Category Archives: Fenland Gamers

Fenland Gamers

Countdown to doomsday

Yesterday Justin, Nathanial and I met up at The White Lion to play Scythe with the latest expansion The Wind Gambit.

The Wind Gambit adds two things to the already awesome Scythe game. Did I say that I absolutely love Scythe. It was my game of 2016, came in at the number 1 spot in my Top 100 last year. So yeah I kinda like the game. Anyway, this new expansion brings in these awesome airships, and alternate ways to end the game with resolutions.

Naturally even though Nathanial was playing Scythe for the first time, I didn’t think that adding in both of the new modules made the game harder to learn, so we included them. The only thing I did not use was the two factions from the Invaders from Afar expansion. I thought that the little extra those added were potentially a step too far for a newbie to the game.

A first for playing Scythe for me was allowing players to select their faction. Usually we do it randomly. But I wanted to play my favourite faction Rusviet Union. Ok I have a thing for Olga and Changa!! Who wouldn’t want a pet tiger? Yes I know I love dogs and Gunter has the wolf Nacht. But I’m a fen boy, born and bred and we are known as the fen tigers. Plus I love the power of Rusviet Union of being able to repeat actions. After selecting our faction, we did go random in selecting our player mats. I got the innovative player mat.

Justin randomly selected the two cards we were to use for the airships. You can see in the photo below which two that were pulled. Then Justin randomly selected the resolution for the game. As you can also see in the photo below he pulled the Doomsday Clock.

Wow, what a difference the Doomsday Clock made to the game. 20 turns and that’s it. 20 turns is a quick game, you have to hit the ground running. My game plan for this game was to push up my popularity to the highest scoring area, grab as much land as possible, and maybe get a couple of objectives. First thing first get that river walk going, then get my commander to the factory, use the airship to drop off workers around the map. Hopefully hold onto the factory, and maybe use the airship to tie down some of my opponents forces. I did manage to get 3 objectives, and a factory card. I think I was the only one to get a factory card. Justin did manage to get 3 objectives also. And on his last go grab the factory from me, but in doing so he pushed himself into the lowest scoring bracket. My last turn managed to compensate for losing those 3 lands that the factory would have given me.

In the end I did win, but it was fairly close between Justin and myself, a five point gap I think. Nathanial got 23 points which for a first play and in such a quick game wasn’t bad.

I’m going to have to remember that if I want a game of Scythe but not much time to play it, then this Doomsday Clock is an ideal resolution to use. I think that Rusviet is an ideal faction to play with this resolution, because you can ramp very quickly. The airships were such fun to play with, and look amazing on the game board itself. I can’t wait to get this to the table again and play one of the other resolutions. Yeah this expansion is a great addition to the game, and freshens things up I think for anyone thinking the game was getting a little stale after playing it a lot. Which isn’t me at the moment. But I do like what it brings to the table.

Journey Starts

STOP BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE GAMES GLOOMHAVEN AND CHARTERSTONE. WHILST I WILL TRY AND TALK ABOUT THESE GAMES WITHOUT RUINING TOO MUCH. THERE MAY BE A CHANCE I MAY SOMETHING THAT MAY OR MAY NOT SPOIL THE GAMES FOR YOU IF YOU ARE INTENDING TO PLAY THEM. IF THAT IS THE CASE THEN THIS IS NOT THE POST FOR YOU. GO AWAY ENJOY LIFE, PLAY SOME GAMES, DRINK SOME GREAT COFFEE, EAT CAKE, AND WE’LL SEE YOU IN THE NEXT BLOG POST.

It’s just been one of those weeks. Which is lucky for readers of this blog because it has meant I haven’t been able to write any posts that share my boring life with you.

Last Sunday was the start of what basically is going to be a very very long campaign set in the Gloomhaven universe. Which is a long winded way of saying that Justin, Edmund, Charlie and myself started playing Gloomhaven.

