Friday, October 31, 2008


So after the disappointment of the previous post I finally managed to get the Lord of the Rings : Confrontation Deluxe played during Lunch at work.

I got of my work pals to sit opposite each other and go at it. I breezed through the rules, mentioning the stacking limits, the special move spaces for the Fellowship player and explained roughly how the combat worked.

So then they started. The Sauron players first move was to move a piece onto the Caradhras space. The Fellowship player and myself ( as umpire/referee sitting to the side where I couldn't see either players bits ) both had this pegged as the Balrog. Straight away the Fellowship player went into the attack on this space.

It wasn't the Balog! It was however the Troll. No retreats meant it came down to the card play. The Troll cant play a meaningful card and the Fellowship player played a high card to defeat the Troll and so first kill to the good guys.

Nether player was afraid to fight and it turned into a brisk set of fights with both players staying about even.

The Orcs made a successful raid into the Fellowship territory by a couple of rows before being brought down by a counter attack, also revealing Frodo as they did it.

The Nazgul leaped across the board picking on a lone Fellowship piece only for it to be that damned elf immediately killing it!

Then would you believe a slight misthought, a mishap, an oversight of the briefest interlude had Frodo try the tunnel only to discover that the Balrog had in fact since taken up residence.

Both players appeared to play an excellent game especially considering it was their first try with the game. Now I've warmed them to the game I hope it get a few games in myself next week. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A day of dispointments

So today I've had a couple of disapointmnets. Firstly work let me down. Now and then I get to play games at work. In addition to just getting to play, I even get to leave games set up so that I can play over multiple lunchtimes. How's that for having Cool management!

Alas today things were not so cool. I'd taken my Lord of the Rings Box to work getting myself all excited. The box contains not only Lord of the Rings, but also the Friends and Foes expansion and the Sauron expansion, and Lord of the Rings : Confrontation Deluxe. So I'm on a real Lord of the Rings vibe when suddenly I discover that we have a client in the office so we cant set up the game!!!

That was rather sad. but then tonight has proved rather sad. Not really sad. Just a kind of dang(!) type sad. I've printed out a copy of the free game "Cold War" which when I read the rules looked very good, they do still seem good. The disapointment is the components let the game down. Now being an experienced Print and Player of games I can make some very nice components when I want to, but in this case there is not a lot to be done. The art is very very basic and lets the game down. A Ship is represented by a bullet shape, a warship by a rectangle, an aircraft by a cross. Very uninspiring. Now add to that , each player needs about 60 counters or cubes but the PDFs that make up the game dont include any counters. So you have to make up your own.

That disapoints me quite a lot. This game has such potential!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lord of the Rings - F&F expansion Session

I recently saw a post on BoardGameGeek detailing about how an easy win was made when using the Friends and Foes expansion for Lord of the Rings. I was plainly staggered.

I've played a number of games with the just base set and have never found the game easy to win, in fact I have only ever won once. Yet I read session report after session report about how other people are having to set Sauron's starting place nearer the hobbits just to make it a challenge.

Frankly I don't get it. I don't know if they are lying or I and the people I've played with are missing something obvious.

Anyway, the article inspired me to solo a game of Lord of the Rings with the Friends and Foes expansion. I've only played with Friends and Foes once before, a good few months ago so I had to spend some time rereading the rules.

So off I set on my way to Mt. Doom just me Frodo and Sam. Frodo gets a nice ability in this expansion that allows him to move one of the activity counters during other players turns which sounds really useful although it proved not to be too useful, or at least not useful enough.

On the way through Bree I kept finding Foe after Fox appearing and every other one required something I didn't have. For instance one required that I give up three tokens, so that one had to be put off until I got them, but while collecting tokens another two foes appeared. Things were not looking good by the end of Bree.

And so it went on until Moria. Foes were running at around 5 on the table, Sauron had made a bit of a leap towards the hobbits, the little guys themselves were well forward. The next foes out required that Sauron be moved forwards, the foes after than required a hobbit to move forward toward Sauron. Things were going badly. Sam's hand of cards was depleted AND he was closest to the big bad. So Sam had no choice but to try and collect cards while backing away. This in turn meant that only Frodo could try and duff-up the foes and advance the story, so this ended up depleting his hand rapidly.

