Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

Meeple Madness #26 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - The Internet Now Makes Not Trusting Anything That Can Bleed For A Week And Not Die Obsolete.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #10

After my last post in this short series, it is is time to return to the familiar realm of the unfamiliar with our next item, The Front Nine. A game designed by Nick Case and published by A-Muse-Ment. A game that I know very little about.

But from the little I picked up discussing the finer points of this game with the stall holder at the UK Games Expo this year, I believe the game plays a little something like this..

Players spend their turns gaining and managing resources (sand, water, and probably other stuff), which they then use to build holes on their golf course; which is where things start to get interesting. The hole cards are physically laid end-to-end, with the end of one hole leading directly to the beginning of the next. So it is my understanding that if you can't lay the the hole, then you can't play the hole.

This gives the game a certain "take that" quality, as players vie for real table space; which is something that the game really runs with in one of its expansions (although I can't recall which one off the top of my head as I bought them both on the day); where rules and resources for fly-tipping and constructing electric pylons on your opponents courses are added.

However, whilst I'm familiar with these small details of the game; quite how you win, what the overall goal of the game is, or how you even play it still remains a mystery to me (as I haven't sat down with the rules just yet). It does look like fun though.

Meeple Madness #25 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - If The Catholic Church Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #9

Our next item from the haul is Codinca, a tile swapping strategy game; designed by Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw, and published by Backspindle Games.

Unlike a lot of the items that i have looked at previously from the haul, Codinca is a game that I don't anticipate having too much in the way of surprises up its sleeve. It is what it is. Which is an abstract strategy game where you swap tiles in order to form the patterns present on the cards you were dealt at the beginning of the game with the tiles of your color.. And that's about it.

You do have a few special cards at your disposal each game that you can use to manipulate the tiles in ways you couldn't with the standard two actions you get a turn, but largely you're simply trying to form your patterns before your opponent does following only a couple of simple rules (or at least as I recall from my demo game), which are:

1: As an action you can flip a tile or swap it with an adjacent tile.
2: You can't manipulate the same tiles that the last player did.

Other than though, you can go about resolving your key cards (which contain the patterns that you need to form in order to win the game), in any order; and you're even free to move any piece on the board following these basic rules, including your opponents tiles.

In terms of actual gameplay this freedom can lead to instances of purposely moving tiles that give you no direct advantage, so as to make your opponent believe you're playing for a pattern that you're not; and likewise swapping tiles to prevent patterns forming that you believe your opponent is playing for.

In summary, for such a simple game that has what could be said to be the bare minimum of rules, there is a surprising amount of depth and complexity.

Meeple Madness #23 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - Tearing The Mask Off Nature And Staring At The Face Of God. The Happiest Place On Earth.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

A Slow Week For Blogging (NSFW)

It's been a bit of a slow week for blogging..

Hell, it's been a slow week in general. I don't quite know what's gotten into me but over the past week I just seem to have had no energy to speak of at all. Even on Monday, a day were traditionally you're quite well rested from the weekend I woke up feeling like I'd spent most of the Sunday prior doing hard labor.. I hadn't.

It was only down hill from there too, to the point where I was just coming home from work and going straight to bed; and at it's peak on Friday I almost considered phoning in sick as I was just too exhausted to move.

Having just slept for close to 14 hours straight however, I am feeling a lot more like the old me; and am not only ready to do some blogging, but also quite eager.

I also found this nice little video that nicely sums up my week of hell.. Enjoy!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Meeple Madness #20 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - Why Am I Bleeding? A Bleeding Asshole.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #8

Next up from this years expo haul is Creature College. A board game of battling monsters for 2-6 players; designed by Orhan Ertughrul, and published by Happy Otter Games.

Creature College is a game that in essence tries to capture elements of the very popular Pokemon franchise; and bring them together as a board game. Specifically the acquisition of battling of fantastical creatures.. Which could have been a nice little game had the designer stopped there.

Instead however you are bidding in auctions, rolling dice, collecting cards, gaining both positive and negative VP, and tracking resources.. In short, it's a real cacophony of mechanics; and even the beautiful illustrations of the creatures on the cards isn't going to save a game from that level of "noise".

At this point, I had thought that I would go through a turn step-by-step in order to illustrate my point; but it does occur to me that making a noise about the noise is just, well, noisy. So instead I found the below YouTube video.

Once you've given it a watch, I'd love to hear your thoughts; so please feel free to comment below.

Meeple Madness #19 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - Trust Me, I'm The Final Solution.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Something Pleasant In the Post!