Oh and if you are planning to play the game, please be warned SPOILER ALERT!!! Possibly.

I chose the spellweaver as my character because none of the others went for a character with spell casting abilities. The others went for the brute, tinkerer and I think the last one chosen was the human scoundrel. I named my character Glamdalf. Wait for it…

Naturally Glamdalf has a personal objective, that I’m not going to share on here in case the other party members get so bored that they read this post. When Glamdalf achieves this super secret personal objective I believe I will have to say good bye to her as she retires from the game. Or more likely goes off in search of further adventures down a different path to mine. While I get stuck breaking in a noob while facing who knows what horrors.

We were dumped straight into the action with scenario 1 – Black Barrow. We are in the Corpsewood, just out side of Gloomhaven. I can’t remember why, but we had ended up in a barrow full of thieves, and we were going to clear it out!

With some great team work, we completed the scenario, which also allowed me to complete my battle objective (See above). Playing the spellweaver was great fun. I love casting the spells, using the invisible cloak, being able to pull back spells from the lost pile. A very cool character. I’m looking forward to seeing how Glamdalf grows, and what more powerful spells she learns.

For me Gloomhaven is yes a dungeon crawler, but it’s also like a RPG campaign without the role-playing element. Dare I say best of both worlds? We’re back in Gloomhaven in 2 weeks time. I’m looking forward to it.

Tuesday saw the arrival of the cards I ordered to make three pauper decks that Strictly Better MTG brewed and shared on his YouTube Channel. The decks I built from these cards were UG Elves, and from his 5 Standard Pauper Decks for $5 Each! video UB Control and Mono Black Aggro. The Elves were great fun to play. I quite liked the Black Aggro, but the Control deck I’m not too sure about. But still they were pauper decks so not that expensive to put together, and can be used like the battle decks etc for some casual play. What did annoy me is that I got caught by the post office for the tax on these cards, which I don’t mind paying. The bit I do mind paying is the £8 part of it that is the Royal Mail “handling fee”. Talk about taking the piss for doing sweet fa. We thought that the banks were a bunch of thieving gits with their bank charges. I think there needs to be some investigation into the Royal Mail and other couriers about these rip off handling fees they are charging. It’s down and out robbery.

Last night saw the start of my second legacy style game, but with a shorter campaign of just 12 plays ahead of us, Charterstone.

Oh and just like for Gloomhaven – SPOILER ALERT!!!

The intrepid heroes for this campaign were Diego, Jeff, Jonathan and once again myself (naturally seeing as it’s my game). Like a forgetful person who has forgotten something, I forgot my phone to take photos from the first play. Luckily Jonathan was able to take some and share them with me. Hence the photographic evidence below.

At the moment Charterstone is a legacy worker placement game. Very much with the worker placement mechanics of place a worker, or retrieve all of your workers as your options on a turn. Just like The Manhattan Project , which for the life of us Jonathan and I both couldn’t remember the name of last night when we noticed this similarity. It was siting on the edge of our tongues, we both knew the game. But no matter how hard we tried couldn’t say the name. Luckily at the end of the game it came to me!

There are some nice touches to this as a legacy game. I like how that instead of ripping up cards any discarded cards are placed in an archive box. Which if you buy the recharge pack so you can play the game again using the reverse side of the game board, allows you to know which cards you have to replace. I like how the rules unravel as you work through the initial cards building up the rule book.

Turns were fairly quick in the game. Mind you there were a limited number of options. But this may slow down when there becomes more to do each turn.

We enjoyed our first game of Charterstone. There are other bits I liked about the game. For example the art style. But I’ll look at these in future posts as I cover our game plays.

So there you have it, what you missed by me not posting since Saturday. I hope it was worth the wait.

