It’s the GAMA Trade Show 2017!

Hey everybody!
Well, it’s been an exciting week for games, as the GAMA Trade Show in Vegas showed off some really cool, really interesting things that have got me wanting to play more games! I’ve been trying to digest these things all week, so let’s take a look at some highlights!

First of all, it’s the return of Necromunda – it’s Shadow War: Armageddon! The internet seems to have been baying for the return of Necromunda ever since Games Workshop announced they would be producing specialist games back in the day, and while this clearly isn’t it, it’s probably the next best thing, I would think? I mean, Blood Bowl came back as Blood Bowl, and while Warhammer Quest did get the Age of Sigmar thing for Silver Tower, it still has the name. To produce a squad-based game like this and call it anything other than Necromunda just says that the original game isn’t going to be coming back any time soon. Though in the anniversary year of 40k, who knows if they’ll produce some kind of memorial edition?

At any rate, I think this is really cool, and I’m excited to get myself a copy! The fact that you can use other squads is obviously tailored for selling more miniatures, but I like the fact that you can customise your game experience right from the off, so that’s a big plus in my book!

GW were also showing off some of the new Kharadron Overlords at the show, which is a nice touch and they do look pretty great!

The biggest thing to come from the show is said to have been this new A Song of Ice and Fire tabletop miniatures game from Cool Mini Or Not. I enjoyed Battles of Westeros back in the day, and the Game of Thrones LCG is one of my favourites, but I don’t really think I’m going to take the plunge. I’ve noticed, in fact, that I’m leaning away from Westeros as time has gone on, mainly I think I’m just losing interest in the whole thing. I’ve talked about the books on this blog before, of course, and while the first three were really great, tightly-constructed yet deeply complex plots, the story seems to have gotten unwieldy for the sake of it. I’ve always preferred the books to the show anyway, but it seems that these things have become caricatures of themselves, as they seek to out-do expectations by being over the top and whatnot. A game on the subject, therefore, holds little appeal…

But what else has been going on in Vegas?

There are some interesting bits here at the Flying Frog booth, notably the looks at the Mission Packs for Shadows of Brimstone! I’m still a little bummed that I haven’t had anything beyond the base games delivered yet, but seeing those packs has gotten me once more interested in the game, and excited to see all of the rest of the content coming out for it all!

There are only two other games that have sparked my attention in this montage here (from the excellent Rodney Smith of Watch It Played – if you haven’t already, please go check out his youtube channel, it’s amazing) are Rise of Tribes and Meduris: Call of the Gods.

Meduris reminds me a lot like Stone Age, one of the resource-management games that feel like Settlers of Catan without being as rage-inducing. Rise of Tribes looks to have a similar feel, though I like the fact that it has a dice mechanic that determines your actions for the round, that sounds really nice and strategic… Meduris is out in the world now of course, while Rise of Tribes is going onto kickstarter in June, apparently, which is giving me some pause… I’m not the biggest fan of these things, after all, so we’ll have to see how this turns out!

Runewars Miniatures Game

Fantasy Flight also had a heavy showing of the Runewars miniatures game, which they seem to be pushing really quite heavily at the moment. While they still have some pretty big licences, such as Star Wars and Lovecraft, it strikes me that they’re really pushing this game out there to fill the gap left from parting with Games Workshop last month. The game is expected in April, but I have to say, the more I’m seeing of it, the less I’m thinking it’s going to be something I want. There are certainly some interesting things going on in this game, for sure, but I don’t think it will be worth making such a huge investment up front for something that only looks mildly interesting. Might have to wait for my local store to run a demo…

So yeah, that’s GAMA 2017, folks!

Forbidden Fortress!

Hey everybody!
Well I’m kinda gutted that my game day blog for yesterday didn’t upload – a (late) Halloween look at the Omens of Ice expansion for Elder Sign. Well, it’ll just have to be later now! It should be up on the blog next week instead.

In case you aren’t aware, though, Flying Frog Productions have now gone live with their second Kickstarter project, Forbidden Fortress! It’s a third core set for the Shadows of Brimstone line and, as the name suggests, it’s set in feudal Japan.

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I went all-in on the Shadows of Brimstone kickstarter, and when the game finally arrived, I wasn’t what you’d call impressed with it all. I have played it a few times, and intend to give it the full game-day treatment here soon, but overall, it seemed a bit of a disappointment overall. I’m also one of these backers who hasn’t received all of the stuff, so that’s annoying. But anyway.

