Minor building works

It's been a quiet week on building the collection. In fact if today's new arrival hadn't come there would have been no new additions at all.
Way back earlier in the year I took the opportunity to pre-order the 51st State “reboot” by Portal Games. That pre-order arrived this morning.
Portal ran their pre-order like a Kickstarter with “bonuses” being unlocked the more pre-orders they got. Here is the infographic they did to show what people were getting:

Going through the box after opening was like going through the layers of a chocolate box, each layer more delicious than the other.

The game with its wooden components and cardboard tokens do look gorgeous.

The instructions have a sense of humour that I really love, and bought a smile to my face with a little chuckle too.

The only down side from this wonderfully presented game is that it was missing the transfer sheet, and also it says two wooden faction discs with stickers and there was only one! So now I guess it's time to see what the Portal Customer support is like.

UPDATE just after posting: so we have a mini expansion in the game as part of the pre-order bonuses. Back of the tiles direct you to the website for the rules, which when you go there are nowhere to be found! It's the little things… And the ocd side of me is kicking in and starting to take the gloss off the warm fuzzy feeling I had opening the game.

Oh and you can read the collected game designer diary here (it's a PDF)


Arriving to a FLGS next week 16May16

There wasn’t anything last from the goodies we got showered with that caught my eye.

However from their bountiful riches that they deem us worthy to have three things caught my eye.

First up is a game I backed on Kickstarter Kodama, which is hitting the shelves at an rrp of £17.99. 

The game hasn’t hit my table yet, so I can’t pass comment on the game apart from its beautiful art.

Next up hot on the heels of the Omens of Ice expansion for Elder Sign comes Grave Consequences at £10.99. This did take me by surprise because somehow it had avoided my radar.

Apparently this expansion adds fifty new cards to the game.

The cards from Grave Consequences are divided into three modular decks: Phobia, Epic Battle, and Epitaph. These decks and their cards can be used together or separately, and they’re all fully compatible with the core game, as well as all of its expansions.

So sounds interesting.

Finally I’m not even sure why this was made. Thirty Munchkin meeples for £17.99! Why? I’m trying to think what game I’d use them with and coming up with nothing. 

So that’s the treats to look forward to next week.

As long as a John Bonham Drum Solo

Last night was the second Wednesday of the month and so the regular monthly Fenland Gamers meetup was held at its usual location in Wisbech.

We kind of had a theme last night of gateway/casual games. With a friend of mine from Peterborough and her daughter coming along for the first time, who aren't “gamers” but more noobs having played and loved Tsuro and Love Letter in the past and definitely not into the heavier side of gaming, our selection of games played were aimed at them.

Now I should point out that just because the games played are considered to be on the lighter side, that they are still great fun games for the more hardened gamer. Two of our evenings games are from my collection so that should say how I feel about those two games.

Our evenings gaming started off with a game of Sushi Go. Is it really nearly a year since I first played this game at the UK Games Expo, and bought instantly after the demo game? Drafting and set collection, great fun colourful art work. This is a lovely little game. And nearly a year later I still love it. I think the secret with these sort of games is not to over play them otherwise you get burned out, and no longer enjoy playing them. Having a variety of games that fill the same role that you can rotate, switch around, definitely is the secret to keeping these games fresh and favourites.

Our game of Sushi Go this evening was won by Katie.

We followed Sushi Go up with Batman Fluxx. This was an epic game of Fluxx. I don't think I've played a game of Fluxx that last this long, we must have been easily forty to fifty minutes. We had loads of new rules out, they'd get reset to the basic rules, then the new rules would build up. Everyone was trying to find a way to manipulate the cards to give them the win, but not getting close. We cycled through the discard pile twice!

I ended up with the goal that needed five or more Villians out in front of players and the Bat signal. Katie had the Bat signal in front of her. I had an action that allowed me to steal it. Wait I can win this on my next go, as long as no one else has a way of getting a win.

Jonathan took his go, no win. Then it was Katie, no win. My friends daughter, no win. Finally before my turn, my friend. Her last play was discard your hand then draw that number cards you discarded. Sixteen cards discarded, sixteen new cards! Why? Why would you do that?