As you may be aware, I posted up a few days ago about a very generous give away that Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor was running; where he was offering up items normally reserved for Patreon. He was even picking up the tab for the postage!

To say I have been looking forward to these would be an understatement. Work is crap at the moment, so knowing I have something to look forward to has really helped keep me going; so I was overjoyed when I got home from the daily grind this evening to be greeted by a small white envelope on the door mat.

Opening it up eagerly I found two small adventures, one the size of an index card, and the other contained in an A5 sized folded pamphlet; along with another index sized card containing a NPC - all of which I promptly sat down with and began to read through.

I have to say that I am very impressed (not that I doubted I would be), and amazed just how much adventure you can fit into a very small space. Seriously, I'm really digging these micro adventures; and the NPC has a certain quality about him that brings him forth from the page.

Which leaves me only two things to do as a result:

1 - Work out how Patreon works, so I can get more of the same in the future, and..
2 - See if there's some way I can get the whole back catalogue of these adventures; as what I have seen so far really makes me want more. LOTS more!

Meeple Madness #17 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - And All Because The Lady Loves A Mouth So Sensitive It Can Feel The Sperm Wriggling.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #7

This year I made a conscious decision, that with the exception of a few items on my mental shopping list; I was going to do as little research on the latest releases and, what was new.  I wanted to my trip to the UK Games Expo to have an element of wonder about it, and I wanted to be surprised by what I found on the day.

Little did I know that I'd still be consciously trying to keep myself in the dark about some of my purchases over a month down the line!

But why?

Well, the purchases in question are a trio of games designed by Inka and Markus Brand that recently saw an English language release via Kosmos; in the "Exit: The Game" series of titles. Each of which recreates a themed escape room experience, in the comfort of your own home, for a  fraction of the price that you may pay to attend such an event.

There is a catch however.

The catch being that much like the real life experience; these are one-shots. To which you might think, "Fine, I'll donate it to a friend or charity once I'm done with it".. I know I did. That's however where there's another catch. Some of the games opponents apparently get (intentionally) destroyed during the playthrough (something which I only found out today in trying to gather some information together for this post); and honestly I'm not sure how I feel about that.

On the one hand, I know that if I'm unwilling to destroy certain components I won't be able to play the games; which sucks. However, on the other hand; wanton and wilful destruction of games just seems wrong - even if that is how the game is intended to be played.

It's a bit like destroying a book, which is something else I'd never want to do (or indeed have done). No matter what your opinion of the authors work is; there is something sacred about the written word, something important, and something permanent. To destroy it feels wrong, and that's how I feel about the idea of tearing into these games.

So, I'm curious. How would YOU feel about playing a game that you had to destroy parts of to win? Would it make a difference if it wasn't your copy of the game? Please feel free to post your thoughts on a comment below, and I look forward to reading them all.

Meeple Madness #14 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - On My Signal, Unleash Mediocrity.
 Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Meeple Madness #12 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - The True Art Of Seduction Lies In Using Anal Prolapse And Vaginal Flatulence In A Way That Ensures The Internal Moral Debate Of Whether It's OK To Sleep With Your Stepsister.
Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?


Well, how's this for keeping focused, and on track. Only one post into the month, and I'm already going off on a tangent.

It's a good one though, as I'm sure you'll all agree; relating to a number of freebies that Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor is offering up for.. Well, free!

There's no catch either. Normally this is stuff that Tim offers via Patreon, but as he has a few going spare; he is offering them out to anyone who's interested in them. Which I certainly am! I was lucky to win a copy of The Manor (Tim's zine) a number of years back in a contest hosted over at Tenkar's Tavern; and I was really happy with my prize.

Don't get me wrong, winning something is always nice; but The Manor has a real old-school feel about it that I really love, and the quality of the material inside was excellent. A nice little map, and a random encounter table to seed it, some art, a poem, and probably plenty more that I've forgotten since my last read.

In short, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you're lucky enough to get a freebie; as the quality and creativity that goes into them is top notch.

Enough already! How do I get my freebies!?

All you have to do is drop a comment on this post requesting them, followed by sending Tim an e-mail with your address to the e-mail address included in the same post.

That's all there is to it!

You could of course follow the blog whilst you're there, add it to your feed, or see what else is available via his Patreon; but as Tim says, "There is no obligation". Having followed the blog both here, and at my old digs for a number of years though I'd certainly recommend it; as there has been some really great stuff posted over that time, and it would have been a shame to miss it.

Monday, 3 July 2017

In The Pipeline: July 2017

Dr Nick Riviera - The Simpsons - Matt Groening
Hi Everybody!

