All posts by Darren

Died in Winter – Again!

27 volumes of the Walking Dead graphic novels are sitting on my shelf. Which will be joined by a 28th in October. That’s a lot of zombies and people dying over the years.   And I have to be honest I nearly did stop reading the series until they did something that added a breathe of fresh air to the story. So it’s safe to say I’m a fan.

When it comes to the franchise appearing on the table I’ve only been tempted by the reskin of Bang! the Dice Game that was done. That was mainly because I thought it would appeal theme wise to my students. The other attempts at bringing it to the table haven’t grabbed me. I think mainly because other zombie games actually capture the feeling of the show much better.

For instance Zombicide captures nicely that feeling of your group of survivors fighting the zombie horde onslaught whilst trying to achieve some mission, like finding food. Then Dead of Winter also does a great job of capturing the feel of the show, especially with the traitor element. Whilst Zombicide is more about combat. Dead of Winter is more making sure your colony survives by scavenging for resources, and stopping crises happening. All the time not knowing if one of your group is trying to sabotage things. When the second expansion comes out later in the year you will have the colonies of both the Dead of Winter games competing against each other. Just like the colonies/factions warring in The Walking Dead.

Edmund, Justin, Jason and myself took on the bleak hopeless challenge of surviving the zombie apocalypse in Dead of Winter.

We’d started so well. First two rounds we had gained a morale, recruited a crap load of additional survivors. In fact out of the handful of times I’ve played the game, I can’t remember a game with such a great start. Definitely never had so many survivors. Every search seemed to throw up more survivors. I think we had over 10 extra ones!

Then the third round seemed to be going the same way. Disaster struck. Justin failed an exposure roll. A survivor got bitten. Justin had the lowest ranked character, so decided he would try and save his character. Sadly that roll failed. Two morale gone. Another character moved between locations, another bite. I tried saving two of my characters but they died from zombie bites. Within two player turns we had lost six survivors, the colony morale was devasted. Reeling from shock we failed to feed the colony, and failed the crisis. We were down to one morale.

Unsurprisingly we didn’t survive the next round. We weren’t able to complete the crisis and lost our final morale point.

We may have got decimated. Failed spectacularly. But we had a blast.

Looking forward to our next attempt at surviving the zombie apocalypse.

There’s gold in them there Dice!

Yesterday Dale and I played surprise surprise, some Star Wars:Destiny. 

It was his new eJango/eVeers deck against my new eVader/Raider deck.

The stats will show my deck won 6-2.

Early on it hit me that with two Vader dice out on the table, plus a force speed, force choke, two vibro knives, and two Sith Holocrons, that’s a lot of money sitting there. Depending on current prices and where you buy from, you are not going to work away with much change if any from £100. In fact I think it’s more than £100 easy. That’s a frightening amount to have sitting there in the table. If I go to a store tournament I’m hoping Dale can make it also. I want some-one trustworthy watching my stuff while I go to answer a call of nature. If Dale can’t make it I may just have to buy one of those card quivers. Which I have to admit I do like the look of. That way I’ll be able to easily carry my prized dice and cards with me.


I think I’ve said this before, but I like repeating myself, but with the two sets there are already more cards you’d like in your deck than there is space. This is only going to get worse with the next set. But it’s a delicious position to be in. It’s means there will be even more variety in decks. So yes you know the characters you are up against, and might have an idea of the “core” cards they might be playing, but after that it will be a pleasant surprise. 

I think I know after yesterday which cards I’m going to drop and replace with other cards I like the look of. That’s the nice thing about sessions like yesterday. I think you need to play a deck a few times to get a feel for how it plays, get an idea of where it’s weak, remove the bad dice rolls and card draw (if you can ever do that completely). Ideally playing it against several different decks is something I’d like to do. But I don’t have a deck library at the moment (something I may look into doing – especially if I start to take the tournament scene seriously).

