FEG@TA Saloon Entrepreneurs 

You have just received your Kickstarter copy of Saloon Tycoon (hand delivered by the photogenic Jonathan), you are in a pub, what could be more thematic than playing the game in said pub?

I felt a bit guilty while we were setting up Jonathan’s copy of Saloon Tycoon. He’d still got some cardboard popping to do, cards were still in cellophane. 

Boy does this game take up a surprising amount of space. The table was just about big enough. If there had been another player we would have been screwed. Basically we’d have had to have put it away and play something else.

We have some beautiful looking games these days. You just have to look at Ashes or Hit Z Road as examples of the heights companies are reaching. However there is just something about a game that has a 3D element to it. Colt Express, Camel Up! and Imhotep (to a lesser extent) for example just have this visual impact that draws people to them. Saloon Tycoon joins that list of games that have that pleasing 3D visual impact when you build floors on parts of your saloon. I think it’s one of the things that attracted me to the game in the first place. For me this 3D element of the game, with each player board area being different, really works, both visually and game wise.

The rule books could be better. Probably with a reference book explaining the cards. Or more clarifying how they work. 

The player aid cards included I like. They provided a nice concise summary of a players turn, and scoring during play and game end.

Jonathan had an issue with the graphic design of the player score board. He thought it was a mess and hard to use. It was less of an issue for me. Although I think it could have been bigger! Score spaces are only big enough for a single cowboy meeple. At a minimum they should be big enough to have two meeples on a space.

A game turn is simple enough, I like the card driven play, but also being able to do something that doesn’t require a card, like draw more cards or take gold. 

With the cards controlling actions, you are able to get combos and have a little interaction with your opponents. Mostly in the form of taking cards from their hand or taking gold. There is also a bribe action that allows you to steal characters from other players.

It grates that when counting floors we are forced to use the Americian numbering. It’s just wrong, like the way they write dates and spell colour.

It’s also cool that each room type has some sort of one time bonus you get to perform when you complete building that floor/room. Before you can buy some of them they have prerequisites like you will need a specific room built already or have a first floor for instance. So you are not only deciding what to build on cost, but bonus and if it allows you to build a more expensive powerful room also.

I like the secret objectives players have, along with public ones anyone can go for. This goes a long way to adding to the games replayability. 

It was the secret objectives and completing his that made the difference and allowed Jonathan to come from behind and win.

As you may have guessed we liked playing the game. It continues a run of kickstarters that we backed that lived upto or exceeded what we thought they would be.

After building our Saloons it was time to hit the road and cross the zombie infested badlands of Route 66 in Hit Z Road. 

This time Jonathan made it to the end of the journey but fell short on the points front. Jonathan definitely faught more zombies than me, whilst I avoided them as much as possible. Yes I was more care free with my survivors and ended up with one making it to the west coast and safety. 

I’d also managed to amass more resources than Jonathan and was in a better shape for the last leg of the game. Plus it meant I was able to claim three of the four bonus cards at the end. Which was more or less the difference between our scores.

Yep this was just another Friday night of great games, friendship, finished off with dodgy meat covered in token salad and a liberal dash of chilli sauce. 

Star Realms on Penny Arcade

Woke up to find the following Penny Arcade strip in my social media timeline. 

Obligatory link to the source here

They really have captured how great and addictive the game is. It’s no secret how I feel about the game, I’m getting a warm tingly feeling just thinking about it now (Bill Hicks reference there).

After teaching Nath the game he too was hooked. He asked if he could have it for his birthday. This is a grown up early twenties, video game addict (like his dad) and he loved the game. 

We normally have three or four games in the amazing app of the game on the go. When I visit it’s normally the first game to hit the table. 

And it’s that app that has helped make this great game so popular. Like the physical game it offers great value for money, is available on several platforms, games can be played against anyone irrespective of the platform they have the app on. Plus the app really implements the game well. 

Physically and digitally this game is just such a great two player deck builder that doesn’t break the bank. Ok once you start buying the expansions, play mats, storage box and sleeves it adds up. However I’d say you don’t need them all at once, they are still cheap as expansions go. But just the base game has a lot of game play in it, whilst even adding like the Crisis expansions just increases that exponentially. 

You play with everything mixed in and you can get some crazy games. 

This is a game that definitely creates moments you talk about after the fact.

That madness, the cost, the in your face take that game play, oh and it has great art work too, backed up by an awesome app. It’s no wonder I love this game.

Catch me if you can

Monday night saw another Jonathan hosted that days arranged gaming session.

I wasn’t sure what we were going to play so I took a selection with me to play just in case. However it did turn out a game had been selected. That game being Letters from Whitechapel. 

