Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Fury of the Norsemen

Finally played this game and apart from stuffing up the stacking rules the game plays quite well.

Having played half the game in turns (6 of the 12) I found that it is challenging and difficult for the VIkings to win without some cunning plan (something I lacked).  The Villagers cannot activate until such time as a Viking has done an provoking action which allows them to then move and attack.  The animals move randomly, which is entertaining.  

Being a tinkerer of rules I'm thinking of getting the map enlarged, double if I can get it.  The counters I will redesign and make double sided, one side to show an action has been performed.  I found that one of my greatest problems in playing this game was determining which units had moved.  I'm thinking that I shall have a different side colour to reflect an activation.  Once all counters have been flipped to the same colour I'll know if I've activated everything and completed the movement phase.  The counters that came with the game were cut very close to the right side and almost came to the point of cutting off details.  I will redesign the counters and mount them on thicker cardboard.  A set of tweezers is a must with this game, blunt ones especially.  I only had a pair of sharp pointy ones, and was always in fear of jabbing the map.

Final verdict, a good game with simple mechanics and a challenging deadline.  

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A matter of perspective?

It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I’ve got to keep control
From Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s just a jump to the left... it appears that games and a growing number of people who play them are leaning that way?

From a perspective over time I can recall the hysteria whipped up in the early 80’s when Dungeons & Dragons came to popularity and the attraction it had to all sorts of people.  People who played “wargames” were targeted as warmongers (probably what is referred to now as Far-Right), role players as satanic practitioners (the Goth subculture), which were for the most part incorrect, though I can only say this from my personal recollection of the time.  I can certainly recall a store in Brisbane being picketed by the rabble screeching against war, though my memory is hazy about the exact details.

I have noticed in the last few years and most notably in the last year that the label of inclusivity and diversity has begun to creep into games and culture.  For example Shut Up & Sit Down made a complaint that Istanbul had no artwork depicting women (at time 21:08 onwards  The Dice Tower review of London (at time 8:40 onwards had issue with the use of paupers (poverty I’m assuming) in the use of a game mechanic.  These are just two that come to mind, I’m sure I could dig around and find others.  Of course where would we be without the cry of “where are the females” represented in designers, artists, players etcetera and of course I’m now waiting for the “where are the other genders” represented in gaming - they have to be included surely.

When I look at a game I am looking for entertainment value and the concepts of diversity and inclusivity have no meaning at all, nor should they.  What is the world coming to? I saw that Colditz was reprinted and the swastika was replaced, where the original had it printed (yet you can buy Mein Kampf at any good bookstore).  With the hysteria in the USA over the Confederacy flag will games be required to remove the symbol because it’s been perceived to have been hijacked by an element of society viewed poorly by another?  Games that reflect colonial expansion are now being seen as distasteful, regardless of whether the game is actually good, but where do you draw the line?  Will Germans come to an opinion that they are tired of being viewed as the perpetual bad guys in historical wargames, and as a result will we have to remove or ban such content?  Could we see Thought Police who interpret harmless aspects to have more sinister motives, such as some people who see children’s stories or cartoons through tinted glass of their own bias?

J: “People are smart. They can handle it.”
K: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals. You know it.”
From Men in Black

The notion that by removing currently viewed distasteful artwork, ideologies and such from view to discourage upsetting people is hypocrisy.  People get upset over whatever their personal compass is, and people are individuals, though I fear the herd mentality seems to be the norm - especially with social ostracism if your opinion is contrary to the horde.  So what one day may be viewed as distasteful becomes trendy and avant-garde the next and vice versa - the continual cycle of hypocrisy at its best.

When I first became aware of my social responsibilities I had it drilled into me that you never talk politics or religion while in company - excellent advice for my time but today that does not seem to be the case, everyone has an opinion and they believe it’s their right to impose it on you – whether you want it or not.  I have sat at a table to play games where people have decided to discuss religion or politics and it has been made abundantly clear to me which side of the socio-political spectrum they side with.  I have learnt not to express my opinion, I’m “shouted down”, advised it’s not relevant, or what is more galling is “it’s not your fault it’s what I’d expect from you and your age group.” It is best that all concerned keep their opinions to themselves for the sake of harmony rather than confrontation.

I’ve rambled again; let’s get back to my article.  A game that is created should be freely able to convey to its audience whatever theme or artwork that is relevant to its design. It should not be monitored by some Thought Police who have decided it’s their responsibility to say what is or is not acceptable.  Whether the game is successful should be decided by its mechanics and whether it has achieved it ultimate goal of providing whatever outcome it purported. If a person has issue with it, then don’t play it or buy it, it’s that simple.  I believe that by keeping issues in the open for people to see is far better than banning or removing it from view.  By reminding people of the history and issues relevant to them, you can better understand the world and hopefully improve on it.

