Category Archives: Fenland Gamers

Fenland Gamers

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. 

Penguins and Mutants

Last night an unadvertised session at the White Lion took place. I hadn’t got round to setting an event up on the Facebook page for it. Only two people yesterday morning asked if anything was going on. So arrangements were made to play some games.

Earlier in the day Dale and I had successfully avoided a crappy Summer by getting our students work and our marking passed by an external verifier from the awarding body we were using. Which was my excuse for a nice cold pint of Thatchers. I was also happy how my eHan/eRay deck was holding up against Dales eMaz/ePoe deck. I’ll do a post soon with the initial deck list and my thoughts about it. 

Back to last night and the games I played. Once Edmund had arrived I introduced him to 51st State Master Set with the new expansion Scavengers (which I bought at the expo).

Scavengers plays with the discard pile, so now each player has a personal discard pile. During lookup the discarded card goes into the first players discard pile. You now due to card abilities have the chance to take the top card from an opponents discard pile. There is also more to stuff there to do with ruins but we didn’t really hit any of those cards. A third connections deck has been added also.

I like 51st State, it works well with 2 players. But unless you play it a lot you won’t see all the cards. So with the base game cards plus the expansion I think that’s a 120 cards roughly for the common deck. So we were not going to see everything this expansion had to offer.

The future history books will see that my post apocalyptic group of survivors were the stronger. 

Our final game was one that had been on my radar for a long time, Hey That’s My Fish. Every time I visited my FLGS The Hobbit Hole and saw the box on display. I’d be curious but never pulling the trigger and buying it. But then a friend I was selling Inis to was planning on selling his copy at the bring n buy at the expo. Saw it was in the original small square box that I preferred to the current rectangle box. So I bought it from him.

It’s a very light game. Plays quickly. Well our 2 player game of it did. But it had something Barenpark doesn’t (apart from being fun) player interaction. You are trying to get the high value fish, while trying to cut off/isolate your opponent. 

I lost both games (Edmunds revenge for 51st State) but enjoyed both games.

A great evenings gaming. 

Fenland Gamers July 17 Monthly Meet Up

What a busy week at work so far. Staff training (I need to keep my thoughts about some of that to myself else I’ll get in trouble), team meetings and planning for next year. Life in the under funded and forgotten FE sector.

So the monthly Fenland Gamers meet up at its temporary home of the White Lion Hotel last night provided much needed respite.

Diego, Justin and myself played Scythe. Which for those that wisely avoided my recent Top 100 games will not know, is my number 1 game. According to the BG Stats app that I’m recording all plays with, it has been 5 months since I last played Scythe.

This was Justin’s first time playing this epic game.

I was playing the Nordic Kingdom for the first time. I have to admit I did like the factions special ability of having my workers being able to swim across rivers right from the start. Justin was playing Crimean Khanate, and Diego had Albion from the Invaders from Afar expansion.

Justin did well and got to the Factory first, with me quickly following. Much of my game plan then revolved around trying to abuse my chosen factory card which allowed me to either get a mech or building for the trivial cost of one popularity. So I was flipping mainly between my factory card and bolster which on my player board gave me a popularity after I had built my monument.

I did trigger the end of the game, but that was more out of self defense. Justin was hovering on 5 objective points, and Diego was on 4. I needed to win one combat to do that. Up until my go I had been eyeing up attacking Diego, but he drew two combat cards on his go. So he had the possibility of winning a battle. On the other hand Justin had no combat cards and zero bolster points. Perfect. So I built my last mech, and took the move action to attack Justin for the foregone victory.

Both Diego and I had zero or 1 popularity so were not going to get lots of points that way. I had zip resources at the end. After the dust had settled with Justin into the next scoring zone on the popularity track, he took first place. Whilst I managed to pip Diego to second. I suppose a better player would have worked out the optimal time to pull the trigger to end the game. They would have worked out every ones relative points, and maybe strung out the game for a turn or two more to maneuver the situation to their advantage and victory.

I really did enjoy getting Scythe back to the table. I had a blast playing it. Another great monthly meet up.

I am the Overlord

Yesterday evening Justin invited me and his brother Jason to go seeking adventure and great treasures in a game of Descent.

This game was a recent addition to his collection. So naturally this was a first play for all of us. I’d tried watching Rodney’s Watch It Played! videos for the game. But the heat of the day had been making me drowsy along with a bit of a headache. Luckily much of what I saw was familiar from my little experience of skirmish plays of Star Wars: Imperial Assault. Which is itself an updated version of Descent set in the Star Wars universe.

I was asked if I didn’t mind being the Overlord. Which I didn’t. 

We played the introductory scenario. Which is there really to introduce you to the game and it’s mechanics. A job that it does really well.