In this game one player plays Jack the Ripper while the others play the rozzers trying to stop him. The downside for the coppers is they can’t see Jacks movements because they are hidden from them!

In our game I played the part of the hero of the game Jack the Ripper. While Debbie and Jonathan played the part of those killjoy coppers.

On my first kill I made what I realised later was a tactical error. I killed my first victim close to my hiding place, and made a quick dash back to safety. The persuing law enforcement were able to deduce easily the general area I was hiding. 

I like the phase where Jack and the police place victims and officers around London and the bluffing that goes on. Plus the little push your luck going on when Jack can delay his murder to try and gain a bit more information on police locations is nice.

Towards the end I started taunting my pursuers on social media with photos of them perplexed, and struggling to find me.

I thought that was very thematic and in keeping with the character I was playing.

I found playing Jack the Ripper enjoyable. Although Jonathan did find playing the rozzers frustrating because they basically had no clues to work with. However many a time Jonathan had guessed correctly my escape route away from the scene of the crime.

I’d certainly play this again, and would like to try being the fuzz.

Zombie Riders of Dystopian Pern

The nice thing about being Mr No Life, with no commitments is that when an impromptu gaming session is arranged you are free to partake. 

This was the case Sunday morning when Jonathan put a request up on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page asking who was free to play games that afternoon.

Our afternoons gaming started off with the fantasy themed worker placement game Simurgh. Or as I call it Dragonriders of Pern the boardgame. Which as an interesting (depends on your perspective) side note I’m listening to as my current audible book on my way to work and back.

I like worker placement games, and Simurgh is a really good example of the genre.

There’s a bit of setup, and the game takes up a lot of room.

Being able to decide the duration of the game is a nice touch. For our first play we naturally chose the short game option. Which was triggering the end game with either four objective tiles out or eight tiles in our chronicles.

Oh the choices you have to make while playing. Some really delicious ones. When and how many workers, and which ones to recall. Managing workers on the tiles in the wildes. Too many workers on a tile it gets moved to the chronicles and the game. No workers on it, yep goes to the chronicles.

You have resource management to look after. We had only fifteen slots to store our resources. Over flow and having to return the excess was an issue.

You have hand management to consider of your tiles. When do you play a tile to the wildes? Which one do you trash to make you? 

There is so much going on, it’s mind blowing fun.

When the main complaint about the game is the size of the player board needs to be bigger. Then you know that the game itself is a pretty solid game. The rule book is ok, although wording could be more consistent in places. 

Yeah I like this game a lot. Looking forward to playing it on its advanced Dragonlord setting, and getting its expansion.

For the record books, history and whoever Jonathan won by one point. It was a very close game.

Our next game was new arrival Hit Z Road.

The first thing that strikes you about Hit Z Road is it’s beautiful. The graphic style of a kind of fifties post apocalyptic fallout scavenged world just looks amazing. It looks and feels like they really did scavenge the bits together to make the game. 

The bidding phase of a round is a trap waiting for seasoned gamers to fall into. Waiting for them to over spend to get first player advantage and first choice of route to take. Eating up valuable and scarce resources.

The combat is light, simple and relies on resources to fuel it. Like spending bullet tokens to get dice to attack zombies from a distance before having to engage them in melee combat. Which you can escape by spending fuel tokens. The dice you roll in melee is decided by how many survivors you have. But extra damage can be done by spending adrenaline tokens when the appropriate dice faces appear.

This is a really nice light zombie game that plays quickly. Love it. And thanks to Jonathan and his survivors getting eaten by zombies I won,

We finished off the afternoons gaming with Grifters.

Set in the same Dsystopian universe as Resistance and Coup this new card game just sent out to backers is a nice card game with a cool mechanic.

That mechanic being a cool down period after playing cards. So you play a powerful card for its effect or combo of cards to complete one of the available criminal contracts they then are lost to you as the go through your HQ (the cool down).

This isn’t up to The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction level of card games. But it’s still pretty good.

It was a game I wasn’t sure how it’d work or play when reading the rules, but once you start playing it did click into place, and made sense.

And future history books will record that I beat Jonathan.

A great afternoon gaming. Thanks Jonathan for organising.

Rock Bottom

Yesterday saw my FLGS The Hobbit Hole hold their third game night kit for Android Netrunner event.

I’d spent the early morning putting my decks together and filing away the last three data packs. 

My first match up was against John the store owner which saw us both making mistakes in play/decisions and winning a game each. I don’t know about the poor play part but the other match ups also ended up in draws.

My next game was against Jo from the Critical Twits podcast. In our first game where I was playing NBN against Apex we were both pulling off our tricks. Jo took my tags early which meant I was able to play with him! Jo scored first and once I scored an agenda, which was a one pointer I was able to swap that over with him for his higher valued agenda. 