Friday Night, Saturday

Number 30. That’s the number on the tin for my eager enthusiast copy of Mint Delivery. This is a limited edition (50 copies only) early copy of the follow up to Mint Works. I went for this backer level because I’m impatient and couldn’t wait until March/April time to get the game. I will get a final production copy of the game also. But it’s great to have this early copy. It beats making a print and play copy of the game. I’m hoping the final tin is a little deeper so everything fits in. So why am I talking about this now? Well the game arrived between Christmas and the New Year, and has the honour of being the first game I played in 2018 that isn’t Magic the Gathering.

Last night Diego, Chris, Jonathan and myself played a learning game of Mint Delivery. It was the basic game, in the rules sheet there are rules for more advanced variants of the game. The map set up will be the same each time, which is why they are able to produce a playmat for the game. A playmat does seem to move away from the original ethos of these games. And this is me playmat addict saying this, but I don’t think it’s necessary for this game.


With the way the game is setup the variability, and thus the replay ability for this game comes from the contracts you complete and their random placement on the board, and the ability and obstacles in the advanced variants. Like Mint Works, this excels at giving you a taster of the main mechanic it is based on in a reasonably short time period. This is a fun, quick, pick up and deliver game. I think it took us about 20 – 25 minutes to play. I liked it, Jonathan said he liked it more than Mint Works. So I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting this to the table to play again.

The rest of the evening I spent facing one of my own decks, while testing another one against it. My blue control deck which illustrates an infinite loop was destroying me last night as I put my take on Death and Taxes up against it. I just wasn’t hitting the land drops last night. Sometimes this just happens, not much you can do about it. Just hope the cards are kinder to you next game.

I wasn’t feeling too well, so after 3 or 4 games I left for the evening. I think the heat of the room we were in was making me ill. I don’t do heat. I’m a cold weather person.

I had a lazy start to Saturday. I was going to go to the Magic Open House at my FLGS. But rushing around so I could be back in time to play Civilization:A New Dawn didn’t grab me.


Diego, Jeff and myself pitted our fledgling empires against each other. It was interesting to compare this 3 player game against the 2 player one. There was hardly any combat in the game. Although it was through combat that I grabbed the final objective I needed to trigger the end of the game, and after the final turns of Jeff and Diego were taken, victory. Jeff was close to being able to grab victory in his last turn of the game, but unluckily was short by 2 points in his last combat to being able to achieve that. Jeff had admitted afterwards he’d been too focused on Diego and what Diego was doing, and ignored me. Which allowed me to sneak in under the radar. Mind you at the time I wasn’t aware of that. Yeah I liked this at 3 players. Less aggressive (Or this game was) than the 2 player first play I had with Justin. But still good fun.

Oh my copy of Tao Long arrived this morning. I backed this on Kickstarter, and got the deluxe addition, with the four seasons expansion and 4 player expansion add-ons. I have to say the production quality of the game is really good. Now I have to arrange to get it to the table. I think an abstract game session is in order. An excuse to get other great abstract games to the table also.

War and Politics

Yesterday 5 tribes went to war, did some trading, made alliances and generally had a great time. Yeah Twilight Imperium 4 made it to,the table with 5 people playing it.

I’m just going to say wow! The politics, the ebb and flow of alliances, deal making, attempting Jedi mind tricks. The trading and agenda phase aided and enhanced all of this. One of those deals between red and green gave green the centre of the known universe Mecatol Rex. Which afterwards quickly went south and saw their two massive space fleets duking it out. Further alliances were formed, lines drawn. But this was all a distraction that allowed green to keep Mecatol Rex and score some easy points.

My starting position seemed anomaly heavy and planet light, and boxed me in stopping me expanding out, or even getting to the centre of the universe to claim it for my own.

Yeah this game is fastly becoming a favourite. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it to the table a couple times a year. If it gets out that many times I’ll be really happy. I’d love to get it out to the table again real soon, but I don’t see how with the current schedule of games planned that it’s possible. In the next 2 weeks 2 campaigns start, Charterstone and Gloomhaven. Both are legacy style games as well, that are going to be running for a few weeks. Then in February we start our next MtG league using the Rivals for Ixalan set that comes out on the 20th January.

