Monthly Archives: July 2017

Adventuring we ago…

Last night saw four adventurers gather to go looking for fame and fortune by recklessly putting their lives in danger. 

I went with type casting and chose the dwarf. Jakub went with the healer, Jason went with the Mage, and Justin chose the thief. 

The role of the Overlord for our adventures was being played by an iPad and the FFG app Descent: Road to Legend. The app is free and comes with a tutorial and a couple of campaigns for free. You can buy two more additional campaigns within the app.

Not having the expansion required for one of the free campaigns, our party of fool hardy adventurers elected to start the Kindred Fire campaign.

I liked how the app told you the tiles that you would be using. But then slowly built the map up through the campaigns first scenario. So it shows you the first section of the map you will be playing on, where the monsters, doors, tokens go. This could be just three or four tiles out of the ones it told you that you will need for the scenario. You kill the monsters and the app then reveals to you the next tiles it wants you to add, plus monsters etc. I love that suspense, the revealing, the build up.

We made some mistakes. When aren’t there mistakes on a first play? We initially misunderstand the placement of monsters on the first part of the map, so only placed one zombie and one spider. That were easily dispatched. We should have been doing a group of the creatures based on the number of adventurers. Doh! We also faught a monster (Ettin I think it’s called) in its level 2 form. It was very hard to defeat. Which I felt made up for the earlier mistake. 

I felt that the app got everyone involved, especially in combat. So players were taking it in turns to roll for the monsters. 

Yes we were slow to start off with, but things picked up as we became more familiar with the flow of things.

I liked how the app spread out its monster activations through out the turn. 

We had one moment where Justin showed how when it’s a choice between your character being thrown around like a rag doll by an Ettin, or your brothers character getting that treatment instead, that blood is not thicker than a player and the bound he has with his character. Nope Justin used his characters ability that allowed them to move one space away when a monster moves adjacent to them. Leaving Jason’s character to get tossed around like a clothes in a tumble dryer.  Justin had found the Me in Team! 

We had to stop before completing the scenario, so it’s great that the app remembers how far we got. We took photos to remind us of our positions on the board, and individually bagged our tokens (wounds etc) with our characters cards. So we can just grab those and know we have everything for our characters, and the correct health when we start up again next session. 

A great evening adventuring. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this scenario. 

My Top Ten Set Collection Games

After a short break I return with my fourth favourite game mechanic. 

I’m really struggling to think of anything to say about this mechanic. I think the most notable omissions from this list are 7 Wonders and Splendor. They just missed out and would have been 11th and 12th. 

So here are my Top 10 Set Collection games…

  1. (Top 100 Position – 9) 7 Wonders Duel
  2. (Top 100 Position – 11) Lords of Waterdeep
  3. (Top 100 Position – 14) Glen More
  4. (Top 100 Position – 17) Five Tribes
  5. (Top 100 Position – 19) Castles of Mad King Ludwig
  6. (Top 100 Position – 30) Imhotep 
  7. (Top 100 Position – 34) Tokaido
  8. (Top 100 Position – 37) Pandemic Iberia
  9. (Top 100 Position – 39) Lost Cities
  10. (Top 100 Position – 42) Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

eHan/eRey 1.0

It’s a couple of weeks after the latest FFG rules update with its clarifications and errata (which hurt my mono hero mill deck with its ammo belt errata – so I will have to update that deck to a version 3). I’ve been building my initial version of a Han/Rey deck. Which as this post would suggest I’m happy enough with to suffer the slings and arrows of constructive feedback from the Destiny community. Which I really do enjoy receiving as it helps me build stronger decks.

Please remember I do not have a complete set of cards and dice. I’m hoping to correct that soon.

Battlefield: Rebel War Room (Yavin IV)

Events

  • “Fair” Trade (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Cheat (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Electroshock (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Friends in Low Places (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Hold On! (0 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 2
  • Loth-Cat and Mouse (0 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 2
  • Rejuvenate (0 cost, Neutral/Blue) x 2

Support

  • Improvisation (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Infamous (1 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You (1 cost, Hero/Blue) x 1

Upgrade

  • DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol (3 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 1
  • Fast Hands (0 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 2
  • Force Illusion (1 cost, Neutral/Blue) x 2
  • Holdout Blaster (2 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 1
  • Jetpack (2 cost, Neutral/Yellow) x 1
  • Lone Operative (3 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 2
  • Makashi Training (2 cost, Neutral/Blue) x 1
  • Maz’s Goggles (1 cost, Hero/Yellow) x 1
  • Vibroknife (2 cost, Neutral/Gray) x 2

I’m a sucker for graphs! This is the analysis that the app I use gives me for this deck.

