Posts Tagged ‘BOARD GAMES’

X-Wing Miniatures – The Force Awakes / Millennium Falcon Bundle & Other Prizes!

Posted on February 5th, 2016 under , , , , , , . Posted by

x-wing miniaturesGeorge at GJJ Games has teamed up with several sponsors, including myself, to bring you the Tabletop Game Giveaways and Contests 1000 Member Prize Celebration! I have donated Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures – The Force Awakens and Millennium Falcon Expansion. Contest ends February 29th 2016. Prizes Include: Snowball Fight and

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Ghost Stories added to the Eclectic Gamer Board Game Rating System

Posted on February 4th, 2016 under , . Posted by

I added a game profile for Ghost Stories to the Game Rating System today. I personally love Ghost Stories. It is a difficult co-op game that really takes a number of playthroughs to get the strategy of and even then, you need that knowledge to adapt on the fly to the random components of the […]

7 Wonders added to the Eclectic Game Rating System

Posted on February 2nd, 2016 under , . Posted by

7 Wonders has been added to the Eclectic Game Rating System. 7 Wonders is an interesting game for our selection in the system. So far, it is a unique combination of a construction game that is really quick to play and is very consistent. Let us know what score the system gives you for 7 […]

MERCS: Recon – First Look

Posted on January 26th, 2016 under . Posted by

by Dirty Jon

Mercs: Recon is Megacon Games latest Kickstarter shipping out to supporters.  You all may know them as the guys behind Myth.  I just got in my base games, with all the stretch goals to come later.  In this article, I will take a look at the contents and talk a little about the game.  This is NOT a full review, as I have not played the game – this is just a quick look with first impressions.

So, the game is all about competing entities using special forces teams to accomplish certain objectives in a concise mission.  The players take on different roles on the mission – Leader, Heavy Weapons, etc.  – to cooperatively accomplish the objective(s).  Each of the teams has a different flavor and abilities, with appropriate miniatures provided.
The game takes place on a floor in an office building, with the players inserted among the regular employees and security forces.  The team must approach the mission carefully, as killing innocent employees will raise the threat level, resulting in a more dangerous response by the security forces.

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Bloodbowl Ogre

Posted on January 25th, 2016 under , , , . Posted by

My random painting continues apace. This time I pulled out an Ogre from the depths of my lead pile. I recently brough two of my Bloodbowl teams to Germany as some mention of a league at the local club had been made. My humans are painted but I always l…

Space Crusade – A Retro Review

Posted on January 21st, 2016 under , , , , . Posted by

Space Crusade - A Retro Review

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. How you remember the games that you played many years ago can be very different from the reality. They were the games that defined your history in gaming so you place them upon a pedestal.

Space Crusade is one such game. It introduced me to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, opened my eyes to the world of tactical miniatures games and cemented my love of hobby board games. But is it any good, or do the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia obscure the reality?

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Sixth AHPC – December 2015

Posted on January 21st, 2016 under , , , , , , , . Posted by

I managed two entries into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge in December – not bad going considering I had some bits to finish off before it started, and the Christmas festivities with families. Well the second wasn’t posted until January, but I’…

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Giveaway

Posted on January 20th, 2016 under , , , , . Posted by

Star Wars: Imperial AssaultOne of the most popular games featured on this site, I am pleased to announce that I am revisiting Star Wars: Imperial Assault! This giveaway will end February 19th, 2016 at 11:49 PM CST. Contest is open World Wide! Please make sure you read the official Board Game Giveaway rules

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EverythingBoardGames.com – Project Dreamscape Game Giveaway

Posted on January 20th, 2016 under , , , , , . Posted by

Project DreamscapeEverythingboardgames.com are happy to announce they have teamed up with Undine Studios to bring you the giveaway for the game, Project Dreamscape. This contest is for three copies of the game and is open World Wide. The contest ends January 27, 2016 at Midnight MST. You may enter this contest from this page: From

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EverythingBoardGames.com – Top That Toast Game Giveaway

Posted on January 20th, 2016 under , , , , . Posted by

Top That ToastEverythingboardgames.com are happy to announce their giveaway for the game, Top That Toast. This contest is for two copies of the game and is open to US residents only. The contest ends January 26, 2016 at Midnight MST. You may enter this contest from this page: From BGG “The party game Top

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The Last Spike by Columbia Games

Posted on January 20th, 2016 under , , , , , , , . Posted by

I played THE LAST SPIKE, by Columbia Games.. Despite my prejudices, I ended up like it a lot Continue reading

Toast Kickstarter Review

Posted on January 13th, 2016 under , , , . Posted by

Toast Kickstarter review

Cheers. Good health. Skol. Iechyd da. Every language has the Toast, when you raise your glass, wish someone the best and drink your beverage. But what if you don’t actually wish good health on the drinker, what if you want the drinker to die? Then the best option of course is to slip some poison into your enemy’s cup. The problem is someone else will no doubt be looking to poison you, so you best keep an eye on which cup has the poison, and which has the antidote. Is it me, or does this wine taste faintly of almonds?
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Alchemists added to the Eclectic Gamer Board Game Rating System

Posted on January 9th, 2016 under , . Posted by

We added Alchemists from Czech Games to the Board Game Rating System. Head over to www.tegratings.com to see what your custom score is!

Game Plan 2016

Posted on January 8th, 2016 under , , , , , . Posted by

After looking back at 2015, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2016!

