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Poor mans time machine

On Monday some of my Christmas reading arrived. Earlier in the year there was a kickstarter project to create a Crash Annual 2018. Crash was a game review magazine from the 80’s for the ZX Spectrum. I used to read it along with it’s sister publication ZZap64! Well I did have both. So this was a must back project for me. A chance to try and capture that magic from my formative teenage years. The annual also came with a 2018 calander, two badges or pins as those outside of the UK seem to call them. So I am really excited to read this during my time off vegging in from of the tv over Christmas.

Since Charterstone came out last week and it hadn’t landed on my doorstep I was doubting whether I had actually pre-ordered the game. I had searched my emails for conformation that I had. But to no avail. Had I pre-ordered it? I thought I had. Maybe I hadn’t press the final button to process the order. I was really doubting myself. But luckily yesterday the game came. Suddenly all that self doubt faded away and was replaced with relief, and joy.

Now all I have to do is get it to the table with a regular group to play through the legacy side of it. Mind you there is a back log building up of games, particularly big ones to get to the table. Gloomhaven second edition arrived just over a week ago. The new expansion for Scythe The Wind Gambit arrived last week, along with the one off printing of the big box. Yes I bought a big box. A big box that can take the core game along with all the current expansions and the planned third and final expansion. Next week I have the updated Civilisation game New Dawn arriving. Another big game. Twilight Imperium 4 is also sitting in that queue. I have a lot of game sitting waiting to be played.

There we have it, a catch up on new stuff and what’s waiting to get to the table on top of the usual large pile of shame.

Punishing start to weekend

Justice League was good. I think Josh Whedon did enough to save it. The return of Superman was predictable and clumsy. As was his role in the team. Still don’t like the Flash. I prefer the tv version to the cinematic one. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman gorgeous and brilliant as usual. Aquaman was ok, but hardly a show stealer. Cyborg was ok. Afflick was more a “getting too old” Batman. More realistic, gets bruised, just a man in a suit.

This isn’t as good as Wonder Woman, but it’s a vast improvement over Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman. It’s shows Warner Bros are moving in the right direction (which is the opposite one to where Synder walked off into).

At the time of writing I’m 5 episodes in on The Punisher. I’m really enjoying it. Micro is a great character. Really enjoying their interpretation of him. There was a lot of promises made for the Punisher character itself in Dare Devil season 2. So far this has delivered. We see the driven vigilante, the soldier, family man. It’s nice to see a more fleshed out character that the movies never had the space or really attempted to show.

I did build a draft mono blue control deck yesterday instead of finalising my deck for the deck building challenge. It then got taken out for a spin against the Rookie Red deck (piloted by Dale). It did well. I got a 4-3 record with it. So edged the wins. Although I think the frustration level of the deck for the opponent needs upping. It’s not nearly as frustrating as I want it to be.

I was going to rant about being stiffed by FFG and Esdevium over my pre-ordered copy of Twilight Imperium 4. No pre-order bonus for me. Nope. So much for them supporting the LGS. Why should I pre-order from my LGS and pay more, when FFG break their word? I should have waited and shopped around and saved another £20 on the cost of the game. Only reason I pre-ordered from my FLGS was so I could get the pre-order bonus FFG promised. I thought FFG were better than this. But hey it seems their support for the LGS is just lip service. It’s more screw you LGS and Gamers.

Card Kingdom Rookie Deck – Red

Part of my second order from Card Kingdom was one of their rookie decks. I wanted this in for teaching MtG to new students with, and for students to use as well. At $6.99 (plus postage – which was international for me) you are not going to get any high value cards in these decks. What you do get is a great deck for teaching MtG with that focuses on one or two mechanics of that colour. It comes in a nice plastic case for storage, and two handy reference cards (see below).

Which for me are a little bit more useful than the rules reference that comes with almost ever MtG product that WotC put out. Mainly because these are easier to have out and reference than the rules reference.

