Friday, March 16, 2018

Dusting the past... or look what I found!

It is indeed that time where I search for one thing and instead find so many other things I wish to game again.  The problem is... very few people today will play old games unless they are a) still in print or b) a cult classic.  This annoys me no end with the mentality of people today who think that unless it's hip and current, then the past is where these games belong.

So what did I find?  Lots and lots of laminated game maps/boards/play aides.

I found I had a number of laminated maps, game boards and aides that I had curled up in a cupboard. I used string rather than plastic bands to wrap the laminated paper, I learnt from my past mistakes there. They had or have been curled for probably a decade or more (2002 was the earliest map - Heroclix). I had located some other maps a couple of months ago and they still have not uncurled... yet, they are getting there.

Wizkids MKDungeon - my personal favourite from the Clix line.

Wizkids Heroclix maps

TSR 1st Edition Divine Right - never use contact plastic!
What I did find out to my chagrin was I used contact plastic to "laminate" some of my old maps/game boards.  The worse example is TSRs Divine Right, where the sticky glue has bled around the "seals" and the playing surface has come away from some sections of the paper, notably where the creases are.
The solution - artist portfolio case
While I have the other maps now on my gaming table and under thick cloth (awaiting the straightening process), my solution for all the other laminated items were these artist portfolio cases.  They can hold quite a few pieces, I bought the largest they had available, just wished there was still a larger version... probably is but I don't think I could warrant the cost (Australia is a horrible country for pricing of goods imported).

That's what I do to protect my investment in games. Laminate those paper items, never use contact plastic and always treat your games like fragile china.

Till next time.
The Hon. John

A little bit of luck and you can find?

A little bit of luck!  Something I'm not blessed with, but occasionally I will stumble across a find which helps to enhance and replace my always increasing games collection.

I am always on the look out for old games that are within my pensioner's budget. In my latest acquisition I was lucky and obtained four games within budget.  Now two of them I already owned, they being Sky Galleons of Mars and Battle Masters.  Sky Galleons I wanted for the extra ships and the spare or replacement components.  Battle Masters I was really happy to acquire as I own two sets, but not the figures and tower.  I can now happily play this game, though I might have to strip some pieces, only two models had broken weapons, but I really can't complain.

Source: BGG
Source: BGG
More information on Barbarians can be found HERE

First of the new games is Barbarians.  I was not originally going to pick this one up, but when I was looking at the BGG site and reviewing the information there I spotted the words "Best:1". I look more these days for games that can handle a solo mode. 1000 counters!  I will have to get to this game in time, but for the moment it has been rescued and placed in a good home - mine.

Source: BGG
Source: BGG
More information on Courtisans of Versailles can be found HERE

My second new acquisition of Courtisans of Versailles, it just intrigued me.  It was different, no idea how it plays or if it will even play well with the group of people I know, but I will give it go in due course.  Reminded me of En Garde! though which was probably why I obtained it.

Hopefully acquiring London (2nd Ed) and King of New York in the coming week.

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Blind Pig Games Club 10th March Meet

Yesterday (being Sunday as of writing) was the first of two meets for the Pig for this month.  The weather here has been on again/off again rain pattern, but it has at least been pleasant and cool.  At present with Paul having had a scare of a heart attack/stroke, I have changed my routine to arriving early, setting up and then with Pat heading on round to assist Paul getting the trailer and boxes ready for transit to the club.  Thankfully it did not rain on us.

First game I played was with Pat and it was One Deck Dungeon, hilarious and fun interaction with Pat.  Flipping cards to find the most horrible of tests, lack of dice, then just failing by 1 pip!  Lost our first game, won our second (all the way down to the final boss, Level 3 characters made us more effective).  Must get this game when I can.

Love the T-Shirt Pat.
I had arranged in the week prior to play a new acquaintance (Mark) 6th Fleet, but family and life in general conspired not to be accommodating, yet Mark was able to make it to the club on Saturday and I enjoyed two cracking games of naval warfare.  I believe we actually played 5th Fleet (there also being 2nd and 7th Fleet titles by Victory Games).  The game hearkens back to the tactical wargames of my youth, which to be honest were all that were really available.  The modern plethora of board games didn't have a large following, and the range available was poor.  

