Category Archives: tabletop

Kemet Saga Ends!

So the Kemet saga is over already. There is dancing in the streets, fireworks going off, alcoholic beverages flowing freely.

Let me fill you in on the semi-complicated situation behind this saga first. I don’t think I have related this tale to you before.

Recently a friend of mine decided to get into X-Wing in a big way after playing the game at another of friend of his. When I saw how deep he was jumping in, I said if he was interested I’d sell him mine. Well I hadn’t played it for two or three years. All they were doing was acting like really cool models to look at. I had been too lazy to put them up for sale on ebay or one of the Facebook trading pages. So a deal was hatched between us that involved my friend buying two games for me that I wanted in exchange for my X-Wing stuff, which included that really beautiful star map play mat I got.

One of those games was Kemet. So my friend contacted Chaos Cards who he bought it off, who sent me another copy with a return label for sending back the copy with the missing bits.

I was really impressed with this response. While this was going on I was in contact with the publisher who were asking for proof of purchase (which I had to go back to my friend for), and where I bought the game. Then it turns out they didn’t have any miniatures in at the moment. So there would be a delay sending anything out to me. Which they said would be before the end of the month. I’ve now cancelled the support call with the publisher.

I am naturally excited that I can now play the game. So I’m trying to arrange an opportunity to get this to the table ASAP. Especially considering that Cry Havoc is back in stock, so my pre-order can be sent to me now. I particularly wanted to play Kemet before getting Cry Havoc to the table.

These last few weeks of the year are getting pretty crowded with trying to squeeze plays of games in. We are already setting up stuff for January next year, and I can see that we will be setting dates for February soon as well.

Games currently scheduled for hitting the table before year end are: Seafall (we are trying the prolog of this to see if we will like it enough to commit to playing the main game), Scythe, and Mechs vs Minions.

Kemet, Cry Havoc, Covert, and Alien Frontiers are also screaming to get to the table in this time frame.

I’m gobsmacked at how busy things are looking. It almost makes it look like I have a social life! Who knew?

The saga ends

Guess what was waiting for me when I got home?

I had been tipped off earlier in the day when others in a Facebook boardgame chat group for the UK started posting theirs had arrived unnounced.

So here is the contents from that massive box.


As far as I can tell at the moment everything is there, apart from six dice. But they might actually be in one of the unopened sealed boxes.

So having learnt my lesson with Kemet, I now have a long task making sure every box has exactly what is meant to be inside them. 

I am going to keep to my word, this is the last CMoN project I will back it buy. It’s left too much of a bad taste in my mouth to want to have anything else to do with them.

Stand up and take a bow

Following on from my recent post where I named and shamed my worse customer support experience. Here is my shouting from the roof tops my praise for great customer support. 

The following companies truly get customer support. 


All I can say is that both times that I had to contact AEG to get replacements for damaged or missing bits from games I’d bought second hand, AEG have stepped up and sent replacements. Both times my expectations were I had to pay, well it wasn’t their fault. But each time AEG generously replaced for the bits for free.

But this isn’t the reason why I’m shouting their praise. No they responded quickly to my emails, and had the replacement bits in the post quickly. That quick response can’t be over looked. I’m still waiting to hear from Fun Forge three weeks and counting since my last chaser email.


A small company but a really amazing level of customer support. Not only did the guy respond quickly to my email (while he was on vacation) but had the missing bit in the post and in my grubby mitts within a week! This really did take my breath away. 


A very slick, professional service using a call tracking system. Not the fastest response times compared to the two above, but still within acceptable time limits. But they did keep to within the deadlines they set for getting things resolved. I kind of felt this was the less personal of the contacts with the support departments. But still they did the Biz.

At first I thought this one was going to be a problem. Free delivery of replacement cards in the US but not to rest of world!

But after a rant it turns out they were only asking for a contribution to postage. Well that could have been communicated better. 

However still, quick responses and quick delivery won the day. 

An honourable mention…


I love Portal games but somehow gremlins are conspiring to sabotage this. What saves Portal is that they get social media, respond quickly, and try and resolve issues quickly. My only real issue is that stuff posted by them seems to take longer than other companies.

But still it’s hard to be angry with such a lovable company. Especially when they appear to working so hard to solve the issues. 

I’d love to hear about your support issues.

