Friday, 9 December 2016

Top 20 Games According to Board Game Geek.

   I've just been playing Space Crusade and putting off getting on with the present wrapping. This game completes my collection of the games Games Workshop made in collaboration with Milton Bradley and sits happily alongside the mighty Heroquest and Battle Masters. As I was listing it on my profile on BBG I thought I'd put up an end of year chart a la Christmas Top of the Pops so without further ado...

  20  Cosmic Encounter   Picked up in a junk shop. Has made me very happy (see below).

  19  Lord of the Rings  Abstaction of the story may have put many people off this game but I love it. Last time I played it was down to the last roll of the game if the hobbits were going to pull through.
  18  Quirkle  Took this on a trip to New Zealand and Kate really enjoyed it. It's Scrabble but replaces letters for coloured symbols. Easy abstract game you can play anywhere.
  17  Warhammer Quest  Brutally hard dungeon quester with great role-play book. Maybe Games Workshop's finest moment as a producer of board games with a ton of great figures, good quality, chunky components and quality finish throughout. This was GW's golden age in one game.
  16  Liar's Dice  Don't know why this game is so high in the ratings. I bought a couple of copies from junk shops as a cheap way to pile up on d6s.
  15  Diplomacy  The game that never comes out of the closet. Play Power instead, it's pretty much the same game but with added fun.
  14  Jamaica  Boo! Buccaneer isn't on here but Jamaica is a great little race game with a pirate theme and really lovely components to play with.
  13  LotR Confrontation  It's Stratego with knobs on. I also have Stratego Waterloo which is also Stratego with knobs on but also looks amazing when set up on the table.
  12  Bohnanza  Another junk shop find. On the yet to be played pile.
  11  Ingenious  I really like this game but the score board can be a bit fiddley with the pegs pinging off into the carpet.
  10 Taj Mahal  Found cheap in The Works. Yet to be played.
   9   Catan  Still up here! Everyone knows how to play it by now so comes out regularly as a Monopoly substitute. I've nothing against Monopoly as long as no-one plays house rules or starts doing deals to drag the game out to insufferable lengths. Last version played - Coronation Street which I managed to win after bagging Elsie Tanner's house.
   8   Blood Bowl Team Manager  Possibly better than the board game.
   7   Battlelore  I love this game so much. My favourite war game by a clear mile and so playable straight out of the box. Easy to pick up and with the Call to Arms expansion almost limitless.
   6   Acquire  It's alright. Plays a good game but lacking in razzle dazzle.                                  
   5   Hive  Nice chunky tiles to clunk down. Haven't played it yet. Junk shop find.
   4   Space Hulk  Untangling the tyranid figures is like sorting the lights out for the Christmas tree. Takes up a mammoth amount of table space. It's Aliens, the board game and how GW can moan about copyright infringement after the amount of IP they're helped themselves to over the years is beyond me. Really good game by the way. If you have more than two players get out Space Crusade instead.
   3   Small World  Easy, fun area control game with bags of variation. Has given Kings and Things quite a roughing up and dumped it in a back alley.
   2   Descent  Current king of the dungeon questers. Really well made if lacking the blood and sweat of Warhammer Quest.
   1   Lords of Waterdeep  Another game my wife Kate really likes although she does totally ignore all of the flavour text and just gets down to the task of collecting coloured cubes and converting them into points. Something she does with great efficiency. A really, really great worker placement game that is so much more than the sum of it's parts. I've taken it to board game club nights and played it with non-gamers and everyone's had a great time. A deserved number one.

Friday, 18 November 2016

A Quiet Moment

Sitting up here in the man cave and it's getting to the end of the year. Laundry is drying on the clothes rack behind me next to the box of Battle Masters that I don't want to deconstruct and put away just yet. Half painted Empire spearmen are awaiting a trip to the shops for more green after I'd used it all on my greenskin horde. Yesterday I re-installed my copy of Blood Bowl Legendary Edition on the lap-top to see if would work on Windows 10 ( it did ) and had an enjoyable time re-learning the game.

  The news of the new Blood Bowl edition led me to look at Age of Sigmar again and I quite fancy picking up the General's Handbook now that GW has produced a way of balancing armies that isn't going to break my bank account. All of the army costs in one book, they haven't done that since the (very good) 6th edition Ravening Hordes lists or the classic 3rd edition book before that. I won't be buying any figures brand new but maybe GW is heading in the right direction.