I managed to get Gandalf to burn up a couple of foes in the next board when the Foe count reached 7 but once again the next Foe moved the hobbits into trouble, the next made it all worse and then a bad die roll moved Sauron to take the ring bearer.

6 Foes on the board, Sam only a space away from Sauron, Sam and Frodo very low on cards.

I ask you, how can this game ever be described as easy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Assassination Game Le - Review

On holiday I tried out a whole bunch of Piecepack games, one of them was “The Assassination Game Le”. This game uses just the basic Piecepack and is for 3 or 4 players.

The theme is thin, each player is an assassin that is trying to kill the player that is “it”. The player that is “it” is trying to stay out of the way of the assassin players and visit each players base.

Setting up is very simple. The tiles are laid out face down in a 5x5 board with the central space removed, grid side up. The empty space is the “safe house”. A Coin from each suit is placed on each edge of the board and these are the bases for each Assassin.

You roll off to see who is the victim, the other players will be assassins. The victim's pawn is placed in the safe house. The Assassins are placed on the appropriate base (coin). The Assassins all get to move first. Each rolls a die and can move the number of spaces indicated by the die. Null means they don't move, Ace is a 1 space move. All movement is orthogonal.

The Assassins are trying to land on the space occupied by the victim by exact roll. When they manage this the Assassin becomes the Victim and is immediately moved to the safe house. The previous victim remains in place but is now an assassin.

The victim player rolls a die just like the assassins for movement, but re-rolls if he gets a Null. His aim is to land on each of the bases (coins) of the assassins. Once again this has to be by exact roll.

So that's it. It is a very simple game and based entirely on roll-and-move. I tried it once, I will not try it again. I really would rather play Snakes and Ladders.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Varg Bid - Session

I have just played two full games of Varg Bid with my family. That's four players three adults and one child.

Rather than dealing just 10 cards to each player as I have in the past this time I dealt the entire deck out between us. This didn't prove to be a problem as we all managed to hold the cards very easily.

It was interesting to watch my son playing his first game. He did his usual thing of copying the other players until he grew in confidence. My wife was the first to play a card out for bidding, she led off with an ace. The round played out and then it was my sons turn to lead off. As I've already hinted, he placed out an Ace as had my wife. During this first game he was not very confident and when he realised that he could pass on a bid he did, and did so often.

This led to the end game where he was left with many cards and the rest of us had been reduced to just a couple each. So it came about that we had all held onto our Crown (10) cards and the last few cards to be placed out for bidding were all worth the most and he was in a splendid position to pick them up. So this game ended with him actually winning. He has shown me a technique that is worth considering, simply skip the first few rounds and save your cards till the end.

The second game was completely different. He like the rest of us was fully confident and was bidding with the rest of us. He did save all of his bids for the bigger cards, and in fact played out all of his aces once again when called to place one down for the bid. Clever little guy had analysed the game after just a single game. Then, that's what you get when you play with kids that have autistic traits!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dungeon Crawl - Review

Having just returned from a visit to a zoo on holiday I thought, this is the perfect time to try one of the Piecepack games I had previously printed the rules for.

This Rule set is called "Dungeon Crawl" was written by James Kyle and Paul Shope. As the name suggests it's a ... dungeon crawl. Unlike the other piece pack games I've played it's for more than one player, actually 2, 3 or 4.

Step one in the game is where all of the players join in building the dungeon. The players take turns placing down a tile ( face down ) and placing a coin somewhere on that tile. The coins have previously all been turned suit side down and mixed up, when placed they are still suit side down.

Players will take control of a pawn which is going to be their hero. The coins will be various things. Crowns are treasure, Arms are equipment, Suns are traps and Moons are monsters. Of course because all of the coins are suit side down no player knows what each actually is.

On a players turn they can move their pawn in a straight line as far as they want or is possible. This will be a limited move because of the random distribution of coins and the tiles.

When a players pawn reaches a coin, the coin is turned over to reveal it. If its a Crown, HUZZAR! the dungeon crawler has found an amount of treasure equal to the value of the coin. The player at the end of the game with the most treasure points is going to win.

