Category: Boardgames

2018 Review

My last post was June 2018. Clearly I’ve absolutely neglected posting here since that time. The intentions were there but I got waylaid.

How did my 2018 go you may ask? Not too bad is my answer! Based on my 2018 articles (yes there were 2 as I forgot some stuff on the first one), this is how I did.

  • Health – this has improved greatly. I suffer from pustular psoriasis on the heels of both feet. At it’s worst, this caused cracks in my feet of up to 2 inches. It was like walking on broken glass and was extremely painful at times. Inevitably it caused me to adjust the way I carried myself when walking or running. This puts a strain on various joints (mainly the knees and back). The result of this was that I strained the tendons on my left knee when running for a train. I can tell you that was something I don’t want to repeat!

    I eventually got referred to a dermatologist and after agonising whether or not to take the drug she had prescribed for me which is potentially life changing due to the possible side effects, I’m in a much better place with this awful thing. It’s no cancer but if you go join one of the support groups you will soon learn how drastically it reduces your quality of life.

  • Weight Loss – I got no where near as far as I wanted to with this. I dropped from 14st 7.5lbs to at the lowest 13st 10lbs. I’m currently 14st 1lb after putting on 4 lbs at Xmas. I suppose its good that I’ve tried to lose weight and I’ve pretty much managed to maintain a weight of below 14st. I will continue to pursue this in 2019.
  • Better paid job. On Dec 10th 2018, I started a new better paid job. The only issue is that its on the complete other side of the M25 to me. Hey ho you cannot have everything!
  • Build more Ad Mech – I managed to do this enough to facilitate my taking part in the club 40k campaign and also the brilliant Apocalypse game we held to finish this campaign off. The other brilliant thing about this finale was that everyone who took part wanted to do another Apocalypse game. So much so that the club had another one at Xmas which was store staff  (see more about who these are in the section about the club keeping going) versus all comers. We are due to have a follow up Apocalypse campaign game in Q1 of 2019.
  • Complete painting my BA British Army force – this did not happen.
  • Get some paint on the Ad Mech – this did not happen.
  • Continue to play and support the 40k club narrative campaign and to play 40k in general – I did this throughout the year but I ended up playing less 40k towards the back end of 2018 due to the fact that there was so many good things happening at the club to support and play.
  • Attend at least one Bolt Action gaming weekend event – this did not happen.
  • Play more Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit – well it should be called MESBG aka Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. A bit of a mouthful but I guess Gdub wanted to cover both LoTR and The Hobbit genres of armies/forces. I’ve played a fair amount of this in 2018 once the new ruleset was released. Its a great game and I love it. We are going to be running a map based narrative campaign in 2019. I’ve also got tickets booked for an event called Ardacon for 2019 to go to an MESBG event too!
    LOTR Game
  • Paint LoTR figures – this did not happen.
  • Play more Kings of War – this happened big time too mainly because the club is running a slow grow narrative campaign. Its been a huge amount of fun and we about 2/3rds of the way through this with armies currently about to fight at 1350pts. With the new Clash of Kings 2019 released by Mantic, we’ve got more stuff to look at and a new set of scenarios to play for the rest of the campaign.
    KOW Brock CavalryKOW Game
  • Play more Wrath of Kings – sadly this did not happen. It riles me a little as I bought some of the new figures and I also bought some of the WoK cards too. There were a few small events that I heard about during 2018 and it would have been nice to have supported this. Too many games.
  • Gaslands – there was an initial flurry with this game shortly after it was released with some club members invested in playing at the club. I ended up buying some terrain for the game and I envisage using the campaign rules that were published in a wargaming magazine to run a club campaign in 2019.
  • Dystopian Wars – the intention was to keep an eye on the new game as Warcradle Studios had taken over the IP for this game. I’ve been watching the rules development and have downloaded and read some of the versions of the rules. Its being done in a very iterative and community friendly way but I have not had a play test of the new rules at all. No time. I’m still keen to see and watch and possibly get involved (lets not kid myself here!) with a play test game or two.
  • Regular board games session once a month – well this kind of happened. There were times when we could not meet but I would say that we probably met at least 6 or 7 times during the year. Its been good fun and I got to play some good board games 3which included the Game of Thrones board game which I really liked.
  • Continue to grow and support Tanelorn Wargames Club – wow this was an interesting year for the club. EXP Leisure, our previous hosts, essentially folded. This left Magic Madhouse who had floor space in the EXP Leisure rented facility high and dry too along with us and other people who came to play games at EXP. What unfolded was that Magic Madhouse, London was formed which took over the venue for a while before moving one floor to a different size area on the 3rd floor of the current venue. For a month or two things were touch and go as to whether the club would lose it’s venue and have to fold in to storage for a while whilst we found another venue. Thanks to Magic Madhouse, London we have survived (thanks Gav, Tim and Luke @ Magic Madhouse, London) and continued to grow. Club membership has marginally increased and we have run 2 Warmahorde events at the venue too which included the London Team Event too. I hope that we can survive 2019 now!
  • Relic Knights V2 is due out in 2018 – it hasn’t turned up. There is much negative feeling towards ninja Division but my take on this is it will either happen or not. I did play test and provide input in to the V2 rules when Justin Gibbs was at Ninja Division so I do have a feel for the new version of the game. It’s a real shame that Ninja Division have provided yet another KickStarter experience which may be perceived as unfavourable.
  • ebaying excess schtuffings – I’ve had some limited success with this but it is hugely demoralising doing this. I made some good money which I re-invested in to the hobby in the form of an AoS beastclaw army. I’ve nearly build a 1000pts of this now too. I need to continue with this in 2019.
  • I suppose the other thing to note is that I have probably built stuff that isn’t covered by any of the stuff above. The AoS stuff for example was a new buy. I’ve recently bought in to Warhammer Underworlds and I love this game. So much so that I have already started to paint some of the warband figures. I’ve also actively taken part in the club monthly vow. I don’t always achieve it but I’m doing stuff.
    LOTR_Terrain

