Category Archives: first look

first look

Empire at War hits Whitespider1066 Towers

Finally the latest Star Wars:Destiny release Empire at War has hit the stores in the UK. It felt like an age after it’s release in the US last Thursday. It was so hard seeing all these Yanks opening all their new booster packs and the goodies inside over the weekend. There were also the odd release events at the weekend in the UK, where the chance to open some boosters also occurred (but we need a local scene to be able to get that happening).

It was looking like according to the weekly release sheet from the local Asmodee Borg Collective Esdevium that we would have to wait until the 21st to get our hands on the boosters. However my FLGS said the boosters were arriving early. TODAY!!!!

Thanks to Dale giving me a lift over to my FLGS during our lunch break I was able to pick up my pre-order.
My first three boosters opened, three yellow villain cards for the rares. Two characters and a weapon.
So I’ll save you from total boredom and just show you the rares and legendary cards/die that I pulled.

I’m happy I got the EMP grenade.

I was surprised by two of the following cards. I hadn’t heard anything about “Servant of the Dark Side” or “T-7 Ion Disruptor Rifle”. I’m curious to build a deck with “Servant of the Dark Side”, maybe pair him up with FN? That Ion Disruptor Rifle is insane, and has an insane cost to go with it. I think that 5 cost is the only thing stopping this going straight into a FN deck.

So we hit the first of my “hit list” of characters I wanted to pull with Kanan.

I even got a candidate for worst card in the set Chance Cube. Don’t think I will ever be playing this.

A strong finish on the rare/legendary pulls. I’m happy with these three. That “X-8 Night Sniper” is screaming Han/Rey to me.

So that’s the first booster box done and dusted. Reasonably happy with the pulls. I got “Roll On”, “Rend”, “Quick Escape” and “Thermal Paint” on the commons front. So I’m chuffed with those ones.

Right onto box two…

Tanks and FEG@TA

Friday afternoon saw me at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole picking up some supplies. Whilst there I caved and got Jonathan (the store owner) to give me a demo of the newly released miniatures/war game Tanks: Panther vs Sherman.

Basically Tanks uses a cut down version of the Wings of Glory/X-Wing system. It uses just a single movement arrow that can be used in any direction, in stead of the multitude the others use.

In our demo game I was Brad Pitt in Fury and a n other tank, while Jonathan played Rommel in the Panther. Apparently according to the scenario we were recreating an infamous tank skirmish by a heroic German tank commander. Which apparently was more Nazi propaganda than reality.

Anyway I tried to distract the panther with one Sherman while trying to attack with the other. The panther took out one of my Sherman tanks. I liked that the destroyed tank stayed on the playing field turning into more cover to be used. The destroyed tank also gets a dying last attack. In this case it didn't do much.

Our tank battle came down to close quarter trading shots. I had inflicted some damage to the panther, and the dice liking me more than Jonathan (only just) allowed me to survive repeated shots. But eventually the panther got through and delivered a killing shot. With my dying last gasp shot I delivered two critical hits that also destroyed the panther. The game was a draw.

Tanks is £18 of the realm. Which gets you everything you need for two people to play. You can buy more tanks for the game at £7 each.

When you compare this to oh say X-Wing, yes it's cheaper. However for that extra in X-Wing I get some nice painted models, that I don't have to cut off sprews, assemble and then paint.

I'm not sure who this is aimed at. None war/miniature gamers? If so then the whole cutting, gluing and painting is a major no no in my opinion. It's definitely a big minus for me. If it's aimed at the war/miniature gamers then I can't help feel that this is too light for them.

I think that the demo playmat the shop has should come with the game. Or at least be available as an addon for around a tenner.

The rules are very simplified. Especially the movement side. They have got rid of the simultaneous revealing of movement with the dials. Which gives an advantage to the player driving the panther, because the Sherman's move first, attack second. Thus the panther can move taking into account the actions of the Sherman. So to snatch the draw I feel was good. I also feel this is a weakness of the over simplification.

There are already addition tanks you can buy, plus there will be organised play support, play mats, etc.

Tanks is enjoyable, quick to pick up, however for me the models and having to build them is a turn off.

At the weekly Friday evening gaming at The Angel Inn this week it was super awesome.

The evening started off with a game of Love Letter Batman which my friend James and I introduced the barmaid/landlords partner. James took an early three point lead, before I heroically came back to get the win. Our second game saw Jonathan join us. James and I took a couple of early points but the game ended up being a battle between Jonathan and the barmaid. Jonathan held on and threatened to win, but in the end the barmaid won.

