Category Archives: game night

game night

The Planets Align

I’ve not posted for a day or two. So I know you must have withdrawal symptoms from being denied your fresh dosage of poor attempts at humour and bad English. But fear not I’m back today with this post.

It probably doesn’t feel like it but I do only post when I have something to say, and don’t post just any old thing!

Now I have been gaming during the week. But it’s been at work. And for obvious reasons I’m going to keep that to a minimum on here. 

It was Friday yesterday. The end of the working week. Always after a break, that first week back seems longer usually. But this week it’s flown by. Maybe it’s because we survived Storm Doris and the excitement and route finding challenges (blocked roads due to blown over lorries) that it presented.

Still that pint of Thatchers cider sure did taste mighty good and well deserved during our gaming session.

Our first game of the evening was going to be Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It had just arrived in Diego’s collection. I’d had just missed out on buying it second hand. But wasn’t too upset when I saw it was Diego that had beaten me to get it. I knew I’d get to play it. 

However before setting up I got a message from Chris to say he was 20 minutes away and had Blood Rage with him. Diego and I were happy to hear that news. We both wanted to play that game.

We chatted until Chris turned up, and with no arm twisting, tummy punches, bullying, water boarding, kidnapping or chemicals, Jonathan (under his own free will) said he’d also play Blood Rage.

So we were doing this. We were playing Blood Rage. A game I listed in my “Don’t wanna buy, but wanna try” post.

As usual for a CMoN game the minis, especially the big monster ones looked stunning. 

As much as I hate and despise CMoN, I can’t take away the fact that they nail it when it comes to making great minis in games.

I liked the card drafting at the start of each round. Plus using a different deck each time, that ramped up how powerful the cards got.

The three rounds went fast. Surprisingly so. The game had a nice pace to it. It didn’t drag.

The combat worked well, it was simple and fast. Which helped the pace of the game.

There is a nice resource management element that works well. Having to decide how to spend your rage. Installing upgrades, taking actions, and which ones. If I hadn’t been stealing rage from the others I might have had some really difficult choices to make! Also deciding which trait to upgrade, do you want more rage next round, or more warriors on the board, or maybe more points when you win a battle (which didn’t benefit me with my tactic).

Oh and it’s a very easy game to learn. Like all games with a drafting element it’s going to take a few games to see all the cards and learn what they do. But rules, actions wise so easy to pick up. 


In our game the planets aligned for me. This was probably my best ever first play of a game.

I stumbled upon the tactic of wanting to get into battles and lose. Losing and dying, sending warriors to Valhalla was with the cards I drafted a devastating tactic.

In the first draft I got both Loki cards that if I lost a battle allowed me to steal rage from the winner. Which was backed up by a clan upgrade that allowed me to place a warrior back into the area I had just been defeated in for free. I then had the quest that gave me points for having more than four warriors in Valhalla at the end of the round. The sea monster also joined my clan. Which was to prove handy.

In round two I got both of the Loki cards that allowed me to continue with the losing tactic, but gave me even more rage. I was also allowed to get the same quest again as the one I had in round one. But I added a ship upgrade that included the sea monster (it counted as a ship) that gave me points whenever a ship was destroyed. Add in a clan upgrade for double Ragnorak points. I was swimming in rage in the second round. Whilst my opponents had none. Some git (me) like the first round had been stealing it from them. 

Third round saw me lose my Loki card early on. But by then it was too late, the damage had been done. All I had to do was make sure I stayed in the zone for Ragnorak, complete the same quest again. Upgrade my clan with an Odin card that doubled completed quest scores, upgraded my points for destroyed ships, and I was golden.

The cards really fell for me in the drafting round. None of the others hate drafted! I did in round two. I took the second Loki card so the others couldn’t have it. I was surprised I was able to get those cards in the second round after the others saw how powerful they were in the first round. The whole combination though of the cards I had just fuelled each other. I got lucky. But it was a nice feeling to be this lucky for once.

I liked Blood Rage a lot. Most definitely want to play again. But won’t buy! I know my “got to have it all” gene would kick in, and I’d want the Kickstarter exclusive stuff too.

I agree with the comment Diego made after the game about Blood Rage being better than Inis (which we liked). But I added I still thought Scythe, and Kemet were above it. Now I just have to work out where Cry Havoc fits in the ordering. Oh an excuse to play that again ūüėČ

We finished off the gaming with the liars dice inspired House of Borgia. Jonathan really did have no luck in this game. However Diego won by being sneakier and more manipulative than the rest of us. 

There is as you know only one way to finish a great evening of gaming. The consumption of unidentifiable meat products smothered in chilli sauce and “salad”. If I had been drinking the Thatchers from a horn cup, and eating this pile of meat, with my unkept beard, you’d almost think i could have been a portly Viking!