    The app I use on my iPhone is SWD Trades. 

    My thinking behind the deck

    This is all about action cheating with Reys ability and ambush, and keeping Han alive with the shields he gets from playing cards with ambush. To a lesser extent I’m getting some “action” cheating also on Han with fast hands.

    Installing an upgrade with ambush on Rey gives two additional actions plus a shield on Han.

    Rey is the big hitter here, and with the vibroknife installed deadly. Add in the Makashi Training upgrade with its plus damage, get the right roll there is potentially seven unblockable damage swinging in. Hopefully all before the other player has a chance to respond.

    How I Play This Deck

    I’m looking for vibroknife/holdout blaster, along with fast hands and some dice removal in my initial hand. This will allow me to start action cheating straight away and put shields on Han through his ability. 

    If I don’t win the battlefield initially my two shields go on Rey usually. Han will be getting shields with my first play anyway. Unless I get a hold on in my initial hand then I put them on Han for the giggles. They will end up on Rey anyway on my first turn. 

    My first play is usually an upgrade on Rey, ideally with ambush so Han gets the shield. If fast hands is in my hand that gets installed on Han, then I roll him in and resolve one of his dice.

    I’m not using Second Chance but Force Illusion is my keep Rey alive a bit longer card.

    I’m also playing upgrades over top of each other so I don’t need as many resources to get them out and I’m getting the action cheating. Although I don’t do this with the vibroknife.

    How’d it do?

    Remember my local meta is Dale. I think I’m 50/50 against his ePoe/eMaz deck. But my wins have been when the starting hand was good for me, and my dice rolling was good. 

    I think I have the edge over his (I want to say) Unkar deck. But I can’t remember which one it was. I must start recording which decks of his I play against.

    Dale tends to target Rey first so I’m trying to do as much damage with Rey before she is killed off in our games. 

    Where next?

    Naturally I need second copies of the blasters. I also think Second Chance might be worth looking at. 

    I might change the battlefield. But I do like the idea of claiming and doing a parting shot with a die I didn’t have the resource for.

    Acrylic tokens for Star Wars Destiny

    So at the weekend a member of the UK Star Wars: Destiny page posted that they had created these acrylic tokens for Star Wars: Destiny. The price was really good (£10 for a set or £18 for two sets). Plus each set came with a bonus traitor trooper token and free UK postage. If you have looked at the likes of the Team Covenant tokens for games it costs so much to get them internationally it’s not worth it.

    I also liked the design because they look just like the cardboard ones that come with the starter sets, even the additional five damage token sticks with the original design. This avoids any confusion and miss use. Some of the tokens I’ve seen on streamed/recorded games are confusing and ugly. In fact if I was playing against them I’d call the judge over and complain. That’s how bad some of the designs are. 

    My order arrived this morning. I went with two sets to make sure I have enough tokens for playing with. I have a few extra given to me as “compensation” for having to wait for my third set (this will be a prize possible ) because the quality of some of the tokens wasn’t up to scratch.

    I love the traitor trooper token. But the tokens are a nice quality. And I’m looking forward to using them in my games against Dale (who also ordered some after I told him about them).

    You can pre-order a set HERE.

    Been a long time since I did this…

    I’ve not done this in Star Realms (the app) in a long long time. So after blurring out my opponents name to save them any embarrassment (they usually kick my butt) I had to share this moment. 

    Which reminds me if you click HERE it will take you to the Star Realms Frontiers expansion. 

    From the Kickstarter page Frontiers has the following features:

    • Great gameplay for 1-4 players.
    • Solitaire and Cooperative mode!
    • Plays on its own, or combined with any other Star Realms set.
    • An all-new 80-card trade deck featuring some new mechanics like the double ally abiltiy which really rewards you for focusing on a single faction!
    • Starting decks for four players.
    • Four sets of new, easy-to-use score cards. 
    • Plenty of Explorer cards.
    • Full color rulebook for two player PVP games, and awesome multiplayer formats like Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra!
    • A sturdy, attractive, 4″ x 6″ x 2″ game box

    Plus there are loads of other bits you can get. Just do the $60 all in pledge level and get everything. It’s a no brainer I think for Star Realms fans. Which I think I qualify as with the game at number 4 in my Top 100. My only decision is do I add on a new playmat? 