When FFP announced the Japanese arm of their dungeon-crawler at GenCon this year, I was hopeful that they would have learnt from the last campaign and this one would be a bit smoother. So far it’s been interesting, seeing the early bird levels work out much better than last time, for instance. The project was funded in just 4 minutes, which I find hilarious, but the stretch goals are still paced every 25k, and they’re blowing through them as they did in the last campaign. It does make me slightly worry!

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I’m currently pledged in at Sumo level, which speaks as much to my appearance as to my trepidation over another game right now. I suppose if I had more experience with the earlier game, I might be better placed to know if I’d want to go all-in for it, but so far I’m just too much on the fence because I don’t really know how I feel about the original Shadows of Brimstone yet. I may end up changing for a Shogun-level pledge before the end, as it’s likely to be worth more in the long run. However, I don’t relish the fact of putting up so much money right now and then potentially waiting a few more years before getting everything. Might be worth my while to wait for retail.

I don’t know a lot about Japanese mythology, but I do have an interest in it, so I’m finding that most of my interest in the game overall is coming from this aspect than the actual game. I also don’t have a great deal of Japanese-themed games, Journey Wrath of Demons being a notable exception of course, so it’ll no doubt be good to have in the collection. Especially given how thematic FFP games tend to be.

So I guess we’ll see where the next month takes us. At first glance, it doesn’t look like FFP are changing their engine to any great degree, and the box is fully-compatible with the earlier boxes, so I guess no huge changes will be made at this stage. For me, though, it’s more a matter of quality of the materials than anything else. I guess we’ll see…

Are you backing Shadows of Brimstone: Forbidden Fortress? Let me know in the comments below!

Upcoming Games!

We’re rapidly heading towards Christmas, which can only mean one thing: big games are coming! Okay, so it probably means more than that, but still! There are a lot of interesting things on the horizon, some nearer than others, so I thought for today’s game day blog, I’d ramble a little about these upcoming delights!

Burning of Prospero

The Burning of Prospero is coming out this weekend, and it looks spectacular. Along with a mass of Mk-3 Space Marines, we’re getting some of the most exciting models to be released by Games Workshop in quite a while! I had the chance to look at the sprues at my local store on Saturday, and those Custodes and Sisters of Silence are both amazing. I was even surprised to find myself excited by the Space Wolves character – normally I don’t go in for those guys, but the level of detail on him was fantastic! Definitely looking forward to getting a hold of this one!

The preview video put out by GW last week spends a lot of time talking about the theme of the game, before really quickly glossing over the rules, which at first made me wonder if the substance is in the theme rather than the mechanics. I really like the idea of using more than just d6s in the game, but I think I’ll need to look through the box myself before forming a real opinion. It looks fantastic, but as a game, I’ll reserve judgement. Of course, most people will likely be buying this for the miniatures rather than to play the game, but I have heard some good stuff about Betrayal at Calth, so I think it would be good to look at it in both aspects. Being mark three marines, I’m not overly keen, so more so than with Calth, I’m thinking I’d probably keep this as an actual game. Though I may break out the Custodians and the Sisters for other purposes…!

I don’t think it’s technically right to call it an expansion or anything for last year’s Betrayal at Calth, but more another game – another starting point – in the Horus Heresy universe. And speaking of alternative starting points for games…

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

We’re also on the brink of the next game in the Shadows of Brimstone line from Flying Frog Productions: Forbidden Fortress! Turns out the wandering samurai hero class was a portent of things to come, as we delve into Feudal Japan and all sorts of weird goings-on there! We’ll be fighting Japanese spirits in the third core set for the game, which is kinda exciting that it can both be added to or used independently of the existing material. I also like the idea that they’re reviving one of the missed stretch goals, the Belly of the Beast other world, for this one.

