There once was a man from Nantucket…

Last night saw the weekly FEG@TA back on track after last weeks was cancelled.

The FEG@TA last night was only attended by Jonathan and myself. So what resulted was a pleasant evening of two player gaming, whilst the loud music and alcholic fuelled buffoonery raged around us.

Our first game of the evening was the two player worker placement game with a whaling theme Nantucket. Jonathan had got this for $3 as an add on to the game New Bedford (also about whaling) on Kickstarter.

For those that are already thinking tl;dr here’s the spoiler on what I thought of this game, it’s a pile of shit. It’s a stinker. It really is. 

The rules could be written better. Some bits were unclear. A player aid with the scoring for the whaling coin toss phase of the game would have been a great and much needed addition.

And now I mention it the coin toss mechanic used for the whaling phase, I hated. With cardboard chits for the coins this just doesn’t work. It feels so unsatisfying. 

Oh those cardboard coins! Whose bright idea was it to give the head side of the coin the image of a whales tale? Then two silver coins add up to one copper coin! Since when has copper been worth more than silver.

This is barely a game. I can’t think of one thing about the game I like. Maybe Jonathan and I are missing something. But this was not a pleasant experience for either of us. At $3 I think Jonathan was over charged. Oh Jonathan won this game.

Our second game had to be good to pick us up after such a start to the evening. So out came our current darling game The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. I romped home with an easy win against Jonathan. It nearly was a whitewash and would have been if he hadn’t managed to finally score a bomb card just as I loaded up a bomb to take me to the game ending ten points. The cards just hadn’t been with Jonathan in this game. In one go I played 13 cards! Now that’s combotastic.

We followed this up with another crowd pleaser The Great Heartland Hauling Co. which we played using the expansion that comes with the game. The expansion basically gave you the chance to get upgrades/abilities. I grabbed two of the three that were on offer. One allowed me to move diagonally, the other allowed me to stay put by paying a dollar. Jonathan managed to nab the one that added an extra move space to a fuel card if you wanted to. But only after I had taken the other two.

I went on to use the staying put ability to great use irking Jonathan by tieing up one or two high value tiles. If I’d started doing that earlier and haf a bit of luck on the card draw to get the necessary cards I think that tactic of frustration could have won me the game.

In the end I was left with a lorry load of goods that flattered the victory Jonathan had.

I liked the addition of this expansion. It added a new element to the game that changed things up a little, while not taking away from the main game play.

Our last game of the evening was Valley of the Kings. Jonathan doesn’t do deck builders normally. But there was enough in this game that he enjoyed the experience. And that was despite me romping home to a comfortable win.

So despite Nantucket we had a fun evening playing games, with the spoils of victory split evenly between us.

The Tokaido Saga Ends

So stop the bloody clock. I get home from visiting Nath this afternoon and there is a surprise package waiting for me.

It’s from China. Wait could it possibly be? Noo. 

Wait it is, it’s here finally. At long last the replacement figure for the broken one in the Tokaido Collectors Accessory box I bought has arrived!

As you can see from the initial post this has been dragging on since the 25th February. Over five months it has taken Fun Forge to sort this out. Five blooming months! That’s rediculous 

Fun Forge do have the worst customer support I’ve come across. 

But I’m just glad that this saga is now at a close.

Mutant boss rant

So as I continue to explore these fancy picture layouts in LiveCollage that barely show anything unless you zoom in. I might talk about last nights gaming with Nath.

So Nath and I played one game last night and that was Run Fight or Die. 

Despite looking like at several points in our game that he’d be over run with zombies. Each time Nath managed to pull the cat out of the bag and survive. More than once being able to wipe out a completely over crowded zone of zombies. 

While I seemed to be in more control of the waves of zombies moving through the zones in front of me. So much so that I was able to get attacks in on the mutant boss once he had appeared.

In fact the mutant boss appeared very early on in the game. He was our very first location that got drawn in the game!

By the time the mutant boss was sent packing to lick his wounds until his next appearance, Nath had gained a follower. 

As we pushed our luck, found loot, went to new locations and handled new events. Somehow I ended up with a zombie swarm in my zone one I couldn’t take out and deal with three runners sitting in my zone 2. Which ever way I crunched the numbers I was taking damage. In fact enough damage to kill me. Nath had won by surviving longer than me.

The mutant boss figure does look amazing on the table. And adds that something extra to the game that the large cardboard disk doesn’t. It’s a lot more ominous having that large plastic mutant boss figure starring at you from behind the waves of zombies working their way through your three zones. Constantly reminding you during your turn that if you don’t deal with him, some extra bad stuff is going to happen to you. I like my mutant boss!

