Category Archives: expansions


New Arrivals Mid Jan 2016

This weeks new arrivals top and tailed the week.
Monday saw the arrival of the first Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalker expansion Battle for Zendikar. When I ordered this just before Christmas I hadn't seen it on sale in the UK, so I was “forced” (ok I could have waited, it's not as if I've played the game yet) to get the expansion from the US of A.

The week closed with the arrival of promos for two games I have from the bgg store. First up is the nine tile Medena expansion/promo for Alhambra. This is the second expansion/promo I've added to the tile pool for the game. Interestingly this one adds the possibility of negative points in the scoring phases!

The other game to get the promo pimping out this week is Kingdom Builder. The first expansion/promo is an island. Which adds another area to the board to use. I need to read the rule booklet for any other changes.

The other promo is the Capital which replaces a castle under specific circumstances, and another way to score.

Still in the postal ether is a couple of promos from Portal Games.


Some Boardgame Breakfast Thoughts

In this post I'm picking out some bits from the latest Dice Tower output that has interested me.

While watching this weeks Boardgame Breakfast in the news section of the show it was mentioned that Days of Wonder had released a solo variant for the game.

I own the game. I've played it once since getting it. I like the game despite the temper tantrum by one of the other players (that was a first). I'm hoping to get the game to the table with the Fenland Gamers. But in the meantime this new solo mode should help me reach that Five Tribes itch.

While you are over at the Days of Wonder page for Five Tribes look at the other goodies they have there for the game. Some nice little surprises there, I should of visited their site earlier.

Get your Five Tribes goodies HERE

The Dice Tower also reported that AEG have announced the first expansion for Dice City. Despite Jonathan handing me my butt in this game, I still enjoyed playing this game. So I'm looking forward to this expansion coming out.

In the Tom Thinks section this week, Tom makes his annual ten predictions for the coming year in the games industry. One of those was about Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalker. Tom's prediction was that this game would disappear because of lack of backing for the game by Hasbro. I would and this is with a heavy heart have to agree with Tom. Which is a shame, because this game with its great price, potential for organise play, could be huge. The crime is the lack of support from Hasbro.

This game needs expansions, it needs to allow the team/squad building. But that only comes when you have a pool of spells etc to choose from. That pool comes from expansions. There also needs to be more terrain pieces made available, maybe a specific terrain expansion. The pieces you get with the base game is nothing but stingy. I know why they did this to keep the price down. I also know yes you can buy old Heroscape terrain to use with the game. But this needs Hasbro to man up, and make some available with the Magic name. It sends a powerful message to the consumer.

Hopefully Hasbro are looking at the FFG playbook for games like Imperial Assault (a far more expensive competitor). Since that came out a year ago, we have seen two big expansions, and four waves of “character” expansions. There has been a World Campionships, three or four organised play kits for stores. Why are we not seeing this from Hasbro? They have the infrastructure already for the organised play side with Magic the Gathering.

Hasbro are certainly frustrating.

Finally yesterday the annual Dice Tower Kickstarter kicked off. It has already reached its funding target in the first twenty four hours. There are some nice promo sets as backer rewards. Each promo set is made up of promos for a number of separate games. There is at least one promo in each of the promo sets available that I'd like. But because of the way the rewards are structured to get all the promo sets it would cost me about $250. Which yes the main point of the Kickstarter is to help fund the channel, and not about the rewards. However if I went with that tier of support I'd be left with a lot of unwanted promos. Yes I could eBay the stuff but that's effort! Or I could hope the promos I want form the sets are available to buy separately later on. Or possible I could try trading the promos I don't want for ones I do.

Luckily for me the promo set with the most promos I'd use is set A. That's the $60 tier. It would be nice to be able to select which set you wanted at this tier, or any of the tiers between this and the “All of them” tier.

My ideal would be to be able to select the promos I want to make up my set, but that is a LOT of extra effort for the Dice Tower team.

