Christmas week!

Hey everybody!

It’s Christmas week! I’m not sure if you’re celebrating the season – personally, I’m not religious at all, but embrace the food and candles like there’s no tomorrow! It’s always an exciting time of year because of the stuff on offer, as well – being a shameless consumer, I love getting the big game releases and whatnot. This year, it’s another expansion for Eldritch Horror, Under the Pyramids, which I’m looking forward to immensely! Oh, yes, there’ll be a blog incoming once I’ve taken that through for a couple of plays!

It’s a game that I really love, I must say. Last Christmas we got Mountains of Madness, which I realised I hadn’t played all year, so got round to a game yesterday. Something I particularly like is how well the sideboard is integrated in this game. With Arkham Horror, there’s always something a little off about travelling to the new boards. Of course, it’s exciting and whatnot to see the differences, but I don’t know… There’s something a little more interesting about the new board here in Eldritch Horror.

Eldritch Horror Mountains of Madness

I’ve actually not played as much Eldritch Horror as I’d like, and I’m working on playing more in the future. For now, at least, I’m really excited to get more Horror for Christmas!

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week painting these chaps up – Genesis Chapter terminators! I’ve been sorta working on painting Space Marines for a fair number of weeks now, going for the Ultramarines – eventually, I’m going to get round to a blog on these guys. Anyhow. Lots of blue made me investigate alternative options and, after getting some Deathwing Terminators in the Black Friday deal, decided to investigate a third option with the successor chapter to the Ultramarines – mainly because of the red colour scheme. Every so often I get in a bit of a painting rut, so when stuff inspires me like that I tend to go along with it. Recently I’ve been struggling to stay focused enough to finish models, but at least these guys are going well for now!

I’ve not really been keeping up with the advent calendar stuff this month, but did make the effort to check out the short story Godless, dealing with the ongoing search for Slaanesh following the End Times. It was pretty good, I have to say, easily worth the couple of pounds I paid for it.

Archaon Everchosen

While we’re on the subject of Warhammer, have you guys noticed the latest round of Age of Sigmar stuff coming out of Nottingham? Stuff seems to be getting bigger and bigger lately. I do like these new models, I have to say, even though some of them are a little too crazy to look at, such as the Varanguard, with all the armour banding going on there. Archaon is apparently the biggest model produced for the game, and does look splendid, but my goodness, I thought this was a miniature war game! The Everchosen releases do look nice – while I’m not really a Khorne guy, I like the rainbow colours of Tzeentch, and the Gaunt Summoner thing looks interesting. I’ve been thinking about buying the battletome, if nothing else, as I love the background for these things, and feel like I need to get more into the Age of Sigmar fluff, but for now I’m staying my hand!

I’m really hoping they produce some sort of cavalry for the Stormcast Eternals – talking with the manager of my local store recently, he reckons more is to come for the Stormcast to flesh out the other Chambers in the warband. That’d be nice, I think – perhaps more dracoth-like beasts with warriors on top…

I guess we’ll see what the new year brings!

Strange Remnants

Hey everybody!
Time for another game day blog here at spalanz.com, and today I’m taking a look at the latest expansion for Eldritch Horror: Strange Remnants!

Eldritch Horror Strange Remnants

The second small-box expansion features a new Ancient One and four new Investigators, along with more assets, artifacts, spells and conditions. There are new Prelude cards to help regulate your expansion usage, and an adventure deck along with what is to me the outstanding new mechanic of this expansion, the Mystic Ruins deck. So let’s take a look inside the box.

Eldritch Horror Strange Remnants

First of all, this expansion breaks new ground for the Eldritch Horror line by having investigators in a small box expansion. Previously, we only had Forsaken Lore to judge how the line would be handled, and judging by the high number of people keen for more investigators to play with, this is a welcome addition. The new investigators are also a very nice mix, with some very useful abilities all round. The Focus mechanic returns from Mountains of Madness, and it seems to be so pervasive here that I’m betting it will become a staple of future expansions, too.