However, Shadows of Brimstone has been a bit of a let-down for me, if I’m being completely honest. The latest update, which not only served to formally announce the upcoming kickstarter (after the GenCon reveal) but also detailed the ongoing work on several other aspects of the Brimstone stuff, such as the Blasted Wastes, and I’m feeling really excited for it once more. However, it’s been almost three years since the game was kickstarted, and almost two years since I took delivery of the two core sets. The game is okay, the components felt a bit rushed, but more than anything I’m kinda pissed that so much of this material is available to retail, while the actual backers have to either wait or pay more money to get. That attitude saddens me, though, because the kickstarter was so badly handled that the company made it too good of a deal, and so I completely understand that they’d want to make as much as they could off the stuff. But that knowledge doesn’t take the bad taste away for me.

Kickstarter in general has become something of a hazardous area for me in the last year or so, however, and I’m no longer willing to invest in anything from there, partially because of the poorly handled campaigns such as this or Journey, which is kinda sad really.

I’ll certainly be checking the campaign out, of course, and look out for my long-overdue game day blog on Shadows of Brimstone, which I intend to bring out early December!

Blood Bowl

I think most gamers are aware the quintessential Fantasy football game Blood Bowl is making its long-awaited return to miniature war gaming before Christmas, although if I’m honest, the first time I’ve shown genuine interest in the game was actually when I came to write this blog!

I’m a big fan of the card game from Fantasy Flight, Blood Bowl: Team Manager, so I’m not entirely ignoring this. However, certainly within my local area, enthusiasm for the game seems mostly driven by nostalgia for the original, which I can’t pretend to share.

I think the miniatures look really great, for sure, though unlike with pretty much any of the other games they’ve put out for me to see so far, these things don’t look like they’d translate into any other game system. I suppose the Orcs might, but they all look like they’re American football players, after all…

Overall, I’m not that convinced with this one, and might need to see more or even play a game or two before making my mind up on Blood Bowl. I’m sure it’ll be great, though it might just not be for me…

We’ve seen a lot of boxed games coming out of Nottingham this year, and it’s been a really great time to see Games Workshop returning to their roots of an actual workshop of games. While I’m not necessarily chomping at the bit for stuff like Epic or Necromunda, I hope that we’ll be seeing a lot of great stuff like Deathwatch: Overkill and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower in the years to come!

GenCon 2016!

Hey everybody!
It’s GenCon 2016, the best four days in gaming, and this is my attempt to round up all of the stuff that I think looks particularly amazing as the weekend rolls on!

Warhammer 40k Death Masque

Let’s start with something not announced at the con, but is definitely worth a mention all the same – Death Masque, the new boxed game for Warhammer 40k that appears to be replacing the current intro box, Dark Vengeance. Games Workshop are really pushing Deathwatch stuff, it seems, following the Overkill boxed game earlier in the year. Along with the game, which features Harlequins vs Deathwatch Marines, they’ve got the new codex and data cards available for pre-order this weekend, to allow for quite the launch for the latest additions to the 40k line. I really like the whole Deathwatch idea and lore, so will no doubt be picking up the codex next weekend, though the box set might have to wait for a while. Especially seeing as how I’ve got so many other projects on the go!

Fantasy Flight Games are always the company I’m most interested in at GenCon, so let’s move on to see what they’re currently up to. In recent years, they’ve taken to making most of their announcements in the weeks leading up to the convention, saving just one or two showstoppers for the actual event itself, and 2016 is no different there. I’ve already talked about the new Star Wars dice game here, but let’s take a look at what else is going on…

Imperial Assault is getting a new small-box expansion later in the year, centred on Jabba’s Palace. Looks amazing, though this is a game I have unfortunately barely played, so I’m questioning the need to actually buy this when it launches. You can bet your ass, of course, if I manage to make this game into a regular thing, I’ll be snapping it up! Jabba is also one of the new hero/villain releases accompanying the game, as well as a new Luke Skywalker.

Mansions of Madness is a Descent-style game that I’ve owned for years but never gotten round to featuring on the blog. It’s a really great, thematic game, but there hadn’t been any news on it for a long time, until FFG announced the new second edition a couple of weeks ago. Looks to involve an app similar to the Road to Legend app for Descent, though I’m currently undecided – I’m not about to go buy the second edition, owning all of first edition anyway, but I’m not sure if it would be the same experience. The game launched at GenCon, anyway, and seems to be getting a lot of hype from folks across the internet, so there is that!

More exciting from my perspective is the new Arkham Horror LCG. I’d heard about this recently as a rumour, but the announcement last week really got me excited for what looks to be an awesome gameplay experience! Looks similar to Elder Sign in parts, though the RPG-like feel to the whole thing has got me incredibly excited, so this is definitely on the Christmas list!