Of all the years I’ve done some sort of Game Plan for the year (because I do recognize I am far more productive when I have a plan and stick to it) I have the least idea of what I want to do… It’s not that I’m losing interest in gaming or miniature gaming – quite the contrary – I feel pulled in too many directions at once and can’t really settle on just one thing!
Game Weekend

I’ve been dragging my butt about organizing a game weekend, as I couldn’t really settle on any one thing to do for the weekend – too many fun games that could be played. Ultimately I have settled on playing a A Song of Blades and Heroes campaign using some elements of Song of Deeds and Glory and elements of other campaign systems to play a somewhat abstract map campaign.

Gaming Our Way Through History

We have one more volume of Story of the World to read through and I have a bunch of games lined up to play as we go through it.

Board Games

China the Middle Kingdom– not just modern history – this is a game based on Britania which covers a great deal of the history of China – players play successive groups of peoples that rise to power and the eventually fall to newer groups from 400BCE to modern day.

Maharaja- similar to China: the Middle Kingdom above. The time period of the game runs from the Aryan invasions of 1500
BC to the establishment of the British Raj in the mid-1800s – so mostly stuff we’ve already covered, but hopefully the game will be a good review…

Soldier Raj India again – a little more focused on the period between 1767 and 1846. By the same guys that did Soldier Kings (which we tried… but didn’t get to play a whole game of…)

American Civil War – The Eagle Games production – as it allows for more than two players and has lots of little toys!

Railways of the World – because history isn’t JUST about war!?

Railways of North America because the map is basically just Canada… We can built the CPR!

Prairie Aflame – a game of the (Canadain) Northwest Rebellion of 1885. I doubt it’s covered in the book we’re reading – but I thought I’d add it in for a bit of Canadian history.

Go West

Expedition Northwest Passage

Bittereinder…? A game of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). I ‘ve had this for years. I may or may not try it with the kids…

Axis & Allies 1914 – a lighter strategic game of the Great War… possibly if the kids are up to it I might try Paths of Glory

Red Russia for the rise of Bolshevism and the Russian Civil War

Warlords: China in Disarray

Popular Front for the Spanish Civil War

Axis & Allies 1942 for a lighter strategic game of the Second World War

OR (if we can find the time!)

Axis & Allies 1940 Europe AND Axis & Allies 1940 Pacific because that would be fun… we’d have to find some more players and set aside a weekend to play it…

Twilight Struggle for the Cold War… only two player… so maybe we’ll play a few games of it.

Fire in the Lake – a grand strategy game of the Vietnam War.

Port Stanley: Battle for the Falklands another game I’ve had kicking around for decades that I may or may not get to playing with the kids.

Labyrinth: the War or Terror 2001 – ? – to bring us right up to the present day…

Power Grid Deluxe again, to add in a little something that ISN’T just about WAR!?

Third World War? as a bit of a “how it could have gone down”? I have this entire series of games (Including Arctic Front – Battle for Norway, Southern Front – Race for the Turkish Straits, and Persian Gulf – Battle for the Middle East) I’ve always wanted to play them all together…
Miniature Games

One Hour Wargames – I’ve been meaning to get in a game of this… I’m running out of useable time periods. The more modern options presented in this book don’t really appeal to me.

Ever Victorious Armies which I had, at one point, modified to play some colonial actions…

G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.…? (without the Giant Steam Robots or Martians) as an alternative to the modified EVA…?

Contemptible Little Armies for a simple game to cover some actions in the Great War, Russian Civil War, and the “Back of Beyond” (China, etc)

Wings of Glory – for some WW1 Dogfighting.

A World Aflame – one of the Osprey Wargames I picked up a few years back to try out. Meant for the “inter-war” period. I thought I might try it out for some Spanish Civil War actions (though I don’t have any SCW specific miniatures – I do have a lot of generic early 20th Century civilians armed with bolt action rifles that might make due for some of the combatants).

Bolt Action – for some skirmish action in WW2. I have no shortage of options for this!

Force on Force – I can use this for Vietnam and other Cold War and more modern actions…

Cold War Commander for some larger scale actions in the Cold War and more modern conflicts – I’ve been thinking about re-doing some of my forces for this game in mirco-armour… perhaps that won’t get done in time to play with the kids during our study.

Flying Lead…? For smaller scale actions in just about any 20thcentury conflicts…

Saturday Game Afternoons

I know I’ve been saying this for years, but I’d really like to start hosting longer games on Saturday afternoons/Evenings once (or twice) a month. I did get in at least THREE this past year… (There was probably more if you could ones where just my family played – but I’m thinking about games where people OTHER than my family join us to play a longer board game…).

Eldrtich Horror – actually already played a 7-player game of this on 2 January 2016 – but I’d like to play it AGAIN!

Firefly– already have a couple afternoons set aside to play this – once with just Amanda and the kids, and again with some other guys!

Soldier Kings I tried it as a three-player game with the kids and it didn’t work out so well… I’d like to play this as a 7-8-player game…

Soldier Emperor – as Soldier Kings above – I’d love to play this with 7 players.

Forbidden Stars – I did get in one game over the holidaze, but I’d like to try it again.

Game of Thrones – 6-players… I had started reading the first book again with the kids. Maybe when we finish it, we’ll recruit a few more players and have a go.

Arkham Horror having played Eldritch Horror now, I kind of like it better… but I’d still like to play this a bit more (especially since I picked up a few expansions on sale over the holidaze!?)