New spells, new artifacts, new assets (and unique assets) and new conditions are all welcome additions, giving additional gameplay options that will be useful no matter which expansions you’re playing with. The new encounters for the four location types, as well as the new Otherworld locations, do seem to be fairly pertinent to the task at hand, though I imagine they wouldn’t cause too much chaos if you were playing against Yig, for instance. Of course, this may just have been down to luck of the draw during my own games, but they certainly felt like they belonged in a game against this specific Ancient One.

Which brings us to the big bad of this expansion, Syzygy. A cosmic alignment, you’re basically fighting against the cultists who are trying to bring about the end of the world, and a lot of this expansion feels very Azathoth-y. Indeed, it’s almost strange, given Azathoth appeared in the base game, and this is only the third expansion for the game, that we’d have an Ancient One that is so similar in mythos feel. But we have it and, thankfully, it’s pretty awesome.

The AO uses a mechanic of adding eldritch tokens to the red space of the omen track whenever that space is passed, these tokens providing buffs to the cultists working to bring about the end of days. Whenever two or more Syzygy mysteries have been solved, you must flip the sheet at the end of the mythos phase and go into the final mystery – so completing three mysteries is no longer a win condition, as you’ll always have to go up against this last one. It’s actually pretty great, too. The theme states that the portal has opened, and you need to use the special encounter deck Sealing the Portal in order to win the game. Unlike the special encounters we’re used to for other Ancient Ones, these are particularly nasty in that pretty much all of them will see you devoured if you fail the tests.

Syzygy is a great AO to go up against, and all of the cards in this expansion really pull together the theme of trying to solve a conspiracy to bring about the end of the world. Perhaps the most obvious part of all for this is the Mystic Ruins deck, which is among my favourite mechanics for the game line so far. It’s basically an Expedition encounter deck, shuffled at the beginning of the game and the token placed on whichever location is on the top of its deck. There are four mystic locations – the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, Chichen Itza and the Moai Statues. These are all represented by pre-existing locations – Shanghai, London, and spaces 7 and 3, respectively. Now, I really love this idea of taking a pre-existing board location and using it for a new purpose. Back when the game was initially announced, the idea of the board representing the world left a lot of people perplexed as to expandability due to a finite number of locations right out of the gate – but here we see that this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. I think it’s really cool, anyway, and I hope they try it again with different things – in the way that this expansion has you following it as you follow the clues to the conspiracy, it could totally be used to follow clues to anything in a much more focused fashion than is usually the case with Research Encounters.

Eldritch Horror Strange Remnants

I’ve played this expansion a couple of times, and have really loved it. It has had some truly epic games, such as the time Zoey Samaras wound up hospitalised while trying to seal the portal, but Marie Lambeau was able to battle through with Zoey’s blessing to thwart the conspiracy at the eleventh hour and save the world from doom. Strange Remnants proves that the Eldritch Horror line is only getting better with each new release, and has kinda set the bar pretty high for Under the Pyramids now! Let’s see what Christmas brings, anyway…

Catching up with FFG

Some very exciting things have been coming out of FFG over the past couple of days, some of it already announced at GenCon, but some new. Let’s take a look!

Under the Pyramids

To start with, the very exciting news about Under the Pyramids, the new big box expansion for Eldritch Horror. Last year saw Mountains of Madness come out, which brought a sideboard to the game, along with a lot of additional bumph that you can see in my blog here. Under the Pyramids seems to be following that template, with a new board that depicts – unsurprisingly – the Egyptian desert. Two new Ancient Ones, of which only Nephren-ka has been spoiled, along with eight more investigators and a whole host of other new bits. I’m guessing Nyarlathotep will be the second Ancient One, though given the breadth of lore for him in the mythos, he may be better-placed in a box by himself. We’ll see, though.

Something that sounds like a lot of fun is the Museum Heist adventure – no idea how this will work mechanically, but it just sounds like a lot of fun!

Hoping we’ll get this for Christmas!

Descent Treaty of Champions

Just announced today is the seventh hero and monster collection for Descent – Treaty of Champions! Looks very much like more of the same, really, though take a look at those miniatures! Those demon lords look absolutely amazing. Interestingly, while I said this was more of the same, there is a new monster group, the Crow Hag! An interesting-looking mini, some strange cultist-like character with a huge mace of some sort… interesting!

Always great to have exciting options for a game, anyway!