Cool Games, Shit Company

Oh yes the title says it all. I’m naming and shaming today those companies that produce great games but undo it all by doing some pretty crappy stuff that undermines all that good work.


CMoN they produce some great games, they set the benchmark that other games minis get judged. But all that is undone with their piss poor project management, and crap customer communication. In fact if you looked up “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery” CMoN would have its photo there. 

So what evidence do I have of this? Just go look at the Kickstarter projects The Others, Zombicide: Black Plague. Unrealistic delivery dates, failure to take into account delays caused by previous projects, poor communication, screwing backers over by giving priority to retail or the US, giving bullshit excuses to justify their decisions (you should hear the one for why the EU had to wait until September for The Others, while the US is starting to get shipping notices).

CMoN should be sacking people for their incompetence. All I know is they are leaving a bad taste these days, having had previously good experiences, something has changed at CMoN. Are they getting too big for their boots, too complacent?


Fun Forge publishers of Tokaido. Which is a beautiful game that I really like.

But oh I hope you don’t have to use their customer support. It’s none existent. Slow responses to emails, making promises they don’t keep. 

If you remember back at the end of February I got the Collectors Deluxe Accessory box for Tokaido, which had a broken figure in it.

After contacting them numerous times now, eventually some of the emails get responses with promises of a replacement. But here we are mid July and no sign of a replacement. My last email two weeks ago chasing up where the replacement is has had no response.

Fun Forge have what can only be described as the worst customer support I’ve experienced.

So there I’ve had my little rant about too poor companies. To even things out I’ll do a post praising those companies that do get it right. 

My Two Overrated Games

In this weeks Dice Tower podcast starring Tom Vassel and Eric Summerer they do their top ten overrated games.

I think in the last year I’ve played two games that would make it onto my list.

The first up is Between Two Cities, the tile drafting game, ranked 423 on bgg.

When this came out it was getting some good reviews, a little buzz. But when we played it, it left us feeling “meh”, and rather unsatisified. There was nothing about the game that excited us. Jonathan and I couldn’t see what all the fuss was. I personally think this game is too high up on the bgg rankings. I would easily drop it a couple of thousand places.

My second game that would make this list is a more recent darling of the gaming world, and that is Quadropolis.

This was an even bigger “meh” than Between Two Cities. How this got to position 286 on bgg is a mystery. I can only think too many people fell for the hype for this city building game.

This game is just dull. No redeeming qualities. And should be so so much lower down.

So there you have it my two overrated games. Which I’m sure would get me lots of heat if this was a widely read blog. But I know regular readers will be of a similar opinion to me on this.

UPDATE: it was pointed out to me over on Facebook by Jonathan that he’d add the newly crowned Kennerspiel winner Isle of Skye (IoS). Now I liked IoS more than Jonathan, there were bits to like. Which is more than I could say about my two selections above. After playing IoS for me at least I came away thinking I’d played an OK game. Should it be 209th on bgg? Or even have won the Kennerspiel? No way.
UPDATE: on Instagram this morning nettersplays finally played Quadropolis. You can see her reaction below, sounds like her reaction was just like mine. As is one or two of the commenters. 


There’s a what?

Was my exact reaction to the Dice Tower review by Tom Vasel of the second edition of Room 25, a game inspired by such movies as The Cube, The Running Game and Tron (I find this one a bit of a stretch, but who am I to argue with the designer?)

Room 25 had been on my wish list for a long time, and had eventually moved into the collection in the later half of last year. Since entering the collection it has been sitting in my pile of shame waiting patiently to be played.

So when the Dice Tower review went up yesterday I was a bit taken aback. When was this new edition announced? How had I missed it? What's different? Then Tom mentioned in his review there was also an expansion that was a must have for the game.

WTF?!!! How had I missed that?

I knew about season two, but thought that was a stand alone follow up to the original game. You could play season two without the first game was my impression.

Right I need to research this. What version do I have?

So a bit of research on the publishers website I concluded I had the second edition. Which means I had the bigger box with the plastic tray organising insert in it. Why the publisher just didn't write second edition on it I don't know. Apparently the rules have changes, some additional tiles. I also think the colour miniatures are new.

Phew that was a weight off my mind. But what about this mysterious expansion?

It turns out season two is that expansion, and is not in fact stand alone. But there are two versions of this depending on the edition of season one you have.

Season two adds two extra players, unique character abilities, more tiles, robots!, adrenaline, and a deck of cards that are basically events but given some other name in the game.