  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Warhammer Project

  A year and a half ago I started buying Warhammer starter sets because although I have been a role-player for over 35 years Warhammer seems to have passed me by. I'd bought the 2nd edition and the Orc's Drift pack when it came out and had a whole bunch of Chronicle orc figures but never really got into it.

  Cut to now and I have managed to track down all of the 4th to 8th edition sets and have slowly been assembling and painting them up. I started with the orcs from the 6th set, moved onto the goblins of the 4th and 7th (picking up a stone thrower, fanatics, a warlord on a wyvern and some black orcs on the way) which gave me a neat little army and am now painting up some of the good guys.

  I have just finished the 4th edition set so I thought I'd pop some photos up. Not bad for an amateur methinks.

I now have the Imperial troops from set 6 undercoated and hope to have them done by Christmas. After that it's the dwarfs from Skull Pass which will leave the whole of the 5th and 8th sets for next year (with a bit of luck!)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Clash of Empires

  Yesterday a copy of Castle Risk turned up in the post. I had been looking for a copy of this game at a sensible price for a long time and although they seem to be plentiful over the pond, over here in Blighty you just don't see them.

  I am a massive Risk fan and used to play all the time in my school years when a group of us used to huddle around the game board when we fancied a change from Dungeons and Dragons or Atari. I have a copy of the 80's white box version and it is still one of my favourite games. I've owned a copy of a couple of the newer versions of the base game but I just didn't get on with the little infantry and cavalry pieces which always fell over or the flappy crappy board which would never lie flat.

  These days I own a few versions of this classic game with my current favourite being the Game of Thrones version with beautiful playing pieces depicting the different houses and an absolutely huge game board if you play the full 7 player version. Add in maester cards, secret missions and different character abilities and you have a gem of a game. The Lord of the Rings trilogy edition is also pretty cool although not as cut throat as you work as good vs evil as opposed to GoT's more machiavellian nature. Narnia is ok too and is fun to get out with kids so you can fight over Father Christmas and turn people to stone.

  Anyhoo I unboxed Castle Risk this morning and played through a 6 player dummy game and had a hoot. The rule changes from trad Risk work really well and the map has been really well thought out with no bottle-necks or areas where armies will just sit dormant having no effect on the game. The cards which bring into play various characters such as generals, diplomats and spies work really well and I called it a day after Britain had won 3 banners (beating France and Germany) over Russia which had 2 (beating the Ottoman Empire) and Austria's 1. The little castle pieces are really nice the boat is so cool. The only thing I changed was that the army pieces are a bit fiddly so I used the trusty pieces from the eighties again. They just can't be beat.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Blood Bath at Orc's Drift and other Tales

  Phew. It's monsoon season here in East Anglia. Close, sticky heat giving way to winds and temperatures bouncing around from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties. Anyhoo I've managed to fix a leaky cistern, fix a lock onto the back gate and have just had new flooring fitting downstairs so now maybe a bit of stability is in order so that I can get to gaming again.

  My mind has been on various Warhammer campaigns since I have once again obtained a copy of "Blood Bath at Orc's Drift". This was the first campaign supplement for what was then the red box 2nd edition and the version I played as a teen many moons ago. It's pretty basic to modern eyes. The first scenario pits 40 orcs, their boss and a giant against a beleaguered group of high elves waiting for reinforcements that will never arrive. There is also a half-orc spy held within the elves stockade who the orcs must dispose of who the elves must try to escort to safety. There is almost no way the elves can achieve a military victory but instead must execute a safe withdrawal with their prisoner to score victory points and win the battle. I'm getting some high elves painted up and can't wait to play this out and see how it runs.

  I first became interested in Warhammer after reading the Thistlewood scenario in White Dwarf 45. It looked so cool with ranks of soldiery slugging it out across a small village. I bought a copy of the red box and amassed quite a lot of Chronicle's range of orcs complete with wolf riders and a rock lobber which never stayed in one piece as I tried to hold it together with milliput. That army is long gone but I have a new tribe pieced together from various starter kits with added fanatics, another rock lobber and recently a big boss mounted on a wyvern which I am dead chuffed about.

  A few years ago I bought a copy of Mighty Empires, Games Workshop's campaign game for Warhammer in a big ass box with loads of little counters and stuff. After a careful read of the rules I began setting out the tiles for a game. By the time that was done I had time to play through three turns before packing it up again for another day. I love this game. Even through you can be unlucky and have your forces decimated by dragon attacks or just bad dice rolling I like the chaotic aspect that can upset plans and force you onto the back foot. Not for bad sports but great if you want to play out an epic campaign and have the time to field your troops into the many battles that will ensue.