Warhammer Conquest What Lurks Below

Have I mentioned the new cycle for Warhammer Conquest? I’m not sure…  At any rate, the next cycle is expected to begin at some point, and it mainly deals with interacting with the position of planets. Capitalizing on the fact the deluxe expansion, The Great Devourer, will be released by the time this hits, we’ll also be getting Tyranid cards, and the fourth pack, What Lurks Below, brings a new Warlord to the faction. In keeping with the first cycle, it also looks like the Space Marines will be focusing on a new chapter, this time Black Templars. Interesting, as I’d have thought we’d be seeing something like Blood Angels or Dark Angels first. At any rate, I wasn’t actually intending to keep buying Conquest packs after the Warlord cycle ended, but FFG are always so very good at keeping me hooked on their card-crack!

Imperial Assault Return to Hoth

I realise I’ve not mentioned the other big, exciting expansion announced back in GenCon, Return to Hoth! I’ve actually played the skirmish game once, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but have wanted to play more before featuring it on the blog. Anyway, it’s a really exciting game, and Return to Hoth looks like it has some very good additions to this! The miniatures include HK-droids, Wampas, and a Mon Calamari hero, all of which look excellent.

The associated ally and villain packs also look good – Princess Leia, Dengar, and some Snowtrooper chaps, all look fantastic! Interestingly, there is a lot in this box that seems to support the skirmish game, including a four-player variant, which makes me wonder if FFG are keen to support this aspect above anything else. It does kinda make sense, given the opportunity for organised play. The skirmish game is certainly the more popular aspect as far as what I’m seeing locally, at any rate.

Another one for the Christmas list, anyway – all four of these things are coming before the end of the year, anyway.

Finally…

X Wing Imperial Raider

The Imperial Raider is apparently in stock at my local store, though it is so overdue that I don’t think I’ll actually believe it until I’ve seen it with my own hands!

New Games!

Hey folks!

Exciting times are afoot as we take a look at the latest round of updates and news coming from FFG this past week! Let’s delve right into it, starting with something that has me very excited: the next expansion for Eldritch Horror!

Eldritch Horror Strange Remnants

Strange Remnants is the second small-box expansion for the game, and appears to follow the example now set from Mountains of Madness by giving us something from left field. Rather than another mythos god to go up against, the ancient one in this expansion is Syzygy, the cosmic alignment. I find this still very fitting with Lovecraft, though, given his emphasis on “the stars align/are right” and whatnot, though like a lot of people, I was expecting something like Hastur or Nyarlathotep.

The expansion brings a “mystic ruins” encounter deck, which allows us to explore new parts of the board much like an expedition, from what I gather, and are linked to the main locations through new location cards for the main game. Always good when we get more to add in! We also have four new investigators, which I remember was a cause for disappointment in Forsaken Lore. However, I wouldn’t say it’s something I’d necessarily need from a small box.

Available in Q3 probably means no new big box this year, which, for me, is the only downside to this news! I’m very excited!

Talisman The Harbinger

Talisman is a game I don’t get to play too often, but really enjoy all the same, so it’s great to see a new expansion for this guy, too. I seem to remember a lot of talk, back when the fourth corner expansion had been announced, that the end would soon be nigh, but thankfully not! However, this expansion seems riven with doom and despair, as the players need to avoid the Harbinger and prevent the End Times! In this respect, it seems to be similar to the Reaper and the Blood Moon expansions, where you have a figure that interacts with the board and characters in a specified way. Interesting stuff, anyway, and definitely something to look forward to as the year goes on!

Star Wars Imperial Entanglements

Card games now, and Star Wars LCG has finally had the next deluxe expansion announced! Well, I talked about this a short while back, but it’s now here and beautiful! Focusing on the Empire and Smugglers, we’re getting lots of interesting stuff here, I must say. New Tarkin and new Chewbacca are showcased in the announcement, and look like they’re coming with some really powerful cards, so that should be interesting to see how the game changes once this hits in the third quarter.

Sadly, I still can’t convince people to play this one, and I can’t work out whether this is due to the fact the game isn’t very good, or if there are just better games out there. I remember a lot of talk about how people were more interested in Warhammer Conquest than this one, and I still feel that it was overshadowed by being launched so close to Android Netrunner. Given that they have the licence for Episode 7 material, I’m vaguely expecting to see a new card game launched to tie into that, and this one dropped. But anyway, it’s still one that I enjoy, and I still buy the Force packs for it in the hope that one day I can play it!