First game was a submarine engagement, Russian versus American.  I was very lucky in this game with the die rolls, and Mark had some pretty consistent bad rolls when he was a shoe in for winning.  The second game we played was a little more complex, I opted to play the Iranians as they had the smaller number of units to deal with (I was learning this game as we went) versus the might of American navy.  Having played this scenario, I'd certainly play it again, now having mulled over how the Iranians could have stopped the Americans from obtaining victory.  I did sink four ships (one task force), damaged a fair number of tankers, however the inevitable loss of fighting units to deal with vastly superior number of American units was an uphill battle.  Still I enjoyed myself, Mark again had some horrible dice rolls, which allowed me to survive a little while.  Looking forward to some more games in the very near future.

HERE is the link to BGG for further information.

Our game in action.

While I was engaged with the intricacies of old chit & hex tactical warfare, here is what the rest of the club was up to on the day.

Matt about to launch an epic game of EPIC 40K.

Pat and Tim, though I beleived Leslie and Jason played as well
 - Warhammer Quest:The Adventure Card Game

Wade and Jason playing Shadespire, Wade having just acquired Skaven!

Michael and his mate enjoying the new version of Deadzone.

Aaron and his mate playing 40K.

BPLaser displaying pieces from their range of product.

BPLaser stock on hand for happy customers.
I didn't have time to head count on the day, was rather engrossed with the games I was playing, however I believe attendance was good. 

I have to thank Mark for parting with his copy of Attack Sub.  I'm off to see my friends at Games World (Carindale) today to acquire some sleeves to protect and thicken the playing cards in this game.

So all up a very good day of gaming.  It was sad not to see our regular James as he has a car problem and spent the day at the car auctions looking for a replacement vehicle.  Talking with him online last night he indicated he was looking at a landcruiser. I hope his car troubles are solved and that he attends our next meet on the 24th March.

I got home to a very excited dog who misses his master.

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Technology and Tournaments

I admit I'm old school, I use pen and paper and I use a laptop/computer for assisting me when I have run tournaments in the past.  Certainly before the easy availability of laptops and other such devices I did all my number crunching by pen, paper, calculator and brain power.

I was invited to an event recently, but declined as being a bloody poor person stops me.  However I did go and look at the players pack.  All fairly standard until I read the following:

"Players are required to record game data to assist with prize allocation. Players will be
required to submit round outcome particulars via the Tabletop TO website – bring a smartphone."


So new technology is easy for those who can access it.  Is making owning a smartphone something that should be a requirement to play in an event?  Is this hampering or improving the options for a tournament player?

I'm getting old and becoming less and less endeared with the "make it easy for me" mentality of so many people today.  This does not mean this only applies to younger generations, but indicative of anyone - society has created this.

I recently played a game where we had to add up our points for a game... I was complemented on my capacity for quick mental arithmetic.  It was standard in my day, no calculators, learn by rote and it has stood by me in all aspects of life.  So many people now grab a calculator or phone App to do the work which should be a simple process.  People lose the skill of mental arithmetic in favour of a labour or in this case mental saving device.

Tournament organisers should be planners, administrators and not just rules lawyers.  I admit I'm first and foremost a planner and administrator and a fairly average rule lawyer.  When I run events my system to record scores and any other minute is critical to my success.  The only time consuming part is finding people cannot fill out a form properly.  Yes I use paper forms to collate data, which helps immensely when people invariable stuff up.

Going back to what upset me was is this requirement (in this case of a smartphone) absolutely necessary for competing in a tournament? (In this case it would appear so.) I am very much about making gaming accessible to everyone, just not to people with deep pockets and the capacity to have what many cannot.  While my hobby is not exactly cheap, the cost to then add another layer of costs on top just to enjoy it, is defeating of encouragement and expanding the community.  By that I mean if you already have the expense of getting the game and paying the entry fee to compete does an additional level of requirement add a burden that is not necessary.

As you can guess from my tone, I find this level of requirement to be hampering.  While I understand that someone would more than likely help a player who did not have the ability to record data, it may not always be the case.  People may be unfriendly and choose not to assist.  While I can use a phone, can wander around the web on it, I find the phone damn useless when it comes to entering data, especially if the App or Web application is finicky.  More than likely it's just me being a cankerous old man who doesn't see the need, or perhaps sees the issues reliance on such "energy" saving systems provide.

