October Retrospective

Hey everybody,
October has been and gone, and it really seems to have been in the blink of an eye this time! I honestly didn’t think it would be over so quickly, but here we are, once again time for a retrospective blog! It doesn’t really feel as though I have all that much to report this month – it might just be that I’ve been asleep for a week or two in the middle of the month. I mean, not much to report + not feeling like an entire month has passed. Hm.

Arkham Horror 3rd edition

This month, I’ve been attempting to write a game blog every Tuesday, like in the old days with my Game Days. I was quite pleased to finally get my Arkham Horror 3rd edition blog written up, as I had originally played that back in January and had been meaning to write up my thoughts on it all year! I also think that I need to play that game more often – writing the blog reminded me of how good it all is, really, so I would definitely like to try it out again soon! I realise that I say this a lot about stuff, and then never get to do so, but fingers crossed that I’ll start having evenings again before too long!

Arkham Horror is still quite the juggernaut of the “serious” board game landscape, in my mind. The amount of stuff that goes on within the game is really quite something, and yet it doesn’t feel quite like it takes over, somehow. I think there’s just the right amount of depth and game to keep it nicely balanced. I think the only down side to the game is just how long it takes – between set up and actually playing the game, it isn’t exactly an easy game to make time for. But I’m kinda glad for that, because those are the sorts of board games I do find myself enjoying, on occasion. Stuff like Runebound from back in the day could take you a good couple of hours, if you wanted, and it’s nice to have a game that can absorb you like that.

Not quite the other end of the scale, but I’ve been playing a lot of the Hellboy board game as well, after talking about it in my board game ramble last month. It’s definitely a game that I needed to get to grips with, and despite only chalking up another three plays with it, I think I’ve spent enough time now with these boxes to understand what it is that I’ve got – basically, I have a lot of options for a fairly neat and straightforward game system. The massive box full of miniatures, the decks of cards that I wasn’t entirely sure about – pretty much all of that now does make sense, and while I’d hesitate to say I’m an expert, I have more of an understanding of the wider game, beyond the tutorial, so that’s definitely good! It’s also been good to play with the Conqueror Worm expansion, and see stuff beyond the frog monsters of the core set. While I haven’t had the opportunity to play it yet, I’ve also been setting up my own random case file deck, stacking it with certain enemies to get some variety involved for me! So that is something to look forward to!

It’s been really nice to get some board games played this month, as it’s something I’ve really missed. I mean, 40k is great and all, but it can be nice to “get back to my roots” as it were! True, I haven’t really been playing the full breadth of games that I used to, but it’s been good regardless! In addition to a lot of Hellboy, I’ve also managed a game with Arkham Horror LCG, playing one of the standalone scenarios. Back in March, I played the Return to Night of the Zealot campaign with Trish Scarborough and Agnes Baker, with the idea that I’d link up a couple of the standalone scenarios as well. It’s only taken me 7 months to get back to this idea, but I’ve played The Curse of the Rougarou, and it was quite an interesting one.

Curse of the Rougarou was, of course, the first “expansion” for the game, coming out not long after the core set and, if memory serves, before The Dunwich Legacy began. It’s a very early scenario, and I think it really shows its age now with some of the newer stuff that we’re used to. The scenario is in two stages, the first where we’re trying to find the voodoo priestess Lady Esprit, who has some information for us about the killings in New Orleans. Once the first act advances, the Rougarou itself is placed onto the board, and a second encounter set is shuffled into the deck, which ramps things up a little. Where I think the design falls down a little is the fact the Rougarou itself is placed on a location, and one of the objectives can be to defeat it. By knowing where it is, that kinda removes the sense of investigative dread that I think the scenario was trying to evoke. If there had been, perhaps, three cards placed face-down, and one of them was the monster but the other two were some kind of decoys, maybe that would have been a better way of doing it? For the most part, you have some low-key swamp leeches and otherwise evocative “ripples on the surface” treacheries, but the Rougarou itself doesn’t seem to want to fight you – indeed, you need to spend clues to engage, and then he runs off when he takes damage, leaving a trail of clues in his wake! During the early stages, I was tooling up my investigators to deal with the threat, and with Trish’s evade shenanigans to keep it there, whereupon I just whaled on it and possibly managed to defeat it? I’m not sure – I certainly forgot the bit about needing to spend clues to engage it, but if Trish evaded first, and used those effects to deal damage, before then fighting an exhausted enemy – does that count? Did I play it right? Not sure how the rules interact on that one, so I went with it and put it down to Trish being a super spy, she was able to find the trail of the beast, then Agnes came in with all the spectral power of Hyperborea behind her to finish it off!

