Monthly Archives: October 2017

Look over there

Not over here!

Last night I introduced Liz, Dave and Justin to Kemet.

Why would I introduce to newish gamers a game like Kemet? Liz loves Scythe, her enjoyment of Dead of Winter was some what lacking, and apparently she did not enjoy Eldritch Horror. There was a theme developing here. Co-op games, and potentially games that use dice were not ones Liz enjoyed. So this is why I went with Kemet.


Like Scythe each player has a board that they select their actions from. Unlike Scythe the player boards are identical, where in Scythe you do have the same actions but they are combined differently. For example your produce action may have enlist paired with it, while another player may have build paired with their produce action. You do have a little resource management as you manage your prayer points, which is kind of similar to managing your bolster popularity in Scythe. There is some hand management with the divine intervention cards and battle cards. Although the combat system has more in common with A Game of Thrones.

Naturally Kemet is much much more aggressive to play than Scythe. Combat plays a much bigger role in the game. As does politics! When some-one is about to win the game with their 8th victory point, as I was, then the others ganged up to deny me by taking back some of the temporary victory points I had. First up in the gang of three to do this was Justin who reclaimed his level 4 pyramid, but forgot to leave a soldier behind on the temple he had taken his forces from. So my response was to move into the temple that was just vacated and get the point back. Next up Dave. He teleported in to the temple and won the ensuing battle. With the permanent victory point and the temporary one, that put Dave on to 8 points and able to claim the win at the end of the round. That put Liz into a difficult position. I was sitting on 7 points, her plan had been to move into my city and take my level 4 red pyramid. But if she didn’t stop Dave he would win. Liz wasn’t sure she could beat Dave in battle if she teleported into the temple. I gave her some advice with the divine intervention cards she had, plus the right battle card, she didn’t need to win, just kill all of his troops. With the cards in hand there was no way Dave could stop Liz killing them all. So that is what Liz did. She jumped into the temple, lost the battle, and killed all of Dave’s forces. Dave lost the temporary victory point.

Here’s the cunning part of this plan. While Liz used her last movement action to stop Dave it meant she couldn’t move in and take my pyramid. This also meant that no one was now able to attack me because all movement actions had been taken by everyone. So for my last action of the game I upgraded my blue pyramid from level 3 to level 4. Bang the last victory point that I needed to get to 8 and no one could stop me. I had won! That distraction of “look over there, if you don’t do something they will win” and “what me? nothing to see here, I’m I can’t win I’m on 7 points” worked a charm.

Liz liked the game, as did the others. Next Tuesday it’s A Game of Thrones!!

Gisharth’s Army

Welcome to the start of a long and laborious series of posts where I work through building my process (based on the template suggested by The Command Zone, with input from The Prof at Tolarian Community College).

My Commander is…


Considering the title of this blog post, is it really a surprise? So I am running a three colour mana deck. As the rather crude image at the start of this post says, this will be a dinosaur tribal deck. I think it has to be to make use of Gishath’s ability.

Here is The Prof with a short information film about how to choose the right commander.

Obviously I have followed The Prof’s most important rule when selecting a Commander to play with:
I want to play dinosaurs, I want a big fun dinosaur commander. Who in their right mind doesn’t want to play dinosaurs right now? Nope pirates are not even close, so don’t go there. Just for the record in the current set Ixalan, it’s dinosaurs, merfolk, then vampires, and finally the over rated pirates. Why do I hate pirates? Those awful (and that’s the most positive word I can think about them) movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Unlucky for me I don’t seem tick some of the other factors that he hints we might like to consider.

Gishath is not a cheap commander to cast, at a converted mana cost (cmc) of 8. Which means I am breaking his following advice:

But considering this is the only dinosaur commander, then I have no choice but to accept that I won’t be getting Gishath out on to the battlefield early.

I do know that being red, green and white I have ticked one of The Prof’s recommendations.

Having access to those three colours of mana means I can use, or at least have access to all the dinosaurs that are in Ixalan. Which is what I want in a tribal deck (I think).

I’m not sure in what universe Gishath would not be considered an immediate threat when it enters the battlefield. Gishath has trample, vigilance and haste. Plus when it does damage to another player you draw cards and get to put into play any dinosaurs drawn! So I kind of break the following rule from the Prof.