If the coin is a moon then the hero has found a monster. A Die is now rolled if the roll beats the monsters "value" the monster is killed and the coin is taken by the player as an experience coin.
These coins can be burnt later to increase the value of later monster rolls. If the players roll does not beat the monster then he has been hurt. He takes the coin and the value shown on it is the amount of damage the players Hero has suffered. Heros can take 10 points of damage before dying.

If the coin turns out as a Sun, then its a trap, a die is rolled. With a high roll the trap is defeated and the player takes the coin as an experience point that can be burnt to aid in future trap rolls. Failure means the coin is taken as damage.

When Arms coins are revealed then it is a piece of equipment. Equipment can be used to fight other players heros when the pawns end up on the same space or to reduce damage taken.

Play continues until all six treasure coins are collected.

This game plays very quickly. Once you've gone through the set up process once you can repeat it very quickly meaning you can easily get through a number of games in half an hour. That makes it a light filler game. There are interesting decisions to be made, such as the size of coin you next investigate, do you risk a high value hoping it is a Treasure, or go low hoping for easily defeated
monsters and traps for experience. Then of course you have to decide if you're going to just look at unknown coins or attack the other players for their hard earned booty.

It's a fun light game, in my opinion best with three or four rather than just two.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Galaxy Express - Review

On holiday I had a chance to try a number of the free games rules for the Piecepack. One of these was the nicely named "Galaxy Express", which is a name that exudes space theme, which is a quick and easy was of appealing to me.

The game uses just a standard piecepack so no extras required.

The theme of the game is that you take the part of an inter-planetary delivery boy. You have to pilot your spaceship to each of the planets.

To set up, you start by building "space" this is a rectangle of face down tiles arranged 4 by 3. Next you shuffle the Crown and Arms coins and place these 1 by 1 with 1 coin on each tile face down. Then you remove the crown coins. What this gives you is a nice random distribution of Arms ( planets ). The Crowns coins then get shuffled and placed in a stack face down, these will be used to indicate the planets you have to visit and the order in which you need to visit them.

The ace tiles of Sun and Moon are placed face up next to the board these will just be "bins" or holders for used coins. The Sun coins are shuffled and placed face down in a stack next to the Sun tile, then the top two coins are turned over, face up. You then do the same for the Moon coins. These coins are going to be used for movement. Sun coins increase your speed, moon coins will slow you down.

So you start by turning over the first Crown coin, the number shown is the first planet you must move to, but you don't know where it is because all of the Arms coins on the map start face down. So you need to move. You pick one of the face up Sun coins and place this on the Sun tile, this value gives you your starting speed. Then turn over the next Sun coin so you once again have two face up to choose from. You can now move your pawn from the planet on which you have started orthogonally at your ships current speed. On subsequent turns you can use up another Sun coin to increase your speed or use a Moon coin to slow down.

As your piece lands on or next to one of the Arms coins ( planets ) you can turn it over. If you manage to end a turn on a planet with a speed of zero then you can do two things. If the number on the planet matches top Crown coin you are making a delivery, which means you can turn over the next Crown coin to see where you have to go next. If you are running out of Sun or Moon coins you also have the opportunity to refuel, which means you reshuffle all of the Sun and Moon coins like you did when you set up.

If your wondering about the dice, they do get used. Two are used to record your current speed. The other two are used to record the number of times you refuel. You therefore have a maximum speed of 10 and maximum of 5 refuels for Suns and Moons.

I found the theme of the game interesting enough to keep me trying but I also found it extremely difficult. I found getting my ship to pass by planets and reveal them was easy enough but stopping your ship on planets in order to make deliveries was very difficult. I would often find myself running out of fuel before even reaching the first delivery. I was overjoyed when once I was able to make three deliveries before drifting into the void...

You will find that as you only have two thrust or braking coins to choose from on any turn, and you have to pick one, that often you overshoot or undershoot your target.

I think this game could be improved with just a few minor changes, such as allowing you to automatically stop when you land on a planet or perhaps letting you choose from all of the thrust and braking coins rather than just the two face up coins as stated in the normal rules.

