Friday, August 12, 2016

Saturday 30-July-2016: The last of the monthly FANGcons

I only got to play 3 games this time around. The monster was Posthuman, the first game I played. There were 4 of us, and it took 3.5 hours. I actually have the game myself (I backed it on Kickstarter) but it wasn't my copy we played. As you might guess from the playing time, it's quite a heavyweight game. It's basically an RPG with board and card elements. One thing we did find is that it seems very difficult for anyone to manage to reach the target area (Sanctuary). In our game, i was the sole survivor but, having retreated to my starting base to "lick my wounds", we realised I was going to end up mutated as soon as I left that safe area! I did enjoy it despite this, but it's certainly not for everyone.
Next, the same 4 of us played Above And Below. This was not such a herculean effort, only taking us about 2 hours to finish. It's basically a worker-placement-type game, but it has an interesting mechanic for one of the actions you can take - "explore" caves. You draw a card, roll a dice and check which entry in the story book to use for the encounter - one of the other players reads the short story-like description from the book, and gives you the options of how you want to react. This can then lead to a further, extra encounter, or (mostly) the end result, where you either gain stuff (such as resources and/or gold) or not, if you were unlucky in your choice of reaction. It was enjoyable enough, although we found that, for the cost of workers it takes, the cave exploration rarely provides the best payoff. I'm not particularly interested to play this one again.
Lastly, again the same 4 of us, we played Temporum. I actually had to leave before we managed to finish the game. I enjoyed this one, the mechanics are quite simple to take in, and you have to really try and second-guess what other players will do on their turn, when figuring out your best move. Boardgamegeek describes it fine, it really isn't complicated, but is good fun certainly with 4 players as it's often the case that your plans have to be changed by the time it's your next turn. I would like to play this one again, but I'm not sure I would buy it.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Saturday 23-July-2016: Gaming session with 4 colleagues

We played: Istanbul, which i actually enjoyed. Mind you, it was my first game of this - having read on BGG that after you play it a few times, it becomes easier to plan a good route across the action spaces on the board. Our game of this took about 2 hours, and was pretty close - apart from the winner (who obviously had 5 rubies at the end) 3 of the other 4 of us had reached 4 rubies, and I was poised to get my 5th on my next turn.
We played a total of 4 games of the quick-fire card game The Resistance (we didn't have the expansion though). The first game of this took 15 minutes, the second took 20 minutes, the third took 15 minutes again, and the last took 10 minutes. 5 is the minimum number of players. This is a really fun deduction/bluffing game, although our experience is that it's nearly impossible for the resistance to win. In fact in each of our games of this, the spies won. But trying to figure out who's a spy and who isn't, with all the arguing and accusations that occur, is fun. Could make a good game to play drunk, too, as long as you and the other players don't get violent...
We tried a game of Mysterium, that took just over an hour. I think the version we played was the 2015 one. The one of us whose game it was, who had actually played it before, took on the role of the helpful ghost. Now, i really like the idea of this game, and the way the ghost gives clues to the players - the game is vaguely similar to Cluedo - the ghost is of someone who's been murdered, and each of the other players will have a corresponding deck of 3 cards, consisting of the murderer, the location of the murder, and finally the method. These are drawn by the ghost and so the ghost has to give each player clues so they can guess each part of the deck - the murderer first, then the location, and finally the method. the ghost does this by assigning each player clue cards, again drawn at random but then the ghost can decide who to give each card to (and can give more than 1 to a player). The problem we found is that the number of turns you get is just too little. I think at the end only 1 of us had managed to guess all 3 of their murder cards.
Finally, we played Terra Mystica. One of the guys had picked this up at the Boardgames Expo in Birmingham. It took us 2 hours 50 minutes. I enjoyed it, but it is quite a detailed game, and there are many options as far as what to aim to build, and how to score victory points. I certainly think it warrants some further play. It doesn't really have a conflict mechanism (although it is possible for one player to "steal" another player's terrain hex if the first player terraforms it but doesn't build on it straight away). I like the way the terrforming mechanism works so it's not easy for a player to steam ahead and grab lots of land

Istanbul @ Amazon
The Resistance @ Amazon
Mysterium @ Amazon
Terra Mystica @ Amazon

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ludorati - Monday 18th July - Sheriff Of Nottingham

