FEG@TA 15Jul16

This week saw another game move off my pile of shame. Finally I got the game Biblios Dice to the table.

Debbie, myself and Debbie’s Nath learnt to play Biblios Dice whilst waiting for others to turn up.

While setting the game up, just like Dead of Winter I discovered that a dice was missing! This time a black dice, which I was able to use a regular white dice I had as a substitute. But regular readers of this very niche blog will know I’ll be testing the publishers support out when I get home. 

Talking of support Fun Forge still months after raising the issue with them of the broken figure, have not replaced it. They keep saying they will post a replacement but never do. It’s become a matter of principle now that they will replace the figure. But shockingly bad customer support from them.

Anyway once we had got what the game was about, and how to play. Which was pretty quick. We had a good time playing the game.

There are some nice touches to the game. Like being forced to move your counter up each of the tracks. Otherwise at the end there is a negative points penalty. 

I like the two end game trigger conditions. In ours it was reaching the top of the Bishop track. But we also had 50% of the other condition complete as well with a player at the top of two of the other tracks. 

The bonuses on the tracks at key points a nice touch. First player to reach one bonus spot gets the biggest bonus at that spot, next player gets a smaller bonus and so on. 

Plus player order on a track mattering at the end is nice when it comes to scoring a track. Tie that in with the manipulation of the points each track scores during the game, then things get very tactical. 

I love the dice selection, and the decisions you are forced to make, because there is usually at least two or more dice you’d love to be able to choose.

Auctions and bidding although not complicated is just right for this game. And I love what may seem like harsh reprocussions for over bidding. Loosing all your money, having to reveal victory points collected and being excluded from next auction. Tough but fair.

Overall a fun game.

While we were playing Biblios Dice, Jonathan and his daughter arrived. So while waiting for me to win Biblios Dice (spoiler I did), they tried to escape the Forbidden Island with their artefacts. But being a Matt Leacock game naturally they failed big time, with the game winning.

With us all now able to play a game together we played Qwixx. Jonathan had been wanting to play this game for a while. After being destroyed by his daughter at the game (I got my lowest score so far in this game), what did Jonathan think of the game? He went straight online to add it to his Amazon basket (assuming they would have it). So that’s a big he liked it I think.

What would turn out to be our final game of the evening due to The Angel getting rather busier than normal for the time we are there, and the loud “dance” music, one of my recent favourites Bohemian Villages hit the table.

As per usual for this game a player (Debbie) forgot to collect money before rolling the dice, so lost that money. Luckily it was early on, so just one coin. But a loud cheer from Jonathan and myself burst out when it happened.

Jonathan and myself were up to our usual self offering advice to the others on their turn to try and manipulate things to teduce the scoring opportunities of each other. Trying to get Jonathan’s daughter to choose Debbie’s meeple to kick off a building I said “remember all those cheap tacky birthday presents you didn’t like she bought you” only to be corrected by Debbie and Jonathan with “what presents?” Which helped my lame attempts at manipulation. 

Gaming etiquette was ignored this evening by Debbie’s Nath when he refused to reroll a cocked dice! Blasphemy! Not sporting and soooo wrong. So although he ended up just above (spoiler) last place Debbie or fourth. It was a tainted fourth because of this. 

Jonathan’s daughter and I destroyed the others in final scoring. And I narrowly beat her by three points. Our scores were my 66 points to her 63 points. The others were in the 40’s, not even close. What was nice was when Jonathan’s daughter having been possibly coached/egged on by certain irresponsible individuals (me) at the table returned the “in your face” to her dad. Family feud gold ^__^

But Jonathan’s daughter didn’t take defeat easily and threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to another game soon, promising to crush me.

A great shorter than usual evening of gaming, followed up with the now regular large lamb donar kebab. Which is a great way to finish off any gaming evening.

Fenland Gamers First Birthday

Wednesday saw the nearest monthly meet up of The Fenland Gamers to its first birthday (which was a couple of weeks approximately earlier I believe). So this had to be celebrated in some way. 

We had already provided cake to our hosts to thank them for letting us use their building for our meet ups.

So we also had cake to celebrate the clubs first birthday. Awesome cake by master cake maker Doreen. Who also came along to this meet up.

For the record this was our best attended record of all time so far.

Once again to cater for our newer members we played gateway games, such as King of Tokyo, Camel Up, Fluxx, Qwixx and Forbidden Island.

