Sunday, 29 December 2013

December Gaming

Sunday, December 29, 2013

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Managed to get one of the last copies available for sale! Also... clothes hanger.
Er... hello there, and happy christmas! Or God Jul as we say here in Sweden.

It's been another busy month with house moving (again!) and starting a new job. Things are starting to settle though so you should see some more activity here soon. I missed the Infinity releases last month, but have decided to simply let it go and start again with this months stuff (Gorgos!). So what's been going on gaming-wise in my little corner of the planet? Mostly board gaming and some PC gaming now that my computer has been brought into the current decade.

I played some more Firefly and I think it's probably playable in two hours-ish with experienced captains. It's a game I enjoy for the deep theme and decent gameplay, although I think it could be improved upon - the main problem area being lack of player interaction. Luckily GF9 seem to have heard our pleas and the next expansion will include two new ship roles: bounty hunter and a pirate. I think this is exactly what this game needs to stir things up a bit and I'm really looking forward to it!

Bios: Megafauna also hit the table again, where the game ended when the earth cooled too much and became a ball of ice not fit for life. We followed this with my first game of Origins: How We Became Human, also by Phil Eklund. We didn't play it all the way through, instead opting to wrap it up when it was time and then start again next time now that all of us know the rules.

Origins is kind of Phil's take on Civilization/History of the World etc. but it plays very differently from those games. You start as a type of early hominid (Neanderthal, Peking-man etc) and you try to unlock more areas of your primitive brain as well as how to exploit the living world around you. Although there's a map the game is mainly card driven and there's an economy system of "Elders", Innovation and Population that is quite clever and a bit tricky to use properly. Looking forward to playing it again soon!

Played my first game of Eldritch Horror and it's pretty much what I expected it to be: an updated/streamlined Arkham Horror. The theme is all over the place, going from purely laughable to moderately cool at times. I love my Lovecraft but I find that this FFG/pulp version of it is starting to get tiresome. The main thing I was looking forward to was an AH-like experience but in half (or a third!) of the time. Unfortunately the streamlining didn't really help much in this department and with five players we were at it for almost five hours. Had it been a (much) shorter game I would play it with delight, easily overlooking the luck driven gameplay, but with this lenght I feel it overstays its welcome. Unfortunately.

A blast from the past was when I brought Panic Station to a recent game night! It's a small and (usually) quick game that we played a couple of times when I got it but then seemed to forget about. I think the problem was a bad experience during a four player game but I felt that five or six would help us remember how fun it can be. We were five this time and ran around the abandoned base, growing more and more paranoid! One great moment was when the host had just infected me and a human player started moving towards some other humans who immediately panicked and opened fire on him. And then when they realised their mistake I managed to run up to him and infect him anyway. Muahahaha! It went on unusually long, but this was because of some unfamiliarity with the rules and a lot of table talk. Will bring again!

Finally, I managed to get my hands on Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (not an easy feat in itself!) and me and Anders tried it twice a couple of days ago. In our first attempt we succumbed early but realized we'd played a number of important things wrong. So we went at it again and this time we managed to get the fire started in time and had a pretty cozy place to live in by the end. Then I went home, read the rules again and found some more stuff we'd played wrong... this time to our advantage! The cursed island is not that forgiving! Looking forward to trying it again with four players as I think hunting will become a crucial part of the game then.

During the past few years I've found myself growing out of love with pure co-op board games - be it Arkham Horror or Pandemic. When you mix it up with some kind of traitor mechanism or competative co-op it's fun but I often get bored when there's no "real" resistance. Also, there can be the problem of the alpha troll who tells all the other players what to do. This is a behaviour I certainly can understand - if you know the right way to play you want to play that way - but it often makes the game less fun for the rest of the group. Robinson tries to mitigate this by always having several things that are often equally necessary to do, as well as having some random outcomes of certain actions. So this game has me back in the co-op boat and I've pre-ordered Plaid Hat's Dead of Winter as well as that seems pretty cool!

The past couple of days I managed to squeeze in a session of the Mutant: År 0, a reboot of the classic Swedish post apocalyptic roleplaying game dating back to the early eighties. In this new version the story is set not long after the great cataclysm that ended civilization and it's a lot more gritty than its predecessors. There are design influences from a variety of modern indie rpgs, especially Apocalypse World, but with ideas distinctive enough to allow Mutant: År 0 to stand on its own. Looking forward to the proper release sometime this spring as I want to get my gaming group to scour a ruined Stockholm, filled with zone creepers and radiation hazards...

