Tag Archives: Fantasy Flight Games

UK Games Expo T-Minus 4 Days…

ExpoExhibitors

With only four days (including today) until the UK Games Expo 2014, I thought I’d post some of the things that I’m looking forward to. Today I’m going to look at the exhibitors!

Last year I spent most of my short amount of time at the expo wandering around the exhibition hall. This year will, no doubt, see me wandering around and perusing many, if not all, of the stands throughout the expo. In preparation for this I took a minute to go through the exhibitor listing on the expo site and noted many stands I can’t wait to visit. Here’s the ten stands I’m most interested in visiting (in alphabetical order.)

Back Spindle Games
Demoing their awesome looking game Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice (2nd Edition) which goes live on Kickstarter tomorrow!

Czech Games Edition
Producers of some of my favourite games including Galaxy Trucker and Space Alert!

Days of Wonder
Creators of Ticket to Ride and Memoir 44, need I say more?

Fantasy Flight Games
It’s FFG, the kings of thematic games.

Game Salute
Very interested to see what representation these guys have, they’re an awesome company who provide support and publishing services for many, many, many Kickstarter games!

GamesQuest
Looking forward to catching up with Nigel and Paul to discuss some future posts for their blog.

Mayfair Games
Last year Mayfair had a lot of floor space, unfortunately I didn’t have chance to check them out. This time I am going to rectify that!

NSKN Games
Creators of one of my favourite thematic games, Exodus Proxima Centauri, I got hold of the revised edition last year and have recently heard that there’s an expansion on the way!

Steve Jackson Games
Two words…. Steve Jackson…

Z-man Games
I really like Z-man, they produce to awesome games, Pandemic, Robinson Crusoe and Tales of the Arabian Nights. I can’t wait to see what they have to show off, and I especially want to see if I can get a look at the new Pandemic: The Cure game.

Eldritch Horror – Forsaken Lore

EH02-Box-Left_300px

It’s finally been announced!

The first of the Eldritch Horror expansions was announced on the Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) website on February 10th! I would have loved to have got this up on the blog sooner, but I guess three day old news isn’t too bad, especially given how exciting it is!

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Well! Here’s a few choice excerpts from the FFG announcement that really got me excited!

“Forsaken Lore adds over two hundred new cards to Eldritch Horror, including over one hundred new Encounter cards, twenty condition cards, and fourteen new mysteries.”

“…the malignant influence of Yig, the Father of Serpents, extends across the globe.”

“…In Forsaken Lore, evil continues to spread as new Mysteries for the Ancient Ones included in Eldritch Horror are uncovered…”

“Eighty-eight new research cards help your investigators to discover the horrible truths of the Ancient Ones bent on the world’s destruction.”

So, there you have it! The first, of what will undoubtedly be many, Eldritch Horror expansions! For the complete announcement take a look at the FFG site here. I for one am extremely excited by this announcement and I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it when it releases in quarter two 2014!

Top 10 Games – Update

Top10

Last year I did a podcast that listed my top ten games. Since then I’ve played a good many more games and have had chance to re-evaluate some of the games on the list. It’s been very interesting seeing how my tastes have evolved over the past year and I decided January was the time to rework my top ten games list.
As a reminder for those who didn’t hear the podcast, my top ten games last year were:

  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Last Night on Earth
  • Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition
  • Zombicide
  • Galaxy Trucker
  • Discworld Ankh Morpork
  • Shadows Over Camelot
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse
  • Carcassonne
  • Summoner Wars

This year my list has seen quite a drastic upheaval, 6 new entries, one upwards movement, two “down but not outs” and a single stationary entry. So without further ado, here’s my top ten games after 2013.

10 – In position ten, down six places, we have Zombicide from Cool Mini Or Not. A collaborative, zombie-survival, game that has a variety of weird and wonderful characters fighting it out with the Zombie horde.

09 – In position nine, for a second year running, we have Carcassonne. This brilliant little tile laying game is fast to learn, fast to play, and I really love it. Over the past year I’ve managed to get hold of all of the expansions and mini expansions, apart from the tunnels, and they add so much cool stuff to an already great game.

08 – In position eight, and the first of the new entries, we have Escape: The Curse of the Temple. A fantastic, frantic, and fun, run for your life game. Played over a ten minute period, you have to roll dice as fast as you can and navigate the cursed temple. If you don’t make it out within the time limit you’re trapped in the temple forever. This is a very good game and well deserves its place on this list.

