All posts by Darren

What the fluxx?!

Do you think I have a fluxx problem?

Like Love Letter I seem to have amassed one or two editions of Fluxx.

My current favourite is the Adventure Time one, closely followed by the Batman the Animated Series one.

Star Fluxx with its sci-fi tropes at one time was my favourite. But new versions arrived and usurped it. So it sits happily in third spot.

Tied for fourth are Zombie and Cthulhu Fluxx. They haven’t been to the table nearly as often as the higher placed versions.

Which currently leaves Firefly Fluxx as my least favourite version at the moment. I had high hopes for this when it was announced. But playing it, it seemed a tad disappointing. Especially with its lack of creepers. 

I’ve not had a chance to play the Math Fluxx. So can’t say where that fits in the rankings.

I’m pretty sure there will be other editions that get added to the Fluxx collection. 

It is a fun little filler, that goes down well with none gamers. My students love it.

What more can I say about this chaotic game?

Tokaido hits app stores

The beautiful relaxing boardgame Tokaido finally hit the apps stores today.

They really have done a great job bringing the game to the small screen. It has a video game feel to it, but looks and plays like the boardgame. 

There is a solo mode against an AI opponent(s), pass and play, plus online play.  Which covers most bases.

You should be able to get the game by clicking on the appropriate link for your system below.

iOS (£6.99) Android (£5.99)

Oh my ign is Whitespider1066 

The NSPCC Big Board Game Day All Nighter – What to play?

I’ve spoken about the first world problem of what games to take for a game night before. 

But with two weeks left before The Fenland Gamers do their bit for the NSPCC Big Board Game Day event (it’s the 31/3/17). Thoughts have turned towards what to play during our twelve hour gaming session running from 7pm to 7am. Yep an all nighter.

Jonathan started the whole discussion off yesterday with his post on the Facebook event page we set up. 

But the choice of what to play is so hard. Obviously with such a long gaming session planned we can go for meatier games. But during the early hours of the night will we be lucid enough to play something complicated? 

The all nighter is also the ideal opportunity to get some of those games we love that haven’t been to the table for a while back to the table.

We have some hard decisions to make. Two weeks to chop and change our choices. 

Plus as Jonathan pointed out we only have twelve hours of play time! 

Oh the indecision ahead of us. Joy!

Naturally we are doing all this for charity, having fun playing games with friends is just a side benefit. If you’d like to make a donation/sponsor our horrible tedious game playing for the NSPCC Big Board Game Day you can visit our Just Giving page HERE. Thank you for your generosity. 

BSG the Boardgame MIA

Has FFG dropped Battlestar Galatica the boardgame and its expansions?

Take a look at this weeks Roll for Crit podcast where they discuss this very question. 

Click here for the video on YouTube if my self made attempt at embedding the clip doesn’t work.

It’s certainly true that the game isn’t listed on the FFG products section of the site, but you can go direct to the page from Google.

I’ve only recently got the base game. So if I like it the three expansions could start to get expensive. Look at how the prices of the Games Workshop licensed games and expansions went through the roof when that agreement dissolved. I’m not even going to attempt to get the expansions for Blood Bowl Team Manager or Space Hulk Death Angel. I mucked up on those and wasn’t quick enough grabbing them. Mind you they weren’t that easy to get hold of before the announcement.

So now I feel compelled to grab the expansions while I can and they are at an affordable price. Which explains why I pulled the trigger on the first Battlestar expansion Pegasus. Exodus and Daybreak won’t be far behind. Most likely payday. 

See FFG haven’t made any official announcement yet. All we have at the moment are conspiracy theories. 

There are possible innocent explanations. Are they going to do a 2.0? But then why take down the page? Or are we just looking at a programming bug or data entry error?

But to be on the safe side if you are a fan of the game and been sitting on the fence about any of the expansions, I’d be picking them up now while you can. If you have been wanting to buy the game, I too would be getting a copy now.

If the worst case scenario is true, that FFG have decided to no longer publish the game, then prices are going to get silly. We know they, recent history shows us they will. 

My final thought on this is “good job it doesn’t rely on an app.” But that’s another post entirely.

Apparently one year ago

Facebook this morning decided to remind me of this Instagram photo from a year ago.