I knew before we played I’d like Descent. I like Imperial Assault. I like fantasy, the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing. So it’s a no brainer for me. I generally like to play magic users, Gandalf types casting fire balls all over the place. But most people type cast me as a halfling/hobbit or dwarf!

This introductory scenario is nicely balanced. I felt it could have gone either way. Despite me winning, I think that Justin and Jason could have won if they had a bit more experience at this type of game, and a change of tactic that would deny my goblin archers camping in the scoring zone for my objective.

Definitely after playing this scenario we are keen to start the campaign. I did point out there is an app (iOS link) that acted as the Overlord. Jason and Justin both downloaded it there and then to look at. Which will be cool if we use this for the campaign because I can play as an adventurer.

So I’m definitely looking forward to the campaign starting once the logistics of it are all sorted out.

Thanks Justin for inviting me along for the evening of gaming. I really enjoyed myself. And somehow I still left your dog with you!

Infamy, infamy, they all have it in for me!

It wasn’t planned this way, but yesterdays and the game in two weeks time are a brilliant way to celebrate the start of the much anticipated new series of The Game of Thrones this month. In fact I think the next game is the same weekend. It’s also that weekend I can start taking holiday also. An exciting weekend indeed. 
Yesterday the people rose up with the aim to over throw the current incumbent of the Iron Throne Jakub.


Four players again meant that we were playing with the Feast for Crows expansion. Justin was playing for the first time, and drew the Starks. I drew the Baratheons, which was a first for me. Chris got the Lannisters and reigning tyrant Jakub was once again Arrayn.

Chris was the first one scoring, his House objective automatically kicked in. I had to attack Chris because we both needed Kings Landing. I wanted it more! 

And I managed to hold on to it for a large chunk of the game. Chris and Jakub formed an unholy alliance and ganged up on me. Whilst Justin was doing a good job of being a distraction to them. Sadly not enough for me to sneak the victory.

Chris took back Kings Landing with me one round away from winning. I was left with two ships as my only forces left on the board. I desperately needed a mustering to ocurr.

That unholy alliance wouldn’t hold out, I was sure of it. Both thought they were able to grab the win. Sadly for Chris Jakub was in a better position than he was.  Jakub completed an objective for the final point he needed to get the win and strengthen his hold on the Iron Throne.

We had alliances, deals, no betrayals that I remember. 

So well done to Jakub for successfully defending your throne.  Sadly for you, but luckily for the rest of us you are unable to defend it next game. So enjoy your short extended reign. 

Kung Fu Art School in a Cave

Last night I was prepared! I had a bag of two player games with me, plus a couple that played up to four but also played well at two. But that was assuming I wasn’t going to be the only person turning up.

Luckily Edmund came along to prevent me from looking like Billy No Mates. 

While waiting for Edmund to arrive I had a little mystery sitting in my inbox. What had Games Lore posted to me? I hadn’t ordered anything from them recently, had I pre-ordered something and forgotten about it? I didn’t think I had. I am less than a year from hitting fifty. So I’m getting old, stuff like memory is failing. The email from ParcelForce contained no clue as to what it was Games Lore were sending me. A bit further down the page I could see an email from the UK shipping partner for Xia: Legends of a Drift System. Finally they were dispatching my copy of the Kickstarter (yeah I hadn’t got lucky the other day). Minutes of puzzling, and searching back through corrupted memories passed. Wait didn’t the UK shipping partner say in the last Kickstarter update they’d be using ParcelForce? I looked at the courier shipping reference in the email. Then went to the ParcelForce email. The parcel from Games Lore had the same reference! Games Lore and the UK shipping partner were the same company! I’m sure they have legit tax avoidance reasons for two separate company names. But Xia is on its way. Oh yes looking forward to it sitting in my pile of shame, waiting to be played and gathering dust. 

Our evening of two player fun started off with the new arrival of Caverna: Cave vs Cave. As a learning game it went fairly well.  Only one real misplay which we picked up on the third round, and it didn’t really affect things too much. Just our caves were slightly less impressive than they could have been.

I thought Edmund was going to run away with the win. But it ended up being closer than I had expected. 

I liked this two player version of Caverna. We know my introductory games of both Caverna and Agricola were some what wanting, and not enjoyable experiences. So it’s surprising I like the two player version of Agricola, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and now Caverna: Cave vs Cave.

We followed up our cave building with some martial arts practice in Onitama. We played with the new expansion Sensei’s Path. Which is just more movement cards. The expansion fits inside the main box with the original cards. And we have even more variety and replayability. It’s not a must have expansion, but definitely one to get after playing the game a lot and starting to get bored with the original cards.

So while Edmund kicked my butt at this game also, I consumed a lovely medium rare steak. I had decided to celebrate a good appraisal at work with meat of a higher quality than my usual Friday night gaming fare. Plus it was payday and I hadn’t had a steak in a long while.

