Thursday Nights

These are my reports of the games we play and our views of the weaknesses and strengths of the games. I will be blunt, truthful and not always kind (except about my D&D Campaign!)

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29th - The Final Frontier

December 2011Posted by Keith Sun, January 01, 2012 13:18:19

Star Trek Fleet Captains

After several weeks waiting we finally got Fleet captains to the table. With Nick's computer out of action he finally read up on the rules and it was all ready when we arrived. Sides were randomly determined on the smallest dice I have seen (that came with the set) and I was given the task of taking the squire under my wing.

Sir Animal and Sir Steve took the side of the Federation and we took the side of the mighty Klingon Empire. Despite a ropey start (for some reason the squire built his base next to a black hole - a rookie mistake), the Klingon Empire took an early lead. The game was in the balance as my most powerful ship (and Worf) were destroyed by the combined might of the Prometheus and Excelsior but my other smaller vessels were busy completing missions and expanding our influence.

Meanwhile Squire Phil had lost his first ship to the blackhole and his main ship took severe damage after a suprise attack on the Enterprise was quickly answered by Sir Steve. Luckily the ship was able to limp home before taking too much damage. Again the Klingons continued to complete missions and expand influence, while the federation continued to search but miss the rolls to go on missions.

By the end of the game I had deployed the Klingon Flagship and had Sir Animal's ships on the defensive. It was a devastating win for the Empire but also a chance for the squire to learn some knightly tactics as part of his training!!

As an overview of the game, I found it very enjoyable. However as Sir Animal is not a fan of the programme, he was not so enamoured. The system was well built and played nicely. However the missions seemed quite basic, the encounter cards were excellent. Overall the game plays like a season of Star Trek and each turn could easily be an episode. Another note should be the cloaking rules are really well designed and worked great in the game.

However there is a need to make the encounter rolls to win the game (and this is something that didn't happen in the game) and though each side starts with the same fleet points I feel it important to have the same number of ships to help manitain the balance. Also I am already looking forward to an expansion to intoduce the DS9 crew, the Romulans and the Cardassians (or even the Borg!)

Overrall an excellent little game that took about two and a half hours for the first attempt and one I highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of the show!

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27th - Additional Gaming

December 2011Posted by Keith Thu, December 29, 2011 15:08:51

Wow - gotta love the Xmas holidays...... We were able to play an additional afternoon of gaming by getting my wife and children out the house. They went off to visit her sister and on to Leeds Castle.

Sir Nick, Sir Animal and Sir Steve joined me for a knights only gaming afternoon (squires not included). First we played Dungeon Raiders - a good little filler that takes about 20 minutes to play and cost Sir Animal $10 from NYC. We had to wait for Sir Nick as his computer died in the morning and he had to sort out the return!

Sir Animal won the first game by using the time tested tactic of not explaining the winning cnditions in full until the end of the game - nice! We then played a game of bloodbowl manager......

Sir Steve was Orc, Sir Nick Skaven, Sir Animal Elf and I was human. This was probably my best game of this as the human team is very well balanced. The tactic of star players and team tactics in the first two rounds, game tactics in the third amd fourth round and fans in the final round worked as I won the game without the power cards and despite the weakest start point (first in round 1).

We finished with another game of Dungeon Raiders that I won..... This really is a great little filler that I highly recommend.

Finally Sir Animal and I went for a popadom frenzy at the local Indian restaurant. The Balti was very good but still miss Birmingham :(

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22nd - Poker Night

December 2011Posted by Keith Thu, December 29, 2011 14:56:50

This is one of the most looked forward to nights when games become serious and hard cash (£5 each) is on the table.

Everyone was ready for the game but lady luck seriously deserted me. Good hands meant I betted well and without bluffing but constantly lost to better hands. As my pile of chips dwindled then i became more desperate but never got back inot the game and was soon out. I was quickly joined by Sir Steve and Sir Nick (who lost to an all or nothing hand with Sir Animal). Squire Phil tried to hold his own but against a knight was always going to be second best.

So onto the coppers, which mean a selection of games from pontoon to chase the ace and killer poker.... I became the banker during pontoon and did well as i did throughout the copper games. This meant going home with as big a bag of copper as i went with which is not really the point (more fun to give it all to Sir Nick!)

Still....... Here comes Santa!!