Doom is a classic of the boardgame world, though I’ve never had the opportunity to play it previously. All I can say on this right now is, the miniatures look incredible! And speaking of miniatures…

Runewars Miniatures Game

I was honestly not expecting this, and I’m still not entirely recovered from my shock following yesterday’s announcement! The “original” Runewars is a game I’ve played but once, though it’s still fantastic, and I’ve been wanting to feature it on the blog for a while now. Set in the same universe as Rune Age and Battlelore, it’s a game I’d thought dead, especially given the popularity of Battlelore nowadays.

It’s not just the fact that this is a new game set in the Terrinoth universe, this is a huge deal for FFG. A rank-and-file miniatures war game is a huge thing for any company, and to see them do this really warms my heart, as it feels like we’re seeing more games that have that juggernaut feel to them from the company. Horus Heresy, Runewars, and Twilight Imperium are all games that fit the classic mould, and it looks like FFG are perhaps making a return to that style of game here.

Very exciting times are ahead, I feel!

What’s been going on at the In-Flight Report this year, then?

Interesting stuff there, looks like FFG are making a lot of these app-driven games since X-Com…

Announced a while back, Legend of the Five Rings has another year to go before it arrives, but that should allow for FFG to make it pretty awesome. I’m not slavering for it, but it’s probably going to be picked up when it comes out, so there is that! Any LCG from Fantasy Flight is amazing, after all!

Looks like a pair of “expansions” to second edition of Mansions of Madness, which feature content from the first edition core set and expansions. Seems like second edition might be worth looking into more deeply after all!

X-Wing Wave X

Wave 10 for X-Wing (sorry, Wave X!) is coming, with ships from Rebels and The Force Awakens. I’m genuinely surprised they’ve managed to keep going so long with this game, I thought they would have shifted to a cards-only supplement style of expansion before now!

This is here because I still can’t get over my shock!

I’ve been seeing a lot of positive vibes around this game across Twitter, so I’m thinking that I’ll definitely try it out once it’s released…

I still can’t get over this Runewars announcement…

While there was a lot of amazing stuff coming out of the In-Flight Report this year, I’m more surprised by what hasn’t been announced at GenCon this year – a new big box expansion for Eldritch Horror, and anything about Warhammer Quest the card game. I find this lack of anything fairly suspicious, so it’ll bear keeping an eye on in the future, I think…

But what about the other companies out there?

Star Wars and Carcassonne… I don’t even… I mean, why?! Carcassonne is a good game, but I feel that perhaps some of the expansions for the main game have shown just how far that game can be taken, so instead we’re getting a lot of re-skins, which I suppose are okay if you like the theme, but seriously, why don’t you just get the main game? Hm.

Legendary meets Buffy as the next IP @upperdeckent

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Having recently bought the boxset to rediscover my love for Buffy, this is perhaps some of the most exciting news to come out of Gen Con for me this year! A co-op game sounds super interesting, and I love the Legendary thing, so definitely going to snap this one up when it comes out, that’s for sure!

Mythic Battles Pantheon from Mythic Games/Monolith…#gencon2016

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Okay, so I had the game Mythic Battles, and I sold it after having never played it in the 2+ years of ownership. These miniatures look so incredibly beautiful, however, that I may have to keep an eye on this bad boy…

The Trederra invasion is on! (Brimstone)

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Flying Frog haven’t officially shared anything (yet), but a few people have been posting up pictures of the stuff they’re picking up as part of wave 1.5 of Shadows of Brimstone, and it does look kinda neat, I have to say. I’m still a bit bummed by the fact that I don’t have a lot of the stuff that I backed, but as many others have pointed out, the kickstarter was a hell of a deal, so I’m not complaining too loudly!

What’s very interesting, to me, is this news:

It’s interesting to me because I don’t have a lot of games with this theme, but it’s something I would like to explore in more depth. The fact that it’s going to be a kickstarter is not exactly getting my juices going, but y’know, I think FFP might have learnt from the Shadows of Brimstone experience, and perhaps things will be better this time around. I’m cautiously optimistic, though I might pass until it actually hits retail, so I guess we’ll see how things pan out. Of course, I’m quite sad they’ve had to put all of their other games on hold while they fulfill the SoB pledges, as I’m keen to see where they take Fortune & Glory, and A Touch of Evil, next!