Agnes, you may recall, died during the Night of the Zealot’s Return, but I’ve decided to keep her around because she’s a mystical character, and so has come back from her experience stronger than ever before (she had a Crystalline Elder Sign in her opening hand, which I think is a very thematic aspect to her story!)

It was an enjoyable game, not least because it was my first game with it for 7 months, but I can’t help thinking that the design has moved on, leaving this as something of an odd duck overall. I do like the storyline, and I do like the idea of chasing the monster through the bayou, but from this vantage looking backwards, it just feels like we’ve been spoilt so much by the other campaigns. A product of its time, maybe? Compared with the core set campaign, it’s head and shoulders above. But – assuming I played it correctly – the card pool has grown so that things are a lot more manageable nowadays. It’ll be interesting to see how Carnival in Venice plays, at any rate!

What else has been going on?

Oh yes – I think I might be starting a new army! Well, I probably will be starting a new army, but anyway. During the dim and distant past, I was very much into the Lizardmen for Warhammer Fantasy (I’ve talked about this a bajillion times, how the artwork from Warhammer Invasion got me sucked into this world, and how the rest is history…) Back in 2014, when I was making my first tentative steps in the hobby, I did actually make something of a start with them, as well, but it never got off the ground, and I moved around so many different projects that they were eventually sold off. However, I’m really feeling in the mood for building up a small force of them.

I don’t want to go crazy right off the bat – I’m thinking literally a Start Collecting box and that’s it for the time being. In terms of colour scheme, I think it might be nice to go green rather than turquoise, but I’ll see what I feel like when I have the models. It’s an exciting project, at any rate, and I think it might be good to have a new army to work on – hopefully they’ll go as great as the Ossiarch Bonereapers, and I’ll have loads of new minis painted up in next to no time! Ha!

Weirdly, though, I’ve not actually picked up a paintbrush at all during October. After deciding to make a real push with my Genestealer Cult, and after deciding to make an effort with my Tyranids, I haven’t actually done anything this month! It really seems to have flown by for me, and I think having some parenting adventures that have kept my evenings otherwise occupied, it has led to this dearth of hobby over the month. The only thing I have done is to build up the Delaque specialists box during the middle of the month – some very weird miniatures in that, let me tell you! Of all the games, I’m really hoping to get some more time for Necromunda soon – it’s been a fair few months since James and I had that initial game, and I really hope that things settle down enough for me that I’ll be able to get a rematch in before the end of the year, with or without painted specialists! I’ve not really made any effort to look at the House of Shadows book yet, other than a few cursory flick-throughs, but hopefully it won’t be too long before I’ll be playing for real, and can get to see what I’ve been missing! Fingers crossed.

It surprises me, in some respects, when I look through my logged plays on boardgamegeek, there is no Warhammer 40k at all this year. Indeed, hardly any of my logged games have been with real people! While to some extent that’s the pandemic for you, in my case it’s also the down side to having two children under two years of age! Whenever I say, “I hope to play this more” and the like, it’s really a prayer for bed time to go nice and easy, and for them both to just sleep through the night! Hopefully that’ll come to pass soon, though, and normality can resume! Fingers, as ever, are crossed!

Next month, then, I’m really hoping that I can get back into painting minis, and I’m also hoping to play either Arkham Horror again, or at least play the case file I created for Hellboy. Stay tuned!

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