End of Jan 2016 arrivals

So we start off this posts look at what’s arrived looking at Lego!

  
A trip to the local Tesco found a couple of packets of the latest minifig collection falling into my shopping basket, along with a Battle on Takodana set. 

My weekend reading material was also in the basket at the time.

  
Which included the first issue of a new collect the parts series about drawing the Marvel way. I got it out of curiosity to see how much it differs from the book. Is the style different, more modern? 

   
Some custom minifig bits arrived. Allowing me to create a munchkin inspired minifig and the astronaut from the latest minifig set. There were also a couple of props, a selfie stick and parcel.

The wrestler minifig with its mullet instantly had me thinking of a friend who will soon be immortalised as a minifig.

 
Next up my journey further down the rabbit hole known as Magic the Gathering continues with a cool playmat, a Fatpack for Oath of the Gatekeeper and a booster box.

   
 
  
The game Seasons arrived. 

   
My new qwertee tee arrived based. Plus two games bought second hand off the Facebook group.

 
So that’s it for the new stuff this week.

Hitting the shelves the start of Feb 2016

First up the first data pack of the Mumbad Cycle for Netrunner comes out. I'm super happy with this, and will be parting with credits for it.

Trickerion is out next week, plus an expansion for it. I wonder if Mat has this expansion? Plus a game I like the look of, and if it's not on my wish list, it should be.

And if you are a Heroes of Normandy fan there are some expansions out that might interest you.

 

You got to fight for your right to PARTY!

So I'm wondering just how I missed the following news, and has to stumble upon an entry on bgg for the game whilst looking for something else!

At my first UK Games Expo last year I think my find of the show was the card drafting, set collecting game Sushi Go!

It's a delightful, very thematic, little game. The card drafting captures the experience of a sushi bar so well. Select your dish (card) and pass the rest of the cards in your hand to the next person, and repeat. It simulates the conveyor belt plates of food in these sushi bars so well.

So when I saw the name Sushi Go Party! on bgg I had to investigate this further. Here is the publishers description of the new game taken from the bgg page.

Description from the publisher:

Sushi Go Party!, an expanded version of the best-selling card game Sushi Go!, is a party platter of mega maki, super sashimi, and endless edamame. You still earn points by picking winning sushi combos, but now you can customize each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of more than twenty delectable dishes. What's more, up to eight players can join in on the sushi-feast. Let the good times roll!

Sushi Go Party! Is coming out later in the year. But wow, more players, and the customising of the cards you use! I'm totally in on this one. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

 

Brains! Bang! Bang!

Yesterday I got a chance to play Bang the Dice Game The Walking Dead edition with some of my students.

I've talked about Bang the Dice Game before on this blog. It's a great game especially if you have a largish gaming group (5-8) players and want a game that everyone can play. There are very few that handle that large a group. It's what makes this game also great to use with students, three copies will easily handle a class of twenty four students, and it's not mega expensive to buy.

So what are the differences between Bang the Dice Game and Bang the Dice Game The Walking Dead edition?

Firstly theme. The original Bang the Dice Game (and I am going to get so bored typing that each time, probably as bored as you will be reading it) has a western theme. While The Walking Dead edition is as its name suggests based on the comic/graphic novel of the same name, and not the the tv series. That's important because the art work used for the game is from or similar to the comic and not from the tv series. And for those that are not familiar with The Walking Dead, the theme is zombies, and survival against the odds.

Secondly, and for me this is a massive difference, the quality of the components used. For me The Walking Dead components, dice and counters are a lesser quality than the same components in Bang the Dice Game. The cardboard used for the wound splatters (life counters) is thinner and glossier and not that nice in the hand. While the dice are not as high quality. The images on the dice will I'm sure start to rub off with a lot of use.

My first game with these students there was just three of us playing the game. I hadn't played the game before with three players, and it had been a thing I'd wanted to do. Just to experience it, and see how it felt.

Playing with three players the rules are slightly different. You have one survivor, one saviour and a hilltop survivor. And these are face up so everyone knows who has which role. Off the top of my head I can't remember who has to shot who. But for example and this is most likely wrong, the survivor has to kill the saviour player, the hilltop survivor has to kill the survivor, you get the picture. After that the game plays as normal until a winner emerges.

