Category Archives: Kickstarter

Halesowen Board Gamers #12 (16/04/14)

It was a fairly short Wednesday this week, with the session ending at 10:30 as everyone seemed to be in games that fit in neatly to that scale. The first game I played (With Mark, Steve W & Andy S) was Kings of Air & Steam.

Kings of Air & Steam

Kings of Air & Steam is a simultaneous, action planning, pick-up and deliver game. Andy mentioned seeing it on the side a couple of the times he’s been along, and seeing as I’ve been bringing it because I really enjoy it and wanted to play, I was happy to oblige by sorting it out as a game to play. Unfortunately the game doesn’t really play too well with 2-3 players (Being either too tight or too loose) but we managed to get 4 eventually (Although I don’t seem to be too good at selling the appeal of this one) to play.

A quick note on setup, is that I actually put out the boards to a custom setup where boards d,e,f,g are used, as the default rules are to use the 5-player setup which gives a similar issue to the lower player-counts where the play is too open, this works quite well as with these boards it keeps a factory-city balance while bringing everyone that little bit closer together. After putting all the bits & pieces out conveniently, I gave each player their ship & character boards (Ignoring the basic rules, variable player powers are way more interesting ^^) and we got to setting starting places. This is done in reverse order of priority (Slowest goes first for placing at the start), although Steve’s power was to place 1st and last (Despite being 1st in priority).

The game itself plays out in 5 rounds, with each round consisting of 4 turns of a move + action. At the start of each round, 3 market tiles are drawn (From a stack of 13) and resources matching the types drawn have their values increased on the market board, making those more valuable than others ($4>$5>$6>$8). Players then plan their 4 moves – Each player has 13 cards with various movements on them, and they choose 4 of these, in order, for the round ahead. The ‘moves/actions’ bit happens next which I’ll expand on next paragraph. After that upkeep happens ($1 to bank for each good kept in cargo of airship or in a train depot). Last, factories produce resources to meet demand (1 each + 1 for each market tile of a matching type to the resource being made) before the market tiles are removed to become a facedown ‘demand’ pile, and the next round commences.

In the ‘move+action’ phase, which happens 4 times (For each planned move), players first flip their next movement card along and move their ship on the board (Which happens simulaneously for the most part, with conflicts resolved on a letter for each movement card, or if tied there on individual players ships). At the end of the move, they get a free load/unload of goods, then an action. Actions are a number of things – Build a Depot (For dropping off goods to then ship to cities by train), Movement adjust (Move 1 space if movement went wrong), Upgrade ship/train (To hold more cargo & have better movement/increase distance respectively), ship goods (Move goods from depot to depot or depot to a city) or to elicit funds (Gain $3).

Airships aren’t permitted to land in cities, so they have to drop the goods off at their depots, using an action to then ship those goods to a city that wants them. When they do, the player immediatey gets payed for the goods. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points (1:1 money:points + some bonus points for depots & upgraded airship/trains) is the winner.

In our game, I was able to get a very strong starting position away from the other players, where I had 3 factories nearby. One of the cities I needed to deliver to was also close (Each city in the game only wants one type of good at a time), with the others within reach if I used someone elses depots to ship via. For most of the game I was able to stick around this position, but in the last couple of rounds I moved out a couple of times to get different goods to deliver as I had the cities that were easiest for me to deliver to filled up.

I don’t remember how things went other than that unfortunately, but it ended up a very close one with myself on 157 points and Andy in a close second with 155. There was a bigger gap to the other 2 players of around 30 points, but they were close between them also. I think that a game played again could make for tighter-knit scores, with everyone being able to strategize better from the start of the game with their initial depot placement (Taking the nice start position I had for example, or using the 2 depot start to spread out more early on. I had fun as I always do with this one, really love the movement-planning mechanic!

Paperback

As KoAaS is fairly quick, we had plenty of time for another game in the evening. Seeing as I recently received my copy of paperback, which I kickstarted a while back, I was eagar to give it a go, and people seemed ok with giving it a shot.