Dale’s deck didn’t work for me at all. It was a vehicle deck, they weren’t really getting out, most of the time if they did it was late game. I don’t think Veers is a good match up with Jango. Jango is on my list of characters to build a deck round. I’m thinking I’d pair him with FN-2199 or Royal Guard. Veers might come into his own with the next sets emphasis on vehicles. If I was intent on playing Veers I’d pair him with Unkar maybe so I’d have the resources to pay for the vehicles. 

On the other news front, The 7th Continent arrived. I didn’t do an unboxing video, despite pressure from Jonathan to do so.

Instead I did an unboxing photos stream on Instagram.

Now all I’ve got to do is unpack the cards and file them away, read the rules, and finally get it to the table!

Micro Update 12/8/17

This is just a short and sweet post. “Thank god” I hear you say, after that big sigh of relief.

Thursday saw the “band of brothers” for want of a better name to call our band of happy go lucky adventurers, complete the first scenario/mission of the Descent app. 

We are still making the odd rule/play mistake but who cares? Learning as we go!

Naturally we spent our hard earned gold and experience in the nearby town. I got a better axe, and leather armour for my berserker dwarf. 

Then before going out separate ways selected to do a side quest, which will be saving some spiders! Found the tiles needed so we can jump straight in at the start of our next session.

Last night saw Edmund and myself playing Tiny Epic Quest. Seemed to get more done in the five rounds this time. I completed three quests, killed three goblins, got my legendary sword, and got to level 6 with my magic. But still I lost by two points to Edmund. So two plays and two loses. Yet I still love the game and had a great time.

Today we had the second league play event for our Amonkhet Magic the Gathering League. Which was once again well attended, and everyone had a good time. Even I did despite winning only two games out of the seven I played. I hope I do better at Destiny when Dale and I attend our first store event in September. 

Our next league play is the 9/9/17. But we are going to try and get a mid week game in before then.

Well I hope you enjoyed this short round up of my gaming over the last day or so. Normal long winded ramblings will resume in the next post I’m sure.

Monthly Meetup August 17

It was the time of month once again when those Fenland Gamers with nothing better to do, couldn’t think up a convincing excuse, or not imprisoned by their toaster partner, turned up to play games mid week.

6 is an odd number! Not many games play that many that don’t take an age to play. So we split into two groups for the evening.

Jeff and I played a learning game of my newest arrival, hot off the Kickstarter fulfilment wagon, Tiny Epic Quest. Whilst the other group played Five Tribes and Kingdomino.

I think most gamers (here I’m using the term to describe those that play video games) will have a fond memory or two of playing at least one of the Zelda games. Mine goes way back into the distance mists of time to the GameBoy, 1988/89 and The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening.

I loved the game. Since then I’ve played all the Nintendo hand held versions of Zelda. Plus some of the main console versions. I know Nath loves the games too. The latest Zelda offering on the Switch is one of the main reasons I want a Switch over the other current gen consoles.

But what has all this got to do with Tiny Epic Quest? 

Well for starters more than one owner of the game online has refered to it as Tiny Epic Zelda.

The art of the game although lovely and bright, definitely evokes the look of Zelda. Plus there is a game variant included called Gloomfall that flips over the map tiles to a darker looking art style. Mimicking the dark world of A Link To The Past. 

You complete quests that give you magical items to equip your heroes with. There is even a boomerang! 

When you are moving your heroes around the map it feels like you are wandering round an overworld map.

This sandbox style game, feels so much like a Zelda style boardgame. I think this is going to be the closest we get to one without the Zelda name attached to it. 

I love the ITEMeeples, and being able to attach the items you are able to earn through completing quests. Having legendary weapons that you get by completing temples, and “regular” items from quest cards. Is a great idea. The fact that players have to complete different temples in different order is a nice touch. And how awesome do the ITEMeeples look holding equipment?