There's no way to sugar coat it. Last month was not a good month for blogging. What with a general lack of drive and energy, coupled with some recursive tech issues not a lot got done.

It probably doesn't help that I've been overextending myself either. So, it's time to get real; and time to get blogging.

In terms of real talk, I've taken a look over my output for the past few months and averaging out the numbers, it looks like I can churn out somewhere in the region of 19 (rounding off) posts a month.

So using this as a benchmark for what's possible, and knowing roughly how much time and effort goes into each post; I should be able to plan this month a little better (and actually hit a target for a bloody change!)

Expo '17

Top of my list of blogging priorities for this month is to wrap up my series of posts around the UK Games Expo 2017. It's crazy to think this is still going, and there is still so much more to write nearly a month after the expo itself concluded!

Then again, it has grown somewhat from the three posts I originally envisioned when I set about this task. Something which is probably for the best in hindsight. I would have struggled to edit what I have already written to fit into that limited three post space, and by my count there are still another 10 posts to go!

So, whilst it is taking longer (a lot longer) to write up than I thought it would; breaking this feature down into more manageable chunks still seems like the right thing to have done.

Meeple Madness

As well as the the Expo '17 posts, there will also be plenty more from Meeple Madness in the coming month. Being relatively quick to put together, I see no reason why I can't get 20 of these posted up in July.

Which just about accounts for all the time I have free this month.

In addition to this there will no doubt be miscellaneous posts about this, that, and the other; but nothing related to any of my regular features. At least nothing planned. It would be nice to get a couple of Meeple Arcade posts up, catch up on some 10 x 10 Challenge gaming, and continue with my One Man And His Dice adventure; but I feel it's important to be realistic.

In short, there are a LOT of things that I would like to do; but there simply isn't enough time to do it in. Not immediately anyhow.

The thing about blog posts though is they don't go anywhere (well, unless they get deleted of course). So everything you write can be used as a foundation for a future piece of work. You don't need to try and build Rome in a day (which is probably for the best given my piss poor D.I.Y skills).

So going forward the plan is (rather sensibly) to take things one step (and one post) at a time; and to see how things go.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #6

The next piece of loot from this years haul is Time Management: The Time Management Game; designed by Nathaniel Levan, and published by Greater That Games.

This will be quite a short post, as whilst I knew that I knew very little about a lot of the items that I bought on the day, it turns out I knew even less about this one; mistaking it for a small box card game, when it is in fact a tile game.. I think.

So why did I buy it? Well, as it goes I'm a sucker for a gimmick, a joke, or a pun and  on one small stall at this years expo I found an abundance of them gathered in a cluster. There was Deck Building: The Deck Building Game, Traitor Mechanic: The Traitor Mechanic Game, Trick-Taking: The Trick-Taking Game.. You get the gist.

Scan reading the backs of the boxes however (which also led to me mistakenly taking this for a card game based upon appearances), I found that Time Management: The Time Management Game was the only one amongst the collection that was playable solitaire; and as I am largely a solo gamer this is what sealed the deal for me.

That said, I was still definitely tempted to pick up all of the other titles in what I assume is a series, but decided on balance against it; as there was a good chance that they'd go unplayed, and there is nothing sadder than a game going unplayed..

Okay, there are lots of things sadder than a game going unplayed. Way WAY sadder, but it still seems like an apt point. I mean, why buy a game that you doubt you're ever going to get to play?

Tangent aside, I am quite looking forward to breaking this one out, and seeing what it's all about.

Meeple Madness #10 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - Test Subject 37 Will Be The World's Most Deadly Predator Thanks To Successfully Combining Eating Out A Cum-Filled Whore With When Something Turns You Off So Much That Your Vagina Throws Up.
Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #5

It's been a few days since I last updated you all on "The Haul" I picked up during this years visit to the UK Games Expo, and coming up for a month down the line; I don't think we're even halfway through!

Today's installment is Stak Bots: Red Expansion; designed and illustrated by Tom Norfolk, and published by DogEared Games.

Stak Bots: Red Expansion was probably one of only a couple of things on my mental shopping list that I managed to pick up on the day (as 100 Swords Season 2 wasn't available, and given a straight choice on the day I bought Guards Against Insanity instead of Cards Against Humanity.. Or Guards over Cards as I've come to think of it post expo).

The reason that I wanted to purchase this on the day was because I've been very happy with it's predecessors (Stak Bots & Stak Bots: Yellow Expansion), and having spoken to the guys on the stall are always very friendly. Not Games Workshop, jumping on you to make a sale friendly. Genuinely friendly. The product itself is also pretty nifty.