Although to see people form alliances to deny me a victory in King of Tokyo was a bit… words can’t describe the hurt I’m going through! Robbed! 

Everyone had a good time. It was a great way to celebrate the clubs first birthday.

I’m really glad Jonathan and Matt started the club up and somehow stumbled across me online and invited me along.

In the time I’ve been a member I’ve had a great time, made some great friendships, and really enjoy the “friendly” rivalry that Jonathan and I have at the table.

Here’s to the next year of the club.

Worlds second greatest detective

Monday saw Jonathan, Debbie, Jo and myself take on the roles of Baker Street Irregulars. Whose soul aim is to win approval from “Sheer-Luck” Holmes by solving crimes/mysteries in the game Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective.

The owner of a weapons manufacturing company is found shot dead in the alley behind his company. It’s the duty of our brain trust to follow the clues and solve this case of mystery and intrigue.

To aid us in this endeavour we have a “newspaper”, a map of London, a directory and a clue book.

Based on clues you find at locations around the map, you visit new locations, gather more clues, until you think you have solved the case.

In our case we thought we had it all worked out, we had our suspects and we’re just about to drop the hammer on them. But first we wanted to confirm our findings by visiting one more place and witness.

However instead of the confirmation we were seeking, we ended up with a new suspect. And it was all down to a brilliant moment from Debbie, who had somehow picked up on a clue from the original that the rest of us had ignored/ruled out/not picked up on. But it was to take our original suspects out of the picture and put a new one front and centre.

At the end of the game, when you think you know the solution to the case, you have to answer a series of questions about the case. You then score points for the correct answers given, then you take off points for the number of extra locations (not including any free ones) you needed to visit over and above the target set by Sherlock. You then compare your score against Sherlocks 100 percent to see how you did.

I thought this sandbox deduction game was ok. Jo and Jonathan found the script font in the clue book hard to read. Which wasn’t a problem for me. 

We didn’t record all the locations we visited because we didn’t know we had to. So our final score wasn’t entirely accurate. But we know better next time.

I think this game is really dependent on who you are playing with. You definitely are going to need pen and paper while playing to make notes.

Finally here’s a picture Jonathan took of me looking bored! But I was not I was reviewing my notes and listening intently!

Dice and Cards at Costa

Sunday was time for a hot beverage and some games with friends.

Debbie and her bo Nath joined me at Costa to game the afternoon away.

We started off with a couple of games of Qwixx. This is fastly becoming a fav little filler game.

I’d just packed Qwixx away when Jamie and Lucas turned up.

Our next game was Rolling America. This was our first time playing the game. So our first play was going to contain the odd mistake for sure.

I like this too. It’s nice that it is limited to eight rounds. It’s surprising how quick this plays out.

Because of the placement rules for putting a number on the map, along with a limited supply of being able to guard numbers, copying them, and a third thing I can’t remember you soon get some interesting, even challenging decisions to make.

This is another “filler” game with surprising depth that doesn’t take ages to play.

After our second game of Rolling America Jamie and son had to leave in search of strawberries.

Our final game was another game we hadn’t played before, but had been sitting in my pile of shame for a while, Valley of the Kings.

This is a nice little deck builder, which has some nice little decisions that players have to make. There is the ability for a little “take that” against other players by forcing them to discard cards or put them into the boneyard. 

The Egyption theme is cool, and educational! The collapsing pyramid trade row is a nice touch that stands it out from other deck builders.

Debbie and Nath hadn’t played a deck builder before, and they enjoyed this one.

I’d say a nice deck builder for fans of the mechanic and new players.

A relaxing, enjoyable afternoon of coffee and gaming with great people.

To the face

Having finally managed to get Esdevium to let them have an OP kit for Star Realms. My FLGS hastily arranged a competition for Saturday to win its contents after another planned event had to be cancelled.

So six of us with no lives and lots of free time at weekends sat indoors at our FLGS playing Star Realms, instead of being out in the world experiencing life.

My first game was against our youngest competitor. Two quick games and two quick wins for me. I almost had a twinge of guilt, but I managed to force those feelings back. And I feel proud of this next bit, I resisted screaming in the little girls face “in your face!”

My second match up was against Ben. This was basically us playing our games from the app in real life. I think I have the slight edge in wins in the app.

