Category Archives: Game day

Oppression Averted – Carry On

Yesterday the stars aligned that Diego and I were both free and had the time to get Star Wars: Rebellion to the table. 

After scientifically choosing who picked the side they wanted to play by tossing a coin. I was the Empire for our second game, which naturally meant Diego was the Rebel scum.

For our second game we went all in using the full setup. Which meant we were using the action cards with their abilities and not just for recruiting, we had two random action cards from the one use ones. Our starting systems were chosen by selecting the first three rebel systems from the probe deck and also the first five Empire systems. And then allocating our forces as we saw fit between them (although there was a minimum force requirement I think for the Empire on each system). 

Just the way the cards fell I was able to drop my Death Star and some back up units  , like some ties and troopers to split the Rebel starting systems.

Early on I drew project cards that allowed me to build a Super Star Destroyer and blow up a system (Bothawui) with my Death Star. So I did, because I could. That destroying Bothawui would come back and haunt me later on.

Diego did far better than I did as the Rebels. He completed more missions than I did. Luckily in the final couple of rounds some serious rules lawyering stopped him from destroying my Death Star. But it was my earlier “it was fun to do” destruction of Bothawui that gave Diego the final point he needed to win. He had a mission that gave him a point for each destroyed system. 

One more turn would have given me victory with my newly commissioned second Death Star able to move in and blow up the Rebel base. But it was never to be.

It still amazes me that with epic games like Rebellion that the time flies by. You get so engrossed in the game you lose track of the time. It took just over four hours for the Rebels to bring an end to my tyrannical grip on the galaxy. 

A great afternoons gaming. Thanks Diego.

Climbing Magic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Playing in the Sandbox

Back in the day. Oh how I fecking hate that saying. Look back in 1984 I was like 16, studying at the Isle of Ely College. And this game Elite was somehow on the Beeb micros there, along with Frakk, and clones of popular arcade games of the time. I was programming in BASIC on the Beeb, my Commodore 64 and any other platform in front of me. It wasn’t until it came out on the Commodore 64 that I got to spend real anytime on this open world sandbox game. I remember enjoying the game but not exactly being any good at it. 

It’s that memory of Elite from my teenage years that attracted me to Xia: Legends of a Drift System and it’s expansion Embers of a Forsaken Star. It looked and sounded like Elite the boardgame. 

Luckily Edmund gave me the chance to get Xia to the table yesterday when he invited me to an afternoons gaming.

We played without the NPC ships, but with everything else from the base game and expansion. We set the fame point target to achieve to the suggested first game target of five.

Neither of us took weapon upgrades for our initial ships. Edmund was flying wildly doing blind jumps into sectors, while I spent the energy to scan first. 

Both Edmund and I ended up with bounty on our heads when we traded in the wrong part of the galaxy. Guilt by association.

Edmund did manage to complete a mission and earn enough credits to upgrade to a tier 2 ship and get rid of his bounty. He was also better at trading than me and earns a couple of fame points that way too. 

Me I was bumbling around space going “lalala”, “oh look pretty star”. Pretty much no different to when I was playing Elite way back.

We didn’t even get close to scratching the surface of Xia. With more players and the NPC’s thrown in the experience would be different again. There is so much to explore with this game. Each game will be familiar, yet different due to the modular nature of the tiles. 

Xia takes up a massive amount of table space. The quality of everything is really high. Metal coins, pre-painted minis.

This is an impressive game. It’s epic in scope. I love it. I can’t wait to play it again.

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. 

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!

TableTop Day 2017 – We Played Some Games

Well my International TableTop Day started the same as all others. Coffee made with my Hario V60 Dripper, using a limited edition roast called Kigoma Natural (with hints of black grape and blueberry) from Pact Coffee (yes I’m that coffee hipster/snob guy). I save the good stuff for weekends. Like all the other days I had the usual two chocolate chip brioche. I love my morning routine. 

After dressing I got a selection of games together to take along to the Fenland Gamers International TableTop Day Event, and then headed off to The White Lion.

When I got to the hotel there were people still eating breakfast. So I enquired if breakfast was still being served. It was. Result. I ordered a full English. Which was great value. It not only included the titular dish, but hot drink (tea/coffee), fruit juice and cereal.

Jonathan turned up just after I ordered my food. So we chatted about games, life the universe and other stuff, while we waited for my plate of goodness, and then devouring of said plate of food.

We had just started playing Jaipur when Lucia and the walking injured also known as Will turned up. I hadn’t played Jaipur before, but its been on and off my radar for a while. Jaipur is played over three rounds before a winner is decided. We only had time to complete one. But there was enough in the game for me to want to play again. It is a nice two player game, that combines set collection, drafting and hand management really nicely.

With Will and Lucia we played Archer: Once You Go Blackmail Love Letter. There was a slight hitch to the start of the game. Jonathan and I hadn’t realised Will and Lucia hadn’t played Love Letter! It just didn’t register that we hadn’t played the game with them. Oops.

During the game Chris arrived. Just in time to see Jonathan come back from behind and win.