Right my turn…

I got cocky, I asked Jonathan to draw my cards and just place them face down because I didn't care what they were! Right play my first card and steal the Bat signal from Katie. But Jonathan decided to throw a curve ball in my plan and bring it to an early end. He interrupted my action and instead was allowed to steal from my keepers. Damn! Right new rule Play All, OK better look at my hand. Wait, I still have a card I can play to steal the Bat signal. With the Bat signal safely in front of me, time to play the new goal and get the win!!! Victory! That was very closely me falling flat on my face in an embarrassing way after me being so cocky.

But what an epic long game.

Our final game of the evening was Camel Up. This is my second time playing the game. I gather Jonathan's kids must like it, because we suspect they played it last after Jonathan found it hadn't been packed away “correctly”.

Camel Up is a beautiful looking game. The pyramid dice shaker being the obvious show stopper of the game. The eyes are just attracted to it on the board. Not the most practical of things, but a wonderful tactile bit of theatrics.

Camel Up isn't in my collection. I don't like it enough to add it. Don't get me wrong the two times I've played it now I've had fun. But Colt Express fills a similar role in my collection.

Oh for the history books Katie walked away with the honours here too.

Whilst putting together the games to take for the evening I was going to throw in Age of War. But for the love of it I couldn't find it. I'd seen it earlier in the day. But now no sign of it. I could feel that little itch that starts when I lose something starting to kick in. I'd find no rest until I found it or got a replacement.

When I got home after a great evening gaming, I found the game. It was sitting under some Lego!! Mystery solved, itch stopped. I'd be able to sleep.


Duelling Decks

It was Tuesday, not a Formula D league night, so must have been Warlords Chatteris club night.
A new prospective member turned up last night with his Magic deck. We had chatted on the clubs Facebook page, so I acted as “host” for the evening. Heck the things I do for the club like having to play Magic with some-one.
We played our own preconstructed decks to start with, with Chris sitting in coaching the other person. Well we were/are still both relatively noobs to the game.
I was able to win by chipping away four points at a time.
Our second game was using the Blessed v Cursed Duel Decks from the new Shadows Over Innistrad set. These are prebuilt decks designed to battle each other. My opponent chose the black/blue deck, which was zombies and vampires. Whilst I had the White/blue deck, so angels and humans. I got an early advantage with flying monsters ie angels that weren't getting blocked. But that ground to a halt once my opponent got a couple of flying monsters, and stared building up a few monsters to eventually attack with. Neither of us attacked whilst we were building up our battlefields waiting to get the tactical advantage. Which fell to me first with having not just a superiority in number of flyers, but the total damage that would get through after being blocked was enough for me to deliver the knock out blow.
Our third and final game of Magic was another duel deck but this time from Zendikar. In fact it was easy to see I hadn't played these two decks because the cards were still sealed! There was some nice nback and forth. My opponent cleared my battlefield down to one monster with an instant, it also removed his token monsters he had out. But my single left monster and a land I could turn into a monster were enough for me to take the win again.
A great evening for me. A clean sweep of victories, I won't get that for a while playing Magic.


An Alternate Game Night

Last night was the last forced break from Pandemic Legacy due to holidays in warmer climates by a team member. Wait I wonder if I can make that sound even more passive aggressive? Anyway not to waste permission slips etc the rest of our team met up to play games.

First to the table was Glass Road. This time we were going to play it correctly!

Wow what a big difference that made. It's a very fast game when played correctly, thirty to forty minutes for the three of us. I do like the resource management using the two dials with the auto production of glass and bricks.

Now during last nights game I got the pond with a shark in it! Does this count as an Easter egg in the game? But I love little touches like this, Imperial Settlers has these in its art. It adds a nice like side chat during game play “oh look…”

My tactic in the game ended up being buying tiles with as high a victory point score on as possible, over ones that had a variable score based on the amount of a specific resource. Which after the final scoring saw me victorious by a single point.

Our second game of the evening was Traders of Osaka. This game was good as a two player game, but as a three player game? Wow!

It scaled nicely, it's just as much fun if not more so. Plus the game becomes more tactical, especially on the reserving cards, and buying the market. Timing is everything. Reserving cards becomes more a decision of do I want this card to advance my plans, or do I need to stop this card being taken to deny my opponents a scoring opportunity?

For example early on I was able to get the yellow ship to Edo for a payday, leaving green and red in dangerous waters and sinking. This wiped out Mat's green and red cards in front of him, he had no yellow. While doing the same to Jonathan however he was able to score two points on yellow, while I was able to score four points.

