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.