Category Archives: Fenland Gamers

Fenland Gamers

Gaming in Wisbech

Just a short post about the gaming group I go to, The Fenland Gamers.

We are a warm, welcoming board gaming group in Wisbech, who play modern hobby board games. Our members have a broad taste in games (I think my little write ups of our sessions show that) and more than happy to play most game types.

Our regular meet ups are:

  • The second Wednesday of each month
  • Friday Evenings at The White Lion

We also have other sessions that get organised for other days. Such as our T.I.M.E. Stories group working through one scenario a month. But we’ve had Saturdays when bigger games like Zombicide, The Others get played. Or like this current half term, and other holiday times (some of us work in education) more gaming sessions get organised.

We are planning to celebrate International Tabletop Day (29th April) and May the Fourth Day (do I really need to say what date this is?) Details are still being finalised but bound to include cake. 

Oh and it’s free to attend! No charge. We are extremely lucky that the venues we play games at don’t charge us. All we ask is that especially the establishments that sell beverages, is that you buy your refreshments from them as a token of appreciation and thanks for letting us use their premises free. 

Plus finally club members get 10% discount at our FLGS The Hobbit Hole in Chatteris.

You can find out more about The Fenland Gamers HERE on Facebook. 

 

Another Train Wreck

Today was our second half term gaming session.

We started off with a learning game of Dead Men Tell No Tales.

I think this learning game will go down as one of our better train wrecks. 

This pile up wasn’t helped by a poorly written rule book.

The game looks lovely. The little skeleton head pieces are super cool.

But our massive misplay, what a doozie! When placing a new boat tile on the board we weren’t drawing a token each time. By the time we realised there was no way we could have won. So we weren’t finding stuff to fight or treasure to loot.

The question I have to ask myself is “was there enough here to warrant me giving the game a second chance?”

Our second game of the afternoon was on more familiar, well worn (ish) paths. We played a no thrills, no extras game of Viticulture

There were two new players and it wasn’t fair to throw the extra stuff at them as well. Get the basics under the belt, then next time we can fly with the larger board etc.

I like that we have managed to get Viticulture to the table twice now this year. It’s such a great game. And along with Scythe easily in my top 5 games I think. Well if I was to ever do like a top whatever games that is. It also shows that problem most gamers have, so many great games, but so little time!

The ending of our game saw me narrowly loose to Chris (a first timer at a meet up).

A great afternoons gaming. Bring on Friday and Mechs vs Minions.

Valentine’s Day Massacre¬†

It’s that special commercial holiday Valentine’s Day. So what better way to spend it than spending the afternoon playing Scythe and Kemet.

The day had started well with the taxman sending me a Valentine’s Day letter informing me of my tax code for the upcoming tax year. But I knew that this was their grey taxman way of saying they love me. I’m disappointed there was no romantic dinner arranged to discuss how much tax I could avoid paying. But I guess they are saving those for their high end corporate whores such as Google.

Our first game of the afternoon was my game of 2016, Scythe.

For the first time I was playing a new faction for me, Akiko & Jiro (Togawa Shogunate). Jeff actually had the other new faction Connor & Max (Clan Albion). While young Lucas had my favourite faction, and the only one I’d played to date, Olga Romanova & Changa (Rusviet Union). Diego had Anna & Wojtek (Polania Republic), and Jamie had Gunter von Duisburg with Nacht & Tag (Saxony Empire).

Diego took the early “lead” getting three stars out, and bring first to the factory. I was second to the factory and laid a trap token on it! The traps had a great psychological affect on the others. None of my traps were set of, instead that acted as deterrents and stopped the others trying to take over my territories with them on.

It was interesting that Jeff hardly laid any of his tokens. I think I only remember him placing one. 

I was busy grabbing land, making sure I was going to score lots at the end. The others were not building much, or grabbing lots of territory. Which allowed me to get in a position where I could place two stars on my final go using my factory card ability. My fifth star was completing all my enlistments, and the sixth game ending star was defeating Saxony for my second battle star.

Once the dust had settled, points added, I had won with a comfortable margin. It was my best score ever, and my first ever victory. 

We had played with the board extension. So it was a bloody big board. Which I enjoyed playing on. I enjoyed playing the new faction. It was the first time playing with this player count. I liked it, more was going on. I won’t play it with more players. 

But I won! 

Our next game and final for the afternoon was Kemet. Which with its “attack, attack” philosophy capturing the true spirit of the day.

So we were playing with the C2K expansion adding in the Cyclades monsters. And it was the first time playing with the max of five players.

I’d taken an early victory point lead. But it wasn’t there for long before it was a question of “how could we delay Diego”.

We actually ended up with Diego and Jamie getting eight victory points at the end of a round. But with the tie conditions the victory went to Diego.

