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Loki – master tactician

I don’t often just do a totally unrelated board gaming post. But from time to time I think it’s worth sharing the odd photo of the two little horrors I share the house with.

Loki is such a loving, caring little fellow. When I shared this on social media moments ago, I claimed he was guarding the remains of a postman. The spoils of war. But in reality and removing my over imagination it’s the remains of a hotdog.

The thing is that little bit of mystery meat will be at the centre of an epic mental tug of war, between Loki and Nico. The slightest sign of weakness and the prize will swap ownership.

A battle of wits that would be similar to the one below a few days ago over the remains of a chew.

That previous battle, Loki broke concentration and lost the chew to Nico.

This time once again he is starting off with the upper hand. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. But can he maintain the focus?

That’s my weekend taken up

Yep this morning the second and final season of The Punisher hit Netflix. We all know within days that Netflix will announce there will be no further series of The Punisher. Just as they did after the other Marvel licences hit. We all know why they are being dropped. And we all hope that Disney/Marvel pick up the shows and run with them.

But in the meantime we get to enjoy the show and cry at the end that we want more, knowing we won’t get them.

Although I’m not attending the midnight one today, it’s the start of Prerelease weekend for Ravnica Allegiance tonight. I am attending the Prerelease tomorrow morning. Which starts at 11am, and runs to about 4pm. It’s looking like there will be over twenty attending the session I’m going to. It will be good to see some faces that I only get to see at these events, and hopefully the WotC tournament software will give us a chance to play against each other.

Plus there is the fortnightly Fenland Gamers meetup this evening at The Luxe. It’s promising to be a good one with plenty of banter. Especially between Jonathan and myself over a rule in the Wingspan Rulebook that some-one asked about this morning on Facebook. I hope Jonathan is going to be wearing fireproof underwear and clothes because he is getting burned tonight.

So that’s my current weekend plans, what’s yours?

Wingspan – The hotness arrives

It’s arrived! Preordered on the first day available, and under a week later it’s in my grubby mitts.

Naturally I took photos as I was opening the box. Which I bored people on other social media with yesterday. And now presented here in glorious technicolour for you just in case you managed to avoid them. There is no escaping some things.

I have to admire how the planning of the game storage takes into account the dice tower. There are far too many games out there that don’t put that much thought into things, and give you a dice tray or tower and don’t make room to store it.

Tomorrow once the sleeves arrive it’s sleeving around 200 cards time.

This Wednesday at the monthly meetup of Fenland Gamers they will get to play the first hot game of 2019 over two months early.

My game of 2018 is…

Ok I’ve decided to do a fourth and final instalment in this end of 2018 wrap up. So you have this one final post to endure.

Previously I’ve chosen my game of the year from the exclusive list of my game of the month winners from through out the year. But since stopping those month by the numbers posts that proved so popular and caused such an uproar when stopped, I needed another way to short list the games to choose from.

Luckily enough I did that yesterday with my Top 9 New To Me Games of 2018 post yesterday.

So for those who didn’t read it, and can’t be bothered to scroll down the page (although that would ruin this post because you’d see who the winner was). I present the Top 9 once more.

This was a really hard decision for me. There are some great games here, covering a spectrum of genres, mechanics and challenge.

The runners up after a lot of heart searching and deliberating are…

That leaves just one game as the winner, and it was a really hard decision.

My game of 2018 is…

This is what I said about the game back in June.

It would be fair to say that I liked Outlive. For starters I love the theme, the post apocalyptic setting isn’t an over used theme like say zombies.

Does the theme come through? To some extent, you do feel that you are scrambling for scarce resources to survive. It’s not super thin and could be any theme, but it’s also not super heavy.

I like the use of leaders to give each player a unique feel and starting setup.

Once out of the box this game with all the components sprawls across the table. So you will need a bit of table space. The component quality is ok, lots of small bits of cardboard for the resources. I’d have preferred thicker player boards. I do like the meeples used to represent your workers who go out scavenging for your community. Having them stand up when used during the day phase and lie down to signify resting from the night phase. Brilliant mechanic that shows which has been used, it also thematic.

Being able to get “power ups” in the form of equipment, that needs to be repaired before you can get the benefit is cool. Plus if you have 2 pieces of equipment repaired and with matching symbols you get a bonus point at the end.

The radiation mechanic, which can kill you, forces you to either have survivors in your airlock to mitigate it during the night phase, or force you to reduce radiation by either visiting a specific location first, or get lucky scavenging in one of the city locations.

I like that each of your scavenger meeples has a number on the side to indicate the number of actions you can do with it at a location. These range between 3 and 5. These numbers are also used for hunting at specific locations, and to intimate other scavengers to get resources from your competition.

There is a lot to this game, and I’ve only scratched the surface. There is a whole resource management mechanic I’ve not talked about.

It’s a fun game, I’m hoping Gavin’s wife doesn’t like it so I can pick up a bargain. If not this will be in the collection at some point.”

In fact I couldn’t wait for Gavin’s wife, and got a copy, plus the parts of the Kickstarter that I liked the look of. Which if I remember correctly was the improved player boards.