So last Monday was the latest session at the Ludorati Boardgames cafe in Nottingham, by myself and several colleagues. This time, we opted for a game of the bluffing card game Sheriff Of Nottingham. There are 4 types of produce cards, plus a variety of "contraband" cards - some of which double up as multi-produce cards (e.g. "counts as 3 bread" The 4 types of produce are: Apples, Chickens, Cheese, and Bread. Each round, one person plays the part of the sheriff (everyone gets 2 goes at this, taking it in turns), and the others have to submit 1-5 of their hand of 6 cards, in their own little pouch, and then make a declaration of what they have put in the pouch. You can only declare one type of produce though, so the idea is to try and sneak through other cards, of different produce types or contraband. But if the current sheriff chooses to check your bag, you have to pay them a penalty that depends on the value of any cards you have submitted that are not of the type you declared. However if you have been honest and the sheriff still checks your cards, then the sheriff has to pay you instead. With four of us, no-one managed to get through more than 2 contraband cards i think. And i won, in then end quite comfortably, despite bluffing the least amount of times. 2 of my fellow players were battling over getting the most apples - if you get the most, or second-most, of any of the four produce types you get a bonus - which enabled me to "sneak up" and claim both the most Cheese cards *and* the most Bread cards, gaining me a nice bonus of 30 coins in total. And I did manage to get through 2 items of contraband. It was enjoyable, but I can see how replayability is limited. It's not one I would consider buying.

Sheriff Of Nottingham card game at Amazon UK

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bingham Boardgame Group meetup Tuesday 12-July-2016

Last Tuesday, we started up the Bingham gaming group again.  Following on from the last time we met (about 6 weeks ago I think) in Bingham, we started a game of Euphoria - Build A Better Dystopia.  We played for about 1.5 hours but didn't finish this time around.  In the end there were only 3 of us left playing, but each of us three want to try it again next time.  We just need more people attend so they can bring a variety of games - most of the ones I have require more thought/awareness of different gameplay mechanisms, whereas some people prefer simpler games, or games they already know well, or just have no interest in some types of boardgame.
Onwards and upwards for the group though!

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia Board Game

Ludorati session... 4? or 5

Last Monday (11-July) was my latest gaming session at Nottingham boardgame cafe Ludorati There were 4 of us, and we managed to get in 2 games of Seven Wonders. I've played this excellent card game several times before. There's enough complexity to it that there are multiple ways you can build your strategy, and of course change it on the fly depending on what cards are getting passed around and what cards other players are building. It uses a drafting mechanic that's easy to understand as you simply play your chosen card on each drafting round, until everyone has played 6 cards. In the first game from Monday's session, i came joint 2nd (3rd? I'm not sure which is the correct way to put it), although the winner didn't have a lot more points than us. The second game, I only came second instead of first as the other player who got the same amount of victory points, had more money. Mind you, I had a far stronger military! I noticed a couple of interesting things about these 2 games we played: 1) Both of them resulted in each of use specialising in different types of buildings - there wasn't much competition between us as far as building types went 2) The way we all played it, we focused on trying to build the buildings we wanted, as opposed to trying to stop any of the other players from building the buildings they wanted I'd also like to note, that for the 2nd game, we played using the more difficult sides of our Wonder boards.

7 Wonders Board Game

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Dawn Of War 1

Finally got around to playing some more of Dawn of War 1. Completed mission 8 - only 2 more to go now I think! Did take 3 tries at it - the first time around I didn't realise there really is a kind-of time limit to saving the besieged, separate part of the marines' base, the second time around I hadn't realised the first area your troops start in has no navigable link to the besieged base, so it really was 3rd time lucky!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Just Cause 2 - A joy to play!

I am slowly playing through Just Cause 2 - I actually completed the first main story mission (the introductory one) last night. It's a joy to play, giving you bonuses for causing more mayhem. I like the way certain bits of the scenery are intended for you to destroy to get such bonuses, and that you don't have to guess which ones, as they appear in your targeting as a valid target! it's also simply fun to play. Currently I am sticking with my usual mouse-and-keyboard combo for controlling it, unlike Batman Arkham Asylum, which i find somewhat easier using an Xbox360 controller than mouse-and-keyboard.