Lord of the Rings The Land of Shadow

No such trouble playing Lord of the Rings, which has had the next Saga expansion announced this week, mere days after the last one was released. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches! We’re back to Frodo and Sam, of course, as we follow the second half of The Two Towers.

I’m very excited about this one. I’ve always found the Gollum/Sméagol thing a tour de force in character development, and was particularly intrigued to see just how it has been implemented into this game. The answer, of course, is incredibly well! A double-sided enemy/objective-ally card, which can interact with the game for good or ill, this is something that I truly can’t wait to get my little hands on!

I’ve still only taken my first step in the Saga experience, of course, but we’re gearing up to a long Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, with traditional weather for such (ie, rain), so I’m sure there’ll be ample opportunity to come closer to the fires of Mount Doom…

Horror in the Mountains!

Hey folks!
I hope you’ve all been having an excellent festive season, whatever you’ve been up to!

I had two very exciting games, one of which I managed to get in a game with at the weekend – the Mountains of Madness expansion for Eldritch Horror, which I’d like to talk about today, as I share my experiences and first impressions.

Eldritch Horror

Basically, I love this expansion! Two new Ancient Ones, complete with associated decks of mysteries, research encounters and special encounters; eight new investigators, and a new side board with associated encounter cards. Along with a whole load of new encounter cards for the base game, and assets and spells and conditions and artifacts. You also get enough new Mythos cards to make up decks for each new Ancient One. Fabulous!

Eldritch Horror

The addition of the new board felt a lot like the new town expansions in Arkham Horror, though after a short while the similarity largely disappeared. For one thing, it’s much easier to travel between the boards.

Eldritch Horror

There are rules to govern the use of the expansion components, largely through the introduction of the Prelude cards.

Eldritch Horror

These cards are effectively ways to vary the setup, by allowing the investigators to buy upgrades at the expense of their sanity, for instance, or if you aren’t using the Rise of the Elder Things, you can still use the Antarctica board. I suppose this is what was meant back when this came out of GenCon:

But let’s get back to the goodies inside this box!

Eldritch Horror

Rise of the Elder Things is a fairly intense game, needing four mysteries solved to defeat. They also come out of the box with two special encounter decks, one of which is used if they awaken.

Eldritch Horror

The new Investigators are drawn from the Arkham stable, with most from Innsmouth Horror. A lot of them have abilities that work on the new Focus effect – as an action, an investigator can collect a yellow Focus token (shown earlier), which he can later use to re-roll one die; each investigator can only have a maximum of two focus tokens, however. A useful action, as previously investigators could only re-roll dice if they had specific assets, which usually only allow for re-rolls on specific tests.

Eldritch Horror

There are quite a few more interesting twists on the original mechanics, such as encountering clues on Antarctica, where you use a special encounter deck rather than the Ancient One’s research encounters.

Eldritch Horror

That was a nice little twist, though necessary given that none of the spaces on the new board is marked as a city/wilderness/sea. There’s also an Antarctica Adventure deck, which I’ve not yet used, but appears to work from using the side board without the Rise of the Elder Things. Will have to try that at some point.

Eldritch Horror

Unique Assets are an interesting idea as well, with many being the reward for new encounters around the board.

Eldritch Horror

Mainly Allies, these assets also introduce Tasks, which give you rewards on whether you complete them, which are virtually the same as Tasks/Missions that were introduced in Dunwich Horror. Indeed, Mountains of Madness continues the trend of taking elements of Arkham Horror and refining them in this way. However, while comparisons with the older game are perhaps inevitable, they are also unfair, as both games are perfectly enjoyable and awesome, without having to force a preference between them.

We also get four new spells, and new Conditions – including Hypothermia, which is a bit like the main Poisoned Condition in Forsaken Lore for providing the expansion theme.