Also this game is interesting enough that I would like to see bespoke components produced rather than using the Piecepack. That's not to denigrate the Piecepack, this is actually a benefit of the pack, as it's allowed me to try the game without needing specially made bespoke components. So now I know about the game I may well go ahead and produce a set of graphically bespoke components.

In summary, could do with a very minor bit of rules tweaking for my tastes and would be even better with a set of bespoke components, I will be playing this again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Varg Bid, 2 game sessions

I was on holiday last week and took the opportunity to try out a number of games for both the Piecepack and the Decktet cards. The specific game in this session report is a game of my own design that uses the Decktet.

We were paying a visit to the local Laundrette, while the wash was being done we paid a short visit to the cliff top and looked for seals ( didn't see any ) but when back in the laundrette with nothing better to do than watch the tumble dryer I launched the Decktet cards out of my pocket with the words, "fancy a game". After the whole "rolling eyes" thing she agreed.

I was introducing the game to my wife, and this always takes a little planning. My wife detests games where she has lots of rules to understand, she just wants to get on with it. Therefore I
started the first game by playing a simplified variant of the basic rules. In this case we played with a hand of 10 cards and all bid cards get discarded. It makes for much shorter game with less thinking.

We only managed to bid on three cards and of course she won. I didn't let her, she's just good.

We then sat back waiting for the washing to finish. Fortunately for me some washing had to go back in for more drying, leaving us with 10 more minutes to fill! I brought the pack back out and gave her "the eyes" which got me a "oh go on then".

I told her this time we'd use the proper bidding rule, where the loser gets their bidding cards back. She nodded and we begun.

The first card out for bidding was a two, I got that. Next was 4,she got that. Then another two, I got that. The next card was bigger, we both played out a few cards bidding on it, but then I had to concede the bid to her as I didn't have a single card that would let me outbid her.

The last card out was a King meaning whoever won it would win the game. She bid, I bid, she bid, I bid and I won as she had nothing to outbid me.

The washing finished and I packed away the cards before helping unload the machine.

I know I'm biased, but I like this game, and it doesn't hurt to have such nice cards. I guess next time I'll have to try some of the variants suggested by the Decktet designer.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Killer Bunnies on Holiday

My son had been pestering for months for us to get the Violet expansion because "then we'd have all of the carrots". Well with the holiday coming up my wife decided to "shut him up" and secretly
ordered the Violet booster. It duly turned up and I secreted the new cards into the box without telling him.

So there we were second day of the holiday when the suggestion came up to play Killer Bunnies. Unfortunately the living room in the cottage is long and thin meaning that the round leaved table
supplied does not easily fit all four of us around it.

So I moved the low coffee table into the hall, shunted the two comfy chairs and the sofa down one end. Moved the leaved table across the corner of the fireplace and just managed to get four dinning chairs arranged around it.

So to the game. I started dealing the initial cards and my son noticed the new colour in the deck. Big beaming smile. Then he started talking about Orange cards... is there an orange booster?

So to the game. It started out quite normally and as usual everything was fine until I dared to kill my wifes bunny. Then the usual war started, she started hitting me with everything she could
but fortunately I had the holo bunny so was able to laugh most of it off. Then my son who had been watching me chuckle at her feeble attempts thought he'd help her out for a moment by quietly dropping a small tactical nuke on my bunny!

Everyone but my son lost bunnies to fallout. Nukes are dangerous like that.

We all started playing out other bunnies, my wife managed to get one of her bunnies abducted by aliens and I was unable to attack her for a good while. In the MEAN( AND NASTY ) time before I got to attack her she clever killed off another of my bunnies just before I got the "everyone feed your bunnies" card into play, dang!

I managed a smile a few turns later when I got the alien abduction card and played it. Of course I reached across to take her bunny out of the aliens hands when she played one of the new cards and
"protected" my bunnies from the alien abduction, thereby keeping hers safely in their clutches.

There were four players in this game but sadly my attention was focused on the private war between myself and my wife and when it came to the end of the game. I had about 7ish carrots my wife likewise, my son had two and my daughter the remainder. We stated turning over the carrots looking for the magic one and by a huge piece of clever tactical and strategic play ( LUCK ) I came out the winner.