On to my 2019 hopes and aspirations …….

So Whats Happening in 2018 for “It’s me Conrad”?

The two biggest issues that I have had to deal with, preventing me to do more hobby in 2017 have been lack of time and not having the energy to do stuff. I have to address these to allow myself to progress with more hobby stuff. So to start with as far as energy to do stuff, there are 2 things that I need to do. The number one thing is to lose 2 stones and I want to do this within the first quarter of 2018. Of course I will be supporting Mind too whilst doing this. The other is a combination of not enough sleep, not being fit enough, improving my health and planning my time better and being focused on achieving something within a strict timebox. As I sit here at 23:38 typing this article out, clearly not enough sleep needs some work! Getting fitter should come with losing weight so this will be a quarter 2 onwards goal. My health issues I will just have to trust in the NHS to solve! As far as planning is concerned, I will be using Agile methodology to try and provide a prioritised small backlog to work on in timeboxed sprints (probably 2 weeks to a month). If you don’t know what that last bit means, don’t worry. My current Job Role is a Scrum Master (well actually I’m a Senior Agile Delivery Lead but who cares!) and I’ve been working using Agile specifically Scrum and Kanban to facilitate development team and Dev Ops techies to deliver on work. I’ve been using Trello for a while now to try and help me focus on hobby and after much thought, I’ve decided to continue using this to track and plan my hobby work. I’m going to create a tight backlog of tasks based on my hobby requirements for 2018. This will in the main stay static unless something comes along that is shiny and will therefore force me to re-prioritise my backlog of tasks. Trello is free to use and although I do not like Kanban as much as Scrum, I can’t see using Scrum to deliver on hobby tasks as I am not able to determine my availability well enough during a Sprint. As you are in theory meant to delivery every sprint, that makes using Scrum an impossibility for me. I can feel eyes glazing over at this point as people think WTF are you on about Conrad! Essentially I’m creating a to do list of tasks which is prioritised and then working on the highest priority task, moving it in to an In Progress state. Once that task is completed, it’s moved in to a Complete status. I may elaborate on the status, for example a demo status, where I have to take a photo of the end result may appear.

Other things I would personally like to do in 2018 is to get a better paid job. With my recent promotion I managed to close the gap in salary to where I was when my job role was made redundant back in 2014 from GE Healthcare. I currently work for HMRC (yes I know) but need to continue on my journey, striving to close that gap.

One last thing which I have greatly missed in 2017 is recording Fools Daily. Although Mike has suggested an ambitious 3 episodes a week, actually getting a cadence of 1 a week would be a big move forward, so I would definitely look to start there. I’m really interested in the video/vidcast idea that he mentions in his article but would look for some more ideas as to where that will go before volunteering my time which is already under pressure to allow me to complete my hobby tasks for 2018.

So on to the real hobby stuff now, what do I actually want to achieve in 2018?

