Monthly Archives: July 2017

Praying to the postal gods 

If the postal gods are smiling on me I have the following hopefully arriving during the next week.

I have two items that are in the postal system between the US and the UK. The first is the playmat to go with the recently arrived but unplayed kickstarted expansion for Tiny Epic Galaxies, Beyond the Black. With the two playmats in use this game will be anything but tiny.

Also finding it’s way over the pond is the latest in the Tiny Epic series, and hot off kickstarter, Tiny Epic Quest. Looking forward to this one hitting the table.

Finally the reason I’m not bothered about Gloomhaven being delayed by a couple of months, 7th Continent is due to start shipping from the Kickstarters UK/EU distributor tomorrow. Luckily when asked when I wanted the game I said asap instead of the “wait to the end of August” option. Which means along with the others that said asap should be getting priority on the orders going out.

So let’s see how happy these postal gods are with me. 

All in for the Sultan

It was the end of the working week. I’d done diddly squat with my week off. Apart from take my recovering mother shopping that is. Chaos Cards had got the replacement copy of the new Five Tribes expansion Whims of the Sultan to me real quick. A lot quicker than I was expecting. Which was cool, because it meant we were able to use it for that evenings planned game of Five Tribes with that expansion. We did have a backup plan, that involved using Jonathan’s copy that had arrived the previous day.

Edmund helped me set up. With all the expansions being used (The Artisans of Naqala, Thieves of Naqala,  Whims of the Sultan, Wilwit promo, and Dhenim promo, side note there is a third promo that I don’t have because it was only part of a couple of crowdfunding campaigns for a couple of gaming channels earlier this year) we were now looking at a massive 7 by 6 grid of tiles. 

Whims of the Sultan adds the pieces for a fifth player. A new auction board, and turn order board for use with 5 players. 6 new tiles, 2 new djinns, a whims deck, and some meeples. 

With the reference cards from the core game, and the expansions that’s a lot of cardboard in front of each player. It’s a shame Artisans only has four reference cards.

We played fully loaded, both expansion wise and player wise. Considering that fact our game took approximately 1:45. That’s pretty good really. 

This was the first time I’d played with Thieves in the mix. And needlessly to say the first time with Whims. Like Istanbul Five Tribes is a game that the expansions add to them in a good way. And at the moment both are on the right side of not being a step too far. 

In Whims controlling the “fabulous” city tiles gives you a nice bonus at the end scoring depending on how many you control. Control all 5 that’s 125 points! I managed three for 45 points.

Thieves gives you a Thieves deck that you can buy from instead of the djinn row. The thief can be used and then discarded after use, or if unused at the end counts as points like a djinn.

The lake tile from Whims has players vying for control of the adjacent tiles, especially those with palms or palaces on because it doubles their value. 

I liked playing with the expansions, they add some great alternate ways to amass points. But they haven’t added too much complexity to the game. If anything that’s mostly in the set up. I was concerned about the fifth player. But it worked ok with the extra player. Usually expansions that add an extra player are detrimental to the game. But this didn’t feel like that.

I can just about fit everything into the core box and the Whims box. A custom insert might take that down to just the core box. 

“Epic” Five Tribes or “Fully Loaded” is a fun experience. Not sure I’ll be playing the core game much, it’s going to be “all in” every time (unless playing with a noob). 

We had a laugh or two playing. Chris’s friend Chris won. Another great Friday evening gaming.

No Life Friday 28th July 17 – minor update 

This morning on BBC Radio 5 Live (the only radio station I listen to) they were asking for suggestions of things to do with the family on a rainy Summer holiday day.

Naturally I sent in the following text to the news team in response to their question.

Not long after sending it they read it out on air including the game suggestions (minus MtG and Pokemon).

Naturally, (well I say that, but I’m making a big assumption they aren’t hobby gamers) they hadn’t heard of the games. But the one reading the text out politely said she was going to look into them. I wonder if they will actually do that or they were just saying so and then not doing anything. 

The only gaming thing I did yesterday was take delivery of a couple of items. I got the third and final figure of the last Star Wars: Imperial Assault wave which was a Jawa. Plus some more target buys for Star Wars: Destiny. Target buying is now my main way of getting cards I’m missing now. It’s the cheaper option. 