I repeated this later in the game also but with 15 minutes. But this was the fun but I force the swap of agendas giving Jo my scored 15 minutes (one I had been hoping he would score) and taking a three point agenda. I then spent the click to take 15 minutes back and shuffled it back into R&D. Loved that combo. 

I found Apex frustrating. Early on with the tags on Jo who had three cards in hand, I played scorched earth. But due to heartbeat I think it was, or whatever it’s called, he avoided the kill. Plus apocalypse was fired twice. That was annoying and the second time left me exposed and let Jo get the points he needed to win.

It’s fun thinking back on that game that I technically only scored two agenda points, but actually ended up with five due to the tags that landed.

Our next match saw Null getting killed, and giving Jo the clear two nil win.

My final match up was Kar-Fai winner of our first store competition.

Once again I started off as NBN. Kar-Fai did a great job avoiding my attempts to land tags on him. But he did fall for the traps! But eventually my weak ice could no longer delay the inevitable Kar-Fai victory.

Our second game saw me get reminded by Kar-Fai that fortune favours the brave, when I chickened out of a remote server that had been advanced once on his first turn, and then scored it on his next go. I suspected a trap, and instead hit R&D, and archives to pump up Datasucker. 

An early System Outage slowed Kar-Fai down a bit. But he had built a five deep protected scoring server. I just wasn’t finding my Faust or David to be able to start attacking it. I ended up having to do a same old thing to bring back a disguarded Levy AR Lab Access to force a reshuffle of my stack. Which worked I soon hit Faust but it was too late by that time. 

We did have our Doctor Who regeneration moment when I played rebirth. 

So a second loss that put me in last place. Jamie was the winner of today’s tournament, which he rightly deserved. 

My ccg/lcg play has been awful recently. Les hope this bad run ends soon. But despite hitting bottom, I had a blast playing.

FEG@TA 2Sep16

Last night saw the latest of the Friday night gatherings to play board games at The Angel. 

Our evening started off with a game of Thiefs Market. A game Jonathan had been wanting to try since getting his Kickstarter copy a couple weeks back.

I narrowly beat Debbie by two points to steal second place. The picture above tells you got to gloat on social media by winning.

Our next game before Debbie had to go was my game for the month of August The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. Once Debbie had got the hand of playing the game again, she was able to beat Jonathan into last place, whilst I took the honours and glory that comes with winning.

After Debbie left Jonathan and I talked games. But more importantly about a project Jonathan was thinking of working on. 

We followed that up by end the evening with the now traditional kebab.

A great shortish gaming session.

WS5Sep16

There is only one thing to buy next week, my game of the month for August, The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction. I don’t know what more I can say about this game. Just go buy the damn thing, it’ll be the best £14 you spend this month, or basically this side of Christmas.

Out of the other scraps thrown at us a new edition of the rather fun Catan based card game Struggle for Catan. 

Wow too cheap card games this week. But both pack a lot of game. 

 BTN August 2016

Yep it’s that time of month again where I bore you rigdged with how much gaming I’ve done the previous month.

For a month that sees people taking time off to have a holiday with family and loved ones, I’m quite happy with only having played 16 games 43 times in total.

As you can also see I’ve done a lot of two player gaming. Which is unusual for me. 

Half of the games played were new games. Of which two are no longer on my pile of shame. I think that’s pretty impressive really. 

So let’s look these numbers as a pretty pretty graph. 


So the pretty graph shows a dip but it was always going to be nigh on impossible to top July for number of plays, especially during a holiday month.

My Game of the Month

This is not going to be a surprise to anyone. My game of the month this month is…

Yep It’s the Kickstarter deluxe version of The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction with its better box and wooden components for yellow cake and uranium. This is such a great game, everyone whose tried it so far has enjoyed it, if not liked it as much as I do. I can’t wait for the regular edition to hit the stores so I can buy it for Nath. 

Worst game of the month

Another none surprise this month, the only real shocker would have been if this didn’t get the worst game award for the month. This was such a stinker that already I’ve spent too much time talking about it, and I haven’t even named it yet. This months game that wreaks is Nantucket.

My Top Five Card Games

After watching the latest Instagamers YouTube show, which was about card games, I decided I’d challenge myself to do my next click bait post.

This was a very very hard list to do. Card games is a large category covering LCG/CCG, set collection, drafting, deck building. Plus I do have rather a few card based games. Plus does Sun Tzu count as a card game? So while it was semi easy to name my top five. That just missed the cut list is massive and if they couldn’t be placed in that list why are they still in the collection?