Anyway apart from that little moan, the Dice Tower is a great channel, putting out a lot of free content over the year for gamers. You can show your support for the Dice Tower HERE.


IA: Stormtroopers

Continuing what I think is a bias by FGG towards the Empire in its expansions for Imperial Assault comes the Stormtroopers Villians Pack.

In this expansion you get three Stormtrooper models. (Yes I know I still have to finish painting my existing Stormtroopers)

I do like the included skirmish upgrade card. I'd actually like two or more copies of that card to power a troopers only team. Having not played the campaign side I can't comment on the three included agenda cards.

As with all expansions you get two skirmish mission cards.

There are two deployment cards for the new troopers.

The Stormtroopers come with four command cards, and this is rather cool a reward card called 501st Training. Why is this cool? Well you know all those Stormtroopers you see at cons etc? They are all part of a fan driven organisation called the 501st Garrison. These guys have even paraded for Lucas! So this card is a lovely little tribute to these die hard fans.

Finally there are the skirmish map and campaign mission. And as usual I don't show the campaign side of the sheet so I don't ruin any surprises.

The skirmish map in this Villian pack is one of the tournament legal skirmish maps.

Finally this Villians pack has the id tokens.


Kick that hornets nest


With the arrival of the latest additions to the Star Wars Imperial Assault universe, I thought I'd better finally do the posts for the previous additions. So over the next few days I'll be doing posts looking at those expansions plus the new arrivals.

In the meantime before those posts start taking over this blog, I'd briefly point out that FFG over the holiday period decided they would “tweak” one or two of their games. The two I currently care about are naturally Imperial Assault and Android:Netrunner. X-Wing as a collectable game for me is on hold.

Imperial Assault got off lightly I think with the “tweaks”. The Royal Guard, Rebel Saboteurs, and Imperial Officers have had some of their card text changed. Below I have extracted the changes from the FAQ.

Naturally for the new season of store championships FFG have updated the legal skirmish maps. The legal maps are, the Kuat Space Station, Mos Eisley Cantina and the Training Ground map.

Here is the link to the new FAQ, here is the link to the FFG explanation for changes , new tournament rules

Let's look at the Netrunner changes, or as I like to describe it “kicking the hornets nest”. These changes have been the more controversial from my observations of the two Facebook communities for both games I follow.

So what has caused the hornets in the Netrunner community to swarm? Let's take a look at the FAQ for the two changes:

Here is the kick that stirred folks up.

Link to the new FAQ , link to new Tournament Rules , FFG explain why

My Thoughts on the subject…

FFG spent a lot of time analysing the recent world championships they held, I think they also monitor the meta in other ways too. So they have a very accurate image of the current state of the game. More so than us players.

Which means that they won't have reached the decisions they have on a whim. They will have thought about them, play tested them, and made a decision that would have the least impact on the game to fix the “problem” as they see it based on the data they have.

One of the things I don't like about Magic, Pokemon etc is the banned cards list. I think this is a sloppy, annoying fix. So I'm glad to see the solution that FFG have come up with. At least with the FFG solution I can still play with the cards, I just have to make a compromise or two to my deck to use them.

What I would like to see is a more elegant way of doing the errata for the cards. I'd love to see some stickers made available cheaply to purchase to update the cards with from FFG. I'd also like to think all new printings of these cards are with these changes. Or even better still I'd love to be able to buy corrected cards to replace the existing ones with.

FFG think/hope that these changes will add variety to the meta for the games. That it will encourage players to build a wider variety of decks/teams, which they will see reflected in tournaments.

I've been playing Netrunner for nearly a year now, but from what I can tell certain deck types come and go out of fashion as new data packs/expansions come out. At one point a Weyland deck may have the upper hand, while Criminal decks maybe stronger on the runner side. Then the next Deluxe expansion NBN becomes more popular.

If these changes even that out, I'm happy with what's been done.


