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Current UKGE17 Plans

We are now a week away from the UKGE. Naturally after the events at the start of the week the shows organizers have informed those attending that there will be increased security at the show.

We have just set a meeting spot for the Fenland Gamers meet up at the show. On the Saturday at 1pm our play group will meet up out front of the Dice Tower stall.

I have one person to meet up with at the moment. With potentially another two. These two potentials are with friends who want to play particular games. So I’m going to have to tie them down to a time and place before hand. I don’t want to be taking games along I am not going to play. But then again I’m pretty sure I could find folks to play Scythe with, or even Onitama  and Santorini.

I want to catch the Dice Tower guys. Mainly to buy some of the promos. But also to talk to them about their top 100 games and how they choose the positions. I’m determined to get to the bottom of this.

Hopefully I can pre-order the new expansion for 51st State. Which I believe I should be able to do. But if I can buy it and walk away with it I’ll be even happier.

I’m hoping to sell some games, and need to get those booked in. Which I think after the Gaming Breakfast tomorrow is my weekend task.

If you are at the show and see a man who has seen better years, looking lost and bewildered, and wearing this t-shirt, that’s me. Stop me and say hi. Or even take pity and invite me to play a game.

Grail Expansions – my current hard to get items

There was a post this morning on one of the Facebook board gaming chat pages where the question was asked what are folks Grail games. 

A Grail game is one that is hard to find or get. Usually they are out of print for some reason.

But the question got me thinking, do I currently have any Grail games? I didn’t think that I did. But then I got thinking not games, but expansions. I have Grail expansions. So my response was the following:


None of them will be reprinted. All of them stupid money when they go up for sale. Stupid money I’m not prepared to pay. 

What are your Grail games and expansions?

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi…

We were going to be playing Battlestar Galactica. But once again life, the universe and any other unseen force decided to conspire against us and throw a spanner in the works.

Instead it was going to be just Diego and myself turning up. So after a brief messenger exchange Diego and I settled on playing new boy on the block (to my collection anyway) Star Wars Rebellion.

Which meant I needed to punch some cardboard quickly before Diego and I were due to be playing it.

Wow when set up this game is huge. 

We were working our way through the learn to play booklet. Which takes you step by step through your first game. This means your first game is 85-90% of the full rule set. It takes out certain cards, gives the starting setup of both sides forces, ignores the abilities of the recruit cards.

As a learning game there were some misplays. These things happen and weren’t too big an impact on our game.

Rebellion is a long game. I knew that going into this. But with setup, going through the rules, slow initial rounds as we got to grips with things. We hit five hours! But that took me by surprise. I’d been so engaged and engrossed with the struggle between the two opposing forces, I’d lost track of the time. That’s the mark of a good game.

We were at least two turns from the end of the game, when Diego had to return back to the real world. So the decision was to call it a draw. Either side could have won.

I was playing the rebels so the Death Star was a constant threat right from the start. When the Empire built a second it was like “omg! How can I win?” The Death Star has no health and rolls four red dice when attacking. Indestructible and deadly. Luckily you eventually draw a mission card that allows you to destroy a Death Star. When that happens it’s so satisfying. At that moment I didn’t care if I won the war, I’d destroyed a frickin’ Death Star.

The combat was good. Not brilliant. But did give manage to capture being epic and that your forces were trading blows. Although if I had to criticise it, I’d say that the combat should be simultaneous and damage being done at the same time. At the moment it’s possible if attacking to keep your forces intake by destroying the enemy completely before they get a chance to respond (especially if they have no block damage cards).

I liked the hand management side of the mission cards. You always have something you can do with the four starting cards, and then having to decide what to keep if you have more than ten cards.

The missions themselves very thematic, and having the ability to attempt to stop them by allocating one of your own leaders.  Brilliant. But then choosing which mission to send a leader on, and which leader is a hard choice sometimes. Especially when you want that leader available to block an opposing mission. But if you send that leader on the mission you get a bonus. Tough choices. It was rather cool when Luke went off looking for Yoda on Dagobah and became Jedi Luke. What wasn’t cool was when he got captured right away!

This really is an epic game in scale, setting and play. I love it. Diego and I have already set up a future date for this to hit the table again. That’s how much we enjoyed the game.

A fantastic learning session for a great game. Thanks Diego.

Look what I pulled

This morning got to finally open the Spirit of Rebellion booster box that Dale and I bought together.

It arrived Saturday but I couldn’t open it. It wouldn’t be fair. So it was torture seeing the box sitting there all weekend but unable to open it. 

As soon as Dale arrived at work, we opened the booster box and then took turns taking a booster pack from the box.

Once we had emptied the box of its 36 packets (18 each), then opened our packs.

I got the following legendary cards in mine:

These are the rares I got:


Now Dale and I have enough to start building decks to play against each other. Which we will be doing for this Thursday.

Dale looked up how much Palpatine was. If I sold it there are some out there that will pay over £40 for it! I don’t get these high prices. It’s not as if there is a lot of prize money at stake like at a Magic Pro tournament. At best it’s some alt art cards, and plastic tokens. Not exactly enough to get you your money back on your investment. 