When I was reading the rule book earlier in the day, I thought is this going to be one of those games that finishes too earlier? Where  you want the game to go on for one or two turns more so you can do everything you wanted to. After playing it. Yep it is. 5 turns is not enough. Jeff is right you could house rule a longer game. But I’d love to have seen something like Xia where you can decide how long a game you want to play. How you complete 10 quests or kill 10 goblins I don’t know in 5 turns to get maximum points on those tracks.

I love the push your luck element of the night phase. Rolling those dice on your turn. Hoping for the right sides. But it carries over to the rolls of the other players still adventuring. Being able to use the symbols that allow you to attack, or explore temples not only on your roll but on the other players rolls, love it. It’s the only way to complete temples or kill goblins. But it carries that risk you will take damage and get exhausted and lose all progress that turn.

There is a lot of replayability from the random map tile positioning, to the quests and which ones come out. Which dictates what items you can equip with. 

I like the taking turns selecting a movement action, with other players having the choice  of following it or idling and gaining a health or power back if they have a hero in a castle.

Like the other Tiny Epic games, the only tiny thing about the game is the box size. Once set up this takes up a large space on the table.

I think this might be my favourite Tiny Epic game pushing Tiny Epic Galaxies into second place. It played really well with two players. I’m keen to try it with the higher player counts. I think the night phase will be even more riskier, because it will be longer before you are able to rest. But you might be able to complete more also. I’m glad I ordered the playmat for this now (pictured below, and link HERE to get it). It looks amazing doesn’t it? Gamelyn really do a nice job on the playmat side for their games. 


Let’s finish off this post with a nice photo of me taken by Jonathan.

Duelling Dice 

Yesterday Dale and I met up at our almost ghost like work place to play some Star Wars: Destiny. I had to go there anyway to pick up my folding table for Saturdays MtG league play for The Fenland Gamers. Yes I have a folding 6ft table. Yes I use it at work for gaming and marking students work.

I started off with a FunKar deck. It was modified from my initial effort. I had a deck list shared with me by Chris Shaner. Our decks were not too dissimilar. I didn’t have all of the cards that Chris had in his deck (mainly second copies of some of the weapon upgrades), so I infilled. I’d guess this was 90% the list he shared.

Dale played his action cheating eRey/Maz/Snap (I think that’s the right elite character). It’s his broken action cheating deck that apparently according to FFG isn’t a problem! 

How’d I do against this nasty deck? Out of 4 games, FunKar won 3, lost 1. I was playing FN-2199 much better than the previous time I played this deck. The two supports Imperial Inspection and Salvage Stand made a huge once I started using them. I had singles before and never played them! The new deck plays 2 of each, and having them out and in play made a big difference. Stripping resources, sending upgrades back into hand. The other tweaks had an impact too.

Emokids that is such a great name for this pairing. Whoever came up with it deserves a pat on the back.

I had tweaked the deck with some newly arrived cards that allowed me to improve my chances of drawing the card I wanted, or replaced some cards I wasn’t using.

The emokids were up against Dale’s new deck eBaze/eLeia. It’s an aggro deck. Dale it the perfect roll at one point, or near as with 11 points of damage sitting there ready to hit me. 

How did the emokids do? Out of 7 games Dale won 5-2. One or two of them were very very close games. It was nice to win a couple of games with this pairing at last. The only weapon upgrade I play is the Vibroknife. All other upgrades are abilities I can swap in using the Sith Holocron special.    

So adding up those scores Dale took the honours for the day 6-5. We have a rematch next week.

I’ll put deck lists up in the next week or so. Also I’ve changed my collection page to a page of cards I’m after (it’s a shorter list). 

Modiphius Suck It

Like buses it seems Fallout games are coming along in pairs. 

Today FFG announced they will be releasing in the last quarter of 2017 a 1 – 4 player game based on the popular video game franchise Fallout.


Wait a game I won’t have to spend hours or even days assembling, one that I can buy and play straight away? Wow that’s ground breaking.

Modiphius can as the once WWE superstars Degeneration X said “Suck it!”