I’ve played this against my students decks, and wow. This is beating the official Ixalan Jace Planeswalker decks they are currently playing with. On the description it says that this deck is fast. They are not kidding. Turn 4 or 5 wins are very common (so far). I’m trying to get my students to learn from this, and see that this is a deck of common cards, no planeswalkers (which they seem to be so all over and excited about having in their decks), no big expensive cards. It just executes it’s game plan to perfection. But because it focuses on just one or two mechanics, it makes teaching with this deck easy. I think that this is a more fun deck to play than the Welcome Decks that WotC give out. Although they are good, and a great way to get new players into the game (here is a free deck of cards to play with). I do feel that this is a better way to introduce new players to the game, and depending how charitable/generous you are feeling, cheap enough that you can give the deck away to the new player.

The Decked Builder app priced the cards at a value of around $7 (against current prices on the Card Kingdom website), but was unable to find a price for 3 of the cards. So I would guess if you said $8 max in total if you were to buy the cards separately you wouldn’t be too far off. You get the reference cards and the plastic case. So I think this is great value. Just a shame that here in the UK we have to pay for international shipping and can’t get them more easily over here.

For those interested here are the cards that Card Kingdom used to build this rookie deck:

Oh before you look at the list and say “hey I didn’t get this or that card in mine”, these decks are subject to change due to availability of cards at the time they build the decks. It’s why they no longer put deck lists up on their site for these and the battle decks. 

Creatures:25

4 Bloodlust Inciter
4 Defiant Khenra
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Nest Robber
4 Minotaur Sureshot
4 Hyena Pack
1 Lathnu Sailback

Spells:11

3 Act of Treason
4 Open Fire
4 Chandra’s Outrage

Lands:24

24 Mountain

Amazing weekend ahead

For me starting Friday, this weekend is going to be busy,busy,busy. But in an amazing geeky/nerdy way.

The weekend starts with Netflix releasing not only the highly anticipated Punisher series. But also a documentary called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. Which is a behind the scenes look at Jim Carrey and his descent into madness, and taking method acting too far while making the fantastic biopic about Andy Kaufman, Man on the Moon.

I love the Punisher (was a big fan of the comic when I had a comic habit in my younger days). His cinematic appearances can at best be described as watchable. But the version of the Punisher that turned up in DareDevil season 2 far out did the cinema versions. The performance and how well it went down with the fans meant that Netflix commissioned this spin off series. So I am looking forward to this.

I’m a child of the 70’s (and an 80’s teenager), so I grew up watching Taxi. I was unfamiliar with Kaufman’s other work. But who can forget his character Latka in that hit tv series? Carrey as Kaufman in the film Man on the Moon was amazing. The film was brilliant. Plus there is that REM song with the same title all about Kaufman. Not sure of timing, so unclear if the song was first or if it was written for the movie. Plus I can’t google everything. I’m happy to live in ignorance on this one thing. So a chance to get a glimpse behind the curtain about this great movie and probably Carrey’s best performance ever is very welcome indeed.

It really is going to be hard to chose which to watch first when I sit down at home and switch on the tv, and fire up the Netflix app on my Amazon Fire TV stick.

Also out on Friday is the new DC superhero movie Justice League. After Wonder Woman managed to pull back some credibility for Warner Bros (maybe that’s because Zack Snyder didn’t direct it) after the train wrecks that Batman vs Superman, and Suicide Squad were, I’m going to give this movie a chance. Especially after seeing the trailers (although I hate the look of the Flash), and knowing that Snyder left the film (after filming most of it) and was replaced with Josh Whedon to complete the movie (which I believe he did some reshoots for). So I’m hoping that Whedon has managed to save the movie from any harm that Snyder did. And yes if you think I sound bitter about Snyder, then you are right. He shouldn’t be let near another superhero movie ever.

I think Friday will shape up as cinema first for Justice League, followed by indecision at home in front of the tv.

Then Saturday afternoon it’s…

Yep an afternoon of playing MtG.

Will I be able to improve on my 1-10 record from the first day of this league?

Well it’s not going to be hard to improve on it. I just need to win two games and I’m 100% better than before.

I still need to crack open my boost for that meet up. The majority have already had their booster at the end of the previous session. So they have had a couple of weeks to think over the improvements to their decks. Me, I’ll probably just throw cards together and see what happens on the day!

But if I hadn’t had my fill of MtG on Saturday I get even more of it with Commander Sunday!