Through out our games when ever we dealt damage to the other player something like the following would be said “that’s four to your outpost and ten to the face.”

After two games we were one a piece. So a decider was needed, which Ben won. All three games were very close. 

The final match up for me was against the father of our youngest entrant. Who as you will remember I had destroyed. Sadly for me, this was the time daddy avenged his daughters loss and wiped the floor with me. 

So with the event over, I ended up fourth with a 3-4 game record. So outside of the main prize support. But I had the play mat already and yes the box would have been nice but I have a box also. But I did need the promos I got for Nath. Which means I was more than happy with that.

Oh Ben ended up in first place and proud owner of the play mat. With Bob taking second and the storage box.

So a great day playing Star Realms. Everyone enjoyed themselves, lots of banter, lots of fun. Now the “discussion” over the format of the Epic OP event. There are some conflicting views on this. One camp wants draft, while I’m on the righteous constructed side. But my full thoughts on this are best in another post.

Crazy Deputy

Friday evenings are still early days for trying to establish a weekly gaming meet up for Fenland Gamers. 

Our gaming started off with myself, Debbie, Jamie and his son Lucas playing Qwixx.

Qwixx is a new addition to my collection, and this was a first play for all of us.

This is a “light” game, it might even be described as a filler game.

Basically you are rolling dice, and crossing off numbers. But there is a little bit more to it than that.

There are six dice that you roll, two white, a blue, red, yellow and green die. The none white dice match the colour of four lines of numbers on a sheet that each player has. The numbers on the sheet are between 2 and 12, with two of the lines in ascending order and the other two are in descending order. 

On your turn you roll all six dice. You then add the two white dice together and announce that value to all the players. Everyone may then mark that number off one of their lines. Next you are then able to add the value of one of the white dice to the value of one of the coloured dice. You and only you may then Mark off that number from the matching coloured line of the coloured dice. If you do not mark a number off on your turn, you have to place a mark on your sheet in one of the penalty boxes. These are worth negative points at the end.

There is a complication when it comes to marking off the numbers. If there wasn’t life would be super easy. You can only mark a number off to the right of all the marked off numbers in the row.

If you have marked off at least five numbers in a row, you are able to lock the row off if you roll the right most number. When a row is locked the corresponding coloured dice is removed from the game. And you stop other players scoring more points with that line.

Two locked lines or a player marking their fourth penalty points ends the game. Then scoring commences. The more checked off numbers on a row the more points you get. Highest score wins.

This is a nice little game, with some nice little decisions to make. I like the white dice for all, and then having an exclusive number to use. 

The penalty for not using the dice being used for negative points and as lives is a nice touch.

Deciding on whether you can use a number is sometimes a hard decision because it may block off too many numbers too early in the game.

Yeah I like Qwixx. It’s a nice addition the the library of filler games, and ideal for our Costa gaming sessions.

We had just finished playing Qwixx when Jeff arrived.

With Jeff now with us we played Bang the dice game. Our first play through saw the outlaws win when the sheriff died. In our second game Lucas was the deputy and shot the sheriff! In fact it was Lucas who killed the sheriff!!! Which he found funny. Our third and final play of the game also saw Jonathan join in. Which once again saw our crazy deputy once again shooting the sheriff (this time Jonathan) to give the outlaws the win.

Six players, split into two teams of three. Sounds like Codenames to me.  With Jamie, Debbie and Lucas on one team, and Jonathan, Jeff and myself on the other. Jamie was thinking the odds had been stacked against him. 

Jonathan was our first clue giver, while that duty fell to Debbie. But Debbie gave better clues, while Jonathan struggled. So that should tell you our team lost. 

We swapped clue givers over. Jeff stepped up for us, while Jamie did the honours for his team. I think it was turn two for us when we nerfed ourselves and hit the assassin to steal the loss. Staying with the same clue givers we reset the board with new words. Guess what we did in the new game? Yep nerfed it again hitting the assassin again.

Our final game was a game of Coup. Which I mixed up by using the Jester and Bureaucrat, instead of the Ambassador and the Duke. Which it did a little, and added a little bit of confusion while people got used to the new roles.

I had to leave then because my aunt had been trying to call. I really wanted to speak to her because she’d had a big op earlier in the week. So on the way back I somehow picked up a kebab on the way home.

But a great evening of gaming.

Formula D League Finale

Wednesday saw the final race of our mini Formula D league on the base games track.

