Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Red November - Discussion

I started today on my first four player game of Red November, which is neat little game from Fantasy Flight games.

The session went surprisingly well. We've had to leave the game set up and will hopefully finish it off tomorrow lunchtime.

So I started off by telling the guys about the games time track. Glazed eyes as a response. I explained when things can go wrong, pressure, heat, flooding timed events. It took a little longer but they glazed over again. So at that point I just got everyone playing and everything very quickly came into focus for everyone.

An interesting discussion came about as I was trying to unjam the door to the captains cabin while fires burned at the other end of the sub. Was I wasting my time? Some thought so. I explained that every jammed door, flood and fire is as important, though perhaps not as urgent as every other.

For instance if theres a fire and no equipment for putting them out, then Grog is important as without it you wont be able to attack the fire!. I'm not sure I made my point very well, or at least I don't think I convinced anyone.

We're all hovering around the 30 minute mark at the moment so tomorrows continuation will hopefully prove me right. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Game in development and getting old

I'm working on a new space conquest game. It'll be a card driven war game of sorts. It's basically red vs blue across the galaxy.

I've been working on the board for a few days and it's really sweet. The boards background is a huge space shot showing galaxies and star systems, with play areas and tracks overlayed on top. It's the background however that makes it pop out.

The mechanics are not too original, they are a variation of some well know mechanisms but are enough different to make the game play differently.

I'm putting the most effort into the rules. I'm only doing a few minutes per night on it and thats really frustrating as I want to get this done and pushed out into the world. I'm taking it easy because I don't want to burn myself out on it. The rules will include examples of play and diagrams and each of those will take time to produce, so I'm going slowly and hopefully surely.

Once the rules are complete I have still more to do. there are 50+ cards and each has to have some unique flavour text and I know thats going to drain my creative juices so I must rush. I guess that's just part of getting older. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dune Express Dice

A while back I put together a game called Dune Express which I blogged about at the time. It's a dice game but does not use standard dice. Each of the dice was a special die with strange and mysterious values on each side.

I was delighted to find very clever and arty peole volunteer to create artwork for both the games board and for all of those special dice faces.

Furthermore I then had the good fortune to fall in with a chap who has a laser engraver which he uses to produce wooden Piecepacks. One small fee later and I had the dice engraved and dispatched you can see pictures of them here.

So I printed one of the boards produced by the "Crafty" chaps and kapow! A professional looking game of my own design.

I'm really happy with the dice and the board, and so thankful to all ofthe people who've applied their craft and imagination to produce such excellent dice, boards and even rules variants. I'm proud to be a member of the BoardGameGeek community [sniff].

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Memoir ''44 Eastern Front - session report

The Suomussalmi battle is a very interesting scenario, there aren't the usual two sides of the board. Both sides have forces in the opposite side of the board as well as their own. Additionally the AirPower card is played as a Barrage in this scenario.

The oddities do not end there! The battle is between the Finns and the Russians, and half of the Finnish forces are ski troops this means they can move three and battle but do suffer from a maximum range of two.

Of course the Russians are also playing with their own special rules that mean they have to select a card to play a turn ahead.

A lot of variables there. It's also a very bloody battle with victory being reached at 6 medals or by the Finnish troops occupying the central multi hex town. The immediate win is obviously an attractive goal, However in this case it does feel near impossible. For the Finns to win that type of victory they have to take over three of the town hexes, fair enough, however the town in garrisoned by 6 infantry units and an artillery unit all of them in town with sandbags or in a bunker!

I played this with my son the other day and he choose to go for the immediate victory but he lost because that central block of russians is very tough and well entrenched.

The session I'm going to talk about is where I played the Finnish against his Russians.

I decided to bypass that central knot of Russians for as long a possible and to rather nibble around the edges.

On my right flank there was an infantry and a tank unit well in advance so I decided to take them on first. I moved my right most finish troops into the woods and that just put them in range of the Russians. The opening salvo just pushed the tanks back.

My son new his strengths and used his guns to return fire and I took damage from that.

On my left flank I advanced my guns, as they start on the back line and out of range. I also used the infanty on that side to take some long range shots at the russians on their own baseline.

My son's brown horde came out for blood. His right flank moved forwards opening a gap for the tanks to shoot through, he put some damage into the sandbagged troops on that side.

On the centre I advanced my left ski troops forwards into the woods to support the left flank and moved the ski troops on the right up onto the hill where they could start attacking the russians who were most advanced. Again I pushed them back rather than eliminating them.

My son now embarked on using his guns almost every turn and when every possible sniping long range at my Ski troops who could not reply due to their shorter range. I was now being wittled down.

In my next turn I barraged his guns but only got a single hit. I wasn't able to hit them again during the rest of the game.

On the russian right they pounded my sanbagged troops and forced one of them to retreat thereby losing the entrenchment.

On my right I once again pounded on the lonely tanks and infantry knocking them both for troops and getting another retreat.