This weeks New Arrivals – Start of December 2015

At the start of the week the Magic the Gathering Battle for Zendikar Fat Pack arrived, along with some more dividers to use in the gift box, and some card sleeves.

Inside the Fat Pack…

The Fat Pack because of the eighty full art basic land cards has been going for silly money on the Internet. Which has been the cause of many a heated debate on the various online outlets.

Personally I have little opinion on this. I think the full art cards are beautiful, and I can see why people would want them. They are available in the booster packs, ok you get one per booster pack, but still I do believe the serious Magic player usually buys a box of boosters anyway. Plus the full art cards that come in the Fat Pack are being sold separately. So they are easily obtainable.

The box everything comes in makes a really nice card storage box. The quality of the box is really high. I just wish FFG produced something like this or the gift box for the Android Netrunner cards to be stored in. We are crying out for something like these.

So what else arrived this week?

Well 7 Wonders was added to the collection. I really did enjoy that game I played at The Hobbit Hole, so when I visited there at the start of the week and they had one in stock, it somehow ended up in my bag as I left!

I finally got the Walking Dead version of Bang the Dice Game. I like the Walking Dead, and this game uses the comic book art, which I like. So nothing new here really, just a different theme, which may appeal to some more than a western one does.

So is anyone really surprised that the expansions for Colt Express and Istanbul have turned up? I thought so, no one is.


Typical I hold off, waiting for the post to arrive nothing comes, so I upload this blog post. Then a package I was expecting next week turns up today.

So part of Nath's Christmas present arrived today, along with another game for the collection Survive Escape from Atlantis!

Here is a clue to Nath's Christmas present for Nath (if he reads this that is).


Saturday Morning Goodies

The English version of two issues of Spielbox arrived this morning. These were back issues that I ordered for particular promos that came with them.

So this is the Kebab Shop promo. It comes on thinner cardboard than the game uses for its tiles. It is suggested on bgg that one solution is to stick it to the German language side of the fountain tile. And I know Jonathan printed out this tile and did that. But there is a bit of me that just can't bring myself to do that. What if I want to play the game in German? Ok I don't speak German, and I don't know anyone who does (that I know of), I've always wanted to learn German (only held back by the fact I'm rubbish at languages, and find speaking them difficult), but who knows I may over come my barriers holding me back, and playing the German version would help with that learning.

As a separate promo from the issue it was given with is the Carcassonne Plague promo. I'm going to need to visit bgg to get the rules for this little promo/expansion.

Over on eBay the playmat for Colt Express is used as bait to separate the gullible from their coins. Yes this is another of those promos that goes for silly money. But it is also another of those promos that you can buy from the original source at its original cost!

My google skills are not some super ninja level, they are those of a mere mortal. So why am I finding these promos at the far more affordable level, while others seemingly aren't?

Any ways I think the game is going to look awesome set out on this playmat.

So I've made up the time machine promo ready to be used.

Now all I need is Amazon to get Colt Express to me in time for this afternoons gaming session. They let me down yesterday by not delivering it.


Mid Nov Arrivals

If you are one of those people bored with life and know me on other social media outlets, you will already be aware of these arrivals (I post to Instagram which pushes stuff to other places also, boring people in lots of places). However for those of you that pretend they have a life, your denial is holding you back from your recovery.

First up is the arrival of the main expansion for The Manhattan Project, The Manhattan Project Second Stage. This is several modules in one box that you can pick and choose which ones you want to add to the base game. Plus there are some nice player aid cards, which thinking about it really should have been in the base game.
Considering I'll be playing the game Wednesday, the arrival of this expansion is timely. If the only to use the extra Nations cards, and player aid cards.
Ok I'm not the worlds biggest Trek fan, I'm a bigger Star Wars and Tolkien fan. However after seeing this on Tabletop a couple years back (Tabletop effect anyone?) I did think about getting this version of Catan, but it was out of print at that point, and I didn't want it enough to really hunt it down.
And then over on that UK Facebook group for trading and selling this guy put it up for sale last week. The price seemed reasonable, so we conducted an exchange of coin of the realm for cardboard and plastic.
When the game arrived and I opened it, this was a better bargain than I thought. It also came with the Federation Space Map expansion, the only expansion for the game. So I was rather chuffed (that's a word for happy for my colonial readers in the Americas).
I've not played Catan with Nath, and this themed version of the game will be an easier sell to him. Once more the list of games to take for Christmas is growing exponentially.