Axis & Allies (1914, 1942,  or 1940 Europe, and/or 1940 Pacific) – these will probably be played as part of the Story of the World studies with the kids – but the bigger ones (1940 Europe and Pacific) could be played together as a weekend long mega game with eight players!

Ikusa- I did get to play this last year with the kids. I think it’d be more fun with 4-5 players.

Empires Age of Discovery Played it last year with four – like to try with six.

Joan of Arc – as with the last two, I played it with the kids this past year but would really like to play it again with six players.

Wallenstein- ditto.

I’m sure there are others… but these are the ones that are at the top of the list to play. If I played just one each month I’d get through… well.. MOST of them!? How hard could that be?

Other Events

ToonCon 2016 – 23-24-25 September 2016 – The Boy and I had a great time last year, so I definitely think we’ll be going again this year! Not sure about Amanda and The Girl… I know The Girl is keen to go, we shall see…
The Vimy Project?

I don’t know… Maybe when I get reading about the Great War with the kids it will rekindle my interest in this project… I’d have a LOT to do to get this ready in time, now… it could be done… but it’d be a lot of work.
Other Miniature Gaming

Other miniature games I’d like to play (or get back to playing) this year… 
Dragon Rampant and Lion Rampant – Dragon Rampant just arrived last week and I’ve really enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to trying it out and getting back to playing some more Lion Rampant. Also last week I ordered a pile of stuff from Black Tree Design to fill out a few more Lion Rampant retinues/Dragon Rampant warbands
En Garde! We had a  lot of fun playing Ronin (also by Craig Woodfield) and I’m assuing it will be more or less the same system – I can see the system easily porting over to the new genre perfectly with just a few modifications – mostly for flavour – and some new army lists. I have craploads of pirates and English Civil War soldiers that could be pressed into service. I also recently ordered some “Swashbucklers” from Wargames Foundry and wouldn’t mind picking up some three musketeer types from Redoubt.

40K – the kids and some friends have shown some interest in this and I have a small collection of Imperial Guard I could use in this. I hope we can weave together some sort of narrative campaign for our various forces and steer away from the standard “bring 1000 points and have a battle” as that will get pretty boring real fast…

Frostgrave – I’m sure we’ll get in a few more games of Frostgrave this year. I actually have a few new wizards and adventurers to be painted… and a pile of ruined city terrain in progress… 

Flying Lead – I’d really like to try this out some more in different modern periods
Men Who Would Be Kings – I have to wait until September for this one, but I’ve been looking for a new colonial era game.

Galleys & Galleons – I haven’t played this since I did some playtesting for it. I’d like to get in a game or two sometime… 

Song of Drums and Tomahawks – Another Ganesha Game I’d like to try out. I have miniatures that could be used. Just need to find some time and sort out a scenario.

One Hour Wargames – I’ve been meaning to have a go at these for some time. Hopefully I’ll get to it this year.

Some sort of micro scale sci-fi (Epic 40K or Future War Commander or Samurai Robot Battle Royale or Dirtside or Horizon Wars) – I have a pile of 40K epic stuff that I’ve been eyeing up since the kids got interested in 40K stuff… need to find some rules to use with them…

There are a number of other Wargames from Osprey coming out this year that I might like to try out – Rogue Stars and Broken Legions look interesting… I’ll probably pick up Poseidon’s Warriors and Chosen Men to have a look at… 

Role-Playing Games

I’ve really had a lot of fun playing in the Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu/Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign this past year. I’d really like to get back into running some role-playing games…

Only War – mostly because I have a PILE of Imperial Guard miniatures and it’d be fun to weave it into the narrative 40K skirmish campaign. Also I’ve always been a fan of Military RPGs – there’s no faffing about with “why are we going on this quest?” – you are given orders, you carry them out to the best or your ability…

Rogue Trader – It just looks cool. Between me and the kids, we have lots of miniatures that could be used for resolving action on the tabletop…

Cthulhu – I’ve really enjoyed playing in the Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu campaign this last year and it’s got be feeling like running some of the other campaigns I have – in particular Beyond the Mountains of Madness. Maybe when we finish up Masks of Nyarlathotep.

Traveller? As a less dark alternative to Rogue Trader, I wouldn’t mind running some other sci-fi game involving space travel… 

Other Board Games

Of course there are lots of other games I’d really like to play (or play more of…)… Dominion… Race for the Galaxy… Carcassonne… Giro d’Italia… Onward to Venus… and others….

Is that enough to do this year…?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Painting update – 40K, Swashbucklers and dismounted ECW cavalrymen.

Perhaps a game report of the Frostgravewe played over the holidaze… 

Codenames Giveaway

Posted on January 7th, 2016 under , , , , , . Posted by

CodenamesI have been wanting to get this game on here for a while now and I am pleased to announce that I have teamed up with Dicey Goblin to bring you, Codenames! This giveaway will end February 6th, 2016 at 11:49 PM CST. Please make sure you read the official

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2015 in Review

Posted on January 7th, 2016 under , , , , , , . Posted by


Well… I played a LOT of games in 2015 – and most of them were just with my family. Overall we probably played less miniature games (which is, in theory, the subject of this blog) and less role-playing games – but miniature and role-playing games took some of the tops spots in terms of games played most often.