Of course, FFP don’t have the only Oriental-themed game coming soon:

My favourite game designer, Eric Lang, has come up with, well…

…with beautiful minis, as always!

I should try to contain myself, though that might be very difficult!

That’s all for now! I’ll be updating here whenever I find more interesting stuff to share, so don’t think it’s over yet!

The Holiday Devil!

Hey everybody!
It’s game day once again here at spalanz.com, and today marks an extra-special game day blog as it’s Christmas week! Whether you’re celebrating with presents and food, or if it’s just time off work – or even if it’s just another week – I hope you’re all having a grand old time! Personally, I find there’s nothing so magical as spending a couple of hours with some supernatural horror, so it’s time once again to take a look at the always-excellent A Touch of Evil, and the second “holiday villain”, as we fight against the demonic Krampus!

You may recall, of course, this was a web villain exclusive from Flying Frog Productions last Christmas – which got me very excited at the time, as I love the amount of elaborate work that often goes into these web villains. While I didn’t get to try him out last year, I have now had the pleasure, and I want to give some brief impressions today!

A Touch of Evil Krampus

First of all, I liked this villain a lot. While not as wonderful as the Volgovian Nutcracker, he is nevertheless an interesting villain to go up against. For those unfamiliar with the folklore, Krampus is a devil who runs around at Christmastime punishing bad children by whipping them with birch rods, like a reverse St Nicholas. Indeed, Krampus punishes these children on the night before St Nicholas’ Day (6 December). For the town of Shadowbrook, many of the original immigrants brought the Germanic tradition of Krampus with them, and regularly celebrate with parades and feasting. And this is where the fun begins!

At the start of the game, Reveler tokens are placed on the dangerous locations, and a pool of townsfolk tokens is created by all the town elders and allies, whose cards are removed from their respective decks. One townsfolk token is placed in each corner location, and the stage is set for the festivities to begin!

Over the course of the game, heroes can search the crowd of revelers for clues by rolling a d6; if you roll a 5 or 6, you’ve found the real Krampus and he attacks you! On the roll of 1-4, however, you can either collect investigation tokens equal to the number rolled, or gain one Egg Grog token, which prevents up to two wounds being done to you or an ally with you. The band of revelers then moves on to a random location, but if they ever enter a space with a townsfolk token, that townsfolk is taken by Krampus and placed in his sack!

While there are of course a multitude of other things going on in the game, which I’ll get to shortly, this is the core of the new villain and how he changes the gameplay. I must admit, it took me a while to “get” this, and for a number of turns I wasn’t interacting with the revelers, which meant they were just nothing on the board, and the game didn’t feel that exciting or different. Reveler tokens don’t stop movement – instead, you search the crowd as an elective action. However, the potential benefits of the Egg Grog tokens (or even the bonus investigation) should get you searching the crowd as often as you’d search a corner location!

A Touch of Evil Krampus

The other big new mechanic here is Naughty and Nice. At the start of your turn, you choose whether your hero is naughty or nice, taking the corresponding token. If you were nice, then nothing immediately happens, and the token is returned to the bank. If you were naughty, however, you keep the token, you gain one investigation for each naughty token you have, then you roll a d6; if you equal or less than the number of tokens you have, you take as many wounds as naughty tokens you have, then return them all to the bank. In addition, if you roll a 5 you get a free event, and if you roll a 6 you get a free town item. Having multiple Egg Grog tokens really helps if you’re planning to push your luck here!

Naughty and Nice also has an interaction with the Minion Chart, which only includes one such minion – the faun – and two Events. Perchta is a follower of Krampus in the folklore, and the result of a roll of 3-4 on the Minion chart. Rewarding the virtuous and good, while punishing the wicked by ripping our their intestines and replacing them with straw, this event gives each nice hero d6 investigation, while forcing d3 hits on each naughty hero. Another event on the chart, Birkenrute, similarly punishes naughty heroes by forcing the discard of d6 investigation, items or allies (the chart also says “wounds”, but I’m guessing it doesn’t mean heal yourself…) Both of these events are very thematic for the villain, and while events seem to so rarely come up in games, they were nevertheless fun when they did!

But what about Krampus’ sack?