‘Twas the Friday and Saturday before Christmas

It’s a dangerous thing this internet. Especially that YouTube thingy bob. I’m innocently watching these Magic the Gathering deck tech videos and suddenly “oh that card would be good in …[insert name of a deck I’m building at the moment here]” pops into my tiny easily influenced mind.

That’s why Soul Warden and Kor Firewalker (above) are on their way to me. Kor Firewalker is a sideboard card for the death and taxes deck I’m building, and it’s there just for a students burn deck. Soul Warden might make it into the deck but could see use in the planned angel deck. I’m looking forward to completing the death and taxes deck and seeing how it fairs against my students decks. Which reminds me I need to put up the revised Dino deck list.

Last night was the last Friday Meetup of the year. Before others arrived John and met up to squeeze in a play of The Pillars of the Earth.

I had never played the game before. So I wanted to see what all the fuss was. Why was it demanding so much money when it was out of print?

Yes since the game originally came out mechanics have evolved, there are some really great worker placement games that have come out during that time also.

Building the cathedral is a nice piece of theatre. It has that wow factor when completed at the end. Pulling out the master builders from a bag to determine action selection order, with the added factor of if you come out early it costs you money to take advantage of the fact, a nice touch.

It’s a good game. I enjoyed playing it (yep I won). But having played it I’d not have payed the stupid money it was going for when it was out of print. I’d happily play it again. Will I go out of my way to buy a copy for the collection? No. Having it in Jonathan’s collection is good enough for me.

We also got the latest (Kickstarter only I believe) expansion for Flash Point, Tragic Events to the table. I liked what these cards bought to the game. But need to play the game in expert mode a couple more times to make a more informed conversation about them. This was after all the first time the game had hit the table in over 2 years. And that last time we played was the novice game not the expert.

Our final,game of the evening was the classic gateway game Ticket to Ride. I rocked the game this time. I completed my initial two tickets, and just went unopposed taking the 6 carriage routes on the map. Racking up 15 points each time I did one. Naturally I triggered the end game, plus was able to get my last two carriages out for a final 2 points. This was a surprisingly easy victory.

Yesterday an amazing deal appeared on Amazon for the 2 player starter set for Star Wars: Destiny. It was being sold for half price! So I alerted Dale, bought the 2 copies I wanted (so I had a playset) , then alerted a couple of friends on Facebook a bargain Christmas gift was to be grabbed. As a couple of store owners pointed out on a UK Destiny page, this price was cheaper than they could get it for! One store owner had bought 10 copies to sell in his shop.

Naturally today it’s back to full price. But I have my 2 copies sitting on my stairs.

Our game group has been discussing on and off starting a rpg of some sort. I have Paranoia sitting upstairs, Edmund has recently got the D & D 5th Edition beginners box set. But no decision has been made to what system to use, let alone setting, and who is playing etc. Which brings me nicely to the just released Genesys system from FFG. Which is meant to be a generic system that can be used with any theme/setting. They give examples/ideas of five example themes/genres in the core book, like sci-fi or modern. Although I don’t play Netrunner any more the world of Android still interests me. I’d love to play a rpg set in it. My only fear about spending time building up the world for a campaign is that FFG release a module for this that is Android. I know with the art books for the last four or so sets of Magic the Gathering and the pdfs you can download from the Wizards site you can run a D & D campaign set in the Magic universe. But with those two sources it shouldn’t be hard to set a campaign using the Genesys system there either. Although I’d like to “play” in that universe, and the differing settings, I’m not sure the others in the play group would be that keen. I’m also thinking about the Star Wars rpg (a reprint of the original one is due out by the end of January – I have that pre-ordered) and the Middle Earth rpg. But first we need to start playing!

