New game thoughts

Morning everybody!
It’s the morning after the day before that was, on reflection, pretty awesome! Well, a lot of my Saturday was taken up with degree work, as I’m partially behind (well, okay, I’m just behind on the work…), so I spent the morning in the company of Aeschylus’ Persians. Last weekend was spent with a really enjoyable look at Greek history in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, to get the historical background on how Greece changed between the Homeric era and the Classical era. Really interesting, all that, especially as I’d never looked at the whole picture before. The Persian Wars were always just a name, for me, so it was pretty awesome to finally get to see what it was all about! Then came the play, however… You know how someone says, for example, their life is like a Greek tragedy, or somesuch? I’d only previously encountered tragedy through the work of Euripides, and have always found his work to be quite good – it can be over-the-top melodramatic, but it has a thrust to the action that means it’s often really quite dynamic in its drama. Not so, Aeschylus. At least, from my reading of Persians. There’s a dire stasis to the action, if indeed you can call it that – the translator of the version I read sums it up as “a community receives some bad news, and everybody weeps”, which is about right! I get the feeling that, at its performance, it must have been a peculiarly gratifying experience for the Athenians to see how they imagine their vanquished enemy behaved, with the overwhelming message of “we were wrong to mess with the Greeks” coming out loud and clear, especially at the end.

But then I was saved by game deliveries!


All I can say is, huzzah for Amazon vouchers! The latest LCG stuff looks pretty good – Galadriel hero! – and while I have next to no knowledge of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s always nice to have more cards for the Marvel Legendary deck-builder! However, X-Wing…

Those of you with discerning taste, who have been reading my blog for any length of time, may know that this game has been something of a bĂȘte-noire for me, as I’ve been collecting ships wave upon wave, yet have not played a single game since late in 2012, back when the game was initially released with just three ships to play (though, with four core sets to my name, I had a few more than just the three). Well, last week I was in the local game shop, looking at what’s on offer and such, and ended up in conversation with a chap there who is an avid player, and with whom I’m hoping to set up a game with at some future date! Well, we’ll see I guess…


The new ships are something of an expanded universe extravaganza. The YT-2400, best known as the Outrider from Shadows of the Empire, looks very pretty, and comes with everybody’s favourite gambler, Lando Calrissian. I’m not a huge fan of Dash Rendar, but it’s always good to see EU characters making the jump to games like this.


The VT-49 Decimator was, for me, a much more curious beast. It’s the largest Imperial ship in the game so far, and comes with a pretty impressive cast that includes Moff Jerjerrod from Return of the Jedi, but also Mara Jade and Ysanne Isard! Even though the pre-release articles had mentioned this, as I’d not really been following them I was particularly impressed to see the Director of Intelligence in the game! The ship stems from the 2003 MMORPG Galaxies, anyway, so I must admit I wasn’t all that aware of it at first. But still, seeing as how the Rebels have their epic Tantive IV and such, it’s nice to see some big stuff for the Empire, too!

Of course, all of this was soon obliterated by the afternoon’s arrival…

Shadows of Brimstone

Again, long-time readers will likely know of my agonising wait for this game! Just days after the anniversary of the kickstarter end, the game is with me! There’s a hell of a lot of content in these two boxes, I have to say. First impressions of the content, however, are a little less than favourable. It’s been no secret that the project has pretty much haemorrhaged money for Flying Frog, whose production costs far outweighed the pledge levels people enjoyed, and which led to them selling some of the games at GenCon, despite the actual backers not having had their copies yet. On the one hand, it seemed like a big slap in the face to the people who fronted-up the money to make the project work, but on the other, I really feel for them as a company. Indeed, I’m pretty sure there must have been a few times over the past year where they probably wish they’d never bothered. Anyway, I hope that the game does really well for them, so they can start getting the rest of the kickstarter content to us!

The point of all that, however, is that the game doesn’t seem to compare well with other FFP games – the shiny cards, the thick cardboard, etc. I really hesitate to say this, but it feels like a rush job. The card is average quality, the cardboard is average quality, the minis do not look hobby-quality (by which I mean, they don’t hold up to Citadel standards, in my opinion), and even stupid stuff like the box inlay isn’t really up to scratch – the rulebook and adventure book for Swamps of Death doesn’t fit in the space, so has come curved, for instance, and the middle cards recess doesn’t allow you to reach down for all of the cards, making it difficult to get every card out of there.

It certainly doesn’t feel like Fortune and Glory, the game I’d been mentally comparing it to in terms of content etc. But still. I feel like I’m being unnecessarily harsh on the game now, so will wait and see how it plays. I have over half the models from Swamps of Death assembled now, so hopefully once I’ve done the other half, I can have a game and see how it all works out!

Though not, of course, before I make more of an effort with my degree work…

Shadows of Brimstone