Sunday, 20 July 2014

AMID THE ASHES - post apocalyptic print and play boardgame...

I was handed a flyer for the AMID THE ASHES print & play boardgame at last years UK games expo... I put it to one side and forgot about it until a few months ago, I looked at the images on the website (as you can see here) and thought the game looked quite promising.. and the artwork is really very nice indeed. So I set about crafting my own copy of the game - I downloaded the PDF from :

...I printed out the tiles and resources onto white card, which I stuck to thicker card and covered with sticky-back-plastic (£1 a roll from ASDA)...and at this years UK games expo I bought various wooden bits (coloured cones and cubes - these can be ordered from various sources but I got mine from Boardgameextras) and some dice from The Dice Shop.

The terrain tiles are placed in three different zones - so I backed these tiles with 3 different coloured card backs - green, yellow and red.

The rules state that the tiles should be shuffled and then set out upside down - turning them over as the map is explored. Someone on boardgamegeek suggested that this was a bit fiddly and drawing out a grid to place the tiles onto might be a good idea. So this is what I did: A large roll of craft paper, a ruler, a few coloured pencils and some sticky tack to stick it to the table top....

I have played the game twice so far. The first game was with 2 players, myself and Kes. Kes of course won. In the 2 player game there was a little bit of interaction between the two sides, but we felt that there would be much more interesting stuff going on with more players.

The second time it was a 4 player game with myself, Dave, Kes and Karl. Kes won again.

The start of a 2 player game.

2 players - starting to explore the apocalyptic wasteland....

2 players - fighting over objectives...

The start of a 4 player game.

4 players - just starting to get in each others faces! 


4 player game - the end is nigh!!

So after playing the 4 player game of AMID THE ASHES the other night, three situations came up that didn't seem to be covered clearly by the rules.

1 - If a unit is moved onto a space where there is a mutant, does combat with the mutant take place in the combat phase, or at the beginning of the next turn (in the "fight mutants" phase) if the mutant is still in the same space?

We decided to play that combat takes place in the combat phase because otherwise it would be possible to move into a space with a mutant and then move it away from yourself in the "mutant movement phase" - and this didn't feel right.

2 - In the combat phase how is ammo spent? Do players role dice then go back and forth spending ammo until there is a winner? Do players commit before a dice role how much ammo they are going to use?

We decided that both players in a space should role dice first, then the attacker would commit how much ammo they would spend, the defender would then have a choice whether to use up ammo (if they have enough) to win the fight - or to lose that battle and save their ammo for a future combat.

3 - Is it possible to complete a mission when another player is already occupying a landmark building? Because the action phase occurs before the combat phase, according to the rules it is possible to use a move action to move onto a building that another player is already on, and then use another action to complete a mission and return your units to the bunker before any combat happens. The rules do not state that to complete a mission the landmark building must be free of other players or mutants.

This was the most contentious issue for us on the evening. As the situation came up in the last part of the game, 2 players thought that missions could be completed without combat - justifying that thematically this represented the units sneaking on to the space and running away. The other 2 players felt that this didn't seem right and combat should take place - thinking that a player should be in full control of the space to be able to complete the mission. In the end, as the game had been quite long, we decided on the first option - but this did lead to some disgruntlement from 2 of the players as they said they would have played with different tactics from the start if they had realised this.

I've started a thread on boardgamegeek, and emailed the designer about these three points, so I'll be very interested to see what response I get.

So I've played the game twice now. I enjoyed it both times - the rules are not heavy (but could do with a little bit of clarification in a couple of places as I've mentioned) - and there seems to be a lot of replayability and interesting stuff going on here.

I absolutely love the artwork. More fantastic post-apocalyptic art by the designer Phillip M Jackson  can be found over at (be aware the artist also does manga style sci-fi ladies with big boobies - just in-case that's not your thing)...