Epic Sagas

I know the postings have been sporadic this week, especially since Wednesday. But that’s when things got busy.

I had to miss this months monthly meet up for the Fenland Gamers because my local cinema The Luxe was running a Star Wars double bill. They started off with episode VII The Force Awakens at 8:30pm. I knew I’d booked the double bill, so when Netflix added The Force Awakens recently I avoided watching the movie so that it would be more fresh on the night. A plan that worked. I think this was the first time I had been at The Luxe since the change in ownership, the new screen and projector. The viewing experience has definitely improved. No more annoying mark/tear on the screen. There were some dressed up people at this showing, the cinema staff were also. The young lady behind the counter serving drinks and selling/printing tickets was dressed as Rey. She had done an amazing job. An hour after The Force Awakens at five minutes past midnight it was onto the midnight release and the first showing of The Last Jedi. I’m not going to put spoilers up. I enjoyed the movie. It could have been a bit shorter, a tad too much humour for me.

The problem with a mid week midnight showing like this is work the next day. Luckily after just short of 4 hours sleep, I managed to make a flask of coffee to help me stay awake through a days hard work watching student presentations, and then crawl my way into work. I do love this part of the course I teach on. Students pitching their game ideas as professionally as possible. It’s cool to see them dressed so smartly. Plus the ideas they come up with are really interesting, and imaginative. By the time it was time to go home having seen 17 pitches, I was in remarkable great shape on so little sleep. And yet despite that lack of sleep I wasn’t tired and ended up staying awake to just gone midnight!

Friday wasn’t going to see me getting to bed earlier than my normal rock and roll bedtime of 9:30, because we had a team Christmas meal planned for after work. Luckily my free time before going was spent playing Magic the Gathering. I really have created a monster at work with this game and my students. Our Christmas meal was at a Thai restaurant, the food was pretty good. Portion sizes were just right, despite my initial reaction that they were a little cheap on the quantity of sticky rice I’d been given. There was a random secret Santa, which I suspect was not as random as initially intended. Somehow the only person with a bushy beard (me) got given beard baubles. Even I without a sense of smell, smelt something was up. When I arrived home there was an unexpected parcel waiting for me. The mystery present was a Christmas gift of some Lego from my friend Duncan. There was even a Christmas card from him with a humorous reference to my dislike of Barenpark and Nantucket. There was also a play set of the Abrade card for Magic also waiting for me.

I really could have done with a relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep type of morning today. Catching up on some of the sleep I had deprived myself of. But no a while back I had arranged a learning game of Twilight Imperium 4 for 10:30. So I had to get up early, and punch some cardboard. I also wanted to get to Fenrock early to get the place setup ready to play. So I turned up 30 mins early, got the table in place and started setting up the game ready for the others. We were already a man down because earlier a car failure meant Diego wasn’t able to attend. But a very last minute message meant that we were now down to just Jeff and myself to play a game designed for a minimum of 3 players. If I’d known before I’d left I could have bought Star Wars: Rebellion a 2 player game to play. Instead we had to make do with a makeshift solution that would allow Jeff and me to play TI4 as a 2 player game.

Despite it not being designed for this player count, the trade and political side not really practical, we still had a good time playing the game. Fuelled by the excellent coffee that Fenrock do, despite taking an early and having the military superiority I still lost.

But playing the game this way did allow me and Jeff to get familiar with the games turn structure and basic rules. For Jeff he was also able to see how the new 4th edition differed from the 3rd, which he already owned.

I’m really looking forward to playing TI4 again on the 30th. Hopefully everyone can make that day and we get to play the game as intended. Now I have the rest of the weekend to catch up on some sleep, start building some decks around the infinite combos that arrived today. Or I might just browse some ideas for a Death and Taxes deck. Whatever happens I will be doing as little as possible and just relaxing.

Council of Nations

Wow no posts for 3 days, you all must have been hoping I’d given up blogging. Sadly I haven’t. I was truth be told just being lazy.