The other nice thing is that the market is changing more variable with more players, causing you to think on your feet and adjust plans.

Yeah Traders of Osaka is fast becoming a favourite.

After some chat such as how the box for Bohemian Villages could be smaller, however it's not upto the levels of Machi Koro for over sized boxes, we said our farewells.

Another great evening of gaming, and a clean sweep of wins for me!

Last weeks new stuff weekending 7May16

The week started off with a Kickstarter project I had backed finally arriving. Although not about boardgames, it's about video games, specifically ones from the eighties and an amazing software house called Hewson.
The book was written by Andrew Hewson, who over came health issues to finish this book about his time in the UK games industry running one of the top video game companies in the country. Hewson put out some really great games like Paradroid, Uridium and Gibbly's Day Out. So I'm super stoked this has arrived. I really enjoy reading about the stories behind some of my favourite games back in the day.
The next new arrival I had totally forgotten had been ordered (way back in November if I'm remembering it right). So it was a complete surprise when it turns up. I just wasn't expecting it. My friend William said he had received an email that he was getting his, but I saw nothing warning me of its imminent arrival. Have to admit it was a rather nice surprise.
With its arrival it also acts as a pleasant reminder I do need to get Zombicide back to the table.
Way back on this blog I had a rant about why companies didn't release official playmats for their games. I think I even used Splendor as an example.
Even with there being an official mat to buy, it's not easy to get hold of. But with the interweb making borders irrelevant this one winged it's way from somewhere in the EU (can't remember where).
I do like the design of the official mat, it has some nice little touches that aid setup.
I have to admit I do prefer the look of the unofficial one I had made using a design I got off bgg if memory serves me right. Which now has a new home.

But boy is the official mat heavy! The heaviest one I have come across. It's thicker in depth, and has a larger play area.

Now I have the urge to play Splendor again…

Beverages and Gaming on a Saturday

Yesterday a long over due Costa Gaming happened. Jonathan and I met up at the local Wisbech Costa on the Market Place to enjoy good beverages and hopefully some great games.

I had got there slightly early (had to get a birthday card for my Mum and a present, well it's kinda her birthday today), so I was looking through the games I'd bought with me. Oh why had I taken? Eight Minute Empire Legends, Traders of Osaka, Roll For It and Batman Fluxx. Traders of Osaka was out when Jonathan arrived.

So that is the game we played first. I've been wanting to get this to the table since it arrived.

It appears a simple game, on your turn you can do one of three actions, take a card for its monetary value, buy the whole market row, reserve a card.

Before playing and when explaining it the scoring of sets when a ship hits Edo sounds unnecessarily complicated using rounding up, multiplication and division. But when you start doing it, it actually isn't that much of a hassle.

There is a hidden depth and tactical decision making to the game. Having to decide when best to reserve a card, and when to take the card. Trying to manipulate the boats and when they arrive, or get stranded so they sink hopefully denying the other players of possible points.

I did like the game, it didn't disappoint. It worked really well as a two player game.

Our second game was a new arrival for Jonathan, Bohemian Villages.


This is a worker placement type game where your placement of your workers is controlled by the roll of four dice. You allocate those dice to generate a number, the only limitation is that you can't use a single dice to generate a number for placement. For instance if I rolled a 6, 2, 4 and a 3, I could use the 6 and 2 to make 8 and place one of my workers on farm or if I wanted a town hall I could use the 6 and 4 to give me 10, and then use the 3 and 2 to make 5 and allow me to place a worker on a tailor shop. As you can tell by that each building type is allocated to a number, for instance churches are 11. Some of these buildings give immediate scoring (which is in the form of money), others score at the end of the game (which is triggered when one player has no more workers to place), some like the inns once three other workers are in the village give reoccurring money at the start of your turn. Then you have mid game scoring that gets triggered when certain events happen.

At the end of the game the one with the most money is the winner.

Despite winning I like this game a lot. I like the rolling dice and combining them to allow you to place workers. There is a nice balance between immediate scoring, and end scoring opportunities. I like the art work. It's quick to learn. Jonathan and I did forget to claim some recurring money at the start of our turns once or twice. I think I lost about five points this way, Jonathan lost about three I think. Which brings me to the only “weak” spot of the game, and Jonathan and I both agree on this, the player aids could be improved, and made clearer about the recurring money, maybe some reminds to claim, and the wording on one or two is a little confusing.

