Category Archives: Fenland Gamers

Fenland Gamers

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.

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.

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. 

All in for the Sultan

It was the end of the working week. I’d done diddly squat with my week off. Apart from take my recovering mother shopping that is. Chaos Cards had got the replacement copy of the new Five Tribes expansion Whims of the Sultan to me real quick. A lot quicker than I was expecting. Which was cool, because it meant we were able to use it for that evenings planned game of Five Tribes with that expansion. We did have a backup plan, that involved using Jonathan’s copy that had arrived the previous day.

Edmund helped me set up. With all the expansions being used (The Artisans of Naqala, Thieves of Naqala,  Whims of the Sultan, Wilwit promo, and Dhenim promo, side note there is a third promo that I don’t have because it was only part of a couple of crowdfunding campaigns for a couple of gaming channels earlier this year) we were now looking at a massive 7 by 6 grid of tiles. 

Whims of the Sultan adds the pieces for a fifth player. A new auction board, and turn order board for use with 5 players. 6 new tiles, 2 new djinns, a whims deck, and some meeples. 

With the reference cards from the core game, and the expansions that’s a lot of cardboard in front of each player. It’s a shame Artisans only has four reference cards.

We played fully loaded, both expansion wise and player wise. Considering that fact our game took approximately 1:45. That’s pretty good really. 

This was the first time I’d played with Thieves in the mix. And needlessly to say the first time with Whims. Like Istanbul Five Tribes is a game that the expansions add to them in a good way. And at the moment both are on the right side of not being a step too far. 

In Whims controlling the “fabulous” city tiles gives you a nice bonus at the end scoring depending on how many you control. Control all 5 that’s 125 points! I managed three for 45 points.

Thieves gives you a Thieves deck that you can buy from instead of the djinn row. The thief can be used and then discarded after use, or if unused at the end counts as points like a djinn.

The lake tile from Whims has players vying for control of the adjacent tiles, especially those with palms or palaces on because it doubles their value. 

I liked playing with the expansions, they add some great alternate ways to amass points. But they haven’t added too much complexity to the game. If anything that’s mostly in the set up. I was concerned about the fifth player. But it worked ok with the extra player. Usually expansions that add an extra player are detrimental to the game. But this didn’t feel like that.

I can just about fit everything into the core box and the Whims box. A custom insert might take that down to just the core box. 

“Epic” Five Tribes or “Fully Loaded” is a fun experience. Not sure I’ll be playing the core game much, it’s going to be “all in” every time (unless playing with a noob). 

We had a laugh or two playing. Chris’s friend Chris won. Another great Friday evening gaming.

Climbing Magic

After a fun (for me) morning of opening a booster box of Star Wars: Destiny Awakenings and filing them away yesterday, it was the second attempt at the Fenland Gamers Magic the Gathering League.

After the first attempt to start this league I was left feeling a little bruised. So I was really relieved when people started showing up. 

The night before I’d been given the heads up that a couple more players would be coming along. My mental head count said there should be 10 of us playing. I was hoping I hadn’t forgotten anyone. The Amonkhet booster box of 36 packets would cater for 12 players. I had breathing room for 2 unexpected players if need be. 

We would be following the Magic the Gathering League format (rules here) that usually runs over 4 weeks. Ours will differ slightly, instead of weeks it’ll be meet ups. Otherwise we are exactly the same. So everyone buys 3 booster packs (£7) and builds a 30 card deck from them to play with. Then each meet up you are allowed to buy a booster pack to strengthen your deck with. If you loose 3 games in a row you can also buy an additional booster pack to help improve your deck.

What I like about this format is that it’s accessible to new, casual and experienced players. It doesn’t rely on having spent lots on cards (although we do have to use extra lands for the decks). It’s also a format you can join at any time during its running and just start playing and not be at a disadvantage.

We all cracked open our three packs, started organising the cards we’d pulled, and started building our decks. 

I think Justin got the find of all the packs opened. He pulled an Invocation. I should have took a photo (which I only just thought about as I write this post). It’s potentially worth a bit of money. 

My first game of the afternoon was against Charlie. Which I lost. But at least during the game I was able to remove his hand of two cards by forcing him to discard them. Which delayed his plans by getting rid of his two 7/7 flying creatures. 

My next game against Chris saw me do better but still loose. One more lose and I can strengthen my deck with another booster. 

The following 3 games were against the least experienced players in the room. I walked away with victories but they felt hollow. I always feel like the school bully when I win these games. 