Magic the Gathering Arena of the Plainswalkers is a really nice game based on the old Heroscape game. 

Which makes it a real shame that it is so poorly supported.

You need to be able to build squads and decks in this game. Which requires expansions to do that. Sadly only one ever made it out to the real world. Although a second kinda hit the US but I didn’t see it hit the UK. 

It also really needed terrain packs released for it. Although you could try and pick up second hand Heroscape terrain instead.

So although a fond memory to look back at. I’ll be selling my copy at this years UKGE hopefully. 

Tribes of the Mad King

How did your weekend start? 

Mine started off as usual. I got home, threw two games into a bag, got into my car, and pulled out of our tiny unadopted road.

Things deviated from the usual Friday night routine more or less within five seconds of the junction to our road.

I saw the following scene. A car stopped at an angle in the road. A grey hound lying on the pavement with a woman knelt beside it.  I thought maybe the dog had collapsed whilst being walked, and the woman needed help. I couldn’t explain the car. Or that the dog had got out and the owner had gone looking for the dog and found it. Truth be told I had no idea what had happened. But I did know a dog and it’s owner were in need of help. So I stopped to help.

It turned out the woman wasn’t the owner but had just hit the dog with her car. It had just run out into the road. 

There was a nasty gash on the front of the dog. It was important to keep the dog still. While the driver was looking for a vets number to call, I tried keeping the dog still, calm. I used a hanky to try and apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.

While this was going on a couple of the drivers colleagues pulled up and offered help. As did the owner of the dog. The owner had another dog with her. The hit dog had been “spooked” while the owner was trying to pick up its poo, and ran away.

The vet wouldn’t come out to the dog. The mountain had to go to Mohammad. The dog would need more than my blood soaked hanky on its wound to allow it to be moved.  I took off my hoodie and we used that to make a slightly improved bandage. The drive and colleagues with the owner got the dog on a blanket and moved it to the back of a car. 

I handed over a spare blanket I had in the back of my car, just in case it was needed by then. One of the colleagues offered to take the owner and her dog to the vets.

They departed off to the vets,  which is where I leave the story. 

I have no idea what happened to the dog. I’m hoping the vet was able to save the dog. A bit of me is scared to try and find out. I don’t want there to be a sad end to the story. If I contact the vet to find out, that illusion of a happy ending is shattered. 

I loved Lassie movies as a kid. Yeah those old black and whites. But they would always have me in tears. Mind you so would movies like King Kong when Kong dies. You should see me at the end of the animated classic All Dogs Go To Heaven. I’m a mess.

When I arrived at The White Lion I went straight to the men’s room to wash off the blood from my right hand where I had been holding the hanky on the wound of the dog. Playing with a bloody hand might have freaked people out.

Our two games for the evening were two great games, Five Tribes and The Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Our first game of the evening was a favourite, Five Tribes, that hadn’t seen nearly enough time on the table. But that’s the draw back of having a collection full of great games. Too many great games, not enough time. It’s a first world problem. 

We played just the base game, no expansions. But we could have, but didn’t.

Early on I got a djinn that stopped my yellow and white meeples being assassinated from in front of me. Then I got one that made all my yellow meeples worth three points instead of one. I even assassinated a yellow meeple in front of Jonathan to make sure I had the majority. That’s ten points.

But it was obvious that Chris was going to win once he started to make use of his djinn ability and was placing the tents into his tile that could take tents. He had six on one space! Jonathan had gone the items route to scoring. Which is a route I don’t usually follow.

I think I only placed a couple of camels compared to everyone else. I used the auction stage to try and push up the price of first place and drain the others of money/points. Which worked sometimes, especially when the others were paying eighteen coins to get first place.

There was some serious analysis paralysis (ap) going on at times. Probably one of the few games we play where this goes on. Maybe we should introduce a timer to combat this instead of our current method of scarcasm. Which truth be told only really lengths the time eaten away by the ap.

Still a great game, in which Chris won, Jonathan came second. So I technically failed the “if I can’t win, come higher than Jonathan” goal, because I came third. 

Our second game of the evening was a new favourite of the clubs The Castles of Mad King Ludwig. 