The end of the game was perfectly timed with the arrival of a new club member, but friend of Jonathan's Jeff.

Our next game was a four player game of King of New York. James committed suicide trying to brave it out in Manhattan so that he could get home to his luxurious bachelor pad. He had an early start in the morning to try and get a limited edition Clash vinyl record from the local HMV.

In the end it came down to Jeff and me trading blows, with the advantage firmly in my court. An advantage I wasn't going to give away, giving me the win.

Our next game of the evening was the totally under the radar game, that deserves its place in the sun, Bohemian Villages. After a run through of the rules for Jeff, the three of us (that's Jonathan, myself and Jeff) started placing our meeples in the villages.

Jonathan stormed to a new personal best score and comfortable win of 66 points, while I claimed second with a score that just missed equally my own personal best by one point. One point that I could have had if I hadn't forgotten to take it near the start of the game. Jeff got a very respectable score of 36 points for his first time playing.

Our final game of the evening was a new favourite The Great Heartland Hauling Co. The usual blocking of locations took place as people moved onto a location you wanted to go to. In the end it all came down to who could do that final bit of business to push them to the forty points needed to signal the end of the game. Which just happened to be Jonathan this game. After final tallying of scores Jonathan took the first place honours, closely followed by Jeff, with me hanging out in last place. Between first and last place the point difference was five whole points.

We had a great evening gaming. Don't forget anyone can turn up to play. So if you are at a lose end why not come along?



Wednesday saw Jonathan, Debbie and myself meet up to learn how to play the new Tasty Minstrel Games game Guilds of London. A game the yanks don't have at the moment.

Jonathan and I bought our early copies at the UK Games Expo (yes I still have to write about that), where the designer Tony Boydell had a limited supply of early copies to sell.

I'd read the rule book once about a week before hand. Tom Vassel had also just put his review up of the game, and spoken about it on his podcast. It looks like Tom and myself agree on the rule book, that it could do with a little work. For instance it starts talking about Masters however you have no idea what a Master is, until much later when they are discussed.

For those that can't be bothered to read any further Jonathan and I both love the game. If you have already watched Tom's review. I think I agree with the points he made about the game.

There is a lot of iconography, which because of the pace of the game didn't really get in the way, the two reference/cheat sheets helped. Although TMG could have been more generous and provided four of these. I know I have complained about the iconography in Cthuhlu Realms getting in the way. With the pace of the game having to decode the iconography on the cards did get in the way of the game.

For a “euro” style game this is a pretty cut throat game, especially when it comes to negotiating the majority of a guild that needs resolving. But it's fun. Also it's possible to get combos going with the cards, and also when resolving guilds. Debbie was really pulling this off during the game, and did this this better than Jonathan and myself.

For the majority of our game I had the lead points wise upto the last two rounds. Unfortunately I didn't build up enough of a cushion to hold off late surges of point scoring from the completed guild cards during final scoring. I went from first to desperately holding onto second by a single point.

Back to the manual when we had to do the expand/growth phase and add more guilds to the board, the first additions were easy and just like the example in the manual. Come to the second time we had to do it, it was less clear where we laid the first tile for that growth.

I did like the variable second place rewards, these will be different for each guild everytime you play. Adds that bit of variety each game, and sometimes you want second place more than first for that reward.

There is so much to love about this game. I'm looking forward to playing it again.


Tokaido Collectors Accessory Pack

So today (and I'm jumping the gun here, because I normally talk about new arrivals on Saturdays) the Tokaido Collectors Accessory Pack arrived.

After opening the box up my initial excitement was damped by disappointment to see that one of the figures was broken. I've emailed the publisher via their website for a replacement. Time to see how their customer support matches up against the likes of AEG and Portal Games.

So in the box you get sixteen unpainted plastic figures representing the characters in both the base game and the Crossroads expansion. Sadly there is not a figure for the Eriku promo character.

Also in the box is a nice cloth bag for storing the coins that also come in the box. Plus a CD of Japanese inspired music to play in the background while playing the game is also included.

Naturally if we have a cloth bag, we also have to have something to put in it. That something is fifty metal coins. These are lovely, have a nice feel and weight to them.

You also get five replacement score tracker tokens in the shape of coloured packages. Plus a coloured base cover for the figure you are playing with, and finally a “second” (assuming you have the Crossroads expansion) dice.