After three games of Onitama, the score was 2-1 to Edmund. 

It was time to take Edmund from the floor of the dojo to the peaceful serene art studio to learn to paint. Our next and final game was Kanagawa.

Edmund rocked the objective tiles. But sadly only managed to get two points on his painting and studio. Which is where I scored a lot of points, and grabbed the win.

It really was great having a chance to get some two player games to the table. They don’t get played nearly as often as they should. So thank you Edmund for coming along and not totally wiping the floor with me. 

FEG@WL: Art school 

Thanks to traffic or some other event (superheroes fighting the latest villain/alien invasion) Chris and his copy of Mansions of Madness Second Edition got held up in Peterborough. Which meant the plans for the evening were thrown in to chaos!

Luckily on my way out of the house I grabbed Kanagawa. I’d grabbed it on the off chance that it might get to the table as a wind down from taking on the horrors of the Mansions of Madness.

I’d only recently bought Kanagawa at this years expo. It wasn’t a planned purchase at  the show. More a “oh Kanagawa, that’s a reasonable price, I’ll get it.”

This game is frickin beautiful. Just look at the box art (above). The little paint pots are cute and help strengthen the theme of the game. Even the simplicity of the Master and apprentice counters are beautiful. And the card art, amazing and in the same style as the box cover. Which I love. 

This game screams theme. 

Super high quality components. I love the bamboo play mat. 

I like the dual use cards. If you are able to select landscapes in your studio that match the ones required to paint the picture you can add it to your painting. Or you can add it your studio instead to improve your skills. 

But you are making choices all the time in this game. When to take the cards in a row. When to take one of the objective tiles. And how you are going to use the cards you drafted. The drafting has an element of push your luck to it. As does the claiming of objective tiles. Decide not to take one hoping to get a higher value one instead, means you can’t go back to claim the one passed up. But you run the risk that some-one else will grab the one you are aiming for before you can claim it. Plus you can only claim one objective from each colour group of objectives.

The only draw back is the sliding of cards under each other. Sometimes they go easily. But most of the time they don’t. 

It’s not a heavy game. But there is enough to keep things interesting. I like this game a lot.

The history books will show Diego and I won a game each and drew a game.

We’ll attempt to get Mansions to the table again next week (hopefully)

So long, farewell 

Last night saw the Fenland Gamers say “so long and thanks for all the fish” to the venue of our monthly meet ups and other gaming sessions for the last two years. For the next three or four months the monthly meet up will be at our Friday evening venue The White Lion. But hopefully by Christmas a new home will have been found for the monthly meet up.

Earlier in the day Gavin had posted on the clubs Facebook page that he was going to bring along Clank. Which I was really happy about. I’d wanted to try it. There has been a buzz about the game since it came out. Deckbuilder, push your luck, fantasy theme, what more could you want?

So our evening started off with Clank. This really is like Deep Sea Adventure but with a deckbuilding mechanic instead of the dice rolling. It has that feel to it.

Now I enjoyed this game. I liked the deckbuilding aspect, the push your luck of how deep do you go to get that treasure. Just like Deep Sea Adventure while you are trying to get deeper to get higher value loot, another player maybe playing the game as a quickly get in and get out, leaving you a mad rush to get out to safety with whatever loot you have managed to grab. I liked the idea of clank, and pulling cubes from the bag to deal damage.

It’s a nice game, that I’d happily play again. Does it live up to the hype? Not really. It’s a nice combination of mechanics. Its a good game, not a great game.

It would have been even better in our game if I’d managed to kill some-one off by making that early dash for the exit.

Despite not being a deckbuilder fan, or big on fantasy, Jonathan took the win.

Our second game of the evening was Barenpark. This game had a lot of buzz pre and during the expo. I don’t know why. I wasn’t struck with the game when it was explained to me at the expo. I’m sad to say that the game didn’t do anything to dispel my initial feelings about the game.Barenpark sucks. In fact I’d go as far as to say it is in fact a big pile of steaming bear poo. It’s as if the designer Phil Walker-Harding looked at Uwe Rosenberg’s work and thought “I know, I’ll remove all the stuff that makes this game a game and fun”. Rosenberg has used the main mechanic of placing polyomino tiles on a grid, trying to fill it up in several of his games. But he adds another layer to that like an economic layer and tile denial in Patchwork. Walker-Harding decided that just placing tiles on a board is game enough in itself. This has more in common with a jigsaw puzzle than a boardgame.

Now I can see why Jonathan likes this game. But it’s not because the game is any good. It’s not. There are other reasons. And to some extent yes this game is definitely not aimed at “gamers” but I’m loath to say it’s a gateway game. I think it’s far far simpler than that. Possibly a warm up to a gateway game.

Jonathan has decided to build an extension to his Nantucket Wing of Shame, by building the Barenpark cellar of over hyped games. Yes the “game” is that bad.