News and rants

Finally Duncan of trapped North of the border pointed me in the direction of a bgg video from GenCon where CMoN talk briefly about a Zombicide app coming out next year. Basically other than saying they are working on an app there are no other details. I’m hoping its Zombicide and not Zombicide: Black Plague. I like my zombies modern, in modern settings, as they should be. None of this fantasy zombie stuff. That’s just plain and simple wrong. Sadly I fear it will be the later, because original Zombicide has been pushed to the back and being ignored by CMoN. Z:BP is Zombicide 2.0 and by golly you are going to play a fantasy theme if you like it or not! Personally I’d love to see an upgrade kit for original Zombicide accepting the range attack rule update (house rule post), and the improved player boards. That’s all it needs. Doesn’t need a completely new version releasing. Just give us that CMoN.

You can view the bgg video here.

While I’m talking CMoN apparently CMoN are really nice people, salt of the earth, all that shit, according to Rob Oren of Dice Tower fame. They might be “nice” to him, but CMoN leave a lot to desire as a company and the way they treat the customers, especially Kickstarter backers. 

Rob has a point about the free stuff culture he witnessed. Some are just in this for the swag.

In some ways I have some common ground with Rob. I don’t go round asking for stuff, I buy my stuff. When I went to the UK Games Expo, I never mentioned once I wrote a blog to anyone. Not even to Tom and Sam when I bumped into them. 

I don’t write reviews, my readership isn’t nearly large enough to interest a publisher. While it would be nice to get a game I wanted free from time to time, I’m very very happy not to have that pressure of having to review the game, and have the review up in a certain time period, etc. Oh plus I don’t write reviews! If you are reading this blog regularly you know that already.

I like the freedom I have here to rant and rage, but also praise. But also to write bits about gaming I enjoy reading, that it seems very few out there do. Most are into reviewing. That’s not me I like personality, and my little niche.

There are other areas of common ground also but I’m not going to go over them. I’m bored of this now! Plus I suspect you are also. 

Hopefully this little rant won’t irk Rob too much I don’t want him to “bury me” also!

You can watch Rob’s rant here.

PS sorry for this long out of control post!

Father son gaming – making memories

I look forward to my visits with Nath. They are not nearly as often or as long as I’d like. Oh they are way too brief.

Despite being a young man now, and taller than me by a good four or five inches. Nath will always be my little boy.

I have plenty of memories of him as a little one. From the time he threw up on me and laughed afterwards when he was but a baby, or when he read to his mum and me for the first time, or our walks up Welsh and English mountains, or swimming in swimming holes in the Brecon Beacons, to us watching the whole of Prison Break together one Summer.

But how much does Nath remember of those times? Does he see them as good times? 

I love video games, I grew up playing them. As I aged and grew, so did video games, we grew up together. Not surprisingly Nath too is into video games. And for a while on our visits we’d play a couple of Nath’s favourite games, FIFA and Call of Duty. Two games I hardly play. So I was nothing more than a more random opponent for Nath to beat up on.

But I wanted our time together to be a higher quality. And that’s how I got back into playing board games after an obligatory long gap. I started getting games that played well for two players that would both interest Nath and myself.

Last night after making that first Vlog (I’m sorry if you watched it for stealing three minutes of your life you won’t ever get back), doing that washing up and cooking tea, we sat down and played some games.

We started off with 7 Wonders Duels. The first game went to me when I grabbed a military win. After recording the victory in the app I use to track my plays, I decided to try out the apps social media sharing abilities. So the world at large got to hear of my win.

We played a second game. This time I was trying for a science win, but also doing well on the military front. Nath had been building up a mass of blue victory point cards. If it got to victory points I’d have no chance. It was all down to the third age. Nath managed to block my science path to victory. It was down to the military route for me. But that too proved to be another dead end when Nath got rid of what was to be the last military card. It was down to counting victory points. Nath had a massive 41 points on blue alone. I had nothing to answer back with. In the end my final score was less than this opening score for Nath. I was well and truly schooled.

Our next game was The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. Time to teach Nath how to build an atomic bomb! This is such a quick and easy game to teach, and quick to pick up. Nath played this game abit more aggressively than my previous opponents. Instead of drawing cards when he had the cards that allowed you to draw more cards, he mostly used their other ability to force me to discard cards instead. An interesting tactical decision that paid off. Nath won both games we played. The second game he destroyed me. I had scored a three point bomb, and I only made it to 4.5 points thanks to my uranium! 