My final game of the afternoon was against Michael. His deck was just nasty. He enchanted a flying creature so it had life link. I had not drawn either of my two bats, he’d forced me to discard five (iirc) cards from the top of my deck to my graveyard. Which got rid of the one card I could have played to kill off his flyer. It was an achievement I suppose that Michaels health was 21 when I died and not 35 (which was his final health when he defeated Charlie).

The feedback I’ve been getting was people had a good time. Which I’m chuffed about. I’m also chuffed that at last one of these events was a success.

A big thank you to Fenrock for hosting the event. We really do appreciate it. 

A very big thank you to those that came along and making this a success and so much fun.

The next league day is the 12th August, same time and place. 

Fenland Gamers Heavy Board Game Challenge: Scythe Game 1

It’s been an emotional 24 hours or so. The news of the death of the lead singer of Linkin Park stirred up some things. I wish I could talk more openly about it (I have to consider how it impacts stuff in the real world like work, and family), but because of the nature of his death, my experiences over the years, it had more of an impact than I’d have thought. So a night of gaming was something to look forward to and more than a welcome distraction from those demons. 

Last night instead of the regular FEG@WL we had the first of a series of game sessions that were focusing on a gaming challenge that Chris had came up with.

About a month ago (it may be a little longer, but who really cares when exactly it was? It’s not a court of law) Chris came up with the idea of trying to get some of our more complicated, bigger games to the table more often so we could really explore them. You know get a feel for different tactics etc. Something we rarely got to do. Not because we didn’t want to, but with us owning so many games, and new purchases, we just weren’t getting the chance to. So on our Facebook group Chris ran a survey to first get a list of “big” games members had in their collection they wanted to have considered for the proposed 5×10 Heavy Board Game Challenge. That list was then voted on and the top five chosen. 

Chris chose Scythe from that list as the first one to get to the table. A good selection. Mind you I would say that considering it’s my number 1 game.

We were playing with my copy of the game which apart from the “realistic” resources (which I don’t like the look of) I have everything (oh and I don’t have the Secret Cabal promo). Which means with the Invaders from Afar expansion we have a good variety of factions to choose from. But more importantly metal coins. 

I think this was the first time I’d played a five player game. Definitely the first time playing Polania. Chris was playing Rusviet (which I haven’t won playing with, is still my favourite because of its ability and cool tiger). Jonathan was Albion, Edmund played Togawa Shogunate, and first time visitor and friend of Chris, Chris (hence known as new Chris) played Saxony. 

Naturally Chris got to the factory first and camped there with his hero and a mech. It’s hard not to get there first with his faction. I managed to beat him in combat to gain control of the factory to get a factory card. But lost it on Chris’s next turn as he jumped straight back in and won control back. I think we were the only two to actually go to the factory all game.

There was a little miss understanding over the end game scoring tile. I’d miss read it as buildings adjacent to tunnels when it was in fact buildings on tunnels. Which would have changed where I’d built. So we all agreed to change that tile to adjacent. Which was very kind of everyone to agree to that. I wasn’t the only one who had made that mistake. But still. Plus it made very little impact to the end results.

Your faction power breaks one of the games  fundamental rules. On my favourite Rusviet that’s being able to repeat the same action after having just taken it. For Polania it was being able to chose two options from the encounter cards. Something I only did twice, I really should have been making more use of this ability and grabbing more encounter tokens. 

Was I distracted by having 2 desserts (don’t judge me!) while playing? Nope. They were my consolation prizes. That’s the excuse I’m using and sticking with. 

I could see from the board state I wasn’t going to be in the running for top spot. I wasn’t controlling nearly enough territory, nor had I completed enough objectives ( a sad 2).

I’d been creeping up the popularity track, while the others were stuck in the first points area on it, I was close to getting into the third and maximum points when scoring. But I didn’t have the territory control to make maximum use of that fact.

When new Chris triggered the end of the game I was still a good couple of turns from being in a competitive position for scoring. But as the dust settled, and we counted up our coins Edmund emerged victorious by a point. Well done Edmund on beating Chris by the slenderest of margins. I unsurprisingly came last.

A great game. A blast to play even at 5 player. I wouldn’t want to play with more than that. A great evening, with amazing people. I’m looking forward to our next play.

Adventuring we ago…

Last night saw four adventurers gather to go looking for fame and fortune by recklessly putting their lives in danger. 

I went with type casting and chose the dwarf. Jakub went with the healer, Jason went with the Mage, and Justin chose the thief. 

The role of the Overlord for our adventures was being played by an iPad and the FFG app Descent: Road to Legend. The app is free and comes with a tutorial and a couple of campaigns for free. You can buy two more additional campaigns within the app.