So here we go my top five in no particular order card games…

  • Android Netrunner – I think we know how I feel about Netrunner. In fact I’m starting to get a warm fuzzy feeling now just thinking about it. I just love this cyberpunk themed game. 
  • The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction – this has in the short time I’ve owned it become a firm favourite. It’s quick to teach and quick to play, and captures the spirit of The Manhattan Project brilliantly.
  • Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn – new boy on the ccg block. Such a beautiful looking game. Plus it actually brings new things to the genre that make it stand out from the rest of the crowd.
  • Love Letter Batman – I had to pick one version of this game. I chose this not just because I’m a big fan of the Dark Knight, but because I like the tweaks to the rules best in this version.
  • Star Realms – my favourite deck builder, I just love this game. With the expansions things can get really insane. This game is just full of those moments you look back on and talk about with your friends.

Close but no cigar or if you like those that nearly made the cut…

  • Machi Koro
  • 51st State
  • Imperial Settlers
  • 7 Wonders
  • 7 Wonders Duel
  • Epic
  • Magic the Gathering
  • Tides of Time
  • Sushi Go
  • Marvel Legendary
  • Legendary Encounters
  • Munchkin
  • Fluxx
  • Valley of the Kings
  • Coup
  • Gloom
  • Bomb Squad Academy
  • Lost Legacy
  • Haggis
  • Council of Verona
  • Lost Cities
  • Brewcrafters card game
  • Eminent Domain
  • Struggle for Catan
  • Odins Ravens

Sitting on my pile of shame waiting to be played…

  • Artic Scavengers
  • District-Z
  • Boss Monster
  • Kodama
  • Coup Rebellion G54
  • Flip City
  • Dead Drop
  • a Chaotic Life
  • Best Treehouse Ever
  • The Grizzled
  • Grifters
  • Blood Bowl Team Manager

So that’s my top five, the ones that missed the cut and ones waiting for me to eventually get round to them. 

I hope you found this click bait interesting.

Bank Holiday Gaming At My FLGS

When I arrived at The Hobbit Hole my FLGS, a game of Spartacus was in progress. 

So I introduced Brian (a fellow gamer at Chatteris Warlords and here) to The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction. 

The first game Brian did well scoring a bomb worth five points. But the cards were being really kind to me. Extremely kind. I played sixteen cards in one of my early turns. I love turns like that. You are playing combos, drawing cards, and hopefully getting resources! With the card gods smiling on me I naturally went on to win the game with a personal best score of thirteen.

Our next game saw the card gods abandon me, and I fell behind in the race to get resources and build bombs. Brian just had that little edge over me. But I did have a massive turn that saw me catch up and get ahead on the uranium front. Plus I’d used up all my cards, and was drawing five new cards. A position I was happy with, because I was hoping it would give me the engineers and scientists I’d need for buying a game winning bomb.

Yep Brian didn’t know it he was on his last turn, a uranium short, and with everything to do if he was to win. And Brian played his hand perfectly. He got the one uranium he needed, and had the labour he needed to complete his bomb to grab the win. 

I really really love it when the game is that close. 

Brain and I followed up our couple of games of Chain Reaction with Star Realms. But it was Star Realms with the new United expansions.

Because of the share size of the trade deck with all the other expansions mixed in (just over three hundred cards I roughly calculated)  I took the top third and shuffled in the new cards. That would make sure we hit some of the new cards. 

Our first game was over pretty quickly, very few new cards were bought. No missions were completed. But I’d been scraping a lot, and getting some nice attacks in. It felt like if you blinked you’d missed the game. But what you wouldn’t have missed is my win.

Our second game was much more epic. We were trading blows. We bought, and used the new cards. The Faction Pairs – oh wow does that make comboing interesting. The maths working out attack, money, or even card discards etc is insane. 

The new Heroes are expensive but that balances out their power nicely. CEO Shaner won me the game. It triggered enough additional authority to keep me in the game, buying me enough time to complete my three missions and grab the win.

When I won, it was close. Brian was on less than ten points, and I was less than twenty. I think less than fifteen. It could have gone either way with the right card draw.

It was funny we didn’t see any old Heroes or any events in either game. We also didn’t play gambits either. But maybe that was for the best. You can get some insane starts and purchases if the stars align just right for you.

I loved playing the new cards. The missions were cool. They have added new life to a game that for me anyway having played so many games, wasn’t screaming for a fresh injection of life. But I’ll happily play with them. Although I’d probably just play core set to teach a new player before throwing them in the deep end with the works. But I’m still loving this game so much.

After our games Brian had to return back to family life and the real world. Which meant I could watch the game of Spartacus. I’d not played the game before, and found it was interesting. Although I’m not sure it’s a game I’d place high up on my “to play” list. 

After a brief chat with John, plans made, which will be revealed later in the week, it was time for me to head back to my Wolfpack and watching The Big Bang Theory for the umpteenth time. It’s one of those shows I can watch and watch.