Category Archives: Me

Weekly Update #4 – Edale, Halesowen & Games with Friends

I had a lot of fun this last week, with a rather short holiday up to the start of the Pennine Way and a few games here and there.

Edale

Last week my girlfriend went up to Edale for some volunteering work in a hostel. She suggested I could come down at the end of the week and well, that sounded like a great idea! I booked Friday off work so I could get there earlier and went for the longest drive I’ve managed since getting my car a few months ago. While uneventful, it’s certainly quite an experience and had me appreciated service stations that little bit more ^^.

On the Friday evening we played a few games of various things, including Qwirkle and Eldritch Horror that I got fairly recently. I got my ass kicked in Qwirkle, and we got our asses kicked in Eldritch Horror! It was a lot of fun playing games somewhere with pretty much noone else around, certainly makes for an awesome atmosphere with EH ^^. The next day we walked a few hours along the Pennine way, including up Jacobs Ladder before deciding to head back before it got too dark for dinner and to have time to head home. All in all I had a great time and I’m glad I decided to go, even if it was for just one day =)

Halesowen Board Gamers

On Wednesday was board games in Halesowen, a regular meetup that I intend to try to go to every week. I took along a few games, and we played Legacy: Gears of Time & Among the Stars out of them. I’m eager to play Legacy many more times, as the time travel theme is just awesome and I like how the scoring works (Primitive technologies score points when more complex ones make use of them!). Among the Stars is great, although I wasn’t really careful enough in setting up so there was some cards in the set which didn’t work (Expansion references for cards we weren’t using), oops! I’ll be more careful in future, as it’s a great game and hiccups like that for  new players is a shame.

Games with Friends

Last night I headed over to a friends house for a couple of games. I wanted to try Machine of Death as the kickstarter had just arrived, and while I enjoyed playing a round the others didn’t, but it at least gave me an idea of the kind of group I need to get together for it ^^. After that we had a game of Among the Stars, where I managed to net a narrow victory with a nice array of Ambassadors, followed by Galaxy Trucker with various expansion things from their anniversary edition. It was a lot of fun playing with Rough Roads included as while I have the Anniversary Edition too, I rarely play with experienced players who are willing to put up with its’ evil ^^.

Shelves Run Through #2

As I got a decent number of games from kickstarter/christmas/birthday since I did a video of my shelves, I decided to redo it. There’s a few random skips where I got distracted and paused recording for a moment, but it should be ok. Check that out here:

Thanks for reading, happy gaming all =)

Advertisements

Christmas! and Birthday! and New Year! and Stuff!

Been a little while since I updated, partly as I’ve not been going to any board-gaming events to particularly talk about! Which is odd, because I have lots of games received over Christmas/Birthday to talk about ^^.

Christmas

Just before Christmas I visited my girlfriend in Brighton to see her and her family over the holidays. I had a great time while there, getting to know her brother better (I’ve only briefly met him before) and generally enjoying some free time spent with Grace. A particular highlight was the laughing horse comedy event in town which had some good things on offer, ending in an awesome show by a particularly loud chap who well..didn’t need a microphone to say the least ^^.

On the 24th I got the train back at 7:10AM. No..no wait that’s not what happened, I planned to do that…but a huge quantity of trains were cancelled and it took me most of the day to get even as far as Gatwick! In the end I was fortunate enough to be given a lift most of the way back to Birmingham, with my Dad picking me up somewhere around the halfway point. I got back after 10pm, :(

Fortunately though, I did manage to get home so I was able to spend Christmas with my family, which is more than worth it to see my Mum happy at having all her kids back home! I had a good day with great food and many gifts. Among them were Eldritch Horror (Thanks Mum & Dad), Belfort (Thanks Grandma & Grandad) and Steam Noir: Revolution (Thanks Tori, aka Sister!). I also got the usual assortment of socks, sweets and my big gift of the year, a Tom Tom! Very useful as I’ve been borrowing my Grandad’s temporarily and it’s lovely to have my own and be able to return his ^^.