Not having the expansion required for one of the free campaigns, our party of fool hardy adventurers elected to start the Kindred Fire campaign.

I liked how the app told you the tiles that you would be using. But then slowly built the map up through the campaigns first scenario. So it shows you the first section of the map you will be playing on, where the monsters, doors, tokens go. This could be just three or four tiles out of the ones it told you that you will need for the scenario. You kill the monsters and the app then reveals to you the next tiles it wants you to add, plus monsters etc. I love that suspense, the revealing, the build up.

We made some mistakes. When aren’t there mistakes on a first play? We initially misunderstand the placement of monsters on the first part of the map, so only placed one zombie and one spider. That were easily dispatched. We should have been doing a group of the creatures based on the number of adventurers. Doh! We also faught a monster (Ettin I think it’s called) in its level 2 form. It was very hard to defeat. Which I felt made up for the earlier mistake. 

I felt that the app got everyone involved, especially in combat. So players were taking it in turns to roll for the monsters. 

Yes we were slow to start off with, but things picked up as we became more familiar with the flow of things.

I liked how the app spread out its monster activations through out the turn. 

We had one moment where Justin showed how when it’s a choice between your character being thrown around like a rag doll by an Ettin, or your brothers character getting that treatment instead, that blood is not thicker than a player and the bound he has with his character. Nope Justin used his characters ability that allowed them to move one space away when a monster moves adjacent to them. Leaving Jason’s character to get tossed around like a clothes in a tumble dryer.  Justin had found the Me in Team! 

We had to stop before completing the scenario, so it’s great that the app remembers how far we got. We took photos to remind us of our positions on the board, and individually bagged our tokens (wounds etc) with our characters cards. So we can just grab those and know we have everything for our characters, and the correct health when we start up again next session. 

A great evening adventuring. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this scenario. 

All hail King Diego

It hadn’t been planned this way but to be playing A Game of Thrones the boardgame the same weekend series 7 of the tv show is due to air seemed a great way to celebrate the shows return.

Jeff, Diego and myself faced off across the battle field using the A Feast for Crows expansion. Yes I know there was only three of us, and the expansion us for four players but we have a reason for doing so. We were expecting a fourth player, and had set up for four players using the expansion. But after waiting 40 minutes we got the impression they were not turning up. So we decided to go ahead using the expansion but take out the Starks. Any objectives that involved the North and Starks would be discarded and a new card drawn. This also meant that we were playing in a pretty compact part of the map. Very much in your face. 

So who played who? Well I played the Lannisters for the first time, Diego was House Arryn, and that leaves Jeff as the Baratheons. 

Naturally because of the house objectives Jeff and I are at instant conflict over control for Kings Landing. We both needed it. I also had a normal objective that needed control of it. So if I could keep control for one turn that’s two points. I managed to keep it for the first turn and score those two points. But if I had been braver and attacked Jeff with my forces at Kings Landing instead of defending I think I could have held it for a couple more turns, and possibly got the win. However hindsight is a great tool. And after revealing orders that first turn I was regretting my decision. 

The above photo shows me learning from my earlier indecisiveness by attacking Diego’s knights before he can reinforce them and attack me.

Like most games there are moments that stand out. Diego and Jeff were ganging up on me. They had mean most of the game. I had zero influence, Jeff had one (iirc) and Diego had two I think. The Westeros phase was making us bid for the influence tokens. I was looking at losing the Iron Throne token. Jeff and Diego were discussing how they were going to split up the three tokens between them. We all put our bids in for the Iron Throne. Jeff and Diego bid nothing! They had screwed up. One of them should have bid something but they hadn’t. As the current holder of the Iron Throne I got to decide draws. So guess what? I was still in first place and kept hold of the Iron Throne.  That was so funny. When that realisation of how they had screwed up hit them. Boy did I laugh. It also meant I was able to hold on to being able to use to power tokens in the power phase.

But that was an unexpected victory. In the end I still lost the war. There was a chance to make a final grab for power and steal the win. But miscalculations, poor execution and Diego attacking me in one area I needed to control put an end to any little chance I had.

Jeff and Diego both had 7 victory points. So it was down to tie breakers. Which saw Jeff lose to Diego on the second tie breaker.

Well done to Diego our new Overlord. May your reign of tyranny be short. 

I liked how A Feast for Crows worked with three players. The compact nature of all the armies being so close together I thought worked well. 

Right I’m off to start up the resistance/rebellion to Diego’s reign.