I have to consider the following questions that The Prof raises:

  • is my commander my win condition?
  • does my commander enhance the existing synergy of my cards?
  • is my commander a tool that strengthens my position in the game?

That first point is important, The Prof says that your commander shouldn’t be your win condition because your commander will always be a target and get removed. He recommends you have multiple win conditions, and that you are able to win without your commander. The Prof suggestions a commander that enhances an existing synergy within the deck is the stronger route to go. Considering I haven’t built the rest of the deck yet it’s a hard one to say whether Gishath will do that or not. But it’s something I will need to consider when looking at cards.

In my next post in this limited series I will start looking at constructing my commander deck, starting with my mana base for the deck.

Cake and Magic

It doesn’t get much better than a student baking (this was a belated cake to celebrate German Unification that happens on 3rd October) and bringing it in to share.

Not only that, it’s enrichment for my students today. So it was great to see them playing with their new Magic cards that they have purchased, and their welcome decks. One got the Huatli Planeswalker deck, another got the latest deckbuilding kit. Some games of Magic were played by them. A couple have downloaded a life tracking app to use while playing to track their life totals. There has been 1 v 1, 2 v 2, games.

Yesterday one of my students came up to me and said he’d been watching Magic videos on YouTube all weekend, and wants to play Commander now. So looks like in his enrichment session I will have to bring in my Commander 2017 decks for him to try.

Naturally I have to play the odd game with them. If a student manages to beat me they take great pleasure in that. They have had to work for that victory, I haven’t let them win. The games have been pretty close when I have lost. I know that once they improve then they will easily beat me. My win record against more experienced players proves that.

But it’s all good because we have had delicious cake as we play.

What have I started?

We survived!


Saturday evening Justin,Liz,Dave and myself attempted to survive the harsh cold zombie apocalypse as depicted in The Dead of Winter.

Earlier in the day I finally punched out the tokens etc for the expansion/stand alone game The Dead of Winter: The Long Night, and integrated in some of the modules to the core game. Considering that Dave and Liz were both new to the Dead of Winter universe, I thought it best not to use the Raxxon and Bandits modules. I didn’t think that the improvements module or the other additions added so much that it would make it overwhelming to a new player.

I did like that the Long Night added thick cardboard versions of the locations. I much prefer this compared to thin cardboard almost paper like ones in the core game.

The location decks were generated the suggested random way when combining the new cards into the core game of shuffling the cards for each location and dealing twenty out to make the location deck.

The main objective we selected for the game was the above one from the Long Night. You don’t think about it at the time of selecting, but when you start to put the zombies out on the board, 18 zombies basically means every space outside the colony is full. Adding or moving anyone to the colony would mean that unless you have also killed some zombies at the colony they would be over run and survivors would die. Not having anyone at the colony did have the benefit that we would not have to find food for them.

So with more characters, more crossroads cards, more crisis’s, just more of everything, I think that the variety added is massive.

Starting out, outside of the colony was weird. But it allowed us to search for items early without first having to move to the location and roll for exposure. But we couldn’t sit tight forever. We would have to move into the colony at some point and start taking care of that zombie infestation.

We soon started to find survivors and having to find food for them, because they get added to the colony. Which in turn meant we had to start chipping away at the zombie horde at the doors.

Time was running out. 5 turns is not a lot of time. By turn three arrived we had not really achieved much. Ok averted a couple of crisis’s. But the population at the colony had crept up. If we could kill enough zombies, taking into account the number we would have to add at the end of the round before checking for the win condition, we would be able to win the game. We couldn’t fail the current crisis, that would add a further 9 zombies if we failed that. But we could afford to fail the feeding the colony. So we started killing zombies. First using abilities that didn’t require rolling for exposure. They are the best kills. Then some more risky ones that we passed the exposure rolls with flying colours.

We’d done it, we had met the main objective win condition. Although it turns out that there was no betrayer (although I think Liz’s suspicions that Justin was a traitor were justified based on a couple of actions/decisions he made during the game). Sadly no-one achieved their personal objective.

Next time I’ll add in the bandits module.