Another great start to the weekend.

Half Term FEG@WL

The week ended with a longer session than normal of our regular Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion. It was also a great start to the weekend.

Our gaming started off with (at long last) Mechs vs Minions

This game is still getting hype, it’s print runs selling out. And no wonder really ¬£75 plus ¬£5 shipping, its redonkulous value for money. The production value is out of the park. 100 minion minis, all with a wash paint job to bring out details. Four fully painted figures. Custom metal counters, thick cardboard. The list goes on. Oh and the game box is massive and heavy.

The game you may have guessed looks lovely.

We played the tutorial and first mission yesterday.

I liked the tutorial. It was similar to the approach taken by Krosmaster Arena. But better! Plus I believe the different missions will introduce new mission specific rules. You don’t even have had to read anything before hand, open up and just start playing. The tutorial is that good, fun and easy to follow.

Which brings me on to the three rule books we saw, the tutorial, mission one and reference book. All really well written, easy to flow, clear, accessible style. 

I like the use of mission envelops that you open when directed, and containing all you need for that mission, like extra cards etc.

On the first mission it was rather cool making use of the timer for drafting after a certain condition was met. That made sure things didn’t go all ap on which cards to draft. Although you could game it a little!

Really like the drafting, programming element. Taking damage, which can interfere with your programming is a great touch. Plus they put in repair and reorder mechanics. Which balances out the game nicely. 

Oh and being able to boost/power up your cards abilities. Now that is cool. 

We played this game for two hours, and it did not seem that long. The time just flew by.

Yeah this definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a very nice game. Can’t wait to attempt mission two.

After Mechs vs Minions it was nearly time for Diego arriving. So we squeezed in some games of Santorini. I didn’t win any of our three games. But still had a blast. 

I said it wouldn’t be long before Adrenaline was in the collection. It had arrived that morning. So Jonathan and I introduced Diego and Chris to the joys of a fps boardgame! We played the full eight skull game with final frenzy.

It’s just a great, light, fun boardgame. Still learning the weapons. But despite coming last again, I did pull off the kill of the game doing six points of damage to Diego to kill his character.

Oh and the promo chainsaw weapon card may or may not be on its way to me!

Jonathan showed me the new Pandemic the Cure expansions contents. He managed to get it at a more acceptable price of ¬£30 but there is no way the contents (despite being custom dice, and some cards) is worth it’s rrp of ¬£45. Jonathan was right when he said your paying for the Pandemic name. It’s almost like a tax.

A really great game session. Great games, great company, great beverages. Oh and T.I.M.E. Stories the next day. I’m super happy.

Gods vs Gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monthly Meetup – February

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

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

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

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

We were playing a four player, six kill game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our second and final game of the evening was Takenoko.

What a difference playing the game correctly makes!!

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

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

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

I enjoyed the meet up, same time next month?

Trolololol Eric Summerer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Hard Decisions in Ancient Italy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Night Treachery and Bluffing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panicing Popes

By the Gregorian calendar, yesterday was the second Wednesday of January 2017.

Which means it was also the first monthly meetup of The Fenland Gamers for the new year. 

Our first game of the evening was Braggart

This is quickly becoming a favourite filler game for me. Well not just me, Debbie also I think. I’m assuming that after she asked if I could pick up a copy for her from The Hobbit Hole (my FLGS) if they had any left. 

Debbie went on to win the game.

I think the secret of games like Braggart, Fluxx, Love Letter etc is to not over dose on them. But to rotate and vary the games. Often I’ve seen people online say they no longer like a game because they over played it. So I’ve taken that information on board and I’m trying to avoid that situation. I think I’m building up a nice little selection of games that I can rotate and keep things fresh!

House of Borgia had the honour of being our second game. 

We were not impressed with the five player version of the game. It seemed broken! 

Egg on face time. After further investigation (Jonathan found the time to do the research) we had made a serious misplay! We hadn’t taken the action after making a successful bid. We only did the action after being challenged if you won. Which in our major misplayed game meant only one action took place! How embarrassing. 

So it’s back to the drawing board in playing a game with more than two players. But playing it correctly this time.

The final game of the evening was Castle Panic.

You know what I think about the game, but would Jonathan like it?

Well he did! He liked the co-op side with the winner element based on scoring points for killing monsters. 

With Viticulture when you got the Tuscany expansion you had “legacy” like elements to add to the game. Which worked by mixing in a module from the expansion into the base game. And repeating after each play. Thus the base game would change based on the module added. 