Friday evening saw Jonathan and myself meeting up at The White Lion Hotel to play some games.

Our first game was a recent addition to Jonathan’s collection Council of Four . This was a foreign version of the game, which meant two things. Jonathan had gone online and printed out the translated English rules (in colour), and that he got it a lot cheaper than the English version over hear. I think Jonathan said around the 8 or 9 euros mark, compared to (I want to say) over £20. So a massive saving. And the game is language independent. Which means it really doesn’t matter if you get the non-English language version.

I think my main issues with this game are production issues. The assistant tokens for instance (see close up below) look awful. The art work could be much bigger, and less white space. I also had an issue with the black permit cards. They look more brown. Especially when they actually have a black border, that is black! Not only that the black meeples were also not very black. The graphic design could have done with a little bit of tweaking on the use of the arrow symbol. The same arrow icon was used in several spots for different things. Ideally there should have been a different symbol or type of arrow used to symbolise it’s different meaning.

The actual game itself isn’t bad. It was fun, I liked that you can combo emporiums, which can be very powerful. Build an emporium in a city next to one you already have an emporium in you get that connected cities bonus too, and repeat until you come to the end of your chain of connected cities. I had a very effective “engine” going that gave me money, points, and cards every time I built a connecting emporium.

I won our game. It was close. I had that combo engine going, while Jonathan was being more targeted in where he was building his emporiums and collecting bonuses for building in cities of the same colour. It did look like I was running away with the game. But after taking into account bonuses earned during the game, and the odd end game bonus, the game result was much closer than both of us were expecting.

And that is one other thing I like about this game, that we both had different plans in place for scoring, and I can see the possibility of one or more other ways to. And that’s a nice thing to have.

I’d play this again. Would I ask to play it again? Maybe not. It’s a good game, just not a great game.

Our second and final game of the evening was an old favourite, Nations the Dice Game. This game soon went out of print after it came out a couple years back. I had bought mine just after I think it was my first UKGE, after hearing the buzz about it at the expo. When I heard that Stronghold Games had picked up the rights to the game, and not only were they reprinting the game, they were also going to be publishing an expansion for it, I was excited. At the time of the news breaking I did ask Stronghold via social media if the expansion would be compatible with the original printing, and was assured that it was.

Which brings us to Friday night. I had the new expansion Unrest and the perfect excuse to get the base game back to the table.

This expansion adds a new die to the game, that makes rolling for resources a bit riskier, but has a bigger pay off. There is also a new reroll token, new nation boards, bonus tiles, pass bonuses, and more progress tiles.

The new nation boards actually fix an issue I had with the original game. In the original game it made no difference which nation you chose because they were all basically the same. Everyone got the same starting dice and tokens. Now with the new boards it matters which one you chose, and also which side. You get that feeling of uniqueness.

Ok the game is still over really quickly. But the added bonus tile that gives you a second thing to aim for other than just the famine and war bonus, is a nice addition. Plus passing now also gives you a little something, unless you are the last to pass.

I like this expansion, I don’t think I’d play the game without it. Even with new players. It adds stuff to the game, but not that much. Fixes a couple of problems. Yep glad I bought this expansion.

You know how this will end. A big thank you to The White Lion for allowing us to play there Friday evening.

Saturday was the final day of our Ixalan league. Unstable and life meant this last MtG meet up before Christmas was attended by five of us. I played 6 games, two best of three, and came away with a 1-5 record overall. These weren’t quick wins. They went to the long game. Which for 5 of the games saw my deck bettered. After I handed out the three prize packs for most wins, most plays, and most friendly player, and some packs were bought off me, I was left with 3 packs. I consoled myself with those 3 packs and was rewarded with the following card:
This is my third Huatli, Warrior Poet planeswalker. So nearly a play set. But is it good enough to break into my R/G Dino deck? I do like that ability to generate 3/3 dino tokens. Maybe in the sideboard?