Rather than being just one set of cards, with one set of rules; the Stak Bots deck can be used to play a handful of games. A couple of them solitaire games, which is just perfect for me; and at the price point (£22 for the base game, and both expansions; I'm certainly not complaining). In fact, the only issue I would take is that as an early adopter (and having picked up each deck as it was released), I've probably paid half of that again.. But £9 a deck still isn't bad.

Each deck adds something new too, so there are plenty of reasons (although no actual requirements) to pick them all up.

All I'm missing now is the Kickstarter promo stuff (which as I'm never planning to use Kickstarter, I'm never likely to qualify for), and the bot given away to tournament champions (of which I believe there are only two out there!)

Meeple Madness #7 (NSFW)

Darker than usual today...

Guards Against Insanity - Arranging Sleeping Children Into Suggestive Positions. Man's Best Friend.
Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

An Update Regarding Updates

Due to recent tech issues (plus some old reoccurring ones), time constraints, and other assorted distractions eating away at my free time this month, I have fallen WAY behind on my blogging. So much so that I sadly now have to say that the plan I made with the best of intentions at the top of the month has now well and truly taken a swan dive out of the window, and landed in a crumpled heap on the tarmac below.

Still, whilst I may not be able to get as much done as I had hoped, I'm trying to keep positive about the situation; and have resolved to do what I can with what is left of the month.

So please consider this an apology in advance if something that I promised, and that you were looking forward to doesn't make the deadline. I am trying, and will continue to try to meet as many of my targets as possible; but I know that even with the best will in the world I won't get everything I had planned done.

Sorry guys.

Meeple Madness #6 (NSFW)

Guards Against Insanity - Crack Hoes That'll Do Pretty Much Anything. 60% Of The Time It Works Every Time.
Why not check out their website, or Facebook feed?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Legacy Of Tech Troubles

I'm something of an analogue signal in a digital age when it comes to technology. That's not to say that I'm a Luddite; but when it comes to gadgets and advancements, I'm no early adopter.

As such I own and still make use of a lot of legacy (older / obsolete) technology. Included in which is my means of accessing the internet (a dongle that's ten years old if it's a day); and as the title suggests, I'm having some troubles with it.

Well, my ISP is.

The dongle itself is working fine, but due to its age my ISP has been left clutching at straws trying to work out exactly why it no longer automatically diverts to their boosters page when it runs out of data; which has left my having to phone my ISP every time I need to stick a booster on my account.

So given the limited support available, and less than stellar work-around; things are probably going to get pretty quiet here until it's all resolved. Something that I hope won't take too long, but given that the phrase "core network issue" has been used; I wouldn't hold my breath for a fix overnight.

Just because the posts might get a little sparse though, please don't think I've abandoned ship.. Rather that I'm taking an unscheduled detour up a well known creek, without a paddle.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Meeple Madness #0: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here!

Following on from my post at the top of the month; I have just spent the last hour or so photographing the first wave of Guards Against Insanity cards for Meeple Madness; which will go live tomorrow evening. Before it does though, I'd just like to apologize in advance for the less than stellar picture quality (as I only have a camera phone to shoot stuff with); and remind (warn) everyone that this is going to get EXTREMELY dark!

Seriously. There are cards in this game that I saw during my shoot today that made even me suck air through gritted teeth; and I'm REALLY hard to shock.. So I know the Cards Against Humanity fans amongst you are really going to love this feature. If you're of a sensitive disposition though, consider this your final warning..

Meeple Madness is not for the easily offended. Even those of you that are hard to offend might find some of the content a little close to the knuckle. It will at times contain VERY strong language, and statements that are far from politically correct. Please understand though, that whilst this material has great capacity to offend; no actual offense should be taken.

Guards like Cards is a game, and its contents is intended as humor. Malice is not a component included in the box, so no malice should be construed from these posts; as a card drawn at random can no more hold sexist or homophobic views than a counter or a dice can. It's an inanimate object.. It has no opinion.

Seriously though, if you thought that a game might offend you, then you just wouldn't play it. So take that logic a step further; and if you think that these posts may offend you, then simply don't read them.

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #4

Flip City: Wilderness by Chih-Fan Chen is the next item on the list from my Expo '17 haul.

Inspecting the box and reading over the blurb, this game appears to be being billed as both an expansion to the original game (which I also own a copy of) and, also as a stand-alone game. Although, from what I recall of the solitaire variant of the original game (which is the version of the game I play most); it wouldn't be practical to just combine the two sets.