I did go and see Spider-Man Homecoming for a second time. It really is a great movie that can be watched multiple times. 

Holiday Wednesday

Yesterday Dale and I spent the afternoon playing Star Wars: Destiny at The White Lion. I tried initial versions of two decks. The first was a FN-2199/eUnkar Plutt/First Order Stormtrooper. 

Which doesn’t have a cool name (afaik UPDATE: A friend Chris Shaner has informed me it’s called FuNkar) like the other initial deck I played, which is called emokids.

I played both as elites (which is why I put an e in front of a name, to signify that that character is elite, i.e. played with two dice not one). Luckily my target buys arrived in the morning so I could play Darth Vader. 

Dale was playing his Maz/Snap/eRey deck.

Out of four games my FN/eUnkar/First Order Stormtrooper won a single game. That was when the stars aligned, the dice and cards smiled on me, and everything went my way.

But Dale’s deck is such a nasty action cheat. With Force Speed on Rey, playing an upgrade weapon with Ambush on her could see Dale taking an additional 4 actions, one of which is activating Maz with her resolving two dice, by the time it’s my turn again Dale is more or less finished and ready to claim the battlefield. Which if he has his two plantery uprising outs is four points of damage. 

What I don’t get about FFG is that they nerfed the Ammo Belt/Second Chance because “this has not proven to be a strong combo at a competitive level, it warps more casual games and is difficult to deal with“. But this action cheating is a problem both at casual and competition level but no they don’t nerf that. It’s possible to do the “massive” amount of damage to get through the Ammo Belt/Second Chance. There isn’t much you can do about this action cheating. It feels like you are just a spectator, there isn’t anything you can do but sit there and take it. If you have a character alive or not critical at the end of it you are lucky. This is what FFG should have errata’d. 

Before playing the emokids, Dale and I did some quick trading of cards that saw me getting a second Sith Holocron.

Although my emokids didn’t win a game I found those games more “fun”. Having two Sith Holocron cards made a big difference. I was much more consistent drawing the card in my opening hand. Although getting an upgrade ability to go with it was a little less reliable.

One or two of the emokids games were close. But the plantery uprising was a game winner. However the amount of damage possible with the emokids is surprising. The first game, activated Darth Vader first ,double special rolled, that’s 6 damage. A bit more consistency on hitting Darth’s specials and taking a character out turn one or two with the aid of Kylo this could be a nasty deck to be up against.

I did have the new expansion for Five Tribes called Whims of the Sultan. This adds a fifth player (not sure if I’ll ever use this, if it played well with five it would have been in the base game), and six new tiles, two djinns, some Whims cards for the new tiles. 

Sadly when I opened up the box inside I had two sheets with the new order and bidding tracks, and a missing sheet of tiles. 

Once again I’ve managed to find the wonky needle in the haystack. Naturally I’ve emailed the retailer I bought it from. I’m awaiting a reply, which should be today. 

I know this will shock you but I didn’t buy the last wave of Villians and Allies for Star Wars: Imperial Assault. But organising the minis Tuesday reminded me to rectify this. So while the Jawa is still on its way, the BT-1 and 0-0-0 Villain Pack and Hera Syndulla and C1-10P Ally Pack did arrive.

I have seen rumblings by one or two online that if the app for Imperial Assault doesn’t get released soon they are selling up. The app would be nice, it would be cool to have that campaign co-op option. I enjoyed the Descent app experience. So I’m looking forward to the app for Imperial Assault. But to sell up if it doesn’t come out. That’s extreme and cutting your nose off despite your face. 

So that’s my Wednesday. That’s how rock ‘n roll my holidays are. 

A Lazy Day Organising

I forgot to post this screen grab from the Star Realms app the other day. It’s something else I haven’t done in a really long time in the game. Yep it’s been a while since I’ve smacked some-one down with this much damage. 

It’s Summer holiday time so I’m chillin’ until I have to go back into work for a day next week.

So am I spending my time productively? Nah. I’m being a slob.

