April Geekiness!

A look back at all the geeky things I’ve been up to over the last month. Between playing Gloomhaven, and setting up this site, that amounts to not a lot!

Well, April has been a busy month (and wet, and dull!), unfortunately not in the game playing sense! Most of my free time has been spent on setting up this website, writing the first posts, and thinking up other content. Not as easy as I though!

But, before that, early April saw me finishing off an article I’d written for the upcoming UK Games Expo, all about Solo gaming. Hopefully some of you will see it in print, if not, I’m sure I’ll get around to reproducing here in all its glory.

Then it was full steam ahead in working out how, and exactly what, I wanted to do with this site. First and foremost, I’d decided it had to be a Blog site – one appealing to those who may be new to the hobby of Analogue gaming, as well as those who’ve already ‘got some time in’ so to speak!

I’d also decided I wanted to include a look back at things I remember from my childhood, the things that may no longer appeal to todays generation, but will bring a smile to those who do remember them. The younger ones will probably take a look and think ‘What a load of old rubbish!’ but hey, they were good days for some of us.

Secondly, I knew I just had to write reviews. Now, there’s a whole load of reviews on games out there. Some are very good indeed – in fact, I would say the majority are well written and informative. So, what could I do different? Well, keeping to the theme of trying to lure the ‘newbies’ in, I’ve written my first few reviews from the direction of being as informative as possible. I’ve gone into a fair amount of detail on how the game plays – for someone new to the hobby I though this would be a good thing to do, try to let them get a feel for how it all works.

I’ve been quite dry on this, trying to keep to the facts, not give an opinion at this point, basically, as short and concise as I can. I then decided to put down what I though, it is just my personal opinion, and hopefully a reader will get some sense of how the previous  description of the game play, actually comes to life for the players.

After doing the extra few bits, I then took the photo’s to add to it. This took far longer than I’d anticipated – trying to get the lighting right, depth of field, colour… I don’t think it came out too bad in the end though.

And, that was my first review: Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Whether or not I stick to this format will depend upon any feedback I get (hopefully someone out-there will read it!). I may decide to go shorter, and just outline the mechanisms involved in the game. The reviews will also be posted on Boardgamegeek.com (BGG), so hopefully I shall get their feedback too. It’s amazing just how difficult it is to write a review, hopefully a decent review, and I must have spent a week of evenings writing and editing. I may put these experiences down in a later post, doing that might even help myself get a little better at writing them!

The other main criteria I wanted to include was something to do with painting miniatures. Having started painting again last year, I have learnt so much, lots of little things that have helped improve my skills (maybe only slightly!), and I have spent lots of time searching books and the Internet. So, I wanted to pass these things on to anyone else just starting out. If I can help just one person, even the tiniest little bit, then I will be happy.

Anyway, what have I been up to this month in the world of games? Obviously I have been putting Arkham Horror and Tokaido through their paces, as these are my first two reviews. I’ve also played 3 scenarios in my solo Gloomhaven campaign. I lost for the first time, in the Forgotten Crypts, but managed to claw my way through at the second attempt.

For those who haven’t heard of or played Gloomhaven, it’s a magnificent RPG Dungeon crawl style game, featuring some unique tactical combat mechanisms. Isaac Childres, the designer, has put together this ‘legacy’ game, all taking place in a world inhabited by totally unique races that he himself created. The story starts as you get issued your first task and delve into the ‘Black Barrow’. From here on in, how it all unfolds is down to you. You make choices on what paths to follow, decide what actions to take when you draw a city or road card, and there are new characters to unlock – opening one of the ‘tuck boxes’ for the first time, sends a shiver of excitement up your spine (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but only a slight one!) as you make the discovery of yet more goodies!

I shall be doing a review on Gloomhaven at some point. Firstly though I’ve got to drag myself away from playing it, I’ve spent around 40hrs so far over the last few months on this game, it’s soooo addictive! Secondly, there’s quite a lot going on, so it won’t be an easy review to write. I want to give myself a bit more review writing experience first!