If you have the second edition of Room 25 then the version of season two you need to buy is slightly cheaper. Less required.

The second edition of Room 25 with its insert is big enough to hold the base game and the components that make up season two.

My research had been fruitful, and managed to calm my worries sparked by the Dice Tower reviews. It would really have peed me off if I had bought an old edition of the game so close to a new one coming out. It's why I'm not buying Robinson Crusoe from Portal Games. I know there is a Game of the Year edition coming out later in the year. So I'm holding off until then, despite some tempting deals on the Facebook selling and trading page.

So with the storm in a tea cup calmed I was able to get to sleep, and sleep the sleep of the innocent. Now how to get Room 25 off the pile of shame…

My Favourite Card Games

Recently The Dice Tower did their top ten card games. I was taken a back how little their lists matched mine. How they rate Thunderstone I still don't know. That game is as boring as watching paint dry.

Card games can have so many gaming mechanisms in them such as drafting, set collection, trick taking. Be played solo, two player or multi player. Basically I'm saying they are very versatile.

So here is my top ten not in any particular order…

  • Lost Cities – a classic Reiner Knizia two player card game about discovering lost cities! Lots of depth here, play a card draw a card seems simple right? Not so simple, because there are lots of decisions to be made, do I play this card, do I hold on to it because my opponent needs it, do I start a new row? High score wins, great two player game.
  • Star Realms – I think regular readers will know how I feel about this little deckbuilder. I'm getting a warm feeling already just thinking about it. Amazing two player deckbuilder, fast, amazing depth for such a small game. Fantastic value, everything you need in a single box. This is a classic.
  • Love Letter – how many copies do I own of this? A few. Bought several times because I usually end up giving copies away to friends and family. I love this game. My favourite version is the Batman Love Letter. Great with three or four players. Can be played by two, but not my preferred number to play with. This game can be taught and learnt in a couple of minutes. There is an expansion for the classic set coming out that will allow upto eight players to play at once, and a deluxe version.
  • Munchkin – the marmite of the gaming world. People either love it or hate it. I fall on the love it side. I don't play this every gaming session, but when it does hit the table I have a great time. I think this is a game that you need the right bunch of people with. The take that, backstabbing, ganging up that happens isn't everyone's cup of tea. Plus it can get to the point that everyone is holding back their big screw others over cards to near the end to deny other players from getting to the final level to win. With the expansions (of which there are many) and themed versions (like superheroes) there is a lot of replay/variety.
  • Fluxx – take a card, play a card. That's the starting rules. After that who knows what the rules will be or how you will win? It's all down to the cards played, and things change each time a card is played. Like Love Letter there are a few versions of this game with different themes, like Firefly, Batman, Zombies etc. Choose your theme and play away.
  • Eminent Domain – yet another deck builder. A great one though. Space empire building with lots of depth, different tracks to victory to follow. Little down time between turns because you are doing stuff on your opponents turn. Theme comes across really well. There is a reason why Nath enjoyed playing this. It's a great game.
  • Haggis – this trick taking and card shedding game won me over when I was introduced to it. There is a small gambling element where you bet on whether you will get rid of all your cards first. But a great two player game that can play a third, although I've not played it with three.
  • Marvel Legendary – this superhero deck builder is so superior to the crappy DC one. This is a co-op game, that can also be played solo. Plus even though it is a co-op game it can have a winner! There are lots of expansions for this game adding new heroes and Villians, and game play mechanics. The secret to this game is organisation. Being organised allows quick setup, and the extra time at game pack up does pay off in the setup next game. Having a hard time choosing a superhero team and Villian to fight, download one of the apps that will choose for you based on what you have purchased.
  • Epic – that Magic experience in a single box. Although you can get duel decks for a little bit more than Epic for the full on Magic experience. This gives so much more value and options for play from pre-constructed decks, to different drafting formats, which duelling decks don't offer. One box can support up to four players in some of the formats. Only thing you do need is a way to track life totals, but they have an app for that.
  • Android Netrunner – I'm getting that warm feeling again! I LOVE Netrunner from its amazing awesome theme, to the art and flavour text, which bring out the theme even more. Oh and then you have the game mechanics. This game has so much depth in the game play, bluffing, mind games, hidden information, there is a lot more to Netrunner than Magic.