  Blood on the Badlands was a recent campaign book (2011) and is a fun read about one of Games Workshop's house campaigns with light campaign rules and lots of glossy pictures and interesting scenario set-ups. It's almost the complete opposite to Orc's Drift as the players field armies with a mass of different figure types and the emphasis is definitely on making everything as huge and awesome as possible. One battle features TWO mighty fortresses fitted together and lots of expensive plastic scenery as opposed to their old school cardboard glue together buildings. Those old buildings have a lot of charm, something missing from modern versions of the game and I miss that DIY build it yourself idea. 

  I'm currently waiting for a copy of the General's Compendium to arrive in the post after reading lots of good things about it online. I'll still use Mighty Empires but am looking forward to some new ideas and a bit of inspiration. To battle!

Ps. Whilst looking for the White Dwarf containing Thistlewood I found two cardboard sheets with the sentry tower, bridge and ruined cottage templates. Result!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Orc Rock Lobber

I've just finished painting up the Orc Rock Lobber and crew. I'd bought it pre-undercoated in white and I have found that this is a lot less forgiving on my amateur brush skills than a black undercoat. Something to be aware of before starting the next batch of miniatures I've also painted up my home-made bridge and have been scouting the net for figures to replace the cardboard stand up tokens from the 4th ed. starter set. The mounted elf lord from the last starter set and orc chariot from the 6th set now join the rock lobber and the elven bolt thrower will be easy to pick up. That just leaves the wyvern...

Ps. I have just managed to get a copy of Blood Bath at Orc's Drift minus the buildings and counters. I had this classic 2nd edition pack as a teenager and am really excited about getting my hands on it again. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

This Must Be the Place

  Me and Mrs F spent yesterday clearing out the junk and re-sorting the back bedroom. It's nice to have a bit of space to spread out in again, especially if I want to leave a board game mid-way through without having to call it a day. New pics are up on the walls, new shelving put in and everything is nice and tidy.

  I haven't been posting very much lately  due to a bunch a stuff but now the laptop is easily accessible and I have a few projects on the go so plenty to natter about. The biggest thing that has been keeping me occupied (sane?) is Oldhammer. I bought a 4th edition starter (goblins vs high elves) set last year and started something off. The 6th edition starter set (orcs vs empire) followed and I soon began tracking down the 4th edition army books. I wasn't going to bother painted my soldiers until my sister's boyfriend sold me a Citadel starter paint kit for a fiver and so I set to work. I now have a small army of orcs and goblins from the 4th, 6th and 7th sets painted up with some extra fanatics and a recently purchased rock lobber. As of yesterday I now have all of the starter sets, 4th edition army books (including the Chaos set) and the magic box. Cardboard buildings have been assembled and scenery is getting scratch built and painted.

  I guess I settled on using the 4th/5th edition rules just because they felt right to me. I had the old 2nd edition box when it came out but never played that much. At the time I had a bunch of Chronicle orcs which looked great, their wolf riders were really something. They are now long gone though after I had one of those "put away childish things" phases some people have. I cringe now at the stuff I cleared out. Never mind. I know 3rd edition rules get a lot of kudos but as much as I love flicking through the book it all feels a bit overwhelming. I like the stripped down nature of the 4th/5th  rule set and the fluff and graphics of this era bring the conflicts to life. As much as I can admire the rule books of the 6th - 8th edition I've never been into all of that grimdark stuff. I much prefer the full colour (too much red) gonzo craziness of the mid period stuff.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Herohammer Fun Day!

I'd bought some Warhammer starter sets cheap last year but never had any intention of painting them until my sister's BF sold me a starter paint set. I've now painted up the orcs and goblins from the 4th, 6th and 7th starter sets and got hold of some of those cardboard buildings which are quite charming. For a first go I don't think they've come out too badly. I'm now going to crack on and paint the elves from the 4th set and work through the Empire and then the Dwarves of Skull Pass. When that lot is done I'll finally build the 5th edition set. Phew!

I've been enjoying using the 5th edition rules, they are just a whole bunch of fun as long as you points cap character models. The look and feel of Warhammer from this time just feels right to me, but then again I grew up in the eighties and so I love the gonzo attitude of the army books and cartoony illustrations. Definitely nothing grimdark around here.

The orcs were the first figures I've ever painted. Was far too heavy handed with the undercoat but you have to learn somehow. I still like them though.

The infamous watermill, bane of crafters. Took a lot of patience that one.