According to BoardGameGeek I played 413 games in 2015. Most of those (I’d say 90% – or more) were with my family. Of those 358 were board or card games (ranged from 6 minute games of Loonacy to 6+ hour games of Arkham Horror), 18 were role-playing games, and 37 miniature war games – over half of which were Song of Blades and Heroes (or other games from Ganesha Games using the same game engine).

The most played games were Dominion (15 plays), Love Letter(15), Song of Blades and Heroes (15), Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu/Masks of Nyarlathotep (14), Sentinels of the Multiverse (14), Race for the Galaxy (13), Frostgrave (11), 7 Wonders (10), Hive Pocket (8), Eco Fluxx (8), Coup (7), Kaiser(7), Dixit (6), Loonacy (With Fruitcake Fun Pack) (6), Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise (6), Carcassonne (5), Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) (5), For Sale (5), O Zoo le Mio (5), Pandemic (5), Rumpelstiltskin(5), and SET (5)

So while role-playing games and miniature games made up a small number of the overall number of games played – they were some of the most played games – and card games filled out the rest of the top 10.

Gaming Highlights

In January I had planned to go to Freezerburn  – an annual one-day mini-con hosted by my friend John– but ended up missing it as I ended up in  hospital for five days and missed it…

Also in January I started playing in a Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu campaign. My friend Bruce was just starting up the classic Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign with his reagular gamign group (that had recently lost a few players) and asked if I’d like to join in. Amanda and I both got in on the action and a year later the campaign rages on. WE ostensibly play every other weekend, but there were a few weekends that had to be cancelled for one reason or another, so I think we’ve only played 15-16 sessions so far. It has been a hoot! For the last 15 years I’ve been running one game or another – role-playing or tabletop miniature skirmish campaigns – it was nice just to make up a character and PLAY in a game without having to prepare anything or have adventures or scenarios ready…

In February I had initially planned to host a  Song of Shadows and Dust Campaign for my annual WArgaming Birthday Bash… but that kind of fizzled as only Terry and Paul ended up showing any interest in it… In retrospect I should have gone ahead with it. My kids had factions in the works, I could have played, I could have convinced Amanda to get in on it and the six of us would have had a hoot! Alas…

Instead I did host a Weekend of Gaming over the Family Day long weekend and I played Fear & Faith with the kids on my birthday.

 A lot of the gaming I did with the kids this year had a historical theme to it as I tried to tie games in with our study of world history. You can read more about that in Gaming Our Way Through History Part One and Gaming Our Way Through History Part Two. We’ve mostly finished Volume Three (we’ve finished the reading, just a few games to catch up on…) and so I should be posting Part Three soon-ish…
In September I took The Boy to ToonCon 2015. It was a huge success. The Girl was pretty disappointed she didn’t get to go. I have a feeling she’ll insist I take her as well this year. Perhaps it will become a family thing…?

Painting

I didn’t paint as much this past year – compared to previous years, but I did at least paint MORE then I purchased! Until this last month when the Black Friday/Xmas sales started I had painted over twice as many figures as I had purchased! In the end I painted 748 28mm foot figures, 40 cavalry, 7 artillery pieces and 8 vehicles (and 8 microscale tanks and one ‘mech). Which is, actually, still quite a bit of stuff.

What was all that? Well I ended 2014 painting medieval stuff for Lion Rampant, followed by a brief phase of casting about trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I painted some Micro Sci-fi – including some Epic Eldar and then some Deep Ones and . I briefly tried to get myself motived to get back on track with the Vimy Project by painting up some Great War Canadians (52nd(Norhtern Ontario) Battalion and some support elements for the 3rd Division… but that didn’t last long.

By February I was looking for some “low hanging fruit” projects that I could finish up and say; “There, those are DONE!” and the easiest looking projects were a bunch of my WW2 forces in 28mm. and straight through until may I worked almost exclusively on WW2 stuff – though I had no inclination to PLAY with any of them, I had a lot of fun finishing them up. I even bought a few more things – just to fill out missing elements in the forces I had. Before I ran out of steam I finished up my Soviets, Commandoes, British/Canadian Paratroopers, Imperial Japanese Army, Chindits, Wafen SS, and Early War French Infantry. I also cranked out a few vehicles before moving on (a Tiger I, a Puma, USMC Jeep, and a Reneault R-35). Hopefully I’ll get to using some of that WW2 stuff when I get to reading about WW2 with the kids in the upcoming months.
What did I move on to? The rest of the year was mostly Medieval (finishing up a forcefor Lion Rampant) and Fantasy stuff for A Song of Blades and Heroes and Frostgrave. I also got a bunch of Englsih Civil War stuff done and, in the last couple months, a bunch of 40K stuff – mostly Imperial Guard.

What did I buy!? Mostly WW2 stuff – to fill out missing bits in my planned forces, Some English Civil War stuff (mostly Scots and some artillery crews for the English), a fair bit of 40K stuff (mostly Imperial guard and most of it used off ebay), a bit of fantasy stuff (for SoBH and Frostgrave) and most recently some Foundry swashbuckling types in anticipation of the immanent release of En Garde. Oh, and there was all the left-over stuff from the Reaper Bone II Kickstarter – the stuff  that the kids didn’t want. (I made a few more purchases in the last week of 2015 – but as they have not arrived and are for 2016 plans I didn’t count them – more on that in my upcoming Game Plan for 2016!)

I also got rid of all my 20mm WW2 stuff this year. Traded it all away to Bob in Edmonton. He’s been busy rebasing them all for Memoir ’44.

