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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26th Happy Brithday to me

February 2012Posted by Keith Mon, February 27, 2012 19:14:38

Another year older, another year wiser, another year wider!

Today my wife allowed me to go to Comic-con. Even through my eldest had his Taekwondo grading (3rd Kup now - well done Sam!!) which is a logistical nightmare. But this was also the weekend of Cons...

Canterbury University Gaming Con

Saturday was the local con. However with only two companies in attendance (though one was my favourite shop - Leisure Games) and students not about in the mornings, it was very disapointing. I had my youngest and Sir Animal took us and his wonderful daughter Megan and her boyfried Kryten. It was a squash in the car but enormous fun with my son Joseph still getting over the sugar rush!!

Comic Con

OK firstly when Sir Animal is driving remember to give directions The Blackwall tunnel is the best route on a Sunday Morning to the Excel Centre. Not a guided tour of North East London!!

We finally got there and Phil immediately went off to meet the man Stan Lee. Apparently this was a production line of signature and moved on, no chance even for a quick hello! The rest of us moved about the hall, looking at the many stalls and bargains available. I say bargains but actually the prices of many of the back issues were well over priced and only the indies were offering any real deals.

We had come on the Sunday and avoided the main crush of the Saturday. Getting there a little late turned out to be a bonus as we got straight in, didn't miss anything and still got around to see what was on offer. We all picked up comics, prints and/or Graphic Novels. I did a run to the car when I had my Stan Lee moment....

As I entered the hall, I noticed they were doing the photos with Stan. This was covered off but I managed to spot him in the throng. At first I thought this was great, but then he sat down at a nearby table to sign some stuff for a young boy. Though quite away I took a long range picture on my Phone. I then realised i could get closer through the barricades and proceeded to take closer and closer shots, ending about 5 foot away from the great man and getting a good shot in.

However, once I took this picture I was spotted by several other visitor and a large stampede ensude. I got out of there quickly and found Sir Animal. He said he wanted to at least see the great man and rushed (well waddled) over there. But obviously all the attention had alerted the organisers and Stan was no where to be seen.

Sir ?Animal manged to see Stan at the end of the con and Sir Nick got into the talk despite not having a ticket. In all it was a good day out. The artists and writers were friendly (though I startled one with my enthusiatic shouts at the football on my i-phone!!). Liverpool won the cup. And the night ended in a curry. Bliss.......

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23rd Racing round the Galaxy

February 2012Posted by Keith Mon, February 27, 2012 18:46:21

Tonight we played several games of Race for the Galaxy. This is a good card game, with some complex symbols but a simple mechanic at heart. Each turn you choose an action and get a bonus for that action. You can also take the actions chosen by each player each turn but withouth the bonus as well. The game ends when 12 cards are laid by a player (though this can be expanded to 14 by some cards). This means that if you are far behind you can quickly end the game and hope for a better resul the next time you play.

In the first game I was well behind after the first few turns. I had no cards down and Sir Nick and Sir Steve were pushing ahead. However I got two key cards down that meant the development phase gave me two cards and even settling a planet gave me four cards! Suddenly I was laying expensive developments cheaply and replenishing my hand as the turns played out. We play with both expansions so the purple star tokens were as were the different bonus cards. In the end i won at a canter.

In the next game i discarded the wrong starter planet and strggled again at the start. I eventually got the cards workling for me but by then Sir Animal was well ahead and i finished a credible second.

The game is fun and light, with some good decision making. We use all the expansions but not the plnet conquest rules as these are very unbalanced.

This weekend we are heading to Comic Con in London to see Stan Lee....

The current D&D campaign is on hold due to some technical difficulties...

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16th - Back to the Abbey

February 2012Posted by Keith Sun, February 19, 2012 09:30:42

To night we went back to the current D&D campaign (play notes on Obsidian Portal).

The session was interesting as i spent quite some time trying to be organised but such a large sand-box game in 4th edition means boes of figures and floor-tiles. Taking all these with everything else required means that ! look like I am leaving home for every session. Will something be done about this is D&D Next? Lets find out from Monte Cook in part 3 of his article "Uniting the Editions" from the D&D Insider site ....

Stuff to Leave Behind

Although we don't currently see universal consensus on this, it seems likely that there are a handful of things from prior editions that we don't want to bring forward into a new iteration of D&D. Not everything about every version of the game was absolutely golden.

