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Caught my eye

Thought I’d do a quickish blog post looking at a couple of games on Kickstarter that caught my eye, and then just let my mind wander and see where the post ends up. So expect complete drivel, no earth shattering revelations, and you should be good to go.

First up is Tao Long. I was sold on this the moment I saw it. For an abstract game it looks beautiful. It’s a two player game, so something I can play with Nath (although I have also gone for the four player add on). I love the theme, of dueling dragons. I like that there is room for variety, ranging from the basic setup, to adding portals and other obstacles. I’ve gone for the Deluxe edition (which sadly has sold out now, unless you go for the expensive Golden Bundle) because I prefer a playmat over a board. Plus the price is not that expensive in this post Brexit world we live in.


Ok this next one Sub Terra, is a co-op horror game. Explore the underground cavern to find your way out before your time runs out. It kind of reminded me of the horror movie The Descent. I’m hoping that it does indeed capture that movie, and the claustrophobic feeling of being underground. I’m still mulling over whether to go the extra and upgrade to the edition with the miniatures, or stick with the little meeples. I kind of like the meeples more I think.


Yesterday met up with my mate the internet famous Bouncy to get my copy of Timeline Star Wars edition back that I had lent him over Christmas. As a thank you he had a little something for me. First up was the Loot crate edition of the Orphan Black comic with it’s exclusive cover. That is an amazing tv series, so really chuffed to get that. Plus a dragon and dice bow tie! I think I could carry off the bow tie look. Well once I get a proper fitting shirt round the neck that is.

I’m starting to think the game Santorini may be the game I regret not backing for 2017. The game looks so good. The whole 3D element of it is a showstopper I think. People can’t help look at it and go wow! Santorini is starting to arrive with those that had the foresight to back it last year. And I’m looking at the photos that those wise people are putting up and drooling, turning green with envy, and kicking myself for not having backed it.

UPDATE: As I was writing that last paragraph about Santorini a copy went up on one of the Facebook selling and trading pages for the UK. So I am currently negotiating with the seller.

 

The Marcy Case

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t played this scenario yet you may not want to go any further on this post.

1…

2…

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Right I’ve given you a chance to avoid this post and any included spoilers that it may or may not include.

“Save the cheerleader, save the world”, well nearly. In the second scenario The Marcy Case for T.I.M.E. Stories it’s “save the kidnapped girl”.

The first thing that struck us all for this scenario was the change in art style. This was very much more comic book style. But still looking bloody awesome.

We also had less characters to choose from, there are only four. Which worked for me. It cut down on some of the decision time of who to play. I ended up playing a former marine. My only critism here is that only one of the options was female, and she was a reporter. While the male characters were all badass types. Not very gender aware. Yes the scenario is in the 90’s but still women were doing awesome badass things then.

The main map was also a very different style to the floor plan from Asylum. Which I felt worked well. They could have gone for a street map, which I’m sure they may have considered. But the look they went with fitted in with the art direction a lot better than a street map would have.

We had a blast playing this scenario. Playing with the same group through the scenarios I think is important for the game. Shared experiences as you travel through the missions will then influence decisions, discussion, banter, etc. Even only having played the initial scenario before, we were had lots of laughs during the game referring back to the previous mission.

The Marcy Case is a scenario that once you know the “solution” can be optimised to about five locations, and minimum actions in each,to get to the end. Whilst in Asylum I didn’t get that “you can optimise this to a bare minimum” feel. I also felt that the main puzzle was easier than the puzzle in Asylum. It was more a process of elimination based on gathered evidence than a real puzzle.

Yes this is a zombie game. Or I should say infected. It has the usual cliches. But I’d say it has that kind of Resident Evil (especially the movie) vibe. City quarantined off, secret research, something gone wrong, etc.

Value for money? Five people (Jeff was acting as our DM again – which I’m very very grateful for again) – just over four hours playtime. I think we got more than our monies worth. Plus the time flew by. It didn’t seem that long at all.

We did complete this mission successfully this time. Which was a nice feeling.

I loved Asylum. But The Marcy Case for me just one upped that. I can’t wait for the next scenario next month. Yes we have sessions setup for all the currently released scenarios. With new ones due out any week now, we will be adding new dates to play them. I could easily play A Prophercy of Dragons today (Sunday the day after, and when I’m writing the post).

I do need to say a big thank you to The White Lion Hotel in Wisbech for letting us use their facilities for the afternoon. Great, friendly staff. Great facilities. Great beverages.

I lied!

It’s not my fault! Honest! I said I had finished with the look back at 2016 stuff. But BGG released their 2016 End of Year Stats. So it’s not my fault.

I just had to go off dig out the old Excel spreadsheet and work out just how many of the “Most Played Games in 2016 (unique plays by person and date)” I owned and had played.

So how did I do?

Well out of the 100 games on the bgg list I own 47 of them. Thats not too bad really. I’d say that three of the games not owned are on my wish list (Friday, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, The Voyages of Marco Polo) , and a further four on my list of games I’d like to try (Blood Rage,Terraforming Mars, Orleans,Biblios).

