Category Archives: rant


Tired old tropes

For me to watch/listen to a new podcast/youtube video it has to be something spectacular.

I’m finding that so many are so formulaic and “me too”. Oh your podcast is a bunch of friends sitting round a microphone talking about games, with your unique brand of witty banter and in jokes. Well thats certainly not been done before!

Oh you are standing in front of your shelves and shelves of neatly stacked boardgames. How original.

I’m just finding that so many of these podcasts and youtube videos are using the same old tired tropes. I’ve identified a couple of them in the moan above.

Another one I’m finding so tiring now is the formulaic coverage of a game. Brief intro to the game, over long explanation of the game, then a much shorter opinion on the game. They might even mix in a little bit of ‘amdram’ themed around the game to add humour or entertainment. Some are better than others at doing this. But I find myself hitting the fast forward to get to that short end bit.

The magazine format is also getting like this. A youtube show usually with multiple contributors providing their own little segment. Each segment conforming to the same boring, tired, tropes. I’m watching less and less of these shows as I jump between one segment to another. I think there is about ten minutes of a forty to fifty minute episode of Boardgame Breakfast that I watch now. Given up on the two spin off shows by Sam and Zee. I’ve given the Instagamer Network show a chance but I’m struggling with the tired tropes.

I don’t know what the answer is. But there has to be something better out there. Everything is blurring into one another, where one show can’t be told apart from another.

Oi Games Workshop 

Despite the nasty taste CMoN have left, The Others once more shows what they totally get and you don’t.

42 minis in The Others core box if my maths is correct. And I’ve not had to put a single one of the together, cut one off a sprue or use glue. I can play the game straight away!

No excuses Games Workshop this day and age.

Really Games Workshop?

Oh look one of the sprues from the new edition of Blood Bowl. I took the image from a unboxing video.

Games Workshop just don’t get it. It’s 2016 not 1995.

There is no excuse these days to release a boardgame that doesn’t have miniatures already made up! 

I want to be able to buy, take home, and play straight away. 

Not buy, take home, spend hours putting the miniatures together, once I’ve managed to cut them off the sprue. Assuming I haven’t broken any bits of a model during that sprew surgery.

If the likes of CMoN can produce a game with lots of miniatures for prices that around the same price point of the Games Workshop stuff, the Games Workshop have no excuse what’s so ever.

So despite wanting to buy the game, I’m out on this one.

Not you

I've not had a rant for a little while, well at least a couple of days. So it was timely that iello games would ignite that inner rage within me yesterday with the announcement of a competition.


A competition to win a copy of the new King of New York Power Up! expansion. Look at that Mega Shark monster. Doesn't it look awesome?

Yeah wow, who wouldn't want to win that?

Well if you live out side of North America basically you can keep wanting, because with the following:

we will select and announce one random winner with a US or Canadian address.

iello have said you can stand out side in the cold and look into the shop through the window, because you ain't welcome here.

But cutting comments aside, this sort of region crippled competition winds me up.

Why? Sometimes, especially if it is a youtuber/blogger doing it, the excuse is “the postage is too expensive”. Not really, I've sent games internationally and if I can afford it (I'm not rolling in money for sure) living in rip off Britain. And our postage costs in the UK are not known for being cheap. Plus I've had friends send packages from the US to me, and funny enough they manage to do it for a very reasonable price. So I'm not buying it.

Maybe it's not wanting to step on the toes of a local publisher? But with iello I don't think this is the case. But even so it's one copy of the game. I can't see that being a real problem.

Maybe it's seen as being more effort to post it? But really if it's that much of a problem why not just not have a competition. Then you won't have to do anything.

I think making your competitions region specific does not make your customers/fans in the regions excluded feel all fuzzy and nice about you. I kind of resent you. Ok resent is a bit weak. I hate you with every bit of my black little heart.

Right deep breathes I think, I need to calm down.


Not Cool Mini or Not

Or why I'm not going to back CMoN on Kickstarter ever ever ever again.

