Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No more games - play what you’ve got! Part 5, Fortune and Zombies, Kid

I’ve banned new games from being purchased in 2014 to allow us a year to play through all the games we’ve already got.  If a brilliant, must-have game emerges this year I’ll just have to wait to see if it survives a few months of fair reviewing and the cult of the new to become a lasting classic, and if so I should theoretically have no problem picking it up in 2015 anyway. 
  
So here’s a list of the games we’ve managed to play recently to try and get through the remaining half of the games list.  Looks like we’re falling behind schedule so far if we’re going to play everything by year’s end, so we’ll have to try harder to fit in multiple games in one session, or maybe see if we can have some day sessions.  It also doesn’t help the mission when we play other games that were never on the list in the first place, but that doesn’t stop it from being a ton of fun!



Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game

I reviewed this game a couple of years ago here:


One criticism I had back then was the limited number of Danger cards, so I ended up designing a bunch more to help flesh out the decks:


I still have wave 2 of this in development actually, need to finish that off some time.  But FFP have also fleshed out the array with their new expansion material Treasure Hunters, Rise of the Crimson Hand.  They’ve also got some small card packs of web only expansions – I ordered a couple of these years ago for A Touch Of Evil and got absolutely and generously tax-shafted by Her Majesty’s Customs Reprobates on them.  But in spite of this, and at the risk of tipping my hand too early on my latest opinion of this game, I just last week went ahead and ordered a bunch more of these web-only packs for Fortune and Glory too (Sands of Cairo and Danger Pack 1).  As with most of FFP’s games, FANG really comes together with the expansion material added in.  If it was cost effective I’m sure they’d release all the expansion material up front, sort of like they’ve done with Shadows of Brimstone, just so they could share everything with you and get you properly into the adventure.
We went for a competitive game with me as Nigel Harrington and Sam as Grant Jackson, and we were up against the Mob this time, who are slightly less aggressive than the Nazis, but with the Zeppelin floating around dropping Nazis off around the world anyway, just for good measure.  The Mob still managed to give us a good run for our money/fortune, and whilst Sam ‘remembered how to play’ (i.e. mucked around with personal missions and hanging around the new Docks encounters) I set off on my adventures and bagged an early artifact.  Sam finished racking up some cheap glory and went chasing artifacts too and the race was on.  As the Mob influence spread we were hard pressed to keep up.  We also misplayed the new City encounters for the first few turns too, we were having a roll on the City tables no matter what City card we drew (instead of the Just Another Day cards), which altered things a little, but not game-breakingly so.  Although FANG is very much a dice fest, so luck is a huge factor anyway.  Given the theme, I don’t find this to be a problem at all however.  Whilst Jackson tooled up and went about punching mobsters to bits, I flew around the world, bagged my last artifact and headed home to Bombay to sell it.  The Mob had spread too far and wide and would almost certainly win on the villains’ turn.  I needed to survive one city encounter and sell my loot to win.  I drew the Robbery card: roll a die, 1-3 = your artifact gets nicked, 4-6 = safe.  So I rolled the die…

Players = 2
Expansions = Treasure Hunters, Rise of the Crimson Hand.
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 9





Zombies!!!

“Shall we just play Zombies and get it scratched off the list?” Sam asked.  I sighed and agreed.
I’ve got expansions 2 and 3 and 3.5 and just recently sold off number 4, so we went with the base game, with 3.5 already shuffled in.  I have a strange fondness for Zombies!!! just because of nostalgia really.  I’d just bought my first place with my then fiancée, now wife, who begrudgingly played a few games with me over the summer as we listened to tunes and enjoyed the wine and sunshine, and it just encapsulated another little peaceful and pleasant chapter of my life.  It was also just before I started really getting back into board games after a 10 year hiatus of college, university, work, and going out and getting smashed, and it was something of a gateway game for me.  If you ignore the years of Games Workshop board games and HeroQuest and Space Crusade and so on, which I played to death as a kid.  So, a return-way game.  A stepping stone to the cosmic terror of Arkham Horror.  I even went so far as to redesign Zombies!!! with a medieval theme… just before they released MidEvil.  Only mine had orcs.  Anyway.  We scanned the rules and shuffled the deck and set off into the fairly bland looking town full of zombies.  I love that there are so many zombies, something Last Night On Earth (a way superior game) struggles with.  The evolving modular map is cool too - something I’ve always really liked in games is that feeling of exploration and discovery.  That’s as many plus points as Zombies!!! gets though.  The game went kind of long, not as long as it has done in the past.  Sam had the most zombies by miles.  Then he died a couple of times.  Then he drew the helipad, at which point I had the most zombies.  So he placed it near him.  Then I played a card which teleported me to him, and then I rolled higher on my movement dice and escaped, because we’d already placed all the zombies so the helipad was pretty empty.  I don’t know if we were supposed to take the zombies from somewhere else to fill it up but by then it was late and we wanted closure, and that was that.  It’s a nice game for casual gamers maybe.  I like the idea of it very much.  But this is going on eBay and I won’t feel the need to play it again.  In fact, if someone wants my copy of Zombies!!! 1, 2, 3 and 3.5 I’ll be happy to do you a very fair deal?  I could even throw in When Darkness Comes and The Nameless Mist??

Players = 2
Expansions = Zombies!!! 3.5 Not Dead Yet
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 4
Rating in 2014 = 3




Gears of War

Having beaten all the mission scenarios previously we decided to try Horde mode for the firs time.  Sam is an eggs-Box GoW veteran and informs me how true to the video game experience this board game is, which I see as testament to the game, because I really dig this board game.  A sort of finessed cooperative Doom with sexier tiles and minis there is a shit ton of replayability in this box because of all the different scenarios and monster types – particularly how the monster types themselves change each mission too.  Horde mode is very tricky indeed, and though we beat the first couple of waves barely breaking a sweat in the process, the baddies started piling up thick and fast, and getting tougher in the process.  We had a neat little layout, and I was the guy who can pick up ammo and weapons without discarding cards (Sam was the dude who can cover during other players’ turns even after cover fire has already been used), and I was nipping around and grabbing stuff till we had ammo up to our ears.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  As soon as the boomers started showing up the tide turned and the game, as it often does, amped up the difficulty and began to crucify us.  We couldn’t seal emergence holes fast enough, or get to the ammo drops, as we got hemmed in and ambushed again and again.  Before long we were shot to ribbons and bleeding out around wave number 4.  It’s a shame that FFG doesn’t seem to be going anywhere with the license on this (they should really retool this system to another theme too), though there are mini expansions available through Print on Demand I believe.  Would happily take another bash at this game any day of the week, probably the best sci-fi minis shooter out there at the moment. 