For example, it would be difficult to imagine that THAC0 would make a comeback. Armor Class values going down to represent them getting better. System shock rolls. Racial level limits. Gender-based ability score maximums. Lots of bonus types. And so on. But here's the thing: if I'm wrong about that, get involved in the open playtest when it starts and let us know. If you would like to see things like that be a part of the core rules set, or if you would use rules like that as optional modules, that's the kind of information we are looking for in order to make this a game you want to play.

Further, there's stuff that is kind of on the fence in this regard. What about a system that resembled the weapons versus armor table in 1st Edition? Could we make that work as a part of a simulationist rules module? Maybe. Racial class restrictions? Sure (but why?). Are these good ideas? Bad ideas?

New Material

We don't want a new iteration of the game to be only a "best of" of the prior editions. If we did, there would be no reason to play it. It needs to achieve the goal of not only giving you the play experience that you want, but also giving you that play experience in a way that's better than what you've had in the past. Faster, better, smarter.

But how much new material is too much? That's the question. How can we capture the feel and tone of your favorite edition if we add in mechanics or material that's never been in a prior edition? And yet, how can we convince anyone to play a game that is just a rehash of what's come before?

One way is simply through the customization of the rules modules that I wrote about last week. That is to say, although you can recreate the feel of 2nd Edition using them, you can also recreate the feel of 2nd Edition with a few options from 3rd or 4th as well. You wouldn't have to choose a past edition. You'd customize the game to make it yours. Imagine a game with Basic D&D's simplicity but with the powers of 4th Edition. Or a game that has the character customization abilities of 3rd Edition without all the tactical rules. Or any other combination you desire. We believe it's perfectly possible.

We are experimenting, however, with some material that is truly and entirely new. Class abilities that capture the core feel of a class, for example, even though they've never been presented in any version of the class. For example, we might take the idea of a ranger's favored enemy but express that idea in a completely different way.

We are also experimenting with variations on task resolution. What if, for example, something that used to give you a bonus or a penalty instead modified the dice you roll? A bonus to your attack roll might be the ability to roll 2d20 and take the best roll, for example. Or maybe instead of having a flat bonus, you got a bonus die to roll and add (or, in the case of a penalty, subtract)? Would these brand-new mechanics be fun and add something new to the game? And most importantly, would they feel like D&D?"

So there you have it. More detail, more progress and what looks like a new system that has bits from all editions and continues to work on the polls and fedback to change the way it feels..... I will keep you up to date for any further detail.

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9th - Keep on Rollin

February 2012Posted by Keith Sat, February 18, 2012 12:26:43

Tonight there was no squire so instead of the promised Risk Legacy game, we payed roll through the ages.

This is a great little game with a few different strategies and a lot of luck invloved as you roll dice equal to the number of cities you have. You need workers to build cities and monuments, food to keep them happy and goods to trade to buy developments.

There is also an excellent version on the IOS that i wholly reccomend. There is a good solo variation that keeps the interest up.

Tonight however we played many games of Through the Ages. There were different strategies tried and the night ended even.

Sorry for the short and late report - Skyrim is taking over everything.....................

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2nd - Follow the Leader

February 2012Posted by Keith Mon, February 06, 2012 18:38:28

Seven Wonders with Leaders Expansion

Tonight we played several games of 7 Wonders with the very good Leaders Expansion. The expansion really add to the game, giving it a better strategic and and tactical balance.

The real one problem that was found was the players that got a double resource card in the first turn normally done well. Also there are some very powerful Leaders that can make it very hard to challenge, especially as the game progresses. To0wards the end you are given the choice of stopping a neighbour instead of taking the best card for your game. Still the games last about 30-40 minutes and sometimes stopping a neighbour helps you (no prizes for coming second).

All the games were very tight with a lot of similar scores and no one person dominated every game (again a point in its favour). The only problem now is that after 5 games there really is a need for the second expansion (Cities) that will hopefully allow people to influence players other than their neighbours....

Things I have learnt this week:

1. Never trust Sir Animal to book a ticket to see Stan Lee

2. Never trust Utd to win when you change your prediction at the last minute

3. Skyrim takes over lives and delays posting weekly update

4. Never trust Sir Animal to book tickets to see Stan Lee

5. People know I have too many D&D figures but OMG I have too many floor tiles!

6. Trying to sort out a website is time consuming and some links just will not bloody work

7. Never Trust Sir Animal to book tickets to see Stan Lee

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