07 – In position seven, the second of the new entries, Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island. A really great game, with plenty of theme. This one is the genius work of designer Ignacy Trzewiczek of Stronghold fame. Robinson Crusoe is a very difficult game that chews you up and spits you out before you even know what’s hit you. Despite the difficulty level, it’s a brilliant cooperative game with a whole bunch of mechanics that make a lot of thematic sense.

06 – In position six, the third of the new entries, Eldritch Horror. This new Fantasy Flight Games title is the sister game to their extremely successful Arkham Horror. Where Arkham Horror played out across an evil-filled city, Eldritch Horror takes it to a whole new level. This time you play the part of investigators tasked with traversing the globe in an effort to defeat one of the great old ones. From San Francisco to Tokyo this worldwide battle plays out in a faster, more streamlined manner than its older sister. If you like Arkham Horror then you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

05 – In position five, the fourth of the new entries, Exodus: Proxima Centauri. This is an awesome game that has been touted as a Twilight Imperium Lite. I love the way this plays, it’s everything I wanted from Eclipse and then some! The original edition had a variety of problems with component quality, but I got my hands on the revised edition and I have to say the components are gorgeous! If you’re looking for a fast space-combat and diplomacy game, then Exodus: Proxima Centauri is a must for your collection.

04 – In position four, the fifth of the new entries, Mice and Mystics! This is my favourite co-operative game of all time. I’ve praised this game since the first time I ever played it, and wrote a post that explained exactly what makes this game so great. Since then, I’ve played The Heart of Glorm Expansion and play-tested some of the amazing chapters that are coming in the next great expansion The Downwood Tales. Mice and Mystics is fun for gamers of all ages and it has a place in any gamer’s collection.

03 – In position three, knocked from its number one spot, we have Battlestar Galactica. An awesome game with a great traitor mechanic. This is a massively thematic game that is a must have for all Battlestar fans out there. Over the past year Fantasy Flight Games has released Daybreak, the third and final expansion. With all of the modular elements included in the three expansions, this is a game with legs and a lot of fun times to be had.

02 – In position two, and the final new entry to the list, Duel of Ages II. A game with hidden depth that won me over on my first ever play. The components aren’t the greatest quality but the sheer amount of game in both the base game and master set is quite astounding. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about the game when you first start to play, however, give it time and you’ll soon realise that it’s the stories that make you want to come back to this one time and again. During my first play, at Firestorm Games over in Cardiff, my base was attacked by an angry Unicorn and my only defence was a suited and booted bouncer who walked up and punched that Unicorn in its interfering nose. During this little scuffle, a space-slug slowly worked its way towards a target that it never reached, and a ninja space cat attacked a seemingly weak opponent with a laser weapon that did absolutely no damage. This game provides an engine into which the players pour their imagination and generate fantastical battles with creatures from all across time, space and fiction. I love this game!

01 – In position one, and up two places, we have Twilight Imperium (Third Edition). This is an epic space game that does everything you’d expect to see in any great quality space sci-fi TV show. I’m not going to go into any great detail here about the game, or how it plays, because I’m going to write a complete review of it over the next few weeks. All I will say is that if you do not have this game and love big, long, games that contain a healthy amount of combat and backstabbery; then this is the game for you!

Well there you have it, my top ten favourite games as of the end of 2013. Over the coming year I’ll be playing a load more games and writing a ton more reviews. So stay tuned to find out what I get up to and read about some of the games that you could see in my top ten at the end of 2014.

X-Wing Vs Enterprise

Galaxy Trucker
Back in August 2012 Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) released a major new title – Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures.

Using the awesome FlightPath™ maneuver system they successfully implemented the fast and furious dogfights that we all know and love. The base game provided everything you needed to play a quick game with the iconic X-Wing and Tie-Fighters. Then, just add a few expansions such as the Tie Advanced and the Y-Wing and you can stage even bigger battles. A few months later and we saw the release of a 2nd Wave of ships. This wave introduced the Millennium Falcon, Slave 1, the A-Wing and the Tie Interceptor. I bought both the first and second waves and enjoyed several space battles with them. Eventually FFG announced the third wave containing the B-Wing, Tie Bomber, Lambda Class shuttle and the HWK-290. At this point I have to admit that although I like Star Wars, none of these ships interested me in the slightest.

I considered whether to buy the 3rd wave and realized that, of all the ships I knew from the Star Wars universe, I already owned the ones that actually interested me. Unless FFG could pull a Death Star out of their pockets there wasn’t anything else to draw me in… This view was only magnified at GenCon 2013, where even the newly announced larger ships just didn’t do a thing for me…

With nothing of interest on the cards from the X-Wing miniatures world, FFG finally announced the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. An Imperial Aces Expansion Pack featuring two TIE interceptor miniatures with alternate paint schemes… I knew they were running low on ships, but I hadn’t realized it was getting this bad….