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 8

 

Eclipse

Finally got around to playing what might be my favourite board game.  I absolutely love everything about this game, from the tech developments, to the ship upgrades, to the exploration, to the crap shoot (with my rolling) ship battles, to the scale of the conflict.  It could be because I recently finished the Mass Effect trilogy and have been reading some mind blowing Iain M Banks sci-fi stuff recently, which I don’t usually go for, but this game just really taps into everything I enjoy about games.  Then when you throw in all the expansion goodies it really just becomes a great, great gaming experience.  At one point I stepped away from the table just to look at it all.
We played 2 games back to back both as the Terrans with 4 ancient home worlds.  In the first game I wiped out Sam early on with a quick push to the galactic centre.  I started to worry it was “broken with two players” etc.  But we were both just unprepared for such a quick rush game.  So we played again and had an absolutely epic battle this time.  It certainly shines in multiplayer but two player is also an excellent experience once you throw in Rise of the Ancients.  We both drew hives early on, which balanced out beautifully when we both chose to keep them in play, ending with Sam taking the centre and annihilating my dreadnoughts.  I had a tricky early start having drawn my hive on the first turn, and with the ancients attacking my peeps three turns in a row.  But when we totted up the points those early battles paid off with their reputation rewards and I won 45 points to Sam’s 44.  If I was only allowed to play one board game for the rest of the year I would be fine if this was it.  Perfect 10, can’t say enough good things about this game.  It’s up there with Through the Ages.

Players = 2
Expansions = Rise of the Ancients, Ship Pack One
Games played in 2014 = 12
Rating in 2013 = 10
Rating in 2014 = 10




Bonus Game Plays!



  
Shadowrun: Crossfire

Played the downloadable demo mode version of the game – what a great way to garner interest in the game, with a try before you buy system.  Well, it worked for me.  It’s essentially icon/colour matching but with cool art, interesting theme (fantasy meets cyber punk), and is actually quite brain burny.  Challenging too.  Started out with a Human Samurai and Elf Mage combo and got smashed twice in a row by the Hard level obstacles.  Then the understanding of how the cards interplay started to kick in, and more caution and careful planning paid off.  The third attempt was our first victory, albeit a close one.  Then we set off again with a Troll Decker and Orc Face (?) guy, and the extra HP on these chaps was really helpful, especially with Crossfire and obstacles dishing out so much damage.  Starting out with lower cards and cash (nuyen) feels like less of a hindrance, and victory came more easily (one loss, one win), though it does get hairy when you can’t stock up your decks with Black Market cards as easily.  Definitely interested to see if the campaign play is as addictive as the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game became.  I never played the RPG but the setting always intrigued me.  The art is very pretty too, and whilst I’m a bit tired of deck builders in general, and the gameplay is kind of simplistic, it’s also satisfying and a bit nail-biting.  I think this will be a nice introduction to the Shadowrun world for me.

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 5
Rating in 2014 = 7


 
  
Innovation

BGGer Boom04 very kindly sent me a copy of this game, which we had been discussing at length. It sounded very interesting, but lay outside of my no new games policy.  I’d mentally shelved it for this year, but thanks to Dicky it has now been added to the list.  Got to play a couple of games with Sam and I have to say we were both very impressed.  The art and design is pretty shocking, as we’d been warned (I think this was a KS prototype copy, though the final version doesn’t look dissimilar), though it did pan out to be very readable and accessible during play.  And the game play is cruel, fiendish even, and addictive too.  A super-pared down civilisation building game based solely on technological innovations.  We started the first game and realised soon that we were misplaying the cards and not carrying out the second effects, or drawing cards for other people using our own effects, so we restarted and went again and Sam wiped the floor with me.  There can be an early head start issue which is very difficult to come back from.

Then in the second game Sam stepped ahead early on too.  I managed to come back later on by splaying a card that allowed me to look ahead and bring in later cards (Democracy maybe?).  It came pretty close as he was still achieving monumental wonders for his developing civ whilst I was just playing catching up.  Then I brought in Piracy, a card we had both learned to fear from the previous game.  But he nicked my piracy and I thought it was all over.  He used it once and then left it unused for the rest of the game, allowing me to pile up my later cards and just keep achieving and catching up, eventually overtaking him too quickly for him to beat and winning the game.  Both games were good fun, filled with tense decisions and lucky draws.  It did feel a bit swingy sometimes, but on the whole was pretty awesome, and I look forward to playing it again.  I even introduced it to one of the guys at work for a lunchtime play, though we only managed to actually squeeze in a game because I beasted achievements from the outset and stole the win early on.  It can go quite long otherwise.

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 3
Rating in 2014 = 7


 

X-Wing Miniatures Game

This shouldn’t really count in the list to be honest, as it was late at night after our Eclipse session so we just had a quick run through of the basic game only.  My single X-Wing vs Sam’s two TIE fighters.  However, it deserves a special mention because it was - unexpectedly really - stupidly fun.  Way more fun than it has any right to be in fact!  This was a bonus birthday present for me, which had the added bonus of widening my little boy’s eyes at the sight of the miniatures.  He’s at the stage now where he’d like to play anything, and if I can develop an even more simplistic version of the game he’d be all over this.  I could see myself getting into this in a big way if I had the storage for all the extra ships.  The session lasted about fifteen minutes as we refreshed on the rules, and flew directly at each other from opposite sides of the table wondering how it was going to play out.  As we closed for impact we fired off lasers at each other and I expected to be taken out immediately by the two TIEs.  But after surviving the first pass the gameplay really kicked in, and all of a sudden we were bluffing each other, rolling and banking and manoeuvring around desperately to try and get each other lined up for those all important shots.  It seemed the X-Wing was slightly more manoeuvrable and tougher, but slower.  I kept getting clipped by his attacks and was stacking up damage cards before I managed to take down his rookie.  With only one damage point left on my X-Wing the chase was on to destroy his Obsidian (?) pilot before he could land that final point of damage.  We were both flying around his end of the table, and since we didn’t have an official play-mat we may or may not both have flown out of the allotted 2’ square playing area, but in the closing moments of the game I managed to swoop past him and U-turn just in time to deliver the final payload with a pew pew pew, which would destroy his evil TIE fighter once and for all.  This game had been recommended to me a number of times and I’d avoided it because of the collectable nature, but yeah, stupidly fun.  Can’t wait to play a proper game with all the actual rules and stuff…

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2014 = 7.5

 

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords - Base Set

It’s already been ticked off the list for the year, but has come back into circulation via…  Solo adventures!  Now that all 6 adventure packs have landed I decided to embark on a solo campaign with Valeros, since he’s the closest to the kind of character I would have RPG’d as a kid because I was never really a gnome-druid kind of guy.  I don’t think you could even be a gnome druid in 1st or 2nd edition D&D!  Anyway.  There was no way we were going to fit in a full campaign as a group this year and still play through our entire game collection so I cracked on alone in the evenings when it was the wife’s turn to put the boy down.  I quickly abandoned my old rule of ‘mandatory exploring’ for a single hero as it would have made the perma death rule way more deadly.  So I picked my way carefully through the first couple of intro scenarios, remembering that they are generally more deadly than the 1st adventure path.  My last few solo efforts had ended up in death at the hands of Nualia at the climax of adventure path 1, so I was also wary of tooling up to meet her too.