Honourable Mentions…

Or games that nearly made the list that I really like. If I didn't like them they wouldn't be in my collection. For some of them it was a really tough decision to make.

 

  • Magic the Gathering
  • Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn
  • Machi Koro
  • Imperial Settlers
  • Lost Legacy
  • Tides of Time
  • 7 Wonders
  • Coup
  • Gloom
  • Sushi Go

In my collection but not played yet…

Or as I like to call it the card games section of my pile of shame. These WILL make it to the table some day..

 

  • District-Z
  • Valley of the Kings
  • Legendary Encounters Aliens/Predator
  • Best Treehouse Ever
  • Brewcrafters
  • Deaddrop
  • Chaotic Life
  • Artic Scavengers
  • Hanabi

I have to admit I try and avoid these types of post. I don't like them. In my defense or to help me sleep at night I haven't tried to click bait this post with a title like “top games to …”. It really annoys me seeing posts like that because it is obvious what the site is doing. Usually the posts say nothing, are full of affiliate links to Amazon or some other site. I hate them.

A Tale of Great Client Support

Finally got a replacement for the broken figure. Sadly not from Funforge but from the online store I ordered it from BoardGameGuru.

I got fed up hearing nothing from Funforge, and my friend Duncan suggested going back to where we got our Tokaido Deluxe Kit from. He had a missing bag sent to him very quickly. So I emailed BoardGameGuru with my tale of woe and explaining the delay in contacting them.

BoardGameGuru were appreciative that I tried Funforge first. And said they would get a replacement out to me.

Where Funforge use automated replies and issue tracking software and then give a wall of silence, BoardGameGuru replied and shipped out a replacement the same day!

That's customer support.

I said it in my previous post AEG have been amazing too, they respond within twenty four hours, which is totally acceptable, and resolve the issue in the response. In my case that has been getting spare parts for the games I have of theirs, such as missing bags, extra tokens, and now replacing a damaged card.

Funforge finally responded yesterday after a shirty update I put on the call log about the none response to my issue. They used the excuse of being away for week at a show. Surely they have more than one person looking after customer support?

I don't know how big Funforge are employee wise. But a job role shouldn't come to a stop because that person is out of the office. If it has too, then the automated emails should reflect that, and manage customers expectations.

I think some of the problem is due to size and people within the company doing more than one role. Which is fine from an economic point of view. But often it means jobs not being done as well as they should be.

I'm going to end this rant with a big thank you to Paul at BoardGameGeek for the great customer support, and also to AEG too.

What has been your experience of customer support when you have had to contact a company.

A Pleasant Afternoon Gaming

Despite loosing my two games of Netrunner this afternoon, which were a repeat of Tuesday's games where I won. I had a blast playing. I said previously that these are going to be my decks for the regional at the UK Games Expo. Yes my Corp deck will be seeing some work, but only after I've played it some more.

Now it's play, play, play, and learn how to play my decks properly. What cards do I need to hit early? How do I fair against the different factions? What's my best play when X happens?

Yes my opponents are playing “basic” decks with the odd data pack adding to their pool. As my results are showing their decks are still competitive.

So yes I lost today. But I learnt something whilst losing.

After my defeats, we played a couple of games of Magic the Gathering, allowing me to test my first constructed deck.

Our first game I was royally destroyed. I drew two lands, and that was it, I kept drawing creatures. So not able to do anything. Our second game I faired better and provided more of a challenge. I even landed damage on my opponent.

The afternoons gaming was rounded off with a game of Colt Express. I think this was my best score in the games I've played so far with 2600 points at the end. Which wasn't enough to win, but enough to get me second place.

So that's how I spent my first afternoon post my last official day in the office. Technically I'm still an employee for another sixteen working days. But they are holiday I was owed.

 

Coming out next week 8th Feb 2016

I think it's obvious from previous posts I like the game Zombicide. I love the setting being present day, and recreating the Romero zombie movies. However some like Sam Heeley from The Dice Tower never jelled with the theme or the game.

Jump forward after last years release of Season Three of Zombicide, CMoN hit Kickstarter again with a variant of Zombicide setting it this time in a fantasy setting. Well backers have had their copy with all their exclusives, and now it's time for the rest of the world to get a chance to buy the game.

Finally for next week the rather excellent Pixel Tactics gets a fifth expansion and a storage box to house all the expansions and the game.

Well that's the releases for next week that caught my eye.