Another game I enjoyed as a five player game. It was a lot longer game than our previous play. But then this was more players. The extra monsters from Cyclades were a nice addition, and additional tactical decision whether to buy or not.

A great afternoon of gaming in the spirit of the day. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try Blood Rage tomorrow.

Gods vs Gods

The Friday that launches not just into the weekend but also half term always seems to have a more relaxed feel to it.

At The White Lion Hotel Diego, Jonathan and myself made it along to play games and get our weekend and half term off to a great start.

Our gaming started off with Inis. Inis had a lot of buzz, and the usual dash to get hold of it. 

Let’s deal with the main critism about the game. The dire box art. Which looks more like it came out of a just completed colouring book. Not the most attractive piece of box art.

Inis is quick to pick up. Within two rounds or so you get a good idea for the majority of the rules.

The card drafting works well. Being able to change your draft choices is a nice touch. A small limited pool of cards is also helpful. So you soon know all the cards and start making plans on what you’d like to draft to try and implement your plans.

The combat or clashes as they are called felt weird to start with. But we got used to it. It’s functional, maybe even thematic.

Having three win conditions means you are constantly having to be not just aware of your progress towards them, but also of your opponents.

The area majority mechanic worked well. I liked getting additional cards to play from being a chieftain of an area.

The Epic Tales cards add a nice element and additional option to the game.

I do like the unique look that the tiles have. Plus despite the misdirect of the box cover art, Inis actually looks good on the table.

Inis is a nice game. I’ll definitely play again. But Kemet, Scythe and Cry Havoc are easily better in my opinion. 

Our second game was Santorini. Every since getting Santorini it’s been burning a hole on my table. I’ve really wanted to get it to the table to play. 

They claim on the box it’s a 2-4 player game. But 4 player seems tacked on as a team mode. It’s really a 2 player abstract game. But I was curious how it would play as a 3 player game.

This is a super simple game to learn. Choose one of your two pieces, move it, and build. That’s basically it. Get one of your pieces to level 3 of a building and you win. Oh when going up, you can only go up one level at a time. Can’t make a move, you lose. 

But despite being so simple, there is a depth to the game. It’s almost chess like at times.

Ok I’m stating the obvious but Santorini looks beautiful. The whole 3D look of the buildings as you build, and board. Stunning. I can’t think of an abstract game I have or seen (although this is very limited knowledge) that looks this gorgeous.

The production value throughout the whole game is really high. Plus with this Kickstarter Zeus edition that I have the little extras are really nice.

We played two games of the basic rules. Then mixed it up playing with beginner God cards. Which add an extra layer to the game that makes it even better. The God cards give you a special power to use during the game or in case of the one Jonathan had win condition. These were a really fun addition.

There are a lot of God cards, thirty or so in the base game. Then with the Golden Fleece expansion even more, plus Hero cards. So there is a hell of a lot of replayability and variety to be had with this game.

We had a blast playing Santorini. Even when we lost we were laughing and smiling. I want to say this game is an absolute delight to play. This will be back to the table real quick. Instant classic for me.

Hey it was Friday, we played games, you know how this story ends. With poor diet decisions disguised as a stuffed naan wrap with questionable meat, salad and chilli sauce.

Monthly Meetup – February

I was looking forward to our monthly meetup. Gavin and I had arranged before hand for him to bring his copy of Adrenaline along for us to play.

Adrenaline was getting a lot of buzz at the end of last year. “If you like video games, you’ll love this. It’s a fps but in cardboard” was being thrown around by fans of the game.

Would it live up to the hype? Would Jonathan like the game, despite its theme?

You know I don’t do reviews. Nearest I come to it is me saying what I like and maybe dislike about a game. 

We were playing a four player, six kill game.

It’s a quick game to pick up. On your turn choose two of the following actions: move up to three spaces, move a space and pick up, or fire a weapon. The simplicity of options is what allows it to be picked up quickly. And also reproduce the basic actions of a fps and give it that video game feel.

Line of sight is pretty simple, and fits thematically to the whole fps theme.

The ammo, and ammo types, in conjunction with the weapon cards, spawn points, reloading, etc ooze fps.

And that’s what I love about the game. The mechanics and theme fit like a glove.

Then throw on top of that a majority mechanic on the damage inflicted on opponents when deciding points upon a players death. Genius. 

Plus they worked in a mechanic to discourage everyone just killing the same person all the time.

Everything flows, you have to be aware of the other players damage. Which reminds me the more damage you take the more powerful some of your actions become! Oh and you can overkill.

Because this was a first play we were having to refer to the rule book for details on what individual weapons did. But you soon pick up the iconography.

I really liked to. With different variants, four combinations of the game boards, I think there is a bit of replay ability in this game. It’s light and fun. I don’t think it will be long before this is in my collection and being introduced to Nath, and my students.