This is because that variant very much relied on having only a small number of cards in the game in order to maintain the level of challenge for the player; which personally I found was significantly reduced just by adding the in-box "Office Expansion" included with the original Flip City game. An expansion that consisted of only one additional pile of cards.

The problem (if problem is the right word) was that the solitaire variant included with the original game had the player remove a card in one of the remaining piles from the game at the end of each of their turns as a form of timer. If at the end of a players turn they could not remove a card from the game (because all of the piles have been depleted), and the player had not yet met one of the victory conditions; then they had lost the game.

It was simple, and it worked; but it's far from flexible, leaving little to no wriggle room for expansion.. Yet here we are!

It'll certainly be interesting to see just how (and if) the designer has addressed this issue; and how these two sets come together. Personally, I suspect it'll be resolved by only playing with a set number of card types, possibly being selected by their respective purchase and upgrade costs. We'll see though.

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #3

Next up from "The Haul" we have a pair of small box card games by designer Lewis Shaw - Downsize and Mined Out. Unlike a number of my purchases on the day, I did play through a brief demo of each of these games; and despite sharing a box size and creator these games both play and feel very different.


Published by Braincrack Games, Downsize is a fast playing card game where the goal is to make as much money as possible whilst firing your entire staff. Something that you will be doing every turn, as you fire pairs of workers to generate effects; such as taking a returns card (which are the games equivalent of victory points), or forcing another player to hire a new employee.

On top of this there are specialist workers with one-shot abilities, that can be fired by themselves; and I believe a number of mutator cards that change the flow of the game (although the demo game that I played on the day did not use these).

Another card that was left out of the demo game on the day, that I feel is certainly worth a mention is the "Trump Card". Both satirical and powerful, the Trump Card allows you to fire all of your employees at once; which could effectively end the game there and then.. Because Donald plays by his own rules, and when he says the game is over; it's over!

Now all we need is "Director of the F.B.I" card, and the job's a good 'un!

 Mined Out

Also published by Braincrack Games and designed by Lewis Shaw; Mined out is a very different style of game. For a start, the cards in this game function more as tiles; that randomly form the play area as your miner meeple explores them. Unlike Downsize, there are also a number of other components in the box; that are used to track things such as your action points, the gems you have collected, and the upgrades you have accumulated.

So despite having the outward appearance of a card game; Mined Out would be better and more accurately described as a board game. Quite an involved one too for its size. It's another one of those games that manages to pack a lot of "oomph" into a small box; and whilst I would not go as far as to say that it has that "big box" feel, it certainly delivers at a level somewhere between the two.

If I had to pigeon hole it though, it's more what I would describe as a "backpack game". In that it's compact enough to take with you when you're on the go, has quite a small footprint (so you could break it out almost anywhere), and can be played within the time that you might typically get for a lunch break.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #2

Today's installment from "The Haul" is Modern Horrors; a satirical card game created and illustrated by the very talented Nick Swift.

This won't be a very long post though; as the game itself whilst beautifully illustrated with modern monstrosities, is just a reimplimentation of Top Trumps. A game I'm sure we all know well from our youth, and that needs no explaining. So instead I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss the art on the cards; which is without a doubt it's USP (unique selling point).

In short, the art is pretty damn good! This is no cheap knock-off of Top Trumps; that uses stock photography to cover dry subjects that have little to no appeal. Nope. The art here jumps out, and grabs your attention. It amuses and engages the player.

So even if I had no real interest in playing Top Trumps (which is generally the case); I would still be happy that I bought this deck just for the art. Not only is it enjoyable in it's own right, but it also reminds me of a sticker album that I nearly completed as a child (odd tangent I know); called The Sloppy Slobs.

I was very attached to that album (and I still think it's cool to this day), so seeing these cards took me on a real trip down memory lane; and buying them offered me a means of recapturing that small piece of my childhood.. Not bad for a deck of cards!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Expo '17: The Haul - Part #1

Okay, let's get this show on the road; and start working our way through what is quite the haul of new games that I have I picked up at this years UK Games Expo. Before I do though, just a brief word on what you can expect from "The Haul" posts; and more importantly where I am going with this.

Rather than going into any great detail with the items featured, "The Haul" post are more a way of showcasing what I picked up on the day; as well as capturing my initial impressions. Something which I can then compare my actual experiences to when I look at these items again in more detail further down the line; as many of the items I bought, I bought blind.

