Some hobby updates

Hey everybody,
It seems to be going really well at the minute, and I’m riding a bit of a hobby progress wave, so thought I’d come here to ramble about it, as I usually do! I’m feeling really positive about the hobby and stuff, so I think it’s good to celebrate this (and, hopefully, keep that wave going!)

I had a second game with the Sisters at the start of the week, again against JP and his Imperial Fists. This was a much better game for me, though I still lost – I had tweaked the list to bring the unit of Celestians that I talked about last time, and while my game plan didn’t entirely go according to plan, I was nevertheless able to play with more of the rules than last time, getting enough buffs that I was able to actually be a part of the game, rather than providing target practice. So that was nice!

Of course, it was an uphill struggle even without having a lot of units shot off the field before I have a chance to play. I was able to hide the bulk of my army in dense cover, so the Imperial Fists thing of ignoring light cover didn’t come into play, yet there were a few units left out in the open. However, giving him a tank as the main target did mean that I was able to survive enough to be able to do stuff when my turn came. Being S3 T3 is a distinct disadvantage, though, and I found myself shooting meltaguns at infantry, which is always just a waste. A few of the tricks that I was trying to pull off depended on dice rolls, such as the Dialogus hymns of battle, and so naturally I failed every time. The addition of improving AP on weapons became key, though, as we had decided to play with the Armour of Contempt rule from the balance dataslate, meaning that we were both benefiting from the rule that worsens the AP by 1. Being able to keep my melta shots at AP-4 helped a lot, and the flamers benefited too.

However, while I tried to focus on the mission rather than getting distracted by killing stuff, I was only able to score 24 victory points, while JP had picked better secondary objectives for 37 points by the end of round 3, at which point we decided to call it a day. It was also 1am, and I had work the next day, so…

I’m really enjoying learning the army, but the way Primaris Marines are able to build a better army list that just interlocks so well, whereas I’m fighting to try to do half of that stuff the same, just makes it such a battle to play well. I think that Sisters are really not the army to take against this kind of army. Even though I was able to kill the Redemptor Dreadnought, the Impulsor, the Assault Intercessor squad and the Aggressors, I lost almost my entire army doing so because it took so much effort to bring stuff down. I’m stopping short of saying it was oppressive, but in general I don’t think the game is fun when it is skewed so well in favour of Space Marines. Something I really disagreed with, and yet it is clearly the right rule, was how a squad of five Intercessors was able to destroy my unit of Seraphim by shooting through a building. The rules are clear, that building is light cover, and Imperial Fists ignore light cover, so as they could see through the windows they shot, and they killed. It’s like shooting through an office block, basically – they are just allowed to do it. Meh.

I’m not going to abandon them, but for our next game, I’m switching back to Necrons, as I have been thinking a lot about getting them back to the table, and JP is keen to see how well the Fists fare against 60+ tesla carbines. So that should be fun.

Following on from my August Audit blog at the start of the month, I’ve been thinking a little bit about how I could potentially plan for the rest of the year and aim to get things finished. I don’t want to go crazy of course, as I find when I spread myself too thinly I end up doing very little of anything. The time around Easter this year, when I stalled with my Tau and promptly spent about three months in a bit of a hobby wilderness, moving from odd project to odd project without any kind of focus. Sure, I finished painting 10 Chaos Marines and 10 Khorne Bloodreavers, but I wasn’t able to sustain either into any kind of proper project.

At the minute, I’m finding myself incredibly focused on the Sisters, and have been amazed at how easy and quick my paint scheme is to work with. I’ve painted a ten-woman squad in a single week, whereas with other projects ten-model units have taken easily twice that length of time! The Celestians have taken just a handful of days, too. I think, having a very clear idea of what each model needs, coupled with the drive to get them painted for games, has meant I’m able to push through and get a lot done quite quickly.

I find myself comparing this current hobby streak with my painting progress for the Genestealer Cultists last autumn/winter. In the period of four months from September to December, I ended up painting almost a full army, eleven units at something well over 1000 points in total. While five of those units were single-model characters, I still painted 30 Neophytes and 5 Metamorphs, so I was no slouch! Currently, my Sisters tally is looking a whole lot better – it hasn’t even been a month, and already I’ve painted up 17 models, with another five almost done. If I can keep this going, I should really outstrip my Genestealer Cults record by the time Christmas rolls around!