This game is just so much fun. I was very focused this time. Stuck to my initial bonus cards. Got some nice tile scoring combos going. Spent a large portion of the game in front. I got lucky once or twice in that I only once had to spend a turn taking money. And the turns when I had a couple thousand in front of me I was left something I could buy that fitted in with my plans!

Somehow Jonathan amassed an incredible amount of money. That was worth 7 points to him in the end scoring. 7 valuable points that moved him from joint last to third.

I came second to Diego by three points. 

Do I need to say how the evening ended? Oh ok greasy slices of seasoned “lamb” meat delicately thrown into a wrap with a light “seasonal salad”, and a spicy chilli sauce.
Somehow I’d gone the whole day without watching Iron Fist on Netflix. When I woke up it hadn’t been released yet, then work got in the way! But once home and reunited with my wolf pack, it was time to snuggle up and start binging on the latest Marvel superhero to hit the small screen.

CMoN Gama News

With his latest project Rising Sun (the spiritual successor apparently to Blood Rage) clocking up the big money (having just gone over the $2 million mark at time of writing) on Kickstarter at the moment, Eric M Langa Langa Ding Dong has another sure fire hit on his hands. Looking at it, if The Others was described as “Eric’s take on Zombicide”, then Rising Sun to me looks like “this is Eric’s take on A Game of Thrones the boardgame”. Which obviously a lot of people are into (possibly, maybe) by the looks of the amount of money it has raised so far.

Anyhoo, the predictable success of Rising Sun is yesterdays news. And so is the rest of this post really. But it’s fresh “old” news!

Currently over in the United States of Trumpton, in the gambling mecca Las Vegas, the 2017 GAMA Trade Show is being held. This is where the publishers, distributors, designers etc. do show and tells to retailers for what is coming out later in the year. You now the sort of thing, make the retailer feel important, wine and dine them, wow them with sneak peaks, blow smoke up their rear ends, make promises. The usual stuff that makes up a trade show.

So my favourite company to hate CMoN (I still don’t know why they changed their name to something that sounds so much like male love juice, but hey who am I to criticise? I’m just going to keep snickering like a little school boy.) made one or two announcements at the show.

First up is A Song of Ice and Fire the Tabletop Miniatures Game.

I find this announcement so so interesting. A tabletop miniatures game set in the Game of Thrones universe, but having to use the series title. Which will be recognisable to fans of the books, but less so to the wider audience who will be more familiar with the AGoT name.

It’s this whole licensing thing that is interesting. Because we know that FFG have the license to AGoT. They have their LCG, the boardgame, Battles of Westeros, Trivia Game, Iron Throne, Hand of the King, plus others. So I’m not surprised that CMoN have had to use the slightly lesser known series title for their miniatures game.

I can’t imagine FFG being happy with the announcement. It directly competes with their Runewars Miniatures  Game. Not only that but uses similar trays to hold the armies on the table. Have CMoN licensed the Runewars system? It isn’t unprecedented for FFG to license a system to another publisher and competing product (X-Wing/Star Trek Attack Wing).

A Song of Ice and Fire will be hitting Kickstarter later in the year. Really does male love juice need to use Kickstarter to fund it? No, all Kickstarter is for them now is a pre-order system, and allows them to get free publicity from how it sets new funding records for a board game. What worries me for this sort of game is Kickstarter exclusives. It means Kickstarter backers could potentially have an unfair advantage having a powerful Kickstarter exclusive unit that is super powerful.

I do like this trend though from male love juice and FFG of releasing miniatures games that can be bought in a FLGS, opened up in the store, and played almost instantly at the store. Which Games Workshop still don’t get. They are still looking at releasing board games that you have to spend hours assembling before you can play them. If I’m going to get into this style of game then I’m more likely to go with the FFG/CMoN offereings because of this.

FFG must also be worried because a miniatures game with the better known AGoT ip will most likely out sell the lesser known Runewars ip of theirs. The FFG offering might hit the shelves of your FLGS before the CMoN one. But I think the Kickstarter might deny FFG of more than a few sales. Why buy the FFG one, when you have just backed the CMoN one?

Will this Game of Thrones tie in be enough to tempt me to break my boycott of CMoN? Would I be able to look myself in the mirror afterwards? We will have to see at the time of the Kickstarter and the price of the pledge level. FFG have the Runewars offering priced at $99 rrp on their website.