Last time we left off with this I remember thinking it was good, with great potential, a bit repetitive, and not as inspiring as other similar games.  Well now it’s gone back up another point.  I got hugely suckered back into this and started battering through the scenarios.  Not afraid to run away and live to fight another day I raced through the adventure packs, and took great delight in getting to choose a role for the first time ever, but also kicking myself for choosing Valeros, whose main power is to help other heroes.  Clearing out basic cards from the decks felt very satisfying, and growing my own deck full of magic weapons and allies to boost my lower stats was the big appeal.  As others have mentioned, that’s the main quality of this game, almost to the exclusion of actually playing through the scenarios themselves: developing your hero over the course of the campaign.  I still find the Blessings deck as a timer wanting.  It could have been a cool events deck that may or may not have affected play, especially since Blessings of the Gods are generally the first cards to leave your deck, so neutering interaction with the Blessings deck itself.  Also the arbitrary nature of the encounters, monsters inside village houses and such, can be grating, and the fact that they don’t stick around but disappear back into the decks if undefeated, and random items suddenly appear, when there could have been a loot system for defeating barriers or monsters.  But they’re small complaints, and all in this is a very tight game experience.  I’m so sold back on this I might even look into Skulls and Shackles after all, which I had written off altogether previously due to the personally unappealing pirate D&D theme.

Players = 1
Expansions = Adventure Packs 1-6
Games played in 2014 = 25
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 8





Here follows the rest of the games we want to get through this year, slowly but surely we’re getting there....

1.    Arkham Horror
2.    Call of Cthulhu: Collectible Card Game
3.    Constantinopolis
4.    Dark Darker Darkest
5.    Descent: Journeys in the Dark
6.    Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
7.    Doom: The Board game
8.    Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth
9.    Dungeon Lords
10.  Dungeoneer: Vault of the Fiends
11.  HeroQuest
12.  Lord of the Rings
13.  Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
14.  Magic Realm
15.  Omen: A Reign of War
16.  Race for the Galaxy
17.  Return of the Heroes
18.  Space Crusade
19.  Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game
20.  Tales of the Arabian Nights
21.  Talisman
22.  The Ares Project
23.  The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
24.  Twilight Struggle
25.  War of the Ring (first edition)
26.  Warhammer Quest
27.  When Darkness Comes: The Nameless Mist



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh Dark Hundred card preview


Oh Dark Hundred is a cooperative card game for 1-4 players who take a ‘present day to near future’ squad of elite soldiers up against a series of enemy bases and targets over the course of a military campaign. You’ll be levelling up your squad, purchasing new gear, upgrades and skills, infiltrating lairs, hacking security, and taking out terrorists, rebels and their henchmen through the scope of a sniper rifle, down the barrel of a machine gun or with the blade of your knife as you choose your own specialist approach to tackling each objective. Sort of Phantom Leader with commandos instead of aeroplanes.  Here is a sneak preview of the card design I've been using…



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No more games - play what you’ve got! Part 4, But You Can’t Just Throw Away Gifts, Obviously…


I’ve banned new games from being purchased in 2014 to allow us a year to play through all the games we’ve already got – and there are a fair few of them, though a very modest collection compared to many other gamers.  If a brilliant, must-have game emerges this year I’ll just have to wait to see if it survives a few months of fair reviewing and the cult of the new to become a lasting classic, and if so I should theoretically have no problem picking it up in 2015 anyway. 

My birthday came and went in May, and a couple more titles got added to my list as presents, which I wasn’t sure we’d be able to crowbar in this year at all: X Wing miniatures game base set, Twilight Struggle, DC Heroes Deck Building game expansion Heroes Unite - which is really more for my son than me, since we play that game nearly every day now - and Eldritch Horror.  Not tried X Wing or TS yet but I did get a solo run through of Eldritch Horror, which left me eager to try out Arkham Horror again.

I was also invited to an old RPG playing friend’s stag do where we went knife throwing (tricky), tomahawk throwing (exactly as fun as it sounds), tried archery (turns out I’m a bit of a Legolas, scoring three bulls-eyes in a row in one round) but primarily drinking and playing board games out in the countryside.  Great fun, great bunch of lads, and also got to play a few new games I wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to, see Bonus Plays below.   Also got to add a few more to this list at the UK Games Expo, where we very successfully demoed 1066, Tears to Many Mothers.



A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game

Easy coop win against the Siren with Sam as the student of the occult and me as the witch I think.  I got the amulet which lets you use spirit instead of combat and boosted my spirit with allies and church visits and a raft of investigation - I was gaining three a turn.  Found the lair early on and some uber powerful elders joined us; the siren didn't really have it in her to stop us.  We also had the best/luckiest crop of event cards ever.  Great game, but there's a lot of fiddliness, tokens and upkeep, and remembering this has made me leery of Shadows of Brimstone, especially if they're using pen and paper in that one too...

Players = 2
Expansions = The Coast, Allies, Madness, HP 1
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 10
Rating in 2014 = 9



Claustrophobia

It was the mission where one of the ‘good’ guys has been possessed and you have to go kick his arse and then take him back.  Sam was the trogs, I was the condemned, and as it played out it was an easy win for the heroes.  I lost one Blade dude only, you know the disposable fast, spindly types.  There was some scenario rules confusion until we found the right demon card representing the possessed dude, thanks to BGG for the clarification.  This is really a great game, and I’m excited for the expansion material.  Love that Croc the designer has supported it so well with so much extra free downloadable content, just like Richard Launius does with his games.  It’s really quite a simplistic game but ruthlessly tactical, it plays very fast, and it really does look fantastic.  Highly recommended game for two players.

Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 9



Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game

Without time for a full on campaign, we abandoned the copious house rules we have for this game and just set up a scenario.  Though we did have all the treasures shuffled in from all three D&D games, and used the optional doors, treasure chests and monster tokens.  Sam took Thorgrim the cleric and I was Alissa the Ranger and we attempted one of my favourite scenario combos.  Start off easier with the official Search for the Sunsword WOTC bonus scenario, waste the baddies, grab the Sunsword, and then set off on the Hunt for Strahd Part 1.  We battered the first scenario, clobbered Strahd’s henchman – the flesh golem – eventually, but were weakened by the Grey Hag turning up and vaping us with repeated lightning bolts.  And when Strahd finally showed the Traps they started springing, and we ran out of XP to cancel them.  Until we were being alternately beaten by the self-healing Strahd, nipped at by his minions, and lightning’d by the Hag.  Our powers and items ran dry and though we had a couple of opportunities to take him down and we were even 1 damage away from finishing him, I, in typical fashion, fluffed my rolls and he knocked us both out and claimed victory over our sorry arses.  I’m not ashamed to say we used three healing surges, though they were little consolation by the time it came around to spending them, since we lost one a turn for three turns!

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 2
Rating in 2013 = 10
Rating in 2014 = 10



Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game

Free the captives!  We swapped roles this time with me as the cleric and Sam as the fighter, and we opted out of taking on Ashardalon (might have been an option if we hadn’t just had our butts kicked by Strahd in Castle Ravenloft) in favour of going after the rather humorous, frightened villagers, whose AI cards are a lark.  With hindsight, if I were to house rule this scenario it would be to have all the villagers act every turn instead of rolling to see who, if anyone, acts.  That would ramp up the chaos considerably!  Another close finish – though we didn’t use any healing surges, the villagers were getting massacred as soon as we found their prison chamber.  The two guardian grells started chomping on them straight away whilst we tried to distract the Duergar Captain boss.  But a conga line hoard of monsters had been growing in the darkness behind us.  We sniped them along the way, and I threw out two blade barriers and minced a whole bunch of them thanks to a lucky treasure draw, but they were still legion by the time we reached the final battle.  As the monsters chopped away at our luckless villager friends, we chopped away at them, and the chop-off finally fell in our favour as we brought down the Duergar captain and his two grells, the rest of the monsters departed, and a traumatised Alek (sp?) cowered quivering behind us, the only survivor of his town.  But our heroes were too busy celebrating their rare victory to notice his twitching PTSD nervous breakdown.

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2013 = 10
Rating in 2014 = 10



Eldritch Horror

Actually got this as a birthday gift, so it lies outside the ‘no new purchases’ rule, right?  Right??  Anyway, I set it up for a solo run through to get the rules down, and they were very familiar indeed – in fact I was expecting some correlation to and with Arkham Horror but I just didn’t realise how much they had simply lifted wholesale from the source.  At first I thought this was lazy, particularly with all the reused art and token design, but I guess it adds coherence to FFG’s own Lovecraft themed universe.  And when it comes down to it, the gameplay is the thing, and this game is quite enjoyable.  I get that they’ve themed encounters more to each Ancient One, which is nice, though it really impedes the variety of encounters you will have from game to game.  My first attempt was an abortive solo effort by the soldier Mark, who made very little progress and was soon smashed into cosmic dust by the Ancient.  My second effort was again with a single investigator (to see if it really works that way, you know, just like it does not in Arkham Horror :P), this time the sailor Silas, and though he was crippled early on, my replacement investigator – the martial artist – came along and nicked all his stuff, which I thought was a nice touch and added continuity to their story, just like how HPL’s protagonists built on the successes and failures of their predecessors.  I harvested as many clues as I could, chanced some lucky rolls, and happened to be in some lucky locations, whilst a lot was happening all around the world which I couldn’t do much about.  But in the end I was able to complete all my mysteries and seal the Ancient One away until next time with a loosely snatched victory.  I like this, and look forward to playing it with a group to gauge opinions.  It is certainly more likely to see table time than Arkham Horror, until it bloats itself up with expansions of course.  Oh, and I didn’t find the world map very impressive at all, particularly in comparison to the far superior efforts of Fortune and Glory and Tales of the Arabian Nights, but this is a small complaint.

Players = 1
Games played in 2014 = 2
Rating in 2014 = 7.5



Bonus Game Plays!



Resident Evil Deck Building Game

I mistakenly thought this was still on our to play list (it wasn’t) and we had a bit more time left so we broke out a quick game of Resi Evil.  Sam was Leon, a stalwart choice if you cash in on his awesome pistols combo, and I was loads-of-life Chris, who starts with 120HP but cannot heal.  A couple of reckless early explores from Sam saw Leon go down a few times, whilst we both raced to grab the higher cost ammo really early on (not normally a tactic either of us pursue).  I stuck to my strategy and plodded along and Leon’s recklessness cost him dearly as I built up my deck.  By the time I ran into Uroboros he didn’t stand a chance.  I often wonder what the expansion packs would add to this game, especially now that they are no longer being printed.  But as a self contained little game, Bandai have (and have since abandoned) a little winner with this one, just like Uncharted: The Board Game.

Players = 2
Games played in 2014 = 2
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 9



Sentinels of the Multiverse

I actually managed to finally get in a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse this month.  A mate invited me round to his house to introduce me to a couple of his gamer mates (they’re more into war games and role-playing than board games) primarily to show them 1066.  And since my new decks arrived we had two games going at once, which was great.  They had some interesting feedback, some very useful, some a bit whacky and game-changing, but they all said they enjoyed it and would play again.
One had to leave early so with three of us left we broke out Sentinels, which I’d spied upon walking in and hoped to crack open.
Really enjoyed it!  Very interesting design, I really like how each of the hero and villain decks are unique and I especially like the environment cards that introduce new events.  There was a fair bit of book-keeping, but no more than Arkham Horror for example.  We played against Omnitron the Sentient computer, Ross was Haka the ethnic Hulk dude, Al was Ra the Sun God, and I got Legacy, who I thought was a Superman type character from the pics, but who actually turned out to be a passive support type almost Cleric/Healer character.  Since that’s a role I don’t usually play it was a little bit duller for me than it could have been I think, but actually with the buffs I was giving the other guys I was vicariously inflicting as much damage as either of them each round.  I had one Ongoing card which actually attacked but it got cancelled right quick by the baddie’s special ability.
We took a bit of a beating and the wounds were stacking up, but we stayed on top of every event and droid that came out and stacked any leftover damage onto Omnicron, eventually leading to his defeat.  Quite tense, very enjoyable.  Wish the DC game was like this!  Still not sure if I’d pick it up though, since we have the super hero theme covered.  And as much as I admire their all new hero designs, they’re so obviously rip offs of other mainstream heroes it just lets it down a bit.
Also discovered we’d been playing it slightly wrong after the fact, by not flipping over the villain’s ability card every turn, but using both sides at the same time, which made it more difficult!  But we weren’t playing the advanced ability either (not sure if that would have had too much of an impact though: +1 damage one turn, -1 the next or something similar).