I’m trying to stop short of actually planning anything, as I find that generally means I fail at the first hurdle and move on to something else entirely, but I think my main goals for the foreseeable future are to finish painting the Repentia and the Penitent Engine, then to paint the 10 Novitiates and the 5 Retributors. That still leaves a bit of a chunk to paint, but it’s all I want to focus on for the time being. For all that I said the colour scheme has been easy to do, I still need to give some thought to that for the Novitiates, as I’m not sure if I should paint them a little differently…

I’m still fully intending to ride this wave of getting the Sisters painted, of course, as it would be lovely to have a fully painted army, but I do find myself also wanting to get some Necrons units finished off, as I was quite horrified to discover they weren’t entirely completed. And it would be great to get a few more Tau models done, considering that was going to be a big push for me this year, with a new army and all!

July 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
Already, we’re at the end of July! Quite incredible. This month seems to have flown by, while previous months do seem to have dragged. It’s been quite productive though, all the same, helped by a week off mid-month, of course! Unfortunately, I think I’ve pretty much used up all of my leave now, so have just one week left to look forward to, along with some odd days! Ah well. I suppose it makes these things that much better when they do eventually roll around! I managed to survive the fiery doom that was the heatwave, which was just horrible in my part of the UK – it turned out to be far too humid most of the time, with two days of just searing heat thrown in. I’m still trying to eat healthily, and I’m pleased to report that this month I’ve lost 5lb, so I’m feeling pretty good about that! Hopefully I can keep going with it, now that I think I’ve really begun to have that sort of lifestyle change and all.

July has seen a massive uptick in work on my Sisters of Battle, who have shifted from very much a neglected project stuffed up in the attic, to the object of my hobby devotion as we launch into the second half of 2022! We’ve been here with the Tau already though, and that burnt out fairly quickly, so I’m trying to pace myself. I don’t want to be making too many grand plans, but so far it looks really good! I’ve managed to paint up a unit of Sisters, a unit of Seraphim, and two characters. I don’t think it comes to a lot, points-wise, but with all of the other stuff that I have built, I’m still able to field over 1000 points, which is the level I’m kinda looking at for my first game with them, hopefully next week!

I haven’t played any 40k since April, so after a few months off, I’m hoping that I can get back into the swing of things with gusto!

I’m really pleased with the progress that I’ve been making with painting stuff this year, though. I don’t think I’ve actually bought that much stuff, but instead have been able to focus on painting what I already have. In fact, let’s do some maths… maths can be fun, right?

As you can see from my beautiful penmanship, I’ve painted up quite a lot of stuff this year! By my count, it’s 75 models (not including the Tau drones), so not too shabby. On first glance, that list looks quite good because the ‘painted’ outweighs the ‘bought’, but there are two army boxes in there, and two Kill Team boxes, each with two armies and terrain. So when you look at it in terms of comparable kits that I have bought vs painted, it’s a slightly different picture!

13 painted vs 7 bought sounds great – but 13 painted vs 19 bought is a little more disappointing. However, doing that has been really quite motivating for me, as it has made me realise that I am actually painting a lot of my backlog, at last! It’s also good to see that, while I’ve been buying some big stuff, I haven’t really bought a lot of stuff this year, adding to the backlog. So if nothing else, I think it’s been a really useful exercise to do this! I’m really hopeful that I can just continue to work at my backlog, and I have plenty of models to keep me happy for the rest of the year. Sure, there’s the upcoming Kill Team box of course, but I think I might call it a day after that one has released, too. I’m finding it exhausting to keep up with all of these big box releases – I’ve already mentioned how I don’t plan to pick up the new Warcry box, and I think there is a definite sense of fatigue here with just how much stuff they are putting out over in Nottingham. My most recent purchase was the Sisters of Battle Palatine, because I realised I didn’t really have a legal army to field (I have Celestine, and the Triumph, but in terms of practical models for the force…) so I think I might just keep my purchasing to any relevant kits that I think might be a useful addition to any of my many, many armies.  

Speaking of which…

I had an idea, last weekend, to get a single model from each of my current armies to see just what I have on my plate, and I was quite impressed actually! Ten army projects isn’t a massive amount, is it? Is it?! Please don’t tell me it’s too many!

Of course, I wouldn’t say that many of these are actually “finished”, as I have plenty of models still to paint for every force represented in the post there. There are only a couple of these where I would say I am swimming in models though – the Necrons for sure, the Drukhari, and probably the Genestealer Cults. Other forces are confined to a single storage box, and I have done some work already to thin out the AdMech. Tau, Grey Knights and Sisters have only really had models bought for them for the army, whereas others were armies where I just kept buying things without any plan.