You can read the official announcement here.

Secondly  Eric M Langa Langa Ding Dong is totally CMoNs bitch now! Eric has been hired full time by male love juice as their Director of Game Design. Eric is a very prolific games designer. Although I have found he seems to have hit a rut, and starting to get a bit samey in the stuff he is doing. Some have pointed out that his best work is when he collaborates with others. And from social media he has been doing one or two projects in the past year or so with other designers.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out for Eric. Will it slow down his output? Financially it makes great sense for him I would imagine. A fixed regular income always helps.

You can read all about this here.

FEG@WL 10Mar17 

Life is full of hard decisions, such as which games to take to the game night. Luckily earlier in the day that decision had been made for me when Chris had said he’d got his copy of Great Western Trail. It was a no brainer. Yes we would like to play one of the current hot games!

I traveled light and took Mint Works and Archer: Once You Go Blackmail

Jonathan and I had a quick game of Mint Works while we waited for Chris to arrive.  It really is a nice little filler game. It’s what Nantucket should have aspired to be. But let’s not dwell on that train wreck. What is important is that I won this game of Mint Works.

Chris arrived mid game. But because this is such a fast game to play, especially two player, he didn’t have long to wait for my glorious victory.

Just after setting up Great Western Trail it dawned on Jonathan that we wouldn’t be finished in time for his very important date. So we quickly adjusted the setup for two players.

Jonathan left us knowing he now had to convince us at a later date to bring two games he really wanted to try back to the table. Ok we’d take no convincing, but in reality we’d probably make Jonathan beg. It would be the right thing to do until we usurp him from his Iron Throne.

So Great Western Trail, what do I think?

I like it. Like it a lot. I enjoyed it much more than A Feast For Odin.

I liked the deck building aspect, combined with hand management. Your deck represents your herd of cattle. Your hand the cattle you are trying to deliver to Kansas that run of the trail. When you hit Kansas you need unique types of cattle to score. But during the trail you need pairs, or specific types to trigger a tiles ability. 

The tile placing part is cool. And placing them presents some cool tactical decisions. Which will not only influence the route you take to Kansas but influence the choices of the other players.

You also get to recruit people, these people enable you to buy better cattle, build better tiles, or move your train more spaces.

As you deliver your herd to a city some cool stuff happens. Which includes deciding how you are going to upgrade your player board. Pulling into a train station first allows you gain an instant bonus plus an ongoing one. 

That’s just scratching the surface of the game. There is a lot of depth to this game.

Ok so there is one thing I didn’t like. In a two player game, if the second player triggers the end game, player one gets an extra turn.

It felt odd and wrong. The majority of games usually end so that everyone has had an equal number of turns. 

But the Great Western Trail way means player 1 gets a chance to score more points, which in our game was an extra thirteen points. Which made Chris’s margin of victory even greater than it should have been!

One extra coin at the start for the second player isn’t enough compensation for this. I think this will need a house rule to “fix”.

I’m still undecided whether there should be player aids for this game. I think I’m leaning towards yes there should be.

It really has been great that Chris joined our group. He may correct me on this but I think he might have an addiction issue for the hobby like Jonathan and myself. And he seems to be buying the latest hit games also. Which means my bank account looks a little bit healthier. Plus Chris will most likely cave and back CMoNs latest Kickstarter project Rising Sun. The spiritual successor to Blood Rage. Which would allow me to keep my blood oath of hate against CMoN. 

So Oracle of Delphi and Terraforming Mars to play and that will be the hottness of last year tried. I must do a look at the current bgg hotness list, it seems about the right time to do it again.

After losing to Chris, instead of the traditional meat orgy in a wrap, I went straight home to Strider. Strider had a bit of an issue with his back legs. So I wanted to be back for him.

March 2017 Monthly Meetup 

Once again it’s been a quiet week post wise here on the blog. That might be due to being rather busy at work this week. Certainly getting their monies worth out of me for sure.

A month passes pretty fast. It only seems like last week that it was the last monthly  meet up. Time flies fast when you are old like me!

Our first game of this months meet up was Starving Artists.