I also managed to drag Formula Dé out, something that hasn’t happened in a while, and even managed to persuade my daughter to play! It’s a good old ‘role and move’ race game, based on … yep, you guessed it… Formula 1. We each had two cars, and she picked Monaco as the track of choice. I really like this game – it’s simple to learn and play, but with an element of skill in deciding when to risk not changing down for that upcoming bend, and maybe taking it out on your tyres instead. It’s all about car management,  pushing it to the limit at the right time. We only played one lap and with the basic rules, but it passed an enjoyable hour, with me coming out as victor… I never let Yasmin beat me. If she wins, she knows it’s all through her own doing. And yes, she does rub it in when she wins!

In the painting world, I’ve started on some Gnoll archers from Dungeons & Dragons: The Temple of Elemental Evil board game. It took me a fair bit of research on what colour to paint the skin; looking around the Internet other people have gone with various schemes, from a dark brown to a light grey, and a few others with some really obscure ideas! In the end I have painted the first one a grey colour with black spots and a brown mane. I actually based it upon some pictures of a Hyena that I believe Gnolls are a variant of. Even then there were a few colour schemes to choose, so I may paint the other two slightly different. That’s all I’ve managed this month, what with one thing and another. I may have mentioned elsewhere, I’m not a quick painter!

Finally, I’ve been putting together my ‘wants’ (needs!) list, ready to take with me to the Games Expo, 1-3 of June. This sees me narrowing a very long list of game titles down to something manageable, and affordable! So far I’m down to about 75 games, way too many!

I try to break them down into categories – Ones that are just for me and can be played solo, with or without a little amending; Ones that either My wife or my Daughter will play, and ones that the whole family will play together. Sounds easy!

Some of the games on my list this year include:

  • Star Wars: Legion – A miniatures war game by Fantasy Flight Games – I want to get back into wargaming and this seems to be spot on. I like the way it plays with its fast pace and simple movement rules. The miniatures look good, and the starter set comes with enough for a small skirmish. To get the best out of this game though, is going to take an investment into purchasing the expansions.
  • Halo: Fleet Battles – Fall of the Reach – This is an interesting one. The game is no longer supported as unfortunately, Spartan Games  went out of business. Last Expo there were loads of these up for sale at a reduced price, and I’m going to keep my eyes open to see if there are any still up for grabs… You never know!
  • Shadows of Brimstone: City of ancients – To be honest any Shadows of Brimstone game will do. Unfortunately, due to the size of the box, nobody stocks them at the Expo, but last year I missed one that was in the bring and buy section… Doh!
  • Forbidden Desert, Tsuro, and Celestia are a few of the smaller family games I’ll be looking out for. These are all easy to learn and lots of fun.
  • Other family games are Viticulture (though mostly aimed at the wife…its all about wine!), Suburbia, Great Western Trail, and Dinosaur Island. All a little more involving.
  • So what else – Well there’s Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building game, Scythe, Marvel dice Masters, and a host of expansions for Arkham Horror: TCG, Eldritch Horror, and Flamme Rouge.

The list goes on! Hopefully, I will be talking more about the above games, and many others, in the not too distant future.

One last thing to wrap up April… Kickstarter… This month I decide to back Graphic Novel Adventures by Van Ryder Games. These books are reminiscent of the Fantasy Flight choose your own adventure books, but with a twist or two. Firstly they are in comic book form, and secondly, there’s a lot more depth in the way you play – like discovering things hidden within the pictures. This is expected to be fulfilled in June (Fathers day Present for me?)

Other things I have backed this year include – Time of Legends: Joan of Arc, U-Boot: The board game, and 1066, Tears to Many Mothers. Joan and U-Boot are expected to be delivered in December (not holding my breath on Joan as I reckon it will be late), and 1066 is at the printers as we speak, so should be around August time. When delivered I will do an ‘Un-boxing Preview,’ prior to playing and reviewing them.

So that’s my Geeky round-up of April… More of the same for May…Bye!

Please feel free to comment… just scroll down…

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