It’s a great game, and deserves more love from the gaming community.

Merry Christmas Everyone 2018

Recycling some old Christmas themed Lego scenes I made so at least this post looks remotely seasonal as I wish everyone a Merry Christmas from myself, Nathan and the mini wolf pack, the attack chihuahuas Nico and Loki.

We hope you are all having a stress free day (unlikely I know as you prepare that Christmas bird for consumption), getting to play games and enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.

Have a good one…

Nico’s new jumper

Nico got a new jumper yesterday that reflects his inner sith.

Sadly the stormtrooper one was too big for Loki. Loki is an awkward size between small and extra small. Else there would be photos of Loki in the trooper jumper.

For the record this is the nearest I’m getting to being seasonally festive.

Force of Will!

For those that don’t do Instagram, and/or stalk me on social media like Facebook and Twitter. I present here a sequence of photos taken the other evening of the terrible duo playing mind games over a chew.

For the record there was more than one chew. But as usual Nico likes Loki to do the hard work. Plus he likes to practice his Jedi mind-tricks on young Loki.

GameAnglia 2018 and a rant about stuff

Yesterday I had to miss the D&D crossover with MtG at my FLGS, and the chance to get one of those sweet lands. I’d like to say I missed the Keyforge Prerelease weekend also. But there was no such interest for the game at my FLGS. We will come back to this later in the post.

The reason I had to miss the one shot taster scenario of the up and coming Guildmasters of Ravnica was I got asked if I would take some students to a gaming conference at the University of Suffolk called GameAnglia.

Now GameAnglia isn’t a big event, say like Develop. But it’s aimed at education. There was a good range of speakers from industry doing workshops and talks. Plus an impressive range of indie/student developers showing off their creations. There was even a dexterity board game to try. Which I didn’t because well I’m not really into that genre. However my students tried it and enjoyed it.

One talk by the Media Molecule community manager and communications manager made me wonder just what life would be like if WotC hired professionals like these. There was a lot of good advice in their talk, especially about not talking about politics. I would imagine it would also go as far as not pushing a social agenda.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that whatever the community it should be welcoming and accepting irrespective of things like race,religion, gender etc etc. And that discrimination, hate, abuse, etc will not be tolerated.

However when the message that seems to be coming out of a company like WotC is that they “hate” 90% of their player base. And that they turn a blind eye to hate, and abuse if it comes from those that they agree with and it’s against those that they don’t like, then there has to be a problem somewhere at their end.

There is a sketch by the late great Bill Hicks about subliminal messages in music and the whole Judas Priest fans committing suicide court case from the late eighties, and a bit of that routine reminds me of WotC!


I’m fucking sick of it, I’m fucking sick of it! Sick of it, sick of it!! What are you sick of? The whole fucking thing…; Touring, making $40000 a night, …free drugs, free booze, stretched limos, penthouse suites, …groupies blowing me dawn to dusk. I’m in a rut and I want out. And then we have a little show’s coming up. I know, it sucks… …unless… Ian, Nijo, come in! Oh shit Nijo get in. Ian, come down! I’ve had an idea, let’s kill the fucking audience. Nijo, go get a soccer ball, Ian, come here… …we’re going to kill them, and then we can get back to our day jobs. We can sell shoes again.

It’s just that at the moment WotC are putting out their version of subliminal messages in records, they are trying to price their player base out of the game! Well banning them, and telling them they are bad people for being the wrong gender isn’t working.

I don’t care what a persons political leanings are. As far as I’m concerned a dick is a dick whether they are on the far right or the far left. Both of those extremes use the same nasty toolset to silence and bully others. Both want to force their political views on others. While the rest of us just want to buy cardboard rectangles, play a game, and the only thing we care about is whether the other person we are playing with is a dick or not.

We shouldn’t be in this mess as a community. But we are, WotC have created a large part of it, they took sides, and started promoting/pushing an agenda.

Diversity is a good thing. It enriches everyone. You can have a product that appeals to a diverse audience without handling it the way that WotC have. Maybe WotC need to look at Plaid Hat Games and learn a lesson or two from them.

In the meantime my advice to WotC, stand back, reassess the situation, employ professionals with expertise in community management and marketing, become apolitical, rebuild and unite the community (well the online side, remember the online stuff is such a minute part of your player base). Simple!

I’m not sure I articulated the above very well, or made a coherent argument. But that was the thoughts, more or less that went through my head after that talk.

So you can see that attending an event like this can be very intellectually stimulating. In the minibus on the way back, there was definitely a buzz from my students. They had really enjoyed the conference, the talks and the demoes.

I did promise at the top of this post I’d talk about Keyforge. Or more specifically the Prerelease and lack of interest at my FLGS.

For me as a player when a game like Keyforge comes out I talk to the owner of my FLGS to assataine if there have been others at the store asking about the game, asking for it to be ordered in. It gives me an idea if there would be anyone to play with if I bought into the game. For Keyforge there was nothing. Apart from me making enquiries.

Now my FLGS is a small store in a small market town in the back of nowhere in the Fens. It’s not one of these stores in a big city like London or Cambridge. A game being popular in a big metropolis or having a community playing it there doesn’t mean the game is a success.