This Kickstarter project had arrived the day of the meet up, sitting there all packaged up, waiting for me to open it up. There was a pleasant surprise in the box it came in. Next to the sealed game was a play mat. I don’t remember ordering the play mat. But it’s something I would do. In fact as I wrote this bit I just popped over to the Kickstarter page to check what I had pledged for. I had selected the pledge level that gave me the game, play mat and all downloadable content.

That last bit has me intrigued about what downloadable content there will be. Now I’m going to have to go back and look through the campaign to find out what was said/promised. My memory is so bad. They were probably talking about print ‘n play.

I have to say this is a very pretty game. From the cute food shape player counters, and carrot shaped first player marker, to the beautiful art that has been chosen for the ninety plus cards. Mind you I love the play mat, it looks awesome.

The production quality of the whole game is very high. The linen finish on the cards, the wooden tokens, the box for the game with the player score track on it. It’s really nice.

I like that on the play and player mats where you have the colours of the cubes, you also get told how many of that cube there are. But that sort of help is all over the place. On the score track there are reminders of the game end conditions, and what happens when collecting cubes when selling a painting. On the play mat there is a reminder for spending two cubes to clear the market. Touches like this are very much appreciated.

Jonathan thought that using the first player counter to track morning/afternoon and evening superfluous. But I liked it. I can see people forgetting where they are in the sequence of the day.

Jonathan also didn’t like the collection of paint rule from the paint market when selling a painting. Basically it’s a round robin thing. The player with the highest value painting takes four cubes, then the second highest value takes two cubes, while the third takes one cube. Then you repeat until either everyone has taken the amount of paint cubes they are allowed to collect, or there are no more cubes left. So it is possible that a person gets no cubes because there are not many cubes currently in the market, or they get less than they should, while the other player gets more. I can see his point kind of. But I didn’t have an issue with this, if it was a choice between getting something or getting nothing. I’d take getting something every time.

I liked the multiple end conditions. So it could be a certain points target being reached (depending on how many are playing), or a certain number of paintings sold by a player, or a player starves to death. If one of those conditions are met, then the player with the highest score wins. You really do need to be aware of the other players and how they are doing on those fronts. Is it worth the player dying because they are in the lead, and they will win after the extra day is played by the survivors? Or are they near to completing that final picture to sell and reach that target. In our first game I triggered the end game by selling six paintings.

I liked the market place for the paintings. It’s one of those market places where new entries to the market start at the highest cost to buy, and gradually get cheaper as lesser cost ones get bought, and they move down the market place.

It was a very quick game to learn, and we learnt from the rule book in less than ten minutes (iirc, I wasn’t really timing it, but it was fast).

This is a nice, set collection game, that is beautiful to look at. It’s not a complicated game, some nice touches to it. Can be taught quickly. Yeah glad I got this. Plus with ninety plus cards (ninety two I think) for the paintings, there is a lot of variety.


Our second game of the evening was Mint Works. Still really like this, and if you keep an eye on the right of the page for what I have been playing recently, then you know this has been to the table a couple of times since Friday when I first played it. I’ve taught it to students, and now Jonathan and Katie. No one hates it yet!

I do hope that Mint Works and Starving Artists get to a wider audience other than the Kickstarter backers. Like AGES they deserve to be picked up and distributed to the unwashed masses.

Our evening of gaming finished with Archer: Once You Go Blackmail. You know I have one or two copies of Love Letter. So it’s fair to say that I like the game. I got this version because I wanted to see if any new mechanics/tweaks had been introduced to the game.

The main addition to this version of Love Letter is that the discarded card is now part of the game (now called the hidden card), and one or two of the abilities use that card. One even allows you to name one of the characters/cards, and if it is the hidden card, you win that round automatically.

It’s a nice touch, and Jonathan did like how this worked also. Although I did point out that Lost Legacy did something similar. But then this version of Love Letter doesn’t have that end game mechanic of trying to guess the hidden card at the end, that Jonathan really didn’t like (well apart from the sci-fi theme).

I like this version of Love Letter a lot. It’s a close call between this and Love Letter Batman as to which is my favorite one. The intelligence tokens are amazing and nearly as cute as the little Batman logos in Love Letter Batman. This is too close to call.

Anyway it was a really great evening of gaming. Oh now to decide what to play on Friday now.