While I have played 62 of the ones on the list. However only 40 of the games that I had played actually were played in 2016. Which means 22 of the played games I had played before 2016 and before I started recording my game plays using the BG Stats app on my iPhone.

There is still something very satisfying as you run your eye down the list of games and saying in your head with your inner voice “got”, “played”, “got and played”. It’s like you are validating your choices. That the mysterious “crowd” has said these are the cool games. That if you have played these games, you are cool and have very good taste. Am I really that insecure that I need to be validated by a faceless mob? Yep you bet your life I am.

So how many of the Most Played Games of 2016 have you played? Are you as insecure as me?

Building Skyscrapers 

Mention building skyscrapers in New York to most people, and the majority of them will picture the sort of images below from the “golden” era of constructing the Manhattan skyline.

Indeed the cover of New York 1901 tries to invoke that very imagery.

Which is not a big surprise considering that is when the game is set!

Yesterday Les and myself met up to play a learning game of New York 1901.

Did it capture that golden era? It certainly does in the game components and art work. From your workers that you place on the board having girders, to the player score markers being these rather cool little skyscrapers. 

I think less so with the game mechanics. At the moment I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I’ll be able to put into writing what is just on the edge of my consciousness after another play.

I enjoyed New York 1901 as a two player game. But we didn’t have much competition for spots to build our buildings. With not much incentive to use our action cards. I can see this game being very cut throat, and competitive for spots with more players. 

The game does try and force that situation in a two player set up by removing the pink cards from the game. Which reduces the space players are building on and competing for. And in say a game like Kemet (yes I know a completely different style of game) where they do something similar in reducing the playing space for lower player count games. That approach works in Kemet and reduces the playing space significantly to make a difference. In New York 1901 I felt it wasn’t as effective at what it was trying to achieve. 

So before giving final thoughts on the game I’d really like to try the game with three or four players. I think it will play completely different. I also think my final conclusion will be that although playable with two players, don’t. But let’s wait for me to get this to the table with more players. 

Playing New York 1901 reminded me of a “soft” challenge I had set myself last October. Which was to get all of the city building style games I have to the table.

So within the BG Stats app I have now set up a new challenge to actually track my progress.

Technically it should be showing Dice City as played. However I played it before records began! So this challenge will be an excuse to get the game to the table again.

New Year – State of the Union Post

Decided I better update the sites header image before I forget to. Otherwise before I know it, it’ll be Easter and the header would still be the Christmas one. And things would just look messy and that I don’t care.

Now we have a nice bright looking gaming related header image. A new tag line to go along with it also. 

I’m not changing the theme for the blog, I like the layout. But who knows that may change at anytime.

One thing that won’t change is the content of the blog. Yes it will still be poorly written, it will not (hopefully) use tired, boring tropes, it will be opinionated, but it will be all me. 

It may not be obvious but I write a good 99% of this blog, do all the photos and image editing on my iPhone 6! So yes there will be errors in my posts from autocorrect that slip past the checking. Yep that surprised you, I do check before posting, but things get through. 

But I have set myself the goal of improving the quality of my writing! Yep that’s a massive task I know.

I know this is very much a niche blog within a niche hobby. It doesn’t conform to the usual hobby tropes. Mainly because so many others do it far far better than I could. So it’s never going to be massively popular. I write for me, and then hope that others may find my ramblings of interest. Luckily a handful of people do.

I’m going to be trying new things out on the blog, such as a “why I bought this” section. Dropping others like the Week Starting (WS) posts, well technically I’ve already done that. 

If I can crack the problem of YouTube you will see more video from me in the coming year. I’m going to use the term again, and it’s a recurring theme of this post, but I want to avoid the tired old tropes of current videos and podcasts.

I suppose that’s the over all aim of this blog to discuss passionately the hobby of board gaming but in a unique, refreshing way. I’m along way from achieving that aim. But I will get there.

So a big thank you for those of you that have joined me on this journey. Hopefully it will remain interesting and entertaining for you.

The worse game of 2016 is…

Can you guess what it is? This post might give you a clue.

Yep it’s the really dire two player game about whaling Nantucket.

I don’t mind the theme, as I liked New Bedford.

The only saving grace for me about this game was that Jonathan spent his money on it and not me.

I don’t know how it got a rating of 6.5 on bgg. I think those rating it must have confused it with another game or scored it ironically or something.

So there you have it the worse game of 2016 and possibly ever, Nantucket. 

You won’t believe my two under the radar games of 2016

I’m going to apologise for this poor attempt at click bait. Especially using in an ironic way the sort of headlines they use to attract poor unsuspecting readers in.

These type of titles/headlines really do wind me up. “Look what happens when…” or “You won’t believe…” I think I hate these slightly more than I hate those chain images/statuses on social media where you “share to show your support of x”. 