The Russian guns pounded my right flank seriously reducing the ski troops in the woods.

On my left I moved my ski troops on the enemies base line north to close the gap in the line and took some shots at the russian infantry over there and started scoring some serious hits.

I lost some ski troop from the center and yet again took damage from the guns on my right.

In a last gasp type situation I moved my ski troops all with only a single troop each, forwards out of the woods and close assaulted the remaing tanks and infantry. I killed the last tank and forced the infantry to retreat onto the frozen river where they fell through the ice.

The russians took full advantage of my advancing into the opening and took out one of the units on my right and killed off another on the left for a close 6-5 win.

Over all I really enjoyed this scenario. At first it looks like an easy Russian victory but in truth the scenario is really very well balanced and a great deal of fun.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Around the World in 80 Days, review

I've just played my way through a solo, virtual 3 player, game of Around the World in 80 Days.


The game is inspired by the Jules Verne novel of the same name. Each player takes the part of a person racing around the world, attempting to complete the journey in 80 days or less.


Be the person who gets around the world in the least number of days. It's not actually required to do it in less than 80.

The Board

Around the edge runs the score track from 0 to 80 which scores the number of days taken to travel the journey.

Across the middle of the board are 10 spaces scattered across the world, your piece will travel along these 10 spaces. Between each space it indicates the mode of transport that has to be used to move from space to space. Each location also has two bonus chip spaces.

The Bits

There is a heavy start player counter showing a stopwatch. Each player has a wooden meeple and a matching score token. They also get a coloured chit that the player keeps in front of them until they get around the world.

There are some bery thick card coins that you'll earn.

A standard wooden die.

Two decks of cards. The first bigger deck shows trains and ships in various denominations.

The second deck is the event deck, each card is either an event or a bonus to the player that draws it.

There are also small but thick cardboard bonus counters that get put on the board next to the locations.

Finally there is a detective meeple.

Set Up

Shuffle the decks. Deal three travel cards to each player, put the detective on his start space, pick a start player and your good to go.


The start player draws and lays out 1 more travel card than players against the boards action track.

Then players take turns. On your turn you take one of the cards layed out by the start player. You also get to carry out the action associated with the card you took. one lets you get a coin, another lets you use a balloon on your turn, another makes you draw an event card, another lets you move the detective, another lets you be the start player next turn and the last lets you discard and replace cards from your hand.

Then you can play cards from your hand to travel to the next location.

Is that it?

No, not really. There are a lot of things to consider when you step through your turn.

The trave cards come in various denomination. A train card of value 4 costs you four days to play it, so picking lower value cards is better than picking higher value cards. But that's not your only decision when picking a card. The action you get to choose when you pick a card is very important.

For instance when you take the Detective action you get to place it anywhere. Any player who ends their turn in the same space as the detective loses two days so zapping the other players with this is very important.

The Balloon action is an important selection. When you take this action you can ignore one of the cards you play to move and instead roll the die to see how many days the trip takes. Additionally if roll high you can spend a coin to reroll that die, so picking the coin action is also important.

The event option is generally a good option as events usually give you a good thing.

Also choosing to be the start player this turn means you get to choose from all of the cards next turn.

Now choosing when to move from one space to the next is also important. Not only do you have the choice to not move and collect cards, but the first and last player to each location get to reveal one of the bonus chips in that location. These give you bonus and often your opponents penalties.

Being the first to get round the world has it's own appeal even if it takes you longer because after someone gets to the goal every other player who hasn't made it yet loses a day every turn.

There are a lot of decisions here. Everything matters. Being first has bonus', being last has bonus' waiting for good cards is important, but not waiting too lonmg is also important!


I really liked what I found here, the components are very nice, the game play keeps you interested, the ability to stuff your opponents is fun and the theme is very friendly. of course anyone who remembers the novel is going to get a kick out of the events and game theme.

I like it!

Friday, June 05, 2009

I'm an Ass!

Ticket to Ride is a game I've been wanting to get my hands on for the longest time and I finally had it delivered a couple of weeks ago. I played it with the family and it went down okay.

I took it to work this week to play with the guys at lunchtime.

I ran through the explanation and then after a few turns I remembered the longest route rule and told the guys that I'd forgotten it and told them about it. I don't know why that worked them up, but for some reason that seemed to turn the three of them against me and for the rest of the game they were working together to block me at every turn. I got peeved.

Then yesterday we played again. I found them blocking me again. I got really peeved. Were they really blocking me or just completing their routes? They say they weren't blocking me. It didn't feel like it to me at the time. So, you're thinking, what did I do. Let me tell you. I got angry AND peeved, acted like a jack ass and gave it attitude, became sullen and sarcastic.

Now was that any way to behave when you're playing a game? No! I'm such an ass. I'm ashamed. I have to ask myself why I'm playing when I'm going to act like that. They didn't deserve that kind of treatment, I had NO REASON and NO EXCUSE to behave like that.

Sorry Mark. Sorry Gareth.