After two great games Jonathan and I chewed the fat, righted wrongs, brainstormed before saying our farewells.

I had a great time in Costa, great games, great company. Can you ask for more?

Gaming this Wednesday

This coming Wednesday is the monthly meet up of the Fenland Gamers, a boardgame group that meetup once a month in Wisbech to play board games.

If you are interested in coming along leave a comment below and I will message you the address. The gaming starts at 7pm and usually goes onto between 9:30pm to 10pm.

To keep upto date on meet ups join the clubs Facebook page here or the clubs webpage here.


Panda Smash

Last night being Friday night meant after a day doing supply teaching I was at the local Friday night game group. The one I've not been very happy with due to inconsiderate noise pollution from the odd individual at previous meet ups playing loud music.

The first game of the evening was a four player game of Agricola. My first time playing the game. This was a far better experience than Caverna. Rules explained, had the score reference card, so I knew the scoring and how to avoid negative points, or at least reduce the amount of negative points I got.

So ok I don't know the “best” strategies to take for the game. However I did feel that I was in with a shout right upto the end.

So at its heart this is a worker placement game. And I like this mechanic. But! So do I like Agricola or come to that Caverna?

There are elements I like. Like the harvest and having to feed your workers, or the unlocking of new actions to do as you progress through the game. However I'm not keen on being limited to just two actions. Yes you can produce additional workers. But this just doesn't work for me.

This isn't my favourite worker placement game. I think Agricola/Caverna has joined Stone Age as my least favourite worker placement games that I'd play, but I wouldn't be that keen on.

So after coming in a respectable third in Agricola we played four player King of Tokyo with the power ups expansion.

I didn't roll a single power up card, only bought one card from the middle. Which was a pretty cool one, because it gave an extra victory point each time I started my turn in Tokyo, plus an extra point of damage when I dealt out damage whilst in Tokyo.

After a turn or two of rolling threes pumping up my victory points, Ben had been creeping towards a victory point win from a successful run in Tokyo. But we managed to get him out to avoid that outcome. With myself encamped in Tokyo my only card kicked in.

With some amazing rolls I took out two monsters at the same time. That extra point of damage was powerful, it meant that knockout blow was a six point hit!

My victory was inevitable! Well if I didn't get hit with five or more damage by the other remaining player. Unfortunately for them they only did a point of damage, played a power up card that forced me out of Tokyo and slightly delayed my victory. But I moved back into Tokyo to give me the final point I needed to grab a points victory, but it was also close for grabbing a last monster standing victory also.

I'd been playing the Panda monster, and both times now that I've played him I've won. Guess which monster I'm going to keep playing?

Ben had to go after this game, and I decided to call it a night also. It was at this point I got really pissed off. The guy playing with us, sitting next to me was going to play his newly purchased Epic card game. Fair enough. However instead of helping to pack away my game before setting up his, the ignorant git pulled out the cards for Epic and started shuffling them in front of him pushing my stuff out of his way to do so. Yes he was doing that style popular with Magic players creating multiple little mini decks. I've used this method myself to shuffle cards.

What a fracking dick. Even after I point out I was trying to pack my game away, all I got was “I'll move up the table”, which he didn't.

I was seething inside. This is the final straw I think. I'm not enjoying this group at all. If you take out Ben, Jamie (and his son) the majority of my experience playing with the others in this group is that they are selfish gits.

I might suggest to Ben and Jamie we find a different location to play, an alternative Friday evening/night gaming experience.

Afterwards on my way home I called in at The Luxe to mainly give Nath grief, and to confirm that they are actually getting the new X-Men movie, and when. Which they are, a couple of weeks after its release. I'm more than happy to wait a couple of weeks to see the movie at my favourite cinematic experience place. Plus Nath has to be nice to me and call me sir.

So that was Friday's gaming.


QOTW: Are we…

Living in a golden age of Star Wars boardgames?

In recent years we have seen X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, Star Wars Risk, Loopin Chewie, the role playing game, LCG, Carcassonne Star Wars edition, and the more recent Rebellion.

All of these are pretty good if not great games. Yes there are still the themed monopolies but I try and forget them, and they don't dilute the fact that the above are miles miles better games.

So with all these great games based on Star Wars are we living in a golden age of Star Wars boardgames?