Finally, yesterday we had our last board game day of the year and played Rex: Final Days of an Empire (FFGs remake of Dune) and Archipelago. In Rex I played as the Lazax (Emperor) and allied myself with the Jol-Nar (Atreides) while the other three players allied against us. In the fifth turn we fought two decisive battles and we would have won right then if we had been victorious in one of them, unfortunately we lost both (even with traitors on our side!) and the game was pretty much over by then as we had made our big push then and there. We played out the final three turns but as expected the game ended with a Sol special victory which means the entire alliance win. It's a fun game, but we need to play it more to start seeing the proper strategies.

It was only the second time we played Archipelago and because of time constraints we chose the short game option. It's good to be able to control game length this easily, but it also means that the game ends just as everyone is starting to get comfortable. Still, it was good as a learning game! We ended up with two distinct islands with two players on each. Me and my neighbor quickly built a couple of churces to keep the populous happy, while the other two players mostly explored and played the market. Just as everyone started getting their plans in motion the game ended with the completely new player as the winner and myself in second place. Really want to play this again soon! It's a great game with a number of different mechanics mixed together that ends up making something much better than the sum of its parts.

Oh, and our Deadzone box has arrived of course! I started unpacking it the other day and there sure is loads of stuff! Mostly terrain, but bags and bags of minis as well. Unfortunately, the Enforcer faction is incomplete as they wanted to make some changes to the moulds so I won't see most of the specialist models until spring/summer next year which is a real bummer. Now it looks like I'll have to use the rebs as my main faction. They are really cool as well, but the Enforces would have provided greated variety in the local player pool.

Deadzone Enforcers with head swaps from Pig Iron.
The one thing I'm not to fond of when it comes to the Enforecers are their helmets. So I got some alternative heads from Pig Iron and they look pretty cool on the Encorcers bodies! A little bit on the large side, but I think that is mainly because of the larger helmet and gas mask. Would like to get them painted as soon as possible so we can start playing the game! More on this later of course.

As for PC gaming... I bought some titles cheap on Steam, but I got stuck playing Hawken instead! It's a free to play mecha FPS game that I'm enjoying a lot. I'm slowly starting to get to grips with mech maneuvering and have managed to push my kill/death ratio over 1. Haha! Feel free to add me if you're interesed, my pilot name is Beepluck.

Well... that's all for now. More later as I take a look at the past year of gaming!

4 kommentarer :

  1. I love the Phil Eklund coverage on this blog! If you don't mind my asking, could you tell me how much you paid for Origins and where you acquired it (online or FLGS ... in Sweden I assume!)? I'm a recently inducted Eklund acolyte, and I've only had the chance to play a solitaire game of Origins on a borrowed copy of the game, but I'm certainly interested in picking it up! Info about what I can expect to pay and where I might find a copy would be much appreciated!

    1. Hello Brian! I try to spread the gospel of Eklund at every opportunity, glad you enjoy it. :)

      I got the second to last copy from a local store here in Stocholm called Alphaspel ( but I know they ship abroad as well. Right now it says that the game is out of stock, but I think there might actually be one copy left, send them an email just to be sure.

      Hope you can find yourself a copy!

  2. Martin, do you remember the old FASA boardgame Battletech? (and the PC games Mechwarrior series?)

    Well there is a new game, called Mechwarrior Online. It's much more stompy-robot than Hawken, which for me is pretty much just a typical arena FPS dressed up as a robot game.

    I like EvE, so fitting out a custom robot "build" is particularly fun for me.

    I just reviewed it on my blog, which gives you some good starting strategies.

    God Bless!

    1. Hey!

      Yeah, I read your article on my way to work the other day. I've been wanting to try the new Mechwarrior game, but simply haven't got around to it yet. MO is certainly a more traditional take on the genre although I think Hawken has managed to distill a lot of the essence into an FPS formula more casual friendly.

      I'll get around to it one of these days and I'll keep your article in mind for pointers! :)

      Pesto be upon you!


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