Commander is so much fun. I fancy playing one of the pre-cons from the Anthology for this. The hard part is which of the four will I play?

So that’s the plan for the exciting geeky weekend. Really super excited for it to start.

Scythe Bonus Promo Pack 37-42

I think all I currently need for Scythe is the art book (which shamefully I don’t have yet) and the realistic resource tokens (but I won’t get these because I don’t like the look of them, if I could buy an extra set of the original resource tokens I would). At some point in the new year I may spoil myself and upgrade my leader and mech figures to the new more detailed ones that are now available (they wore out the original molds, so took the time with the new molds to add more detail!). Naturally in this boast I’m not including the third party stuff. So when an official promo comes out I’m normally all over it. In fact Boardgame Extras allow me to pre-order the new Scythe stuff. And kindly send me an email to let me know that I can do this. I like their service, they have a great relationship with both Stonemaier Games and Meeplesource, so are my go to place for Scythe stuff. What I like about Stonemaier Games is that they make these promos available to everyone. Miss the Kickstarter, don’t worry you can by the promos from that. This also includes cards that they have done for other Kickstarters (yes like a lot of game publishers they kindly provide promos to game media sites can use as rewards on their Kickstarters). I wish more publishers took this approach.

Which brings me nicely to this post and the latest promo pack from Stonemaier for Scythe. Scythe Bonus Promo Pack 6, is made up of encounter cards for the game. They have given the cards the numbers 37-42. There is a warning for these encounter cards that some people out there may already have one or two of these cards from other Kickstarters, etc.
As usual the art by Jakub Rozalski on these encounter cards is stunning. Why I have not got the art book is a mystery to me.
The question is at £10 do you need these cards? No. Let me qualify that answer. If you like Scythe, enjoy playing it, whatever. They are not needed, you can happily play the base game without them (but that’s true of any promo). However as a massive fan of Scythe (my all time favourite game, and game of 2016), for me they are worth it. They add a little bit more variety, and personalise the game a little. At £1.67 a card, that’s not bad. BGG can easily charge you $3 or $5 for a promo card. So 6 for a tenner for a fanboy like me is a bargain. Plus I haven’t had to buy or back the other things to get the cards (which would be even more expensive).

Mid December I should hopefully be seeing the latest Scythe expansion The Wind Gambit, plus the large box (yes I have bought just a box! so that I can fit all the expansions and the base game into a single box). I’m so looking forward to playing the game with the airships.

Ixalan Rare, Mythics, and Foils I Pulled #5

So we are over the hump of these posts, and on the homeward stretch.

I have to say there are some cards here I do like the sound of. How playable they are in reality is another thing. There is a bit of me that says sell Hostage Taker. But then there is another bit that says keep it, you may need it. Then I go and check the price it is currently. It’s a £15 card!!! I may just take the money and run on that one.

Anyway you don’t want to hear about my MtG trading plans. You want to see more rare and mythics that I pulled. So never one to disappoint here are the next batch of nine cards.

 

Reality Trainwreck

Sometimes you build up your expectations. You have an image about how cool something is going to be when it arrives. The dispatch email lands in your inbox. The excitement builds. Each day, even the day the dispatch email arrived you hope that the postman has been and delivered your item. Yeah somehow I have given the British postie the powers similar to Santa, in that they can take delivery of a parcel and then deliver that parcel to its destination in minutes.

Then the parcel finally arrives. It’s waiting for you on the side when you get home. You can’t get the well packaged item out of its wrappings quick enough. You are fighting the layers of tape and plastic it’s encased in.

Finally you have loosened the bindings enough to get it out. You extract the item and unroll it. Then it hits you. What is in front of you is nothing like what you thought you had ordered. It’s a complete disaster. Your heart has sunk, you feel broken. Tears had to be fought back. How did this happen?

There were mistakes made. I think number one has to be my failure to understand the communication from Bags of Love over the image, and trying to do the whole thing on my iPhone. Well the iPhone is my primary computing device at home. I thought I had put up a higher quality image than the initial one. I assumed that the image was big enough to fill the required 24″ by 12″ the second time. So it’s hard not to lay the blame for for all that awful white space at my feet. It doesn’t make it easier to accept.