It was interesting playing like this, is it as much fun as the hidden role mode of the regular game? Not really, but it is still a fun experience.

While we were playing this three player game, another student got curious about the game and wanted to join in. So our second play was the regular rules with four players.

The students did enjoy playing, because after the game we played another two games at their request before time ran out. They loved the interaction, and sometimes forgot who they were meant to be going after based on their faction, and repaid wounds inflicted on them by one of their classmates irrelivant of the other players likely faction.

At one point, one student managed to kill himself with a self inflicted zombie horde! Which was a source of banter after we finished playing.

I think the requests to play again show the strength of the under lying game. The students didn't comment on the component quality, however this group hadn't played the original version so had nothing to compare with.

A fun version of the game, just a shame about the quality. Have I made that clear enough in this post that I don't like the quality of the components?

Anyway choose the theme you like, buy, and have fun!!!

 

Running with the Chatteris Warlords

Firstly a big welcome back to anyone who skipped the last post on Pandemic Legacy. Here's what you missed… Lol had ya. But seriously here is today's post…

Last night I went along to the Chatteris Warlords Gaming Group on the promise of being able to do some running against the corporations.

Chatteris Warlords is as the name suggests a board gaming group based in the Fenland town of Chatteris. It meets up on a Tuesday night at a working man's club in the town. This means you need to join the working man's club (an annual payment of ten gold coins of the realm, unless I could pass for my nan and get the over eighties price of three and a half gold coins), which entitles you to purchase beverages from the barkeeps, plus a yearly membership fee of one gold coin to join the gaming group it self, followed paying another gold coin on the nights you attend.

Luckily for this one time I was able to “try before I bought” and go along as a guest.

When I got there I knew to speak to a couple of people (from my visits to The Hobbit Hole my FLGS) so I wasn't going in cold, not knowing anyone. A game of 7 Wonders was in progress, while the war gamers of the group were busy setting up their terrain ready to do battle in whatever historical context they had chosen.

Another guest arrived from March also there to play some Netrunner. They had played before but mainly online.

We both knew that the other players hoping to play Netrunner were noobs (mind you I'm not much better) and only had core sets. With that information in mind, that is how I built my two decks for the evening, using just what was available in the core set.

So here is “Core Noise” the Noise deck I built for playing with last night.

Noise (Core Set)

Event (17)

3x Demolition Run (Core Set)

2x Déjà Vu (Core Set)

3x Diesel (Core Set) ····· ·

3x Infiltration (Core Set)

1x Stimhack (Core Set)

3x Sure Gamble (Core Set)

2x The Maker's Eye (Core Set) ····

Hardware (4)

3x Cyberfeeder (Core Set)

1x Grimoire (Core Set)

Resource (7)

1x Aesop's Pawnshop (Core Set) ··

3x Armitage Codebusting (Core Set)

1x Ice Carver (Core Set)

2x Wyldside (Core Set)

Icebreaker (8)

3x Crypsis (Core Set)

2x Wyrm (Core Set)

1x Corroder (Core Set)

1x Mimic (Core Set)

1x Yog.0 (Core Set) (MWL)

Program (9)

2x Datasucker (Core Set)

2x Djinn (Core Set)

2x Medium (Core Set)

3x Parasite (Core Set) (MWL)

Cards in deck: 45 (min 45)

12/11 influence used

4 cards from MWL

Cards up to Core Set

I had also built a NBN Making News deck that I had with me.

We sat down to play a game, I was given the choice of which side I preferred to play Runner or Corp. I naturally went Runner.

Cards shuffled, starting hands drawn, starting credits taken, the battle lines were drawn, it was Haas-Bioroid (Engineering the Future) v Noise.

First blood went to HB, I ran archives, stole an agenda. HB scored again, I stole a second agenda from archives.

The game came down to an agenda sitting behind a remote server. It had been advanced twice. The corp scores it they win, I steal it I win.