Eldritch Horror

The second Ancient One is Ithaqua:

Eldritch Horror

August Derleth’s giant wendigo, Ithaqua is another of the Ancient Ones from the base game of Arkham Horror, I think he’s the second-easiest to fight against, by common convention. I have to admit, while Yig is definitely more deadly in his Eldritch Horror incarnation, Ithaqua is fairly tame, I felt – though of course, this could just have been down to the start aligning in my favour, as I did have some pretty good draws in my game against him at the weekend.

With his appearance in the game, only two more Ancient Ones are left from the base game of Arkham – Nyarlathotep and Hastur. While Mountains of Madness hasn’t even been out for a fortnight yet, like any rabid boardgamer, I’ve already found myself thinking what’s next for the game. If the model for one new Ancient One in a small box holds true for expansions, there’s a case to be made that either Nyarlathotep or Hastur could provide enough material for this – the former with his Masks and Mi-Go, the latter with the King in Yellow shenanigans. They could also throw an entirely new direction and give us Shudde M’ell and the Cthonians, or Glaaki, or any other of the Ancient Ones that have appeared in the mythos over the years.

And what of side-boards? Have we got more in store? If so, will they always work off an expedition space? It was remarked upon back when the game was first announced how Africa doesn’t have any named spaces, but two expedition spaces – will we be traversing the Heart of Africa? Nyarlathotep will almost certainly be in a Pyramids expansion, with the Dark Pharaoh as his Herald. Ah yes, what of heralds and guardians? Wonder if they’ll do an Eldritch Horror equivalent.

Forsaken Lore was announced about two months after Eldritch Horror was released, but that may not be repeated this time due to the nature of the beast. However, I’m fairly sure the next expansion will be a small box, and will most likely follow the Yig example. However, the next big box is something of a mystery. I’m not exactly desperate for another side-board expansion, and indeed, the way FFG refer to Mountains of Madness as “a side-board expansion for Eldritch Horror” has me wondering if there will be another type of expansion. We could perhaps have a big box that introduces heralds and guardians – maybe even institutions? – and provides more cards for the Ancient Ones and the locations, a sort of Miskatonic Horror with a twist.

Whatever follows Mountains of Madness, I’m looking forward to it with abandon – and I’m sure it’ll be awesome!

Eldritch Horror

Buy it from amazon:
Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness

Off for the holidays!

Yep, I’m done for the festive period now!
It was my birthday on Thursday, and I’d bought the second Shield of Baal campaign book for myself, so picked that up today – that was exciting stuff! I mean: Necrons!

Shield of Baal Exterminatus

So far, I’ve been really enjoying this campaign. Of course, I’m still not a player of the game, as I’m taking my time with building up my Necron army while I wait for the new codex to hit (I think I’ve gone on about this for quite some time now), however I’ve been digesting the novellas that have been published to support all this bumph, and have so far been really impressed! I finished the Deathstorm novella this morning, which is one of the best tie-in stories I’ve ever read, to be honest! I also picked up the third novella in this series this morning, so once I’ve read that, I’ll be bringing some words of wisdom to you all on that!

Shield of Baal

On the subject of Warhammer, I’ve managed to do a little more painting today. I’ve currently got nearly twenty individual miniatures on the go, but have been finding it consistently difficult to get moving for any length of time with them. Today, anyway, I turned my attention to an idea for a scarab base that had excited me when it first came to me earlier in the month. I’ve not yet read Damnos, but I’ve nevertheless been somehow aware of the enmity between the Necrons and Ultramarines, so it really was a no-brainer to come up with the colour scheme…

Necron scarab base

The base colours are done, so I’m going to do some washing and highlighting soon (hopefully tomorrow), then glue those scarabs onto the poor bloke, and job done! For my second painting effort of a space marine, I don’t think it’s half bad, anyway!

Necrons

Imperial Assault

There was a minor flurry of releases from Fantasy Flight last week. Imperial Assault is probably the most notable here, of course – £80 of game, and it looks like you really get some bang for that buck! Down at my local games shop, the manager gave me a quick tour of the game on Wednesday – you basically get a game like Descent, with tiles and miniatures and cards and tokens, but then you get (I think) four rulebooks to suppose the other style of play, skirmish play. On top of that, you also get two mini-expansions, the Luke Skywalker ally pack, and the Darth Vader villain pack. These are apparently similar to the lieutenant packs for Descent, with cards for various bits as well as miniatures, which replace tokens in the main game.

