Ravnica Allegiance Open House Weekend

This weekend is Open House weekend at your FLGS.

I’ll repeat myself from previous posts. I have had new people to the blog, and they may not know about these events.

Stealing the WotC image from their LGS pages, you can see that these Open House events are aimed at new players. They also hope to hook players back into the game.

So you want to learn to play MtG, or are a returning player and want to get back into the game. Turn up to your FLGS this weekend, get a free Welcome deck, and either the store owner or one of the MtG regulars will teach you to play the game.

After a few games of MtG you keep the free deck, and also get the following promo card.

This promo card will guarantee that there will be plenty of MtG regulars there to teach you how to play and play against.

I’m not sure if the Welcome decks will have any Ravnica cards in them. They won’t have any “value” cards in them, after all they are free. But they are a great way to try the game for free.

I’ll be at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole’s Open House event this Saturday. There might even be a Commander game to join in if I’m lucky. If you are in the area then pop in and catch a game with me.

Just for those that might be interested this is the upcoming schedule for MtG over the next few weeks as Ravnica Allegiance comes out.

If you did make it to the Open House, and had a good time. Then the following weekends Prerelease weekend is a fun event to attend. But I’ll talk more about that at the start of next week.

From Golgari to Simic

And we are back to some MtG coverage. I know some of you will skip this post altogether, while others will be lapping this up. As they say you can’t please everyone all the time. Although it would make a nice change to please some of you.

With the next MtG set Ravnica Allegiance just three weeks or so away, spoiler season in full swing, it’s time to decide which guild I’m going to be for the upcoming pre-release event, and look at some of the spoiled cards.

A quick disclaimer.

This isn’t a comprehensive look at the spoiled cards. It’s a look at cards that caught my eye at the time of starting the post (a week ago now).

I’m certainly not a master deck builder claiming these cards will win tournaments, if they look like they are fun to play and do a thing then I’ll be happy.

A lot of the time when I’m evaluating cards I’m thinking whether they will fit into an existing deck, or go into one of the deck ideas I have. Sometimes they may even spark the idea for a deck.

I have to say there have been some sweet cards shown so far. But I saw one that spoke to me and my horrors from the deep commander deck.

What a great card that will be. In Commander X can potentially be a big number. If this hits mid to late game, it’s a game changer. Handful of cards, life top up, and a big bad on the board. Plus the art is pretty cool.

With the horrors from the deep deck being a Simic deck, Allegiance will give me a tonne of new cards to consider for it.

I don’t think I do much, if anything with +1/+1 counters in the deck, or activated abilities. I’ll have to check that one. So at the moment Biomancer’s Familiar is a border line utility card for me. But it does combo off with the other two cards I’ve included with it below.

Simic Ascendancy, gives me a mana sink that makes my big creatures scarier, plus an alternate win condition. Zegana, comes in as a 4/4 but can quickly join the big creature squad with it’s adapt 4. And has that synergy with Simic Ascendancy.

Aeromunculus will not see play in my Commander deck, but I can see it being of use in a standard deck. I do think that these cards so far have potential for a Simic Standard deck.

Now Growth Spiral is just what the doctor ordered for my deck, card draw and ramp. Perfect. I like the split card. Removal and dig for a creature. The costs aren’t too bad. I’d prefer not giving an opponent a 3/3 body to hit me with next turn. But if it’s a choice between that and a much bigger dude I’ll take the 3/3 option every day.

These next cards will go in other decks. For instance Lavinia will certainly be welcome in my death and taxes deck. That deck is all about frustrating the other players and punishing them for playing the game. I can’t see how Mass Manipulation is anything but a Commander card. It’d be a funny card to play, but is it a great card? I don’t think so. 6 CMC to gain control of a single creature, 8 CMC for two, 10 for CMC for three. It’s an expensive card to play. I’d play it for that shit and giggles, it could be a game winner. Stealing a Planeswalker just before it ultimates and doing the ultimate yourself would be hilarious.

Wilderness Reclamation will definitely have a home in my big green stompy deck. But I can see it in the horrors from the deep, my elf deck, basically anything that splashes green.