Well, folklore describes how Krampus roams the neighbourhood abducting particularly bad children, carrying them back to his lair in a sack, whereupon he eats them. In the game, any townsfolk in Krampus’ sack will be eaten on the roll of 4+ whenever the shadow track moves into a new stage. Hilariously, however, during a fight with the villain, you can target the sack and potentially rescue anyone trapped inside if you score a successful hit. The townsfolk rescued in this way immediately join you, which is nice! You can also attempt to team up with townsfolk still on the board by paying 3 investigation and rolling a 4+ when you encounter them.

A Touch of Evil Krampus

I really enjoyed this villain. The extent to which allies matter is really amazing – and can be increased if you have The Allies supplement for the game, of course! I always like to try to get a couple of extra folks whenever I’m playing, so you feel like you really have a posse going on there, and this has never been easier with this addition. While the potential is obviously there to ignore the revelers and see very little happen with regard the sack, and always choose to be nice, effectively rendering the large part of the game pointless, I can’t actually imagine anyone would elect to play in this manner.

It’s no Volgovian Nutcracker, which remains one of my all-time favourite villains for the game, (and I’m looking forward to going up against him again in my now-traditional game on Christmas Eve), but Krampus is still a really cool villain for the game, and one that I feel is well-implemented and enjoyably different. Variety is always great, and having a huge cast of villains to go up against is awesome.

He’s also free, so what are you waiting for?!

A Touch of Evil – revisited

Hey everybody!
Tuesday is Game Day here at spalanz.com, and for today’s blog I’m taking a look at a game that has already come under the spotlight of awesome here: A Touch of Evil!

A Touch of Evil

I’ve been playing this game a lot recently with only the base game, something that I tend not to do with these kinds of games very much. And this is really what I thought I’d write about today. You can see all about the game in the earlier blog, where the mechanics are explained and whatnot. I’ve been really interesting in my own attitude to gaming lately, so I thought I’d explore this instead, and see where it goes. It might not end up being a very interesting blog, and I may not do many more like it, but let’s see, anyway!

A Touch of Evil

A Touch of Evil is a perfectly fine game in and of itself, and you can have a whole boat-load of fun without any expansions. However, I always find myself playing the game with at least one, and when I’ve played it without any in the past, I’ve always had something of a mediocre experience with it. I find this really interesting, and it got me thinking back to my very first games with it.

I was introduced to the game by an ex-girlfriend, and we played quite a lot of it (though she always preferred the same company’s Last Night on Earth). The fact that it can be played competitively or co-operatively, as well as the historical theme, has always greatly appealed to me. We bought it when it was new out, so obviously for a long time we could only play it with the base game, but we still did so, and we still enjoyed it. As expansions came out, we added them in, and always had a good time – but this is where the interesting thing (to me) comes in. Once Something Wicked had come out, we never went back to playing with just the base game. Even if we were using a base game villain, we’d still use the Echo Lake board.

A Touch of Evil

When I bought it for myself, I bought the entire line in one go, though still played the base game by itself at first, to get to grips with it once more. As I said, I’ve come back to just the base game a few times since, as well, but it has always felt a little lacklustre to do so.

But why?

The game didn’t fundamentally change when Something Wicked was released. Sure, there were more mechanics going on, but the components of the base game are still the same as they were when it was released, so why should something that posed a decent challenge and provided lots of fun suddenly stop doing so?

I suppose the obvious answer here is a change in my own skill level. As my familiarity with the base game increased, I could prepare and play accordingly. However, while this might be something of a knee-jerk response, I don’t feel that it really holds up to scrutiny. The fact that the game involves drawing from decks of cards and rolling dice means that any level of skill is mitigated by the high luck aspect. There are some location cards I’ve forgotten about because I haven’t encountered them all that regularly. There is too much random going on in this game to be able to properly assess the damage certain mystery cards can provide, meaning that almost any card is simultaneously both dreadful and an easy pass, depending on the game state right there and then.

Strategy in such games all-too-often boils down to stock up on items and then go after the villain, even if it means paying 12 investigation for a lair card. Sure, there can be micro-strategies happening, such as always sending your female investigators to fight the succubus, but in the main, there’s not a lot else that can be done.

However, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’re not only an amazing person, but you’ll know that I am a huge fan of thematic play, and I will rarely go into this game thinking “I’ll just stock up on stuff and then go in all-guns-blazing”. I like to explore the board, and even when I’m drawing seemingly random encounters, I like to see how I can weave these things into a narrative that is telling the story of the game. Immersing myself in the experience, I like the fact that I don’t get to fight the villain until the end (more often than not, at least!) as it lends an air of mystery to the game. I keep coming across packs of wolves, and what was that succubus all about at the covered bridge? Oh no, it’s a vampire!

A Touch of Evil

However, playing thematically will only take you so far, and I think the issue – for me, at least – is just that I’ve been spoilt by expansions. The base game for any game line will invariably give you a good, all-round experience of the game, but it won’t be particularly mind-boggling (at least, not anymore). It falls to the line of expansions to enrich the gameplay experience further, once you’ve been pulled in by the initial purchase and like the basic mechanics. A Touch of Evil is no different to a whole host of other games in this regard, and I could have really picked any other game in my collection to write about in this sense. In the case of Something Wicked, we have more locations with complex encounters, we have more villains with more complex mechanics, the whole game is taken up a step by the addition of this board. If you add in The Coast, you’re in for the night with that game setup! However, once you’ve experienced that sort of craziness, by paring it back to the base game once again, I for one feel like I’m having a fairly basic experience, which I think is the crux of this entire issue here.

Expansions aren’t always necessary, and can sometimes feel like a real train-wreck. Other times, expansions are necessary to the continued enjoyment of a game, but fail to deliver as they only provide a more-of-the-same feel. Yet other times, expansions add a whole new dimension to a game that makes them virtually inseparable to the main game. While I’ve always been a great lover of expansions, this has always stemmed from the fact that I like variety, and new ways to play a game, though I am opposed to expansions for the sake of it. A game like A Touch of Evil certainly falls into the category of needing more expansions, and those that we have for the game have served to enhance the experience immeasurably. You don’t need expansions to enjoy the game for what it is, but I feel you certainly need them to ensure you continue to enjoy the game.

What about you? Can you play just a base game and enjoy it forever, or are you more of an expansion fiend?

Gen Con 2015!

Gen Con 2015 has begun! While it’s still early hours for the best four days in gaming, the tweets have already started!

Announced just last week, Fury of Dracula is coming in the fourth quarter in a new edition.

Kingdom Death was a kickstarter from years back with beautiful minis, but never seemed to get anywhere and, while I hadn’t backed it, I still kinda lost interest. Finally on its way? That’ll make for some very happy backers!

If you’ve been following this on Geek & Sundry, you’ll know it’s a pretty amazing series so far!

Update: Fantasy Flight in-flight report:

Still not really all that interested in this one, I have to say. I have the first edition LCG stuff that I’m pretty happy with, and will no doubt play with for a long time to come, so it’s a bit unnecessary for me at this point. But I’m sure others will enjoy it – if this selling-out is anything to go by!

New for Descent: Mists of Bilehall! Sounds gross, but more Descent is good!

More for Eldritch Horror – this looks amazing! Mountains of Madness was one of my most-exciting games from last year at Gen Con, and it looks like FFG are doing it again now!

Well this is interesting – “as big as the original game”??? Good grief, I need to find Imperial Assault players, and fast!

X-Wing Imperial Assault Carrier

The first of the new X-Wing announcements, and a second big ship for the Imperials. Interesting – though I can’t help feeling they’re scraping the barrel a little with what they can provide. We’ll see how it pans out in the official previews and whatnot, anyway.

X-Wing Wave 8

Wave 8 is here, and Wave 7 isn’t even out (properly) yet! Looks to be following a similar pattern as well, with help for the Scum faction while still supporting the older two. Punishing One looks fun, though, and kinda ties in with the Dengar villain pack shown in the Imperial Assault pic…

Warhammer Quest

Well, THIS looks like fun! I was hoping FFG hasn’t seen the last of Warhammer Fantasy, and lo! We get something that looks unutterably amazing! I never played the original board game, but am extremely excited to get my hands on a card game set in the Old World once more!

Runebound 3rd Edition

So it looks like this is the big reveal of Gen Con 2015! Runebound 3rd edition is something I’ve long thought was a dead-in-the-water idea, but the guys at FFG have proven me wrong, and with style, no less! Very interested in what this will play like when I get my hands on it.