Oh and Jonathan liked the game too, despite its theme. That had to be a big thumbs up in anyone’s book.

Our second and final game of the evening was Takenoko.

What a difference playing the game correctly makes!!

Yes our previous play had us playing it with a major foobar! And left us puzzled about the game.

I did enjoy this play through much much more. So much so it will stay in the collection.

Sadly the official records will show through some trickery Jonathan won both games! Which included a late points rush in Takenoko to steal the win from me.

I enjoyed the meet up, same time next month?

Wrath hits Wisbech!

It’s a good job I checked how many were attending the planned “Sinning again” event for The Fenland Gamers yesterday before heading off to it.

I thought it was just going to be Diego and myself. So had packed just 7 Wonders Duel with the Pantheon expansion, Hero Realms and newly arrived that morning Inis. 

However Will and Lucia had signed up also within the previous 24 hours. Which was a pleasant surprise, because our planned play was for them and Diego when I created the event the previous weekend.

So I quickly unpacked and threw in everything I had for The Others

Having everything with me allowed Diego, Will and Lucia to choose which pre-constructed team they played with.

They choose to go with The Sons of Ragnarok. A play on The Sons of Anarchy but using Norse Gods in biker outfits!


As the sin player I went with Wrath and he was backed up with Corrupted Doctors as his acolytes.

We went with a terror story called Haven in Flames. In this scenario there were no corruption checks, but lots of checks against damage by fire.

Once more as the sin I was victorious. But I was wondering about the scenario. It wasn’t until the last objective that I started to claw back into the game by stacking up the bodies of the heroes.

Having Wrath in a district with abominations and acolytes did make it very hard for the heroes to complete the final mission. I was rolling 14 plus dice in any fight. I used a similar tactic the previous game. I’m not sure how you stop this, and get a win for the heroes. At the moment this allows me to pick off heroes one at a time as they enter. 

Diego identified a mistake from their side in not playing their team correctly. I don’t think they were using their abilities to their fullest. 

But I also thought that this story unlike the previous one didn’t give the heroes much equipment. 

Playing as the sin is fun, and allows you as the sin player to ham things up a little. Letting out the odd evil chuckle or “muhaha” just as you play a sin card. Near the end the odd playful “I smell blood” before reacting helps lighten things up.

Having said that I do want to play as a hero next time. 

I do feel we still have a lot to explore with The Others. We have the different story types, different teams to try, different sins, team construction, Dark past cards.

So here is to the next chance to sin in Wisbech!

Trolololol Eric Summerer

Yesterday for work I got to go to the BETT Show at the Excel place in London with my colleague and friend Dale.

Basically under the disguise of being an education show aimed at teachers etc, it is in reality a hunt for loot on the bosses dime! Yep real life Munchkin. 

I’m pretty happy with my haul of loot. Free pens are great for bribing colleagues. Well technically I’m not bribing them I’m buying their souls very cheaply. I’m not sure they realise the real cost of my “generosity”.

Didn’t have to buy coffee during the day because we managed score free coffee from a stand. It was pretty good coffee. They actually had a hipster looking barista there making it to order. Unlike a lot of the others that did coffee that were using those pod coffee machines.

Dale got to witness how slow a striking king cobra snake is compared to me eating a chocolate covered mini ring donut from a chocolate fountain.

All in all a great first BETT for me, with many plans on spending my line managers budget in the next week or two.

It was seven when I finally arrived at The White Lion. Jonathan and Diego were two or three turns into The Streets of Commonville.

While trying to solve the crime, there were plenty of opportunities to have banter. Especially at the expense of Jonathan (who is fifty percent of the games design team!) 

Like Jonathan I too was a little rusty on the games rules. Last time I played the game as “Darren Consulting Game Tester” was in February of last year. While for Jonathan it was June of 2016. Which opened up the opportunity for lines like “did you not watch the Watch It Played video?” Or “Eric Lang knows how to play his games”.

 Jonathan tried to misdirected us from his Dr Kinky alter ego in the game. But in the end the evidence clearly pointed to Dr Kinky being the guilty party.


We managed to arrest Dr Kinky with a minute or two left. 

The idea came up of adding Eric Summerer as a promo character to the game. Maybe as a new cop to be played and have a matching suspect tile of Eric Summerer the dirty cop.

A great day out, a fun evening gaming. The weekend started well.

Hard Decisions in Ancient Italy

Starting the week with a gaming session, is a great way to start. Jonathan played host Diego and myself for a three player game of Concordia.

I have to say this was a far more pleasurable experience. Especially now that we knew how to play it and all about the end game scoring.

There was a perverse pleasure watching Jonathan struggle with inner turmoil over his next move, or the realisation that he’d just made a mistake.