So I was left with a slight dilemma. On one hand I love the game, and I enjoy playing it, but on the other hand I don’t see it going anywhere with regards to the ships I can bring to the table. So I decided to take a big step and look into another possibility – Star Trek Attack Wing from WizKids.
Truth be told, I’ve always preferred Star Trek to Star Wars so the game instantly had an advantage over X-Wing. I ordered the base set from Gameslore.co.uk and it arrived at warp speed (sorry) and was soon sat waiting to be played. On opening the box I knew that I was on to a winner.

Star Trek Attack Wing has the same gameplay as FGGs X-Wing Miniatures game but with the ships of the Star Trek universe that I grew to love as a child. The base game comes with ships from the Federation, the Romulan Empire and the Klingon Empire factions. Despite there being plenty of possible ships for each side to include later on, I was slightly worried that I might be in for the same disappointment as with X-Wing. So, with a slight nervousness, I took a look at the available expansions.

It turns out that the base game hit retailers at the same time as eight different expansions. Included in the mix are iconic ships such as the USS Enterprise which is unfortunately a very small model in comparison to all of the others, and the I.K.S. Negh’Var. There are also two ships for a fourth faction, the Dominion. The great thing about each expansion is that not only does it grow each of your factions, it also adds different scenarios to the game, expanding not only the ship selection but also the play style. So, if you go out and buy the RIS Apnex expansion you get cards that provide setup and rules for a scenario called Testing New Cloaking Technologies. This really adds a lot to the game for me and I can’t wait to bring some of these scenarios to the table.

Impressed with this initial lineup I had a quick look for details of the next wave. What I found was a simple four ship release, one ship for each faction, but among those four ships lurked the USS Defiant! Brilliant!

Sheepishly I dared look beyond this to the next wave. Again a set of four ships and again another gem. The USS Excelsior! Amazing!
So Star Trek Attack Wing definitely has my attention for the foreseeable future, but what can we expect from it going beyond the next few waves? First off, there’s a large community drive to promote the series, with story-based organized play events re-enacting the battles of the Dominion Wars and offering participants a selection of exclusive incentives. Check out the WizKids site for more details of this.

More importantly though, there’s a very large hint in the core rulebook itself. Taking a look at page 18 under the Initiative heading you’ll see a whole list of different factions listed in addition to the four base factions. So if the game gets the love it deserves we could be seeing the Borg, Species 8472, Kazan, Bajoran, Ferengi, Independent and Mirror Universe factions hitting tables sometime in the future!

I don’t know about you guys but this all sounds pretty damn good to me, certainly a lot better that a new paint job and an oversized transport ship. In my opinion, Star Trek Attack Wing is definitely one to watch!

First Podcast – Top Ten Games

Galaxy Trucker

OK here it is, my first ever attempt at podcasting.

The audio quality isn’t the greatest and it goes a little strange at times but hey I recorded this on my iPhone I can’t afford dedicated equipment and I’m doing this for fun so go easy on me please.

The icon I’ve used for the podcast isn’t great either, but if anyone graphical feels like designing me a cool podcast icon I’d love to see it.

Anyway, any feedback anyone has is greatly appreciated but, like I said, please be kind :)

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

WARNING: If you haven’t seen the Battlestar Galactica TV show but intend to watch it in the future, then this game contains a shed load of spoilers!

However, if you enjoy the show, or don’t care about spoiling the plot, then you should buy and play this game now!

Man created the Cylons, robots designed to serve the human race. The Cylons turned upon their masters and a bitter war ensued. Eventually an armistice was declared and the Cylons left the planet of Caprica to seek their own home-world. Over forty years pass with no word from the Cylons…

The humans live in happiness until a devastating and unexpected Cylon attack ravages Caprica and almost entirely wipes out the human race. A small number of ships escape including Battlestar Galactica. As time progresses the remaining humans come to realise a shocking truth. The Cylons have evolved, they’ve developed, and they come in a human shaped package! Anyone could be a Cylon, your neighbour, your friend, even your mother. Who do you trust???

You begin the game aboard Battlestar Galactica, no-one knows anything about any of the other players, but everyone must work together to guide the ship to a new home.