That’s about it… Now onto 2016!
Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Game Plan 2016

Gaming Our Way Through History Part Three

Painting Updates with 40K Imperial Guard and Swashbuckling Swordsmen! 

Gold West Giveaway

Posted on January 5th, 2016 under , , , , , . Posted by

Gold WestHappy New Year everybody and welcome to another year of board game giveaways. Last month was a tumultuous month and I must say that I am glad it’s over. Here we are now a new year and a new start and to kick off the new year I have teamed up

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The Best Games of 2015 (that I have actually played)

Posted on January 3rd, 2016 under , , , , . Posted by

The Best Games of 2015, that I have played

There is no doubt that 2015 has been another great year for board games. Again the industry has grown and shows no sign of stopping as literally thousands of games are released every year.

It’s because of the huge volume of table top games released in 2015 that this year’s list has been difficult to put together. Usually the difficulty has been in finding enough games of the year that I have played, but this year narrowing the list down to just 10 games has been a struggle.

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Blood Bowl is coming…

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 under , , , , . Posted by

Blood Bowl is coming back

Rumours where abound last year that Games Workshop where returning to their ‘specialist games’ range and that we’d be seeing returns of old favourites like Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic and Mordheim. Personally I took this news with a pinch of salt, we’ve been hearing rumours of Blood Bowl’s return for a few years, but now we have proof as pictures courtesy of Tales of a Tabletop Skirmisher show.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Recap

Posted on December 28th, 2015 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

aad4252d-528c-4ea4-9cb8-ac2d87779948Wow! That was way more exhausting than I thought it would be, I had a great time doing it but it was exhausting. So sorry it took me so long to get this posted but with all that happened between my daughter’s hospital stay and Christmas I was so run

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T.I.M.E Stories: The Marcy Case Review

Posted on December 26th, 2015 under , , , . Posted by

T.I.M.E Stories: The Marcy Case Review

The Marcy Case is the first Expansion for T.I.M.E Stories, though I really wish it had been included in the base game. It’s a set of large format cards that add a completely new time travelling adventure to the original game. You’ll be sent back to 1992 to find Marcy, a young girl who for some reason is important to the future world.

The aim is to keep this review spoiler free, but some mild spoilers will have to creep in to discuss the expansion. So from this point often there will spoilers, you have been warned.
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Codenames Review

Posted on December 26th, 2015 under , , . Posted by

Codenames Board Game Review

Codenames isn’t the kind of game I would normally play. It hasn’t got miniatures, dice, Cthulhu or light sabres. It doesn’t involve controlling territory, raising armies or levelling up. Instead Codenames is a simple game about word play and I’m beginning to think it’s the best game of the year.
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First games of Zombicide: Black Plague

Posted on December 23rd, 2015 under , . Posted by

I had my first try at the new Zombicide: Black Plague game last night. I had played the original Zombicide a couple of times and didn’t enjoy it at all. I felt it was too hard and unforgiving of mistakes. I agreed to play this new version because …

Gaming Our Way Through History… Part 2 the Middle Ages

Posted on December 21st, 2015 under , , , . Posted by

Back in July I posted Gaming Our Way Through History: Part 1 – an article about… well…  gaming my way though history with my kids as part of their studies in world history using The Story of the World series of books by Susan Wise Bauer (from Peace Hill Press). Gaming Our Way Through History: Part 1 covered the ancient world and corresponded with Volume One of the series of books. This second part corresponds with Volume Two of the series, which covers the medieval world from the fall of Rome to rise of the Renaissance.

To quickly reiterate I was looking for games to supplement and reinforce the readings – preferable with a strong thematic elements, ideally games with maps showing the region, and some way of portraying the dynamics of relationships and interactions between different peoples and cultures, the relationships of power and authority within those various societies, as well as understanding the decision-making processes concerning the distribution of resources, etc…

We actually finished the book months ago but a clever combination of procrastination and hope that I might get to play a few games I’d hoped to play but didn’t at the time we were reading about it kept me from getting this done. As we’re about to finish up the third Volume this afternoon, I thought it best I get to posting this as I’ll have one for Volume Three to finish up shortly!

Tara, Seat of Kings

There wasn’t really any mention of Ireland in the books so far – but Volume Two did start off with Early Britain after the Romans left… and that fairly close…?

The object of this game is to promote your candidates to be the Ard Ri (High King) of all Ireland. This is done by controlling two of the four kingdoms (though for a three player game we only played with three). It’s fairly easy to control one kingdom and each player generally controls one by the end of the second round. After that it becomes a bit of a hard, nasty slog as you try to simultaneously try to unseat another king while trying to defend you own. The frustration this caused reduced the kids to tears on a couple of occasions. It may be tricky to talk them into playing this one with me again any time soon… Usually I seem to play new games with the kids and then sometime later in the week we play it again with Amanda in the evening. I played this with the kids in June and still haven’t played it with Amanda…

The King is Dead

While most of these games were played at the time we were reading about the relevant period of history, this one was not… it was one of the last ones we actually played and didn’t get to play it until we were well into volume three – this is because the game wasn’t released until late September. The game is  Osprey Publishing’s first foray into boardgames. In the game King Arthur (the “historical” King Arthur) has just died and the players represent members of the King’s court trying to gain influence among the Welsh, Scots, and Romano-British to unite them against the invading Saxons (and, ultimately, get themselves crowned King – or Queen!).