As a conveniently timed present to myself, a few kickstarters I backed arrived (I paid ages ago…it feels like getting extra gifts ^^). Among the Stars: The Ambassadors, Archon: Glory & Machination, Shadows over the Empire and DrunkQuest: The 90 Proof Seas wormed their way into my collection!

Birthday

The very last day of each year also happens to be my day of birth. When I was at school I used to get frustrated as many of my friends stayed at home with family, but as I’ve gotten older and people have stopped accepting their parents demands, I’ve had friends over more often for the day and importantly, for new years with close friends!

In the Morning my parents came over to where I live to bring the wonders of cake and a couple of gifts in the form of yet more socks and…Legacy: Gears of Time! This was a great start to the day as I’ve been looking forward to getting Legacy as I love all things Time Travel!

In the Afternoon, my friends Chris, Chris, Ken, Grant & my girlfriend Grace (Who’d come back from Brighton for my Birthday <3)  went to Laser Quest (Because we’re grown up like that) and had a great time repeatedly shooting the younger generation with lasers. I did poorly one game, ok in another and came 1st on my team (I.e. The winning team) in the last, yay!

After coming home we had copious amounts of food and played a game of paranoia for the adventure stealth train. It was a lot of fun (Though Grace didn’t enjoy it so much, unfortunately) and I got to finally complete a secret mission in the game (Don’t really play often mind)…right before being blown up – Someone else also completed their mission! We proceeded to play DrunkQuest into the evening, which turns out to be an awesome drinking game, that has similar mechanics to Munchkin, but with the advantage that drinking makes the hate go away! Hugely fun and I’m looking forward to a situation where we play again!

We hadn’t finished the game when we took a hiatus to celebrate the New Year & watch the fireworks. My friend Emma even got involved (She couldn’t back it) by means of phone call, to the clamour of hearing us yell the countdown to the New Year, it was nice for her to be involved even if not in person ^^. I also shouldn’t miss out that in the evening I got to try out the super awesome cake that Grace made for me – Iron Man in cake form, so cool! This as well as some steampunk fairy cakes from my Mum – I Still haven’t worked my way through all the cake!

New Year

So that brings us to 2014, Happy New Year to all! Had a reasonably relaxed time so far with a good bit of gaming on Sunday at Afternoon Play and at a friends house after. I’ve gotten to play all the games I got over the festive period (Sort of) and look forward to talking about them more next update (I was going to in this one…but getting long at over 800 words!)

Thanks for reading, and if you skipped to the end, a Happy New Year to you too!

Random Musings #3 – Gifts

Despite where Christmas originally came from, a disproportionate part of it these days if gifts. Regardless of whether you show your love for friends and family in other ways, the giving of gifts tends to be almost a requirement at this time of the year.

It isn’t of course, and I know probably just as many people who’d rather not be given a present (or obligation as some would call it ^^) as would. Personally I just love to give friends and family gifts at this time of the year and strive to do so far as many people as possible, limited by what I can spend before going completely bankrupt! I thought I’d dedicate this post to being about presents and such in general.

Family

This is always the hardest one, as while I love my family, I simply do not know what kind of things they would want or need! With my parents it’s difficult because they simply have more money than me. If there’s something they want or need that I could afford it’s very likely they already have it! With my siblings it’s more that I don’t know well enough what they might want as we don’t have enough in common (Plus I don’t see them often enough). As a result I tend to just quite directly ask what people would like for Christmas, and after being redirected a few times (Ask your sister/ask mum/ask…etc) come up with something small that’s not usually very unique, but means I can get them something they want and make them that much happier on Christmas day!

Last year I tried to do something a little more special, and didn’t just get what I was told I should, at least on for my Mum & Sister. I went on shapeways.com instead and found a cute dragon for my Mum and a Pendant for my Sister that I thought they’d like (I think I was right :P). I got a couple of other things too, and went with standard fare of ‘sweets, socks and the like’ for my Dad, but felt so much happier than many Christmas’s that I’d found something that little bit more unique!