Finally a Kickstarter arrived today. This one is the card game Best Treehouse Ever. If the title doesn't tell you what the theme and aim of the game is, then I guess if you saw the movie Snakes on a Plane it came as a complete surprise that there were snakes and a plane in it.


Great Customer Care

I have to say I'm very very impressed with Portal Games. I had ordered a mini expansion for Imperial Settlers from them and the very awesome t-shirt they sell called “Imperial Settler”. I just love that tee on so many levels. When they came up with this design it was a stroke of genius.

The mini expansion for Imperial Settlers makes passing in the game a tactical decision! It's going to be interesting to see how this impacts game play. Sometimes mini expansions can be just as hard hitting as larger expansions. And I think this along with the one I got below for another game fall into that category.

But it's the little things that impressed me with the order, like a Portal Games sweet, a promo card for one of their games (which I don't have), a nice little Tides of Time card I can use as a book mark.
Plus although I know it's a generic boiler plate letter they enclose with all orders, the included letter was still a nice touch. I liked the wording, love the fact they name the person who dealt with the shipment. It gives a nice personal touch that helps build that relationship between the customer (me) and Portal Games. Heck if I don't come over with warm thoughts when I think of Portal Games, Tides of Time, and Imperial Settlers now.

Although I haven't got the physical game of The Manhattan Project to the table yet (soon I'm sure), I have been playing the app version to get to grips with the game. Anyway there is a mini expansion for it called Nations that just arrived.

This expansion adds seven new cards to the game! These new cards are dealt out one to each player at the start of the game, and give a nationality and a unique ability to that player to use through out the game.

The cards will make the game even more thematic! Plus in the first full expansion they add even more nationalities apparently.


The Little Train That Couldn’t

Yesterday really did turn out to be an awesome day. It started off me getting a coffee bought for me. Free coffee is always good. Then at break time there was chocolate cake and banoffee pie! from Doreen (mother of a colleague and friend who makes these to die for cakes) for the staff room. Yes I had both, it would have been rude not to. Both were amazing. But I handled the sugar rush that followed, I'm a serious cake addict so my fix needs to be larger than this.
When I got home two more kickstarters had arrived. One Night Revolution and Coup Rebellion G54 were in one box. Wow this version of Coup was a tad larger than the original. It certainly isn't portable anymore in the same way that Coup is. Coup Rebellion G54 is the sequel to Coup, and is stand alone from the original game. While One Night Revolution is a version of One Night Werewolf, but with some tweaks! Oh and naturally set in the Resistance/Dystopian Universe.
The Diamonster promo cards for Machi Koro also arrived, along with the final expansion that I needed (if we don't include the original Mutant Boss sculpt) for Run, Fight or Die, the Zombie Horde expansion.
The second Kickstarter to arrive was the long delayed and over due (although not by some Kickstarter projects standards) King of New York tee. Doesn't it look awesome? This just had to be worn for the gaming evening.

Fenland Gamers

Snowdonia a beautiful part of Wales. Sadly during the Summer so over crowded, it's hard to find that quiet remote spot away from the maddening crowd. But it is possible.
The Snowdon Summit is probably not my favourite, with the cafe and train line scaring it (despite the rebuilt cafe that is meant to be less intrusive). However its popularity can not be denied.
Last night Jonathan, Mat and myself got together to play a game of Snowdonia. Where we are trying to build that train line I described as a scar from Llanberis to the summit.
This was the first time any of us had played the game, which meant there was regular referring to the rules, and taking a round or two before things started to click.
Jonathan had two promo engine cards for the game, the kids favourite Ivor the Engine, and Jimmy and the Little Old Engine (a character I've never heard of). I think these are a pretty cool promos for the game really, and the publisher did really well getting permission to do them. Maybe I'll get Blood Rage when they produce a Noggin the Nog promo for it (I was more a Noggin the Nog fan than Ivor the Engine, but I did really like Ivor the Engine too).