Well… that’s the fluff anyway… It had a nice map showing historical political regions of the period.  While I thought the game was really interesting, the play itself was quite a bit more abstract that I was expecting from Osprey. The decisions being made weren’t decisions a noble member of a royal court would be making, they were about which card to play when to get the most coloured cubes in an area.

Constantinopolis

This game tied in nicely with our reading about the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire and how Constatninople surpassed Rome and for a time became the most prominent centre of trade and culture in the West at the beginning of the time period we were covering. The players are merchants in Constantinople that win, ultimately, through gaining victory point which can be gathered through different means – building stuff, shipping goods, donating stuff to the government… There are a lot of different ways to win and lots of options and ways to spend money in an effort to produce more goods and make more money…  

We played it a few times.

The game itself seems fairly deterministic – there is very little randomness (other than the draw of shipping cards) and very little player interaction – you never trade with each other and there is virtually no way to mess with what other players are doing – other than scooping up limited properties before other players can. Everyone starts with the exact same stuff and just tries to gather as many victory points as they can before the game ends. While we’ve played it a few times and been able to try out different strategies, I feel eventually one would figure out the best way to do it and there would be little else one could do.

I would have loved to have tracked down a copy of  Justinianto try out while we were reading about Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire (as an entire par tof a chapter was devoted to Justinian and Empress Theodora … alas, I was unable to…

Samarkand: Routes to Riches

This is ostensibly another merchant/trading game but not like other trading games – like Parthenon or Ostia or Constantinopoilis (all of which we had played previously) where there is a lot of actual trading going on either between players or within the game and managing money and stuff… this is more about area control (building “trade routes” to sources of material goods) and marrying into the right families…

 

Still… had a great map of the middle east and gave a sense of the relative location of different peoples and the trade routes that were developed to carry goods back and forth and that the people of the middle ages DID do a lot of trading back and forth (and weren’t always fighting WARS!)

Knights of Charlemagne

Thematically pretty light… but I had the game (picked it up for $5 years ago), and we did read a chapter on Charlemagne… There were some names of actual French Cities and castles on some of the cards…? Play is fairly abstract – as with most Reiner Knizia games. (I’m not saying abstract games aren’t good – I did enjoy playing this game – as I do most Knizia games – but there wasn’t a lot of history to be learned from it…)

There are cities and fortresses with numbers and colours associated with them. Players have a handful of cards with a colour and number associated with each. They take turns playing these cards, deciding whether they want to play it on the associated city or fortress. The player (or side – as in a four player game there are simply two sides) with the most cards on the city or fortress wins it and claims the points for them. The player (or side) with the most points wins…

In addition to the chapter on Charlemagne, we’d read Charlemagne and the Paladins – one of Osprey Publishing’s Myths and Legends books – which do a pretty good job of looking at various versions of the legends they cover and tying them into the actual historical events that may have inspired them.

Tales of the Arabian Nights

While not at all historical we did read about the Tales of the Arabian Nights in The Story of the World – when we read about Abu Bakr and the spread of Islam and Bagdad becoming the center of the Islamic Empire. It was a very LONG game in which we each took on the role of one of the Heroes or Heroines of the tales and went on adventures around the world that was known to the traders and explorers from  the middle east. We played it in the summer and I made no notes at the time – I remember it being fun, but taking a LONG time to play. You had to gain a certain number of some sort of points before returning to Bagdad… I remember thinking we could have played to half the number of points and it still would have been a fun and challenging game, but wouldn’t have taken so dang long!

King Arthur: the Card Game

As with Knights of Charlemagne this was thematically pretty light and fairly abstract… based more on legend than anything historical, really – but we did read about King Arthur in The Story of the World, so….  It is a card game where you take turns playing cards in sets of matching colours of a number equal to or greater than the foe you want to beat (many of the foes are mythical creatures – Dragons, etc…). once you have defeated foes you can use them to gain trophies, which get you victory points, which determines the winner at the end of the game.

Feudo

Not every game I break out to play with the family is a winner… Yeah… that’s my kids crying…

The game is supposedly set in the 1265 (Second) Baron’s War where a number of Barons led by Simon de Montfort rose up against the King of England in an attempt to reassert the Magna Carta.

In the game player’s play a Baron and their retinue and basically try to kill their opponents and control cities around Evesham to gain victory points… the board is modular (and thus could be different every time you play – which might be great for replayability, but not great for learning historical geography) and theme is pretty weak and there’s this totally random, plan-wrecking, plague/fog phase that utterly frustrated everyone.

When the plague or fog wrecked the plan I had had at the beginning of a turn I would just sit back and go “well… how to I minimize THIS disaster…”and moved forward – and very quickly I came to realize that you can plan all you want in the strategy phase, but half the time that plan will be wrecked by the plague/fog phase and you just had to roll with it… The kids spent so much time planning in the strategy phase and would have their plan all sorted out… and when the plague wrecked that plan they just couldn’t see past that and readjust their plan to lessen the impact of the utterly craptastic situation they then found themselves in…

Dominion

One of our most played games this year was Dominion. I’ve included it here because we played it while we were reading about medieval times and it has a medieval theme… sort of… you are supposed to be a monarch and trying to gain control over lands and titles.

But the history-learning value of the game is just about zero. it’s about drafting cards for their effect in the game and ultimately gaining vicotory point  cards to win the game – while the cards are called “Estates” and “Duchies” and “Provinces” and all the other cards are ostensibly improvements you can make to your kingdom “Villages”, “Markets”, etc. They could easily be named anything else and be just as playable…

Great game – played it lots – not much history there. 