Smothering Tithe and Verity Circle are so going into the death and taxes deck. I really love Smothering Tithe. It’s going to give so much ramp in Commander. By the time things get back to you, you could be 3 treasure tokens better off. So you are able to play big cards ahead of the curve.

Sphinx of Foresight I like the scry ability. Potential creature for the death and taxes. But I think in Standard this can be a powerful card too. That opening hand ability to sort your first 3 card draws isn’t to be sneezed at.

All the art from the spoilers I have seen has been awesome so far. I particularly like the rakdos stuff that’s been coming out.

When it came to choosing a guild for Allegiance, and especially the pre-release event, it was hard. I really do like a couple of the new mechanics, and the cards in one or two of the other guilds.

But it was the lure of going after cards for the horrors of deep deck, and trying to increase my chances of getting that Hydroid Krasis that finally swung it for me to chose Simic as my guild. I also like the idea of playing around with +1/+1 counters in Standard.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu

While I was fact checking (Wikipedia) for when Pokemon Red/Blue were released it said 1999 for the EU. Was it really as late as that? It seemed further back than that.

It was the height of the Pokemon craze, although my kids were into the card game, the cartoon, for me it was all about the video game. I went Red, while my middle son went Blue. My first pokemon was Charmander. Yes the first gym was easier with Bulbasaur. But a little grinding and it was a bit harder but still do able. Yeah I’m a fire player through and through. Apart from Pokemon Yellow, I always choose the fire pokemon as my starting pokemon.

Naturally during that whole initial Pokemon crazy my two youngest sons were really into catching ’em all. Ok I may have been a little hooked myself. I think my fondest memory of this time was a family holiday down in Dartmoor. We were on a walk with the boys, my middle son wanted to go to a Pokemon event in London later in the year. My wife had said he couldn’t go. Both were a bit head strong, and an argument ensued between the two of them. Even at one point as we waited for a heard of cows to pass us in a lane, the clash of wills raged on, oblivious to the bovine menace passing by.

I think excluding the last 3DS release and spinoffs I’ve played every Pokemon handheld release since.

Over the years players have wanted that good ol’ Pokemon handheld experience on their none handheld Nintendo consoles. Nintendo decided to give players the likes of Pokemon Stadium or Snap instead. It was Pokemon, just not what everyone wanted.

Fast wind to the latest Nintendo console the Switch, and finally we get that handheld experience Pokemon experience on the big screen. Although you could argue, if like me you only play your Switch as a portable device, it’s still handheld.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and it’s alternate version Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee bring an updated Pokemon Yellow to the Switch. The version you buy decides your starting Pokemon. Naturally if I couldn’t start off with my beloved fire pokemon, Pikachu would be my next choice.

Graphically this is a lovely looking version of Pokemon. Naturally and easily a step or two above the 3DS releases. The cartoony style has been there since day one, but now with current hardware we are starting to get the cartoon on our screens.

The use of modern techniques like particle effects and shaders to enhance various parts of the game, look beautiful. Or I’m assuming that’s what was used during the evolution cut scenes, or for various attacks like thunderbolt.

Naturally there are differences from the original version. I will put the disclaimer in that this is not comprehensive, and is based on a fading memory of a game I played many many years ago.

The first most obvious one is that the random wild pokemon encounters are out. Instead you see the wild pokemon roaming around. So you can avoid them altogether, or just capture the ones that you need to complete that pokedex. I really like this change. It streamlines and speeds up play a tonne.

This naturally leads onto the capturing the pokemon. You no longer have to battle the pokemon first and get their health real low before throwing the pokeball to capture them. That battling part is gone. Now using the gyroscopes in the controllers you move a target around the screen and throw pokeballs at the pokemon. I believe this is more like capturing pokemon in Pokemon Go! (not played it in a long time so can’t remember exactly). You can also throw berries at the pokemon to try and increase the odds of capturing the pokemon.

Now I do like this streamlining. Once again it’s a nice time saver. Although for special pokemon like Snorlax, or the legendary ones you have a timed battle in which you have to defeat them before the timer runs out. Only then if you win do you get the chance to throw pokeballs at them.