What can be done about the growing trendy left who play games - nothing.  Who chooses to play games based on their socio-political compass should have no basis on enjoyment.  I find that people of similar values will clique together, so it’s not an issue.  Where you have mixed values then it should be made clear that you are here to play a game and enjoy it (the game) and the company or competitive play of others.  I’m sure that a person will be uncomfortable or outraged by open “warfare” of opinion, so keep it sealed – there are plenty of other forums that you can vent socio-political opinions so don’t ruin a good game and company by stirring the pot.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Addendum: I debated for a while about this article.  I originally penned it on the 19th October, and it's had quite a few rewrites since then.  I'm sure that someone will take exception to what I have written, but this article is from my viewpoint, which is not going to agree with everyone - and that's the point.  Don't agree then that's your prerogative.  However people today need to be mindful of others, and that's not just from one point of view, but all sides.  I want to enjoy my hobby without the reality of the current society we have ruining it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 4th November

Today was the second last club meet for the year.  The regulars arrived as usual and games kicked off. 

Today I played four games of which three were for the first time.  Roll for the Galaxy (see LINK to BGG), Captain Sonar (see LINK to BGG), and Kingdomino (see LINK to BGG) were the three new games with the favourite Gods' Gambit also included from the back catalogue.

Captain Sonar was hilarious.  Our first play was 7 players, but our second managed to acquire 8.  Well worth playing and I believe it will be talked about for a while, especially the Sonar Operator... (that was me).








So that's the wrap up for today.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 28th October

Today was the Blind Pig and it was a good day.  There are only two more meets for the year before the Boss takes a holiday and restarts in the New Year.

Jason the reader of rules - Yamatai

The board set up and ready to play.
I played nine games in total today, six unique games.  Four new games were Yamatai (see BGG LINK), Between Two Cities (see BGG LINK), Hanamikoji (see BGG LINK) and Lovecraft Letter (see BGG LINK).  The other two games played were Tortuga 1667 and Bang:The Dice Game.

Quiet games wise with just board games and a table of EPIC 40K happening.  There was interest in the Buy Swap Sell event, with some good items for sale.  The club will be hosting a special final BSS on the last club day of the year in December.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The High Crusade & The Fury of the Norsemen

Spurred on by anothers blog I went delving through my archive of old games - yes people games have been around since before Catan and the modern rise of board game popularity amongst the hoi polloi.  (I really must stop watching All Hail King Julien, I think KJ's personality is rubbing off on me!)


The box art, remember that these were micro-games
so the box dimensions are 105mm x 180mm x 15mm.
(Image from BGG)

The contents of the game box.
(Image from BGG)
If you are after specific details then check the LINK to BGG.

From initial flick through the rules it is simple enough and I also like there is a turn limit to the game, so I don't have to worry about battling out to the bitter end.

Why did I choose this game?  Not because of the plethora of Viking television shows, well it was because of just one show The Last Kingdom.  My wife was consumed by this series, and I had the job of filling in the history for her.  So this was the closest I could immediately find among my collection.


The nice colour cover of the Ares magazine which contained the game.
(Image from BGG)

The contents!  The game rules are inside the magazine,
very nice colour map and counters.
(Image from BGG)
If you are after specific details then check the LINK to BGG.

Thanks to my problem of sleeping I have to have audio books playing to send me off to beddy bo-bo's (Goodies fan will understand the reference).  My last book listened to was Poul Anderson's The High Crusade, which took me back in time to when I first read the sometime in the early 70's.  Sigh, how time flies, it only seemed like yesterday...  Anyhow I remembered I had the game, even if the magazine was lost in one of the floods, after a quick search (thankfully it was stored in the game container as The Fury of the Norsemen) I located it.  

My first urge was to run off to the local printer and get them to laminate the game map, but sanity prevailed and I will actually read the rules before doing that and punching our the counters.  A quick flip would appear to me that the game would appear simple enough to master (I hope).  

The club is on this weekend so if I can continue with my enthusiasm and not get distracted I may get a game or two in.  Problem is I enjoy multiplayer games at the club, time will tell I guess.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Top 10 Board Games - October 2017

As you may be aware I love my board games.  Today I did a check of my account on Board Game Geek and had it prepare for me a download of my game data.  According to BGG my top 10 games of those owned are as follows with the BGG rank (at time I prepared this) in brackets.