I used infiltration to confirm it was an agenda. Then I ran that remote server. I broke through the two ice defending the remote server using my Crypsis, I had three credits left. The dirty Corp player rezed a Red Herrings, I needed five credits to steal the agenda. Bugger I only had three! I was two lousy credits short. Two lousy credits cost me the win.

Well you know how the story ends, on their turn the Corp advances the agenda and scores it for the win!

Next time we meet we will have our “normal” decks with us. So we will be able to utilise all the nice card abilities that we are used to.

It was fun playing core set cards only. You forget when building a deck how limited your choices are, and how much you rely on certain cards.

In another part of the room a new game of Netrunner was about to start. This was going to be a match up between Noise as the runner and Jinteki (Personal Evolution). The decks used were the preconstructed ones in the core set.

I watched the game, and offered help and guidance where I could. Or was that hinderance? The game ended in a win for Jinteki via meat damage. The runner had self inflicted two brain damage after playing two Stimhacks. The corp had landed a tag on the runner, and after scoring Private Security Force, that gained “spend a click: Do 1 meat damage”. It had been a waiting game on the corp side. As soon as the runner dropped to two cards in his grip, click, click, click, you are dead.

While this game was being played we discussed how much the theme of Netrunner is so awesome, and just how thematic the game is. I just love the whole Android universe.

It was time for me to head on back home. I will definitely be back and joining the group. Playing with this group will give me my miniature gaming fix (Imperial Assault/X-Wing etc), and my CCG/LCG fix.

After doing a quick head count, including myself there should be six Netrunner players. The start of a local meta? Regular Netrunner who would have thought it possible?

 

 

Pandemic Legacy January

So if that image above isn't enough of a warning. SPOILER ALERT!! In my write up of last nights play through of Pandemic Legacy I may accidently disclose spoilers from the game. So please if spoilers deliberately given or not will ruin the game for you, please stop reading now, and I'll see you in my next post.

 

 

Right lets get on with the post…

Last night Mat, Debbie, Jonathan and myself met up to start our play through of the number one game on BGG, and many gamers game of the year for 2015 (no pressure on this game to live up to then) Pandemic Legacy Season 1.

Even before you start playing you are peeling off a sticker and putting it on a box! During setup we chose our characters from the five starting ones available. Debbie went with the researcher, Mat went with the dispatcher, I chose to be the sexy scientist, while Jonathan was left with choosing between the medic and generalist. With that wide selection to go with Jonathan chose the medic.

Characters chosen, time to choose our starting four funded event cards.

We got our mission brief and objective for the month of January from the legacy deck (above). The brief and objectives were on familiar ground. Cure the four diseases to win.
Sounds easy doesn't it? Regular Pandemic players know this is not the case though.
I shot across to Asia and Seoul (iirc) to avert a potential outbreak by removing a disease cube. Cool that bit went to plan.
Then Jonathan takes his go. For his two cards from the players deck he draws two epidemic cards! Bugger I'm in a city when an outbreak happens. Which means I'm taking a scar. Looking at the scar stickers is very demoralising, and basically like trying to decide which is the lesser of two evils. Do you want to lose a leg or an arm? From the selection of negative effects to chose from I went with Regretful. Which meant every time I wanted to leave a city that had three cubes of the same colour on it, I had to discard a card.
We did manage to cure one disease, yellow, before outbreaks and chaining outbreaks finished us off. Our chances of success were not helped by hitting two infection cards early on in the game.
Whether you win or lose the month you get to chose two upgrades. We all agreed to add two unfounded events.
Naturally because we got beaten silly by the diseases, we got extra funding! Which meant we could have two more funded events added to the player deck. Surely with six funded events, and two unfunded in our player deck our second attempt at the month of January would be successful?
But before we started the month of January again, we had to go back to the legacy deck. The disease with the most cubes on the board was just about to become incurable! And I got to destroy our first card of the game, our initial objective of the first game. The legacy card politely told us that another objective would be along shortly. Which it was. We now had to cure the three remaining diseases to win the month. Plus I got to put a sticker on the red disease naming it and telling us and the world this disease wasn't going anywhere. This would be a constant reminder from now on that we had failed.