Yep another thank you to Fenrock for hosting our MtG league.

Our next planned league will be at the end of January once Rivals for Ixalan has come out. But there will be one or two one off events before then. Keep an eye on the events page for Fenland Gamers to find out when they are announced.

Big game Saturday

Yesterday morning started out like Christmas morning come early.

It started off with the Royal Mail delivering my coffee order from Pact Coffee (more on that in a moment), an Ixalan Booster Box for next weekend (it’s already accidentally fallen open 😉 ), and some MtG cards I’d ordered for a couple of decks.

My coffee order was the big surprise. I think I must be one of Pact Coffee’s unluckiest customers. They sell amazing coffee, which they grind specifically for your coffee making device (the coffee needs to be ground to a different coarseness for a pour over filter like a V60 to that of an Aeropress). They tell you about flavour notes of the coffee, give you a card with it telling you about the farm the coffee beans come from. It’s a little bit more expensive than the options at a supermarket. But the price does include postage, and the whole experience is far far superior. The reason I claim to be their unluckiest customer is because very regularly I don’t get that full experience! Very often I get the coffee but not the card. Strangely enough I do get the partner companies offers. I do raise this with them, and a few days later they do post the missing cards to me.

So we come to yesterday morning with my orders. I’d bought a sample pack of coffees as a Christmas present, that had arrived Friday but with no cards (wasn’t surprised at that). But another copy of that ordered turned up with cards yesterday morning. Then my order for myself of two additional coffees also turned up twice! One with cards the other without! Finally my monthly subscription coffee turned up also without a card. I need to contact Pact Coffee about this (I’m sending them this link). But how does this work? In the past I’ve been given the excuse they’ve run out of cards and awaiting for more. But obviously I’m not convinced about this now. And why have I got double? Have they charged me twice? I’ll be upset if they have and demanding a refund. It will be interesting to hear the explanation for this. I think there is some serious lack of quality control in their fulfilment department.

If you cast your minds back a couple of days I put Nan and Mum on BFB alert. I was expecting that BFB to arrive early next week.

However that BFB arrived yesterday, mid morning. Weighing in at 9.9kg according to the box, and rightly justifying the claim of BFB and probably Bloody Heavy Box, Gloomhaven Second Edition had arrived.

That 9.9kg weight. That’s just heavier than the pack and gear (minus food and water) that I used for hiking across Scotland for 2 weeks on the TGO Challenge!

I’m so glad it came yesterday with me around. Mum and Nan would never have been able to cope with the size and weight of this game.

I will say that the lid of the box was warped. Will need to in the next week check over the game contents before contacting the publisher so I can provide a complete list of defects.

Lunchtime saw Diego, Chris and myself exploring outer space at The White Lion. We were playing Xia: Legends of a Drift System.

I set the Fame Point total for our game at 10. This was a first time playing for Diego and Chris. Mind you it’s not as if I was a seasoned pilot, having only played it once before. But that previous time I felt that the suggested 5 Fame Points for a first game was too low. However that’s the nice thing about this game you can set the target number of Fame Points needed to win to match the desired length of game that you want.

We were also for the first time using the npc’s.

I taught the basics of the game but left out some of the rules that were tidied to specific tile types. Leaving so that we’d read up on the rules as and when those tiles appeared. I did it this way because there is a lot to go over. And we would have forgotten them by the time they were needed, and have to look them up anyway.

Diego got labelled as an outlaw early on by visiting an outlaw planet. And started living up to that reputation. Mid-game Diego attacked Chris’s ship and destroyed it. But took some damage himself. So I took advantage of that situation, flew in and blew up that outlaw Diego. Showing him the error of his ways, and giving him the opportunity to make amends and lead a lawful life from that point on. Which he did.

I want to say that Diego won when he became Elite! You just want to use terms and language from that classic video game.

