Tag Archives: Hidden role

A weekend of gaming!

mice

This weekend has mostly been dedicated to relaxing and playing games, something that I need to do on a more regular basis! Anyway, I thought I’d take a few minutes out from relaxing to drop a quick post on here as a summary of my gaming antics.

Saturday:
I attended the monthly gaming session at Firestorm games over in Cardiff. As always I had a great time playing games with attendees both new and old. I managed to get quite a lot of games played which is always a bonus.

Alhambra – I’ve wanted to play this game for a long time. I’m not sure why I hadn’t bought it already, but for some reason it had stayed on my wishlist longer than most other games. After my single play of the vanilla base game I was surprised at how little there was to the game. I really wanted to like it especially after hearing people saying that they’d enjoyed it, unfortunately though, something just didn’t click for me.

There was no player interaction at all with Alhambra, I just did what I needed to do when it got around to my turn and didn’t really care much about what anyone else did. I suspect that the game may be improved dramatically by the expansions, but I just don’t know because they weren’t included in this playthrough. Perhaps someone out there can point me in the direction of the best additions to try?

All in all, I’m glad that I hadn’t bought this on a whim, I feel it’s just not a game for me.

Château Roquefort/Burg Appenzell – A very fun kids game that will appeal to both adults and children alike. Some amazing production value with this one, a great board and some amazing little mice/player pieces (see the photo at the top of the post for just how much fun these pieces are!)

This game took me back to my childhood, when I played a game called the aMazing Labyrinth. I loved that game and when I got into board games again all these years later I called my parents and asked them to find it. Filled with the joy of nostalgia I set up and played aMazing Labyrinth, only to find that it was nowhere near as good as I remembered. Château Roquefort however, utilises the same tile pushing mechanic as aMazing Labyrinth, a similar item collection concept, but adds a few more layers of complexity to it. As the game progresses, the board evolves, cheese are collected and mice sent plummeting to their death in small shallow pits. This game is really quick to play and I’d recommend it to all families and most gamers!

Guild Hall – I got this at a really low price in a sale earlier in the year. The box makes this game look terrible, the pigs on the front of it don’t even feature in the game, and anyone who sees it turns their nose up at it almost without fail.

So, in an effort to show a few people this little gem, I grabbed a large plastic deck box, transplanted the cards and tokens into their new home and persuaded a few people to join me in a game.

I really like Guildhall, it’s fast and it’s fun. You collect sets of cards, when you have a set you can use it to buy points, and you play until someone scores twenty points. That’s the basics of the game, but there’s so much more to it. There’s a selection of cards that you use to build your sets, each having their own unique ability. I won’t go into detail in this post but there’s a lot of player interaction hidden away in this fun little game and it’s really worth giving it a shot!

Francis Drake – I’ve had this game for a few weeks now and not managed to get it to the table. Jason from the Cardiff group had brought along his copy and set it up for me to have a try. Jason, Paul, Gavin (new to the group) and myself took on the roles of explorers and started hiring crew, purchasing cannons and gaining the odd bonus by “taking” the Queen. Yes I said it!!

From the box, you wouldn’t get that this game is seriously fun. The artwork is your typical Euro style and the box put me off buying it originally! Thankfully I watch the Dice Tower and saw a glowing review of it on there, so I figured I’d grab a copy whilst it was still available! Keeping this short and sweet though, this three round game had me entertained and engaged throughout. I lost by quite a margin, but I still enjoyed it!

The Resistance – A great game that I’ve played hundreds of times. I’m not exaggerating here, I’ve played it so many times over lunch that I stopped counting at about 125 plays. I’ll get round to writing a review of this and its sister game Avalon sometime in the near future.