This is how you handle a popular IP that will appeal to non-gamers. This audience isn’t interested in spending hours cutting and gluing. They want to buy and play. Oh one or two might enjoy it but not the majority who this would appeal to. Let’s face it you don’t splash money out to buy an IP like this to appeal to your core market. You are trying to appeal to that wider audience that wouldn’t normally buy your stuff. How else are you going to make your money back on that expensive IP licence?

Let’s face it we have had a few popular IP licensed in recent years for miniature skirmish like games. Predator and Aliens, Terminator, and Walking Dead naming a few. How many do you see being played at your local FLGS or game club?

Look I can rant about this all night. At the end of the day I’ll vote like many others with my wallet. Which means my vote will be going to FFG, as I imagine the great majority of people’s votes. You can be certain of the fact the FFG game will outsell the Modiphius one by a big margin.

You can read the FFG announcement HERE

Thinking out aloud about tomorrow’s decks!

Tomorrow Dale and I do battle once again over this holiday period with Star Wars: Destiny.

I’ve tweaked my FunKar deck to be as close as I can to a deck list given to me by a friend, game designer and master player, Chris Shaner. I also need to tweak my emokids but I don’t have the cards yet for that.

I want to build something with the newly arrived Luke. My first instinct is eLuke/Rey. This is mono blue. 

Naturally Luke’s Light Saber and Rey’s Staff will be included. 

I’m also thinking maybe I could try him with one of the following. Which would give me access to yellow cards. 


Although Maz is another strong option. 

I can see myself also throwing together a quick and cheerful Jango/FN deck.

I’d like to see if this would be fun to play.

I’m half expecting to face Dale’s version of Vader/Raider. But then again it could be emokids too. Dale has just got both versions of Vader. So it’s not unreasonable to expect to see these decks, or at least one of them.

I think the only thing I can guarantee tomorrow is it will be fun.

Are you a toaster?

Yesterday Tiny Epic Quest snuck in and joined the Tiny Epic Galaxy Beyond The Black playmat in my “how much do the postal gods like me? challenge”. 

Some more targeted buys for Star Wars: Destiny also arrived. Which means I now have a playset of all the commons and uncommons for the Awakenings wave. I also have Luke now, so an eLuke/eRey build  will be something I start playing with pretty soon. 

In the afternoon a game I’ve wanted to get to the table for a longtime finally got to the table. As the Rock would probably say “Finally! Battlestar Galactica the boardgame has hit the table!” 

A day or two earlier Nath had said “there’s a boardgame?” when I told him of Saturdays plan. “Oh yes” was my reply.

Jeff, Nath, myself, Diego, and Monia boarded the Galactica to lead the rememants of mankind to their salvation from the cylon onslaught. But there was a hitch some of us were toasters. Whose soul intention was to stop us escaping and see the end of humanity.

There wasn’t many accusations flying around, or people being thrown into the brig. I think it happened just the once from a card effect near the end to Monia. However many a jokey comment was made through out the game, such as “well a cylon would say that” or “just what a cylon would say”.

Once you get used to the turn structure, which happens very quickly, the game hits a flow.

But why was that person checking something in the rule book? Was that the cylon pages? Why isn’t the President playing more quorum cards? Everything a player does comes under scrutiny. Oh the suspicion. 

I did find it frustrating at times having to wait for my turn sometimes. As Starbuck I was deadly in space piloting a viper. Especially with the aid of some of the pilot cards, which gave me four attacks at a time. Add that to the characters ability of getting an additional action if they are flying a viper at the start of my turn. So I was the ideal one to be out in space shooting up toasters. But timing just made it hard on a couple of occasions for me to do anything, because I had a full round of turns to wait out before I could jump into action.

All the characters felt different. From drawing different skills cards, different once a game ability, to different abilities.

Sadly with the finish line so close, the hidden toasters were triumphant.

It turns out Diego was married to a toaster, and Jeff proved there was no honour amongst kitchen appliances, when he admitted after revealing himself that he had been trying to deflect the accusations/suspicion onto Monia, who had towards the end been given the nickname by me of “Mrs Toaster”.