Paperback is, essentially, deck-building scrabble. Player start with a deck of 10 cards, consisting of 5 wildcards (Worth 1VP each) and 5 letters (T,S,L,R,N). These are shuffled and placed face down as a draw deck. The buy area is then set up, consisting of 7 piles of differently valued letter cards, & 4 piles of wildcards (4VP,7VP,10VP,15VP respectively). Finally, each player draws the top 5 cards of their deck to form a starting hand, first player is chosen, and play begins. Each turn, the active player creates a word using the cards in their hand (And optionally the top of 4 ‘common’ cards, which are usually vowels), then uses the score of that word to buy cards from the buy area. Each letter has a point value, with all wilds being worth 0 (But usable as any letter). The 4 ‘common’ cards I mentioned are on a special card to track towards the games end. When a player first makes a word with 7 letters, they take the top common into their deck, then the first 8 letter word, 9 & 10 – After the 10 letter word has been made the game ends, or when 2 of the wildcard VP piles run out. Players then go through all their cards and count up the victory point values of them, the highest score wins.

I find paperback a very interesting game, as unlike other deck-building games I’ve played, I find it a real challenge to think what cards are best to buy. The higher scoring letters/double-letters (such as ‘ch’, ‘an’, etc) are great for longer/higher-scoring words but get steadily harder to place (With letters such as J & Z being the highest cost/highest scoring letters). This leads to needing either the right vowels to use them, or wildcards to substitute in, which is good for victory points, but are worth nothing towards words on their own. In addition, many of the letters you gain have traditional deck-building abilities (draw cards, trash cards, etc) which add to the complexity further, as well as sometimes having conditions that are hard to fill effectively (‘+1 card next turn if this is the starting letter of your word’ for example).

It was my first game of paperback at this session, and my strategy was to just try and get the highest value letters I could to make high-scoring words. Steve did very well, and I think he was able to get most of the common cards that push towards game end (The 7,8,9,10 length word thing I mentioned, each common is worth 5 points). What I didn’t really consider is that while going for well scoring letters has the potential for great words, it’s very difficult to actually make something of a random assortment of letters without any wildcards. I think if the game was to go on longer I’d have done much better, but I’d only just started getting the low wildcards and wasn’t often able to make full use of my hand (With a few more in my deck I think I’d have had much much better words). As it is, Steve was able to take victory by ending the game with a 10-letter word and trouncing us all on points, 34-20-20-9 (I was the 9, sad times ^^). Very fun, looking forward to more plays of this one!

So that was the mid-april sessions games at halesowen, had a great time as always and looking forwards to tomorrow for another session of games!

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Kickstarter Interesting Projects #3 (13th Mar ’14) – Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture & MERCS: Recon

Wow, March is an expensive month! 2 High interest (to me) epic games launched within a day of each other! I’ve backed games from both of these creators before, and while I’ve not yet received Myth it’s expected in a month or so and is shaping up to be very interesting (If apparently a bit in need of an FAQ ^^).

Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture

Stonemaier games, a company/pair of individuals I consider to be the most communicative, friendly creators on the platform, who also find ways to bring great value, are bringing an absolute stunner here, which takes their first game Viticulture to new levels with this Expansion pack. Viticulture is one of my absolute favourite games despite not even being a theme that would normally draw me in, and with these extra modules come something greater than the sum of it’s parts, that is absolute worth looking into. The pack is split into 3 tiers of modules, with the expectation being you unlock a module every 1-3 plays and unlock all of a tier before moving to the next.

The first tier has small impact additions, which work together to smooth out and refine the original game. Mamas & Papas adds variable starting conditions for players, which give people a focus from the start of a game & for me will never be excluded from a game again. Patronage adds a special wine order for each player, which they can fill for a couple of points, and if they fulfill a given condition, a few bonus points on top. Advanced visitors are a new set of cards which are balanced to help out through all stages of the game (Whereas some of the original ones may have had bigger impact earlier or alter). Property cards allow you to sell off fields for money, trading off the space for growing to build up other areas of your vineyard. These come together brilliantly, adding unique player powers & strategy and vastly improving the replayability of the game.