Coup – Set in the Resistance universe, Coup is a game of lies and deceit. You can claim to be any of the characters in the game, and if no one challenges or blocks you then you get to do as that character does. The trick is, you don’t actually have to have that characters card to claim that you do. After backing this on Kickstarter I’ve played this a few times. It’s not bad but there’s plenty of games that are far more fun to play. Resistance or Bang the dice game with their hidden roles are both more fun and frantic than any game of Coup.

Sunday:
Sunday wasn’t going to be a games day but it turned into a 2 player gaming session whilst a delicious Sunday lunch was cooking in the background.

We managed to get two games played, each hitting the table for the first time. Both games belong to Nikki and I have to admit I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy either. However, after a bit of a rules reading session we started playing what turned out to be a pair of pleasant surprises.

Cyclades – Greek Gods and Mythical beasties make for an interesting and fun game. I’d played this before on the iPad and hadn’t been impressed at all. Bringing the game to the table I was worried that I’d feel the same about the physical version. However, after a very quick glance through the rules we were up and running. It’s fast to learn, easy to play and with more than two players I think this could be a lot of fun! I would definitely play this again, even with only two players, and would be very interested to see how the new conversion pack works that lets you use the monster figures from Kemet in Cyclades and vice versa!

Drum Roll – OK, so I saw this on one of the crowd-funding sites a good while back. I thought it looked interesting, but as time went on I decided it wasn’t a game I would be interested in. When Nikki bought this game I was surprised, and a little apprehensive. It just didn’t appeal to me at all anymore. However, looking for games to play on Sunday, we finally brought it to the table.

All I can say is that I actually really enjoyed this game. Although there’s not a lot of player interaction it’s quite good fun gathering performers, building a circus troupe, and putting on shows. It’s fast paced and you’re never left bored or wishing your time away. The art work is beautiful and drips theme from virtually every component. This is a very nice game and I am happy to say I grossly underestimated how much fun it would be.

And Finally…
So, that was my weekend of gaming, I had a lot of fun playing through most of these games and I can’t wait to play some more. This week I don’t think I’ll have a lot of spare time free for gaming so any time I do get will be completely dedicated to playtesting the last two chapters of the Mice and Mystics Downwood Tales expansion. I can’t wait to get my teeth into these, the story so far has been extremely interesting and I can’t wait to see how it ends!

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.

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

Ankh Morpork

Ankh Morpork

Based in the city of Ankh Morpork, the game of the same name offers a fun and interesting experience. Fans of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, will know that it has provided the setting for several other games such as Guards Guards and Thud. I may review these at a later date but for now we’ll concentrate on this gem of a game.

Ankh Morpork, by Tree Frog Games, is a fast-paced game in which players go head to head to achieve their own personal objective. At the beginning of the game each player takes a role card that tells them what their own personal goal is. There are three roles that require you to take control of a set number of areas within the city. Then there’s a role which has you earn fifty dollars, one that needs there to be eight trouble markers on the board, one that needs you to have at least one person in a certain number of districts, and the final role wins if the last card is taken from the draw deck.

If you’re a fan of the Discworld novels then you’ll appreciate the characters and humour spread throughout this game. However, if CMOT Dibbler means absolutely nothing to you, don’t worry! I’ve played this game with several people who have rarely picked up a book, let alone heard of the Discworld. Every single one of them grasped the game quickly, found the characters and art work to be great, and thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the magical city of Ankh Morpork.

As you play this game you’ll discover just how important it is to keep your suspicious eye trained on your fellow gamers! Did they just add that extra trouble marker because it’ll get them one step closer to their goal? Did they build in that area to make more money from the special power or to claim their third control area? Sooner or later you’ll find yourself pointing out whose closer to any of the possible goals, making wild accusations, and casting aspersions on your fellow gamers. You can trust no-one, must watch everyone, and always do what’s best for you! It’s what I would call a fun, fast “leave your friendships at the door” kind of game. If you haven’t already tried this game, then for the surprisingly low price, you should really give it a go. It’s not heavy, it’s not all that time consuming, but it is a lot of fun.

Score: 8/10