Saturday 23-April-2016: Gaming session with 3 colleagues

A different guy from our bi-monthly (mostly) gaming group was unable to make it to the latest Saturday. We played: Pandemic - it took 1.5 hours. This was our first time playing it, the 4 roles we drew were Quarantine Specialist (me), Researcher, Scientist and Contingency Planner. We managed to win (all 4 diseases cured) despite an unlucky start (a large infection of blue) but there was just 1 card left in the draw pile, so it went right to the wire. Next, we played a quick (about an hour) game of Camel Up, which is a fast-playing betting game, where you bet on a camel race. The race is split into a number of rounds, and the objective is to end with the most money. One of us kept betting on the overall loser, so ended up not doing very well. The finishing scores were - the winner had 36, then 2 of us had 25, and finally the last of us had only 12. Then we played 2 simultaneous 2-player games of a card game one of the guys is developing. I can't provide the details here yet, but it was fun to play and we found no game-breaking features in it. Lastly, we played a game of Zombicide: Prison Outbreak, that took about 1.75 hours. This time we played mission...4 i think it was, and we managed to complete it without anyone being turned into a zombie! it was quite close at the end though.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday 27-February-2016: Gaming session with 2 colleagues and a non-work friend

One of the colleagues from our bi-monthly (roughly) gaming group was not able to make it this time, so there were only 4 of us in total. We played: Cthulhu Wars - having given Chaos In The Old World a try recently, I can see the similarities. We randomly assigned the factions, and I got Cthulhu. I did enjoy it, though I ended up panicking several turns in, and initiated the end of the game hoping for no winner as i didn't think I'd be able to get my last spellbook. However, One of the others did manage to gain their last spellbook on the last turn, and so they won. I look forward to playing it again. The game took us 2 hours 20 minutes to play. Next, we played Ticket To Ride after having lunch. I was green, and came in last with 78 points. The winner was blue with 115. It didn't help me that about halfway through I decided to go for the "longest continuous route" bonus, not noticing that blue had slyly managed to gain this bonus whilst also completing 2 or 3 more route cards than me. It took 1 hour 20 minutes. I did enjoy it. Lastly, we played a game of Munchkin. It took nearly 2 hours, and for once (we've played it a few times) I didn't die right near the start! In fact, in the end, it was very close - we all got to level 9, then we spent a little time all trying to stop anyone from reaching level 10. Alas, someone did (not me) but I found it much more enjoyable than previous occasions.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tuesday 16-February-2016: Bingham Boardgames Group

Tuesday 16th Feb was the most recent meetup of our small, Bingham-based boardgaming group. Once again - for the third time in a row - I brought Settlers Of Catan (the original version, back when it was still called Settlers Of Catan), along with the 5-6 player expansion. This was after the success of the previous 2 meetups, but this time we used both a randomised island, and the robber. Once again, I didn't win. It took us about 1.25-1.5 hours, similar to the second game of Catan we played. We did realise near the end of the game, that we had not been using one of the (quite important) rules, relating to where a settlement can be built. The rule is, you can only build a settlement on a hex corner where both the adjacent corners are not built on. This would make placing settlements much more challenging (with 6 players, anyway) and probably result in a somewhat longer game.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tuesday 02-February-2016: Bingham Boardgames Group

Tuesday last week was the next meetup of our small, Bingham-based boardgaming group. This time, again, I brought Settlers Of Catan (the original version, back when it was still called Settlers Of Catan), along with the 5-6 player expansion. This was after the success of the previous meet, at the end of which everyone had said they would like a 2nd game of Catan. I didn't win this time, either! It was quite a bit quicker than the first time around, only taking between 1.25-1.5 hours. Now that everyone has got the hang of it, I think at the next session we are going to play once more, with the island fully randomised, and also using the 2 robbers as well. Should make it a more fun, and probably more chaotic, game to play.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Saturday 23-January-2016: FANGCon #54