In the second tier are a few heavier impact changes which greatly change the feel of the game. First up is the extended game board, which takes the 2 season play to 4 seasons and adds some new action spaces. The extra seasons make being 1st stronger, but this is balanced by bigger bonuses for going later in player order, a very interesting thing to think about indeed. Special workers are new unique workers that cost a little bit extra but each provide a unique power to the player, 2 are used per game and make for even more unique plays. Finally there are an additional set of visitors, which have more complex interactions than before making for tougher chocies for those you want it.

Finally comes the third tier, which consists of ‘one-at-a-time’ expansions which add to the player boards and bring new elements to the game to consider alongside the making of wine. Arboriculture (Which was also available in the original kickstarter) adds ‘arbors’, which is to say lets you grow tomato’s, apples & olives to add to orders, which also introducing the concept of worker morale, which should be kept high to ensure success. Formaggio, the ‘cheese’ expansion, gives players cows to milk and process into cheese, which can be added to orders or sold individually, but has a management aspect to consider that it may go off if kept around too long!

This is just what’s available so far, with stretch goals adding yet more content to this awesome looking expansion to a great game. If you are at all into worker-placement games, I consider this a must have, and if you love wine on top you should certainly consider giving it a look! The game is scheduled to ship to backers for November, and I fully expect it to have aged wonderfully in that time ^^.

MERCS: Recon

Going a little bit up on the price scale is this intriguing looking miniatures game from Megacon Games. I first heard of these guys when I discovered (and subsequently backed) their campaign for their cooperative fantasy dungeon crawl Myth last year, and was drawn in by the quality and care they take to their products. While I won’t have Myth myself for another month or two, shipping has begun for American backers and it sounds like the game is as excellent a quality as I’d hoped if with perhaps a few shortcomings on rules clarity. Throughout that time they’ve been communicative and friendly, and that’s let me to looking into this new project from them.

In MERCS: Recon, players act as mercenaries infiltrating a ‘megacon’, where they must fight through narrow hallways to capture & interrogate employee’s or find and secure objectives. The game is set in their MERCS universe, an interesting near-future scifi setting with advanced weapons and technology.

The map for each game is created with a variety of tiles which fit together in a variety of ways to create a different layout each time you play. These different layouts will lead to the need for differing tactics as you fight your way through the office, as well as setting up situations where you might want to damage the environment  (Yes, destructive environments!) to open up new routes or even pass between floors to make your way to the objective of that particular scenario.

The endpoint of each game seems to result in what the Megacon guys are referring to as a ‘Breach and Clear’ situation. It’s not really clear to me what the point of this is, but you have an expanded tile to ‘zoom in’ on the action and play out the finale in some epic way (I hope it’s epic anyway ^^). Presumably some scenario’s change this up, with talk of civilian capture scenarios and more.

I’m not quite 100% on my interest in this one, but one backers comment summed up what I want from this nicely – a futuristic style board game that plays out like the popular video game Counter Strike (In fact, I’m hoping for some outdoor tiles that might help me to recreate cs_office ^^. If that sounds like the kind of thing you might be interested in I encourage you to browse on over to the kickstarter page and see what you think!

Ok I’ll shush in a moment. These are some pretty expensive kickstarters and they’re going to be putting me out of budget for games for a while, but I hope of some interest to you as the reader of this post! Again, if you’re interesting in Tuscany and in the area, come along to halesowen board games next week and I’ll show you how it plays, and if you back Recon and want to see their other project then come along to try out Myth when that arrives in a month or two! Till then, byeeee! ^^.

Kickstarter Interesting Projects #2 (4th Feb ’14) – oddball Aeronauts, Tiny Epic Kingdoms & This Town Aint Big Enough for the 2-4 of us!