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Blood Bowl - the Rematch

December 2011Posted by Keith Sat, December 17, 2011 12:03:38

Still the four of us this week and with Sir Nick in a galaxy far far away and playing the new Star Wars MMORPG there was no chance for him to read the new Start Trek game. So instead it was another game of Blood Bowl and a chance to see if I have changed my mind on some of my first observations.

Sir Nick played Human, Sir Steve was Orc, Squire Phil Chaos and I got Dwarf. A chance t play on the �good� side was new and the art work and games mechanic was still as robust and well designed as last time. The cheat tokens seemed to be more balanced this time but there is a flaw with this mechanism. The tokens need to stay face down so cannot be drawn from a bag or a cup. However being face down on the table make then awkward to draw and difficult to mix up after each �highlight� (match-up).

However I quickly found the dwarves were under powered compared to the other races and their racial abilities were next to useless (I drew two during the game and never used any of them). However I did draw four star players including three of the most powerful. This meant I won a lit of matches including two of the main cups yet again.

In the last match up I didn�t draw any star players but everyone else was so paranoid about playing me it was great fun top bluff! I won the blood bowl cup using the bluffing as everyone attacked each other and Sir Nick didn�t even bother competing for it!

However yet again in the final tally, the �Ball� cards came to the fore and Sir Steve was the winner. These cards remain overpowered and only these seem to win the game. The end of game rewards are way too powerful and to be honest spoil what is otherwise a very good little game!

Next week should see the return of Sir Animal and the annual Xmas gambling night�. Look forward to that!!!

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Blood Bowl Manager

December 2011Posted by Keith Mon, December 12, 2011 18:29:57

With Sir Animal in the states this week, we decided to get the new Blood Bowl to the table. As it is a 2-4 player game, it is normally difficult to play these on Thursdays so it was good to get the opportunity.

First impressions of the game were very favourable. The production is the normal high quality as expected from Fantasy Flight and the art work is pure Games Workshop. The scoring mechanism uses the same as the LOTR card game, which may see a shift to this in future FF games.

There are six races to choose from, Chaos, Skaven, Orc, Wood Elf, Human and Dwarf. I was Orc and the initial card texts and special features capture each race nicely. In fact the text was very funny in places and bought a smile to our faces. Game play through a season is well thought out with action ongoing throughout the turns and rewards participation, which keeps everyone interested.

But here are the BIG howevers….. Firstly the rule book is very ambiguous in places and several rules not explained and seemingly open to interpretation. This is unusual for FF but one wonders if it had been rushed out for Gen Con. Secondly the cards are also unclear in places and several of the powers (especially Cheat) too positive for the opposing player.

I won two of the three main cups but came a poor second to Squire Phil just because he got 2 points for every star player he had. As the main cup gives you 7 fans if you win and Phil got 8 points for having 4 star players. Sir Steve got 12 points for playing two cards giving him 2 points per Freebooter (a mercenary player) which meant he finished a close third to me. Surely the point is to win the games not to hunt the cards but this will be the tactic for me in future!!

In summary a good game but there are some major issues that really need to be house ruled on!

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D&D Campaign

December 2011Posted by Keith Mon, December 05, 2011 19:00:47

1st December 2011

Tonight I ran the next instalment of my 4e campaign Infernal Eternium. To see play reports go to Obsidian Portal – Here.

The game was a chance to use the new tiles (Shadowghast Dungeon Tiles) and the tiles from the Sinister Woods. Also I used two of the figures from the new Pathfinder Heroes miniatures and I must admit to be very impressed with the level of the detail. I must admit to being very sceptical that this level of detail will continue in the Pathfinder battles box sets but I will be getting a load so I will report back on this.

Back to the session and Sir Animal introduced his new character, a shardmind Wizard with e serious pyro problem. Both he and Sir Nick had great fun destroying the zombie minions that I threw at them, a great chance to use their serious area damage powers and to use some good tactical skills in protecting a hut, with to entrances from a zombie horde attack (I admit – too much Walking Dead).

Finally the game wrapped up nicely with a good combat and a bit more information departed as to what was happening. The party now has some new NPCs into the mix that the party need to have a serious conversation with!!

Next Thursday we are playing the new Bloodball Manager game as Sir Animal is off the New York to spend plenty of money on the lovely Sharon.

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