The safari zone is gone, and has been replaced by a Go! Park. This is the forced link with the Pokemon Go! App. Sorry Nintendo I’m not going to get back into that. It had its 5 minutes of use. Now it’s dead to me. With the loss of the safari zone has gone the running around capturing pokemon within it.

I miss the old safari zone, and the loss of being able to use it to build up that pokédex. But I can see why they replaced it with the Go! link up. It’s just not for me.

The HM’s are replaced with special techniques. They are renamed, the number cut down (I remember a rock breaking one not present in this), and don’t take up a slot on your pokemon’s moves. Which is nice. Plus they can be taught to any pokemon! So my Pikachu knows the version of surf and fly! Before you’d have to have the appropriate pokemon to learn the HM, so fly could only be learnt by flying pokemon for example.

I don’t remember having to meet requirements to be able to enter a gym to challenge for a badge. But in this version you can’t get into a gym to challenge a gym leader for the badge unless you meet the minimum requirements. And these vary from gym to gym.

There is no computer to store your excess pokemon in. This has been replaced by a readily accessible box. What difference does this make? Well in the original versions, you’d have to get to a poke centre to swap out pokemon. Now as long as you are not in battle you can do it it whenever. So whenever a pokemon faints you can replace it easily enough to keep your team at full strength. I suppose this could make the game easier. I have to admit I haven’t used it this way myself.

There have also been updates slipped in from newer versions of the game too. For instance choosing the gender of your character at the start, being able to dress up your pokemon with costumes, battling two trainers at once, and mega evolutions. They are the ones I noticed.

With Pikachu on your shoulder through out the game, it is also possible to have a pokemon from your party walking behind you. Which is pretty cool. If it is a flying pokemon, once you become the league champion, instead of walking around you are actually flying on the back of the pokemon.

I really am looking forward to Nintendo releasing more Pokemon RPG games on the Switch or it’s successors. However I’d like them to move away from this “updated version” release to presenting us with a brand new adventure in the series, making use of the platforms improved hardware. If Nintendo insist on the “updated version” idea, I’d prefer they give us a single purchase that is a collection of updated Pokemon games and get it out of the system as quick as possible.

I really like this updated version. Playing it on the larger screen, and taking a very enjoyable journey down memory lane.

The differences on the whole have made a better, quicker game in my opinion. I did find the game less grindy than my memory recalls. Which is always a good thing.

Right I have a Pokédex to complete, gotta catch ’em all!

Heaven and Ale

I was feeling a little bit sick as I was getting ready for the evenings Fenland Gamers Friday meetup at The Luxe. I really did feel like not going. A multi coloured yawn felt imminent. But I battled on getting ready, which was basically putting my MtG stuff together and a couple of small box games in a bag.

At our fabulous hosts The Luxe I got everything set up for the evening. Which is basically getting our folding table out and chairs round it. I put two play mats out ready for playing MtG. This was a change from the normal routine. Which was bought on because earlier in the week a new member to the group had said they were coming along with a friend to play MtG. So that was what I was geared up for.

The start of the session came, only one person (an existing member) had turned up. I checked my phones and there were missed calls from Jonathan. He was blocked in by an ambulance and other cars with flashy lights. He’d be along as soon as he could get out of his drive way.

While waiting for people to show the two of us played a couple of games of MtG using my two standard decks, the mono blue mill and the golgari aggro mid range. The honours went one a piece.

At the end of the second game Jonathan arrived. But no one else had. Luckily he’d bought a couple of games with him. One of which was a new game. So we decided to have a learning game of Heaven and Ale. You know our approach to new games, learning on the fly.

Sometimes, depending on the publisher, the included rules are multilingual. Sadly not in this game. This was the German edition of the game, which meant Jonathan had to track down the English translation and print them out. Luckily that is the only bit of translation that the game needs, the rest of it is language independent. For non gamers, often the German version of the game is cheaper than the UK version, and is worth that little extra of visiting the bgg site for a translation (or the English rules may be on the publishers web site).

Continuing the tradition of being kind to readers of this blog, and having punished you enough already in this post, the headline for this game is I liked it.

Ok for those that are interested I’ll now go into what I liked about the game.