Nath and I had a great time playing the game. As did the others, well they said they had. Now the only problem is arranging getting the game back to the table.

Lording it up

The nice thing about The Luxe cinema (apart from my spot, and the great customer service) is that if you have to sit in the front row as Nath and I had to yesterday (the front row seats were the only ones left when we booked our tickets), is the screen is not so large it’s overwhelming to watch the movie.

We had gone to see Mr Nolan’s latest cinematic offering Dunkirk. The nice thing about his movies is that he treats you like an intelligent person and doesn’t hire Sir Anthony ‘needs the money because he’s fallen on hard times so will do any old tripe’ Hopkins to do plot exposition.

Dunkirk for me is one of those movies that goes up against the classic ensemble war movies like The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far. These types of movies don’t have any character back story, there is no real character development, you are getting snippets of a story from several points of view.

How does it compare with the classics? Very well I think. Obviously movie making techniques have advanced over the decades, from visual effects to story structure. The use of a modern structure works, especially seeing the same event from several points of view. 

Nath and I both enjoyed the movie.

Nath was going to join us for the weekly gaming session. However the theme (despite being virtually none existent) of Lords of Waterdeep didn’t really appeal to him. So Nath stayed at home to play Uncharted 2 on the PS3. 

Which meant Jeff, Chris and I were left to compete to be the Lord of Waterdeep. We were playing with the base game plus the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion. It was all in on the expansion front because we were using both the Undermountain expansion and the Skullport expansion with its corruption mechanic, that make up the complete expansion. 

I really should have picked the lord that gave me end points for buildings owned. Instead I went for the one that allowed me to chose the quest type I wanted to score, and then get 6 points for each completed quest. But at the time it was the right decision.

It’s just a shame I had lots of buildings under my control by the end of the game. It’s not something I do much of while playing Waterdeep. But a combo of two quests got me all the buildings not built for free, plus I got extra victory points for each building because of a previously completed quest. That was a massive round for me. 

Jeff was just collecting corruption as if it was going out of fashion. Chris had a system going that allowed him to discard corruption from his tavern.

After final scoring Chris won by a nose, beating Jeff into second place. While I was not far behind in last place.

We had a blast playing Lords of Waterdeep with the expansion. In fact Jeff wasn’t a fan of just the base game, but with the expansion he quite liked it. That’s a massive win. 

Long overdue father son gaming session

Yesterday Nath and I got to play some games!

We started off with a favourite of ours 7 Wonders Duel. Our game went down to the wire or better described as the last card of the third age. The last card was a military card, one that pushed Nath to a military victory. If it had gone to points I’d have won. But sadly the last card of the game was for Nath. 

I then introduced Nath to the worker placement mechanic with Mint Works.

If I told you we ended up playing three games, that should tell you what Nath thought of the game. 

This is a really great, light introduction for “gamer lite” players to the worker placement mechanic. I also find it’s fun for “gamers” also as a quick scratch the itch filler game.

I followed up the success of Mint Works with Caverna: Cave vs Cave. Don’t think Nath enjoyed it much. Or that’s the impression I got from the fact our game got interrupted by tea, and Nath wasn’t bothered about finishing the game after we had finished eating.

Our after tea gaming was playing Star Realms. You’d think that being in the same room together we’d be playing the physical game. No we were using the app. Nath had finally re-installed the app on his phone. Which I was chuffed with because it means we can continue playing after he leaves. But we were sat there, next to each other, phones out, taking our turns. 

Although I talk about Star Wars: Destiny to Nath. I’m deliberately not letting him play it. I don’t won’t to hook Nath on the game. I can’t pass on my addiction and money pit to him. He’s a poor student at uni for starters.

Today we are seeing Dunkirk in the afternoon and then I’m taking to his first FEG@WL. Dunkirk should get us in the right frame of mind for the evenings gaming!