1. Twilight Struggle (3)
2. Star Wars: Rebellion (5)
3. Terraforming Mars (6)
4. Scythe (8)
5. Blood Rage (17)
6. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (28)
7. A Feast for Odin (34)
8. Eldritch Horror (42)
9. Race for the Galaxy (43)
10. Lords of Waterdeep (44)

Do I agree with how the list is shown, based on how the community have ranked the games?  Two of the games on the list, while I own them I’ve yet to actually play them, they are on my to do list.  Here is how I would rank them according to my desire to play them.

1. Lords of Waterdeep
2. Eldritch Horror
3. A Feast for Odin
4. Scythe
5. Twilight Struggle
6. Star Wars: Rebellion
7. Blood Rage
8. Terraforming Mars
9. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
10. Race for the Galaxy

I enjoy Lords of Waterdeep the most out of those listed; it is a game I will play at any time.  I think that A Feast for Odin will rise to the top of the list eventually, it only languishes in third place due to the fact I’ve played more solo games than with actual people.  As a solo game it would rate close if not in first place.

Race for the Galaxy is last, and is there for a good reason.  It is complex with its iconography and game play, I think that my opinion of this game would change if I could get more games of it under my belt.  Must get the expansion that introduces solo play, that may help me to understand the nuances of the game and better appreciate it.

Well there we have it for the next little while.  Still plenty of time to acquire more games before the end of the year; I’ll do another evaluation in December or January.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another rambling diatribe... or my thoughts on an article I read.

A person I know wrote an article online (check article here  Here are my thoughts...

The first two points are “Hang around your local hobby store from time to time...” and “Or hang around your local games club”.  These two are almost the same when it comes to applying the principles advocated.  The comment that weirdos who hang out at games club aren’t present in local hobby stores is not mutually exclusive to one over the other.  If you a looking for a new person to include in home games it’s going to be hit and miss with who you will find acceptable.  One or two visits at a venue I believe will not attain a suitable sounding of the community to find a gaming buddy (unless you aren’t picky or just desperate.)  It has taken me, personally, months to ascertain who I would be comfortable with gaming at my residence.  Whether that person feels likewise is often the problem.  Over my long life I have found that humans are fickle and hypocrites.  People I know and game with (current and past) will literally walk to the other side to avoid having a conversation with me, when all I’d like to do was just say hello and move on.  (Having done more CBT – cognitive behaviour therapy - than the average person, I’m aware of the many implications of that statement, so please do not think that I’m not aware of them if you choose to take offense or point out the exceptions.) Such is the same with gaming, there appears to me to be a “happy to know or play games in a club/store environment with you”, but don’t ask for anymore interaction. Prepare to invest some time searching stores or clubs for the prerequisite gaming buddy of choice.

The other tenants are closely linked together, but the thinking that follows is debatable.  I again make reference to the human condition – people are (most of the time) looking for “what am I going to get out of any relationship.”  For example in my youth I had a group of people who first gamed at my parents house and then at my own home.  The benefits to the group at that time were, my parents tolerated the games at their residence (it also made them feel safe knowing their son was home and not out doing naughty things on a Friday and Saturday night), and my mother also fed them.  When I married and moved out of my parent’s residence, having my own home, the group who attended had the opportunity of no parental/adult supervision and more freedom.  In those early days there were very few alternative sources for enjoying a game on a regular basis.  Shops did not having gaming facilities and the clubs (really good ones in the day) only met on fortnightly or monthly basis (not too sure on the frequency, memories a little hazy) mostly on Sundays.  Younger readers may not remember that Queensland operated with a half day trade on Saturday with Sunday finding almost everything shut.  There was no internet, no mobile phones, no modern conveniences that people take for granted today.  Groups were formed, in my case, through friends and people knowing people (and inviting them along) to University and eventually finding the clubs operating at the time.  From my perspective looking back I found that people were easier to communicate and bond with than today.  Of course it may have just been the age syndrome of youth versus older mindsets and the flexibility it entails.

Where am I going with this (yes I do meander?)  Times may have changed but the human condition has not.  If you feel that you have to entice people to game at your residence with “benefits”, then all you may attract are leeches.  They only hang around because you are providing something which costs them little or nothing to do what they like doing.  I have been blessed with the fact my wife worked in a games store and knew the man she was marrying.  She had no difficulty with associating with my group or with the disruption to home life, not everyone has that understanding partner.  The number of people I’ve known who’ve dropped their interests because of partners or children is not uncommon, as it was in the past so it is today. When it comes to children I have even known of circumstances where persons would not come over for games because of them - the same applies for pets, cats and dogs, it’s amazing what people won’t tolerate.  In the mid 80’s I had my first break down and the group did not accept this or prepare to accommodate me back into the group even with my apologies. While society politely lies to itself that it is non-discriminatory, it is not, especially when it comes to mental illness.  In the 80’s it was almost unheard of for compassion or understanding from the community, you were ostracised and made to feel humiliated.