    All hail King Diego

    It hadn’t been planned this way but to be playing A Game of Thrones the boardgame the same weekend series 7 of the tv show is due to air seemed a great way to celebrate the shows return.

    Jeff, Diego and myself faced off across the battle field using the A Feast for Crows expansion. Yes I know there was only three of us, and the expansion us for four players but we have a reason for doing so. We were expecting a fourth player, and had set up for four players using the expansion. But after waiting 40 minutes we got the impression they were not turning up. So we decided to go ahead using the expansion but take out the Starks. Any objectives that involved the North and Starks would be discarded and a new card drawn. This also meant that we were playing in a pretty compact part of the map. Very much in your face. 

    So who played who? Well I played the Lannisters for the first time, Diego was House Arryn, and that leaves Jeff as the Baratheons. 

    Naturally because of the house objectives Jeff and I are at instant conflict over control for Kings Landing. We both needed it. I also had a normal objective that needed control of it. So if I could keep control for one turn that’s two points. I managed to keep it for the first turn and score those two points. But if I had been braver and attacked Jeff with my forces at Kings Landing instead of defending I think I could have held it for a couple more turns, and possibly got the win. However hindsight is a great tool. And after revealing orders that first turn I was regretting my decision. 

    The above photo shows me learning from my earlier indecisiveness by attacking Diego’s knights before he can reinforce them and attack me.

    Like most games there are moments that stand out. Diego and Jeff were ganging up on me. They had mean most of the game. I had zero influence, Jeff had one (iirc) and Diego had two I think. The Westeros phase was making us bid for the influence tokens. I was looking at losing the Iron Throne token. Jeff and Diego were discussing how they were going to split up the three tokens between them. We all put our bids in for the Iron Throne. Jeff and Diego bid nothing! They had screwed up. One of them should have bid something but they hadn’t. As the current holder of the Iron Throne I got to decide draws. So guess what? I was still in first place and kept hold of the Iron Throne.  That was so funny. When that realisation of how they had screwed up hit them. Boy did I laugh. It also meant I was able to hold on to being able to use to power tokens in the power phase.

    But that was an unexpected victory. In the end I still lost the war. There was a chance to make a final grab for power and steal the win. But miscalculations, poor execution and Diego attacking me in one area I needed to control put an end to any little chance I had.

    Jeff and Diego both had 7 victory points. So it was down to tie breakers. Which saw Jeff lose to Diego on the second tie breaker.

    Well done to Diego our new Overlord. May your reign of tyranny be short. 

    I liked how A Feast for Crows worked with three players. The compact nature of all the armies being so close together I thought worked well. 

    Right I’m off to start up the resistance/rebellion to Diego’s reign. 

    Penguins and Mutants

    Last night an unadvertised session at the White Lion took place. I hadn’t got round to setting an event up on the Facebook page for it. Only two people yesterday morning asked if anything was going on. So arrangements were made to play some games.

    Earlier in the day Dale and I had successfully avoided a crappy Summer by getting our students work and our marking passed by an external verifier from the awarding body we were using. Which was my excuse for a nice cold pint of Thatchers. I was also happy how my eHan/eRay deck was holding up against Dales eMaz/ePoe deck. I’ll do a post soon with the initial deck list and my thoughts about it. 

    Back to last night and the games I played. Once Edmund had arrived I introduced him to 51st State Master Set with the new expansion Scavengers (which I bought at the expo).

    Scavengers plays with the discard pile, so now each player has a personal discard pile. During lookup the discarded card goes into the first players discard pile. You now due to card abilities have the chance to take the top card from an opponents discard pile. There is also more to stuff there to do with ruins but we didn’t really hit any of those cards. A third connections deck has been added also.

    I like 51st State, it works well with 2 players. But unless you play it a lot you won’t see all the cards. So with the base game cards plus the expansion I think that’s a 120 cards roughly for the common deck. So we were not going to see everything this expansion had to offer.

    The future history books will see that my post apocalyptic group of survivors were the stronger. 

    Our final game was one that had been on my radar for a long time, Hey That’s My Fish. Every time I visited my FLGS The Hobbit Hole and saw the box on display. I’d be curious but never pulling the trigger and buying it. But then a friend I was selling Inis to was planning on selling his copy at the bring n buy at the expo. Saw it was in the original small square box that I preferred to the current rectangle box. So I bought it from him.