So the other day CMoN sent out an update for The Others, which gave the news that the EU shipments would be hitting the shores of Germany one lot on the 13th September and the other on the 22nd September.

Add in time to clear customs, and then getting to the distributor, by the time that second shipment lands the first one might actually be in the process of being sent out. So we might start seeing copies arriving at the start of October.

That's a two month delay from when the US and Australia started getting theirs!

The thing is CMoN have given bs reasons for the delay. Ours in the EU had to be delayed because

For the European packages, we ran into an issue with the August holidays, which means our distribution center would be closed if the packages arrived in August as expected. Unfortunately that means we are going to have to delay the European shipment a little bit, so that the distribution hub can send them out in September. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

This statement smelt so bad even I could smell it was rotten, and I have no sense of smell. a distribution centre closed for a month as implied by their statement! I call shenanigans, “liar, liar, pants on fire”.

But CMoN buried their heads in the sand and ignored the furore that this announcement caused this side of the pond.

One poster on the comments section of the Kickstarter page suggested an interesting conspiracy theory that maybe the original shipment for the EU was directed to the US so that CMoN could sell the game at GenCon. The timings certainly fit.

Looking at the timings of the arrivals that CMoN gave in the latest update, I suspect that possibly the EU shipment may have been delayed deliberately to save them shipping costs so they have product to sell at a certain large event in October in Essen.

The initial delays for the game from its original March delivery were down to production delays and the Chinese New Year. Basically bad project management. They new they had production problems with the Zombicide:Black Plague stuff, and that there had been long delays from that having a knock on affect.

Ok I was disappointed with that, but could live with it. What I can't take is the lying to cover up what I think is a combination of my theory and the GenCon conspiracy theory.

What really grates is that CMoN seem to have got a corporate shill to sing their praises on line to say what nice, salt of the earth guys they are. Apparently they will move the earth to help you, nothing is too much for them. That maybe so if you are part of the most popular Boardgaming YouTube network with a reach of tens of thousands. But further down the food chain, they are more than happy to screw you over.

Now some posters on the comments section of the Kickstarter page point out the CMoN small print:

Please note that while we do our best to get you your rewards in a timely manner, you may not necessarily receive your rewards before the product makes it into distribution in your own country or before it's made available in conventions and special promotion opportunities. We hope that the special price and exclusive items you will get during the Kickstarter will make up for any such possible lag. However, if this is something that is not acceptable to you, please do not back this project, and instead wait for the retail release. Thank you for your understanding.”

Firstly as others point out, these aren't rewards, we are buying a product. If it was a reward that means it's a gift and should be marked as so when shipped. However CMoN won't do that.

CMoN like others use Kickstarter as a pre-order system to fund their up and coming games. The money raised pays for the production, it's a risk free route for CMoN. They don't have to put their own cash up to make a game that might not sell. The risk is all on the backers.

So CMoN should be doing everything to make sure that game is in the hands of backers before anyone else. Without them there would be no game. TMG have delayed the release of Thiefs Market by a couple of weeks to the mass market so that backers can get their copies first.

As for the exclusive content being compensation for any possible lag! That exclusive content, that is the reward for backing the project. Not the game itself. I think Kickstarter exclusive content is wrong. If it was timed exclusive, fine I'm down with that. But only able to get it if you back the project is wrong. It means that last line of you have to wait until it hits the shops if you don't like it, is basically saying “take it or lump it”. I'd happily wait for the shop release if they also made the exclusives also available at a later date. But CMoN do like to prop up the eBay scalpers.

Until people start to not back the CMoN kickstarters (which will never happen in significant enough numbers to make a noticeable difference) CMoN will continue to treat their backers like an inconvience, and like dirt.

As you can see this whole CMoN Kickstarter experience hasn't been a pleasant one. Their disregard for EU backers, and I would argue backers in general is leaving a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. Personally if I was Eric Lang I'd be wondering if I had partnered with the right company. They are tarnishing the image of his game and name.