As a pimp my game kit, this is a really nice little kit. Despite a model being broken, the models are really detailed, and look great. And I can't wait to get Tokaido to the table using these new components.

If you love Tokaido this is a must buy.


Patchwork hits iOS

Who would of thought I would be getting excited over a game about making a patchwork quilt?

Yesterday an app version of the 2014 two player game hit both the iOS App Store and that other lesser one.

I hadn't played the original physical game, but one of my regular Star Realms opponents has, and put up on Instagram that they had just downloaded the app and was asking for people to play against. So I thought why not? The app once I found it on the App Store was only $2.99, so a bargain.

Once downloaded, I went through the tutorial and was instantly hooked. I love the Tetris feel of the placement of the tiles that represent the quilt patches. Then there is the timeline, and the currency being buttons. Love those touches. And the button currency very thematic.

Each patch has a cost both in buttons and time it will advance your counter on the timeline. Certain points on the time line when you cross them will generate more buttons for you to spend, and there are single square patches that if you reach first can be used to plug that odd gap on your quilt.

Love, love, love it.

Digidiced the developer of the app have done an amazing job. I've installed the game on my 6S, and it's usable on the smallish screen, the buttons are on the tad small side.

The game looks amazing, plus the in-app purchases are just themes for the game, so if you want to change the appearance you can. But I love the default look.

Now I wish other app devs would learn from these guys, because the app comes with asynchronous online play straight out of the box. Too many boardgame apps are being released these days without this feature, with the promise of it coming in a future release. The bread today, jam tomorrow deal. It's one of the reasons I took so long getting the Splendor app, it still doesn't have the online play. But a 99c sale over Christmas saw me cave in. Digidiced have just hit it out of the ball park here, and deserve a big hearty pat on the back for this.

So there you have it, a great two player game on iOS, well worth getting. And you can guess what will be added to my game collection soon.


The Streets of Commonville A Playtest

Thursday night saw Jonathan play testing the game The Streets of Commonville with myself, Debbie and Les.

The Streets of Commonville is a multiplayer co-op update of the single player print and play game Inspector Moss: House Arrest. Which won the 2011 Solitaire Print and Play Contest on bgg, and was a 2012 nominee for the Golden Geek Awards Best Print and Play award.

Inspector Moss and Streets of Commonville are designed by the partnership of Jonathan Warren and Rebekah Bissell.

Which meant this playtest session we were playing with one of the designers. Not quite Eric Lang or Ignacy Trzewiczek but still a local hero and a pretty cool thing to be doing.

Before I go any further with this post two or three of the photos here are property of Jonathan who I “borrowed” them from.

The Streets of Commonville sees you working as a team of cops, uncovering evidence, finding suspects, and working to eliminate them from your enquiries, until you have one guilty suspect left.

At the moment the game uses a fixed board layout as suggested in the rule book. Apart from the centre tile, the rest are turned blank side up until players move around the board to new locations revealing surrounding tiles. A kind of fog of war mechanic. I like this hidden information, exploration element. When you reveal a tile, the players get to decide amongst themselves which way round the tile is placed. Although it helps that the other players show the tiles revealed on their go to the others while deciding the best way to place the tile.

I have been mulling with the thought since playing does this game need all the tiles used in the session layer out at the start. Or could the tiles be added as the game progresses and have a more organic, less predictable map, similar to the Zombie! game.

Jonathan showed us another version of the player board. Which I preferred, same number of upgrades but you have to make decisions on the bonus you get, between more dice or more donuts.

Below are my notes from playing the game that we were asked to make. Jonathan requested that I include them on the blog so they are easy to find and share with his co-designer.

My notes for Jonathan to refer to!

  • The player aid needs to have the turn summary on it.
  • There needs to be some way to record the colour of your character piece on the board. This could be just having the upgrade tracker being the same colour as the main piece.
  • There needs to be more options/ways for players to upgrade their characters. Time based upgrades?
  • The rules do need some work. I'd like to see an annotated diagram explaining the game tile.
  • There needs to be graphics in the rules illustrating game play and certain situations that may arise.
  • You could remove the placing of the street punks tokens at the start, add tiles with a symbol for the street punks on, and shuffle those tiles into the tiles used for the game. The placement would be more random then, allow more adjustment for the number of players in the game to control difficulty and opportunities to upgrade.
  • At the moment I think thematically you shouldn't be able to ignore the street punks. Enter a tile with street punks on, you have to deal with them first before being able to do anything else.
  • Currently you can pass as many dice as you like between players using your donut. If as planned this gets reduced to one or two based on the number of donuts you have, then the ability to upgrade becomes even more important.
  • Make the game real time? This would cure AP, or curtail it. There is potential for an alpha gamer in the current game, a real time clock may help control that too.