This year I don’t feel confident enough in how much money I have (Due to getting a car) which is a shame as I’d love to do something similar. Instead I’ve gone with asking what people would like and will try to pick a gift for each that will cause the biggest smile possible anyway. Next year I hope to save up a little to go with shape-ways again, or some other such custom gift (Perhaps I could learn to design my own 3D models to get printed for them!)

Friends

Friends are much easier to buy presents for, mostly because they don’t expect it and no matter what you give it’s a surprise! Last year and this year I’m prowling dayoftheshirt.com to find unique design t-shirts that fit the people I’m buying for. This is such a fun option as it’s usually <£10 each and with themes that my friends will love.

On the other hand it does feel a bit more awkward, as while I don’t expect things in return, it’s possible to make a person feel extremely guilty by doing this and it’s not the reaction I want! I don’t know how to get around that other than not buying them things, but that doesn’t feel an option to me, I want my friends to get cool things from me! Awkward ^^

—-

Eurgh, I feel like all that was a bit lame, so I’m going to stop right here! I hope I manage to get people great things despite a tight budget (And have some ordered already!) and give out some smiles this Christmas!

Random Musings #1

Oops, so much for Friday/Monday posting, I’ve been a bit distracted with the whole looking for a job thing, and completely forgot about this! I’ll have to do a couple of random posts to make it up =)

I’m not really sure where to go from here, so I’ll just start with writing about the games I mentioned in my last post and see where things go!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

I got the pathfinder adventure card game last week, and have played it rather a lot since! In fact me and my housemate Ken have completed the starter adventure ‘Perils of the Lost Coast’ and the start of the RoTR adventure path ‘Burnt Offerings’ already, leaving me wanting the rest of the adventure path as soon as possible!

In the game, you have a deck of cards representing your character, which contains spells, armour, weapons, items and more. The deck is quite small (at least at first) with 15 cards. For the main character I’m using – Ezren – that means 8 Spells, 1 Weapon, 3 Allies and 3 Items. Throughout the game, you travel to and explore various locations, bringing up opportunities to get new stuff (cards) and fight enemies, hoping to weed out and corner the ‘villain’ for a particular scenario. When you use cards, you sometimes get an opportunity to ‘recharge’ them to put them at the bottom of your deck to pick up later.

Did I mention that deck is also your health bar? Well, it is, and damage taken in the game will cut down your deck, reducing your capabilities and leaving you fatigued from fighting. I love this mechanic, as you have to really think about how to handle what comes up and when you can use cards (Place them in the discard pile), as that will limit your further options for the scenario!

At the end of each scenario, you receive a reward of some kind and move onto the next scenario in an adventure. Those rewards are often cards or ‘feats’ that affect your character for all future games. I absolutely love this aspect, and it has me feeling somewhat attached to my wizard and wanting to progress him to new heights as we continue with the adventures.

It’s an absolutely awesome game, and my ramblings about it don’t do it justice, despite it’s numerous..issues (There’s a lot of errata already due to unclear wording!). Absolutely looking forward to buying all the adventures as they come out and travelling through them, despite the fear of death that will accompany us throughout! (Characters dying is usually for good, no reviving them for the next game!). Just..brilliant.

Smash Up: Obligatory Cthulhu Set

I’ve not really played this much, but me and 2 housemates had a go on Monday night. I love the addition of madness, and manipulating it as you play is great fun, and the new factions are pretty damned cool and further making me interested in the lovecraftian universe. I played as the Miskatonic University Steampunks society and had a lot of fun adding and removing madness from my deck while spamming actions all over the place (Steampunks are possibly my favorite faction, covering bases everywhere in actions is awesome!).

I didn’t win, but I think the new factions will be adding a lot to the game, and it may well have to be a rule that each player gets 1 cthulhu faction and 1 other for the next few games, just so we get to have lots of madness shenanigans. Can’t wait to try out the elder things faction next time!