Once more our starting positions were decided using the handicapped system previously suggested by Jonsthan. Which is basically reverse finishing order of the previous race. So the winner is at the back, while the loser is in pole position. 

So with Jo a no show for this final race, and dropping valuable points, she had consolidated her place as last overall.

Having two comprehensive wins previously Katie was the clear overall leader. The best I could hope for was to win and for Katie to not finish, and then I could draw with her. All Katie needed to do was cross the finish line and score to cement her victory.

In reality this race would be all about Jonathan and myself fighting it out for the scraps or more accurately second place.

Jonathan stalled at the start once more! Going into the the first three stop corner I was still in the lead. Coming out of it somehow Katie was in front, and I was last!

How does she do this? There is some trickery going on here.

For the rest of the race Katie held onto her lead pretty convincingly. Whilst Jonathan and I battled it out for second place. Which for a lot of the race looked like a battle Jonathan was winning.

Everything came down to the final four corners. As we negotiated them it looked like we might even steal first place from Katie at one point. But that was false hope. 

With some “brave” (read over shooting and taking wear points) driving, I took second away from Jonathan, as Katie pulled away. 

Katie easily scored her third win, making that a clean sweep of victories.

I came in second, while Jonathan limped in third. Jonathan and I had both been driving on the edge and had finished with barely any wear points left.

So the final standings were:

  1. Katie (9 points – 1/1/1)
  2. Me (5 points – 2/3/2)
  3. Jonathan (4 points DNF/2/3)
  4. Jo (1 point 3/4/DNS)

DNF – Did not finish

DNS – Did not start

A great three race season, using the beginner rules. There will be another second season starting in the Autumn using the Advanced rules, and possibly an extra track (finances permitting). 

Our hope is the advance rules will slow down the winning machine that is Katie!

New Toys for WS11Jul16

So despite deciding to make our pockets a little bit lighter by raising prices, Esdevium has actually decided to share with the U.K. a couple of interesting things next week.

First up, and I’m excited about this, is the first data pack in the next cycle Flashpoint for Netrunner, 23 Seconds.

Very quickly out I think considering that the “core” game came out last month, are these additions to the Tanks skirmish game.

So after a few weeks of dumping stuff on the market I have no interest in, we have the above expansions. 

Consider this the quiet before the storm. Origins has just finished, with some releases happening there. But the big flood is still to happen. A lot of publishers have been holding off for GenCon. 

GenCon hits at the start of August, with all the stuff released there hitting your wallets soon after!

Time to start saving!

New Star Realms App Expansion Crisis Heroes Now Available

You may notice something different about which expansions to play with when challenging other players now.

It is now possible to buy the latest in app expansion based on an already available physical expansion, which is Crisis Heroes.

I’ve not played Star Realms with the Hero cards, so it will be interesting to see how these play. Will they give incredible insane starts like the Gambits/Events can give?

Continuing with the “pay once play anywhere” approach this is a snip at £1.49.

Esdevium hiking prices due to Brexit

So what effect has Brexit had on us gamers in the UK?

Well as this Yahoo Finance chart of the pound against the dollar shows the pound took what at best could be described as a dive.

So stuff being bought from the US via the likes of Kickstarter is going to cost more. Which for me means that the Hero Realms Kickstarter is costing me more than it was just over a week ago when it finishes later in the month.

Now you thought the oil companies were quick to put prices up when the cost of a barrel changed. They could learn a thing or two from Esdevium.


Who very quickly seeing the impact Brexit had on the pound decided that they would need to increase the the price of the games they distribute to compensate. This will be the second price hike we have seen this year from Esdevium I believe.

Now my question is will Esdevium reduce the prices by the same amount if the pound recovers to pre-Brexit prices, just as quickly? Or even by more if it some how becomes even stronger?

Have they jumped the gun, and re-acted too early?

Would we be seeing these price rises if we actually had competition on the distribution of games in the UK?

We already feel that in the UK companies price gouge us on goods. Whether the evidence, economic argument supports this is another question. But when we see games costing a lot less in the US, it’s hard not to think we are subsidising that market with our higher prices.

So this new price hike does seem to be like rubbing salt into an already open wound, despite there being a legitimate financial argument for it to happen. As I have already asked, the only way for this not to be perceived as taking advantage of a situation to increase prices is that when the point recovers we see an similar drop in the price of games too.