Category Archives: Game day

Countdown to doomsday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner,winner,chicken dinner

It’s pre-release weekend in the world of MtG for the next set in the Ixalan block, Rivals of Ixalan. Which means it’s time to milk those addicts for lots of money as they throw money at store owners just so they can have early access (by a week) to the cards in the new set. For store owners this weekend and next weekend is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel, and time to rake in some much needed cash.

Naturally I’ve been waiting for this set to be released because it gives me more dinosaurs to work with, with the dinosaur commander deck I want to build. So having to wait a week less to get my hands on those sweet sweet cards isn’t a chance I’m going to pass up.

So yesterday I was booked into the morning pre-release event at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole. £22 (Early bird booking price instead of £25 on the day) for the pre-release kit, some games of MtG, and 2 participation booster packs, a bargain.

Justin had decided to join me at the pre-release the night before, so we travelled together to The Hobbit Hole. It felt like we were representing Fenland Gamers at the pre-release.

Just after 11am, after giving any late arrivals a chance to show up, everyone got their pre-release kits, and opened them. I’ll go over the pulls later in the post. But as both of us were going through our 6 booster packs in our pre-release kits, from one of the other tables one person was getting really lucky. In the 4 boosters from Rivals of Ixalan that they opened they got 4 elder dinosaurs. Plus the promo card they got was the legendary creature Sphinx. That sure was an awesome box to get. However I was happy with my pulls, I got some of the cards on my hit list that I wanted.

After opening the boosters, it’s time to build a deck to play with. Justin and I built our 30 card decks. I was going red/black pirate, with one or two vampires. Luckily just before we were meant to start playing I checked the deck size. They were meant to be 40 cards!!!! Doh! We had just got in the habit of 30 card decks for our league. I’d forgotten this format was 40. We had seconds to throw in 10 more cards. Something that was easier for me than Justin I think. Mainly because I had pirate cards I thought I could fit in, and now could.

My first round match up I won the first game. I even went to my sideboard and fetched a copy of Aquatic Incursion to cast using Mastermind’s Acquisition. This gave me a couple of chump blocking 1/1 merfolk tokens to use. I lost the second game. I got my opponent down to about 14 health, and my plan was to turn the creature they’d been pumping up to a 9/9 against them. However I was short 1 mountain to do that and was killed first. Our third and final game I won easily and quickly. I’d won round one 2-1. Wow I was chuffed. I believe Justin also had won his match up too 2-1. Would we meet in the next round?

Sadly we wouldn’t. I was paired up against Kar-Fai for the second round. This was our first time playing each other at MtG, but not our first time on opposite sides of the table at a tournament. Previously Kar-Fai and I had faced off against each other playing Netrunner (Which he did attempt to tempt me back into playing). I don’t think I’d beaten Kar-Fai at Netrunner. Would I beat him in MtG?

It soon became obvious during our first game that this was literally a mirror match up of decks. I think the main difference was Kar-Fai was using more artefacts/vehicles than me. While I had a little bit more removal. I was also playing less land. In my deck I had a total of 12 land, plus the Traveler’s Amulet. As long as I had a land and the amulet in my starting hand I was golden! Mainly because I could fetch a second land if my next card drawn wasn’t a land, or I could use it to go fetch a land I needed, like a second swamp or mountain.

It was my removal, and the Mastermind’s Acquisition that gave me the edge I think. I won our first game. The second game was close I was down to 3 health before making my comeback and winning the game. The Mastermind’s Acquisition allowed me to look for a solution at the crucial moment to turn the tide in my favour. I’d won the round 2-0. Revenge for the Netrunner defeats finally, and I’d only had to change games to do it!

We had time to spare so Far-Kai and I played a friendly game. This time it was my deck against a second deck that he had also built from his cards pulled. It was a close game, but in the edge his merfolks were victorious.

I was a bit gobsmacked I’d won 2 rounds now. I was feeling a little pressure, and a little apprehensive about the third and final round match up. Surely this would be pitching me against a much better MtG player than me. I’d been lucky so far.

