Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Upcoming gaming, EOTD, Requiem, X-wing and more

This is a post to give light to some of our upcoming games at 'Games Club'. So here we go:

Empire of the Dead

Next week, or perhaps the week after if my painting is behind schedule as it often is, we are starting a new EOTD campaign!

Our old campaign was our first and included three factions, Her Majesties PeelersThe Athenaeum and a vampire faction we chucked together... The Evillians which used some zombies and Ringwraiths.

The old squad. 

For our next campaign I have started to paint up some Lycaon. We are all interested in how they will work as we find EOTD ends up mostly being a big shoot out. Chris is taking the help as Lycaon, which I am not 100% happy about as the painter I was keen to give them a go. Dan's will be a Darkfire club (to make use of the zombies he is painting), and I will create a new Gentlemen, police faction. 

EOTD Requiem. 

I am sure you all by now know about EOTD Requiem, the expansion for EOTD. I am very excited by this, some of the models they are proposing look and sound great. It is being run as a kickstarter campaign with various pledge's and stretch goals. Check out the kickstarter here

I am looking forward to being able to turn my makeshift peeler/gentlemans faction into a real peeler faction with the Supernatural Branch. 

Dan and I will be sharing a pledge 75 which means we get a PDF, 23 models, some extra special characters as well as the PDF rules. We feel like that will suffice for our games club, I mean you can't get everything can you?

Star Wars X-Wing

I love this game, it is simple, yet a heck of a lot of fun! However I have been patiently waiting for to long now for my pre-ordered Millennium Falcon, Slave 1, A-wing and Tie-Interceptor to add to the fleet. Hurry up Fantasy Flight Games! 

The Hobbit and LOTR

We have just enjoyed a couple of sessions of The Hobbit and will certainly be playing more in the near future! 

Check out the session reports: The Hobbit: Escape from Goblin town and part 2.

Call of Cthulhu and D&D

We are keen to play a few more RPGs through the year such as Call of Cthulhu as I am a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and D&D. 

Flames of War.

The other game we are keen to play more of is FOW. We have already played some of this in the past and are looking forward to giving it another shot...

and more... 

That is about it, I am sure we will find more to play as out Games Club develops. Every so often we pull out a board game or two. I am looking forward to a few sessions of Arkham Horror and Battlestar Galactica. In the end I am more of a fan of board gaming than Dan. 

As the age old saying goes, 'Happy Gaming'. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Hobbit Part 2

Monday night game night saw us play through scenarios 4 and 5 from the Hobbit, Escape from Goblin Town, set.  Chris and I were on goblins this week and Steve (who is a tree) and Matt got to play Thorin, Dwalin and Balin.  The scenario required the Dwarves to stop ten goblins exiting off their table edge.  Special rules allowed D6 goblins to arrive each turn.  Goblin King arrives first time you roll a 1.  Ten turns for the boys to hold out.  Here is the set up:

Set Up

First round was just positioning, with the Goblins charging Thorin's side and leaving Dwalin and Balin a little unloved on the other side.  Chris and I thought that if we swamped Thorin and killed him then the game could be ours:

Thorin Swamped 

Fourth round and we had started to move more goblins over to the Dwalin / Balin side, cause they got bored waiting in line for Thorin to kill them.  They scored a wound on Balin and we started to realise that he was the weak link.  We started pushing more Goblins onto their side, trying to tie Dwalin and Balin up while we jumped a few goblins across to try and get them to escape:

Jumping Across to Balin
Sneaking a Goblin Past Dwalin

By sixth round the pressure on Thorin was beginning to toll.  Goblins scored two wounds on him, as his might store started to dwindle and he didn't want to use them to increase his duel role.  On the other side, Chris and I were about to get our second Goblin off the table edge - if we could just break Thorin on this side then we could take it.  During round 7, Dwalin went to try and stop a goblin from getting away, leaving Balin to get hit by four goblins.  Two wounds and a failed fate roll later, the Goblins had Balin as their first casualty.

With three rounds to go, the question was whether Thorin could hold on with one wound and one might left.  Dwalin was chopping through the Goblins on the other side, but Thorin was tiring.  But hold on he did, with some stoic game play and staunch roling from Matt, and ultimately it was a good win for the goodies.

Thorin holding out staunchly

Close Up of Thorin Holding Out Staunchly

Run Forrest run...