LoL Worlds

What, this doesn’t belong here. Well tough! The World Championships for League of Legends are happening at the moment, and the quarter finals have been on for the last couple of days. I don’t usually card much about this kind of thing, but I have a lot of friends who do and I’m trying to follow it to some extent.

We’re all going to meet up for the finals, which I am really looking forward to. I don’t get to see all my friends from Uni very often, and I can’t wait for this as a result. I guess I have to admit a bit more appreciation for sports than I usually do, because having it as something to bring people together is a valiant cause, even if normal sports are wholly uninteresting to me ^^

Go Fanatic! ;)

I’ll leave it at that for now. I have a few more things to bring up (Planned custom content for pathfinder for example, which is going to take a long while) but they can wait for another post. Thanks for reading!

PS: I think I’ll start applying numbers to posts as naming them all completely differently will get confusing!

Pathfinder, Smash Up and Job-Hunting.

So I don’t know where to go with todays post, but to start with, I can say I just received a lovely delivery from Amazon. briefly mention job stuff, then talk about what’s in that delivery!

Come Thursday, I’ll be out of a job, as I’m in a fixed term contract while another member of the company is on maternity leave. As a result I don’t think I’ll have money for buying new…anything for a while, and will be spending a lot of time job-hunting. I’ve had the deliveries games pre-ordered for a while or I’d have not bought them, but at least they’ll be a comfort while I pull my hair out over job applications in the next few days/weeks!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

I’ve not been in a lot of roleplaying games, but I did a few with my closest friends about a year ago, and even bought myself some books in the pathfinder system so I could run games in return for them. I bought a random adventure to start with, which is the one I’ve actually ran, and then bought the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition, intending to run a full campaign sometime, which so far hasn’t happened after I stopped attending due to not being a fan of a particular game my friend was running (Hunter).

Anyway, as a result I’m really interested to see how the Rise of the Runelords path plays out, and I have this amazing opportunity to do so through a medium I much prefer – board games. The base set for the pathfinder adventure card game is this very path, and I can’t wait to rip open the absolutely massive box when I get home and try it out. The game is designed with a slow overarching deck-refining mechanic where you earn cards during each game, and get to keep some of them for future games, slowly increasing your power as you go.

I really love being able to keep a character and advance it over an extended period, and this opportunity to do so in a card game has huge appeal for me. The game has a couple of other interesting mechanisms, such as a deck that acts as your abilities and your health (So you must strike a balance to not fatigue yourself too much, or risk dying to anything left after your rampage).

The game apparently supports solo play which could be interesting, although I usually prefer multiplayer gaming, but I look forward to seeing how it goes. Can’t wait to try it out, and hopefully talk about it in a future post! (Maybe Friday!)

Smash Up: Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion

As it’s a requirement that all games get a Cthulhu expansion, AEG have taken some time out from doing normal expansions to fulfill their obligations. I wasn’t expecting this to get dispatched for another month, so I was happy to find the delivery containing the PACG also had this little box included.

The expansion adds 4 new factions from the universe, such as Innsmouthians and Miskatonic University, and a new type of card – madness. I’ve not played with it yet to see how it goes, but the just is that they are cards you might get into your deck during a game that have strong benefits, at the cost of giving negatives to your score at the end of the game. I’ve been rather skeptical due to the 4 similarly themed factions (It feels like it’s completely against the Smash Up style!) but I do think it’s a pretty cool mechanic, and one that required a dedicated expansion to not risk spiraling into non-use.

I’ve not played Smash Up in a while (Blame Legendary), and can’t wait to try it out with a breath of new life from this and it’s future expansions, Miskatonic Steam-punks shall rule the world ;)

Till next time!

My Life and Gaming

Edit: This is a soppy-ness warning. A friend let me know this is a pretty pitiful post, so feel free to ignore it and read the more interesting posts following it! ^^

I’m going to start this blog off, with a picture of my board games collection. The reason for this is that I don’t really know what to post on a blog, and the only thing that comes to mind is to write something about myself.