Guildsmen 

Remember my post about my students enthusiasm for Magic since being introduced to the game? They are even emailing me (at work) telling me about their new purchases.

After spending most of the day tucked up on the sofa sipping lemsip and having snoozes, fighting the symptoms of man flu, I dragged myself off my sickbed to play Guilds of London. Maybe we should have played Pandemic instead the way I was feeling.

Guilds of London was lasted played by Jonathan and myself in June 2016. Basically just after last years expo where we both bought the game (my copy was signed by the designer Tony Boydell, while Jonathan forgot to get his signed). Like Covert (and many others in our collections) Guilds of London has been kept away from the table by the cult of the new, and other great games. Which is a shame because this too is a really good game. It’s not a game for new players to the hobby, or those that like lighter games. Which is also a factor that kept it away from the table.

Naturally with with just two players we used the two player setup for the game. And after refreshing our faded memories about the rules, I took an early lead.

There was a major struggle for control for the Church of St Lawrence Jewry. 4 points and four cards were at stake. After three attempts to resolve it, we were still tied. The fourth time it went to Jonathan. But not long afterwards realised that the third tie I should have claimed it because I had a guildmaster adjacent to the tile.

It was not until the final three rounds that Jonathan caught up score wise and over took me to get the win.

Guilds of London is still a great game, with still its main problem being decoding the meaning of the cards. It should have had four player aids instead of just the two. 

After the game Jonathan and I chatted, but I wasn’t feel too good. Playing the game had taken it out of me. I was getting hot, and the effects of the lemsip were wearing off. 

A great evening gaming, but it nearly killed me!

Magic Bug Bites

I still have enrichment sessions with my students this year. So once again I approached WotC directly to see if I could get some of the 2017 (Amonkhet based) Welcome Decks for Magic the Gathering.

And once again WotC were generous enough to send me about twenty decks to give to students to learn to play Magic the Gathering with.

The Welcome Decks arrived Monday, so I started handing them out to students in this weeks enrichment sessions. Sadly for my level 2 students this has meant they have only been able to get a couple of the packs. The rest have been distributed to my level 3 students during their enrichment session.

I was not prepared for how hooked they would become. After the enrichment session they went to lunch. When I went through our cafeteria, there were some of my students playing with their Welcome Decks. They had even come up with their own format of 2 v 2, that was very close to a two-headed giant format. They had separate life totals and shared mana. Which was very impressive indeed.
Despite getting literally nothing, the Magic bug has also hit some of my level 2 students. I have had students staying in the classroom playing my Magic Duel decks over their lunchtime.

Naturally some are already asking how do I get more cards? So I am directing them to my FLGS The Hobbit Hole, plus apparently there is a comic shop nearby to where I work that sells Magic cards as well (although I believe they are not able to run official Magic events like prerelease).

But it is so cool to see this excitement about a game. I need more Welcome Decks, but asking for more like Oliver Twist with his empty bowl with WotC after they have been so generous already makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

I’d love to be able to give some free deck boxes similar to the cardboard ones the stores give when you join a Magic League. However I know there is not a chance in hell of getting them out of WotC. They reserve that sort of thing for stores only. And for sure stores won’t give this sort of stuff away. They understandably want to use these things to get players into their stores. Maybe one day I’ll be able to solve this problem and give my dream starting experience to Magic for my students.

Fenland Gamers Monthly Meetup October 2017

These monthly meetups come around fast. This month Jonathan, Debbie, Katie and myself met up at The White Lion to play some games.

Before hand I had looked at my collection and was once more indecisive about what to take along. I think the only game I was positive about taking along was Red7. It didn’t help my indecisiveness that I wasn’t really sure if Debbie was coming along or not. She had asked where the meetup was taking place, but hadn’t really said “yes I’m coming”, or if her partner was coming along also.

I thought I would take along Lunarchitects. But could I find it? Sad thing was it was in a place I had dismissed it from being because I thought it was another game!