Oh for the record I won the game. I won at a game that I hate. I feel so proud of myself.

This is how I felt after the playing Barenpark. I just wanted to take my anger out on a bear!

That’s me in the bear outfit by the way. I was at a gaming expo a few years back now helping promote an idea game called Fist of Awesome. Which was a really nice 8 bit style graphics Streets of Rage type game. At the expo myself and a photographer would go round getting people to have their photo taken beating up the bear (me). Except the mature gamer podcast guys took it literally and actually did beat me up.

After my victory we had a discussion about the merits of the Barenpark, and some other gaming stuff. The usual boardgaming banter.

A great evening gaming despite Barenpark to say good bye to this great venue.

FEG@WL Post Expo Meet Up ’17

Last nights weekly meet up was our first after this years expo, and our first chance to play our spoils from said expo.

Having said that I didn’t take anything with me to potentially play. When I got home from work for my version of a Formula 1 pit stop before going to the meet up, my Mum (who lives next door) dropped a bombshell! Earlier in the day she’d fallen and “damaged” her wrist/arm in the fall. She needs to get it seen too but other circumstances prevented that. There was nothing we could do about it then. Well my idea to amputate was poo poo’d on. You’d that my internet doctors certificate was fake or something. We’d have to get it sorted on Saturday. 

So I had no games with me, and it turned out neither did Jonathan. 

Luckily Chris had bought a couple of games from his spoils with him. Out of the two on offer (I can’t remember what the other one was but we had played/owned it!)  we chose Orleans.

This game cries out for an insert. There are lots of cardboard chits for this game. But still not as many as A Feast For Odin.

Chris read the rules out, 18 rounds, 7 phases. WTF this is sounding over complicated and long. But in reality it’s the opposite. It’s fairly quick, and all those phases are in reality very quick and simple.

I like the bag building element. It’s very Dice Masters like. Which when teamed up with the action selection to do stuff and recruit new workers is very enjoyable. Allocate workers to an action, take action and place workers used and any new recruits into the bag ready to be drawn at random at the start of the next round. 

Managing the bag is fun. And that’s the bit I find reminds me of Dice Masters. Trying to control what’s in there, and improving your odds of drawing the specific workers you draw. To that extent preloading actions partially or fully aids in doing this. 

Having 18 event cards that also act as the round counters is a great idea. The event cards work really well because they can mean you have to take a particular action that turn to get the resource needed to complete it or face a punishment.

Also having the ability to add tiles to you player board that give you unique actions that only you can take adds to the replayability and your tactics. I got a level 2 tile called the school that allowed me to use scholars as wilds.

Having multiple scoring routes, sources of bonuses I liked. Once again variety and replayability.

Graphically the game is ok. It’s not an ugly game. But you wouldn’t say it’s a stunning game either. 

There is a lot of depth in this game. And I have to say I love it. This will be the third game I’m going to have to steal off Chris when he’s not looking. Sorry borrow on a semi permanent basis.

After Chris won. I had to shoot off home. What with mum and her “injury”. 

But a great evenings gaming.

Boats and Spaceships

Yesterday saw some impromptu gaming between Jonathan, myself, Chris and Edmund.

But how did we get to that point? Well I needed a big favour from Jonathan! I’d sold my Android Netrunner collection, and needed to print out the delivery label so myHermes could pick it up today. Sadly my printer/scanner is just a scanner these days. So I threw myself on the mercy of Jonathan. Who suggested we also play a game too. The invite went out on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page. And there we were, playing Keyflower on a Sunday afternoon.

Boy did Edmund grok this game. He destroyed us. While Edmund was grokking the game, Jonathan was getting wound up, because the game was not clicking for him. Sometimes that happens with a game, and you need another play at least before it clicks. It’s that second game that the person usually ends up whooping my butt at the game. The important point is that I beat Jonathan by two massive points this time.

Like Nations: the Dice Game Keyflower is over way way to quickly. 

But still a pleasant surprise for the Sunday afternoon.

Today Dale and I spent it productively testing Star Wars: Destiny decks (lunchtime only). 

By the end of our gaming Dale edged it winning 6-5. 

Our first four games were a new hero deck that Dale came up with. It demolished my ePadme/Jyn deck. It was crazy in the damage it was doing. But the remaining three games the cards weren’t so favourable to Dale and I won.

Dale then lent me Con Artist to swap in to see how that would work in my deck. Our remaining games were Dales ePalpatine against my ePadme/Jyn. They were pretty tight games. In our final game I proxied in a second Second Chance. Con Artist worked pretty well. And I most certainly need that second Second Chance.

I’ll have to do a post of my deck in its 2.0 state. If the dice come off (like the photo above – I rolled that today) thats 6 cards off the top of the opponents deck. That’s insane!