I’ve always played games, ever since I was small. Traditional Board Games when I was small, monopoly, scrabble, cluedo and the like, those games that everybody plays, but I never really enjoyed playing them (Well, maybe scrabble). My enjoyment of games came with video games, since my older brother got a PS1 I have always loved them, and since I got my first PC even more.

Crash Bandicoot numbered among the earlier games I’ve played, and it still reflects today, where platform games are among my favourite genre’s, despite being sadly neglected in modern consoles. Since then memorable games for me in the earlier years of my gaming have been Quake 3, Jak & Daxter, Counter Strike, Ratchet and Clank, Battlefield 2142, Hydro Thunder, XGIII and Burnout (Wow, I never considered how many racing games I used to like). FPS games held my desires for a long time, but a few years ago got replaced by World of Warcraft.

It’s funny, how I feel ashamed in many ways to say that WoW was a big part of my life, but it was something I needed, an escape from the world. I didn’t much enjoy my last few years of school, and timetables left me never seeing much of my friends at college, so I immersed myself in the game world. In the real world I went to college, ate, and come home, in WoW I was a user of the magic arts, I was something more. I don’t even think I care how pitiful that sounds, I needed it at that time in my life.

Come University, I gave it up. It wasn’t that I got bored of the game, or didn’t want to play, it was that I was going to a completely new place, and I had a perfect opportunity to start afresh, to make new friends instead of feeling like a misfit. It was a great choice, and I instead occupied my time with friends, with the game of choice being Team Fortress 2, where we could run around in a manic scenario having fun together. That lasted a long while, until a friend convinced us to try out League of Legends, a game which I still love today.

Our last year at University had LoL at the game of choice when meeting up with friends for games. I tended to organise LAN parties occasionally through all of University, as well as the Computer Science events, so it just a switch from TF2 to LoL at those times. We’re all fairly good at the game now, and playing 5-man teams in ranked games is amazing fun, even if we aren’t exactly top-level players (Besides, casually playing is more fun).

Also in that final year of University I joined my friends in doing some roleplaying games. It’s such an amazing thing to just sit around a room with friends and immerse yourselves in something else, while still being highly social. The fact that noone overly serious about it and takes things in a casual light was just perfect. I stopped attending much around when I started playing board games, as I just didn’t find time, but I hope to attend one again, particularly now I have one of my mates that does it living in a house with me!

Don’t worry, it’s on to board games now. Last year, Wil Wheatons tabletop series started airing on youtube. A friend showed me the first one, (Small World) and I kind of impulse bought it…and it’s sequel, and tried to convince everyone to play all the time. I had a lot of fun playing that, and wanted to try other games, so I went along to the UoB tabletop society with a couple of friends of mine to try other games. Since then I almost feel like doing so opened up a whole new chapter in my life, as I had enough fun that I booked off more Friday afternoons than not to attend the society and play board games with people. I even met Grace, now my wonderfully awesome girlfriend, at the society – I didn’t even notice I was attracted to her for a while, I just loved spending time with her and to be honest, probably stayed more to spend time with Grace than to play board games.

I took to buying a lot more board games now that I came across more, via both Wil Wheatons series and the societies games. I discovered boardgamegeek and signed up in January, although I didn’t post for a while after that, to find out about more games. My collection has increased substantially from just Small World, so I now have some 40 games, and more on their way from kickstarter this year. I love playing them all, it gives me opportunities to be social where before I’d have sat in my room, and while I still love playing league of legends with friends, that has nothing on sitting to a table with them and enjoying a physical medium.

So, below you have my collection of board games as it stands. Some of the RP books are mine but most of them are my housemate Kens. I’m so happy to have them, as they really are a bright spark in my life and have made me a much happier person in general, so I think they will be getting shown off frequently in this blog.

Long. Live. Tabletop Games!

Image