Mind you the click bait of the likes of Geek and Sundry and their poor articles and predictable lists make my blog posts look like indepth well researched articles.

Ok rant over, on with this post.

The first game that I think people should be talking more about and playing  is Bohemian Villages.

Jonathan introduced this game to me earlier in the year at one of our Costa gaming sessions. I think it got six plays that month. And saw me ordering the game for myself.

When Tom Vassel says he hasn’t played the game (see his boring unboxing video for the second part of the Advent calendar), and I’m not seeing video reviews of the game (only one I’ve seen is by To Die For Games). You know the majority of people have missed this game.

I’m not sure there is a US publisher for the game. Which would be a real shame. Stronghold should pick this game up and give it the love it deserves.

I don’t think I’ve given it the Nath test yet. Which I should do. Next visit.

My second game that seems to have gone under the radar is Odin’s Ravens.

I can’t remember why I got this game initially. There was a little buzz at UKGE I seem to remember. But it may have been a video I caught online that got my attention. 

Here is a link to my first play of the game with Jonathan. 

But this nice beautiful two player game also deserves a lot of love. Sadly I have to admit I don’t give it as much love as I should.

I’m going to pretend I care what games you think went under the radar in 2016, and should be getting more love. So leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Merry Christmas 2016!

I’d just like to wish all the long suffering readers of this blog a big heartfelt Merry Christmas.

Thank you for all your suffering, by taking the time to read my hastily thrown together words, that sometimes make sense.

I hope you all have a great day, that you get to play games with loved ones, whilst having great food. Or failing that, that you are the last one standing in any alcohol fueled argument. And that the drink has deadened your senses enough to swallow the over cooked stuff pushed in front of you in the guise of Christmas dinner.

Merry Christmas

From Darren and his wolf pack!

My Game of 2016 is…

It’s been an amazing year for me game wise. I’ve played over 143 games, with 460 plus plays. Which just leaves me speechless. If I hadn’t been keeping track of my plays I’d never have guessed that high a number.

Regular readers will know I’m partial to jumping on bandwagons. Well this time of year you can’t miss the mass of top ten lists, and game of year posts/videos. So who am I not to go with the flow, shout “me too” and have my own poor attempt at click bait. Who knows I could get into the heady heights of more than thirty views.

My click bait attempt comes in the form of the first Whitespider1066 Game of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony.


So like all good year end award ceromonies I’ve got different catergories, however I’ve streamlined these down to four categories.

First up are the games that really captured their theme.

The contenders for Most Thematic Game of 2016 are:

My Most Thematic Game of 2016 is…

Karmaka. This game just oozes it’s theme. The mechanics just re-enforce the theme of karma. The lovely art work, especially on the score board scream karma. I don’t think I’ve played a game this strongly themed.

Next up are the games that just look stunning, from the art, to the graphical design, to the components used. These games really do prove you should judge a book by its cover.

The contenders for Best Looking Game of 2016 are:

My Best Looking Game of 2016 is…

I’m going with Hit Z Road. This light weight Zombie game is just stunning. It’s kind of retro thrown together graphic design and art is beautiful, and really sets up the theme.

For this next award of Best Kickstarter Project to qualify the game had to be delivered in 2016.

The contenders for Best Kickstarter Project 2016 are:

My Best Kickstarter Project 2016 is…

The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. It’s basically it’s bigger worker placement brother but in a smaller quicker card game format. The deluxe Kickstarter edition with its wooden tokens and box really do this game justice.

Now for the main event…

So as I said back at the start of November I will be picking my game of the year from my list of game of the month winners. There was a slight hiccup with the list, because I didn’t start announcing a game of the month until April. Which means I will have to chose a game of the month for January, February and March looking back at my log of plays for those months.

Here is the complete list of my game of the month winners:

  • January – Seasons
  • February – Bomb Squad Academy
  • March – Eminent Domain
  • April – Scoville
  • May – Bohemian Villages
  • June – The Voyages of Marco Polo, Guilds of London, The Great Heartland Hauling Co. and Imhotep
  • July – 7 Wonders Duel
  • August – The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction
  • September – Istanbul with all the expansions
  • October – Escape from Colditz
  • November – Scythe
  • December – Pandemic Iberia

As you can see this is a pretty strong list. In June I wasn’t able to make a decision and copped out and chose four! It was nearly a decision I copied again in November. 

But a decision has to be made. And I think I know which game it’s going to be.

So my game of 2016 is…

Scythe.


 It had to be. All I can say is the hype was true. This is a wonderful game. Stonemeir Games just keep hitting the ball out of the park. 

Scythe ticks all the boxes. Beautiful artwork, great components, amazing game play, asynchronous factions, replay ability. 

I really do look forward to playing Scythe. The expansion that’s two new factions will be with me any day now. The board expansion is also on its way. Two excuses as if I really needed them to play Scythe again. This game is truly epic.

So there you have my click bait awards. I hope they were of some interest.