  • Build more Ad Mech. I need to currently move to 1500pts and then 2000pts to allow me to play in the club narrative campaign. We are on to the 2nd chapter of this and it requires 2000pts. Currently I have just over 1000pts. So this is going to be a top priority for me.
  • Complete painting my BA British Army force. This needs to be a slow burn task for me. Small groups to allow progress but not too much to make me become sick of painting them and feeling like it is just one of those jobs that you just do not want to do.
  • Get some paint on the Ad Mech. I have no aspirations as to how far I get on this one. Obviously every gamer’s dream is to play with a fully painted army but I have to be realistic about this. I suspect the first thing to decide upon is whether the resultant paint job is going to be a labour of love or functional and to a tabletop standard. I suspect it will be a mix of both.
  • Continue to play and support the 40k club narrative campaign and to play 40k in general. I can see good things with the campaign and it will result in huge multi-player battles at some point this year. I am really looking forward to this. I have no inclination to play 40k competitively though.
  • I definitely want to attend at least one Bolt Action gaming weekend event. I suspect that this will be either Britcon or the Welsh Open.
  • Play more Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. With a new revamped rule book out this year (who knew GDub would do this!) and with the recent 3 games that I have had, I really like this game. There is a potentially of attending a LoTR event later this year but that depends on my availability and finances and the point below.
  • Some of my LoTR figures do have paint on them. There are no many figures like BA so I would like to get my force painted. I suspect that this will be mainly to a tabletop standard with more time spent on something like the Isengard Troll figures and commanders.
  • I still miss playing rank and file fantasy games. Gone are the old days of WFB for me and as much as I like the look of AoS, I cannot afford to spend money on another GW game. As such that means playing more Kings of War. There is a new book out on Jan 22nd (Clash of Kings) adding some extra content to the game. With the club picking up a few KoW players too, I can see that I will get the opportunity to play this again in 2018.
  • Another pseudo fantasy rank and file game is Wrath of Kings. I really enjoyed playing this game and love my Teknis figures. I hope to play some more of this during 2018. As much as I would love to say I’ll get these painted as well during 2018, I just cannot see it happening.
  • Gaslands ….. this has really got me stoked. Going back to the days of GW’s Dark Future and Steve Jackson’s Car Wars, the idea of a road combat game a la Mad Max has always appealed to me. I had hoped that Devils Run Route 666 would help me fill that gap but it has not. Gaslands feels like it may do that for me. I haz all the gubbins and I have ready made vehicles from the aforementioned Devils Run game. All I need is to play and see. I am fairly sure too that this game if pushed at the club will get buy in from many of the club players.
  • Warcradle Studios have taken over the Dystopian IP. They have stated that a new version of the game will be out this year. I look forward to see where this goes and that hopefully I can use my current miniatures with the new version of the game.
  • A few of us have decided to have a regular board games session once a month. We started this during December where we played Dead of Winter. I really enjoyed myself. The next game will be BSG which I love too. I see this as an opportunity to get out some of my older board games to show the group what these are like and compare them to the newer board games of today. I know that these sessions will be fun.
  • Continue to grow and support Tanelorn Wargames Club. I’ve been actively involved with the club since it’s inception in 2001. I want to continue to ensure that the club runs and grows this year. It was an interesting year last year with our move to the EXP Leisure Centre which is a dedicated tabletop, e-gaming and board gaming facility and in East London too! I’m hoping that the venue and the club continue to do well.

So that’s it I think? Not much really ….

 

 

 

 

Splendour is Splendid

If you have listened to Episode 332 then you will have heard Conrad wax lyrical about Splendour and I, as is my impulsive want, went and picked up a copy on Amazon.  That arrived late last week it arrived and over the weekend I managed to persuade the family to give it a go.

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So pretty

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At its heart, this is a game of chip-collecting and card development, you are a merchant during the Renaissance trying to gain enough prestige to be pre-eminant amongst your peers.  To do this you buy mines, transport routes, shops and try and entice nobles to give you their blessing.  These are all represented by various cards that cost a certain amount of chips, where the chips represent gems

.In your turn you may carry out one (and only one) action.  These are

  1. Collect 3 different gems (you may only end a turn with 10 gems in hand)
  2. Take 2 of the same gem
  3. Buy a Card
  4. Reserve a Card (put it in your hand ready for purchase when you can afford it)

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To buy a card you just need to pay the cost listed in the bottom left and then you get to add it to you collection.  The cards are divided into 3 levels of cost and prestige – Lvl 1 cards often have no prestige value whereas the Lvl 3 cards can have up to 5 prestige per card.  Cards also have a gem in the top right.  This is effectively a free gem chip that never gets used up – you need these to make the higher level cards affordable.  Its all about starting small and building up.

Finally you can attract nobles

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Again these have a gem cost but you can’t spend chips on them.  If you build up enough prestige cards to match the printed requirement then that noble will automatically come to you, increasing your prestige and your chance to win.

First player to 15 prestige gets all the bragging rights – in our case it was Mrs Marshall and she is exploiting those bragging rights as much as she can.

So thats the mechanics of the game, but how did it feel?

Physically the game is good, cards etc. are nice with decent artwork.  The chips are a bit substandard and plasticky.  We would have liked actual plastic gems to give it that little bit of an extra feel as if you were handling treasure.  This post on BoardGameGeek gives some good suggestions for upgrading which I might invest in.

Gameplay wise it felt pretty good.  Halfway though I realised the strategy I was using wasn’t actually going to work so had to change gears quite rapidly and my eldest became disheartened halfway though as it looked like it was all going pear shaped for her but then a couple of cards flipped and her game turned around – she would have won if we went another turn.

We all felt that it had a lot of elements of Ticket to Ride in it (single action, need to play ahead, inadvertent blocking by taking the card that you desperately needed!!!) and as that is a family favourite that was always going to be a plus.

Game took about 45 minutes but now we know the rules I think it will get closer to 30 minutes a game which is pretty much spot on for us.

You can find Splendour at Amazon and I’m sure at other retailers.  Highly recomended.