Friday, February 29, 2008


For a week or more I've been staring at a Backgammon box. Its an old set by SPEARS looks like it's from the 60's or 70's. I picked it up on a whim a few weeks back while pootling through a charity shop.

I've never played the game, but have read a few session reports on BoardGameGeek. So there I was looking through the games shelf and this nice linen textured box called to me and I could not but buy the thing.

It's been sitting in view for a week or so now, and it's been working on my mind. Will I like it? Will it be boring? I've read the half sheet of rules that are in the box and it's a simple dice rolling abstract.

It's kind of teasing me, playing at the back sometimes the front of my mind. Sometime soon I'm going to open the box and actually play the game...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

That new game buzz.

I just recieved the PDFs for a game called Hour of Glory. I havn't read through the game yet, but it looks outstanding.

The theme is a WWII assault on an Austrian stronghold by an elite British agent. One player obviously takes the part of the agent and the other player the guards at the stronghold.

If that theme tickles your fancy then follow the link above and check out the photos and game info at Board Game Geek.

I'm almost drooling over this game.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Killer Bunnies!!!!!

A game night for the family and the votes went for Killer Bunnies ( no one else in the family seems to like to play Dune... go figure ).

I was especially happy as I recently made up four play mats for this game. BGG user "mothertruckin" has posted these in the files section on the Killer Bunnies page at BGG and I highly reccomend them. Thematic useful and fun all in one file, with a choice of colour!

Myself, my wife, "him" ( thats my son with the game winning luck of the evil one himself ) and my daughter.

We Roll Off to see who starts and my Wife leaps into the lead by laying down a bunny straight away.

I've lucked out and have two bunnies in hand, but I use my "special" tactic of only playing one at a time.

Daughter splurges out a bunny too and so does "him".

I was frowning as "him" started off with a bunny. "Him" always beats me so he's the one to watch.

A few turns around and its time for my first attack, I look around the bunny circle. My natural target would have been "him" but not today his single bunny has been spirited into Area 51. My eyes drift towards the Daughters collection, yes thats right, an actual collection of bunnys. Then my eyes fall on my wifes bunnys. Then I look up at her, she looks at me. My wife is not afraid to meta game. she says...

"You do, and I wont make you another cup of tea tonight."

She says it calmly, and without malice. She means it. Hmmm... My eyes wander back to my daughters collection. She doesn't have the "tea making" card to play. But then she winces. She's still in pain, after getting out of the hospital yesterday ( a five keyhole surgery !), so I clearly can't hit her collection.

I suck it up, and drop the weapon on my wifes bunny. It dies. She smiles. Then I know I'm in trouble. Thats her "this means war" smile.

The game proceeds. A minor scuffle between "him" and my daughter takes the sidelines as my wife hits me with weapon after weapon and a few "feed the bunnys" while shes at it.

Of course I retaliate. But she's rolling like a possessed thing tonight, I even hit with a level 11 weapon and she rolls a 12!

I'm beaten down, no bunnys and I hit a bunny drought. Then the carrots I'd collected are taken from me and put back in the shop.

I get a bunny back, I put a clover on him, and survive the next couple of womanly attacks.

And so we come to the end game, I have a carrot, my daughter has a few, "him" has lots, as does my wife.

We start looking for the magic carrot. I'm knocked out straight away, and as my daughter goes out next I'm confident that "him" is going to win as usual... but, no it cant be... my wife wins!!!!!!

She's cheering, I smile and conceed that she is the best gamer. I tell her she's beautiful. She still doesn't make me any tea.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sending off my Prototype

I approached Slugfest games recently about a game I had designed. They have now asked to see the prototype. (Gulp!)

I've had to do a careful reprint as my own copy was covered in notes, changes, and corrections based on responses from my playtesters.

I originally playtested it with the group of players I know at work, and after that I asked for playtesters at Board Game Geek. I got a bunch of responses to that and sent them the PDF's.

They were pretty good about sending me comments and I'm very grateful for all of their help.

So today I'm putting together the covering letter and stuffing everything in an envelope and as soon as I get paid I'll be sending it stateside.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Print and Play wargame

Last night I spent about an hour constructing a free wargame called ... wait for it ... "V-Mail #2 - Unternehmung 25". You can download it for free from

Not the easiest of names to pronounce. I'm assuming its German but my grasp of languages is too poor to be sure.

The game itself is a postcrard wargame, that is it prints out on a single sheet of card/paper that you can fold into a postcard. It even has a space for the stamp!.

The theme is the German invasion of Yogoslavia in WWII. There are only about 20 counters in the game. The objectsives are to be in control of the cities at the end of the game which in only six turns.

After 1 single playtest the following points are obvious.

This game is really tough for the Yogo player. The German has more troops, better troops and air support.

The Game is really quick.

Despite its one-sided-ness its still interesting.

I'll be doing a full review on my Print and Play podcast shortly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First time with David & Goliath

This weekend I played my first game of David & Goliath.

It's a simple card game in principal but it kind of evolves during play. You become aware of techniques and possible stratergies thru play, that you dont immediately see before starting.

The game has a number of suits. A suit is just the cards border color. Red, Blue, green, Yellow etc. Each suit comes with denominations of 1 - 18. Depending on the number of players ( minimum 3 ) you discard a number of these before playing ans thay are not used at all. For instance in the four player game I played you only used cards numbered 1 thru 12.

Play is simplicity itself. Shuffle the cards and deal then evenly to the the players

With each hand of cards a new player takes a turn as being the starting player. The starting player plays a card from their hand onto the table face up. Then going clockwise every other player must play a card of the same suit ( color ). If a player cant play suit, they may play any card from their hand.

