Category Archives: Uncategorized


Where I work we run enrichment sessions for our students.

I’ve recently turned mine into a boardgaming club. So I’m introducing students to modern hobby games.

Due to the length of time of the enrichment session and that the students are new to these types of games, I’m sticking to the lighter, gateway type of games.

So we’ve played Braggart, Age of War, Adventure Time Fluxx, Love Letter Batman, and Star Realms.

Plus the students introduced me to Exploding Kittens yesterday. Which was great that they wanted to bring in their games.

Now I have to admit I quite enjoyed Exploding Kittens. Pleasantly surprised even. I might add it to the collection so there is a copy for use in these enrichment sessions.

Yes I’m using games from my collection. I have no budget. So for the time being until I can show this as a success and has a positive impact, that’s the way it has to be. Oh and I’m also using my own folding 6ft table to play on in the classroom!

And it is having a positive impact. Already students from different courses are mixing and making friendships. In fact I believe when they bump into each other outside of work there is friendly banter about the next session and whose going to win. Then games like Braggart are helping students improve their basic math skills, and their confidence in them.

I do have Zombie Dice, King of Tokyo, Liars Dice and Epic ready to be introduced. The first two have been popular with students in the past.

Next introduce my colleagues to my addiction. 

Don’t wanna buy, but…

So the subject of this post is “games I don’t wanna buy, but I wanna to try”.

Which I think is pretty self descriptive. But for those having a hard time deciding it’s meaning, let me decode it for you. 

Basically there are games out there that I don’t want to buy. Yeah I know that’s a hard one to believe, and get your mind around. And truth be told I’m having a hard time accepting this fact also. But there are.

However for some of those games I do actually want to play/try them. It may be because I’m curious about how the game plays with a mechanic, or may be I would like it but there is something about the game that stops me wanting to buy it.

So here is my list of “games I don’t wanna buy, but I wanna to try”:

  • Mansions of Madness Second Edition – there is not a hope in hell I’m  going to part with just short of a tonne for a game that can only be played with an app (I think I’ve made that pretty obvious in previous posts I’ve written how I feel about games that rely on integral apps to be played). But I’m more than happy to play some-one else’s copy. I want to see how well it works with the app driving the game.
  • Blood Rage – this CMoN and Eric M Langa Langa Ding Dong (ok I couldn’t help myself on that one – sorry) game was getting a lot of buzz last year. I hate CMoN and don’t want to hand them money. I don’t like their Kickstarter exclusives policy. But I also want to try this Lang game. It’s often mentioned in the same breathe as Inis these days. So I want to see how they compare. Also I don’t want to buy it because I know that but inside me that hunts down promos etc would kick in wanting everything for it. 
  • Star Wars Rebellion – my biggest fear with this game is I’ll buy it after playing it. Two player, original Star Wars Trilogy in a box. Too damn right I want to play it. Is this the Star Wars War of the Ring?
  • First Martian – another “the app is so intregal to the game, it can only be played with the app”. So I’m out when it comes to parting with money for the game. But I like Robinson Crusoe, this is being described as that game on Mars. I’m sure with the app it will be a different experience, along with some game play tweaks. Plus how does it compare to Mansions of Madness Second Edition?
  • Star Wars Destiny – this game scares me. It’s a collectable game, my “got to have them all” would kick in. FFG have reinvented crack. Curse them. 

So that’s the current list. What’s on yours?

    Monthly Meetup – February

    I was looking forward to our monthly meetup. Gavin and I had arranged before hand for him to bring his copy of Adrenaline along for us to play.

    Adrenaline was getting a lot of buzz at the end of last year. “If you like video games, you’ll love this. It’s a fps but in cardboard” was being thrown around by fans of the game.

    Would it live up to the hype? Would Jonathan like the game, despite its theme?

    You know I don’t do reviews. Nearest I come to it is me saying what I like and maybe dislike about a game. 

    We were playing a four player, six kill game.

