well. Get the basics under the belt, then next time we can fly with the larger board etc.

    I like that we have managed to get Viticulture to the table twice now this year. It’s such a great game. And along with Scythe easily in my top 5 games I think. Well if I was to ever do like a top whatever games that is. It also shows that problem most gamers have, so many great games, but so little time!

    The ending of our game saw me narrowly loose to Chris (a first timer at a meet up).

    A great afternoons gaming. Bring on Friday and Mechs vs Minions.