Wow that was a long rant, and it might even be coherent too in places. But as you may have detected I'm a tad upset about this. I think my tag line for them is so true, “CMoN cool games, crap company”. They won't respond to this, they don't respond to the comments on the Kickstarter page. But at least I feel better having vented.

Oh wait it's just clicked if you say CMoN it sounds almost like you are saying … That explains a lot.

Mutant boss rant

So as I continue to explore these fancy picture layouts in LiveCollage that barely show anything unless you zoom in. I might talk about last nights gaming with Nath.

So Nath and I played one game last night and that was Run Fight or Die. 

Despite looking like at several points in our game that he’d be over run with zombies. Each time Nath managed to pull the cat out of the bag and survive. More than once being able to wipe out a completely over crowded zone of zombies. 

While I seemed to be in more control of the waves of zombies moving through the zones in front of me. So much so that I was able to get attacks in on the mutant boss once he had appeared.

In fact the mutant boss appeared very early on in the game. He was our very first location that got drawn in the game!

By the time the mutant boss was sent packing to lick his wounds until his next appearance, Nath had gained a follower. 

As we pushed our luck, found loot, went to new locations and handled new events. Somehow I ended up with a zombie swarm in my zone one I couldn’t take out and deal with three runners sitting in my zone 2. Which ever way I crunched the numbers I was taking damage. In fact enough damage to kill me. Nath had won by surviving longer than me.

The mutant boss figure does look amazing on the table. And adds that something extra to the game that the large cardboard disk doesn’t. It’s a lot more ominous having that large plastic mutant boss figure starring at you from behind the waves of zombies working their way through your three zones. Constantly reminding you during your turn that if you don’t deal with him, some extra bad stuff is going to happen to you. I like my mutant boss!

News and rants

Finally Duncan of trapped North of the border pointed me in the direction of a bgg video from GenCon where CMoN talk briefly about a Zombicide app coming out next year. Basically other than saying they are working on an app there are no other details. I’m hoping its Zombicide and not Zombicide: Black Plague. I like my zombies modern, in modern settings, as they should be. None of this fantasy zombie stuff. That’s just plain and simple wrong. Sadly I fear it will be the later, because original Zombicide has been pushed to the back and being ignored by CMoN. Z:BP is Zombicide 2.0 and by golly you are going to play a fantasy theme if you like it or not! Personally I’d love to see an upgrade kit for original Zombicide accepting the range attack rule update (house rule post), and the improved player boards. That’s all it needs. Doesn’t need a completely new version releasing. Just give us that CMoN.

You can view the bgg video here.

While I’m talking CMoN apparently CMoN are really nice people, salt of the earth, all that shit, according to Rob Oren of Dice Tower fame. They might be “nice” to him, but CMoN leave a lot to desire as a company and the way they treat the customers, especially Kickstarter backers. 

Rob has a point about the free stuff culture he witnessed. Some are just in this for the swag.

In some ways I have some common ground with Rob. I don’t go round asking for stuff, I buy my stuff. When I went to the UK Games Expo, I never mentioned once I wrote a blog to anyone. Not even to Tom and Sam when I bumped into them. 

I don’t write reviews, my readership isn’t nearly large enough to interest a publisher. While it would be nice to get a game I wanted free from time to time, I’m very very happy not to have that pressure of having to review the game, and have the review up in a certain time period, etc. Oh plus I don’t write reviews! If you are reading this blog regularly you know that already.

I like the freedom I have here to rant and rage, but also praise. But also to write bits about gaming I enjoy reading, that it seems very few out there do. Most are into reviewing. That’s not me I like personality, and my little niche.

There are other areas of common ground also but I’m not going to go over them. I’m bored of this now! Plus I suspect you are also. 

Hopefully this little rant won’t irk Rob too much I don’t want him to “bury me” also!

You can watch Rob’s rant here.

PS sorry for this long out of control post!