Players = 3
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2014 = 7.5



DC Deck Building Game: Heroes Unite

After how eagerly my little one tucked into the DC Deck Building Game this was an inevitable purchase, so I picked it up from the UK Games Expo for £25, given that it’s an expansion, and not technically a new game.  Ahem.  Anyway.  £25 is actually more than the £20 I paid for the basic game, but worth it for the amount of play it’s already seen.  I generally don’t like the cards as much as the basic game, and I don’t recognise half of the characters, though at 4 years old and as a massive fan of Batman: The Brave and the Bold my boy is developing an encyclopaedic knowledge of the DC universe.  He also always asks whose baddie the villains are, so we have to sync up the heroes with their nemeses, which is an interesting narrative decision for him to make so young, a pretty much ‘it must be canon’ attitude.  Don’t know where he gets that from.  Anyway, the art is great, the gameplay is more of the same, and it’s definitely worth a look if one wanted to expand the variety of the base game, though I’m not brave enough to mix and match anything more than just the super heroes and super villains just yet.  I think the Crisis expansion pack is a must buy too.

Players = 2-3
Games played in 2014 = 30+
Rating in 2014 = 9



Gunslinger

At the UK Games Expo we were sat down in the Hilton bar where James Fallows gave us a run through of this little gem from the old Avalon Hill catalogue.  Looks like it could be another Hamblen great like Magic Realm, we just played the very first introductory scenario with Doc Holiday versus the two thugs, though we just decided to play it as a free for all instead, with no special abilities.  Barely scratched the surface of the game to be honest.  It was basically three of us facing off against each other, slowly moving towards each other in some salty old saloon and weighing each other up whilst chewing cigars and drawing a bead on each other, Ennio Morricone’s riff from Fistful of Dollars tinkling away in our ears.  Then the rolling and shooting started as we bluffed each other out and tried to keep our targets in our field of vision.  I alternated targets whilst Sam and James drew down on me, but then after some tumbling and misfiring they started shooting each other, so I joined in and we took down James’ poor cowboy, who tried to hold onto his bubbling innards as he rolled around on the floor.  Sam and I had some wounds too and as he unloaded on James to finish him off I drew down on Sam and prepared to open fire.  As he darted out of my line of sight the unfriendly woman from the Hilton came over and told us to clear off because it was no longer gaming time.  ‘Could we just finish this game?’  ‘No.’  I really hope they find a more welcoming venue next year.  Anywho.  Great little game, interested to see more of it, and I’m especially intrigued by the RPG and character development aspects of it.

Players = 3
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2014 = 7.5



7 Wonders

Been wanting to try this for ages but never able to get up the numbers, or find anyone with the game.  So it was the UK Games Expo to our rescue again, and we had six guys altogether, some clearly experienced, who instantly set about on their strategies whilst the rest of us muddled through and tried to defend ourselves with armies once we realised how important they were (i.e. after getting our arses repeatedly kicked).  Lovely components, lots to keep track of, quite difficult to pay attention to what everyone else is doing with six players, and it sort of felt like there were two games going on, one on our side and one on ‘theirs’ and sure enough this is how the scores panned out.  With me and the guy opposite doing pretty well in our respective mini games, whilst the guys on either side of us battled and squabbled with each other and generally lost out.  I came second and the guy opposite wiped the floor with all of us.  Liked the tableau effects and the card art, really like how the game seems to scale for players very well, and I can see what all the fuss is about.  I’d happily play this again, but not one I’d add to the collection any time soon.

Players = 6
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2014 = 7



Cargo Noir

Always loved the look of this game and fondled the box a few times in my FLGS, so I was eager to try it out when somebody turned up with it.  It’s really a bidding game and with three players it ended up being rather weighted.  The guy who owned it knew what he was doing whilst me and the other guy just bluffed our way through it and ended up bidding against each other far too often, letting the leader increase his lead and gather tons of cargo, so we lost by a good margin, with me placing last, having been unable to buy my next two ships until after the halfway point.  The components are nice, art is great, but I’m not sure if I really enjoy bidding games, as it all just feels so… arbitrary, and that bidding and blocking each other is the main interaction.  Maybe I just need more experience at it.

Players = 3
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2014 = 5



Coup

Super fast playing card game where you start with two cards, get one action a turn and have to be the last man standing.  You bluff out what action your cards allow you to perform: Duke can take 3 gold, assassin can attack another player (make him lose a card), Captain blocks assassin, ambassador lets you swap cards, etc.  You can use gold to attack other players too.  Anyone can challenge you to reveal what card you really have and if you’re blagging you lose a card, and if you’re not they lose a card.  I got knocked out pretty early by assassination and had nothing to defend myself with, but it was fun to watch the conclusion, and the whole thing played out in about ten minutes with 7 or 8 players.  Apparently it’s like Love Letter but more enjoyable.  I thought it was neat for a party game, but tbh any parties I normally go to don’t really usually involve gaming.  Would happily play again as it plays so fast.

Players = 7
Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2014 = 6



Last Night On Earth

This was the first time I’ve played this with 6 players and it scaled nicely, everyone had fun and got into it making their own sound effects and narrative embellishments, including the two zombie players, who played their cards with glee and moved their zombie minis with the required amount of groaning SFX.  We randomly picked Defend the Manor House and I was worried that the guys who hadn’t played the game before would think it was a crap shoot as I’ve only ever seen the heroes lose this scenario.  I was Becky the nurse – I got bitten a few times and started to ‘Feel Strange’ and was all ready for turning into a zombie hero and getting a replacement character when a friendly hero removed the feeling strange card and the priest made it over to me to give me a first aid kit.  Suddenly I was back on fighting form and hitting the gun store to stock up on ammo and guns and blow some undead meat away.  I was able to play an early Faith on the priest and soon he found a crowbar and machete and was unstoppably whacking zombies left, right and centre, pretty much becoming the hero of the day.  The guy next to me playing Johnny couldn’t roll for shit, and sat in the gun store looking for revolvers, firing them, rolling a 1 and losing them, and then searching again, but he was laughing whilst doing it and seemed to be enjoying the general frenzied fray.  The chap who owned the game was playing Sally and spent almost the first half just searching and stocking up, pretty much out of the action, whilst the rest of us fought for our lives.  We kept racing to the middle to lure zombies out of the manor house, then rushing back out to the buildings to search for more supplies.  I felt the inevitability of defeat the whole game, but slowly and steadily the sun track marker climbed down, and even though Johnny eventually got eaten by a zombie hoard, and then Sally sacrificed herself by accidentally covering herself in gasoline and igniting herself and a bunch of walkers, we were keeping them at bay.  After a final push where the biters only needed one more zombie in the manor to win the game, we all charged out of hiding and fired our weapons and smacked a few of them upside the head and then the sun came up.  The hero victory was jubilant with us all shouting for joy as the zombie guys were going “nooooo…” and everyone else in the room was looking over and wondering what the hell was going on – but really wanting to join in I reckon…  Great game.  Goes back up to a 9 again, you just really have to have the right crowd for this game.