It was time to be corrupt sheriffs and dishonest tradesman in Sheriff of Nottingham. This game is such a hoot. There was not that much bribing to get your own goods through, but lots of bribing the current sheriff to open someone else’s pouch. Somehow in all the chaos, lying and treachery Chris won.


Our final game of our TableTop Day session was Lords of Waterdeep. I think this was my worst play of the game ever! It has been nearly a year and a half since I last played the game physically, and nearly a year the app (which does not work properly on iOS, and needs a massive update). We did have one misplay. The first round was played with too many meeples. After that I just didn’t complete Quests as quick as the others or use the intrigue cards well. Mind you I did draw some turkeys. Oh Lucia won. 

When I got home Amazon had delivered the stuff I bought with the very generous gift from my friends and colleagues at work yesterday. 

So that was TableTop Day for 2017, and day two of Darren’s birthday celebration weekend.

Stopping the Rise of Azathoth

The Bank Holiday Monday was spent trying to stop the rise of the Elder God Azathoth.

I was “aware” of the game Eldritch Horror. But had never played it. So when Justin asked if anyone in Fenland Gamers wanted to play it Bank Holiday Monday, “yeah I do”, I thought.

So I ended up at a new location to play this game. Is it common knowledge that Outwell has a climbing wall called Fenrock? I’m not sure. Even so you certainly wouldn’t list it as a possible gaming location. But thanks to the generosity of the owner Justin and I were playing Eldritch Horror there in a side room used for yoga.

There were only the two of us playing this Cthulhu themed co-op game. That plays apparently 1 – 8 players. I can’t imagine the game with the higher end of the player count. It must take soooo long to play. 

Ok this was a first play for me, Justin had partially played the game before. So it was a kinda learning game.

Setup takes a little while to do. There is lots of cards and stuff to this game. It definitely could do with an insert to organise things and speed up setup. 

Considering it was the two of us racing around the globe to hold back the forces of darkness, we were playing an “easy” Elder God Azathoth.

There are some nice touches to the game, and it feels like a more complicated Pandemic. But I’m not going to talk much more about Eldritch Horror in this post. I want to play the game with more players first. Which is a good sign that I liked the game enough that I want to play it again.

Justin and I did defeat Azathoth, and thus saved the world. After the tedious job of packing away (I did say there were lots of pieces etc), Justin and I briefly discussed games, Kickstarter and possibly having more sessions at Fenrock. 

A good afternoons gaming. Thanks Justin.

UPDATE: forgot to mention one important thing, the game could do with player aids. There are none. Luckily the back of the reference guide and rule book have a turn/round summary. 

Sunday Afternoon Gaming

The long bank holiday weekend meant we were able to set up a general gaming session for Sunday afternoon.

Chris and I were joined by recent new member to the club Edmund, and a first time attendee Charlie, at our regular gaming haunt The White Lion Hotel. 

Will and Lucia were due to join us. But that knee  that I told you about on Saturday, it was hurting. So they went off to the “local” A&E to see if he could get a robotic leg and become a cyborg. (Look my version of events is so so much more entertaining than the mundane truth. But we do wish Will a speedy recovery.) 

After purchasing beverages and brief introductions it was time to retire to the table to play some games.

Our first game of the afternoon was Roll for the Galaxy. 

As Chris rightly pointed out the rule book looks scarey for this game. But in reality when you start playing it really is quite simple to play.

Despite the game being “simple” to play I still lost. I didn’t have much of an engine going generating stuff, despite getting 12 planets in front of me. 12 cheap planets. 2 and 3 values with a single 4. The others had been drawing better than me, and scoring higher value planets.

But although it would have been nice to have scored more or even have won, the journey was still a blast.

We followed Roll for the Galaxy with the game that kicked off the Dice Tower essentials line, Sheriff of Nottingham.

I’d got this game in to use with my students that come to my enrichment sessions. So the chance to play it, especially with a couple of people that knew it, was not to be missed.

This game does rely in part on how much people get into the roles. The more they commit, ham it up, the more fun things are.

This game is about bluffing, trying to work out who is lying. And it’s a blast. But I refer you back to my previous statement. We all got into our roles, and that did play a big part into the game being so much fun.

For me Sheriff of Nottingham falls into the same camp of game as Gloom. Another game that if the people really commit to it (in Glooms case making up the stories of woe) the better it is.

I’m loathe to say that this is a game that has to be played with the “right” crowd. Mainly because I think those sort of games aren’t really games. You shouldn’t need to rely on having the “right” people for a game to work. Gloom and Sheriff of Nottingham are ok games at best if people don’t get into the role play/story elements of those games. These are games that build those elements into the game itself. They are an integral part of the game. Where as the games that need the “right” folks such as Bomb Squad tend to be no fun at all, or even a game (in my opinion).

I’m not sure that mini rant and point were made very clear.

Charlie ran away with the victory smuggling contraband and the most apples into the city. I should have been a bit bolder in my bluffing. 

The session finished off with a couple of games of the crowd pleaser Mint Works.