Once every player has played one card you determin who gets what cards.

The player who played the lowest denomination takes the highest card played and puts it in his score pile. The player who played Highest, gets the remaining cards for their score pile.

Then you move onto the next hand. You dont replenish your hand of cards, so on each subsequent hand you have less choice as your cards deplete.

When you've played out all of your cards, that the end of the round and you score the cards you've collected. This scoring is what is really interesting. You score each suit seperately. Imagine you had collected Blue 10 and Blue 8, this would score 18. However if you had more than two cards in Blue. you only score 1 point for each.

So as you may gather the best way to score high, is to only collect 2 high value cards from each suit. This seems straight forward, but it's complicated by the other players. All of the cards collected for scoring have to be kept face up so other players can play cards to either improve their own score, or to spoil yours!

This is a good light game. It's fun for the family. My wife doesn't generally enjoying playing games, but this one even struck her as simple and good fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Him" constantly beating me

Yesterday I was totally trounced by "him" ( thats my son who wins more games than is actually possible by any law of nature, I've often thought that he is actually inhabited by some luck-spirit ) at Super Mario Bros Card Game. He's ahead in the ongoing score between us ( all sorts of games ) by about 104-1.

Having felt weakened and despondent after my huge defeat yesterday I roped my wife into a game.

I hoped that by having a third force in the game it might mitigate the overpowering aura of "him". I thought that marriage to me might even lead her to help me. I hoped I might have a chance of being on the winning side if it was two against one. Hope...

I thought I had finally found the way to beat him! In the first few turns I shot into the lead, I had about 7 coins to his 4, YES!!!!

We went on a couple of more turns, the bad luck seems to have migrated to my wife she has zero coins. I allowed a smile to cross my face. That may have been the wrong thing to do. Did he see me smiling? My smile turns to anxious sweating.

"Him" edges his score ahead of mine, but I keep close behind.

My wife cries out in delight, she's drawn a five coin character card. I manage to keep close on "him's" tail. Thats when it falls apart.

My wife draws a penalty card , she has to give a card to an opponent. I can see her cards they are laid face up between us. Her hand reaches down, my eyes flick to hers but she's not looking. Her hand is drifting towards the five coin card. She only has two, the other card is a puny one coin card. She HAS to pick the one coin card, HAS to. No! She's deffinitely going to pick the five. I cough. She looks at me asks if I'm ok. I slyly cough the words "other card". She cocks her head to the side. Again I cough "other card". She says I should have a sip of my drink and promptly grabs the five coin card and hands it to "him".

I cry to heaven, bewailing the fates. Sackcloth, ashes, tearing of clothes.

I take my go, and get a couple of coins. He's got 29 and I have 27, my wife has 3. The winning total needed is 30.

"Him" take his go. After teasing me by hovering over the draw pile that I think has a penalty card at the top, he plumps for the big pile instead. He turns the card over. It's the Princess, 10 coins...

I crawl to into my hole and update the chalk board 105-1.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Bargain at TK Max

Hired a car for the day ( yep, I only drive 1 day a month ) and got to pop into TKMax which is the clothing shop where I found a bargain copy of Heroscape the other day.

Rootling around in the small corner of the shop where they have the Kids stuff, I found a cheap copy of a card game called "David and Goliath". It looks like a neat game, I pawed (Roar!) over the cards and read the rules. It seems like a very simple game at first glance, but when you look into how it plays there are definitely hidden depths.

It's about collecting cards, but they have to be the right sort of cards to maximise your score. As the cards collected by others are visible, it's possible not only to play for your own scoring, but to deliberately spoil the score of the other players. Thats going to make for a real cut-throat-buddy-stabbing.

Havn't tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Super Mario Bros Card Game

I recently made an EBay purchase of the old 1992 card game Super Mario Bros. I've had a couple of plays with my son and here present my review as posted on Board Game Geek.

Opening Salvo!

This is not a Gamers Game. This is a Kids game.

The Objective

Be the first to collect a number of coins. the number varies according to the number of players. 45 for 2 players, 30 for 3 etc.

The Bits

This is a card game, even the rules come on the cards. In fact two of the cards in the deck contain the rules, but only on 1 face each. So with only two card faces to put them on, you can guess that the rules are simple.

The game is for 2 - 4 players and each player gets to pick 1 of the four character cards to play as. There are in fact only two characters (Mario and Luigi), but these are shown on two cards each in differn't poses.

The remaining cards in the deck come in a variety of types.

The most common card is the Mushroom card, that displays a number of coins.
The next type of card is the named character card, these display anywhere between 4 to 10 coins.

Other cards in the deck are penalty cards that have various effects.

Setting Up

The rules aside, give each player 1 of the 4 character cards, put aside any unused character cards. Deal the remaining cards into 6 face down draw piles.

Your Turn

Simply you pick one the 6 draw piles and take the top card. If is shows coins add that to your hand. If you reached the total required to win, game over, you have won. If the card does not display coins it'll be a penalty card. And you have to carry out the instruction on the card.

A sample penalty card makes you give a card from your hand to another player. Another card makes you return cards from your hand to the bottom of a draw pile. After playing a penalty card, you also return it to the bottom of a draw pile.


Memory comes into it. As penalty cards get returned to the various draw piles you can start counting cards and avoid piles where you suspect that bad cards are coming to the top.


If you have a kid to play this with, this can be a fun game. Teenagers and adults wont get much out of it.