Yet I can see the advantage when I put on my "looking from the other side" hat.  It is indeed brilliant that there are applications that allow you to do so much to save you time and effort as an event or tournament organiser.  Though I tend to find these are more helpful to those organisers who play in their own events... (not saying that this is the case for example given, I do not know)

I guess as time marches on the tools which will be deem necessary to life with be mandatory, trying to exist of the grid becomes more difficult, especially if you see inherent issues other cannot.

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A time to game.

This weekend I had my last loyal retainer come visit his Lord and pay his fealty, and he did it on his birthday no less.  I spoke with Sir Anthony the day before and he indicated he had a few new games he wanted to try out.  I have a feeling I'm very much the guinea pig test subject at times!

First up was Rise to Nobility (how appropriate).

Nice box art.

Sir Anthony confusing me with rules, reading the rules is cheating!

My aspiring pleb...
HERE is the link to BGG and more detailed information.

The game reminded me of A Feast to Odin, with the acquisition of goods, but there it changed in that managing the placement of housing and settlers became a juggle.  Finding income, obtaining resources, becomes problematic if you do not obtain meeple workers (can't remember the title).  On more than a few occasions I would think I would be able to perform an action only to find out I did not have the worker meeple or lacked the house needed to place a settler which game me the much needed worker meeple and nobility rating increase.  The bulk of the victory points came from "building" settlers, with the number of resources (up to a limit) producing victory points when created. 
I was really behind the eight ball with this one, I literally learned from my mistakes and from seeing what my opponent was doing.  I like the game, but would need a few more games, and certainly one with four or even six players.
Verdict: Thumbs Up

Next up Bargain Quest

Cutesy artwork for the box...

HERE is the link to BGG for more detailed information.

Getting my head around the mechanics took a couple of rounds, and coupled with the luck factor of the cards drawn I was struggling from word go.  Oh I fleeced the heroes of their money, but wasn't able to turn that into actual victory points to win. 
Essentially there are three monsters that need to be defeated by the heroes.  Wounds for the creatures are the number of players.  Which hero you choose to fleece depends on what you have in your display, the higher the Appeal value the most likely you are to get the hero you want, many of the cards you may have in your hand may not even be eligible to be equipped with the character.  This is perhaps what annoyed me the most with this game, the luck factor with being able to draw the right combination of cards and winning the hero your cards can affect. 
As of writing this post, I found a download of the rules and found I was able to obtain victory points from the gold I had stored. It was on a 10:1 exchange, but I did have a fair bit, possible 4 victory points in the end.  I'd most likely have still lost, but the margin would have been far slimmer.
Verdict: On the fence, though leaning towards a Thumbs Down.  Will need to play a few more games, especially with more players.

Following this was Evolution:Climate, one of my games.

HERE is the link to BGG for more detailed information.

I'd played this before at the club, which prompted me to buy a copy for myself.  So while I had played it, I'm not the best at remember in great clarity how the game played.  After we had grasped the nuances it was game on.  My opponent was cheeky to say that he had been counting my victory points from memory, damn those sort of people...
Never got to the final part of running out of cards, the climate went to Ice Age and all the species died out in one fell swoop.
Verdict: Thumbs Up, but you'd know that from my previous post.

Finally the last game of the day was Outlive.

My plan to send my opponent mad was succeeding!

My final board placement...
I really enjoy this game, so much so I'll be asking my local FLGS to order me in a copy.
It takes skill to place your Hero tokens (their value determine the resources they can acquire or their hunt skill) remembering that they can only move in one direction and cannot have a final placement which places them on a area which has a hero of their own, regardless of activated or not.  Dashing about trying to find the resources to feed and keep your bunker operating is a challenge. 
I've only ever played this as a two player game, would love to try the four player game once I obtain a copy.
Verdict: Thumbs Up.

I am writing this up Sunday, not much likelihood of another game today, but yesterday was indeed welcome and I thank Sir Anthony for taking the time to come game with me, especially as it was his birthday. 

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sprucing the goose! ... or I fixed my game.

On the weekend I was extremely lucky to acquire a copy of Superpower and old 1986 board game made by Games Workshop.  Yes Games Workshop did once produce board games (Fury of Dracula, Judge Dredd, Warrior Knights etc) and role playing games (under licence - Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, etc).

So my copy of Superpower showed it's age... nothing wrong with that, I'm no spring chicken these days either.  The box was a little worn, mildew had stained the surface of the box and map board.  The games playing pieces were intact, the play cards in particular almost looked like they had never been used.  Then there was the rule book... very sad... very coffee stained sad.