I think I probably need to look at the Drukhari and Necrons that I have, and see if I can get rid of any models from these, as the Drukhari in particular seem to be very much out of control. I keep looking at all of the Wych Cult stuff that I have, but in all honesty don’t know if I’ll need as much of it. I suppose that might be a task for another time, anyway.

In general, I think it would be useful to have some kind of miniatures audit, and really get on top of what I have hanging about, and try to be a bit more ruthless with myself. I definitely need to sort out the loft in general, as there is a lot of stuff just generally slung up there, so I think this is going to be quite the task. But once that has been done, I would like to hope that I could have more control over what is going on in my life where the tiny plastic people are concerned!

In terms of games, not a great deal has been happening this month. I played some Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle with my wife the other day, and that was good, though we were playing with the Fantastic Beasts box and we’ve basically lost a lot! I’m hoping to get her into other games in the coming months – I’ve floated the idea of A Touch of Evil, and Eldritch Horror, so hopefully she’ll be open to suggestion and we can investigate the evil doings there! I’m very conscious of the fact that I have seemingly abandoned my play through with the Arkham Horror LCG as well at the minute, having still not gotten back to The Forgotten Age for a number of weeks now. I also have Lord of the Rings still on the go, as I want to get my teeth back into that with the Vengeance of Mordor cycle, but I have recently been thinking about shelving that again for the time being. I suppose I find it difficult to balance the scarce amount of spare time that I have, between having two real-life small people to care for, as well as all the other adult stuff that needs doing, and trying to fit in the hobby stuff with also gaming can be a bit of a chore. Especially, as in recent weeks, when I just feel the need to have a complete break and do nothing.

As the year plods on, I think I would like to plan to have some more game nights, whether that is gaming solo or with my wife, and I’d also like to try to play more 40k, as it’s been almost 4 months since I got any of these plastic people to the table! I am definitely spending more time on some kind of hobby treadmill, just trying to paint model after model, and I think the balance definitely needs to come back, with actual games forming a part of my hobby time as well. This, I suppose, is the down side to having so much hobby variety – nothing ever really feels like it’s done. Going through only a few of the armies to find a nice model for that earlier photo, I noticed a lot of Necrons that are “finished” but which need more work doing to them, and I think my Dark Eldar could also be shown a bit more love and attention. I would love to be at the point where I’m playing with an army, and I feel like just picking up a box of something, and then paint that box, before going back to playing the majority of the time. As it is, so far in 2022 I have played three games of 40k, and one game of Necromunda, but of the 200-odd days of the year there have been, I would say the vast majority of them have seen me building or painting some model or other. Again, looking at it like this is really motivating to actually game more!

I think August might see another hobby inventory taking place, anyway, and I can hopefully figure out what I’m doing with all my stuff!

Hopefully there will be more games and less procrastination though!!

Gaming Reflections

Hey everybody,
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my gaming history, and my enjoyment of board games and stuff, and it has struck me how things have changed over the years as I’ve gone from one aspect to another. I think what prompted it was an idle look into my boardgamegeek stats, where I’m one of those gaming anoraks who like to log my plays with various games. My history there goes back to 2008, when I started playing games with my ex-girlfriend. She was the one who got me into it, with Carcassonne, and over the couple of years we were together we played a massive variety of board games. She was the one buying them, though, so the choices were pretty much entirely driven by what she wanted to play.

As time went on, I discovered games for myself (and bought a few that I remembered enjoying during those early years). I was probably into the heavy fantasy adventure boardgames at this time, like Runebound and Arkham Horror. Star Wars Miniatures was a huge thing for me during 2010, but I would never have considered myself a miniature wargamer prior to my getting into Warhammer Fantasy Battles in 2014, and almost immediately moving on to Warhammer 40k, starting a Necrons army late in that year.

In between, then, I was playing a lot of board games, and a lot of card games, such as Lord of the Rings LCG and the like. I discovered Rune Age quite early on, but didn’t really get into the deck-building game thing until a little later. It’s Rune Age, though, that has really prompted me to write this blog, as I’ve been thinking a lot about it as one of my all-time favourite games that hasn’t seen me play it for so long! I had a game last night, for the first time since November 2015, and it was just incredible to return to the game after so long!

Getting back into board games in general has been a product of playing Ticket to Ride Europe with my extended family back last September, and I began to blow the dust off some of the other bits and pieces that had been put away during my Warhammer years. Hellboy was a big one at the end of last year, of course, and after my wife suggesting we have more regular game nights last month, we’ve played quite a few things, like Elder Sign. She’s sticking with me on the Star Wars LCG, too, god love her, but I’m not convinced that she’s enjoying it as much as I am; I’m preparing for that to fall by the wayside once again very soon!