I of course did the obligatory "dad dance" in the corner of the room with the following lyrics sung by myself.

Oh yeah-eh,
Oh yeah-eh,
I'm tha' king of ole bunny town
Oh yeah-eh,
Oh yeah-eh,
I'm tha' king of ole bunny town

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cardinal's Guards - Review

I took a print out of about a dozen sets of Piecepack game rules with me on holiday, Cardinal's Guards was the first set I tried. So there I was day one of the holiday, the first to rise and no one to play with.

This game is a solitaire game and comes in the puzzle solving line of solo games as opposed to the adventure style.

The theme is pasted on as it is with all of the Piecepack games. In this case it based on the well known group known as "The Four Musketeers" formerly known as "The Three Musketeers".

In the game you control the musketeers ( the pawns ) moving around the rooms of the castle ( the tiles ) eliminating the guards ( coins ) and trying to visit the tiles of each pawns suit in sequence.

The tiles are laid face up in a 5x5 grid with the centre tile missing. Coins are laid around the outside of the tiles, 5 per side. Pawns start on the null tile of their suit. The four space coins go into the players hand. the dice will be used to keep a note of the tiles visited in each suit.

During a move (turn seems too big a word) you get to move one of the pawns orthogonally until it reaches a space next to a Guard coin. Once it reaches that it ends it move. At that point the coin is defeated and removed from play.

When a guard gets removed from the edge of the board this creates a hole pawns can move through. When a pawn moves through such a gap, it is off the board and removed from play.

The exception to this removing of the guard is that if the pawn matches the coins suit and the player does not have that suit in his hand of coins, the coin gets placed in the hand.

The hand of coins can be used to place blocking positions on the board. When you wish to, take a coin from your hand and place on the board. Then your able to get your pawns to move up to the
guard and thereby stop on a particular tile. These coins get removed as normal. If your playing clever then you will use coins of the same suit to block pawns movement as this allows you to take
the coin back into your hand for reuse.

The central hole in the board can be used to make special moves. When a pawn moves into the space it can be moved to any corner tile. This can be very useful to cross the board, but often
requires you to use a coin in order to stop the pawn as it passes a central axis, so the payout on such an action must be calculated by looking moves ahead.

The end game comes around once all pawns exit the board, then you calulate your score. You gets points for suit tiles visited in order and guards/coins removed. The rules state you also get two
points for each pawn that gets off the board, but as that is always possible it's not really worth the effort.

So what do I think about it? I'm not overly enthused. If solitaire puzzle games are your thing then I would expect to really like this. It's no where near as simple as many and has enough variation and complexity to keep your mind occupied. For me I'm not a fan of the theme so that lets it down for me. A fantasy or sci fi theme might have upped it in my reckoning.

In short, it works fine, occupies the mind, but sadly, isn't my thing. Oh, and in case your wondering, my best score was 39. :(

Friday, October 17, 2008

Holiday ZIMP - Session

The following is a session report for Zombie in my Pocket, a free Print and Play game, that took place on my holiday (Saturday).

It started in the foyer, and I moved into the dinning room, had to hold my bladder as the fear was mounting. Tried the door in the opposite wall which fortunately led to the bathroom. I releived my bladder and found a CandyBar nice! Looking at the cupboards I decided to search them and managed to find a can of soda.

The Bathroom was a dead end so I opted to head back to the Dinning room and try the other doors. Unfortunately there were some zombies in there now. Using the ancient martial art of Origami, I managed to fold the Zombies into flowers and only took a modicum of damage. I drank the soda by way of healing and marched on.

The next room turned out to be the Evil Temple! Four zombies were guarding the sacred sigils of Secthopet. Adopting the stance I launched into a well timed Origami manoeuvre and folded then into fish. Afterwards I polished off the Candy Bar and searched the room for the Totem I knew was there. I found it under a pile of zombies. More smashing and kicking left these zombies folded as nice Sea gulls!

I was tired. All of this folding wears a guy down. I decided to cower in the corner for a while and used the time to mentally fold the perfect cube.

As I made my back to the Dinning room I felt a spark of hope, but this was dashed as entered the garden when I suddenly felt a sense of doom!