Our third and final game that we played was Odin’s Ravens. Once again a fairly simple game to teach, and easy to learn. Our first game I won. But it was like my game with Jonathan at the weekend, if I hadn’t won that turn, Nath would have on his next turn. Our second game Nath romped home with some great plays of his Loki cards. I was at best 3/4 of the way home, at least two turns card wise from finishing.

Our limited time together on visits is I feel of a higher quality now, more social. I’m hoping these visits and our time together playing games are giving new memories. So that in years to come Nath will look back on our time together as adults with fondness, and remembering the time he played 15 cards in one go to wipe out my health and get the win with a smile as he does the same to his own kid.

Here have some cash…

Is what I’d rather publishers at cons like GenCon,Essen,Origins etc. would say, instead of giving exclusive promos away at the shows.

It’s the same thing basically. As the eBay scalpers in the screen caps above show.

It doesn’t show much thought to the rest of us games fans that can’t be at the show. It almost feels like a big giant v sign, or middle finger being waved at us not at the show.

Publishers should make the promos available via other sources like the bgg store at a reasonable price. But the majority don’t. It would seem their policy is “what is given away at the show, is not for anyone else”. 

Yes I know they aren’t needed. But still there are those of us out there that are ocd and like Pokemon have to “catch em all” when it comes to stuff for our favourite games. Plus they do add a nice little customisation to a game. 

It’s the same with Kickstarter exclusives. I don’t mind time limited and then made available to everyone. But to make something only available to the backers and no one else I think is just wrong. And once more sees eBay scalpers making money at the expense of others.

The publisher doesn’t see anything from the sales of these exclusives on eBay. So what are they getting out of this? 

I commend the likes of Plaidhat who have made promo Phoenixborn and Dead of Winter characters on their website. Others have made them available on the bgg store. Worst offender is CMoN and the Geek n Sundry folks with their Tabletop day promos.

Anyway rant over I know things won’t change the publishers don’t care enough about their fans to do anything about it.

The art of Odin

Yesterday I put the “can anyone come out to play?” post up on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page to try and find someone to play a couple of two player games with.

Odin’s Ravens had just arrived, and Sun Tzu had been with me for a week. I was eager to play both.

Luckily Jonathan said he would be free once he had completed his chores. So a time was set for us to meet up at Costa.

Jonathan was already there when I arrived. So beverages bought we setup to play our first game of the afternoon Odin’s Ravens.

For such a simple game there are a remarkable number of decisions to make during the game.

The first being what mix of cards to draw to make your initial hand of five cards. How many Loki cards (special one use cards that give you a power up of some kind) do you draw, and how many landscape cards (cards that allow you to move).  You also get to repeat this decision at the end of each turn when you draw three new cards.

You then have the decision during the game of when to play those Loki cards. You only have a limited number for the whole game, and once used are out of the game.

Then when you do decide to play your Loki card you then have to decide which of the cards two abilities you will use. Will you use the one that helps you or the one that puts a spanner in your opponents plans. 

The art work is really nice on the cards. 

Jonathan and I both really liked the game. And that’s despite Jonathan winning by the skin of his teeth. 

Our second game was Sun Tzu. We played with the beginners variant. Which means with all 21 army figures, no Warlord cards, and the +2 and +3 removed from the game.

Before playing I had wondered why you would ever want to play the -1 card. But during play the lightbulb switched on. 

This is a game of differences. I liked that you had a hand of base cards to call upon each turn, which were then supplemented by one time use more powerful cards. I also liked that you could only use the number 6 card once in each of the areas you are fighting over.

I also liked that at the end of a turn you draw two cards, choose one and place the other at the bottom of your draw pile.

There is a fair amount of decision making and trying to second guess your opponent. Like when to play your more powerful cards and where.  Which I liked. 

For a tenner from The Works this is a nice little two player territory control game. For the history books I totally beat Jonathan’s armies to get an undisputed points victory. 

We finished off our game session with a two player game of The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction. We’d played a three player game as our first game. Now I wanted to see how it faired as a two player game.

In our game I’d taken an early lead and built on it by building two bombs worth four points each. Jonathan jumped back into the running by building a seven point bomb. I was thinking about how to get another bomb built for the win, when I remembered I didn’t need to. All I needed to do was load a bomber for two points and get the win. It was a much simpler task to do that than build a third bomb. Quicker too. It took me one more turn to do this and win after I’d figured out this plan.