It’s been a while since I decided to post about kickstarter projects I’ve backed, but this month there seems to be lots of low-cost ones that are very interesting, and I just happen to feel like saying something about them!

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

This is the biggest of the 3, (amusingly, as they’re all ‘micro’ sized), and wraps up 4 days from now. Tiny Epic Kingdoms has you playing of one of a variety of races to prove your dominance in the smallest 4X game I’ve seen.

Players compete to try and be the best at a variety of key areas in order to ultimately prove themselves the best. They can try to expand their population across the map, discover powerful magic, build colossal towers or battle their way forward in the name of victory. These are tiny kingdoms nonetheless, and there’s simply not enough room which should make for some interesting interactions between players as they vie for resources.

The guys making this game have done an amazing job of advertising it and getting information on it out there, and managed to get my attention a good while before the project even started. The shipping isn’t great, and there’s a risk of customs charges, but the components look lovely and there’s a huge amount of factions gained from being a backer to provide lots of variety in a game that will be lovely to take anywhere. Take a look for yourself! ^^.
oddball Aeronauts: Pirates vs the Pendragon

Next along in size is a card game that if you don’t look close enough could be dismissed as a top-trumps derivative. That would be a mistake however, as this game looks to be remarkably deep and a very interesting game for 2 players to enjoy just about anywhere. I’ll try to explain a little, but I’d urge you to watch Richard Hams (rahdo) Runthrough of the game on youtube to really get a good idea of it. The campaign ends on the 3rd March so plenty time for you to decide ^^.

Each turn players go at each other by comparing 3 statistics on their cards (Sailing, Boarding and Cannons), the interesting bit being that you can use up to the top 3 cards of your deck for the comparison, and that number is  done simultaneously, with all the cards used being lost as ‘damage’. Cards also have abilities that can be manipulated to try and make your way to victory. There are also event cards in each players deck that can change things up, and introduce yet more strategy to the game in trying to set yourself up to win those events.

Looks great, and I’m looking forward to receiving it later this year. £15 shipped to anywhere is pretty nice too.
This Town Aint Big Enough for the 2-4 of us!

Finally, the latest micro-game from TMG, in their pay what you want with $3 minimum format, is this carcassonne-in-appearance tile placement game, Players put town tiles with various ‘brands’ on them which represent each player in the game, and when an area is completely fenced in, it gets scored. The cool bit is that each player in that area scores based on the next lowest number in that area, so if you have 4 brands and another player has 2, you get 2 points and they get 0 (As below them is no-one).

The game comes with 24 tiles, and maybe more when stretch goals are hit, which looks to provide a lot of fun in a small package. It’s also possible that multiple sets might work combined, as backers suggested, to which the games designer is play-testing now in response to peoples inquiries. I hope it works well as I’d happily pick up a few with them being so cheap for each copy ^^. The project has another 9 days in it, and is already nearly double it’s goal with only 1 day on the site so far, definitely worth a look as it costs barely more than lunch! ^^.

Thanks for your time and such, I hope you’ve found something interesting to back here! I think oddball Aeronauts looks the most interesting, as it should lead to some great 2-player gaming opportunities when I’m with my girlfriend Grace. The others look amazing too though, else they wouldn’t be nicking a cut of my budget for games this year, so I recommend you go for them all ^^>

Weekly Update #2 – Halesowen Board Gamers & Euphoria

So, in the first 8 days that I’ve owned Euphoria, I’ve played 7 times. I think that’s definitely the sign of a great game! In this post I plan to Summarize how they’ve gone, mention a few other games played and generally cheer that I found a new tabletop society to go to on Wednesdays!