I have written previously on my blog that the people you associate with and in this case game with will most likely not be the same as time progresses.  In my case the original group that I knew 30 years ago, only one is still gaming with me.  Of the groups I have known since then (with the exclusion of the present), less so, I’d say zero.  As I get older I find that I’m either outliving my associates and friends, they move away, or they no longer wish to associate with me.  My circle of opportunity grows smaller each year; my greatest bugbear is the age gap now.  It has been refreshing to see an influx of youth into my hobby, but with that comes the peculiar discrimination of age. 

Right I’m back looking at the article and relating it to an old man.  For example - I go to a local hobby store or club and hang around looking for a gaming buddy... I think I can almost hear your minds taking the wrong track.  Everyone is younger than you; you are trying to find someone who wants to be your gaming buddy, you can offer them “benefits” with a home based venue.  So I can almost guess people are going to cry “paedophile/deviant”, if you go to venues where there are young children ( up to 17) then you can feel even more threatened by public perception.  It’s difficult to find people who are prepared to accept you on age, just like people’s inability to deal with those suffering from illnesses.  The article only applies where you fall within acceptable parameters of social acceptance. 

My personal rant or call it what you will...
As I have mentioned in the past I have a magnificent collection of games built up over 30 plus years, with more than sufficient space for games and entertainment.  I am with my age and the vagaries of personal circumstances restricted to home or close venues for my gaming enjoyment.  I am particular about who I want to game with and who I invite into my residence.  I learnt that offering enticements through generosity have amounted to zero improvement of chances to game (without attracting leeches) so I no longer offer them.  Though I am still prone to be generous, it’s my nature – pity some take advantage of it.  If people cannot see the opportunity they are missing that I can offer then I’m not going to “prostitute” myself to obtain a gaming buddy or new group of home based gamers.  Of course suffering from my personal daemons makes life extremely hard and I don’t expect people to understand nevertheless feel sympathy for. 

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Solo Games today... because it's very wet outside.

On this weekend the good people at Games World (Carindale) had a 20% off sale and I could not help (with notice) save my pension to lash out on some games.  I acquired A Feast for Odin, Kingdomino and Hanamikoji. Thanks also to my family who chipped in to help me get these games.

Hanamikoji, A Feast for Odin and Kingdomino

A Feast for Odin set up for Solo play.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
Ships 13 11 16 0
Emigrations 0 21 21 42
Exploration boards 6 12 0 0
Sheds and houses 0 0 27 8
Sheep and cattle 8 15 2 15
Occupations 4 8 4 5
Silver 2 1 7 14
Final Income 21 14 7 12
English Crown 0 0 0 0
Positive sub-total 54 82 84 96
Home board 0 17 30 10
Exploration boards 2 0 0 0
Sheds and houses 0 0 0 0
Thing Penalty 0 0 0 0
Negative sub-total 2 17 30 10
Total 52 65 54 86

The above are the four games I played today.  The first two games I went for the exploration boards (lands) and managed to improve my score on the second game by converting my ship to emigration points, a wise move.  This helped especially in the last game where the point bonus was so appealing.  The third and fourth game I decided to stick with the Sheds and houses options and while I dropped to points similar to my first game I picked up quite well in the last game.

I confess that I really like this game for it's ease of play and would recommend it to anyone.  I have played one game at the club last week and four players is great, especially when the raiding and pillaging deplete the stockpile.  This does not happen in the solo mode, and you can sit back and explore your options without fearing antagonising people with your deliberations.

I will look at Kingdomino tomorrow as there is a solo variant on Board Game Geek which I shall try.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

32 Years Ago...

Time flies, yet it has been 32 years that my wife and I have been married.  We survived my interfering mother, financial penury, children, unemployment and now as pensioners we struggle ever onward.

Till the next year..

The Hon. John

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 7th October

A back breaking day today.  The club hosted a 40 player Warmachine Hordes team event.  Was the first one at the hall on the day, and had the tables all set up and ready for the table tops by the time the first players started to arrive.  Was having some anxiety as I started to run low on the tables, just scrapped through with enough to spare for the regular players.  Would have had some sixty odd people there today, a very good turnout.