…because I will be getting it, you can guarantee that! Check out the official preview over on their website, then join me in waiting with mounting anticipating for the Christmas release!

So it looks like this will be launching with a bang. In fact, I’m kinda dreading this Christmas, if Runebound/Eldritch Horror/Imperial Assault expansions are due out, and then whatever FFG have got cooking to tie into The Force Awakens! My guess is some sort of X-Wing-like game. I don’t think they’ll have mere expansions for the existing game, though they might be cross-compatible. But given they’ve said X-Wing has been their most successful game ever, it’d follow they’d try to emulate that, but perhaps with a new flavour for the new movie. I’m guessing we won’t really see anything spoiled before release, as is their usual MO, however…

And finally – the new quest for Lord of the Rings!! Looks like they won’t be continuing the theme from last year, by providing a tie-in Saga quest, but still sounds cool enough:

So there you have it – some really excellent reasons to be excited for board games for yet another year from FFG. Also reasons why you should probably look at selling organs now…

Still looking forward to Ghostbusters arriving in October (fingers crossed!) Haven’t really been seeing much come out of Cryptozoic that I feel a desperate urge to own, however. I was hoping we might see some more news on the Cerberus games – maybe a Street Fighter expansion, finally? But nothing – yet!

Haven’t seen anything from Flying Frog Productions yet, though they were late to the e-party last year as I recall. However, this has popped up on boardgamegeek – I hope it’s not a dreaded promo card for Dark Gothic! There’s also some cool new info on further Shadows of Brimstone goodness that we can hopefully expect not too far down the line.

And finally (for now) – take a look at this. Warhammer Age of Sigmar is being displayed! Games Workshop outreach to the community at last! Can’t really see anything new (new terrain that goes on pre-order tomorrow, but nothing big enough to discern otherwise), but it’s still good to see the company take part in such a big gaming event!

Update: Two Days In

More Shadows of Brimstone previews #gencon2015 #shadowsofbrimstone #flyingfrogproductions

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New Shadows of Brimstone models available for a special Gen con preview #gencon2015 #shadowsofbrimstone #flyingfrogproductions

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From bad… to worse. Playing Shadows of Brimstone demo. #gencon2015 #tentacles #goodgames

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Some more pictures of Shadows of Brimstone stuff have been trickling through the internets, and while I’m still a bit bummed by the miniatures quality, in a weird way I’m glad that it’ll all fit with the base games. They’ve released two new monster groups at GenCon, Hell Vermin Rats, and Swamp Slugs of Jargono. A lot of people seem annoyed that they’ve been working on non-kickstarter stuff, but I’m pretty ambivalent at the minute, as I didn’t get on the Wave 1.5 train so I’m just patiently waiting for one mahoosive delivery of stuff at some undetermined future date!

Descent Mists of Bilehall

Official FFG updates on a Saturday are the cornerstone of GenCon! Today, they’ve put up a preview for the upcoming expansion to Descent, Mists of Bilehall, which doesn’t come with new heroes but instead provides a lot of stuff for the Overlord, predominantly monsters! Yeah!

Descent Mists of Bilehall

And what awesome monsters! That red dude, the Bone Horror, is a particular favourite, it looks incredible! Three more Lieutenant Packs are also on their way, and taken together, a theme emerges around the lands of Waiqar the Undying, which ties in pretty nicely with the Undead faction that’s coming out soon for Battlelore! Nice!

Unfortunately, still nothing on a big box co-op expansion yet…

The folks over at Team Covenant have also been busy with a whole host of the new games that are for sale at Gen Con this year – take a look!

Blood Rage is another kickstarter I backed, due for release in October. Take a look at the awesome:

The weekend hits!

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is a game I recently mentioned as one I was aware of but hadn’t actually taken the time to look into. As it happens, it looks really amazing, and I feel like I need it in my life quite desperately! Certainly looking forward to getting this one!

I have no idea what these goblin figures are for, but I’ve come to love these chaps lately, so might even look at getting some!

Good to see Runebound being demoed, though I’m currently struggling to find opinions on how it plays. My quest will continue, however!

I’ve only played one game of Abyss, but it was pretty good. Great to see the game growing, with new mechanics that sound very interesting!

(This will be updated throughout the weekend, so feel free to keep checking in for more awesome stuff!)