Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stay of execution

Thanks for the comments everyone. I think BattleLore can stay for now.

Last night I actually got around to playing the game. Les and I fought 3 battles: Agincourt (scenario 1) which I lost 4-2 as the English, and then Wizards & Lore (scenario 5) twice, which I won each way (6-4 and 6-2).

The basic game is good but a little lacking in tactical nuances compared to C&C Ancients. But once we got into the Lore cards it became a much more challenging and fun experience. I'm looking forward to trying it again with creatures and war councils!

One issue remains - I don't want to get onto the expansions treadmill with this one. But with the wealth of scenarios available on the Days of Wonder website, I think there is plenty of replay value in the base set for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shall I get rid of BattleLore?

I need your advice dear reader. A gamer in the UK has offered me a trade on BoardGameGeek - my BattleLore for his Mare Nostrum (plus expansion).

Why was my BattleLore marked for trade in the first place - you may ask? I was excited about it when I bought it (must have been to shell out £45) but have only played it solo so far. To be honest I am wary of getting sucked into another Commands and Colors collecting habit. I already like Memoir 44 (and have most of the expansions) and LOVE Ancients (and already own the first expansion, with the next two pre-ordered). I'm not sure if my budget or my time or my my interest can sustain a third C&C series.

Also - I was excited about the idea of C&C with a fantasy theme, but I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by the tongue-in-cheek way this was done in Battlelore. Dwarves in kilts forsooth! For me, fantasy has to take itself very very seriously. High art or not at all, thankyou very much.....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random unjustified grumpyness about a new game

I played Phoenicia at Swiggers last week, and I enjoyed it (even though I got stuffed) but a day later had an uncharacteristically insightful thought - isn't this just Puerto Rico all over again? What's the difference? OK Phoenicia has auctions, but I'm not keen on auctions anyway (unless I'm playing RA!). Auctions seem to me to often be a lazy option for the designer who can't work out how to balance the different paths available to the players. I think to be honest that I haven't played Puerto Rico nearly enough yet - I have only just begun to explore the strategies in the game - so why do I need another tech tree/workers/resources/money/VPs game to worry about. One is probably enough for now (especially as it's still the BGG number 1) So, to the PBEM website!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Looking for a gaming home....

Now that I'm a North Londoner, I'm looking for a suitable gaming group near my new home. 3 options present themselves:

1) Finchley Games Club. About 5 miles away. They meet on Thursdays in a cricket pavilion with a bar. About 20 people turn up, but the majority seem to be playing a long Formula De season (which leaves me cold), so the evening I visited there was only one other multi-player game going on (Phoenicia). (I got stuck playing 2-player Carcassone - yawn!) It's a friendly club, but quite expensive - £10 to join, plus £2.50 a night, but you do get a 10% discount at Leisure Games - not to be sniffed at!

2) Swiggers. About 7 miles away. Meets every Wednesday in the Shipwrights Arms on Tooley Street. (Once I start studying this will be on my way home from lectures.) About 25 people, and all sorts of interesting games get played, including playtest prototypes by published designers. I've been twice now, the second time (last week) was a great evening spent playing Phoenicia and Tempus. It's free, and you get a 10% discount from Pevans games! The atmosphere is a bit like a con - lots of games to choose from if you are prepared to chat people up.

3) London ASL Club. About 6 miles away. To satisfy my wargaming urge I am considering going along to this monthly meeting in Chancery Lane to get some ASL Starter Kit experience. Meets on 2nd Saturday of the month. I haven't managed to get along yet so not sure what it's like. But I know I need more than Euros - I also need something with machine guns....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I enjoyed the readers' game of Tigris and Euphrates over at I just missed a win - it was settled on a tie-break! If anyone fancies a rematch I've set up another game called "Though the Desert", password "nimrods". If you read this, feel free to join in!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Desert Fox

I finally met Iain Cheyne yesterday evening, and played him at Rommel in the Desert. We have been meaning to do this for about two years, but our diaries only coincided yesterday. We played the Gazala scenario, with Iain as the Axis. We're both relatively new to the game so we were a bit intimidated by the rules and the bewildering choices available at the start. Iain kicked off with a big advance towards Tobruk inflicting heavy losses on my infantry that stood in the way. However stong reinforcements were on their way up the coast road from Egypt, and I was able to do a short left hook and isolate his two attacking groups. Iain failed to break through the cordon and so a significant force was disrupted and later destroyed, including two of his elite armour units. After that my attack lost steam and I failed to capitalize on my victory. With the last of my supplies I did a quick run down the coast road to seize Benghazi, but Iain was able to pull back in the Buildup phase, and supplies were too depleted for either of us to do much with the second month. I finished with a Positional Victory.

This is an amazing wargame, incredibly tense and exciting, and very true to the dynamics of the desert campaign. Richly deserves its classic status.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Call me Tyres.....

As part of my "Living in London can be Fun" programme, today I cycled off (in between the showers) in search of the Spaced house. I didn't know its exact location, only the district, so I printed off a cycle route from London Transport and set off, trusting to luck. Sure enough I found the place after 15 minutes quartering the back streets of ********. Cycling is the ideal mode for this sort of search - a car would be too fast, and walking would be far too slow. It felt weird to be there in the flesh, having stood outside that building so many times before, but only through the medium of whatever episode I was watching at the time. It felt a little sad too to find that directly opposite is a huge building site, which will surely change the character of Meteor Street for ever.

On the other hand....

The thing with PocketCiv is - there's a lot of scribbling and rubbing out. Maybe I need to make up the "deluxe edition"? And the lack of opponents makes it feel slightly...flat.

Oh well. Maybe I have to organise a game of Civilization at MidCon this November after all.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The best things in life....

I'm very excited about PocketCiv. One of my all-time favourite games is Civilization, but finding opponents and time to play is very uncommon these days. Trumpeted Civ-lite games have failed to satisfy, but this one is different. It's solo for one thing, so the opponent problem vanishes, and it's not actually that light either. The clever trick is that this can be played on pencil and paper - all you need is the deck of event cards and the rules. This means that this can be played in odd moments on the train or at home, and thinking about your little paper civilization and its problems rapidly becomes a small obsession. My first attempt got wiped out in Era 1 by a sequence of earthquakes, sandstorms and volcanoes. Undeterred I drew a nice coloured map of Egypt and set off again - the gods were kinder this time and I have just finished Era 2 with 4 cities. Harder times ahead I expect though! This is great stuff - if it wasn't free I would call it my best purchase for some while.