Set up and awaiting the table tops for the WMH 40 player event.

Every table top used!  Not one left over.

Table tops on and awaiting the players.

The room left over for the regulars, who turned out
in enough numbers to use the tables.

The WMH event about to start.

Meanwhile the rest of us played A Feast for Odin.

While Star Wars: Rebellion was being set up.
The group that I normally affiliate with play board games and we gamed four new games today.

First up was Tortuga 1667.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
Played two games.  First was between Pat and I as we learned the rules I won this two player trial game, but we learnt from our mistakes so that the seven player game later played more smoothly.  Would have liked to play another round, but someone opted not to.

At the time the first game was finished the regulars had arrived and A Feast for Odin was played.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
A good game that while starting slow picked up with speed as people became familiar with the game mechanics.  I came last, having to take off 52 points from my score sort of settled my game.  Must have a read of the rules.

Abandon Planet was the next game played, seven players battling it out. Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
 A very interesting game is all I can say, it's OK but not sure if it's my cup of tea.

Last game of the day was Thief's Market.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
An aggravating game where vindictiveness can become hampering.  I'm not particularly happy when an attitude of if I can't win I'll do everything I can to stop another.  Yes I won this game but only just.  I'm not known to be lucky with games, and winning is something I see very few times.  Vindictive behaviour really spoils my life and does little to help those with severe mental illness from moving forward. I sometimes just want to walk away from it all when this happens.  I'll get over it, but it takes days to re-balance my life.

So the club had a good day, I not as much as I'd have liked.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Very Quiet Time...

This month has been very quiet.  Nothing has happened since the club meet on the 2nd September.  So sad, but that's my life at the best of times.  In an emergency call, otherwise leave well alone...

I have been slowly adding to my board game collection as a result.  No idea why, I guess I'm waiting for a horde of friends to support me. (Yes I'm bitter and twisted.)

Liked the looks of this game, watched some play throughs and reviews, consulted BGG and came to conclusion it was worth the money.  My only concern it keeping the die faces from being lost or becoming too loose from play (highly unlikely).
For more information about Dice Forge check the LINK to BGG.

A very nice production set, overpriced but so nice to have.  I think that this will be better than Love Letter in the long run.
For more information about Lovecraft Letter check the LINK to BGG.

So disappointed in the fact that the copy I have is not similar to the copy I have played.  I now need to find the expansions...  Happy to at least own a copy, even if it's not quite what I wanted.
For more informatiion about Machi Koro check the LINK to BGG.

Yes I was attracted to this but the price (cheap and within my budget).  I now check my game purchases through the means I've noted previously.  I'm looking forward to giving this game a go - soon with luck.
For more information about Notre Dame check the LINK to BGG.

The most lacklustre packaging for a game.  A plain cardboard box with Secret Hitler marked on the front.  No information about the game at all anywhere on the box to explain what's in the box.  I guess they were expecting word of mouth to sell the game.  I only bought this game through the generosity of Games World (Carindale) who allowed me to check out their opened box.  After checking the internet for more information and seeing a game in action I decided that it was worth purchasing.  Hopefully this will get a game at the next club meet in October.

For more information about Secret Hitler check the LINK to BGG.

My son raved about this show and finally I sat down and watched it - as a result I am hooked on this nonsensical series.  I had to watch a YouTube clip to understand how to play the game, only because I'm getting lazy with the desire to read rules.

For more information about Total Rickall check the LINK to BGG.

In ending I must thank a couple of people (who wish to remain anonymous) for support in obtaining these games.  As a pensioner I don't have much cash, so to have some generous benefactors engenders much gratification and happiness from me.  Thank you.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 2nd September

Today was the Blind Pig and a few games were played and looked at.  Lots of fun was enjoyed by the games on offer.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Close games.  Pat and I played a two player game to start while waiting for the trailer to arrive with the tables and terrain.  I won the first game.  Next we managed a four player game, in which I came last, difference in places between 1st and last was only 10 points.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Played this game as we had seven people.  Dragged on and in the end everyone decided to call it and move on to another game.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Set up and were going to play but the lateness of the day and learning curve had the game packed up with a decision to play Red Dragon Inn.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Proved to really popular and was hilarious to play.  Two of us who played have opted to get the game.  Lots of fun, highly recommend.

Below are pictures for the rest of day.

40K in play

40K in play.

40K in play.

Dropfleet Commander in play

Yep Talisman and the look!
Til next time.

The Hon. John.