Playing games with Jemma has helped me to get back into some of the more regular gaming that I enjoy, though, as opposed to my non-gaming time being almost exclusively taken up with assembling, or painting little men.

Last week’s game day went a long way to recovering some more of that enjoyment, as well. Playing a new game, playing old favourites, it was great – even if we were both rusty with those old favourites! I think part of it is down to wanting a rest from the mess that comes with painting (and avoiding stabbing myself with the hobby knife!) but it’s also nice to have a boxed game that you take down from the shelf, get all the bits out and play it, and then put it away and it’s all nice and tidy again.

I’m flirting around things here, but let me come out right now and say this, I am categorically not getting out of Warhammer. Not only am I far too invested at this point, but I’m also still really into that world, and that game. 9th edition 40k has been a very weird time, for sure, and like a lot of folks, I think it’s been just odd how it was launched during a global pandemic where games were so difficult to get. Fair enough, it’s out there, and I have had games now, but there’s just something not quite sitting right with me for 9th, and I can’t quite put it into words.

I can’t decide whether it’s a genuine problem with the game, or whether it’s down to my somewhat lack of interest in the new 40k, but it seems to be getting out of hand a bit now, with the campaign books adding more rules bloat, and the White Dwarf articles giving more again, it feels like the game is getting unwieldy. I’m on the fence with it a bit, because I think if I were part of a regular gaming group, and we were playing regular games, then I imagine it would be a glorious sandbox time for us to play all manner of wonderful games that could be the stuff of gaming legend for years to come. However, I play fairly sporadically, so it’s not really of any use to me. When I do come to play though, I see references online to stuff that I need to try and track down, and then lose interest and just give up!

40k is definitely not just a hobby, but a way of life, and I’m certainly moving to the other side of the fence with that one right now. I used to be really into that whole side as well, but now I’m shrinking down my collection and trying to free up space (and money!) and trying to make it less of a chore for me.

Where I find myself right now is quite a nice spot, though. I’m offloading some of the extraneous noise to whittle my plastic addiction to just a core of stuff that I like, then I think I want to be a bit smarter with how I store things so that I’m not finding myself too overwhelmed by it all.

I have a fairly good core of my favourite board games still, so I think it’ll be good to keep hold of those, and actually enjoy them, rather than continually expanding. I’ve talked about Tony’s obsession with games a lot on the blog, but going round to his place last week was a real eye-opener, because he has a whole bedroom that is taken up with games storage. I mean, it’s quite startling, really. I was never that bad, but I think that speaks more to the kickstarter addiction than anything else. Having a massive chunk of game in one hit, rather than maybe a game with one expansion, is going to take a lot of storage space!

Where am I going with all of this ramble right now?

Well, I guess I am quite happy for the time being with how things are looking. I’m working to get 40k into balance with the other games that I like, and I’m working at rediscovering some of my old favourites, like Rune Age. I was in the loft yesterday, looking for something, and I came across a box with Dungeon Quest in it – and I was enraptured! I’d forgotten I even had that game! How amazing. (I also found my degree certificate, so it was quite a productive box, that!)

The fact that I mentioned the 40k hobby being a chore is a big one though, as it has become really quite cumbersome for me lately. It’s symptomatic of me as a gamer though, I suppose, because I like having variety and I am something of a collector; as such, I have thousands upon thousands of Magic cards, and I have too many 40k kits to be allowed. I suppose the former is much less of an issue than the latter, as it still takes up less combined space. I really don’t think I’ll ever be a one/two army guy, but I think I’m finally getting more streamlined!

It’s good to get things in balance, and I hope that I will continue to play the board and card games alongside enjoying the hobby and game of 40k, but I don’t want one to consume the other, as has been happening over the years. It’s nice to have a range of things to enjoy, after all!

A board game ramble

Hey everybody,
My big news for September is that I’ve actually been playing real-life games with real-life people once again! We went away for a week with the in-laws, and my brother-in-law brought Ticket to Ride: Europe along. It’s something he’d mentioned back at Christmas time, but with all the lockdowns and whatnot, we hadn’t really pursued the idea. Being a gateway game, it was perfect for the whole family to get together (although with six adults and a five-player game, it did mean that there was someone left over to act as the baby monitor…) I have played it a few times back in my heyday of gaming, but had since sold off because I had so many games that were going unplayed. Well, it looks like my wife is a bit of a convert, and so we might be investing at some point! I still have the app on my tablet though, so can always get some games in with the pass-and-play function there. But it was tremendous to be gaming once more, I have to say!