Back on Wednesday last week I got my first couple of plays done in the evening. Some friends came over, so we have me, Chris, Chris & Adam. Or by initials CJS, CJH, CJH…Er..Me, Handy, Harrison & Adam, lets go with that. I got explanation out of the way pretty quickly and we got into our games and had a lot of fun. Adam found a great tactic quite early and managed to pull ahead with his Icarus allegiance and win the first game. In the second game things felt a bit tighter with us knowing rather than guessing what we were doing, Harrison managed to make good use of recruits and take the lead. I had ‘lose a worker’ recruits in at least one of the games and well, losing a worker hurts!

On Friday I went along to the UoB tabletop society for just the 1 game of Euphoria before I headed back home to join friends who wanted to play Battlestar Galactica. In the game of Euphoria I got asked a lot more questions this time, which I think was because my thematic explanation was a bit fractured and made people ask a lot of questions about it, which is a bit frustrating when it doesn’t actually affect the game. Anyway people had a lot of fun and Ian commented that he wants to play again sometime (Harrison won again, as he was about too and enjoys the game ^^). The game of battlestar galactica afterwards was quite fun, but to be honest I find the length of the game too much, when you consider how heavy the landslide is when the second round of loyalty cards goes out – I don’t enjoy going from ‘a chance’ to ‘haha you’ve lost’, but what can you do…:(

I had another game of Euphoria, this time with 2, on the 7th. I had a lot less fun this game but fortunately I managed to work out the reason afterwards which was an incorrect rule! We were doing the markets wrong so they weren’t really contestable, which meant the winner of the game was obvious a long time before the end and took out all the tension. No problems as correcting the rule makes it better. In the evening me, Grace, and my housemates Ken & Ruth had games of Dixit (Ken Won), Timeline (Ruth Won) and Love Letter (Ruth Won), there’s not much I can say about these as they’re pretty straightforward games, but we had a lot of fun!

On Sunday I played games of Legendary & Forbidden Desert with Ken in the day, and Euphoria 2 player with Grace in the evening. Forbidden Desert we absolutely kicked ass, winning with no worry of things going wrong at all (I didn’t even have to visit a water location, thanks to finding a canteen along the way). In Legendary we beat up Mephisto despite his valiant efforts to open Portals to the dark dimension, with Ken punching his face a few more times than me and taking the victory. With Euphoria in the evening I won the first game, as a result of Grace missing a rule that I didn’t pick up on (How the numbers on commodity locations work). The game after Grace took victory with me not too far behind, so at this point I’d pretty much lost 5/5 as I discounted the game before where only I knew how to play properly ^^.

On Monday/Tuesday I did something related to board games but not playing them! I recorded a ‘run through’ of the game in the hope that people can watch it and learn to play the game – Something I much prefer doing as opposed to reading rulebooks (Well, I read those too, but it’s hard to match rulebook to actually playing sometimes ^^). Monday was just a few failed attempts, and on Tuesday I got a whole video recorded (40 minutes!) with just a couple of breaks when people came into the room as I couldn’t bring myself to keep going when that happened ^^. I got the video posted overnight and some great feedback from the Euphoria forum on boardgamegeek yesterday, positive feedback in fact! I’m so happy that people liked the video as now I’m super-motivated to do more.

Halesowen Board Gamers

Well, this wasn’t any longer than any of the other sessions I had, but this is a new society I came across that I’m quite excited about! This group meet up every Wednesday evening in an upstairs room in a pub, which is really well lit and has lots of room, not to mention being remarkably quiet. I’m so glad to have found it and taken the chance as being a pub I was unsure ^^.

I took Grace & Harrison with me as I love playing games with them and partly because I wanted people I know there for confidence reasons ^^. I had Euphoria with me so I suggested that and after a short while found a couple of people to join me and Grace for a game while Harrison went off to play Power Grid (Which I believe he enjoyed). I got a bit focused on my own strategies in Euphoria to know what the other 3 were going for, but with a recruit that let me use any resource for construction sites I focused on construction of markets. As a result I made a lot of use of the Euphorian tunnel and had a beautiful stack of gold to work with. Thanks to limiting other players actions by the market negatives I was pushing out, and perhaps by finally having grasped the way the game works, I took the victory by a few points lead!