Ming Dynasty

Looking to the east we read a bit about the Ming. This was a fairly abstract game Where you had to draft cards you would then use to move your diplomat around the kindgom trying to gain influence in towns and regions. 

San Gimignano

San Gimignano – playing the heads of aristocratic families trying to build the most towers in the medieval town of San Gimignano… (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

The game plays super quick – so we played it twice! This, our second game, was much higher scoring and much closer – The Boy eked out a win with 8 towers to the 7 towers that both The Girl and I managed to build. The theme was pretty weak and the game really just a fairly abstract strategy game involving area control through placement of tokens representing the families influence in the guilds and building of towers when you have influence in four different connecting guild areas.

I’d posted this picture on facebook and my sister commented that she’d actually BEEN to San Gimignano during her trip to Italy a few years ago – they apparently have really good Gellato there…?

Warrior Knights

This we ended up playing a little later – long after we were done reading about the period. Amanda and The Girl didn’t get to play this one as they were at dance class the afternoon I got around to organizing a game.

The game isn’t tied to a specific historical event or location. It takes place in a non-specified kingdom in which the king has died leaving no clear heir and the players represent the houses of various noble families within the kingdom with a claim to the throne – which is something that happened and we read about. While the Kingdom isn’t named, the map looks somewhat like Northwestern Europe and has names that sound like they could be French-ish cities… and the overseas areas you can send troops on crusades to (Constantinople, Syracuse, Acre, Jerusalem, etc) and place you can send expeditions to (Ceylon, Spice Islands, China) are all historical locations.

In the game you have to end up controlling half the cities in the kingdom or have the most Influence points at the end of a set number of turns or when the influence pool runs out. Influence is gained mainly through controlling cities, but I have a feeling it could be gained elsewhere (it’s been a month since we played…). While there is a strong military component – gathering resources through taxation, building armies and trying to conquer cities, there is also a strong political element where players vie for various titles within the realm at the assembly of Barons – where various laws and titles are voted on by the players, which then have an affect on the game. Being the head of the Assemble – or the Head of the Church have considerable advantages.

Joan of Arc

Playing out the Hundred Years war with Joan of Arc. The Girl was France, The Boy played England and I Had Burgundy.

It can be played with up to six with the additional players being Flanders, Brittany, and Navarre – which would be a really fun game!! The long game (10 turns) with six players would be an all day event… but it would be wicked fun!

We played the short game and The Girl utterly crushed us! She had 31 Pretender Points at the end, The Boy had 30 and I had 20!? I took a large chunk out of Flanders in the last turn, but there was no way to catch up to the points The Girl had accumulated throughout the game holding Paris as long as she did….

Lancaster

Basically worker placement and influence gathering with a fairly strong 15th century theme… Henry V trying to consolidate power in England and go fight in France to win back lands lost earlier in the Hundred Years War.

I though the game was fun and there were lots of choices and potential paths to victory. I started out really slow – but gathered up lots of friendly nobles, built up my knights and castle – all of which counted for HUGE points in the final tally… though it looked like I was trailing for the longest time because I wasn’t going after quick points for fighting in France.

We also have the Lancaster: Henry V expansion, but haven’ had a chance to play it yet. I’d like to play just the base game a few more times before adding to it.

Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs. York

This was a fairly complex (but fun!) game of planning, resource management, influence gathering and area control set during the Wars of the Roses. So much going on!

Cards were drawn at the beginning of the game to determine who everyone would be. Amanda and I were Lancasters and the kids ended up being the Yorks (I think I was King Henry VI and his followers, I forget who everyone else was… Edwards or Richards, I suppose…). So you kind of end up playing on a team, but points are tracked individually and there can be only one winner.

Though, technically, a Lancaster was king at the end of the game in 1500 (Henry Tudor, I guess?), the kids crushed us in the points race – Finnegan was miles ahead of everyone, Keira also had over 100 points and Amanda and I were back in the 80-90 range (me, being dead last)!?

There was a clever system of resource allocation – which was done on an individual player board behind a screen so your foes could not see what you were up to.

It’s been a couple months since we played it, but I recall the combat seemed a little deterministic. If I recall correctly it was basically who ever had the most stuff in the area won. While I despise combat mechanisms that seem completely random, I do like a bit of chance and randomness built into a system. There have been plenty of historical examples of smaller forces beating much larger forces through some combination of good leadership, guile, bravado, well-drilled troops able to execute precise maneuvers, and blind, dumb luck!

Inca Empire

This was a fun game of building roads and cities and temples in Peru prior the Spanish invasion. The box description may be a bit off – it said it should take 1.5-2 hours to play… took us closer to 3.5… I realize it was our first game and stuff and it takes more time when learning a game… but after the first round everyone pretty much knew what they were doing and I can’t imagine getting it down 1.5 hours!? It was fun enough to keep us all up to 11pm to finish it off!

What was really neat was the very same day we were reading about the Inca, a fellow whose blog I follow posted about his trip to Ollantaytambo – which was pretty cool to see! I never cease to be blown away by the feats of engineering and manpower ancient civilizations managed!