I think Castle Panic and it’s three expansions could work similarly. We are adding in the Dark Titan expansion for our next game.

In our game last night we managed to defeat the onslaught of monsters, with Jonathan being the victor having slayed the most points. But that was a slim one point victory over Diego. I wasn’t even close to challenging.

What would one of these game session write ups be without your dose of me in the form of photos taken by Jonathan?

One down, eleven left to go!

Holy Water Batman!

Fridays wasn’t just Crackerjack for British kids on tv. Over on BBC2 it was tv shows like The Water Margin and Monkey also.

I loved those shows. Yes they were dubbed. But they had great stories that caught my imagination. The struggle between the rebels in Liang Shan Po against the corrupt officials. Or the moral tales and humour of Monkey protecting Tripitaka a monk on a spiritual quest to find some scrolls, aided also by Pigsy and Sandy, two guards from heaven punished by being changed to look like “monsters” and to help, if I remember correctly.

I look them up now and I’m surprised how few episodes there are of these two great shows. Time and fading memories seem to have made me think there were way more episodes.

Now grown up me has a new Friday routine. It’s Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion. Last night was the first one of the new year.

It was just Jonathan and myself last night.

After getting a pint of our usual beverage (Heck we have a usual! I think we are regulars now. How did that happen?), Jonathan and I had a two player game of the just arrived House of Borgia.

House of Borgia is Liars Dice with a twist or two.

I’m not going to say much about the game now. It works as a two player game. But this is a game that needs to be played with the higher end of players that the game supports, so 4 – 6 players I think. So once I’ve had a chance to play the game with that sort of player count I’ll go into the game in more depth.

I will say the production values of the game are amazing. Really high quality.

Our second and final game of the evening was another new arrival Batman the Animated Series Dice Game.

This is Zombie Dice with a Batman theme. Steve Jackson games have gone the AEG Love Letter route here. Take a classic, great, fun game, tweak a rule or two but keep what made the original so much fun.

This version is limited in that it is capped at a maximum of four players. That’s thanks to its first change to the classic Zombie Dice formula. Players choose randomly one of the four villain tokens at the start. So you are playing as a Batman villain in this game. Your villain has a special ability. I had the riddler that allowed me to roll four dice at the start of my turn and a reroll them if they were all alarms. Jonathan had Pioson Ivy who could ignore one blue Batman symbol on a dice. You get the idea.

There are ten great looking dice (not thirteen as in Zombie Dice), and you play to thirty points not thirteen. Plus there is a rule tweak to what happens when you can’t draw any more dice.

I really liked these additions to the core game. They improve the game, while not getting in the way or over complicating things. The designers behind Dalek Dice should take note.

This could replace Zombie Dice as a light filer game for smaller groups for me.

I hope that Steve Jackson games have promo characters to release for this game. I’d get them. I’m going to approach AEG to see if I can buy 120+ of the Love Letter Batman tokens to use with this game to track scores. Now that would be a great pimp out for this game.

Having finished our pints of Thatchers by the end of Batman the Animated Series Dice Game, it was time to return back to real life, pick up a kebab, and deal with reality once more. 

Yes it had been a shorter session this time. But sometimes life dictates that is the case. Still a great evening though.

Flight of the Concordia 

Lunchtime the magic of modern technology allowed Jonathan to send a “can you come out and play” message to me for a learning game of his Christmas present from his family Concordia.

Naturally being a person of no life and therefore free most nights, my response was in the positive.

This was as stated a learning game. So there were going to be misplays, and time spent looking up various rule questions.

I think our biggest mistake of the night for the game was not looking up how the end scoring worked.

BGG lists the mechanics for the game as card drafting, deck building, hand management and point to point movement. After we had completed the end scoring it was evident that there was an element of set collection as well. Which comes in the form of the personality cards you buy and the gods that they are aligned with. These act as multipliers in the end scoring (if we interrupted the rules correctly). So for instance, you have four cards for one god, then the points you gain for that gods scoring gets multiplied by the number of cards you have.

It is funny that this game has deck building in it as a mechanic. Deck building is one of Jonathan’s least favourite mechanisms. Me? I like the mechanic. I’ve not looked at all the starting decks, but I think they are unique to the colour you are. Well unique in that they are slightly different. I notice that for one card (can’t remember what it was called) Jonathan’s copy of the card was slightly different. It gave more money to him than my version gave to me. 

I think there may be a first player advantage in being able to build in cities to get resources. But that needs to be confirmed with more plays.

I wasn’t left speechless after playing Concordia. There was no “OMG this is amazing” moment. I had a little moment of glory blocking Jonathan for a turn or two. But it just came across as ok. It definitely has enough going for it to warrant another play.