So without further ado, let's take a look at the first items(s)..

Item #1: Guards Against Insanity - Asylum Pack

The Asylum Pack of Guards Against Insanity collects together the first four editions (there are five in total, but number five was sold out on the day) of the game that is described on the box as "An Unofficial Naughty Expansion"; referring to the Cards Against Humanity format which it reimplements.

I'd say it's more than that though.

One of the items on my loose shopping list for the day was Cards Against Humanity; but when I was presented with a straight up choice between the two (although I could have bought them both I guess), I chose to purchase Guards over Cards.

There's no doubt that this was in no small part due to the great pair of guys on the stall who I had a good laugh with on the day; but then there was also the matter of the billing of Guards Against Insanity as "darker" than its predecessor.

Cards Against Humanity is all about dark and twisted humor; so to create something "darker" is as I see it a step forward. It's taking what makes the game work, and building upon that foundation in order to create what might be arguably a more satisfying playing experience for the right group of gamers.

If this sounds like a game you might enjoy, or you're just plain old intrigued as to how an already dark game could get any darker; be sure to tune into my forthcoming Meeple Madness posts, where I'll be sharing UNCENSORED random draws (one black card, and however many white cards I need to fill in the blanks).

If however you're easily offended, I'd strongly recommend that you give Meeple Madness a miss; as giving offense isn't my goal here, and some of the humor might be a bit much for the more sensitive amongst you.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Expo '17: Coming Soon To A Blog Near You!

Originally when I thought about how I was going to cover this years expo experience; I envisioned doing it across three posts, covering my purchases on the day (The Haul), the people I met (The People), and an overview of some of the interesting games I played on the day (The Games).

On reflection though, this was a bad plan.

I'd either have to massively edit the events of the day, or type up three MASSIVE posts. Neither of which strikes me as being a good option. With the former, I wouldn't be doing stuff justice; and with the latter I'd end up with posts that were too long to keep people's interest.

So as a solution I have decided to keep the categories (The Haul, The People, and The Games); but break them down into a series of smaller posts. Not only does that mean I can go into as much depth as I like, but also that when I do I won't be bombarding anyone reading it with reams of text. The best of both worlds as I see it, with none of the drawbacks.

As an added bonus to myself, this flexible model of keeping posts short(ish) means I can blog throughout the week; with the limited time I have free in the evenings, without resorting to burning the midnight oil.

That's the plan anyway. Short(ish), more frequent posts; that should make for easy reading.

What do you guys think?

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In The Pipeline: June 2017

Dr Nick Riviera - The Simpsons - Matt Groening
Hi Everybody!
Hi Everybody!

It's been a bit of a delayed start to the months blogging what with one thing and another. There was the "wonderful" 48 hour long headache that felt like my frontal lobe was having a hot knitting needle driven through it via my left eye-socket (so whoever has the voodoo doll, could you please remember to take the pins out when you're done), a day long boiler replacement, and of course my annual trip to the UK Games Expo yesterday.

But I'm back to blogging now, and boy do I have a fair bit planned for the month ahead; including a new regular feature - Meeple Madness!

So what's in store for June?

10 x 10 Challenge

Top of the billing (but only because I insist on doing these posts alphanumerically) is my 10 x 10 Challenge; which I hope I really hope that I can keep the momentum going with following my recent gaming flurry (I managed to get another three games of Dark Dealings in on the Bank Holiday).

Following on from my prior post  I have done a recalculation of just how many games I need to play and, with what frequency in order to keep myself on target for completing the challenge.. and it's still three a week. Well, technically it's 2.5(ish); but it seems more sensible to just round up and finish a little early.

Something that I do need to be mindful of however is the backlog of play reports that is beginning to build up (currently five); so the aim is to bring this down to zero by months end (all being well).

Meeple Arcade

Speaking of things that I have fallen behind with. At the beginning of May, I had planned to post up three new games to Meeple Arcade; but managed only one. It wasn't for the lack of material either; just a lack of time. So given that the only issue was time; I'll be more realistic with this months plans (especially given my late start to the months blogging), and set myself a target of only posting up two new games.

Meeple Madness

One of the great things about the UK Games Expo, is the chance it gives you to meet new people; and discover new things. Games you never knew existed, and new twists on the games you already know and love. So when I discovered that there was a darker (if such a thing was even possible) version of Cards Against Humanity on sale yesterday, I was intrigued (and being the sick puppy that I am, naturally I bought it).