This is a nice tile placement game. I do like the method of getting tiles. It uses a similar mechanic to Glen More and Tokaido. You are selecting a tile space on the track, buying the tile, and placing on your player mat. Unlike the two mentioned games where the last placed player on the track takes the next move. Players take turns moving irrespective of position on the track. This variant of the mechanic is refreshing.

The price of a tile is determined where you plan to place the tile on your player mat. There is a shaded side, and a sunny side. The sunny side doubles the cost, and when a tile gets activated on it, it moves the matching resource tracker on your player mat. The shaded side does nothing to the purchase price, but when the tile gets activated it generates money.

Which means you have a nice series of decisions to make in this game. The first being the tile to select on the track. Which tile you want next, how far along the track you are prepared to travel, followed by which side of the player board will you place it.

There are two ways to activate tiles. The first is to select a scoring space, and the other surround an enclosure. The enclosure option adds up the values of surrounding tiles, which decides which enclosure tile you place there. This tile then allows you to advance your abbot token a number of spaces, and activate a number of surrounding tiles. These activations are the way you advance your resource tokens and abbot on your tracker, plus also generate income.

The one thing that isn’t great is what seems like the over complicated end game scoring. I’m not going to explain it in detail. But it involves getting your abbot as advanced as possible to determine point multiplier and a conversation ratio. That ratio is used to try and advance your least advanced resource token at the expense of your more advanced one. You want that advanced as far as possible because your last placed tokens position is the value you multiply the point multiplier with! See even that brief explanation is complicated. Imagine reading the rules and trying to work it out.

In our game I got a nice engine going, that exploited abbots sharing high value tiles. I was initially concerned that once the starting money had gone, that there would be issues getting more money. But the first couple of rounds I generated lots of money while the others struggled and ran out. Which meant that on one round they advanced around the track very quickly, leaving me to just pick up a lot of tiles. I completed two enclosures that round. The final round I scored barrels and picked up a lot of max point barrels. I think I was the only one who filled there tile spaces.

I’ve gone all fancy in the above photo to show a combo that worked well for me. When I activated that abbot on the scoring, those two four cost resources scored twice. Also that abbot being shared by two enclosures meant it would also get activated twice.

So you can guess from that above paragraphs that I smashed the game, and won. Jonathan was observing what I did during the game. So in future plays expect to see similar tactics from him, and used against me. Things will definitely be more competitive.

A great game, a nice change from the usual mechanics that hit the table.

Once again thanks to Jonathan you get the chance to see hobo Darren.

I have to admit I was disappointed that the MtG players didn’t show. I was all prepared for playing MtG, and fought through that feeling sick. It was lucky that Jonathan showed and had games with him. Otherwise the evening could have been a total washout. If you say you’re coming it’s good manors to let the organisers know if you can’t make it. As one other member did last night. We can’t cater for all eventualities, so we plan the games we bring along based on numbers and requests.

A big thanks to The Luxe for being great hosts once again.

UPDATE (5/1/19): Jonathan sent the following to me this morning:

Looking at the Heaven and Ale playthrough, I think we were playing the monks incorrectly. The monks only score adjacent tiles when ‘triggered’ by using a purple scoring disc. They do not score adjacent tiles when placing a shed; all they do is move the Brewmaster 1 step per monk activated, when a shed activates them – something we were not doing.

The joys of our style of learning a game, discovering the misplays afterwards! Plus there was no guarantee that we wouldn’t make misplays even if we had read the rules before hand.


Thursday saw the chance to do some gaming with Jonathan, and play my first game of 2019. Which happened to be one of Jonathan’s Christmas Haul, Lancaster.

As usual this was a learning game, so we were making it up as we went along. Correction, reading the rules as we played. Yeah I know gamers out there will be having sharp intakes of breathe, tutting away in disgust that we hadn’t read the rules, watched the YouTube tutorial, downloaded and printed off the rules errata/FAQ (and memorised that also) before playing. But that’s how we roll.

Lancaster is a worker placement game, and we were playing the two player variant.

So for those with short attention spans and have had enough of this post already, the headline is I liked the game.

For those interested here is what I liked about the game.

The production of the components for the game is pretty solid. The battle and scoring rules cards were not actually cards but thick cardboard, more a tile than a card.