    It’s a quick game to pick up. On your turn choose two of the following actions: move up to three spaces, move a space and pick up, or fire a weapon. The simplicity of options is what allows it to be picked up quickly. And also reproduce the basic actions of a fps and give it that video game feel.

    Line of sight is pretty simple, and fits thematically to the whole fps theme.

    The ammo, and ammo types, in conjunction with the weapon cards, spawn points, reloading, etc ooze fps.

    And that’s what I love about the game. The mechanics and theme fit like a glove.

    Then throw on top of that a majority mechanic on the damage inflicted on opponents when deciding points upon a players death. Genius. 

    Plus they worked in a mechanic to discourage everyone just killing the same person all the time.

    Everything flows, you have to be aware of the other players damage. Which reminds me the more damage you take the more powerful some of your actions become! Oh and you can overkill.

    Because this was a first play we were having to refer to the rule book for details on what individual weapons did. But you soon pick up the iconography.

    I really liked to. With different variants, four combinations of the game boards, I think there is a bit of replay ability in this game. It’s light and fun. I don’t think it will be long before this is in my collection and being introduced to Nath, and my students.

    Oh and Jonathan liked the game too, despite its theme. That had to be a big thumbs up in anyone’s book.

    Our second and final game of the evening was Takenoko.

    What a difference playing the game correctly makes!!

    Yes our previous play had us playing it with a major foobar! And left us puzzled about the game.

    I did enjoy this play through much much more. So much so it will stay in the collection.

    Sadly the official records will show through some trickery Jonathan won both games! Which included a late points rush in Takenoko to steal the win from me.

    I enjoyed the meet up, same time next month?

    Geeking Out

    These finally came through from Friday. If you stalk me on Instagram you already will have seen these earlier this evening.

    Mind you Instagram is also the place to keep up on new arrivals (better there than clogging up here). The odd food photo, when I remember to do them live photos from gaming sessions.

    Generally Instagram is my photographic version of verbal diarrhoea. Which I then push out to spam my friends on Facebook (I’m thoughtful like that) and Twitter.

    Hope to see you over on Instagram.

    Wrath hits Wisbech!

    It’s a good job I checked how many were attending the planned “Sinning again” event for The Fenland Gamers yesterday before heading off to it.

    I thought it was just going to be Diego and myself. So had packed just 7 Wonders Duel with the Pantheon expansion, Hero Realms and newly arrived that morning Inis. 

    However Will and Lucia had signed up also within the previous 24 hours. Which was a pleasant surprise, because our planned play was for them and Diego when I created the event the previous weekend.

    So I quickly unpacked and threw in everything I had for The Others

    Having everything with me allowed Diego, Will and Lucia to choose which pre-constructed team they played with.

    They choose to go with The Sons of Ragnarok. A play on The Sons of Anarchy but using Norse Gods in biker outfits!

    As the sin player I went with Wrath and he was backed up with Corrupted Doctors as his acolytes.

    We went with a terror story called Haven in Flames. In this scenario there were no corruption checks, but lots of checks against damage by fire.

    Once more as the sin I was victorious. But I was wondering about the scenario. It wasn’t until the last objective that I started to claw back into the game by stacking up the bodies of the heroes.

    Having Wrath in a district with abominations and acolytes did make it very hard for the heroes to complete the final mission. I was rolling 14 plus dice in any fight. I used a similar tactic the previous game. I’m not sure how you stop this, and get a win for the heroes. At the moment this allows me to pick off heroes one at a time as they enter. 

    Diego identified a mistake from their side in not playing their team correctly. I don’t think they were using their abilities to their fullest. 

    But I also thought that this story unlike the previous one didn’t give the heroes much equipment. 

    Playing as the sin is fun, and allows you as the sin player to ham things up a little. Letting out the odd evil chuckle or “muhaha” just as you play a sin card. Near the end the odd playful “I smell blood” before reacting helps lighten things up.

    Having said that I do want to play as a hero next time. 

    I do feel we still have a lot to explore with The Others. We have the different story types, different teams to try, different sins, team construction, Dark past cards.

    So here is to the next chance to sin in Wisbech!

    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.




    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.