Afterwards me, Grace & the other 2 (James & Jamie I believe was their names) played a game of King of Tokyo as we needed something fairly quick to fill the time. While the others tried to balance going into Tokyo and getting other things, I just sat back and went for points with no idea if it was a good plan. Apparently it was, as after 20 minutes or so 2 of the other players had wiped themselves out, with the last being in Tokyo with 2 health. For the first time in the game I just went straight for damage and got the 2 I needed to take the win. Yay!

Fun Week! I hope things continue being this packed with gaming ^^.

Weekly Update #1, Afternoon Play, A Table & Euphoria!

Not that anyone reads this blog, but I think I need a better name for general updates than tagging them all as ‘random musings’, lets go the boring route and call it ‘Weekly Update #X’ =)

So what’s happened in the past week? A few things actually, resulting in my being a bit lacking in sleep! I really need to get a handle on the fact that knowing I need to be asleep by 10pm doesn’t make the early hours of the Morning an ok substitute.

On Thursday I went out into Birmingham for my friend Emma’s birthday. I met up with people in the Christmas market for food, beer and merriment! We had lots of fun and after a while headed to ‘The Brew Dog’ where I’ve not been before, but is a cool place with lots of interesting beers. Too many beers, and confusingly not sold in pints, why do places sell beers in halves/thirds, that’s just wrong! It was lovely to see some people that I’ve only met up with once or twice in the past year, and a couple of new people too, great night!
Friday I went to the University of Birmingham tabletop society after work, taking along a handful of games to play. A few of us got together and played a game of Quarriors (I think I won, yay!), although that was all as I went for an early night with my lovely gf.

Sunday I went to Afternoon Play with Grace, where we met up with one of Grace’s housemates from last year and a couple of his friends (One who I had met and one I hadn’t). It was quite nice to go to the event and play board games with people I don’t see very often ^^. On arrival we played a game of Resistance: Avalon with 10 players (Which we lost..I need to speak up when I think a mission is dumb rather than just vote no..). We then moved to a pub from the cafe (Same society) and played Frag and Byzantio. The former of which is a quake-3 style board game which seemed heavily based on luck, and the latter is one of my games that I was wanting to play more, with hidden information and area control. Awesome night!
On Monday I didn’t seem to find time for much asides from a trip to IKEA with my housemate Ken. It’s the first time I’ve been there and to be honest, I’m disappointed nothing caught my eye ^^. The trip was to buy a table though, which Ken took care of, so we headed home with the lovely new flatpack of the table to build that evening. Of course we then realized we didn’t have a screwdriver (Asides from one on a gerber multitool which wasn’t good enough). We gave in and had a game of zombicide on the upside-down tabletop on the floor, as we’d already decided we were going to play a game on the new table ^^.

Last night I went to my parents for dinner and to pick up a delivery. That delivery was Euphoria, a game which I’m super excited about and can’t wait to play (Hence going and fetching it ^^). I also picked up a few screwdrivers so we found some time to put the table together too (Yay!). Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to play a game, but I did get the components out to have a look, they’re so pretty! Love the stretch goal upgrades ^^. The plan is to get it played this evening, which a few friends are coming over for. Now we just need to get some chairs for the table…hmm ^^ (They’re so expensive though -_-)

So that was my week! Not bad I think, but I do need to try and get more sleezzzzzzzZzzZzzzZZzzzZz…

Kickstarter Interesting Projects #1 – SoB, Journey and Templar Intrigue

I don’t really have a specific definition for what to include in a post like this, suffice to say it’ll be for projects that I think look quite interesting, and if I had money I knew was spare, would definitely back.