Players = 6
Expansions = None
Games played in 2014 = 2
Rating in 2014 = 9



Rune Age

Had some spare time at a gaming event and even though I’ve already checked this off the to play list, I thought it would be a good, easy one to teach, so we tried this out with 4 players, with me basically teaching three noobs how to play the basic Dragonlords scenario, the race to beat the big bad, with the expansion races thrown in, but no mercenary cards to keep it simple.  For the first time I tried using Forced March to pare my deck right down and ended up with just seven high power, non-Gold cards.  The guy sat next to me was pretty savvy and was trying to convince everyone to gang up on me, even though he was hoarding most of the neutral cities, and there was much back and forth attacking between us all trying to take them off each other.  The two other guys picked things up slowly but steadily, and to be honest, they probably should have ganged up on me from the outset.  I took out a few of the Dragonlords and harvested their rewards, and before the event deck could reshuffle I was ready to take on the big baddie king dragon and handily kick his arse.  It played long, probably a couple of hours, but everyone was engaged, and everyone said they’d be happy to play again if they had time.  Still loads of life left in this game with just the base and expansion pack, a nice complete little package that never quite plays the same way.

Players = 4
Expansions = Oath and Anvil
Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 9



Here follows the rest of the games we want to get through this year, slowly but surely we’re getting there....

1    1.         Arkham Horror
2.         Call of Cthulhu: Collectible Card Game
3.         Constantinopolis
4.         Dark Darker Darkest
5.         Descent: Journeys in the Dark
6.         Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
7.         Doom: The Boardgame
8.         Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth
9.         Dungeon Lords
10.        Dungeoneer: Vault of the Fiends
11.        Eclipse
12.        Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
13.        Gears of War: The Board Game
14.        Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game
15.        HeroQuest
16.        Lord of the Rings
17.        Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
18.        Magic Realm
19.        Omen: A Reign of War
20.        Race for the Galaxy
21.        Return of the Heroes
22.        Space Crusade
23.        Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game
24.        Tales of the Arabian Nights
25.        Talisman
26.        The Ares Project
27.        The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
28.        Twilight Struggle
29.        War of the Ring (first edition)
30.        Warhammer Quest
31.        When Darkness Comes
32.        X-Wing Miniatures Game
33.        Zombies!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game - Final call for play-testers

Hi guys,

I'm drawing close to the final version of the game and after speaking with Indie we are now looking for some brave volunteers for this last round of play-testing. A few of you have already been in contact, but if there are others out there who want to put this game through its paces and help make it even more awesomer for its release please register your interest below.

We will need feedback on the game so please only reply if you feel able to provide some. For those who already have play-test copies who would like to continue to be involved just let me know and I'll update you on the new stuff you'll need once it's ready.

Thanks for your continuing interest in the game!  cool

We're interested in player counts of 2-4 (cooperative or competitive) at this stage, since single hero play has already been tested exhaustively. If you can handle this as a solo player you're most welcome!

Monday, June 02, 2014

1066, Tears to Many Mothers winner announcement!!

Apologies for the delay people, I've been out and about and am back on the internets now.

I'm delighted to announce that, with his excellent rendition of "I get my kicks in 1066" the winner of our competition to get yourself a free copy of 1066, Tears to Many Mothers (Featured Here) is....  drum roll....  Steve Dell!


Thanks to all of you who entered, and I'll try to run this competition again sometime.

Steve, please send me your address details to holycriphesacrapple at gmail and I'll get your copy posted out to you ASAP.

Cheers, and happy gaming everyone!  :)


Tristan

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No more games - play what you’ve got! Part 3, Hang On – Some Of These Aren’t Even On The List

I’ve banned new games from being purchased in 2014 to allow us a year to play through all the games we’ve already got – and there are a fair few of them, though a very modest collection compared to many other gamers.  If a brilliant, must-have game emerges this year I’ll just have to wait to see if it survives a few months of fair reviewing and the cult of the new to become a lasting classic, and if so I should theoretically have no problem picking it up in 2015 anyway. 






Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords - Base Set

We started from scratch after losing key heroes in our last attempt at the campaign, and so we set about bashing through Perils of the Lost Coast.  Sam was Kyra, I took Valeros.  We plowed through the first two scenarios but it came down to the wire in scenario 3 with the big baddie Black Fang, with me having to back away on the brink of death with no cards in my deck and Sam going in on the last turn with one final roll of the bones.  But he nailed it and we made it through.  Pretty tense.  Not sure how we're going to slot this campaign in with all the other games we're supposed to be playing though this year though.

The simplicity of the game quickly shows up after repeated plays, but it’s a nice easy game to come back to and the delayed release of each expansion works nicely for us.  I’m going to give Skulls & Shackles a miss because the pirate theme doesn’t interest me as much, and I’m not sure what kind of new stuff they’re bringing to the table with it, mechanically or otherwise.  Not that you’d necessarily need it with this type of game, where more is usually good - one of the biggest failings of the LOTR LCG for us was that the attempts to make each expansion scenario really different, though admirable, more often than not fell flat, with some adventures feeling positively un-play-tested - and we actually play-tested a lot of them!  The quicker release schedule of PAG will suit fans, and maybe the third set will be more thematically interesting, though I’m not at all familiar with the Pathfinder universe.  So far it’s been cool albeit generic enough fantasy, though I’m not a fan of their goblin art, or the papyrus sheet background which each image gets, and the card layout itself from a design point of view, well, yeah, it might be clear to read but it looks like a prototype to me.  It’s a shame WOTC don’t release a similar game because with the D&D brand and worlds/settings it would be ace.  Luckily we’ve got the adventure system games for that.  :P

Games played in 2014 = 3
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 7.5




Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Not played this in a while so we broke it out and actually convinced my staunchly non-gamer sister who was staying with us to join in.  The rules are simple and fast playing – although we opted for the basic game so as not to overwhelm my sister’s non-gamer brain - and it didn’t take much time to pick back up at all.  The family friendly coop theme makes me think of Forbidden Island, as does the simplicity, though FI has seen more play time.  We set up in 5 minutes flat, scanned the rules, and quickly managed to rescue a few peeps with my sister carrying all the animals out of the building, and me mostly catching false alarms, much to the others’ mirth (I make for a very lazy fireman apparently, who spends most of his time outside the building smoking fags).  Then the fires started breaking out in force and smashing the building up at the same time.  Before long we suffered two casualties to the smoke and flames, but we had rescued the requisite 7 victims to win the game.  Undeterred about the game actually ending we carried on to rescue the final victim just to see if we could.  And we did.  All in it took less than 30 mins and was good, family friendly fun.  My sister tried to hide the fact that she enjoyed herself enormously and then let us get back into the nerdier games where we get to blast things and slay monsters.  Great components, and clear gameplay, reminded me how glad I am to have Indie be the producers of Fantasy Quest.