This afternoon I introduced my students to Sheriff of Nottingham in the enrichment session. Long story short, they loved it. Oh and I won!

My Fav Jack Reacher Quote

I’ve been working my way through the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child on Audible. Currently I’m on Never Go Back (which was made into the second Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise).

However in A Wanted Man the previous Reacher novel there was what has to be my favourite quote from all the books so far. That quote inspired the following picture.

I’m half tempted to get this made up as a tee. 

May the 4th at work

It would appear that Dale and I were the only ones taking what should be a national holiday seriously.

We had our Star Wars tees on, and played a couple of games of Star Wars Destiny.

We are awaiting the arrival of our booster box of the Spirit of Rebellion set. It’s in the post at the moment. So it was starter sets only.

Our first game was won by me. I got upgrades out, so had more dice to roll and utilise. Whilst Dale was struggling to draw upgrades to install. Oh I was playing Rey/Finn (but two dice on Finn – had to borrow the extra one from Dale). While Dale was Kylo and First Order Stormtrooper.

The second game we flipped sides. This was a far closer game. Which saw Dale facing defeat by having a single card left in his hand. While I was holding on just with the Stormtrooper who had a life point left. I was undone with some great rolling of the dice for Reys staff that saw three melee damage hitting me far too often.

I can’t wait until we are able to deck build once we have some boosters.

When I got home there was a great birthday present from my brother waiting for me. Aptly thematic for the day.

Countdown to UKGE 2017

Yep my birthday weekend celebrations are over. It’s back to work, and the business end of the academic year is kicking in as we work to get students through to completion of their course.

But in the midst of all that the UK Games Expo is fastly approaching.

I’m all set for the three days.

  • Hotel booked – check
  • Three day Expo pass – check
  • Fenland Gamers Meetup planned – check

The Expo is a low key event for me! I don’t wonder round stalls self promoting. I never mention the blog. I’m not there trying to get free stuff. I’m there to enjoy myself.

I am planning to have a lucky dip of the spare  promos I have. So if people spot me they can grab a random promo.

I’ll talk more about the Expo over the coming days.

Have a great rest of the day.

Start of the celebrations

So today is the start of my weekend of awesome, which concludes Sunday evening with seeing the original Robocop on the big screen again at The Luxe Cinema. Which is a totally awesome way to end my birthday on Sunday.

With today being the last working day before my birthday, I conformed to work place tradition everywhere and took cakes in. I wanted to take in my favourite donuts for everyone Krispy Kreme. Luckily the Wisbech Tesco sold them. But when I arrived at 7am to buy them, their Krispy Kreme donut counter looked like I had been alone with it all night. “Bugger! I’ll have to pop into the March Tesco now and see if they have any in.” I thought. I also thought while I was in Tesco I’d pick up the second Lego Batman comic with it’s exclusive Joker mini figure on the cover, and take a peak at the Lego. So the comic and three of the latest set of mini figures were in my shopping basket.

Luckily at the March store they had by the looks of it not long had a delivery of Krispy Kreme donuts. I also picked up some fruit salad stuff for my vegan friend. Paid the bill, and made my way into work.

Frankly I was excited on the drive in. I was looking forward to having a nice coffee and a donut when I got in. The surprising thing really was the donuts survived untouched to the office.

Do I really have to spell it out that I did indeed have a coffee and donut once I had got to my desk? If I do, then I did, and it was nice, and I liked it. Probably more than Katie Perry did kissing girls.

Glenys (a friend at work who apparently I have been a bad influence on) using the same approach to subtlety that I use, told me to bugger off for five minutes. So I played along. Dale and I went off to get a coffee, and talk until I was allowed back.

Upon return they had done my desk up (see photo below) and got me some pretty cool Star Wars and Marvel stuff. Plus gift certificates for Amazon (I’ll show you what that got me tomorrow when it arrives).

I have to say I was pretty taken aback by the generosity of my friends and colleagues. I’ve been really lucky at my current employer, that I’m working with a great team of people who I am so fortunate that I can call them friends. They certainly have made an old codger like me very happy and welcome.

This will be top spot along with another memory for best work celebration. Sam, Amanda, Usher and Anna, sorry today has drawn with you for the top spot. Thought it would be hard to even come close to that birthday celebration meal we had. But…

So tonight I’m seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Then tomorrow is International TableTop Day, so playing games. Then on my actual birthday it’s Robocop. One of my all time favourite films.

Yeah the birthday celebrations have got off to a great start.

QOTD: What’s your favourite abstract game?

With the arrival of a new abstract game to my collection called Onitama, it reminded me of the other abstract games I have in my collection.

It’s certainly a genre I enjoy playing. And you could make a reasonable argument that it’s under represented.

Like every other game in my collection the abstract ones don’t get enough love and table time. Plus it doesn’t help that they are usually two player. I have some great two player games and they are harder to get to the table than you think.

I took the text for the above image from the following BGG link here

So currently my favourite abstract game in my collection has to be Santorini. It can be taught and learnt in under 5 minutes. Games are quick. With the god powers and the Golden Fleece expansion lots of replayability and variety. Plus it looks stunning. Our game group fell in love with it instantly. It even plays well with three players.

So what’s your favourite abstract game?