The night was but young so we set up for the last scenario: the Wizard and the Burglar.  This involved Bilbo and Gandalf at opposing table edges, having to get to each other.  The Goblin King, Grinnah and six Goblins in their way with the prospect of reinforcements.  I say "prospect" because the game ended at round 3.  Round 1 Gandalf fails immobilise, uses a might to cast it, only for the Goblin King to resist it.  Round 2 Goblin King threw a goblin at Gandalf, knocked him prone and cost him a wound.  Round three he gets up, fails immobilise again (on a 1 and thinks better of using 2 might points).  He is then charged by the Goblin King and a Goblin, loses the duel, is trapped, and gets hit five times (out of seven to wound rolls).

The sun sets on Gandalf

Just Back off Alright Steve...

My reflection on the nights gaming is generally very positive.  We had lots of fun as always (good beer thanks Matt), and the first scenario was again well balanced and could have gone either way.  I was annoyed we didn't get the Goblin King on though, just to try him out in that first scenario.  We made a point of using the different weapon options (feint, piercing strike etc) and found that we could make it work well even with lots of Goblins with different weapons (though it didn't make too much difference what we used).

The sour point is of course Gandalf being nailed so early on in the second scenario.  I've never played magic well, and tactically it is my fault by leaving him against the table edge, but it just didn't seem right that he should have 1 attack against the Goblin King's three...  There is some trick with using more will as well, which only occured to me later.  The Goblin King got a limited run in the second game, and he looked lethal from the little we saw.  Keen to do more goblin hurling in the near future.

I would be keen to use the rules in a bigger battle scenario as well - though how big I don't know.  There were limited tactical options with both scenarios, and so it came down more to luck (with the exception of my Gandalf debacle).  A larger escape from Goblin Town board would be good, but I just don't have the time to make one of those.

Anyway, I do like these rules a lot.  I am glad we have integrated the special strikes in now and got used to them.  Feeling on top of LOTR rules and keen to keep playing a few scenarios.  So, as per usual, just as we build a bit of familiarity we will be moving to the Empire of the Dead Campaign next week! See you then.

The photos were taken with an iPad 3 using the blux camera app I (Steveisatree) wanted to try out. I feel like it took pretty good photos but due to only being 5mp you can't zoom in much on them.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Hobbit: Escape From Goblin Town

Okay so we all love to hate Games Workshop. For those of us at the bottom of the world their prices are even more ridiculous than those of you who live in the northern hemisphere. But if you can get through all the annoying faff, there is a lot to like: their models are pretty cool and in LOTR Strategy Battle Game they have as good a skirmish game system as any.  So I was one of those guys that just had to buy their new Hobbit range and after a couple of months painting we got around to playing it.

The Family Portrait:

 (sorry about the iPhone photos but Steve forgot his camera - and decided to add in random scenery)

We played the scenarios that came with the boxed set.  That meant that there were three dwarves against 12 goblins, the captain Grinnah and a limited amount of special rules that you had to learn for each character (each of the 15 Dwarves have their own rules which makes playing all of them at the same time by one player pretty darn difficult - let alone remembering which one is which!)

Simple scenario: get the baggage and escape.  Some tactical options based on the lay out.  Steve and I played the goblins and Chris the dwarves.

Chris at first didn't like the look of jumping the gap but when we explained the rule (you only die if you role a 1) he ended up giving it a go after a little excursion down the walkway first.

The excursion:

Bofur went first and proved his worth, taking out goblin after goblin and clearing the way for Bombor and Bifur to get across.  Bombor, despite his girth managed to make it across with ease.  Grinnah went in to get Bofur and was promptly killed.  Both hits on him, and he failed his fate role.  Bother.  Blame Steve for that.

Bofur killing Goblins
Steve then tried to block the other side of the platform so they couldn't jump back and get away, but there was enough of a gap for one to get across, and after one was across then it was just a matter of time before the others followed.  Chris played it well and got all three dwarves off the board with the baggage.