It looks like an absolutely fantastic game, but kinda scares me as being a potential money-sink. It could just be due to the terms of their license agreement, but the game is also listed under “miniatures” rather than “board games” on FFG’s site, as X-Wing is, which makes me wonder if these ally/villain packs are going to be the de facto method of expansion… Hm! We’ll see if Santa has decided I’ve been a particularly good boy this year I suppose…

Mountains of Madness

Mountains of Madness has also been released, which kinda excites me much more than Imperial Assault – aside from the fact that it can be played solo, which is always exciting, I had the base game last xmas, so it’s a nice little repeat of that to have the first big-box expansion this year! It’s currently nestled under my tree, awaiting the big day, so I’m really very excited by this!

The next co-op scenario for Descent, Nature’s Ire, has also been made available, though it’ll most likely be a while before it makes its way over the Atlantic. Same for the next batch of Nightmare Scenarios for Lord of the Rings. I used to snap up the print-on-demand stuff as soon as it was released directly from the company, but postage has recently become ridiculous to get these things over here, so I’m now biding my time waiting for retailers in the UK to get them, though this seems to be taking much longer than usual…

Battlelore Hernfar Guardians

From new releases to new announcements, and we’ve seen a new preview for the upcoming Battlelore expansion, the Hernfar Guardians army pack. I’m not a big Daqan Lords fan, I admit, as I tend not to go for the Empire types where fantasy is concerned. However, I have lately begun to revise my position, and I’m looking forward to seeing this expansion hit the shelves. Of course, Battlelore is another of these games that is really lots of fun to play, but  never get to put on the table these days. So whether I rush to buy this – and the Warband of Scorn for the Uthuk, will remain to be seen…

Battlelore Hernfar Guardians

I was so impressed with the Imperial Raider news, of course, that I devoted an entire separate blog to it, but suffice it to say, I’m still getting fairly excited about X-Wing these days…

That actually brings me onto the subject of the other starship game from FFG, Armada. Take a moment, if you will, to refresh your memory of my earlier comments on the game…

However…

Let me take you back to Gen Con this August, where Armada was demo’d at the Fantasy Flight booth, a video that I didn’t even look at because I wasn’t feeling the love at that time:

First reaction, there are more nuances to this game than I was initially aware of. It’s not just a re-implemented X-Wing – while there are undeniably similarities to the earlier game, Armada does seem like it could be an enjoyable wargame rather than the dogfighting game of X-Wing. I mean, X-Wing feels like a really nice, well thought-out skirmish game between a group of starships, but Armada really succeeds with having the sense of the players being admirals in charge of rival fleets.

Star Wars Armada

I’ve been discussing it with the game store manager today, as he’s got his pre-orders up for the game, and I must admit, I’m beginning to think I’ll actually get it. Of course, whether I also get the expansion packs will remain to be seen, but they do look very pretty…

Star Wars Armada

The inevitable problem, of course, is scaring up someone who would be willing to play this game with me. My regular gaming buddy is no fan of X-Wing, so I doubt he’ll get into this one. It’s a hell of a lot of money to drop on something that might never actually see a play, of course, as well. So…hm. I’m at least feeling a lot more open to the idea of the game than I was in the summer, so that, if nothing else, is worth writing about!

Some weekend reflections

weekend reflections 2

Hey everybody!
So here we are, another weekend closer to Christmas! Whether you celebrate the holiday season or not, I hope you’re nevertheless planning some awesome times for midwinter! Personally, I’m leaning quite heavily toward getting more time with Eldritch Horror. Last year, I had the core game, and it has become such a big favourite of mine in the last twelve months, I think it’s only fitting! Of course, we’re also expecting the expansion very soon, which is just far too many kinds of awesome! I’ve not been following the spoilers all that religiously – I’m waiting to have it in-hand before I begin to look at mechanics and whatnot, but the news has certainly been showing some very interesting things for us to look forward to!