Well I'm of the behavioural sub-type that makes OCD look like a mild malady.  I spent the morning after I received the game typing the rules up and scanning the pictures.  Having worked in Quality Assurance I was fairly skilled at document control, editing, proofing etc.  I'm not saying I may not find an error (typo) here and there, but on the whole I believe I copied the entirety without omission - yes even the copyright material at the end.  I scanned the artwork, and managed to erase the stains which marred some of the pieces.

Above you see the beta edition printed.  Sadly I ran out of ink for my printer (my daughter wanted 30 odd resumes printed so she could go job hunting on the Sunshine Coast), and the draft version was so poor that I could only get one decent page and the rest were virtually unreadable.  Hopefully I can afford some more ink this pension day and will try again.

On the whole I am very pleased with the outcome.  It's only a 2 A4 sheet set of rules, so I plan on eventually printing 6 sets of the rules (that being the maximum number of players), so that each player has access, rather than fighting over the single rule book.

I have done similar things before, did this with Encounters (an old Mayfair game) and now need to hone my skills on creating counters.

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Friday, February 23, 2018

Blind Pig Games Club Meet 24th February 2018

What a cracking day today was.  The last 48 hours has seen torrential rain inundating South East Queensland, but we were very luck to be able to pack and unpack all the clubs materials during the dry spells.

I'll start with the games I played today.

Link to BGG HERE for more information.

James brought along his Kickstarter edition of Dinosaur Island, I'll find out next week when I collect my retail edition what the differences are.  The metal coins alone were brilliant.  The game itself played smoothly, very little in the way of any conflict.  The only hiccup was finding out the loss of 10 victory points if a paddock did not have any attractions.  This was made more humorous as it was stated "to ensure there is no confusion over the rules... I shall go over the rules for everyone to hear".  Only one of the four players indicated that they would choose another game over Dinosaur Island if given the choice of games to play.  The rest of us enjoyed it immensely (well I did!)
Verdict: Thumbs Up.

Link to BGG HERE for further information.

This was Pat's Kickstarter which he brought along.  Four player game, simple enough game mechanics and the theme was entertaining, certainly helped along by the artwork.  Again the only complaint was the waiting time while awaiting your turn.  I think that this was only due to the unfamiliarity of the game, I'm sure that a few more games would fix this complaint.  I liked the game, I believe that I'd do better in future games, now knowing the nuances.
Verdict: Thumbs Up.

Link to BGG HERE

Another of James' Kickstarters.  Mechanics and game play fine, though James thought the replay ability will drop over time.  What sold this game to me and others was the entertaining combination of text on each card.  For example "It wieghs a ton, jingles and scratches but... burns in a fiery ring of fire."  So much fun just seeing what combination of card text could be achieved.
Verdict: Thumbs Up.

Other combinations (just mine):
You can never dig too deep with a pickaxe that... will become an artifact of ultimate power.
It flutters tastefully and... will become an artifact of ultimate power.
It flutters tastefully and... has a heart of gold.
Ram into your enemies with a helmet that... has a heart of gold.
Each ring in the chain contains the spell that... has a heart of gold.
Each ring in the chain contains the spell that... whitens your hair and deepens your voice.
It weighs a ton, jingles and scratches but... whitens your hair and deepens your voice.
It weighs a ton, jingles and scratches but... is made from stone.  What?
One man's thief is another man's thief.
It weighs a ton, jingles and scratches but... burns in a fiery ring of fire.
Ogres have layers. Of repressed anger. (Ogre)
All missions are suicide missions in a goblin army. (Goblin)
Has the right to bear arms. (Werebear) 
A tree of life... despite all the corpses around it. (Treeman)
It's not the length that matters with a sword that... is stone cold.
It's not the length that matters with a sword that... opens all kinds of doors for you.

So what else did I see being played today, well quite a few games on offer.
Warhammer 40K
EPIC 40K (or maybe Armageddon)
Imperial Assault
Space Crusade

Some of the Buy Swap Sell items up for grabs.

Old boardgames which I shall have to acquire.

EPIC in action.

Space Crusade!

Merchants and Marauders game.


Deadzone I believe...

Imperial Assault.
My acquisitions on the day were:

Thanks to Glen T for getting me this one.

Thanks to Eddie for doing a deal.

Rather happy acquiring these, especially SuperPower an old Games Workshop title.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

PS: Forgot to include games played update!