The rules of the game are very simple. Each player is given a secret loyalty card which tells them if they are Human or Cylon. Each turn the team must confront a challenge, to overcome these challenges each player can contribute skill cards of various colours. Some colours help with the mission, others hinder it. The card plays are blind so that you never know what anyone else is playing, but to add a little more confusion to the matter there’s a fate deck of skill cards. Two cards from this deck are placed into every challenge. With fate and player cards placed, they’re shuffled and turned face up. Colours that help are counted, and those that hinder are subtracted. If the total is higher than that required by the challenge then the team passes.

This all sounds fairly simple but remember, as you do this, you never know who the Cylons are. Who put those treacherous red or yellow cards in there? Was it your fellow crew mates? Or simply a bad turn of fate?

Using other game mechanisms you progress along your course, attacked by Cylon ships, boarded by Cylon Centurians, desperate for food, low on morale, scrounging for fuel, and fearing an ever decreasing population.

There’s a constant niggling worry whilst you play this game. If you’re doing badly you worry that you’re going to lose, when you’re doing well you’re suddenly worrying what’s around the corner. And quite right too! You’re a Human striving for the existence of your very race. Or are you? At the halfway mark, the game takes an interesting and painful twist. A second loyalty card is dealt out to each player. All you’ve worked for, all you’ve known to be true, could be turned on its head.

Bam! You’re a sleeper agent! You’ve been given a Cylon loyalty card. Now that amazing job you’ve been doing, you have to try and undo it all, you have to bring this ship and her crew down, and you have to do it fast.

In your sudden attempts at sabotaging the ship your crew mates become suspicious and throw you in the brig. Do you sit it out? Wait for them to let you free? No! You declare yourself a Cylon and unleash all hell on Galactica, turn after turn you throw worse and worse problems at the crew. Can they survive? Only time, and a whole heap of fun, will tell!

In summary, this game is excellent, there’s no other word for it. If you like Battlestar Galactica, and you like my description of the game, even just a little bit, then I really recommend you get yourself a copy. You should do this as soon as you can, even if it means dragging your friends kicking and screaming to the table. It’ll be worth it!

Score: 9/10

Arkham Horror

Last Night on Earth

When I decided to create this blog, aside from the usual “Welcome to the site…”, I didn’t really have any idea what to write for my first post. Eventually after much deliberation it struck me. Let’s start at the beginning of the story! The beginning of the story that tells of my growing love for board games, and how a bunch of Geeks came together to form a gaming group.

One cold November evening four friends gathered around a box. A box bulging with dark secrets, untold tales, vile beasts and terrifying horrors. This was the first true gathering of the Geeks that game.

As we opened the intriguing box, with its beautiful artwork, we were shocked by what we found. In a nutshell, Arkham Horror has SO!!! much in the box. A giant board, lots of chits and God knows how many cards! This was our first foray into bigger games, and what an insane whirlwind of an introduction to the gaming world it was!

Putting my dodgey story-telling aside, Arkham Horror was the first BIG game that I ever played. It blew me away at how different it was from the casual games I’d played previously. Monopoly, Cluedo, Uno and more recently the immensely supperior Carcassonne and Catan. For starters, Arkham Horror is a co-operative game. Every decision you make will either help or hinder your fellow investigators. You all work towards a common goal, to prevent the rise of some great evil, or “Ancient One”. To do this, you strive frantically to seal a series of inter-dimensional gates that spew forth a variety of monsters into the streets of Arkham. If these abominations aren’t enough for you, the game bombards you constantly with horrific obstacles that occur every time you take a second to breath.

By using a series of location, mythos and other-world encounter cards the game provides you with a truly spectacular simulation of despair and utter hopelessness. When you fail, and you will; you genuinely feel defeated. But when you win! The joy, the celebration, the comradary! It’s all there in abundance.
If I wanted to discuss every aspect of the game then I could be sat here writing all evening and would probably discourage you from ever returning to my humble corner of the internet. So without further delay, I’ll sum up by saying that Arkham Horror is a truly great game, I have yet to find another game that can provide such an immersive atmosphere. I’ve heard people say that you don’t really play the game, the game plays itself and you just enjoy the ride. Well, if that’s the case then sign me up for more tickets to ride. (That’s not a hint at my next review!)

Pros:
Immersive atmosphere, co-operative interaction, beautiful artwork, excellent game mechanics, chits (Hundreds of them!)

Cons:
The rules (can be a bit complex for people new to gaming), the size of the play area needed (especially with the expansions which we’ll discuss at a later date), time required (an average game lasts 3-4 hours in our expereince.)

Score: 8/10