This replay of January was going much much better. We cured the blue disease, not only that we eradicated it. The eradicated disease ended up being names C-ThachCam Major. Using one of the events at our disposal a second research centre was built in Lagos.

Our use of the event cards we had in hand was working, and having a positive affected.

Africa was getting loaded up with the yellow disease. We were starting to converge on the area to handle it. There was already the research station there.

But like the first game, outbreaks and chaining outbreaks but this time in Africa were our downfall.

With January played out, we have a few cities that are unstable, a handful that are rioting, and Johannesburg collapsing.

One of our upgrades this time was to turn the Lagos research centre into a starting research centre, and to take the last unfunded event.

Because we failed to win in January there is a legacy card that you reveal the panel of only if you win in January. However if you didn't win, it gets destroyed at the end of February!

Will we ever know the contents of this card? Why the delay in destroying it? Oh the mystery of not knowing, is just so annoying.

Wow! Despite losing both attempts at January, I had a blast. The game board is changing. The legacy deck is amazing. The tension when you are drawing cards is incredible. There are some nice touches in the way it works and the wording. Like saying a new objective will be along soon.

It's obvious from the legacy deck, without looking through it, that at some point we may possibly get new members to the team to choose from. Also I do believe that we are 50% of the way to opening the mysterious box eight. We don't want to open box eight.

So sorry world we didn't save you in January, we will do better in February.

 

Excited about tomorrow

Tomorrow four members of the Fenland Gamers group are thrust into the thick of it to avert the outbreaks of four viruses world wide, before they spread and turn into pandemics bringing about the downfall of mankind.

Really excited about getting Pandemic Legacy to the table tomorrow. Four of us have made the commitment needed to play Pandemic Legacy. Who knows where our adventures on the table will take us? All we know is that we will have between twelve and twenty four plays depending on how well we do.

We have managed to avoid any spoilers for the game, so each twist and turn of the game will be a surprise.

This will be my first legacy game. All I know is that the game changes while we play based on our decisions. We will be altering the board! Tearing up cards! Adding new rules! It's all very exciting.

Pandemic Legacy starts off just like any other game of Pandemic, familiar ground for our team. Then at some point during that first game, things start to change.

Oh I'm so looking forward to this.

So how will I handle my write ups on this blog? I don't know. I'll try and avoid spoilers. But I want to try and capture the excitement of playing the game also. I may find that I use the following “SPOILER ALERT” a lot in the posts.

So one more sleep before the adventure begins…

 

Portalcon 2016

Portal Games held what I believe is their sixth Portalcon in Poland this weekend. Using periscope Ignacy Trzewiczek gave his keynote twice once in Polish for his homegrown market, and the other in English for the rest of us.

With the Polish publishing side of things like some of the Cool Mini Or Not games Blood Rage, Zombicide: Black Plague and The Others in Polish, Portal Games with their own new releases have a very busy year ahead of them.

below: screen grabs from the periscope keynote

In the keynote Ignacy announced three of their four big releases of the year.

First up was the reprint/update of 51st State. A game that influenced Ignacy's hit game Imperial Settlers. So with lessons learnt, 51st State has been up spruced up. The game is due to hit stores in the spring, with pre-orders being taken on the Portal website from Monday. Apparently there are even stretch goals with this pre-order system. Kickstarter without the Kickstarter!

Next up is a miniatures game Cry Havoc that will see light of day around Gencon time this year. Ignacy said that Cry Havoc will be mentioned in the same sentence as Kemet, and Blood Rage. I know games need to be hyped to help raise their profile, build up steam that will lead to a big demand and sales at time of release. But this is a BIG claim. I hope it's true, and that it's a positive mention and not a negative.

The last of the three announced was First Martians. Described by Ignacy as the space version of his game Robinson Crusoe that fans had been nagging him for.

This game worries me. I admit this is based on the limited information from the teaser trailer and from the keynote.