If we take out of the equation the train wreck that is the printed image, and all that white space. Then we are left with the neoprene mat itself. I have to say that I’m a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the material. What I was expecting was something closer to the play mats I use with my games such as MtG, or Star Wars:Destiny. Sadly this was not close. Even the thinner mats I have for teaching MtG with from Ultra Pro are better quality. The play mats I had done ages ago using Patriot Games were better quality wise, and more like the game mats I’m used to. It’s the texture and finish that is so different. It felt and looked cheap and not as robust as my other gaming mats (including the Patriot Games ones).

While in a state of shock and major disappointment, I stumbled across a leaflet that had been placed in with the mat, offering £5 I think it was off my next order. Plus on the other side it invited you to share your order with them and the world on social media.

Like a petulant child looking for some sort of pay back for the disappoint suffered, I acted like Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, and posted the above photo on twitter and instagram with the caption “Biggest disappointment ever. Wasted my money with this. Won’t be going with these again @bagsoflove”

To be fair to Bags of Love, they reached out and have offered to help sort this out, and replace the mat with a new one of a design of my choice for free. But with the condition I delete the tweet and post I sent yesterday. I’m not one for deleting stuff, I’m admitting my part in this disaster. The initial offer involved me pre-ordering and then letting them know. But after my reply they did offer to do that side of things too, with me providing a new design. They are keen to resolve this. But my next paragraph sums up where I am on this. So Bags of Love do deserve some credit for their response to the situation, and keenness to resolve it .

It’s been an expensive learning experience. Not one I can really afford. But the initial experience broke me, and I don’t have the heart to go through all this again. Never has there been such a big gap between reality and what I thought I had ordered since I was a ten year old ordering mail order practical jokes like itching powder from the back of my childhood comics.

I wanted a 24″ by 12″ neoprene play mat for Star Wars:Destiny with that amazing picture of the X-Wings skimming the surface of the lake. In reality what I ended up with if I cut it out is a mouse mat for a smurf.

Time to put my hurt behind me and move on.

bgg store september update

Since hearing that the promos for The 7th Continent and Mint Works were going to be available on the bgg store in September I have been checking the store on a regular basis. And by regular I mean daily, and possibly more than once in that 24 hour period.

Yes that might be obsessive and sad. I can see that argument.

However The 7th Continent promo was only available at GenCon at the bgg stand. As you can imagine I wasn’t overly happy about that. And I wasn’t the only one unhappy with that either. Us Kickstarter backers can be a bit moany sometimes. I kinda calmed down when the publisher said that any surplus would be available from the bgg store.

According to the bgg store this promo is five new cards.

The promo for Mint Works I first heard about from Shiny Happy Meeples aka Lindsay. Lindsay does these great previews and reviews, so naturally the publisher/designer of Mint Works wants her to cover his games. So when Lindsay mentioned she had used the promo in her games I like many wanted to know what promo? How do I get that promo? You know the usual stuff.

It turned out that the promo was going to be available through the upcoming (at the time) kickstarter for the follow up game Mint Delivery. However you would have to wait for the delivery of the kickstarter to get the promo. That’s next year. Luckily the publisher/designer thought of the impatient people like me and has made the promo available through, yep you guessed it the bgg store.

This promo apparently adds the following:

  • two new advanced locations
  • a solo AI opponent
  • new co-op AI opponent with rules for co-op play
  • six red mints worth 5 mints each

Yesterday the store finally got updated with the new promos, including the two I’ve been waiting for. And yes they may have accidentally fallen into the virtual shopping cart and some bits went from one place to another to show that I had paid them. So in approximately two weeks time, postal services allowing, they should be in my grubby mitts.

Now I have mine ordered I don’t mind telling you the rest of the world that they are available.

BGG Hotlist 14th September

Decided to run my little python stats program to see just how many of the current BGG Hot List I own and had played.

I own 4 of the Hot List
I’ve played 11 of the Hot List
The games I own in the Hot List are ranked as follows:
1 Scythe
12 Mechs vs. Minions
13 Android: Netrunner
81 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

I really must update the program to tell me which ones I have played as well. There is a major rewrite on the books anyway. Adding this little change won’t make a big difference.