My inspiration for this is pretty much the first game I’m going to mention, as I think it looks particularly exciting and am rather sad that I can’t really afford to back it. It also put me in a mood to take over a list that ran for a while in boardgamegeek of the 10 top funded board game projects on kickstarter, which you can find at the following url.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/150923/2013-kickstarter-boardgame-projects
Shadows of Brimstone

Shadows of brimstone is a cooperative dungeon crawler game set in the Old West, with horrors and bandits abound. Players create characters in classic Western roles, then venture out into the wilderness and down into deep mines in search of adventure.

This project, which has been running since October 23rd, has racked up a huge $750,000 sum already, with 11 days left for it, and looks to overtake the hugely successful original Zombicide project in the next few days. With a value that high you can probably guess it’s a miniatures project already, which is has in spades.

Rather than go for a typical approach of a single box with expansions later, SoB has 2 core boxes right from the start with their own set of characters and adventures set in the same world. It’s possible to get just the one of these for $75, but the real starting level is at $150, where you get both boxes and stretch goal content making this a particularly valuable point to back at. There’s also a higher level, mine cart, which includes all the unlocked add-ons, for a crazy amount of content at a somewhat crazy price of $475.

As the project progresses there is some amazing new content being added, from different enemy types to whole new ‘otherworlds’ to travel to and explore. It’s a very exciting project to track as it evolves, although a lot of additions are optional add-ons that will increase your pledge ever closer to giving in to a mine cart level.

I don’t know what else I can say about the project really, except I really hope a friend that’s looking at it takes the plunge so I can try it out when he receives his copy! Go take a look, you may like what you see!

Journey: Wrath of Demons

Another miniatures project of the moment, this project has it’s roots set in Chinese mythology. Through the game you play as pilgrims fending off bull demons as you search for the Sutras, with the ultimate goal of defeating the bull demon king in a showdown at the end.

The game provides a variety of quests to play through, and is open to various paths for your pilgrims to take, be it slaughtering waves of foes, or cleansing their souls in an effort to be better men. The art of the game looks great too, with a huge wealth of art, architecture and drama in the Chinese mythologies it’s based upon.

I’m not quite so enamored with this project as SoB, but I think it looks like something worth a longer glance to those who can afford it. The miniatures are bigger than other games I’m used to, and look like they’d be great fun to play the game with. Currently it’s at $237,000, but I wish them luck in reaching much dizzier heights as the campaign continues and they hit more stretch content.

Templar Intrigue

To finish up, we have something a “little” bit on the cheaper side. This project has a minimum level of $2 ($3 international) for the game, on a pay what you want system where the recommended ask is $5.

The game itself is a werewolf/love-letter style game where you are trying to work out what roles the other players are in and use that to your advantage and win. In this particular game, you do know ‘some’ information about other players, but not necessarily their allegiance! No moderator is required in the game and play is fast, with the aim being to win a few rounds rather than just the one. Predicted play time is 30 minutes for 3 games.

That’s about all I know really, but I think Tasty Mintrel Games are an awesome company and I am more than happy to chip $5 in on this project. I can’t wait to get my hands on both this, and other projects by them as they come available in the future.

That’s all for now, hope everyone’s having a good week, farewell! =)

New Games: Gear & Piston, Byzantio/Nekken

Yesterday morning I received a parcel. it turned out that parcel was the delivery of pair of kick-starter projects I backed earlier this year, both by LudiCreations. I was expecting them soon, but so earlier was absolutely brilliant service, and it’s awesome to know they were sent from Essen!

Gear & Piston

So far I’ve had the opportunity to play this one twice. In it, you are an engineer in the late 1800’s trying to design a prototype automobile to compete with the forthcoming motoring giants. You do this by developing new parts, scrounging for junk and ultimately in order to meet deadlines, using any old scrap that’ll get the thing working!

