The Horrors of All Hallows’ Eve

Last night was meant to see Zombicide hitting the table, and a group of us playing a scenario using the “not” Big Bang Theory survivors. But considering it was only going to be myself and Edmund, I thought that taking hauling all my Zombicide stuff to The White Lion for the two of us was a bit much. So I let Edmund know we would be playing something else instead seeing it was just the two of us. Which he was happy with. So instead of Zombicide I took along Run,Fight or Die!, London (Second Edition) and Sub Terra.

I left the choice of what to play up to Edmund. After explaining a little about Run,Fight or Die! Edmund chose Sub Terra.

During setup we went with the Kickstarter exclusive Out of Time card (which really isn’t all that, or worth going “damn I must have that”), and we chose one of the exclusive Kickstarter start and exit tiles. Which seemed more appropriately coloured for the day.

Edmund chose his two characters to play with, which were the Bodyguard and the Leader, while I went with the Diver and Medic. Naturally were playing on the normal setting for the game, and not one of the two harder settings.

In our game it just worked out that my Diver and Edmund’s Bodyguard were together exploring the cave at one end, with a Horror tracking them through the darkness. While the Medic and Leader went off exploring in the opposite direction.

Edmund and I managed to get the Diver and Leader out of the cave. The medic fell unconscious to yet another cave-in, and was left for dead. I think he got hit by 3 during the game. The Bodyguard was left on the far side of the cave complex by the Diver to find his own way back to the others. But in the end the Bodyguard was consumed by the horrors hidden in the darkness.

So the big question is, what did I think of the game? There was a lot of baggage for this game to over come. Since it’s arrival last week the bad taste that ITB have left with their poor handling of this Kickstarter, I’ve found it extremely hard to muster up any enthusiasm to get this game to the table. If Edmund hadn’t chosen the game I don’t think I would have seen this hitting the table for a long time. But I’m glad it did. It’s a nice game. It is a nice co-op game. I like that you can adjust the difficulty.

I have to say that the Horror tokens are a big let down, although better than the purple things used in the retail version. These wouldn’t have been so bad if they had the white claw marks on them so they look like the token in the rule book and photos. During our game we were joking about how scary these black tokens were, with a heavy amount of sarcasm in our voices. You are not going to see any halloween fancy dress of this Horror next year that’s for sure. I like the caver meeples. They look cool, and I have to say that I preferred them to the optional plastic minis I could have got with this Kickstarter. The actual quality of the other game components is pretty good. I particularly like the feel of the life tokens that are used. They feel nice in the hand.

I wish though that I could say that the quality control of the game was amazing. But when a game is released with a missing tile, and an extra of another, misprinted rules booklet in one of the expansions, and a tile holder that has some tabs incorrectly cut, you have to ask what happened?

I got the deluxe version of the game, which came with a box that is enormous, and totally unnecessary. If the core game box was made an little bit deeper then the graphic novel, designers diary, and the components of the three expansions would have fitted in a single much smaller box.

It didn’t take long to pick up the rules of the game, and get into the swing of a turn. It’s not an overly complicated game. I like that you don’t know exactly where the exit is, and that it could be anyone of the last 6 tiles. So you know you are getting close to finding the exit, but not exactly when. It’s a bit like this with the hazard deck. You know that the times up card is at the bottom of the deck, but even so it comes at you as a surprise. You go from “we have plenty of time, we’ve got half the deck left”, to “OMG! we’re out of time”. I then like how the game isn’t instantly over at that point. But instead you carry on, obviously  not drawing from the hazard deck. But instead at the end of each round, each character not on the exit tile, whether conscious or not, rolls their dice to see if they survive. Roll less than 4, and the horrors in the dark drag them to their oblivion.

I liked the homing mechanic of the Horror, and it’s gradual drawing closer to the cavers. However in our game with it homing in on the Bodyguard/Diver pairing, we never really felt any impending doom. And I think that is probably the biggest problem I have with the game after this first play. It could be that this was made worse with the Bodyguard being one of the cavers, and around to just remove the Horror if and when it actually looked like it was going to be a threat.

Overall it’s a good game, worth another play at least.

My Experience With CardKingdom.com

The tail end of last week I decided after hearing how good Card Kingdom were from the likes of The Command Zone/Game Knights, Magic the Amatuering and Tolarian College. So I went on to their site and ordered one or two cards for the commander deck I’m putting together. There was an option for 2/3 day shipping, ok it was $16, but I thought hey let’s test this service out. Best case scenario they arrive Saturday, worse case Monday.

And I was impressed, within 45 minutes my order had been processed and was shipped. I even had a shipping number in the confirming email.

Naturally I used the UPS app to track where my order was. It actually did hit the UK on Saturday but not soon enough to get delivered to me. That’s ok I thought, when I get home Monday I will have these cool cards waiting for me.

Monday comes, UPS tells me the cards are out for delivery. I get home, nothing. Ok, where are they? I check the app they had been dropped off at a nearby pick point. WTF?!!!!!!!

I was soon onto Card Kingdom complaining and asking for refund on my postage. I had paid for a service and not got it. There is no way I would have something delivered to a third party.

For the record I have all my post delivered to my Nan’s next door to mine. Why? She is there 24/7, along with my Mum who is looking after her. So I know that there is some-one there always to take my deliveries in. Now Nan sits something like 3 or 4 feet from the front door on her sofa. Usually Strider my collie is chilling out lying right next to the front door. It’s his spot. Loki is a nannies boy, and is usually found curled up under the blankets with Nan, while Nico is also probably on the sofa with her too, if not on one of the other chairs. Nico and Loki are chihuahuas. The street we live in is an unadopted road, with a very bumpy surface. It’s also a dead end, one way in, one way out (the same way you came in). Anytime a vehicle of any kind comes down the road, one of the little terrors, if not both is at the window looking out. If a person knocks on the door, well you can imagine the noise they make. Add to this that Mum has two dogs of her own that also are pretty hot on when some-one is at the door, and equally as vocal as mine.

So when the Card Kingdom support person told me that the reason my order had been left at the pick up point was because the UPS person had tried to deliver to my address (Nan’s) and there was no one there, I got a bit salty and called bullshit. I fed back to the support person a slightly shorter version of the above explaining why that UPS person had not made an attempt to deliver my order. There is no way in hell anyone tried delivering to my Nan’s on Monday from UPS. Why it was then left at the pick up point, when I have never said that was something I wanted them to do is a mystery to me. They should have made an attempt to redeliver the order to me.

I was getting very frustrated, and salty. It was looking like the earliest I would be able to pick up my order from that UPS pickup point was late Saturday or on Sunday. It is the wrong week for something like this to happen. Luckily I was able to wrangle a small window when I could pick up the order yesterday.

But you would not believe how salty I was feeling towards UPS.

In the meantime Card Kingdom I thought was refunding the postage to my PayPal account, were in fact refunding it as a credit with them on my next order. But the support person cancelled that and sent it to my PayPal instead.

BUT! Over night they got back to me and refunded the whole order to compensate me for all the hassle. WOW!! I was not expecting that, I was more than happy with the postage refund. I know Card Kingdom can’t control what UPS do. But they can feed that back to UPS that they were unhappy with the service they got from UPS. I know I will be. Card Kingdom has gone above and beyond what I was expecting. I’m certainly going to be ordering more from them. And I have an order all ready to go, I’m just waiting for things to cool down this week before I press the trigger on it.

The hype you hear in these podcasts that they sponsor is for real folks.

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