I enjoyed playing the game, at the moment it did at times seem a puzzle to solve of how best to optimise the use of the dice, who gets passed what to achieve the best possible outcome that turn.

But still there is the basis of a good game here. I'm looking forward to playing it some more, especially with less players to see how it fairs.


Batter Up!

This afternoon two sad gamers met up at a local perveyor of caffeine products to consume hot beverages and attempt to fathom the sick twisted American mind behind baseball by playing Bottom of the 9th for the first time.

Being an Englishman, I've never played baseball. I have watched one or two baseball movies over the years, and even played the odd baseball game back in the mid eighties on the Commodore 64 (Hardball and Imagine softwares baseball game). So I'm familiar with some of the baseball lingo.
First up Dice Hate Me have done a fabulous job theming the game components, giving the whole package a wonderful retro baseball feel. Player cards for batters and pitchers are styled like old baseball cards. The large pitch tokens look like baseballs, as are the fatigue tokens. The 'at bat' card for recording whether a ball or strike has happened and how many, looks like a stick of gum. The expansion packs that came with game are done out like old baseball card packs.Theme just oozes from everything.
Jonathan and I played three games. Jonathan was pitching for the games while I was batting. The first game was a bit ropey, getting to grip with the steps involved with the game play.

“I'm thinking of a number, can you guess it?”

The first step is called the stare down, which does a good job of simulating that part of the game where the pitcher is deciding what sort of ball he is going to throw, while the batter is also trying to work out what to expect. This is a psi game like mechanic, ok yes that is me relating it to Netrunner psi games. Both players are performing a mentalist act. During this phase there is some information on the board that the batter can use to try and second guess the type of throw the pitcher will be throwing. Get it totally right and the pitcher is denied any sort of advantage on their throw, while the batter gets to access abilities to help make hitting the ball easier. Get it wrong and the pitcher has the advantage and hitting the ball gets harder. Get some of the guess right and both pitcher and batter each get an ability switched on.
I'm not going to through all the game play stages. There are videos that do that online. I'm just going to pick out bits I like or think need improving.
During the swing phase where depending on the results of the pitch phase you work out whether the pitch was a ball, strike or hit, we found it easier to reference the chart in the rule book (below)…
Than use the handy dandy reference card that is out on the table (below).
What do you think? I'm going to make my own baseball card sized reference table using the table above from the rule book, and the following information on when you roll a natural six as the batter.
If my fading memory from our games hasn't faded too much since the events that inspired this post happened, then Jonathan and I had maybe four or five times when we actually had to do the roll the dice to be the first to get a five or six to determine if the batter makes first base, or if the fielding team gets him out.
Out of those dice rushes I won one. The other times Jonathan rolled a six or five straight away, getting my batter out straight away.

The Rule Book

The rule book has had a few complaints about it, especially that it is not very accessible to those who don't know baseball (although I believe even then some have complained about it). It is jargon laden. Personally I didn't find the rule book as bad as I was expecting. It would have been better if it had a glossary of terms, I had no idea what a double was. Before Jonathan arrived I had to quickly do a Google search to find out. I shouldn't have to be doing this.
I also found apart from the opening paragraph, there is no explicate objectives, win condition explained in the rule book.
I seem to remember Jonathan talking about these points many moons ago now, and saying that the rule book was being rewritten to take on board the critisms say made.

Despite the points above, and I didn't win one game, I still enjoyed this one or two player game. It captures baseball as far as I understand it really well. The use of its mechanics really does give a feel of playing baseball. Or for this Limey how I think it would be based on the films and video games I have played. Could this be rethemed for the rest of the world as a cricket game? Mechanics wise I don't think much would have to be changed. But then I think cricket is about as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow. Which I believe may or may not be the opinion some Americans have of baseball.

After Jonathan had beat me good and proper, we sat and chatted for a little bit discussing gaming stuff.

Don't forget folks if you are local the Fenland Gamers have their monthly meet this Wednesday. Contact us through the Facebook page if you want to come along to get the details.


Senior moments

Last night the worker placement fan club wing of the Fenland Gamers met up to make wine by playing Jonathan's Christmas present from his son Viticulture.