Now I know that Cards Against Humanity is a game that has quite the polarising effect when it comes to gamers. People either love it, or they hate it; and I can see arguments for both sides, although I am firmly in the "love it" camp. With good reason too.

A few years back I had a truly crappy job that made me miserable day in, day out; not to mention a boss who was riding my ass like Seabiscuit. Then one weekend the gaming group I was a part of at that time broke out Cards Against Humanity, and it really lifted my spirits. The open forum of abuse that was all in good humor really helped let go of all of my negativity in a positive way; and I laughed so hard my head was still hurting days later!

So, without a doubt, I'm firmly in the "love it" camp; but that doesn't mean I don't respect people might be offended by the content of Cards Against Humanity, and equally so it's darker cousin that I purchased yesterday, Guards Against Insanity.

I care about my readers, so I would ask that if you feel you are likely to be offended by the material contained in Guards Against Insanity; PLEASE avoid the Meeple Madness posts. Each these posts will feature a randomly drawn black card, and a randomly drawn white card; which I WILL NOT be censoring in any way, shape or, form.. You have been warned!

Warnings aside, these posts should be very quick and easy to produce; so once I get going you can probably expect one every day.


The material that I am working on for SCRAWL (classes, races, spells, and items currently) is still very much at the drawing board stage; but I have made some really good progress with it in the past month. Just not to the point where I can release it unfortunately.

The revised version of my alternate classes should almost certainly see the light of day this month though, as all that remains to tweak is the starting equipment; and the development of new items (which will cover this) is the aspect of SCRAWL that I'm currently working on. 

Tunnels & Trolls

There's really no way of sugar-coating it; I've done bugger all work on the solo I'm planning to write over the last month, and quite honestly the whole thing has stalled. So rather than swim against the tide, I'm sadly going to shelve this project for the time being to focus on other content.

UK Games Expo

I'm planning to write a short series of articles (three in total) this month covering my personal highlights of the expo experience; and additionally a couple of posts on top of that looking more in depth at some of those highlights.

At this point I'm not too sure just how many posts this will end up running to, but I can say with absolute certainty that there will be no less than three; with the aim being to get those initial three posts up within the coming week.

Monday, 29 May 2017

10 x 10 Challenge #27: Dark Dealings - Games #1 & #2

Going back to my list of games that I had selected for the 10 x 10 Challenge; I decided that next up would be Dark Dealings by Nevermore Games. A game that I had been really looking forward to playing for a few months now..

So much so that I didn't pay much attention to the notes that I should have been making for my write ups during the first couple of games. I also wasn't really too sure about what information I needed to be capturing either, having not played the game before; so what information I did take down was lacking in relevant detail.

In short, I really screwed the pooch on this one.

Luckily however I noticed where I had gone wrong by the end of game two, so I made sure to capture everything I needed in game three; and that working out of what's required (even if a little late) does stand me in good stead going forwards.

As a (very) brief summary of my first two games though, I would say the following:

Game #1

Being the first game I didn't get very far at all in the final (combat) phase; having not drafted particularly well in the second (defense) phase. I had completely neglected to draft any cards which could deal with one of the thieves that I had drafted in the first (hero) phase; which meant game over (as soon as you encounter a hero that you cannot defeat, you lose the game).

Game #2

Having developed a good idea of how to play the game, and having started to form some tactics; I did a LOT better in the second game. This time around I made it as far as the seventh hero before I had to concede (as I had used all of my defenses on the previous six heroes).

In Summary

There we have it, two VERY brief write ups from some VERY sketchy notes made on the fly. Not that I plan to let this set the tone; intending as I do to return to blogging as usual with the next post, having captured a lot more of my last game as it was played through my note taking.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

10 x 10 Challenge #26: Of Mice And Men

After what was a slow start to my 10 x 10 Challenge, it seems that I have finally begun to generate a head of steam; playing through four games so far this week (although I am yet to write three of them up), and having every intention of taking full advantage of the bank holiday to play a few more whilst I have the momentum.

It's also quite important that I do as much as I can towards the challenge this bank holiday, as it's almost a given that I'll do very little in the way of gaming next weekend.. Well, not towards the challenge at any rate; as I'll be at the UK Games Expo.

That's not to say however that if the opportunity to play any one of the games on my list with fellow gamers should arise; I'd pass up the chance (a subsequent write up could prove a little tricky though, as sitting there with a notepad as I do when I game at home, might seem more than a little rude).

So with my impending absence in mind, I think it's time to revise my previous plan a little.. Not just yet though.