I loved the fact you could upgrade your workers. Thus making them more powerful, and unlocking the possibility of more locations you could chose as an action using the more powerful worker. But you then had the difficult choice of did this new more powerful worker get used to select one of these newly available slots, or did you use them in combat with the French?

You were also limited in the maximum number of workers you could recruit, but also you could never exceed the maximum power level. You were limited to a single worker at the maximum level. Although in the two player variant with the friendly house you could have more than one potentially.

I liked that when selecting an action you had to have a worker with the minimum strength indicated to be able to use it. You could then use a squire token to bolster your strength in the space. Why would you want to do that? To lock out your opponent from taking that action instead. On your opponents turn if they want to use the action instead of you, they have to place a worker on that space with a strength one more than the combined strength of your worker and the number of squires on the space with them.

The reason this is a thing is that you don’t get the action straight away. You only get it at the end of the round if you are still on the space.

The battles is a nice addition. Going to battle gets you an instant bonus, plus if the French are defeated at the end of the turn you get points allocated on strength of your forces committed to the battle. This means my opponents can help win the battle, and get a share of the spoils (victory points). If the French aren’t defeated everything slides down. Some consolation points are awarded, and you have one more round to add to your forces and hopefully defeat the French. If after the second round the French remain undefeated, the workers in the battle are captured, and can be bought back or you lose them basically back to your supply.

The voting at the end of the round for which new rules get added to the end of round scoring was ok.

I also liked that when it came round to taking the action on the space you could take the noble (if you didn’t already have them) or the action. But if you paid three coins you could do both. The more nobles you collected the bigger points bonus you got at the end of the game. A nice additional decision to make.

It’s also not a long game, it was four rounds I want to say, based on my fading memory.

I know the whole theme is medieval times, castles, knights, battling the French. But the theme is paper thin really.

In the end it was the end of game bonuses that enabled me to steal the win from Jonathan by 2 points.

Lancaster really is a nice worker placement game. If you like the mechanic/genre then you will enjoy this for sure.

Afterwards as you can see The Luxe had just gotten in the promotional drink toppers for the Spider-man Spider-verse movie. They look pretty cool.

I have to thank Jonathan for a great afternoons gaming, and the chance to try this game. And as all good award ceremony speeches, a big thank you to The Luxe once more for hosting the impromptu session.

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.

2018 Gaming Stats Part 3

I’m not sure as I write this instalment of the 2018 retrospective if it will be the third and final part, or if I’m going to be cruel and do another one after this has been finished and posted.

In this post I’m going to steal the top 9 games meme, and use it here as others have elsewhere to share with you my top 9 new games to me of 2018.

I’ve not put them in any particular order, so their position in the grid should not be taken as having any significance or indication of a ranking. Nor was this process as scientific as my Top 100 of All Time that I did a couple years back.

The process I used this time was more gut feel. There were some games I really did enjoy playing that belonged to friends. But a deciding factor was, did that game make it into my collection? One or two that made this list were initially friends copies that I played. But they made such an impact I almost instantly added them to my collection.

So for your torture I present my Top 9 New To Me Games of 2018 meme…

2018 Gaming Stats Part 2

Continuing the look back at 2018 that we started together yesterday. Today we look at the oddly chosen top 14 boardgames I played in 2018 ranked by the number of times that they were played.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that the top slot is MtG. I was playing a ridiculous amount casually during the first quarter of the year.

What I find interesting is that so many (approximately 5 of them) were added to the collection in the last quarter of the year. And so many of the top 14 were new to me games.

Charterstone is a game that needs completing, we got to the half way point before life got in the way. Our group that was playing it needs to find a common time slot that we can finish the game off in.

Did you play any of the above games? What did you think of them? What was your most played game of 2018?

2018 Gaming Stats Part 1

It’s a well known fact I love a good bandwagon to jump on. It’s the only bit of exercise and excitement I get these days.

Earlier in the year I stopped putting up a monthly summary of my gaming month, and it was met up with a loud roar of indifference and silence. It seems that no-one missed it. A bit hurtful. But then I have to remember only a couple of my friends read this, possibly my attack chihuahuas, and my mum definitely doesn’t (she doesn’t know how to use a web browser and even if she did, she wouldn’t).