I’m really enjoying the fact that opportunities to play these more complex, in-depth games are happening. Let alone love playing these games.

We had a really great afternoon gaming. Great company and facilities. As you can see from the photo, Xia isn’t a small game. So we are really grateful to The White Lion for providing a location with tables large enough to allow us to get games like this to the table.

Friday Night Dice

A little while ago after seeing photos of Istanbul the dice game I wasn’t sure about it. Jonathan also had doubts, not sure what sparked those. But we both agreed that we’d wait to see some reviews first before deciding whether to buy it or not.

What I hadn’t remembered at the time was I’d already pre-ordered it! So imagine my surprise when Meeples Corner told me it was ready to be sent.

The game arrived mid week. Which after messaging Jonathan was going to definitely be hitting the table on Friday. The bigger question was would the expansion for Nations the dice game arrive in time?

Come Friday the evening the answer was sadly no. Yodel tracking was not informative as to where it was. It had left the Newton Abbot depot Thursday morning , and hadn’t been tracked since!

Which brings us nicely to last night and the two games Jonathan, Diego, Edmund and myself played.

As you might have guessed from the big clue earlier our first game of the evening was Istanbul the dice game.

History and records will show that I did indeed win this game.

In the past few years there have been dice versions of more substantial, complicated games. Roll for the Galaxy (Race for the Galaxy), Nations the dice game (Nations), Biblios dice (Biblios) etc. And these lighter, streamlined games have not only captured the feel of the bigger brother, but in some cases been preferred. Or that’s how some reviewers have spoken about these games. Although I can’t really speak about this because I don’t have the big brother version of those games, and have not played them. But I do enjoy the dice versions of those bigger games. I think this will be the first time I’ve played both the big brother and the dice version.

This is a nice game. There is an engine building mechanic, buying tiles that give you a boost, such as get 3 coins at the start of your turn, or get a gem that allows you to reroll dice at the start of your turn, or get an extra die to roll each turn. Without getting the tiles you won’t stand a chance of winning.

You have a large luck element to the game with having just the single dice roll each turn (unless you have a gem to spend to allow you to reroll). But despite that you are never stuck for an action to perform on your turn. One of those actions being able to get a gem.

Does it capture the spirit of the original game? I think it does. The collecting rubies, which you get by buying them, or swapping resources for, is there.

It’s a nice, quick, light game. For me not as good as it’s big brother. But that was always going to be a hard act to follow. The price is really good at £23. I think I’d happily play this with none gamers. Something I’d not do with the big brother (especially with all its expansions added in which is my preferred way to play it).

Our second and final game of the evening was London. Which after the dust had settled, money counted, poverty adjusted, saw Diego claim the victory.

It was a great evening gaming with great friends, at a great location.

Minions and minions

If you are planning to start a day of gaming with a full English at the establishment you will be playing, you should at least make sure you know when they stop serving.

Because that was the big flaw in my plan. So before any dice were chucked or cards shuffled, Diego and I went to the local Spoons for a traditional full English (black pudding optional extra) and a coffee.

Having fed it was back to our original plan of playing games at our original planned location of The White Lion Hotel.

Our game for the day was Mechs vs Minions.

While I was refreshing my memory of the rules, Diego was learning the game for the first time. I’d forgotten there was a tutorial to learn the basics. So we were learning or trying to remember whilst playing the first scenario.

Despite that learning curve we managed to complete the first scenario without a problem.

The second scenario started off well, but soon went to pot and ended in failure. A quick beverage break, board reset, and we were back with a plan.

It took some effort, lucky rolls and card draw, flawless execution, but Diego and I managed to complete the mission.

Which was also well timed, we didn’t have enough time to attempt the third mission. But we had enough time to pack away, make plans, chat, without the pressure of being finished by 4pm.

Yep Mechs vs Minions is still my favourite programmed action game.

Yet another great day gaming with a great friend.