As I plan to be gaming again tomorrow; I'll leave it until after the bank holiday to sit down and make my calculations. Not that I imagine that there will be a massive shift in the plan for the sake of one week up, one week down; but it doesn't hurt to check.

10 x 10 Challenge #25: Eight Epics - Game #10

It doesn't seem all that long ago that I first broke out Eight Epics for the first time as part of my 10 x 10 Challenge; and here we are already. The tenth, and final game.

Before we get to it though, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the some of the highlights so far. There was the outrage at Makano, the first win, and the first loss of an avatar in the first round (that didn't end the game there and then). All of them quite memorable moments.

So one last time (as a part of the challenge at least), it is time to shuffle the threat deck, setup the avatars (I'll be going with my standard game four order for the avatars again), and draw my first card..

Round 1 - Threat: Narssis, Unholy One.

Defeating Narssis took a lot out of the avatars, as I ran through seven out of eight of them trying to clear the challenges. That said, the losses were minimal given the effort exerted; with only 8 Life Points being lost amongst the group as whole; leaving me in a very strong position to deal with whatever threat I may be next. 

Round 2 - Threat: Pirn, Rampaging Overgrowth.

I'm always happy to see Pirn, because as threats go; he doesn't tend to cause me too much in the way of problems.. Then again, I used to say similar things about Uluwash, and look what happened there. Pirn came good though, and went down without too much of a fight; but to the cost of losing one avatar (Sylliph) in the fray.

Round 3 - Threat: Hronthar, Winged Flame.

Hronthar is the polar opposite of Pirn, in that he rarely comes quietly; and this game was no exception. Whilst the avatars where able to clear the first two of his challenges without taking much more than a scratch; challenge three introduced them to a whole world of hurt.

By the end of round three the avatars had lost a total of 23 Life Points as a group; with five of the remaining seven avatars being reduced to half of their starting Life Points, or less.

Round 4 - Threats: Makano, Drill Strider / Serrin, Shadow Reaper.

What a final draw for the final game!

It was hard to know where to start. Normally I would target the threat that I thought was going to be the most difficult to beat first in the final round, but if past experience has taught me anything; it's that these are both difficult customers, more than capable of wiping the floor with me individually - let alone as a team!

Seeing nothing in it, I decided to go for Serrin first. Sure, Makano may be broken in my opinion; but I have found that the best way of dealing with Serrin is with re-rolls (as opposed to abilities); and I'll get more of those to work with if I tackle him first.

Serrin was still hard work though, and I had to cycle through several of my avatars more than once (using Leafwind's ability) in order to secure enough re-rolls to secure victory against him. So by the time I came to face off against Makano; only four avatars remained, all of them on 1 Life Point.

When it came to Makano, the avatars did put up a good fight (clearing half of his challenges), but sadly all they had left to throw at him was not enough; and the game was ultimately lost.

Final Thoughts   

Eight Epics has been an interesting game to play; but I'm not sure that it will be one that I will return to too frequently in the future. Not because it's bad, but more because it simply doesn't have a whole lot going on that would keep me coming back to it.

As you've seen from the various playthroughs here, the same avatars keep coming up again and again; which can get a little repetitive. Something which leads me to fully understand why the AEG release of this game came with a couple of in-box variants. It needs them!

That's not to say it's a bad game though. With its quick setup and play times it's a perfect filler game, or a nice way to round off a long days gaming.. It just doesn't pack the "big game in a little box" punch that say Harbor does.

So in summary, Eight Epics probably wouldn't be my first choice to bring to the gaming table; but if I were only looking to kill 20-30, it certainly wouldn't be my last.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Creepy As All Balls

Glass Clown - Creepy As All Balls
There's very little left in this world that frightens me anymore. I used to have quite the phobia of spiders, but I got past it; to the point where I am now actually happy to see them.

Clowns though.. That's another matter entirely. I still find clowns to be as creepy as all balls. Something that I believe started with my sister's collection of porcelain ones that I grew up with. Horrible, horrible things.. Not that they've got anything on this hideous glass monstrosity that I bought today..

Yeah. BOUGHT! Odd behavior given my feelings towards clowns in general; and even more bizarre when you consider just how f****d up this particular clown looks. Seriously! Look at that sinister grin, and the eye that has drifted away from the face as if Picasso blew this beast.

 So why did I buy it, when just looking at it unsettles me and gives me an uneasy feeling in the very pit of my stomach?

Honestly I don't know. I can only reason that there is some part of me that wants me to best my fears and overcome my phobias. Presumably the same part of me that compelled me to buy this.. Either that, or there could be evil clown mind control techniques at work.