Saturday, 22 November 2014

Birthday Zombicide....

For my birthday this year I thought I'd invite some old "non-gamer" friends over to play Zombicide. These guys are all into the Walking Dead and classic zombie stuff, and they were all up for giving it a go. My friend Kes from the Sheffield Boardgames club brought over his copy of the game and he talked everyone through the rules. I really enjoyed the game - and I think everyone else did too... there were a few confused faces at times, and the game went on quite a long time... so two people didn't last right to the end, but Alan, Kes and myself stuck it out (taking over the extra characters)...

My friend Sid surprised me by creating this image...
took me a few seconds to realise that it was my house in the background!

We did the first scenario from the original rulebook, but with extra toxic zombies from the expansion set... 3 Characters made it off the board in the end after reaching all the objectives and collecting the food resources we needed. Towards the end Alan was swarmed and eaten by zombies when he opened a door and the zombies got an extra activation... and Kes was last seen stuck in a building completely surrounded by the zombie horde with no hope of escape....

Me and Sid contemplate the apocalypse.
Kes explains the rules to Sid, Alan and Dennis...

Toxic abomination!
A bit of rules confusion??
Alan gets eaten.
 The next day everyone was talking about playing again sometime now that they know what's going on... I think I'll suggest a shorter/faster game with a smaller board next time so people don't lose interest...

 Photos by Sid and Dennis.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mansions of Madness - First impressions...

 I got to play the boardgame MANSIONS OF MADNESS by Fantasy Flight games for the first time on Sunday evening. I really enjoyed it. There were four of us there - Aneurin, Kes, Neil and myself. It was Aneurin's game, and he was the "keeper" - running the adventure and controlling the monsters etc... 
I have played two of Fantasy Flights other Lovecraftian themed games previously:
ARKHAM HORROR - which is a very long game, has a huge variety of expansions - and ultimately I found to be quite tedious.
ELDER SIGN is a much better game than Arkham - essentially it is a dice rolling game, you have to roll the correct sets of symbols to complete tasks to stop the big bad beasties from taking over the world. I got ELDER SIGN OMENS for Carolyn's Android device - and sold my copy of the boardgame immediately - the game works much better as a solo game app - and is much more thematic too.
The artwork on all 3 of these games is very nice indeed - and a big chunk of it is the same in all 3 games - artwork is expensive, so I can see why Fantasy Flight did that.
There is new Fantasy Flight boardgame with a Lovecraftian theme called ELDRITCH HORROR which folks are saying replaces Arkham as a better game... I haven't played it, and I'm not really tempted by it now that I've played MANSIONS OF MADNESS....

Right from the start of the game, as a player you are immersed in the creepy horror theme of the game. In the scenario we played, the three investigators were searching a sinister mansion in a race against time, looking for clues as to the whereabouts of a missing lady... we found a dead body, which one of us was mysteriously compelled to eat a part of... a running flaming zombie..which we had to fight, and that left parts of the building on fire... there were axe wielding maniacs who were trying to take samples of our hair for some unknown black magic ritual... one of us was killed by a maniac - and two of us went completely insane! - In the end things were looking pretty bad for us - but in the last turn Kes managed to pull off a crazy last minute dice roll using his special ability, and he killed the main maniac guy. The decisions you make in the game create a horror story which you really feel you are part of. The mechanics of the game are pretty easy to pick up - and I really love the little puzzles you have to do to open doors and re-wire circuits to try and get the lights to come on in darkened rooms. It's not good to be in the dark. Not in a house like this......

Aneurin was really lucky to get his copy of Mansions of Madness for half the retail price off ebay...It is quite a pricey game brand new - but there's a load of quality components, and the figures that come with the game are great. He's suggested we try and play once a month - sounds good to me - this is by far the best horror themed boardgame I've played to date - Can't wait for the next game!!


Kes pulls off his crazy dice roll!!



Monday, 29 September 2014

Podcast round-up!

I find myself listening to a lot less music these days and a lot more podcasts and audio books for some reason...not really sure why. Here's what I've been listening to lately:

Podcasts about boardgames are featuring heavily at the moment... The best and most excellent by far is THE SECRET CABAL GAMING PODCAST. I enjoy every minute of this super show, and as the show is pretty long - that makes it even better for me!! - This is where to go for the best discussions, views and fun stuff about everything boardgame related.

Next up is THE DICE TOWER podcast - Tom and Eric are excellent presenters, and this weekly podcast is the best place for well informed, up-to-date news about boardgame releases as well as other boardgame related stuff - as this show comes out weekly it is a lot more concise than the Secret Cabal - but good it is indeed!

A few other boardgame related podcasts worth a mention are THE SHUT UP & SIT DOWN show and BLUE PEG PINK PEG - both are good fun, and I especially like the later as they concentrate on talking about boardgames that work well for couples - and it's always good to get new ideas for games that Carolyn and I can play together. THE LITTLE METAL DOG SHOW is pretty good too - but episodes seem to be coming out a lot less regularly at the moment.

Also boardgame related, (but we're talking retro and obscure boardgames here!) is the FLIP THE TABLE podcast - always hilarious!! And GAME NIGHT GUYS in which Brian and Curtis play games and chat about what they've been up to in their everyday lives... all good stuff.

Kind of gaming related is the KEN AND ROBIN TALK ABOUT STUFF podcast. Ken Hite and Robin Laws are both writers and creators of roleplaying games. Their podcast is related to this, but they talk about all kinds of interesting stuff, historical, factual, fantastical....and any other random stuff they are interested in.... I especially like the section of the show called "Ken's time machine" in which they discuss what devious methods Ken would use to change a real life historical episode...and what the possible outcomes would be. I haven't had the inclination to do any roleplaying since I was a teenager - but this show appeals to me on many different levels. Very interesting, and laugh-out-loud funny!

The zombie survival audio drama WE'RE ALIVE has finished now at the end of it's 4th season. (No spoilers here! - but you can download all four series from their website for free!) - What a great show that was... the We're Alive void has now been filled for me with the audio serial WELCOME TO NIGHTVALE. A humorous dark kind of supernatural/sci-fi/Lovecraftian radio drama which defies description (all though I've briefly tried!) and is very good indeed!

A couple of podcasts that I really enjoy, but have both really slowed down in episode production are the M.R.James related show A PODCAST TO THE CURIOUS and the Clark Ashton Smith related show THE DOUBLE SHADOW (which I'm hoping hasn't ground to an actual halt)... but the inspiration behind both of these podcasts, and still my favourite podcast of all time is the ever quality consistent and regular H.P.LOVECRAFT LITERARY PODCAST. Chris and Chad have finished working their way through all of Lovecraft's stories and are now reading their way through all manner of early 20th century spooky tales that were mentioned in Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature". This show is superb in every way.