The part that worries me and is putting me off is the app side of things. If the app is an intrigal part of the game and can't be played without it, I'm out. If it's a companion app that replaces some part of the game like having to read the manual for the scenarios, But the game can still be played without the app, then I'm in.

Companion apps are great, I don't need the app to play the game, I'm not reliant on the publisher keeping the app upto date for new releases of an os, or new platforms.

Games that can't be played without the app, I won't touch. It's why even being an X-Com fan on the consoles/PC I won't touch with a barge pole as a boardgame. You can't rely on a publisher to keep the app going. They don't always keep games in print, so why would they keep an app going for a game they aren't selling? It's an expensive business app development, and keeping them updated. I can't see a boardgame publisher spending the cash to keep an app going for a game that's out of print.

Look at the likes of Nintendo bigger than anything in the boardgames industry, sold millions and millions of copies of Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS, and they switched off the servers that allow multi player games. If these guys can switch off a service for a game, with their much larger resources in the bank, what hope does a smaller boardgame company have?

But I've discussed this previously, my views are well known. I so hope Ignacy has not gone this later route. If they have despite desperately wanting to play the game, I won't touch it.

If it's the former then I'm all in. Companion apps enhance the game, but aren't necessary to play it. If the app stops working I can still play the game. Plaid Hat did this the right way with Dead of Winter and have the companion app replace the Crossroads cards.

But as I pointed out there is limited information at the moment. I'm sure there will be more on this for me to write as more is revealed over the coming months before the game hits the stores.

There is a mysterious fourth big announcement to come, but that will be at an upcoming games con in March (iirc).

One thing of note from this keynote was the absence of any mention of planned expansions coming from Portal Games. But going by the busy schedule that Portal Games has there have to be expansions coming out for the existing stable of games.

Finally it looks like Portal Games have updated their logo. The old one can be seen at the top of this post, while the new one which was on the keynote slides and the Twitter account is below. I think I prefer the old one, but when it reminds you of the companion cube from Portal. I can see why the logo had to be updated. Had the lawyers from Valve finally applied enough pressure to Portal Games?

So there we have a round up from the Portal Games keynote with my two pennies worth thrown in.

Portal Games has a very strong line up of games, I love the company, Ignacy is not just a great game designer, but the face of Portal Games and brand ambassador for the company, which he does an amazing job of. I think the 2016 line up looks exciting, and I can't wait to see it hit the table.

UPDATE 11:29 24/1/2016:

So I tweeted this post to Ignacy, and we had a little exchange of tweets. Some bad news for me on First Martian. We don't see eye to eye on integrated apps. But hey folks are allowed differing opinions and discuss them sensibly! Oh wow have I just broke the Internet by saying that?

Anyway here is our tweet exchange. I'd love to discuss this more with Ignacy at the UK Games Expo later in the year over a beverage of some kind. Maybe Ignacy would be my first interview for this little blog. Now that would be cool.

 

 

My First FNM

For many stores Friday Night Magic (FNM) is their life blood, their bread and butter. If it wasn't so popular our FLGS would most likely not be able to stay open, our hobby would be poorer, and most likely not as popular.
Previously I've written words confessing that I had dipped my toes into the darkside. Nath and I played our first game of Magic over Christmas using the two taster decks we had been given. And I wrote words about that experience briefly at the time also.
So it was only a matter of time really before my experimenting with the darkness saw me making an appearance at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole in Chatteris at one of their FNM events.
I'd avoided going to last weeks pre-release events for Oath of the Gatewatch, the current set of Magic cards that continue the story of events started in the previous release Battle for Zendikar. I didn't have the resources available. Which sadly meant I missed any promos available. But hey thems the breaks.

Earlier on Facebook I checked with the FLGS if noobs were welcome and there would be folks around ok with playing against a noob. I also reserved a Fat Pack and box of boosters for the end of the month.

At last nights FNM the main event for the veteran players was a draft using booster packs from Oath of the Gatewatch.

I had with me the intro deck I bought when the previous release came out. But temptation got the better of me, and somehow an exchange between me and the FLGS resulting in a green/black intro deck for this new release in my possession.