EH03-GameLayout

I actually read At the Mountains of Madness around this time last year, as I like to read at least one Lovecraft tale at Christmas. Having now finished the book I’ve been reading, I’m considering something Weird next…

The big news at the minute, of course, is the release of Imperial Assault. Still being delivered, according to FFG’s website, my local game store apparently had it in stock this morning – is this the merger of FFG and Asmodee declaring itself? They did say they’d benefit from Asmodee’s distribution network in Europe, but while I’ve occasionally had stuff in hand here in the UK when our US cousins are still waiting, it’s never been something this big before… That said, I don’t actually have it in hand, as I’m kinda passing on this one for now. Long-time readers will know my struggles with getting other folks to play games like this, so I’m thinking I might as well concentrate my efforts (and finances!) on games such as Eldritch Horror, which can hit the tabletop without a massive production of getting people together for a game day. I’ve no doubt I’ll get it at some point, but anyway…

The only other thing to really excite me from FFG this past week is the second preview of Gates of Arkham, the next expansion for Elder Sign. Another one of those games that I really enjoy, Gates of Arkham takes the action out of the museum and onto the streets in a move that had some mixed reception from the community initially. However, this seems like a genuinely awesome move, and I’m finding myself really looking forward to this – not every board game expansion can claim that!

Gates of Arkham

Let’s move away from Lovecraftian board games for now – for a change, let’s look at what’s going on in Warhammer! Last weekend, I built up some more Necron Immortals, adding to the two vehicles that were primed and waiting for paint, and the bunch of Lizardmen stuff I’ve still got hanging around unpainted. Yeah. Well, these Immortals are important because it means I now have the minimum army size with which to play a game: namely, a HQ and two units of troops:

Necrons

Exciting, but I still haven’t managed to do anything with them. I’ve made a start with painting, kinda, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m still waiting for the new Codex, which is now purportedly coming in two weeks. Once that hits, I guess the world’ll be my lobster, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

However, I’ve hit a bit of a wall over the painting. I have over a dozen figures in various stages of painting – and I really dread to think how many I’ve got still in boxes! But I seem to have shuddered to a stop. So yesterday I made a real effort to get somewhere, and managed to put on the base coat for the Immortals’ Necrodermis and pauldrons, nothing too glamorous, but it’s a start I suppose…

Necrons

Got to start somewhere I suppose.

Despite these painting problems, I feel quite excited by what’s happening now in 40k, I must say! Last night, Shield of Baal: Exterminatus went up for pre-order on the Games Workshop website, and is inexplicably still available at the time I’m writing this! The conclusion to the Shield of Baal campaign, I really sat up and took notice when I came upon this little tidbit in the description:

– an explanation of how the Necrons of Cryptus awoke to lend their aid to the beleaguered world along with the fleet of Anrakyr the Traveller

Oh yes! Anrakyr, in case you’re wondering, is the chap with the Immortals in the picture above, and the first special character I built for the Necron army I’ve been amassing. I kinda like the fluff for this guy – travelling from Tomb World to Tomb World, waking up the slumbering Necrons, and taking a small detachment for his own from among the ranks as his pay.

As well as the campaign supplements, Shield of Baal has also been giving us novels from the Black Library, and today a new short story has gone up as an e-book: Word of the Silent King.

I’m hoping to get round to this later tonight. As I recall, the Silent King (Szarekh, to his friends) was the guy who entered into the pact with the C’tan that bought them immortality at the price of their souls and who, as a penance for getting his people into that mess, willingly died to see the Nectrontyr put into stasis. Though I might have gotten that wrong. Well, anyway, Szarekh strikes me as an interesting chap, as he seems incredibly sympathetic as far as these soulless soldiers go. Perhaps he will be the Necron Lord that is rumoured to accompany the Codex release. Well, we’ll see…

Horrible times!

I had a couple of games of Eldritch Horror over this weekend, and it’s been simply spectacular, I have to say! It’s games like these that remind me just why I love this one so much. On Saturday I got round to the final two heroes in the game, Charlie Kane and Jim Culver. That was pretty marvellous, I’ve got to say – Charlie ended up with quite the retinue, and it was always hilarious to declare “you can’t detain me, you’ll cause a diplomatic incident!”

Eldritch Horror

Unfortunately, Azathoth woke up, and the world ended.

Eldritch Horror

 

This afternoon, it was time to try again! After yesterday, I had a real itch to get this game out again, this time with some of the expansion components from Forbidden Lore! The expansion has a whole slew of cards for the existing Ancient Ones in the base game, including double the amount of research encounters for each one.