Here have some cash…

Is what I’d rather publishers at cons like GenCon,Essen,Origins etc. would say, instead of giving exclusive promos away at the shows.

It’s the same thing basically. As the eBay scalpers in the screen caps above show.

It doesn’t show much thought to the rest of us games fans that can’t be at the show. It almost feels like a big giant v sign, or middle finger being waved at us not at the show.

Publishers should make the promos available via other sources like the bgg store at a reasonable price. But the majority don’t. It would seem their policy is “what is given away at the show, is not for anyone else”. 

Yes I know they aren’t needed. But still there are those of us out there that are ocd and like Pokemon have to “catch em all” when it comes to stuff for our favourite games. Plus they do add a nice little customisation to a game. 

It’s the same with Kickstarter exclusives. I don’t mind time limited and then made available to everyone. But to make something only available to the backers and no one else I think is just wrong. And once more sees eBay scalpers making money at the expense of others.

The publisher doesn’t see anything from the sales of these exclusives on eBay. So what are they getting out of this? 

I commend the likes of Plaidhat who have made promo Phoenixborn and Dead of Winter characters on their website. Others have made them available on the bgg store. Worst offender is CMoN and the Geek n Sundry folks with their Tabletop day promos.

Anyway rant over I know things won’t change the publishers don’t care enough about their fans to do anything about it.

Utter madness…

So FFG (part of the Asmodee all assimulating collective) announced the other day Mansions of Madness 2.0 or second edition.

Why would I mention this fact here? It's not as if I've played the first edition or such a big fan I'm always playing the game and talking about it.

What bought it to my attention and guaranteed I will never buy the game, just as I will never buy Portal Games up coming game First Martians, no matter how good the game is, that the game has an integral app that means you can't play the game without the app.

I have in the past talked about this very subject. I'm a fan of companion apps that add to the experience, or replace some functionality of the game, but the game can still be played with out the app. It's not needed.

As soon as you can only play the game with the app, I'm out. The publisher will not be seeing me opening my wallet and parting with hard earned cash to purchase their game. I'll happily play the game (at least once) if some other sap has been fooled into parting with their cash for a “magic bean”.

Already one of my points has been made, Golem Arcana a miniatures game that relies on an integral app to play is no longer being supported. No new expansions, no app updates. That's it. Done, finished.

The most recent code-update from the end of 2015 is the final state of the App, representing our best foot forward for supporting as many iOS and Android devices and operating systems as possible at that time. We recognize that there are still many minor bugs and sometimes unexpected behavior, and that future devices or OS updates may create additional bugs.

So as the above quote from the Arcana Golem publisher admits, they are aware of and make similar if not the same points I've made in the past.

I'll give another example, Lords of Waterdeep the app. Still being sold on the App Store for £4.99, hasn't been updated for a year if I remember correctly. On my iPhone 6s unplayable, start a game with AI players, finish a round, before the game can start the second round it restarts the game at round one with a new secret id, as if you are just starting the game again. On my iPad it plays fine, no problem. The difference? My iPhone is on iOS 9.3.3 while the iPad is on 9.3.2!

This demonstrates one of my points. It can not be assumed that the publisher/developer will always provide updates, and that the app will always work. Maintaining a program is an overhead. A costly overhead. Have these companies factored this in? Are they prepared to keep this app updated at least on a yearly bases for a minimum of five years? Why five years? I plucked the number out of the air, and thought that would be a minimum a gamer should expect the publisher/developer to keep the app going. Arcana Golem didn't even make that (coming out in 2014).

But hey as you can probably guess I feel passionately about this. Oh well my words on this little niche blog with its small but exclusive readership won't change a thing, or cause the likes of Eric Lang and Ignacy Trzewiczek to rethink the issue. Heck why would they listen to me? The Dice Tower crew and their stable mates from the various podcasts and YouTube shows carry far more weight than here.

But I'll keep shouting about this and how it's like the Emperors new clothes. Luckily I like the sound of my own voice!