I did finally open up the last wave of Star Wars Imperial Assault I bought (a few months back) this morning. Aren’t these minis brilliant?

I even popped out, got some organiser trays (need to get more) from the local QD, so I could organise the games minis. I’d used these trays successfully for organising my Zombicide survivors. So I knew these were perfect for the Imperial Assault minis. I also got the smaller ones shown below to put the tokens for the game in.

I also sorted out the tiles by expansion. At some point I need to motivate myself and work out a solution for the cards in the game.

So there you have it, a day in the life of some-one with no life.

Oppression Averted – Carry On

Yesterday the stars aligned that Diego and I were both free and had the time to get Star Wars: Rebellion to the table. 

After scientifically choosing who picked the side they wanted to play by tossing a coin. I was the Empire for our second game, which naturally meant Diego was the Rebel scum.

For our second game we went all in using the full setup. Which meant we were using the action cards with their abilities and not just for recruiting, we had two random action cards from the one use ones. Our starting systems were chosen by selecting the first three rebel systems from the probe deck and also the first five Empire systems. And then allocating our forces as we saw fit between them (although there was a minimum force requirement I think for the Empire on each system). 

Just the way the cards fell I was able to drop my Death Star and some back up units  , like some ties and troopers to split the Rebel starting systems.

Early on I drew project cards that allowed me to build a Super Star Destroyer and blow up a system (Bothawui) with my Death Star. So I did, because I could. That destroying Bothawui would come back and haunt me later on.

Diego did far better than I did as the Rebels. He completed more missions than I did. Luckily in the final couple of rounds some serious rules lawyering stopped him from destroying my Death Star. But it was my earlier “it was fun to do” destruction of Bothawui that gave Diego the final point he needed to win. He had a mission that gave him a point for each destroyed system. 

One more turn would have given me victory with my newly commissioned second Death Star able to move in and blow up the Rebel base. But it was never to be.

It still amazes me that with epic games like Rebellion that the time flies by. You get so engrossed in the game you lose track of the time. It took just over four hours for the Rebels to bring an end to my tyrannical grip on the galaxy. 

A great afternoons gaming. Thanks Diego.

Climbing Magic

After a fun (for me) morning of opening a booster box of Star Wars: Destiny Awakenings and filing them away yesterday, it was the second attempt at the Fenland Gamers Magic the Gathering League.

After the first attempt to start this league I was left feeling a little bruised. So I was really relieved when people started showing up. 

The night before I’d been given the heads up that a couple more players would be coming along. My mental head count said there should be 10 of us playing. I was hoping I hadn’t forgotten anyone. The Amonkhet booster box of 36 packets would cater for 12 players. I had breathing room for 2 unexpected players if need be. 

We would be following the Magic the Gathering League format (rules here) that usually runs over 4 weeks. Ours will differ slightly, instead of weeks it’ll be meet ups. Otherwise we are exactly the same. So everyone buys 3 booster packs (£7) and builds a 30 card deck from them to play with. Then each meet up you are allowed to buy a booster pack to strengthen your deck with. If you loose 3 games in a row you can also buy an additional booster pack to help improve your deck.

What I like about this format is that it’s accessible to new, casual and experienced players. It doesn’t rely on having spent lots on cards (although we do have to use extra lands for the decks). It’s also a format you can join at any time during its running and just start playing and not be at a disadvantage.

We all cracked open our three packs, started organising the cards we’d pulled, and started building our decks. 

I think Justin got the find of all the packs opened. He pulled an Invocation. I should have took a photo (which I only just thought about as I write this post). It’s potentially worth a bit of money. 

My first game of the afternoon was against Charlie. Which I lost. But at least during the game I was able to remove his hand of two cards by forcing him to discard them. Which delayed his plans by getting rid of his two 7/7 flying creatures. 

My next game against Chris saw me do better but still loose. One more lose and I can strengthen my deck with another booster. 

The following 3 games were against the least experienced players in the room. I walked away with victories but they felt hollow. I always feel like the school bully when I win these games. 