Games played in 2014 =1
Rating in 2013 = 7
Rating in 2014 = 7




Invaders

I chose the invaders and set off straight away from turn 1 in earnest attacking Eurasia (and because my opening hand held a whole bunch of cards which get bonuses when played into Eurasia) where the battle raged the whole game.  An early Revenant, coupled with the Black Goo made sure Sam was on the back foot early on.  I piled up the baddies in Eurasia and boosted them with some alien hybrid children, activated most of my strategies, and piled through towards the finish.  There was a hiccup on the penultimate turn when Sam retaliated with some missiles and took out my big guys, bringing my invasion temporarily to a total stop, but then I brought in the Lucifer tripods to Africa to drain what was left of his deck and bag the win.

Love this game.  The sci-fi horror theme is gritty and nasty, Chechu’s artwork is brilliant, easily equalling if not bettering his stunning Wild West imagery for Revolver, the gameplay is fast and tactical, but tense and exciting.  Really this game deserves way more attention and notice, and should have made a bigger splash than it did.  I also realised how this game and Mark Chaplin’s designs - alongside Magic: the Gathering and its ilk of course – have influenced my own ‘asymmetrical card decks’ design template for 1066, Tears to Many Mothers.

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 10
Rating in 2014 = 10



Revolver

Continuing the Mark Chaplin theme we loaded up our revolvers and shot through two games with Sam as Ned and me as Colty, Sam was smacking me up left and right in the first game as I made a pitiful stab at the Mexican border and by the time we reached the train, Colty and his remaining henchmen were gunned down right quick.  I’d felt overwhelmed the whole game, so played again with the same sides to see if the bandits were outmatched.  Still felt overwhelmed the whole game and made another paltry go at the Mexican border, since I started with 3 cards which removed tokens from it.  But as usual, that tantalising victory mirage never came to pass, and I got shot to bits the whole game through.  Made it through to the final couple of turns at the 3.15 with just Colty left.  I gambled big time and took the rarely played desperate act of derailing the train, destroying everything except Colty and a trusty pistol, Sam had 4 cards left to hit me in the final turn but couldn't bring any of them to bear, so the gamble paid off and I bagged the victory in the closest game possible.  Love this game too, but it just squeaks underneath Invaders in rating because Invaders has more options available in a given turn and feels more epic.  Plus Invaders is weirdly kinda sorta the sci-fi horror themed game which Revolver began as when it was Aliens: This Time Its War.  Which is so meta that my chest might burst just thinking about it.  But there’s a space for both (well, all three) in any self-respecting gamer’s collection.  Ooh, and it takes about 25 minutes to play this once you’re a dab hand.

Games played in 2014 = 2
Rating in 2013 = 9
Rating in 2014 = 9



Return of the Heroes

We went about setting everything up for a Heroes’ Return (Of The) with a couple of the expansion heroes, but I slowly realised with growing dread that I couldn't remember any of the rules, and that the reference sheets I'd printed from BGG didn't help in that regard (been spoilt by Universal Head's more comprehensive pdfs), and after about twenty minutes of poring over the rules, both official and printed fan-rewritten versions, we started to feel like it was far too much effort, so we packed it back up and cracked on with Robinson instead!  I’m going to have to get this back to the table for a few solo plays to get the rules down properly before we break it out again…

Games played in 2014 = 0
Rating in 2013 = 7
Rating in 2014 = ?



Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

After playing the latest session this goes back up to a 10, just really a perfect adventure game.  I can’t even remember any issues all that time ago from learning the rules now, and once you have them down the brutal narrative and deliciously painful decision making come to the fore, guiding you through a really great and terrifying island experience.  We played Volcano Island and made an epic start, exploring like crazy with me as explorer and temple-raider and Sam as soldier taking care of hunting duties.  Battered through the first three temples and grabbed a ton of really good treasures (including all the Indiana Jones homages) and barrels, with loads of wood, and thanks to Sam’s sharp shooting we had fur and food coming out of our ears.  We put down a shelter with 1 roof and never rolled more than 1 rain the whole game.  Steadily moved across the island to the far end, easily built the 'jolly' boat – it was more of war galleon with the amount of wood we had - and bagged a tidy win with 40+ points.  Or did we?  Whilst counting the points I suddenly realised we'd only explored 5 of the required 6 tiles, meaning that we'd survived, but failed the objective!  As that gigantic ash cloud moved ever nearer to our shocked heroes, the end credits rolled.  We’ve played all the contained scenarios now, and I can’t wait to give the online King Kong scenario a go too.  Also keeping an eye on Ignacy’s games and eyeing up Stronghold as a potential future purchase.  He’s up there with Vlaada as a truly brilliant game designer, and I’m excitedly looking forward to seeing what he does with The Witcher franchise in board game form.  Robinson am hard…

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 9
Rating in 2014 = 10



Resident Evil Deck Building Game

I drew Barry, Sam was Ada, and we hit the mansion hard.  I died twice mulching through the lower level stuff, levelling up my magnums ability, whilst Sam tinkered around with his deck, pulling in the higher gold cards and taking two magnums to block me.  Once he’d levelled up his ability to look at mansion cards and put them to the bottom before exploring I tried to bite back my cries of ‘that’s broken!’ but didn’t, and instead cried ‘that’s broken.’  But through my early exploring I had already managed to bag the other three magnums and some crucial yellow herbs, and by this point it was too late.  I was averaging 75 damage with a magnum most turns, and pared my deck right down with many shattered memoriesesies.  Facing Uroboros for the third time I took him out with a gigantic revenge blast using a magnum and gattling gun for the victory.  Scores about 42 to 27.  This is a great deck builder, with a cool theme, and I’m oscillating about picking up the expansion stuff for it, especially since it has now been discontinued.  Wouldn’t know where to start with the expansions though, and, somewhat refreshingly, there’s a shit ton of variability and replayability in the base game anyway.  Some of the character abilities seem a bit off, and some way more powerful than others (don’t think Wesker has lost a game in our circle), but having been raised on Talisman 2nd edition, I’m quite resilient to this sort of design idiosyncracy/flaw/ idiosyncracy.