The final turn of the game involved Jonathan stealing seven points from me by claiming a fourteen point rail slot that I was going for. I thought he didn't have the resources to get it! Mind you even I had got it, I still wouldn't have come close to coming second let alone winning. On that front Jonathan and Mat well and truly beat me.

So what were my initial impressions of Snowdonia? I enjoyed our game of it. But there is a but. I think I need a couple of more plays. It took me a little bit longer than I liked to get the hang of the game. I enjoyed the weather mechanic effecting what actions can be used, I liked the bag of resources with the use of white cubes mixed in that when drawn from the bag trigger certain events.

We finished the evening off by playing Lords of Waterdeep. With the amount of time we had left sadly we couldn't use either of the two modules from the expansion. It's well known how I feel about Waterdeep, and Jonathan and Mat had not played the game before, so after setting up it was time to teach Waterdeep.

Waterdeep isn't a difficult game to teach, and can be picked up very quickly. Which both Jonathan and Mat did.

I made a token attempt at trying to complete quests that would earn me extra victory points at the end of the game from my Lord of Waterdeep. Instead I kept going for high value quest cards, and trying to deny them from the others. Obviously this tactic was doomed to failure, even though it gave me the lead score going into the final round of the game.

During the final tallying of scores from the left over workers, money and bonus points from the Lords of Waterdeep cards that lead just slipped away. Jonathan just ran away with an amazing winning score in the one hundred and forties, while Mat got a comfortable second place, leaving me trailing far behind in last place.

Luckily Waterdeep didn't disappoint Jonathan and Mat. Which was my biggest fear. They enjoyed the game itself, and were impressed by the high quality of the components and packaging. Which to be fair is very good. Next time they both want to play with the expansions.

So free coffee, cake, stuff arriving, and an evening of great gaming. Yes yesterday was a truly great day.


Deck Boxes and a Futuristic Fair

Ok so I had some new arrivals this morning. Not the Kickstarter games that are still somewhere in the postal system however. Although on the Kickstarter front backers of the Thunderbirds game had some good news in the past couple of days. The base game is nearly with us. It's hitting the relevant shores and going through customs. Which means by the publishers estimate backers should be getting their grubby hands on the game by mid October.

On the Game of Thrones boardgame front, I got a refund on that. Somehow it got “lost” by myHermes. So the wait for a copy continues.

Right onto today's new arrivals.

First up is two Ultra-Pro Satin Tower Deck Boxes. I bought these to use with Ashes, to hold a deck and its dice. I have to admit these aren't exactly the model I was expecting. However it meets the main requirements I wanted from the model I thought I was buying, space for the deck I've built and the ten dice.

For a really bargain price from that addictive and expensive (only in the sense you spend so much) Facebook board game trading page I got this little card game called Race for the Summit. Which from its box art you can tell is all about climbing.

I've no idea what the game is like, and I'm curious to find out.

The last data pack in the SanSan cycle The Universe of Tomorrow also came today. I'm looking forward to cracking open this data pack and seeing what goodies are inside.

Android:Netrunner News

Yesterday FFG released floor rules for Android:Netrunner. The floor rules are for judges and organisers to help them with decisions that crop up during organised play, like a misplay or cheating.

I think this is great that FFG have done this, it shows that they are serious about organised play and making sure that there is a consistent experience and decisions no matter where you play. This can only be of benefit to the community.

You can get the floor rules from links in the official FFG news story announcing their release HERE