Naturally this time of year the Facebook boardgaming groups are clogged up with people sharing their top 9 games of 2018, or their gaming stats for 2018. It’s been going on for a week or two now.

Not to be left out I thought I’d resurrect for an end of year post, and belatedly jump on what is fastly becoming a cliche and crowded bandwagon, my gaming stats for 2018. Especially now that I have actually had my last gaming session of the year. But more importantly because people loved this type of post so much in the past and miss it dearly. It’s almost like a late Christmas present to those people.

So here are the headline figures for 2018…

NB. I don’t record time spent playing a game so the time and days stats are total b.s.

I had 81 more plays in 2018 than 2017 (962). However I played 48 less games in 2018, somehow I played 124 games in 2017. I played in 4 more locations in 2018 over 2017, but with less people that I know. I played with 6 less of my friends in 2018. That’s a shame. I should put the effort in to see who they are and make sure I share a game with them soon.

Ok time for some pretty pie charts.

How did you compare on the headline figures?

Undead, Worms and No Thanks!

I have admit I was a bit nervous about Wildlands and Jonathan.

We had been invited round Diego’s to play some games. Not entirely true, it was specific games we had been invited to play. Specifically Wildlands and Reykholt.

The arrangements and invite had been done at the Fenland Gamers session before Christmas. Jonathan and I had car shared over to Diego’s, and talked gaming stuff on the way.

So here we were all setup and ready to play, factions selected (I was trying the Undead faction) and the Hagmole promo ready to use as well.

But would Jonathan enjoy the game? It was a fantasy mini skirmish game after all. Not one of his favourite genres or themes.

Jonathan was the first to be hit by the Hagmole, which seemed unfair to him, because his mini on the space would just keep taking damage until he drew cards that enabled him to move away or it died. So stopped using it. Undid the damage it had inflicted, and carried on without it. It had only been included because it could be, and I was interested in what it did. It was ruining the experience for Jonathan. So no big deal to not use it.

Playing the undead was interesting. You get six figures instead of five, only two symbols to worry about for selecting a figure. Sadly only two cards that enable you to draw cards, and all the figures aren’t going to be the toughest on the map.

But I enjoyed playing them. Potentially my favourite faction out of the five.

Diego and I both agreed the game played better as three players than the two player games we had played.

Our game ended pretty close, with Jonathan grabbing the win. If Diego hadn’t been able to thwart my attempts to kill one of his figures so successfully on a couple of turns I think I could have stopped Jonathan from winning and grab the win for myself. In the end I killed Diego’s figure on Jonathan’s turn in a pre-emptive strike to try and survive Diego killing my figure on his turn. I’d spent so many cards trying to kill it previously I needed to see a return on my investment. But what I hadn’t catered for was Jonathan having enough to move and claim a crystal as well, on what was left of his turn.

Jonathan even enjoyed the experience after he had got the hang of things. The hand management mechanic was one I knew Jonathan would like. And it was in the end light and quick enough that he could enjoy it as well.

Our next game was Pickomino with the expansion. I don’t think this will be played without it again. Even with new players. But this was the first time that Diego had played the game with the expansion.

Jonathan surprisingly with his reputation of poor dice rolls in other games, won this game comfortably.

Our final game of the afternoon was No Thanks! During which some serious egg on faces occurred.

After our second game which I’d won, it dawned on me why don’t I just take every card, I’d win? The other players would have no cards and wouldn’t be able to win, so I’d win with a maximum score. This started some discussion and a turning to the rules to look for the bit that said players with no cards couldn’t win. We couldn’t find it. We did find the rule that said we deducted a point from our final score for each token we had in front of us at the end of the game. That was new, and something we weren’t aware of. But the puzzle remained where had we got this rule from?

We continued playing another couple of games but with the correct rules. The token deduction at the end made a big difference.

But how many games had we played incorrectly? Lots for sure. There was going to have to be some investigation into the source of how we ended up playing the game the way we had been.

I had an amazing afternoon of gaming with two great friends. I don’t think the year could have been ended on a better gaming high.

A big thank you to Diego and his family for sharing their home with us for the afternoon. A big thank also to Jonathan for driving.