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 8



Star Wars: The Card Game

Over the months of steadily shuffling the games around on my shelves as they get played this title somehow shuffled down to the bottom spot in a big stack, and I think for that very reason alone (i.e. being harder to physically get at) it circulated out of our regular playing cycle.  Which sucks, because it’s a great game!  So with a Herculean effort we heaved the boxes above it out of the way and pulled Star Wars out for a game.  My 4 year old is going to absolutely love this game a in a few years as he’s currently going through the same sort of absolutely mental Star Wars fandom which I went through at his age.  Indeed, just last night he was babbling about Obi Wan and Yoda in his sleep.  :)
Sam took the Jedi, I was the Imperials, and it took us a while to get the rules straight again.  My fault mainly because I kept thinking I was remembering things but wanting to see it written down somewhere, and though I was usually correct it wasn’t much fun for Sam watching me sift through the rule book.  Need to print a proper crib sheet for this bad boy.
Rules lookups aside, the game itself didn’t take long.  After feigning a couple of rubbish early turns I started to bring in the big guns, with a resources overload and my star destroyers started going after the Jedi objectives just to pass the time.  I’d destroyed three objectives compared to the Jedi’s one before the game ended in annihilation for the Jedi.
The Pod system works well for more casual gamers (and us) but can lead to imbalanced decks.  I love the art on the cards, and am so glad they didn’t just go with stills from the movie.  Also the expanded universe stuff doesn’t really bother me as I’m a fan of the Clone Wars cartoon series, which is actually better than the prequel movies for a bunch of reasons, including better acting of all things!

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 8




1066, Tears to Many Mothers

I remember Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You once saying he had an idea for a Pokémon style collectable card game but with important historical figures and dates on them instead of cartoon monsters (this was at the height of Pokémon mania).  I wonder if this had an influence on my designing a history based card game…
In any case playing and testing continues, prototypes are available in competitions on BGG and over at my blog, and the beta version is winging its way to publishers now.  There’s been a reassuring susurration of interest from people who are into gaming and history and potentially teaching themselves, their friends and/or their families a little bit about one of the most important battles in English history.  If this gets traction I’ll continue with the Agincourt battle follow up game.  My plan is to move through a few of the major historical battles and eventually tackle the first and second world wars through the major battles and in a similar format.  By that point the games would be multiplayer instead of just two player head to head, and we will have campaign rules for the major battles which reach through the entirety of each war.  In theory.  But war gamers generally prefer to use minis rather than cards, so this whole thing might end up going nowhere fast!  :D


Games played in 2014 = 50+



DC Deck Building Game

Finally, I need to say a little more about this game, as I was perhaps a little too harsh on it last time, or just not positive enough.  Alongside Star Wars, my boy is currently Batman-mental too, and when he saw the box for this he wanted in.  So we started playing a very basic version with no hero abilities, mostly just adding up our power each turn and going after one super villain each game…  And it has been absolutely brilliant!  He’s learning his maths and we’re getting to spend even more quality time with him away from the TV and watch him get terribly excited when, for example, Blue Beatle turns up, who is one of his favourite guest characters from the rather brilliant Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  Or listen to him pronouncing vulnerability (vunabeeyatee).  I’d hoped he might get interested in games through something like HeroQuest and am face palming about how simple it was to grab his attention and help with his numbers, and also grow his already relatively encyclopaedic knowledge of the DC universe through this game, which has really suddenly revealed its true, great potential.  Expansion sets, Mr Hyra?  Oh, go on then…

Games played in 2014 = 10+
Rating in 2013 = 8
Rating in 2014 = 10




BONUS GAME PLAYS!

The following games are titles outside of our 2014 games list remit, which we cheekily played at the Bolton GNOME games day (big shout out to the organisers of said event).  This was great because we got to try games we were interested in but would usually have to buy.



Mice & Mystics

Onto the wish-list with this one.  We played the first scenario with some chap called Richard who was learning the game with us, and had some helpful pointers from the friendly bloke who actually owned the game and was photographing the event.  Though we took a while to get going and learn the rules, we beat the adventure with one 'page' to go and it was a great, fun, easy to play (once you know how!) coop dungeon crawler which will be a fantastic fit for families playing with their children and reminded me strongly of the book Redwall, which I think I read when I was about 8 or 9 so I only remember in vague terms.  We skipped over the story segments for brevity, but these will really help flesh out the experience for families playing together.  Lovely minis, tiles and components too.

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2014 = 7.5



Citadels

This is an interesting and quite ingeniously devised city/VP building card game with nice art (and controversial nudity - zoinks!), fast playing turns, cunning tactics and devious treachery, and low-ish overall game time where you’re constantly guessing at your opponent’s moves to maximise your own.  Actually really enjoyed this as a sort of filler game, though I could see how it could go long.  Worth picking up for less than £20, but not sure it would get much play in our collection as it's just not meaty enough.  Another top bloke James Fallows taught us the game, and soundly kicked our arses too – thanks for that James if you’re reading!  You’re going to teach us Magic Realm next time whether you like it or not…  :)

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2014 = 6.5




Lost Legends

James taught us this one too.  It’s a very mathy card-based dungeon crawler, more mathy than Thunderstone maybe, and by the same designer Mike Elliott, though it’s perhaps less intuitive and a little more complex than TS.  As always, familiarity with the cards helps, and as with Thunderstone I’m not a big fan of the level of abstraction, though you don’t quite have that whole TS situation where a dagger, a torch and an iron ration go wandering into a dungeon.  Great art, nice game, just don't feel the need to add this to my collection as it's a bit too abstract for me personally.  This has nothing to do with James kicking our butts again either…

Games played in 2014 = 1
Rating in 2014 = 6



Here follows the rest of the games we want to get through this year, slowly but surely we’re getting there....

A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game
Arkham Horror
Call of Cthulhu: Collectible Card Game
Claustrophobia
Constantinopolis
Dark Darker Darkest
Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
Doom: The Boardgame
Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth
Dungeon Lords
Dungeoneer: Vault of the Fiends
Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game
Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game
Eclipse
Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
Gears of War: The Board Game
Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game
HeroQuest
Lord of the Rings
Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
Magic Realm
Omen: A Reign of War
Resident Evil Deck Building Game
Return of the Heroes
Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
Space Crusade
Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game
Star Wars: The Card Game
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Talisman
The Ares Project
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
War of the Ring (first edition)
Warhammer Quest
When Darkness Comes
Zombies!!!