On my way to the meet I realised I had forgotten my 6S, which meant I was going to have to ask Jonathan for copies of any photos from the evening for the post. Seconds after I arrived, Jonathan pulled up in his car. He had just nipped home because he had forgotten his phone also!

We were playing the essential edition of the game, which is basically the second edition of the game plus some hand picked modules by the game designer Uwe Rosenberg from the Tuscany expansion.

The essential edition of the game is like the special edition Star Wars, the second edition and Tuscany expansions will not be reprinted, the essential edition is it, the only one you will be able to get.

While setting up the game it became apparent very fast that Jonathan had forgotten the games money. Which meant you guessed it, Jonathan popping home to get the games currency. Luckily the secret Bat Cave that Jonathan lives in was nearby.

The delay while Jonathan fetched the moolah was worth it. Before Christmas Jonathan had a slight inclination that he'd be getting Viticulture so he hunted down the metal coin pack for the game. I can tell you this bit of pimping the components of the game was well worth it. The coins are gorgeous. I can't believe that they won't be making these any more, that's a mad decision. The coins look fantastic, have a lovely feel to them.

Above photos curtesy of Jonathan

Playing the game was a delight, I really enjoyed playing it. There are some very nice mechanics in the game.

First off is the Waking mechanic, where you decide the order of play that round. If you really want to go first and grab a particular place on the board, you can grab that (if it hasn't been chosen already), but you get no bonus. Otherwise you may decide it's more important to gain one of the bonuses, the further back in the turn order you go the more powerful the bonus. These bonuses range from drawing cards, getting money, or victory points to having an extra temporary worker to place.

I like this mechanic for deciding turn order, it's similar to Five Tribes. Except in Five Tribes you are deciding how much you are prepared to pay to go first.

Similar to the Manhattan Project and Coal Baron where by taking an action first you influence the cost of that action for the next player that turn. Which enables you to have a negative influence on the other players. In Viticulture this is reversed. Meaning the second player to take the action gets a positive bonus, often repeating that action again, for instance instead of playing one visitor card they can play two.

Breaking each round into seasons, and having actions only available in a particular season is a nice touch, and helps get the theme over really well.

Speaking of theme, I think this game oozes theme. The whole vineyard, making wine, comes across really strongly.

I love how victory points are not just something you are striving to gain, but also a resource you can spend to gain an advantage.

I took an early lead in the victory points, which I was able to maintain for most of the game, even when I was manipulating the victory points to get some advantage on the board. Most of my victory points came by lots of little actions and bonuses, Mat and Jonathan got most of their points from completing orders. I think I only completed two contracts, for six or seven victory points in total.

Yes the completed contracts give you more victory points, and recurring money. But the chipping away tactic I used in this game seemed just as effective. I did reach the twenty victory points first, triggering the end game.

That end game or final turn was very tense. Mat and Jonathan were only a couple of points behind me at this point. A completed contract or two, which they looked like they could do, would push them to victory. I needed to disrupt their plans, and try and complete a contract.

I knew my only contract was not something I could complete. I didn't have the resources.

During the Summer phase I played a card that allowed me to discard a couple of cards and draw one of each type I had discarded. It was risky, I needed to top deck a good card to help me. It paid off.

During the final Winter phase I had to try and stop them completing contracts. Mat completed one, taking him two points ahead of me and into the lead. Jonathan took the draw contract action, phew that helped me ALOT. I followed that action, but I got the bonus of drawing two contracts, hoping to get one I could complete. Phew the cards were smiling on me tonight. I had a contract I could complete for two victory points. I had top decked again.

However by completing his contract first, Mat had given me the win! Being second to do the complete contract action meant I not only got the two victory points for completing my contract and drawing level with Mat on points, I also got an extra victory point giving me the win!

As I previously said, this last round was very tense. It was so close, any of us could have won. Jonathan had been frustrated in that last round unable to complete a contract. Mat nearly won. But Lady Luck and the cards smiled on me.

This was an awesome game, it will definitely go on the wishlist.

Afterwards Mat showed us his new game Trickerion – Legends of Illusion. We didn't play it, that will be for another night. But this worker placement game about being magicians and performing magic looked amazing. It was so thematic, and had a look and feel that really invoked the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the magic acts of that age like Houdini, and the theatres of the time.

The light brown faded colour scheme really made the look of the rules and player aids fit in and feel part of the whole period it was set in.