The third and final round. I had the fast start this deck was capable of (and to be fair the one I played most games, as was Kar-Fai) with Fanatical Firebrand. I played an early Dark Inquiry that allowed me to remove Tetzimoc, Primal Death. I wasn’t going to have that putting out pray counters and clear my battlefield when it came out. The rest of the first game went to plan and I won. Game 2, I was within striking distance of winning when those damn pray counters tagged two of my creatures. Unluckily for my opponent having 1 creature out against 4, wasn’t going to give them enough time to even things up a little by bringing out that Tetzimoc. My next turn I swung in with everything, I had, pumped up one of my creatures so that it made no difference which one was blocked, I’d do a killing blow. I’d won 2-0, and quickly too.

Oh my god I’d won my 3 rounds, and only taken 1 loss. Ok I’m going to finish high. The question now was how high? As John read out the final positions, as we got closer to the top I wasn’t mentioned. Ok, I’m top 3. Cool. Not third, not second. WOW!!! I’d won. Out of a field of 16 players, over 3 rounds I was first. This is the first time I’d won an event. Bloody typical though it was an event with nothing on the line like store champ, or prizes for winning. But hey a win is a win.

Because this was a pre-release event everyone got participation boosters at the end. There was 1 pack for playing the first round, then a second pack for playing all three rounds. Everyone got these at the end. So in reality we were all winners!

Justin and I had a really great time at this pre-release. This is what MtG is all about not that other rubbish that’s been happening online. At the moment WotC have made a move in the right direction over the background checks for judges. The jury for me is still out on the one sided biased handling of bullying/harassment online. But they bought themselves a little grace time with me, with that announcement on Friday.

Here are the stats for the day. I went 3-0 (2-1,2-0,2-0) on the rounds, that’s a 6-1 win/loss record. However I did lose a friendly game between Kar-Fai and myself after I won our round 2 match up. So technically that win loss record with the friendly game is 6-2.

So I’m sure you are curious about the deck I built.

Deck list

Counts : 40 main

1 Daring Buccaneer
1 Fanatical Firebrand
1 Grasping Scoundrel
1 Vicious Conquistador
1 Desperate Castaways
1 Dinosaur Hunter
1 Dusk Legion Zealot
1 Gleaming Barrier
1 Goblin Trailblazer
1 Storm Fleet Swashbuckler
1 Fathom Fleet Boarder
1 Forerunner of the Coalition
1 Swaggering Corsair
1 Brazen Buccaneers
1 Brazen Freebooter
1 Fathom Fleet Cutthroat
1 Ravenous Chupacabra

1 March of the Drowned
1 Mutiny
1 Prying Blade
1 Traveler’s Amulet
1 Buccaneer’s Bravado
1 Arterial Flow
1 Dark Inquiry
1 Hijack
1 Impale
1 Mastermind’s Acquisition
1 Pirate’s Pillage

5 Mountain
7 Swamp

My sideboard naturally for this type of event was all the other cards I pulled. Which is too many to list here. However here are…

My highlights from cards pulled

These are the foils I pulled. The Ravenous Chupacabra was a really useful card yesterday to be able to play.

Before the pre-release apart from elder dinosaurs I had ear marked some cards I hoped I’d pull. These are the ones below from that list that I pulled.

These following ones are cards that weren’t on my radar, but I’m pretty glad I pulled them.

So that was my Rivals of Ixalan pre-release event at The Hobbit Hole. A great days entertainment playing MtG and getting new cards.

Journey Starts


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Night, Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War and Politics

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

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

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

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

Epic Sagas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big game Saturday

Yesterday morning started out like Christmas morning come early.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minions and minions

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

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

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

Our game for the day was Mechs vs Minions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet another great day gaming with a great friend.

Dinosaur Stomps

Yesterday was day 3, session 3, or whatever you want to call the penultimate Ixalan League afternoon for Fenland Gamers.

Ok let’s jump in with my win-loss record for the afternoon. I went 7-2 yesterday. But I didn’t get to play 3 of the people yesterday. Two of those were very strong decks indeed.

My first two games were against Lukas and his vampires. I’m not sure what the issue is here. Is it the inexperience of the player, the deck, or poor card draw? This is an easy match up for me. Lukas isn’t posing much of a threat on the battlefield. I have answers for his plan. I think reflecting on things I think the problem is a combination of all of the above. Vampires shouldn’t be this easy to defeat.

Justin played against me for my next two games. Which saw us win one each.