My final game of the afternoon was against Michael. His deck was just nasty. He enchanted a flying creature so it had life link. I had not drawn either of my two bats, he’d forced me to discard five (iirc) cards from the top of my deck to my graveyard. Which got rid of the one card I could have played to kill off his flyer. It was an achievement I suppose that Michaels health was 21 when I died and not 35 (which was his final health when he defeated Charlie).

The feedback I’ve been getting was people had a good time. Which I’m chuffed about. I’m also chuffed that at last one of these events was a success.

A big thank you to Fenrock for hosting the event. We really do appreciate it. 

A very big thank you to those that came along and making this a success and so much fun.

The next league day is the 12th August, same time and place. 

Fenland Gamers Heavy Board Game Challenge: Scythe Game 1

It’s been an emotional 24 hours or so. The news of the death of the lead singer of Linkin Park stirred up some things. I wish I could talk more openly about it (I have to consider how it impacts stuff in the real world like work, and family), but because of the nature of his death, my experiences over the years, it had more of an impact than I’d have thought. So a night of gaming was something to look forward to and more than a welcome distraction from those demons. 

Last night instead of the regular FEG@WL we had the first of a series of game sessions that were focusing on a gaming challenge that Chris had came up with.

About a month ago (it may be a little longer, but who really cares when exactly it was? It’s not a court of law) Chris came up with the idea of trying to get some of our more complicated, bigger games to the table more often so we could really explore them. You know get a feel for different tactics etc. Something we rarely got to do. Not because we didn’t want to, but with us owning so many games, and new purchases, we just weren’t getting the chance to. So on our Facebook group Chris ran a survey to first get a list of “big” games members had in their collection they wanted to have considered for the proposed 5×10 Heavy Board Game Challenge. That list was then voted on and the top five chosen. 

Chris chose Scythe from that list as the first one to get to the table. A good selection. Mind you I would say that considering it’s my number 1 game.

We were playing with my copy of the game which apart from the “realistic” resources (which I don’t like the look of) I have everything (oh and I don’t have the Secret Cabal promo). Which means with the Invaders from Afar expansion we have a good variety of factions to choose from. But more importantly metal coins. 

I think this was the first time I’d played a five player game. Definitely the first time playing Polania. Chris was playing Rusviet (which I haven’t won playing with, is still my favourite because of its ability and cool tiger). Jonathan was Albion, Edmund played Togawa Shogunate, and first time visitor and friend of Chris, Chris (hence known as new Chris) played Saxony. 

Naturally Chris got to the factory first and camped there with his hero and a mech. It’s hard not to get there first with his faction. I managed to beat him in combat to gain control of the factory to get a factory card. But lost it on Chris’s next turn as he jumped straight back in and won control back. I think we were the only two to actually go to the factory all game.

There was a little miss understanding over the end game scoring tile. I’d miss read it as buildings adjacent to tunnels when it was in fact buildings on tunnels. Which would have changed where I’d built. So we all agreed to change that tile to adjacent. Which was very kind of everyone to agree to that. I wasn’t the only one who had made that mistake. But still. Plus it made very little impact to the end results.

Your faction power breaks one of the games  fundamental rules. On my favourite Rusviet that’s being able to repeat the same action after having just taken it. For Polania it was being able to chose two options from the encounter cards. Something I only did twice, I really should have been making more use of this ability and grabbing more encounter tokens. 

Was I distracted by having 2 desserts (don’t judge me!) while playing? Nope. They were my consolation prizes. That’s the excuse I’m using and sticking with. 

I could see from the board state I wasn’t going to be in the running for top spot. I wasn’t controlling nearly enough territory, nor had I completed enough objectives ( a sad 2).

I’d been creeping up the popularity track, while the others were stuck in the first points area on it, I was close to getting into the third and maximum points when scoring. But I didn’t have the territory control to make maximum use of that fact.

When new Chris triggered the end of the game I was still a good couple of turns from being in a competitive position for scoring. But as the dust settled, and we counted up our coins Edmund emerged victorious by a point. Well done Edmund on beating Chris by the slenderest of margins. I unsurprisingly came last.

A great game. A blast to play even at 5 player. I wouldn’t want to play with more than that. A great evening, with amazing people. I’m looking forward to our next play.

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