I moved into the yard and would you believe it, of all things a bat pooped in my eye! This unnerved me and I took a few moments to consider (cower).

I moved down the yard folding 5 zombies into rather attractive dog shapes and had a quick cower in the hedge.

As I looked round the garage I heard terrible screams and the town
clock chimed 11.

Further down the yard I had the feeling my soul was not wanted by
even these lifeless pawns of evil.

I took the chance to cower once more.

Further into this zombie ridden garden and four zombies jumped me. A swift lookup in my guide to Origami, and I had the zombies folded into cute pussy cats. Tired again I choose to cower once more.

The clock was ticking, midnight was closing my dread was mounting.

I moved into the sitting area and six zombies came at me. That was the final straw, there was no more Mr Niceguy. This group I folded into two cup and saurcer combos, a teapot and a spoon. Take that!

I rested (Cowered).

I moved on, and finally I found myself in the Graveyard I had been seeking, I could smell blood!

As I scraped the soil away to bury the totem I could taste something icky. Yet the years of Origami training had steeled my self discipline I did not falter. Then it was done. The totem was buried. I stood up and looked around. Silence...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Holiday Games

Well today is the last day I expect to be posting for a week or so because I'm going on holiday. My preparation for the holiday , at least in gaming terms, has been going on for about a week.

I've had a Piecepack for a while, which is a generic set of game pieces for which well over a hundred game rules sets have been written. I've also got the "Decktet" which is a fairly new generic deck of cards. I've carefully packed these into my going away box along with about a dozen printed sets of rules for these. I haven't read the rules, just simply printed then and stowed them ready for play on holiday.

I'm also taking a 1/4 quarter size copy of It's All Chinese to Me!. I printed this out a few weeks ago by setting my printer to print four pages on one. I've slipped this into an old Paracetamol box, this is going as my secret game that no one in the family knows about ( hee hee ).

I've also got my set of Zombie in my Pocket, which is another really small game that's a lot of fun.

Now to finish off I'm taking my copy of an RPG called Traveller which we may or may not play ( this was my inspiration for my game "Free Trader" ), a card game called Sherlock Holmes and of course we're taking Killer Bunnies. It wouldn't be a holiday without Killer Bunnies!

Erm... I hope I have time for some holiday between the games...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Black Death - Review

Black Death is a print and play game. That means you hand over some of your hard-earned and in return get your hands on compressed zip file that contains printable parts for the entire game. I might add that the designer, or rather whoever put the package together was very thoughtful and helpful!

The theme of this board game is virus' spreading across ancient Europe. Players take the parts of various virus' and the winner will be determined by which player manages to kill 30 million people first. The theme is a little on the sick side and the rules admit that and treat the whole thing a little tongue in cheek.

The board is based on a map of Europe. Large population areas are represented by white squares, that are used to place counters on. Very large concentrations/cities are made up of 2,3 or 4 such white boxes. Some boxes are marked with a +1 or a -1 and these are referenced when the virus attempt to spread.

Between the city boxes a number of paths are scribed, and these indicate the routes along which the Virus' may spread. Some such as those that require long sea journeys or paths across mountains have a -1 or -2 value indicating extra movement point costs.

With regards the print and play aspects of the board, the designer has been really helpful. Not only has a large single image been provided we have the same board broken down into four separate printable parts. But wait! Not only this, the board also comes in Black and White! These are really helpful, allowing you to print the board in a number of ways and thereby much more convenient to the average print-and-player.

The rules are well written and as I mentioned earlier a little tongue in cheek, but this does not get in the way of the clarity and straight forward explanation of how to play the game. It's all liberally sprinkled with historical information. This is a good set of well written rules.

Next we have small deck of cards. Players will get a card to start another once they kill 5 million, another at 10 and another at 20. These cards contain text that describes a one time use special effect. The player can play this as appropriate and it's then discarded. As with the board, the designer has provided this in colour and black and white.

Next up we have counters. Each virus has it's own colour and a pattern that is in fact a close up photo of some virus or bacteria that's been colourised. Each player has roughly about thirty counters. interestingly enough this is not enough counters to take over the whole map which is just as well or the more virulent virus would indeed take over the whole map!