So the game looks beautiful and thematic, I can't wait to play it.

Whilst looking at Trickerion Jonathan confessed with out any prompting or arm twisting, that he had a chequered past as a magician! So we have said when we play the game Jonathan has to set the mood of the evening by performing some magic!!!

We also after using my discussion piece I had taken along (the Pandemic Legacy rule book) come up with a plan for getting the game to the table.

This was a really awesome evening of gaming, I had a great time (and not just because I won for once). Thanks guys for a great evening.

IA: Stormtroopers

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

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

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

As with all expansions you get two skirmish mission cards.

There are two deployment cards for the new troopers.

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

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

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

Finally this Villians pack has the id tokens.


Dice, Gems, and Markets

Yesterday saw three Fenland Gamers meet up for an afternoon of rolling dice, pushing tokens around, plotting and general cardboard shenanigans.

Amazon had let me down again. Colt Express was meant to have arrived Friday, but it didn't. So after chatting with their support I had an extra month added to my Prime membership as a “gesture of good will” from them for the inconvience, and an assurance the game would be delivered by midday on Saturday so it could be played that afternoon. Guess what? It never showed up. When I contacted support again, was told it was still at the couriers local distribution centre. I wasn't happy. In a fit of rage, I performed the act known as cutting my nose off despite my face, and asked to cancel the order and get a refund, saying I would get it elsewhere.

After getting hot beverages organised, our afternoon of gaming started with the three of us learning the new arrival I had this week Dice City.

So a brief read through of the rules, then we started play. Our first couple of turns saw us fumbling around like new born foals finding their legs. Through out the game questions would crop up for various situations, and the rule book would have to be consulted.

Three turns after getting the catapult I realised I had missed placed the catapult. Basically shutting down my ability to use it, and my main ability to attack bandits.
On the other hand Jonathan's dad had established a really effective engine that got him free army units, and allowed him to get more than enough swords to attack bandits, and build up points that way.
Jonathan was just scoring at will. He was trading, attacking bandits, purchasing. His engine was on fire. The victory points were just piling up for him.
I completed my second row, activated my three deactivated properties, and called the end of the game. It was time to put me out of my misery. There was no way that I'd be able to catch up.
As the final score below shows I wasn't even close to winning. I had made the right call to end my suffering.
Wow. This game took a lot longer than I was expecting. I thought this game would be a quickish game. But it took around two hours. Maybe some of that time was due to the three of us learning the game. But still, there are a surprising amount of decisions to make while its your turn.
I like the fact that there is a mechanism that mitigates the luck of rolling dice. Which is basically being able to move a dice one adjacent position to its left or right. However there are buildings that you can buy that allow you to move a dice to any position on its row.
Surprisingly for a dice game, you need a lot of table space to play. The player boards are massive, plus the space for the various card piles, and tokens, it's not a small game.
I like the fact there are different paths to victory you can take. Ok I didn't do very well executing mine, but Jonathan's dad had the military path pretty well worked out, Jonathan's was fairly successful. In our game there was no attacking the other players buildings. Which would have been a good extension to the military path.
Overall I liked the game, definitely want to get this to the table again.

Our second game of the afternoon was Splendor. Having had the custom playmat made for the game did aid setting up. I didn't have to remember where everything went for starters.

I like Splendor, especially the tokens for the gems. The fact they are poker chips with the relevant image of a gem on is nice. But I just like the tactile feel of these chips. It's hard not to play with them when they are in front of you waiting to be spent.

Although Jonathan managed to attract the first patron, and also take the early lead with a couple of one point cards. I quickly caught up, and pulled ahead, before attracting two patrons. Jonathan did pull back, but by then it was too late I scored the fifteen points to get the win.

Our final game of the session was Istanbul. The tile setup used was the short paths one, with no expansions or promos used. We went this route because this was the first time Jonathan's dad had played the game, and didn't want to over complicate things.

Once again Jonathan won. That's all three games of this I've played so far and he has won all of them. I came second in this game due to the tie breaker rules. Jonathan's dad and I both had three gems, but I had more money than him.

After the game, Jonathan shared his winning tactic for the short paths set up. Which basically meant grabbing the tile power up that allowed him to reroll a die, or change it to the number four. Then visiting the tea house to get money and the gemstone store to buy the gems. And alternating between the two. I must find a way to disrupt this tactic if we play this set up again. Which while writing this I think I have.

A great afternoon gaming, great company.