    It’s a very light game. Plays quickly. Well our 2 player game of it did. But it had something Barenpark doesn’t (apart from being fun) player interaction. You are trying to get the high value fish, while trying to cut off/isolate your opponent. 

    I lost both games (Edmunds revenge for 51st State) but enjoyed both games.

    A great evenings gaming. 

    Fenland Gamers July 17 Monthly Meet Up

    What a busy week at work so far. Staff training (I need to keep my thoughts about some of that to myself else I’ll get in trouble), team meetings and planning for next year. Life in the under funded and forgotten FE sector.

    So the monthly Fenland Gamers meet up at its temporary home of the White Lion Hotel last night provided much needed respite.

    Diego, Justin and myself played Scythe. Which for those that wisely avoided my recent Top 100 games will not know, is my number 1 game. According to the BG Stats app that I’m recording all plays with, it has been 5 months since I last played Scythe.

    This was Justin’s first time playing this epic game.

    I was playing the Nordic Kingdom for the first time. I have to admit I did like the factions special ability of having my workers being able to swim across rivers right from the start. Justin was playing Crimean Khanate, and Diego had Albion from the Invaders from Afar expansion.

    Justin did well and got to the Factory first, with me quickly following. Much of my game plan then revolved around trying to abuse my chosen factory card which allowed me to either get a mech or building for the trivial cost of one popularity. So I was flipping mainly between my factory card and bolster which on my player board gave me a popularity after I had built my monument.

    I did trigger the end of the game, but that was more out of self defense. Justin was hovering on 5 objective points, and Diego was on 4. I needed to win one combat to do that. Up until my go I had been eyeing up attacking Diego, but he drew two combat cards on his go. So he had the possibility of winning a battle. On the other hand Justin had no combat cards and zero bolster points. Perfect. So I built my last mech, and took the move action to attack Justin for the foregone victory.

    Both Diego and I had zero or 1 popularity so were not going to get lots of points that way. I had zip resources at the end. After the dust had settled with Justin into the next scoring zone on the popularity track, he took first place. Whilst I managed to pip Diego to second. I suppose a better player would have worked out the optimal time to pull the trigger to end the game. They would have worked out every ones relative points, and maybe strung out the game for a turn or two more to maneuver the situation to their advantage and victory.

    I really did enjoy getting Scythe back to the table. I had a blast playing it. Another great monthly meet up.

    Playing in the Sandbox

    Back in the day. Oh how I fecking hate that saying. Look back in 1984 I was like 16, studying at the Isle of Ely College. And this game Elite was somehow on the Beeb micros there, along with Frakk, and clones of popular arcade games of the time. I was programming in BASIC on the Beeb, my Commodore 64 and any other platform in front of me. It wasn’t until it came out on the Commodore 64 that I got to spend real anytime on this open world sandbox game. I remember enjoying the game but not exactly being any good at it. 

    It’s that memory of Elite from my teenage years that attracted me to Xia: Legends of a Drift System and it’s expansion Embers of a Forsaken Star. It looked and sounded like Elite the boardgame. 

    Luckily Edmund gave me the chance to get Xia to the table yesterday when he invited me to an afternoons gaming.

    We played without the NPC ships, but with everything else from the base game and expansion. We set the fame point target to achieve to the suggested first game target of five.

    Neither of us took weapon upgrades for our initial ships. Edmund was flying wildly doing blind jumps into sectors, while I spent the energy to scan first. 

    Both Edmund and I ended up with bounty on our heads when we traded in the wrong part of the galaxy. Guilt by association.

    Edmund did manage to complete a mission and earn enough credits to upgrade to a tier 2 ship and get rid of his bounty. He was also better at trading than me and earns a couple of fame points that way too. 

    Me I was bumbling around space going “lalala”, “oh look pretty star”. Pretty much no different to when I was playing Elite way back.

    We didn’t even get close to scratching the surface of Xia. With more players and the NPC’s thrown in the experience would be different again. There is so much to explore with this game. Each game will be familiar, yet different due to the modular nature of the tiles. 

    Xia takes up a massive amount of table space. The quality of everything is really high. Metal coins, pre-painted minis.

    This is an impressive game. It’s epic in scope. I love it. I can’t wait to play it again.