Monthly Archives: February 2017

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.

    Genius!

    AEG have announced a new Love Letter edition, Lovecraft Letter. The title alone is just share genius. I’m sad enough that I’d buy it just based on that alone.

    I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to do a Lovecraft themed version.

    Looking at the rule book it looks like it will be getting  the same treatment as the Love Letter Premium/Deluxe edition. So big box, and sleeved. I like that bit.

    It plays 2-6, 25 playing cards, 9 of which have insanity effects. Naturally there are tokens for sanity, which are described as dual side poker chips. So I’m expecting the quality of the components to be out of the park. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the tarot sized cards for this. Plus the rules look more than just the usual minor tweak of previous versions.

    So I’m pretty excited about this edition.

    You can see some cards, download the rule book here on the AEG site.

    Valentine’s Day Massacre 

    It’s that special commercial holiday Valentine’s Day. So what better way to spend it than spending the afternoon playing Scythe and Kemet.

    The day had started well with the taxman sending me a Valentine’s Day letter informing me of my tax code for the upcoming tax year. But I knew that this was their grey taxman way of saying they love me. I’m disappointed there was no romantic dinner arranged to discuss how much tax I could avoid paying. But I guess they are saving those for their high end corporate whores such as Google.

    Our first game of the afternoon was my game of 2016, Scythe.

    For the first time I was playing a new faction for me, Akiko & Jiro (Togawa Shogunate). Jeff actually had the other new faction Connor & Max (Clan Albion). While young Lucas had my favourite faction, and the only one I’d played to date, Olga Romanova & Changa (Rusviet Union). Diego had Anna & Wojtek (Polania Republic), and Jamie had Gunter von Duisburg with Nacht & Tag (Saxony Empire).

    Diego took the early “lead” getting three stars out, and bring first to the factory. I was second to the factory and laid a trap token on it! The traps had a great psychological affect on the others. None of my traps were set of, instead that acted as deterrents and stopped the others trying to take over my territories with them on.

    It was interesting that Jeff hardly laid any of his tokens. I think I only remember him placing one. 

    I was busy grabbing land, making sure I was going to score lots at the end. The others were not building much, or grabbing lots of territory. Which allowed me to get in a position where I could place two stars on my final go using my factory card ability. My fifth star was completing all my enlistments, and the sixth game ending star was defeating Saxony for my second battle star.

    Once the dust had settled, points added, I had won with a comfortable margin. It was my best score ever, and my first ever victory. 

    We had played with the board extension. So it was a bloody big board. Which I enjoyed playing on. I enjoyed playing the new faction. It was the first time playing with this player count. I liked it, more was going on. I won’t play it with more players. 

    But I won! 

    Our next game and final for the afternoon was Kemet. Which with its “attack, attack” philosophy capturing the true spirit of the day.

    So we were playing with the C2K expansion adding in the Cyclades monsters. And it was the first time playing with the max of five players.

    I’d taken an early victory point lead. But it wasn’t there for long before it was a question of “how could we delay Diego”.

    We actually ended up with Diego and Jamie getting eight victory points at the end of a round. But with the tie conditions the victory went to Diego.

    Another game I enjoyed as a five player game. It was a lot longer game than our previous play. But then this was more players. The extra monsters from Cyclades were a nice addition, and additional tactical decision whether to buy or not.

    A great afternoon of gaming in the spirit of the day. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try Blood Rage tomorrow.

    Abstract Sunday

    Sunday afternoon saw Jonathan and myself meet up to play some abstract games from our collections.

    First to hit the table was Santorini.

    Would it be fair to describe Santorini as the gaming darling of the moment? I think it would be accurate to say Jonathan and I LOVE Santorini. 

    As expected Santorini played brilliantly with two players. If you look at the image below you can see our god match ups. Each pairing we played both gods. Out of nine games Jonathan took the most wins. Yep you read that right. Nine back to back games. Which was only about an hour of playing. 
    If Santorini isn’t in Jonathan’s collection by the end of the week I’d be shocked.

    We followed Santorini with Qwirkle. I’ve written about Qwirkle before. So I’m not going to say much about it. For the record Jonathan beat me easily at this game. The number of qwirkles he scored really did make his lead unbeatable.

    Then it was on to Volcano. An abstract game from Looney Labs using their pyramids.

    I actually liked this game variant a lot. If I could just buy this as a single box I would. But the having to track bits down is a bit off putting. 

    This game would look amazing played on a light box lighting up the coloured pyramids.

    I felt the game ticked all the boxes for the way my brain worked. Which might explain why I won. 

    The afternoons abstract gaming finished off with Jonathan introducing me to one from the gaming archive vaults Black Box. We didn’t really “play” the game. But more tasted it! It was more Jonathan introducing me to the game and it’s mechanics. It’s a nice logic, deduction game. Almost a more cerebral battleships! An interesting game.

    Oh you missed the photo of me from the post about Friday. Well here is one of me working out the puzzle in Black Box.

    A great afternoon of abstract games. Thanks Jonathan. 

    QOTW what type of games do I like to play?

    The other day I was asked what types of game do I like playing? 

    What a hard bloody question. Jonathan is quite rightly unashamedly a trading in the Mediterranean type of guy. He knows what he likes. But I also admire that he often steps out of his comfort zone and tries other things.

    But what about me? What types of games do I like to play?

    Often I’m very black and white on things. But on this probing question I’m grey. The lines are blurred. Insert cliche here.

    I suppose in a way I’m a gaming omnivore! I’ll play most types of games.

    I really enjoy lcg/ccg style games, such as Android Netrunner, Magic the Gathering, Ashes, and Epic. I like the deck construction. The building a deck round a theme, tactic, or combo. It’s really satisfying when that idea comes off (even if it’s one in ten times!)

    Deckbuilders like Marvel Legendary, Star Realms and Hero Realms also give me a lot of enjoyment. Well I hope so because I play Star Realms the app a lot.

    Let’s speed things up…

    Drafting, worker placement, hidden movement, dungeon crawling, 4X, civilisation building, bluffing, set collection, abstract, all push my buttons. I enjoy the games that have those mechanics. Plus I enjoy the mechanics I haven’t listed. I just typed the ones that came to mind as I typed.

    Big games, small games. Gateway, mid weight, heavy. Yep count me in.

    Theme? Sci-fi, fantasy, modern, zombie, historical, trading in the med. I’ll happily play any theme. The cyber punk theme is one of the things I love about Android Netrunner.

    I think my only criteria really for a game is “is it a good game?” If it is then I’ll enjoy playing it.

    I suppose at some point in the future it’d be an interesting exercise to look at my collection and break things down to see how it breaks down by mechanic, designer, publisher etc. That might disprove everything I’ve just written, and show I do indeed have a bias towards certain types of game, designer etc.

    In the meantime until I have evidence disproving it, I’m an omnigamer!