Eldritch Horror

Playing against Yog Sothoth, I was a bit worried, as the only time I’d played against him last time, I lost – and horribly! However, this time it seemed to go a whole lot easier. Maybe I’m just more familiar with the game, I don’t know. Well, anyway,  I got to see both the new Mysteries in the course of the game, one of which uses the new special encounter deck Void Between Worlds. It seemed a bit straightforward, I thought, to complete, but maybe I just got lucky.

Eldritch Horror

Still, all of that aside, this was an awesome game – inexplicably, only my eighth game of Eldritch Horror! As Christmas approaches, I’m hoping to get in many more, though!

 

Oh my goodness! Again!

When this appeared, I was aghast. I think 2014 has been my favourite GenCon to date!

EH03-boxright

 

As you may remember, I’m a big fan of Eldritch Horror, and really enjoyed the small expansion that came out earlier this year. Pretty much since the game was announced, fans (including me!) have been speculating on how big-box expansions would be implemented, given how the base game’s board is, well, the world. I had made this comment on the official forums back in August last year, barely following the game’s announcement:

I have no idea how Powergrid works, but I’m assuming from this talk here that smaller boards are added around the main board, so that when you land on that spot you’re directed to have an encounter in the smaller board? Well, even if that isn’t the case, I could see something like that happening here no problem. Exactly how far you take it, though, could be interesting – how about a small board, say the same size as a Capital board in Warhammer: Invasion, for, say, London, which has specific locations within the city that you can investigate? Too far? Hm. 

Additionally, the map does have these numbered locations at intervals, such as the number 14 (city?) space in Finland, which could easily have a mechanic that adds a ‘Helsinki’ location token to that space with future expansions, much as it appears R’lyeh is added to the number 3 (sea?) space in the video at 4’16. Unfortunately, Rome is such a big location that it obscures Marrakesh, so without a lot of fiddling, we probably won’t get to that place. Actually, looking at the map, Rome has taken over most of Western Europe. Another Hm. At least there are defined spaces in Central America, Indonesia and India to allow for a ‘Helsinki’-type future expansion.  

Incidentally, how hilarious is it to be discussing expansions for a game that has barely been announced?!  :lol:

But now, we have this! To see that we’re getting a “side board” in this expansion is very exciting, indeed!

EH03-GameLayout

I am very over-excited about this game. I didn’t actually get round to reading At the Mountains of Madness until last Christmas, but wasn’t all that impressed, if I’m completely honest:

Largely, my complaint was with the fact that there is supposed to be a sense of urgency to the mission to the Antarctic, and yet a great deal of time is spent by the professors transcribing wall writings, completely ruining any suspense for me. But anyway.

I’m really excited about getting new investigators, as I think I’d’ve liked to have seen some in the small box. But yeah, eight more investigators will be really nice. The possibility of seeing gates open on locations where they previously didn’t intrigues me, I’m assuming some new sort of mechanic will open them on the unnamed spaces?

What I’m most curious about, however, is how on earth you travel between boards! I’m assuming there will be some twist on the rules that allows an investigator, when on the Antarctica expedition space, to travel to the side board, but there’s nothing concrete in the announcement. I have a sneaky feeling that, when travel between boards has been fully spoiled, that will inform speculation for further expansions down the line.

I’m quite heartened by this news. I came to the Arkham party fairly late, so bought the entire game line pretty much in one sweep. I’ve never felt overwhelmed per se, but I think I can see how that might have been the case when they were new. I suppose I would like to see the game expanded with a small box and big box alternating every six months, that would be fine. I hope they can keep the high quality of theme in the expansions, though, as well. The jungle/Yig theme in Forsaken Lore was awesome, and the Antarctic theme in Mountains of Madness looks like it too will be amazing. What’s next? Hopefully something Oriental. Not that I can think of anything in that vein from the mythos, but I did enjoy the Curse of the Jade Emperor asylum pack for the LCG…

Anyway, Mountains of Madness is tremendously good news for Eldritch Horror, so I am really very pleased to see this. Bravo, FFG! Bravo!

Mountains of Madness