I really liked Chain Reaction as a two player game. It worked very well. This is proving to be a great card game.

I’ll close this post today with an image I put out on Instagram (which then gets pushed out to Facebook and Twitter) of part of my game library.

Buffy is Legendary

More news from GenCon, more screen caps of Instagram! 

This time my source for this story is The Dice Tower.

I enjoy the Legendary Marvel deck building games from Upper Deck. They are miles better than the awful DC deck builder. I have the Legendary Encounters games as well for Alien and Predator. Which are sitting in my pile of shame. But from reviews and comments, and nominations for awards Upper Deck have really pulled it off getting theme into their Encounters game.

So it’s why I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the soon to be released Big Trouble in Little China Legendary game and the Legendary Encounters Firefly game plus the Legendary Marvel Civil War expansion.

Although I’m not happy about the promos they are giving away at GenCon. But that’s a rant for another day.

Last night while I was dreaming about the excuses Taylor Swift gives for not calling me, or that I’m actually funny, The Dice Tower were posting the following on Instagram.

Yep Buffy and all her vampire killing goodness is coming to Legendary. 

There was already a board game about to be released that Roll for Crit in one of their GenCon vids described as Eldich Horror light. So I’m down for getting this when it hits.

But back to Legendary. How cool is this? I hope that they take into account the movie that started it all.

But that’s not all…

Very thin on detail, read that as none, there is going to be a Legendary app!

Will this be the games or like the existing third party ones that select characters, schemes and masterminds etc for you?

I’m hoping for the game, with online cross platform play.

Out next week 8Aug16

It seems the horses are out of the Esdevium gate quickly, the GenCon dust hasn't even had time to settle yet, and we have a few things out next week that caught my eye.

The fantastic Viticulture Essential Edition is going to be back in stock. I must get a copy! I have the expansions!!

Whilst Guilds of London finally hits the shelves of your FLGS. I picked this up at the UK Games Expo, but this is another top game to get. I really like it.

The card builder Mystic Vale also finally after all it's hype and buzz gets to fight for a slice of your wallet and space on your gaming shelf. This game really does interest me a lot. The game is aimed at introducing the public to the card building mechanic. Apparently there is a bigger more ambitious game by the designer that uses the mechanic. This his and the publishers way of easing us into it.

Another version of Love Letter is released into the wild. This time the theme is aimed at fans of the Archer cartoon. I'm curious as to what tweaks they have made to this version.

The fun party/group game Cash and Guns has a second expansion hitting. Going by the title I'm guessing it's introducing teams to the game, and I'm hoping more guns!

I love Five Tribes, and this new mini expansion for the game will be a no brainer.

Finally the second data pack of the Flashpoint cycle also drops.

Some great stuff out next week, you are going to need deep pockets to get it all. Then it's just finding time to play them.


FFG InFlight 

So with no FEG@TA last night, I was at the cinema watching Suicide Squad (an enjoyable movie, with the worst looking Joker ever), I’m continuing my coverage of GenCon from a far from my social media monitoring!

Yesterday FFG had their InFlight I think it’s called presentation at GenCon. Where they go through all their new stuff. What’s the point of this really considering they have been making daily announcements for over a week now? Did they have anything new to say?

Well I’m not going to go through everything they covered. I’ve already discussed the bits that interested me from when they made the announcement earlier.

But there was some new stuff they had held back for this talk. The biggy for most people but of no interest to me Runewars the miniatures game. FFG do wargames now to, or they will be when this hits.

The new but I was interested in was the stuff for Imperial Assault.

In the next expansion we are off to Tatooine and the start of Return of the Jedi with Jabba’s Realm.

The sculpts look amazing, especially the rancor.

Naturally to go along side this big box expansion we have the Ally and Villians packs to replace the tokens in the expansion! 

So here is the list of Allies and Villians:

  • Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight Ally Pack
  • Alliance Rangers Ally Pack
  • Captain Terro Villain Pack
  • Jabba the Hutt Villain Pack

Wait what Luke again? We got him in the base game! Yeah but this time he had a lightsaber and is a Jedi! 

But wait there’s more! This photo with unreadable text on it is all I can find about the new announced app for Imperial Assault.

Yes I hate apps. Well specifically games that can’t be played without the app. But companion apps that aren’t needed, but make the experience better if used, I’m down with. 

Anyway I’m expecting this app for Impetial Assault to be like the Descent app. Which having not used, I believe allows Descent to be played co-op by all players. 

Catch you in the next update.