I observed the draft with interest for future reference. There was some banter particularly aimed at a player taking a tad too long deciding which cards to draft, causing a backlog. During this banter it emerged that another player was from March. Well it was only natural and just that even though I was not part of the draft, that some banter was directed at the March lad.

After the drafting had finished it was time for the tournament to begin. They had an odd number of players. Which meant one player would have a buy. It was this player that would be able to test their newly drafted deck against this noob and his just purchased green/black intro deck.

For a noob the intro decks are great because they allow a noob to try out different coloured decks to find one they like playing. From there they can start constructing a deck based on those colour(s), even basing the initial decks on the intro deck they had been playing, swapping out cards etc.

As luck would have it the veteran with the buy, and testing their draft deck was the March lad.

For a person from March he was quite likable and swapped banter while also guiding this noob through the game of Magic. I got my butt kicked royally in our first game. The March lad was drawing white creatures. I hate being on the receiving end of a deck with white in it. Nath had a white deck at Christmas. I had the land but not enough to get the creatures out in my hand.

Our second game I did much much better, I was not land rich, but I was getting creatures out, blocking attacks even did a couple of points of damage. But in the end the inevitable result happened and I lost.

So I've played Magic three times, and lost three times. However I've had blast each time.

I've enjoyed my first time at FNM and will definitely be back again. Maybe with my own constructed deck.

Late Mid Jan Arrivals 2016

Going to start this post about new arrivals with two new minifig arrivals. These two purchases were inspired by playing a recent acquisition funny enough about baseball. I thought these would be cool reminders to players about which side they are playing.

Ok the dice aren't as big as I was expecting, but still they will do as counters for Ashes to keep track of the various states that it has tokens for.
You really think that this second T.I.M.E. Stories expansion wasn't going to be on its way to me? Wow I thought you would know me better by now.
These following arrivals are pimping out my copy of 7 Wonders. The pimping starts off with the playmat, which I would argue should be in the base game as standard and not an optional extra to track down. Ok the Wonders Pack just adds a bit more variety to the base game. But I have two packs of the Viticulture metal coins, which will be split between 7 Wonders and Viticulture (when it arrives in my collection).

Lastly a second set of dice for Formula D arrived. I'm hoping we will be playing this game a bit at the Fenland Gamers, so having a second set will make things a bit easier.

A tale of postal incompetence and deceit

Or how Wisbech Royal Mail once more prove they are lazy and dishonest.

Way back in time to the start of December 2015 I ordered one or two bits from the Portal Games web store. Fast forward to last week. The bgg stuff had arrived, and still no sign of my order from Portal Games.

Yesterday when I placed a new order with bgg I declared on Twitter a race between this new order and the Portal Games order. Which would arrive first? Ignacy top dog at Portal twitted back no need to race, and to email them to get help tracking my package.

So I did a quick search on my emails to get my order number only to discover I had missed an email from them on the 13th January saying the package had been returned to them for some reason, and could I confirm my shipping address.

Oops egg on my face, how did I miss that email? Anyway I replied with my address. Which matched the one they had one file. How strange, why would it be returned?

Unless…

Well I know they never tried delivering it, Nan doesn't leave the house. Anyone knocking one the door would attract the attention of my Wolfpack that she looks after while I'm at work. Besides if somehow Nan hadn't heard them there was no red card saying they had tried delivering it.

So the evidence points to at no time did the Wisbech Royal Mail try and deliver my package.

I then assume having not attempted to make the delivery the Wisbech Royal Mail left my package sitting in their sorting office limbo waiting for collection. A collection that was never going to happen because no one out side of their little closed collective knew the package had arrived in Wisbech. Then following the prescribed number of days, having not been collected, was sent back to the sender!

I have several tales from the last year about their staff lying about attempting to deliver a package, or failing to leave a delivery card. Or their local management failing to ever call when asked to (I was asked to leave my number when I tried to complain on numerous occasions when conveniently the management have gone home for the day).

So there is my tale of postal woe. Luckily the Wisbech Royal Mail didn't ruin my Christmas with their laziness and deceit.

During this Portal Games have been brilliant, despite my sarcasm.