The New Science

In The New Science we played scientists in the 17th Century competing to gain the most Prestige points to become the first President of the Royal Society. It’s a very strategic game as you have to research and experiment areas of science to make discoveries – then you need to decide when to publish – publishing gains you prestige points needed to win the game, but also makes the information/technology available to other players who can then use it to further their own endeavors. And if others are researching the same field they might publish before you and then all that work was for naught as they get the Prestige Points… I played Gottfried Leibniz, The Girl played Johannes Kepler, Amanda played Gallileo Galilei, and The Boy played Athanasius Kircher.

I liked it a lot. Each scientist has three “energy” points each turn and decides how they want to spend their energy – researching new areas, experimenting/testing areas already researched, writing up and publishing findings, gaining influence in four areas (Religion, Government, Enterprise, and Science – publishing findings for certain things requires some influence in these areas – for example to publish Heliocentrism you need to have 3 influence in religion – because otherwise you’ll be excommunicated and forced to recant your findings – like Gallileo was). Moving on to other levels of research required knowledge of lover levels – either through having researched and experimented yourself or other people publishing it.

More importantly My partner Amanda – BSc (Honors, biology), Msc (Toxicology) and a research administrator at the University of Saskatchewan – liked it and thought it was a fairly accurate representation of how research works…

The only odd this, historically speaking, is some of the scientists weren’t actually contemporaries; Galileo Gallilei and Isaac Newton are two of the scientists that can be played – Isaac Newton was born the same year that Galileo died!  But it was a fun game that captured the essence of what was going on and had lots of things we could discuss – about how the printing press and the ability to publish findings really made all this scientific advancement possible.

Meridian

As we’d read about Magellan’s journey around the world and Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India and the opening of the East to sea trade I thought this game might fit right in. ostensibly it is supposed to be a game of up to four rival European trading companies vying to control the trade in an extended (fictional) archipelago in the Southwest  Pacific. Once I opened it I discovered it was supposed to be taking place in the 1800s… ah well, it’s a fictional archipelago – we can just as easily pretend it was taking place in the 16thcentury!? The theme was pretty weak and the game really just another fairly abstract strategy game involving area control through placement of towers determined by drawn cards… It wasn’t terrible. I didn’t go out and buy this one specifically for this history program (this was yet another of my $5 ebay finds from a number of years back which were generally bought with the idea of using games as part of a future homeschooling plan…).

Carcasonne

A medieval-themed game of tile-laying where you build cites and roads and score points for the completion of said cities and roads. A fun game and great for developing an ability to see patterns and find the most optimal use for a tile that you draw on a turn. But of limited history-teaching value.

Ventura

In this game players represent one of our powerful families in late medieval/early renaissance Italy. In our first game I played the Medicis, The Boy played Gonzaga, and the Girl played Este (The Visconti are the other option).

Multiple paths to victory – simply taking tiles and expanding your territory worked out really well for The Girl gaining her a considerable resource base while the Boy and I were building armies – though somewhat conservatively and not making much use of them – other than to hold onto them for defence. 

The combat seemed a little deterministic. There was a strict procedure to follow and you could tell before entering a battle if you would win by looking at what your opponent had there.

I think the game’s meant to be played considerably more aggressively than we played it.

Patronize

This is a quick little card game where players take in the role of a rich family in a late medieval/early renaissance (fictional) European city of Tempest (I imagine it in Italy…) vying for prestige by being the biggest patron of the arts, science, religion, and exploration… (I like any game where patronizing the arts is a good thing!) I thought it fit with our medieval/renaissance theme…  The play is a fairly abstract and involves collecting of little coloured wooden cubes (which represents “accomplishments”) and cards (which represent “protégés” or fame gained through accomplishments?) which provide varying amounts of victory points which are tallied at the end of the game to determine the winner.

The ones we didn’t quite get to…

Lion Rampant

Lion rampant is a great tactical miniature game of medieval combat. I had really hoped we’d get in a game or two while reading about the medieval period. I spent a fair bit of time painting up forces to use (Here’s one: Under the Bunny Rampant Banner) we just didn’t get to sitting down for a game (for whatever reason…).

We did play the game BEFORE we started reading about the medieval period – to try it out when I first got it: Lion Rampant – First Game. Hopefully we’ll get to playing it again sometime.

(Also a new game from the same author called Dragon Rampant has just been released this week. I pre-oredered it and expect it should be arriving shortly. It includes fantastical units – orcs, elves dwarves, dragons, etc.)

It would also have been fun to get some smaller scale skirmish games in using Song of Arthur and Merlin or A Song of Blades and Heroes – or larger scale ones using De Bellis Antiquitatis, but again… we just didn’t get to it…

Set in 1338, you apparently start out playing peasants and work your way up to being par of a rich trading family. It looked interesting. We sat down to play it one afternoon but didn’t end up having time to play it. We didn’t even end up reading all the rules. It felt very much like they were written in some other language first and maybe something was lost in the translation. I’d like to have a go at it sometime, we just haven’t had a chance yet.
Hammer of the Scots


Another game I have that I’ve wanted to play for some time but we just didn’t get to. It’s a two player game, so… not so useful when there are three players… 

I also would really have liked to find a game about the conquests of the Mongols or one about medieval India… 

Last Meet of the Year for Club – Gamefest 2015

Posted on December 21st, 2015 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Last official Club meet of the year on Sunday gone. We had good turnout of about 40+ gamers.There was a massive selection as always of games on show. Games of note were:- A huge 12000pt Warhammer Fantasy Battle game amongst the table top gamers. Tim ki…