Each player also gets a play mat for his virus. This describes some special features of the players virus, such as it more virulent in north because it is cold adapted. This mat also contains two numbered tracks, these allow you to track your virus' Virulence and Mortality. Before play starts you will spend 6 points across the two tracks and set your markers appropriately.

Finally there are some quick reference sheets that nicely summarise the playing process and rules.

So how do you play it? Very simply. You start by rolling two dice, you'll use one to try and spread your virus ( place more counters on the board in adjacent white boxes ). You ll then use the other as movement pips, allowing you to move your existing virus counters along the paths between white city boxes. You get choose which die you use for which virus.

When you're spreading your virus you one attempt per pip on the die. You roll the die and try to score equal to or less than your virus' Virulence rating, if you succeed you place your counter into the space ( removing any other there ). There are penalties and bonus that may be applied.

For movement, you may only move any one counter a single space and as I mentioned earlier some paths cost extra. Note that I said any counter, that includes your opponents pieces as well, and as some locations have paths that lead off the board your able to move the others players piece off the board!

The next phase is where you check for deaths caused. You roll a die and cross reference the result with your virus' Mortality. Results vary from one in two down to one in six or even "Cure". A result of one in six means you have to remove that portion of your counters from the board, but you do score one million deaths per one of these counters. So success costs you board position.

And that's it for your turn. Simple like I said.

Game play in my experience is going to be a couple of hours for newbies but could be considerably quicker for experienced players.

I really like this game. The simple mechanics hide the actual tactics in the game. very turn you will be carefully choosing where you attempt to infect and move. It's always advantageous to try and take over your opponents counters but that is harder than taking over an empty space. Careful play of your precious cards is also a hard choice as is using your Virus special abilities.

It's good. You can get it from and

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Space Hulk - Session

Today I played a game of an old game workshop game called Space Hulk. Unfortunately for me I was playing against my son. I call him my son, but frankly I don't think the amount of good luck he has in games has anything to do with my genes!

He played the part of the space marines in mission 2. Looking over the scenario it says that the Genestealer entry points are blocked if a Marine is within 6 spaces of it. So if I'd have been the marine player I would have tried to close these entry points.

However my son had other ideas. He simply played the game by standing off at the end of long corridors in overwatch. He covered all four corridors with overwatch and waited.

I could see the idea behind that but my experience is that overwatch is good for a while but troopers generally get overwhelmed by onrushing hordes as soon as they get a jammed weapon.

So my hordes of Genestealers came onto the board and started up the corridors only to find the overwatching Marines blowing them away as quickly as they came onto the board.

So second , third and fourth turns I continued bringing the 'stealers on at the same place hoping to get my fangs into the overwatching marines. It didn't happen. On one turn I got a Genestealer next to a Marine but the 'stealer had run out of action points. Of course next turn the marine steps back and using all of his six command points empties the entire length of the corridor putting me back to square 1.

The second corridor from this entry point was overwatched by a Marine with the flamer. This of course meant that as soon as a Genestealer came in site it got flamed and this blocked the path for others!

So it came down to this. I kept almost getting to his soldiers only to have him blow me back. He seemed to get very few weapon blockages and this meant he kept on smacking me. This couldn't go on because once we hit 30 Genestalers killed it was a Marine win. So it quickly got down to this score of death. And worse luck for me, he hadn't lost a single Marine.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Killing Millions

Yes it's rather bad taste... I suppose, but it is tactical. It is fun. It appeals to my megalomaniac side. Everyone else is enjoying it. Can it be that bad, that wrong?

What am I doing? Well I'm only killing millions of people, thats all.

Okay, okay, it's a board game, I'm not actually killing people, so I'm not that evil.

The game is called "Black Death". It's a print and play game, you simply download the PDF and print it out. In the game you take on the role of a nasty virus in the old world. Not the famous disease of the games name but virus you have to make a name up for.

Its basicly a point to point movement system. You start with a few counters and spread ... disease like across, the map. Of course your opponents are doing the same, and even beating you back so they can kill all of your potential victims.

I'll be writing up a full review in a few days, once my lunchtime game of Black Death is complete.