Jonathan was already at The White Lion when I got there, and Katie arrived seconds after I did. I bought out Red7 as a quick game we could play while waiting for others to show up. While teaching Katie how to play, Debbie arrived. So we dealt her in, and went over the rules again with her. After a couple of games of the basic game (which I won), we stepped it up to the advanced rules. Which Katie went on to win. I do like the fact that you have these two modes of play, plus optional rules you can mix in. So you can quickly teach the game using the basic rules, or just use the basic rules if you have a five minute gap to fill. Then you can kick in the advanced rules, or if you are experienced players just jump straight in with the advanced rules. That’s some nice flexibility.

We followed Red7 up with Sagrada. Which was new to both Debbie and Katie. So Jonathan and I taught them the art of making a stained glass window with dice!


Jonathan and I both mucked up and couldn’t complete our windows, and we both used up our tokens on the available tools. Whilst Katie and Debbie both completed their windows, and had tokens left over. If you are picking up that Debbie and Katie owned Jonathan and myself at this game, then you are right, they did. In fact they drew on the score, so it had to go to the tie breakers. Which gave Katie the win.

Another great evening of gaming.

The adventure begins…

A couple of weekends ago I started playing The 7th Continent solo. I’m attempting the recommended first curse “The Voracious Goddess”. Which will be my third attempt! The first two plays were with a second player (different each time). And we never got past a certain point. Which reminds me I am going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible. But I don’t think  it will be possible to do that completely.

For the record I am playing this with all the expansions added to the game, including the bgg promos from GenCon. That means I can possibly come across rockworms (or devourers), plus there can be weather effects as well to consider.

For this first curse I chose the character Victor Frankenstein. Being able to hold an extra idea card is a handy ability to have. Plus I knew coming up one of his skill cards would prove really useful to have.

Because of the previous two plays, I knew exactly what I needed to do to progress past the stumbling block we had hit in them. While doing this streamlined route through the first section of the curse I was able to get three bits of food, build some snow shoes, and built some weapons.

By the time I had completed the first section I was looking in very good shape for my health. I think after eating the food and using one of Victor’s cards, I had only three or four cards at most in the discard pile.

I headed North East from the starting area when presented with three options for direction to travel in. My earlier decision to take the time to make some snow shoes proved very fortuitous. I wasn’t expecting them to be so useful so soon after making them.

It was here at my landing point that I managed to tame a platypus. I would love a pet platypus in real life, so when presented with the option of killing one for food (the easier of the two options) or attempting to tame one, I chose naturally to try and tame it. Now I have a platypus following me around that improves my chances of catching fish! luckily it hasn’t been scared off by the monster I have following me around either. Yeah I know a little cliched, Frankenstein creating a monster, but hey I’m all about the cliche.

All this took me a couple of hours play. I had promised myself that I would map out my route as I played. But I forgot all about it as I explored away. I enjoyed playing The 7th Continent with others. But I absolutely loved it more as a solo game. It also means playing solo I can make more progress because I can get it back to the table easier.

Look out for the next update on Victor’s adventures in the strange land of The 7th Continent.

My Commander Deckbuilding Homework

I’ve already pondered on here about the Commander I want to build a deck around.

But I’ve not build a Commander deck before. So this process will be documented on this blog in a series of posts (yes I’m going to bore you with more MtG posts, if you haven’t been bored enough with them already).

However there are some useful videos on building a Commander deck on line.

The first is from The Command Zone podcast. It gives a template to use as the basis for your own deckbuilding process. I’ll be using this template for the basis of building my first deck.

It’s definitely worth looking at the links in the description of the video. There is a lot of useful stuff there, plus a link to a list of essential cards for Commander decks.
They mention another channel that I enjoy Tolarian Community College. I like his style, light humour and honesty. In fact I think his “is such and such value for money” influenced my posts. I’ll say influenced because they are posts and not videos. But you could easily say copied as well, and I wouldn’t disagree.

Here is a video by The Prof about building a three colour mana base in Commander. Which is what I am going to have to do for my first Commander deck.
You can find a whole playlist of The Prof’s videos about Commander basics HERE.

While I am talking Commander, we have a Commander session planned for the 21st October at Fenrock for anyone (locally really) interested in playing. It’s free to attend, you just need to bring a Commander deck with you, which could be one you have built yourself or a precon. I know I will be using a 2017 precon myself if I haven’t finished building my first deck. You can find more details in the events section of the Fenland Gamers Facebook page.