Once more I lost the first game on the tie breaker to Chris. Then our second game I came last with 6 points. 

But still this was the first time Edmund and Charlie had played the game. And they loved it. I think if Mint Works was actually being sold in stores over here two more copies would have been sold that night. It’s not that bad getting it from the US. But still it needs to be out on the shelves of your FLGS.

It was a great afternoons gaming, and really great seeing new people finding the club. I hope that we were welcoming and delightful (we even gave the clubs mini induction – you can’t play yellow. Yellow is Jonathan’s colour. Actually yellow is like Shelton’s spot on the sofa for Jonathan! Yellow is a horrible colour luckily no one wanted to play it.) And look forward to seeing them again at more gaming sessions. 

House Magic and Prophecies

So like Wizards of the Coast (or WotC as they are abbreviated to) came up with this cool idea. Well giving them credit for a business plan used by drug dealers for like ever is a bit generous, but still it seems innocent enough. That idea is to give you a free mini deck, teach you how to play, and give you a promo card. All in the comfort of your FLGS. Or in drug dealer terms, here’s a free sample, this is how you shoot up, here use my living room. 

WotC are calling this cunning stolen plan “Magic Open House”.

This event is for people who have never played Magic before, need a Magic refresher, or want to introduce a friend to the game! Show up, get a Welcome Deck, and play Magic against other newer players. Thousands of game stores will be hosting Magic Open House events to welcome players to Magic, one day only, on April 15.

Yes my FLGS The Hobbit Hole was taking part in this event of epic proportions. 

It would have been rude of me not to turn up.


So I went for the red Welcome Deck. Mainly because I’d caught the end of a live Facebook broadcast the day before the UK community manager for Magic the Gathering. The bit I saw was the end of a brief look at the various Welcome Decks. I came in where the last pack she was looking at was red, and the sentence (I paraphrase here) “if you like dragons”. I thought I like dragons. And it was that thought that went through my mind when choosing my Welcome Deck upon arrival at The Hobbit Holes Open House.

I have to admit when I saw the Stalking Tiger card in the green Welcome Deck I was envious. I really did like the art work on that card.

So I got some games in with a “Magic Expert” to teach me the game. Our first couple of games just used the thirty card mono colour deck from our Welcome Deck. Then we combined those cards with the other thirty card deck that’s included in the box, which is a different colour. So I was playing a red/blue deck. I lost that match up.

I then played against another “Magic Expert” and lost that game too. My final game before having to leave was against John (the store owner) which I also lost.

But it was fun playing those decks. Although I never did get my dragon to the table. Didn’t draw it once.

It really was a nice intro event. If you get a chance you should go to one and try Magic the Gathering. You don’t have to get heavy into it. I play the Duel Decks when I can. Plus there was that new league format that didn’t require having lots of cards. Which I hope starts up again soon.

Having collected my foil full art land card as my final reward for taking part, I dashed across the Fens back to Wisbech. I had some time jumping to do.

Here be Dragons…

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! There may or may not be spoilers for the third scenario Prophecy of Dragons.

When I arrived at The White Lion everyone was there already. Including the walking wounded Will, who apparently injured the ligaments round his knee whilst recreating the classic Undertaker and Mankind Hell in a Cell match (see YouTube clip below) by jumping off the top of his wardrobe (ok I may have taken a little bit of artistic licence there in what actually happened. But frankly my version is far more exciting and credible.)

Anyway this was our first time back together since our first attempt at Prophecy of Dragons. Which was a good couple of months back. Our memories aren’t that great. So we pressed the rest button and approached the game as if playing for the first time.

Whilst going through the scenario one or two things started to come back to us. But we still ran out of time on our first run through.

But Jonathan had been sneaky and had made notes where the three fairies could be found. Just in case like. I hadn’t even noticed him paying extra attention to the cards.

So while resetting we decided to change tact from our initial run, and the majority of runs in the long ago previous failed attempt, and collect the fairies.

This got us to the portal with plenty of time units, we got through the swimming bit. Which was shocking because this had defeated us so many times. But the dice were really kind to us. Amazingly so.

We had done it. We were now into undiscovered country and the mysterious mystery black deck.


We were inside the castle! A new map, new locations to explore. Wow. This was unreal. 

We explored the castle and ended up in the final conflict. The big battle was a little easier than it should have been because we were able to use a beacon on the big bad that killed him straight away!

However the final act to complete the mission fell upon my character as it could only be done by a magic user. Luckily earlier decisions meant I was rolling seven dice for magic skill tests. So in about three rolls I had completed the task and won the day! Yep it was me, I was the hero, and I didn’t need a naked woman or girly mag to do it (see earlier T.I.M.E. Stories write ups).

OMG! We had done it. Prophecy of Dragons is fun. Is it the best one? It’s less puzzly for sure. I like the introduction of magic. But I think I’m hard pushed to say it’s the best. It’s very reliant on the first half of finding that optimal path through. But still lots of fun.

Ancient Egypt next time.

Waiting for me at home…