I do think this game is prone to the ol’ analysis paralysis. Which does slow things down a little. But still our three player game took just over two hours. 

Although I lost to Diego by three points, I beat Jonathan by the slimmest of margins. Thus I too was a winner!

I’m glad we played Concordia again. There was enough there in our first play that warranted the second play. For me think my favourite mechanic is the deck building side of it.

The Marcy Case

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t played this scenario yet you may not want to go any further on this post.

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Right I’ve given you a chance to avoid this post and any included spoilers that it may or may not include.

“Save the cheerleader, save the world”, well nearly. In the second scenario The Marcy Case for T.I.M.E. Stories it’s “save the kidnapped girl”.

The first thing that struck us all for this scenario was the change in art style. This was very much more comic book style. But still looking bloody awesome.

We also had less characters to choose from, there are only four. Which worked for me. It cut down on some of the decision time of who to play. I ended up playing a former marine. My only critism here is that only one of the options was female, and she was a reporter. While the male characters were all badass types. Not very gender aware. Yes the scenario is in the 90’s but still women were doing awesome badass things then.

The main map was also a very different style to the floor plan from Asylum. Which I felt worked well. They could have gone for a street map, which I’m sure they may have considered. But the look they went with fitted in with the art direction a lot better than a street map would have.

We had a blast playing this scenario. Playing with the same group through the scenarios I think is important for the game. Shared experiences as you travel through the missions will then influence decisions, discussion, banter, etc. Even only having played the initial scenario before, we were had lots of laughs during the game referring back to the previous mission.

The Marcy Case is a scenario that once you know the “solution” can be optimised to about five locations, and minimum actions in each,to get to the end. Whilst in Asylum I didn’t get that “you can optimise this to a bare minimum” feel. I also felt that the main puzzle was easier than the puzzle in Asylum. It was more a process of elimination based on gathered evidence than a real puzzle.

Yes this is a zombie game. Or I should say infected. It has the usual cliches. But I’d say it has that kind of Resident Evil (especially the movie) vibe. City quarantined off, secret research, something gone wrong, etc.

Value for money? Five people (Jeff was acting as our DM again – which I’m very very grateful for again) – just over four hours playtime. I think we got more than our monies worth. Plus the time flew by. It didn’t seem that long at all.

We did complete this mission successfully this time. Which was a nice feeling.

I loved Asylum. But The Marcy Case for me just one upped that. I can’t wait for the next scenario next month. Yes we have sessions setup for all the currently released scenarios. With new ones due out any week now, we will be adding new dates to play them. I could easily play A Prophercy of Dragons today (Sunday the day after, and when I’m writing the post).

I do need to say a big thank you to The White Lion Hotel in Wisbech for letting us use their facilities for the afternoon. Great, friendly staff. Great facilities. Great beverages.

Friday Night Treachery and Bluffing

The start of Friday had so much promise with my car headlights illuminating the flecks of snow from the light snow flurries as I drove across the Fenland landscape in the dark.

The snow got heavier, but sadly wasn’t settling. I’d been looking forward to our first real snow since about 2010. Loki and Nico hadn’t seen snow. I was hoping to introduce them to snowballs.

Luckily our weekly Friday night gaming meet up at The White Lion is the perfect antidote to the mornings disappointment, and a great way to get the weekend started.

Our evening started off with a learning game of Dark Moon.

You look at the games rule book and think “wow this is a complicated game”. But in reality it’s pretty simple once you start playing. 

One of us was a traitor. But who was it? I knew it wasn’t me. Was it Jonathan or Diego? 

Ever since Jonathan and I first played Memoir ’44 it has been a running joke about his bad dice rolls.

That running joke was all the evidence I needed to accuse Jonathan of being the traitor. 

Dark Moon was ok with three players. But I would like to try with higher player counts. I think identifying the traitor will be harder, more accusations and votes being made. Overall more what the game is all about.

Although this game has a sci-fi theme. The theme is almost none existent. It could almost be any theme.

Jonathan thought the tasks and events were too easy to complete. But I’m not sure. It’s a nice touch that you can adjust the difficulty of the game for either side using one of the variants suggested in the rule book.

Oh yeah, Jonathan was the traitor and totally failed to stop us winning.

House of Borgia was back to the table completing a theme of betrayal, bluffing and lying for the evening.

It’s amazing what a big difference playing the game correctly makes! 

I enjoy the liars dice mechanic of this game. I really must get my copy of Perudo (which is the other name for Liars Dice) to the table.

Luckily for me I was the most “sneaky” and won the game. 

Do I have to tell you how we finished the evening of great gaming off? By celebrating with meat of unknown origin soaked in chilli source, some “salad”, all held together within a wrap. 

I’m looking forward to next weeks meet up. Finally Mechs vs Minions gets to the table.