If a game hasn’t broken through to my FLGS it tells me that despite the initial flurry of hype (and there has been to some extent online from those that attended the Prerelease this weekend) that maybe this game doesn’t have legs.

A game for me is a success if it can break into these smaller stores where they are probably more likely to only carry games they know they can sell, and have demand for. These stores have more to lose, so if they invest in it then it means there is a market for it.

Now there may indeed be a “community” for Keyforge in the area. But they are not making themselves known to their FLGS and creating a location they can play and get easy access to OP kits. Having to travel long distances to attend events, or to play tells me the game isn’t popular.

Was that worth waiting for? Probably not. But there you have my continuing thoughts on Keyforge. And in the middle why WotC will never consider me a MtG content creator.

Skirmish Comes to Bounty Hunting

If there was one character I’ve read longer than Judge Dredd it would be Johnny Alpha aka Strontium Dog. Alpha joined 2000 A.D. from the comic Starlord, along with one or two other characters. Teenage me would love having the opportunity to play a Strontium Dog miniatures skirmish game. He loved playing the 8-bit video games on his Spectrum and C64. This definitely would have pushed his little geek buttons.

So it would appear I was wrong about the Strontium Dog skirmish game. I double checked my assumption about the game by looking at some unboxing videos for it on YouTube. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had complete figures inside, and not bits of plastic I would have to cut off sprues, and then having to glue together. It’s the bit I hate the most about miniatures gaming. I’m just about warming to the idea of painting the figures. I just don’t get the whole cutting, gluing, and painting for days and weeks before you can even start playing the game.

For some reason after the disappointment that was Tabletop Gaming Live I seem to have come away from the show thinking that the Strontium Dog skirmish game did involve that awful activity. Maybe my fading memory was blurring memories together. I definitely remember looking at the base set box on the stand at the show and seeing sprues. Maybe I was confusing the sprues that the games plastic counters are on with being for the figures?

So despite the very tempting bundles that Warlords offer for the Strontium Dog skirmish game I went with the starter box. I’d like to try the game before going all in. By purchasing through the official web store for Warlords I got the bonus Strontium Dog with electro-nux figure. I also added to the cart the rocky terrain pack they sell. It gives a bit more scenery to use with the base set, and also can be used with Last Days.

The nice touch with this starter set as far as I’m concerned is that it comes with some mdf terrain bits to start playing with. Luckily there should not be any major problems getting more stuff for terrain etc. Anything released for the Fallout skirmish game should be usable with Strontium Dog. I’d also look at Wild West buildings. One or two of the comic strips had them outback looking for their bounties. And it would seem that a heavy influence for those outback communities and their buildings were the old west.

I like that personal touch of naming the people who put your order together. Doesn’t add anything to the game. But it creates a connection to the company.

So once I’ve finished painting up these zombie ladies (not found how to paint the tights/stockings on these yet. Not sure best approach to use.) and a couple of squads, I’ll start on Strontium Dog.

A None Boardgaming Project

I have a current none board game related project on the go at the moment. It’s going a bit slowly. Mainly because there is only a specific time that I actually do it.

I’m slowly working my way through the Judge Dredd Chronicles, which is 30 odd volumes at the moment I believe. I’m on volume 3! The reason for the slow progress is that I only read it when I’m having a relaxing long soak in the bath at the weekends.

So I’ve covered The Cursed Earth and The Day The Law Died storylines in the first 2 volumes. Which are classics I grew up with. Although for the Cursed Earth storyline I went and got the uncensored version. Apparently the 2 fast food chains parodied in a couple of the issues for a while scared the publisher enough not to reprint those parts of the story.

Volumes 4 and 5 that arrived yesterday cover another 2 of my favourite storylines The Judge Child, and The Apocalypse War. After that 2000A.D. and myself separated. It wasn’t anything they did, just college and work got in the way. Although we did meet up again when he crossed over with Batman for a one shot.

But during that time I did have fond memories of playing the Judge Dredd boardgame (which is now back in my collection). I remember having the role playing game and it’s companion book, but that got lost somewhere in moves over the years. If it turns up I’ll be over the moon.

I never got into the Judge Dredd mini’s game. But that was more of where I was in life at the time than anything else.

I wouldn’t mind getting the Mongoose games Dredd RPG that came out in the early 2000’s. I think that may have used D&D v3.5 as it’s core system. But don’t quote me on that. But it would be great to use the stuff for that as source material for a Genesys based RPG.

So with the a new Judge Dredd RPG currently on Kickstarter (oh I’m very very tempted), a boardgame set in the Cursed Earth using the Lost Expedition as it’s basis coming out next year. I’m sure going to be fanboying it up with one of my all time favourite comic book characters.

I also like that there are plans for Rogue Trooper stuff (I have the 80’s boardgame in the collection) and there is a Strontium Dog mini’s skirmish game (although I was put off it because of my usual complaint about this type of game). So it really is nice to see these great IP’s starting to get some love again. But for now I’m enjoying old favourites, and then looking forward to seeing what new adventures the stone faced lawman got up to.