In the game you place tokens (workers) in a few places to try and gather the parts you need (or prevent others from doing so!) to build your wonder machine. These are:

  • The Black Market. Here you can do dodgy things at the cost of losing one of your actions next turn. These include looking through the next few new parts to take one, stealing a part from another players hand, and shifting your position on a location to get what you want first (or even go last to get the first player token next turn!)
  • The Patent Office. I find it a strange idea for the new parts to be here, but it does the job. Here you can take a single new part from a wide selection (6) or a random one from the stack. At the end of each round all the available parts are discarded and a new 6 are placed out. Also, when a part is taken it is immediately refreshed, so it can pay to take a piece later if nothing really appeals for your car that’s already out!
  • The Junk Yard. Here you can scrounge parts that have been dumped by the motoring giants or other people trying to develop their own automobiles. These aren’t quite so lovely and sometimes have volatility that represents how likely your car would be to just collapse during use. The advantage is that you can take 2 from here, although the selections a little smaller than the patent office too (3).
  • The Workshop. This location is where everyone heads back to their workshop and tinkers with their machine. You can build, upgrade and remove parts from your prototype and work it to perfection here. Going early in the order lets you get more done, but the last player gets the 1st player token next round.

Each game you have a few investors to compete over who provide some extra points based on what you’ve built. One investor for example likes a car with a long range and another just wants it to be comfy, other still might want a really long automobile to roll around in. These are what provide a bit of spice and variety to each game.

I really enjoy seeing what everyone comes up with as the games goes on, whether it’s a dirty petrol vehicle with dodgy components or a luxury hybrid. I’ve lost both the games I’ve played, although the 2nd I at least drew for 2nd place (4 of us). It may or may not help that the first game we just did a few things wrong, and the second we extended the game longer than I think we were supposed to because we just didn’t want to stop with half-vehicles that would be more scrap than not, i.e. not much fun ^^.

The game does up to 6 and is pretty easy to teach, so I can’t wait to get some more plays in and I just hope it doesn’t get stale as one of the players felt it might. I will not rest till I make a petroleum gas electric hybrid!

Byzantio

This is a very interesting game in that I backed it more because I was interested in the company, LudiCreations than because I wanted the game. I wasn’t sure at all if I’d like the game as there’s things involving writing and hidden data which aren’t really something I’m accustomed to and don’t like people doing in games where it’s not a deliberate mechanic ^^

In it, you are competing to control a variety of cities across various regions of the Byzantio world. At the start of the game you write down the cities that you are aiming to have control of and will get points based on whether you get those or not. The reason it’s hidden is that at the end of the game you get points if you can guess your opponents primary high scoring city correctly.

To achieve your goals, you have 30 available actions of a few different types – Campaign, Muster, Advance, Negotiate, Bribe and Expel. There are 30 rounds and a set number of each of these, so you must plan wisely to not limit yourself in later rounds and lose your empire. Advance is an interesting one as it’s the only way for big movements across the map, and you only have 4 of them. Use your last one before having half your cities taken from you and you’ll be in serious trouble.

As it turns out, I found our solitary game really fun to play, with my chosen cities happening to be not too overly competitive with my foes, who really seemed to bicker a lot over their disturbing similar set of places!

In the end I won by having control of 4/6 cities, with a 5th as a draw (Half points). One of the other players guessed my home city, which I had placed as an island which as it turns out, for at least the first game is a really obvious idea to go for (Everyone’s was an island!). I guessed one other persons. Of the other 2 players, one guessed both and the other guessed neither, but they had control of or drew on enough of their cities they couldn’t match my sprawling and beautiful empire!

Very interesting game, and I look forward to my future plays to see how our strategy develops over time. I can see the misdirection elements of the game coming heavier and heavier into play as the players go through it, with next game for example everyone’s main cities being likely to be a nonchalent town in the middle of the map to try and obscure it in among fights over the islands to try and draw people’s gaze away.

I’d like to finish with a massive thanks to LudiCreations, for delivering their projects not just on time, but one a month earlier than the estimate and 1 2 months earlier (If only by a day into those brackets). Very great service and I look forward to backing future board games from them.

Hope everyone’s had a great Halloween and continuing to have amazing parties to do with it!

Bye! =)