My fifth game was an interesting game. I managed to stabilise at 3 life to grab the win. With a built up battlefield I was able to control the game and finally after defending some attacks in which they shouldn’t really have attacked, grab the win.

My next two games were against Michael, Winner of season. He easily powered his way to victory in our first game, thanks to not drawing enough mana early on. But our second game was a different story. With Michael not getting the right mana I stomped (although I don’t play that card) to victory. Season 2 isn’t being kind to Michael. His deck just isn’t as dominating this time round. He is suffering a lot more losses.

I faced Lukas again for two more games to see how his strengthened deck was doing. But the same issues were there. I think some deck and play advice are needed. Next time it’s help Lukas time.

Justin and I had played each other twice and had both won a game. So our last game of the afternoon was a decider between us.

We were both amassing creatures on our battlefield afraid to attack. I think I had the slight edge, both in numbers and amount of damage they could dish out. Justin had one or two big hitters I wanted off the board, and I could take them out only if they were head to head with certain creatures of mine. So ideally Justin had to attack me so I could control which creature fought which. That way we’d both take heavy losses but I’d come out on top. When Justin did blink first and attack, the exchange was brutal. But when the dust cleared I had the upper hand. Which got worse for Justin when Angrath’s Marauders came out.

Double damage. With a battlefield I was rebuilding faster than Justin. I definitely had the upper hand. But the clock was ticking, I had 2 less cards in my library than Justin. I’d mill out first. With basically 4 turns left, I pumped up my Jungle Delver to a 5/5 over a couple of turns, and bought out a Ixalli’s Keeper.

With 1 card left in my library I swung in with everything but my Ixalli’s Keeper. I also made sure I had enough mana saved to pull off its ability. Justin had 14 life left. Could not block everything I had, especially my big hitters. Whichever big hitter wasn’t blocked I had plans for. That unblocked big hitter was going to get a +5/+5 boost from a sacrificed Ixalli’s Keeper as an “in response to you declaring attackers”. Which with the double damage boost would be fatal. Luckily that final all or nothing attacked played out my way. The buffed up big hitter delivering that winning blow, and winning our tie breaker game.

That was a close game. Almost milled.

Once again our hosts Fenrock were amazing. They are making some great changes to the climbing experience there. Plus you can also try out virtual reality now! Yep Fenrock now have a pc setup with an oculus rift with various games (even minecraft) for people to play using it.

There will be a gap between the end of this current league and when the next one starts. Mainly because we will be using the next set Rivals of Ixalan for it (and that isn’t out until mid January). So the plans are to organise some fun events to pass the time. Such as an Unstable draft, more Commander, maybe even a highlander or two-headed giant session. It’s a shame Iconic Masters is so expensive, would love to do a draft of that. So keep an eye out on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page for when the events are announced.

Gruuling afternoon

Yesterday life whittled down yesterdays league participants to 6 for our second session.

I’d arrived early to rebuild my deck from my card pool I had for the league (the packs opened the previous session) and the one I cracked for this session. The majority of the others had their packs at the end of the previous session. I went red/green (gruul I believe it is known as). My only turn 1 card was a couple of Commune with Dinosaurs that would allow me to hunt for a dinosaur in the top 5 cards of my library. But in reality I’d be looking at playing a creature turn 2 onwards. I had options then, turn 2 blockers, attackers, even the chance to make dinosaurs cheaper.

When I deck build I do like to have more low cost options, and have some more costly options but not as many. That way I stand a better chance of getting playable stuff in my opening hand or a mulligan. Plus if I don’t draw much land, which can happen, I can play something, and draw something I can play.

Out of 11 games I went 6-5. So my wins edged it this time. And a very big improvement over the opening session of just 1 win.

I was happier with this deck and the way it built up. There is hardly any removal, a single Crushing Canopy.

I pulled a Deathgorge Scavenger, and Charging Monstrosaur in my loser booster. Which made the deck even stronger. Both were really effective.

We gave Lukas a quick play lesson for his deck and told him what he should be looking for in his opening hand. Sadly we didn’t have his card pool to hand to see if we could help him strengthen his deck.

As usual we had a great afternoon of playing MtG, at our great hosts FenRock. Who are currently doing some exciting changes to the climbing facilities they have.