Cleaning up the last pesky goblins before taking off:

We enjoyed the game play a lot.  It felt fairly balanced between the goblins and the dwarves.  The dwarves would usually win the duel roles and kill 1-2 goblins but because more goblins came each turn (on a successful role) the dwarves had to keep on bashing and slashing to get out.  Every now and then you could win a duel and get a possible wound. There was a fate role that had to be passed for one of them.  if Grinnah hadn't died so early it would have been a bit more balanced.  With three dwarves, and not much terrain, the fiddly ongoing battling that bogs down larger SBG was missing.  We enjoyed it enough to play the next scenario.

Not a lot on the downside, except to note that this was a very limited scenario and I do wonder whether the game can actually maintain its fun when you bring in 15 Dwarves, Bilbo, Gandalf and the Goblin King and keep on top of what each is doing, how much might etc they have and not have the game slow down to a crawl.  I suppose I will have to keep playing and find out.

I say 7/10.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Firefly: The Game!

I notice this a week back Firefly: the boardgame!

I felt my heart rate rising as I am sure any fan would. A game based on one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

I must admit, although the cards look great, the board doesn't catch my interest just yet. However it looks like they may be touching it up a bit as suggested by the "Images not final." Apparently it is based on a game called Spartacus: A game of blood and treachery. I have not played this game but it is well rated, in the top 500 on boardgamegeek. 

Here is a little description from the publisher about the gameplay, and it sounds good! 
In Firefly: The Game, players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the ‘Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers.  As a captain desperate for work, players are compelled to take on any job -- so long as it pays.  Double-dealing employers, heavy-handed Alliance patrols and marauding Reavers are all in a day’s work for a ship’s captain at the edge of the ‘Verse. 
Check out the publishers, Gale Force 9, official statement here.

By Steveisatree. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Alien Frontiers - 50mm review.

Alien Frontiers is a 2-4 player game designed by Tory Niemann made by small time publisher Clever Mojo Games. It is set in a retro sci-fi universe, even the names of the territories are taken from clasic science fiction authors

Looks and theme.

I have to admit, even if this makes me a shallow board gamer, that I love a great looking game. Alien Frontiers definitely fits into this bracket, which is great considering it is made by such a small company which would make you think it would struggle to do this. Not only does it look great but the quality of the board and components is high. 

The game portraits the retro sci-fi theme well, except maybe the fact that the dice are suposed to be spaceships. 

A real bonus about this game is that the set up time is about 2 minutes! 

Game Play

AF is a worker placement game like one of the best games of all time Agricola. It works by rolling dice/spaceships then depending on what you roll placing the dice in orbital facilities on the board, each having a different purpose. Some gather resources which are required to use other orbital facilities, others give you cards or more ships (dice) to use and most importantly others let you colonise the planet. Once you have placed your ships they remain in the orbital facility which also serves as a way to block other players. 

The aim is to place colonists (m&m like wooden tokens) on the planet to gain victory points, one VP for each colonist and one for each territory you control. To control a territory you need to have the most number of pebbles, m&ms or colonists on the territory. Not only do you get VP when you control a territory but you can claim the territories bonus! 

Alien Artefact cards are what make the game interesting, offering ways to manipulate your luck such as re-rolling or re-using dice. 

To get a better description of the rules read get the rules here

Down Time

Sadly this is my least favorite part of this game. AF can have some very long turns! Once my friend was clocked at a 10min turn! As you can't easily pre-plan a turn it is easy for people to spend allot of time trying to make the best move possible! Its a nightmare, I think I will have to invest in an egg timer. If you can't stand this and like me your gamer buddies can't seem to manage quick turns then maybe this game isn't for you.


I love this game. The worker placement mechanic works well, despite it being dice based there is enough different locations to increase the strategy in placing dice reducing luck. The Alien Artefact cards also provide a means to manipulate your luck. The theme is great, the components a well made and its published by a small time company, all positives in my book. 

Another great thing about this game is everything you do stands on other players toes. Each dice you place prevents your opponents from placing their dice in that spot. The Alien Artefact cards a fantastic for moving your opponents colonists to ruin their territorial bonuses. The raiders outpost orbital facility allows you to steal from other players. 

AF unlike some games doesn't have a clear winner from the beginning. It may look like someone is winning but with a couple of well played Alien Artifact cards the tables can really change. 

BUT! The down time really makes this game a drag at times.


8.5 out of 10

Rating? I would have given it 9.5 out of 10 but the amount of down time really sucks.

Review by Steveisatree. 
50mm Reviews photographs are taken with a Canon 600D and a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. 
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