Managed to get through 5 different games this time! 7-player Shadow Hunters. The second time I've played it, the first time was actually the first time I attended a FANGcon. Think it was also 7 players that time. The game works really well with this number of players. So we had 3 Hunters, 3 Shadows and 1 Neutral. Despite 2 of us (I was a Hunter) mistaking the 3rd Hunter for a Shadow, and so assisting in her early demise, for a while it looked like we were going to win. In the end though, it was down to 1 Hunter (not me) vs. 1 Shadow, and the Shadow won. The game took about 45 minutes to play. 4-player Chaos In The Old World. This is the first time I've played. I enjoyed it a lot, which bodes well for my purchase of Cthulhu Wars, which i have read is very similar. We randomly assigned factions, I got Khorne. I came last, but I feel I was beginning to get the hang of playing Korne near the end - for the last 3 turns or so. Would very much like to try playing this again. The game lasted about 1.5 hours 5-player Mission: Red Planet. I drew last place in this game. I do feel the combination of game-wide bonus, and the personal missions cards you start with (and can accrue extra) have the possibility of severely limiting your chances to score points. This actually happened with me, whereby the personal missions I had meant I was split between trying to complete them, and trying to be the player that gained the game-wide bonus. In the end, I did manage to do well with my personal missions (one was a success or failure, which I completed, the other had 4 levels of success, of which I managed 3) I wasn't particularly fond of this game though. It lasted about an hour. 5-player 7 Wonders, I think it also had the Leaders expansion. I've played this once before, at one of my games days with colleagues. It took me a round or 2 to recall what the various symbols on the cards mean, and how resources and building stuff works. I came last, but only by 5 points. The game only took half an hour. I would very much like to play this again some time as well. The last game of the day was 4-player Five Tribes. I liked the main play mechanic this game uses - picking up the meeples on one square of the board and leaving them on other squares as you move, taking all the same-coloured meeples as the last one, from the square it lands on. And I didn't come last! I was second-last instead, with 111 points. Also, the player who came 2nd only beat me by 1 point! The only downside is there's quite a lot to consider and keep track of, as far as scoring is concerned. I would probably player it again however, given the chance. This game took a little over an hour. All in all a very fun day for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bingham Boardgame Group meetup - Tuesday 19-Jan-2016

Last night was the next meetup of our small, Bingham-based boardgaming group. This time around, I brought Settlers Of Catan (the original version, back when it was still called Settlers Of Catan), along with the 5-6 player expansion. This was good, as in total there were 6 of us. The other 5 had not played before, so although I won this one it wasn't really a fair game this time around. However, as I suspected, everyone enjoyed it and got the hang of it, so we're going to play it again next time around! That's the real victory =+) However I may look at replacing my version - it would also be nice to try 1 or more of the other expansions...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Found out earlier today that the Close Combat series of PC games is actually the official computerised adaptation of the Advanced Squad Leader wargame system. This makes me particularly happy to be selling off my collection of ASL boxed modules, now that i know I can play it on computer, whether vs. the computer or another human opponent, without needing a load of bulky boxed modules, fiddly counters, and having to memorise a load of rules. You can buy a number of Close Combat titles from the Matrixgames online store (see this link), and I have just noticed that a couple of the Close Combat titles are also available on Steam. Also, had my 2nd beginner's archery session on Friday. I am, very slowly, beginning to learn the technique of shooting a re-curve bow. It's enjoyable as well!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Just completed Mission 5 in Dawn Of War (the first one) - Yes, I know I'm waaay behind with regards when a lot of the games I have were released. Also completed the first go through of Gemini Rue. Have given up trying for the "Golden Gun" achievement (all 6 gun battles won without any loss of health for the player's character) but the other outstanding achievements I think are still doable, with help from an online guide...

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Boardgame - Reef Encounter - first impressions

I actually bought this game a couple of months ago, after several attempts (both on BGG and on ebay) - it's not always easy to find for sale! I can't remember how I first heard, or read of it, but anyway... (Boardgame geek entry for Reef Encounter) So, until today all i had done with it was check all the components are present and correct (which they are). So today i actually got it out with the intention of starting a game, with my eldest niece. In the end, we didn't get to really start the game at all, but we did have time to both look through the rulebook. This is yet another boardgame that looks complicated initially, and takes a bit of setting up before you can get going, but there actually isn't a lot of things to remember. It's a fancy tile-placing game but with some extra play mechanisms to make it interesting. Basically it involves placing coral polyp tiles in order to grow the several different colours of coral reefs. There are tiles that determine which colours of coral are strong enough to be able to "consume" which other colours of coral, and in addition to this, each player has several shrimp tokens that can be placed and moved on the coral reefs in order to protect coral polyp tiles from any consumption, by both other colour corals and Parrot Fish. Judging by the rules, I think play will be quite ruthless, as you try to maximise your points and restrict the other player/s. Aside from growing the different coloured coral reefs, you also have to get your Parrot Fish to consume as much coral polyp tiles as possible, and carefully plan placement and movement of your shrimp pieces, which protect coral polyp tiles from both other coral polyps and all of the Parrot Fish. I look forward to actually getting a game in at some point.

Beginning archery - session 1 of 6

So, last night I had my first taste of archery, at Bingham Archery Club. They have just started a beginner's course, that lasts 6 weeks with 1, 2-hour session a week. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, despite being mostly rubbish so far - I didn't even manage to get a grouping in this first session! (when you get all 3 arrows quite close together) It didn't help that I was very nervous. I'll have to work on that too. So, I am going to stick with it at least for the whole of the beginner's course.