Ticket to Ride is one of those games that is so delightfully easy to pick up, and the strategy comes in actually playing the game, and not hidden within a plethora of rules, that I find it really a lot of fun. Sure, you can end up with turn after turn of not being able to do anything, but I suppose that’s the luck of the draw. I also don’t find it all that super-competitive to play so that I end up getting stressed by those types of empty turns. It was quite refreshing to play, after having spent a lot of time with Warhammer 40k! 

It also got me thinking about my relationship with board games nowadays, and this is something that was reinforced when I read this blog at the weekend. I strongly suggest you read this, as it is a very insightful look into the state of board games these days, and I echo a lot of the sentiments quite a great deal. Kickstarter games seem to have taken over the board game market these days, leading to a saturation that leaves me a bit confused about the lay of the land today. Due to the way Kickstarter works, games are only available for a short space of time and then gone, with very few making it to the shelves of the local store. There’s no “catalogue” to speak of, just a continual raft of new games, selling this cult of the new and the shiny.

It makes me a bit sad, because I feel like we’ve left those days of board games like A Touch of Evil or Runebound, and nowadays everything needs to come with a bucket load of miniatures to have that sort of mass-appeal. I think that the Hellboy board game is a case in point for me here. True, it was put out by Mantic, who do make miniatures games, and was designed by the chap who led the redesign on Necromunda, so there is a provenance there. But I’ve got some pretty huge boxes of stuff under my bed, which I really need to take a look at. But isn’t that just symptomatic of these types of big games, which have a lot of set-up and a lot of effort for a game, whereas you could be playing something like Ticket to Ride inside of a couple of minutes? I do still enjoy the kinds of games that can take you a whole afternoon, don’t get me wrong – I mean, I’m a 40k player, after all! – but so often with Kickstarter games, it seems to be the case that the rules are complex and dense, making for a long game because you’re trying to work out how to play it. Games like Runebound can go long because you’re playing for a long time, not because you’re constantly referring back to the rulebook!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the Hellboy game though, as it’s one of my favourite fictional universes, and one that I want to delve into more. The game seems a perfect vehicle for that, as we have a lot of elements from both the Hellboy and BPRD graphic novel storylines to discover. I think having a massive box of miniatures has put me off a little bit, though, as it has turned into something a little bit intimidating to work through. I can still remember my wonder when opening that honking big box of stuff, and seeing all of the various gribblies, and getting pretty excited for what this game was going to be, but then playing it seemed to fall a little flat as I just didn’t get the sense of exploration or whatever. I guess I need to give it more of a chance, but time is not something that I have a lot of these days!

For all that Kickstarter games have that allure, I have found myself selling them off because I don’t have the storage or the inclination to climb that mountain of miniatures that they come with! I’m not trying to bash these of course, and if you’re a Kickstarter fan, there’s no problem with that. For me, I find them pretty exhausting, and sometimes, they’re not even that good when it comes down to the actual gameplay. Shadows of Brimstone was a big case in point for me on that score, and I definitely had my fingers burnt with that one.

My regular gaming buddy Tony has long been a huge KS devotee, and together with his boyfriend Lee they’ve invested thousands into these types of big, miniatures-heavy, multiple-expansions-at-once sorts of games – to the point where they actually have too many games to ever really play and enjoy. Most of them have either never been played, or they might have been cracked open once to give it a go and that will be it. The half-dozen expansions that were part of the stretch goals are either still in the shrinkwrap or else have been looked at, and then returned to their boxes.

It’s quite sad, really, and I am also guilty of this, with the expansions for the Hellboy game that I’ve picked up still lying unwrapped under the bed. I definitely need to look at that one again, as I remember it being pretty good, but it seems so symptomatic of this whole situation – I’ve played that game three times, back when it was delivered in April 2019, but that has been it. Meanwhile, I’ve been playing Arkham Horror and Lord of the Rings quite a lot! Once that shiny and new has worn off, how great are these games in comparison with the old favourites?

I’m not about to launch into a sort of “back in the day” rant, but part of me does harken back to the time where you’d buy a game, then maybe 8-12 months later there’d be an expansion, then over the course of the next year you might get a couple more. With the Kickstarter model becoming seemingly more prevalent, you pretty much buy a game with at least half a dozen expansions in there as well. It seems a bit skewed and, in the case of me with the Hellboy box, it seems confusing when you have a whole bunch of stuff, only a small portion of which is actually meant to form the core game. But I do realise that is perhaps more of an issue with some companies, whereas others will provide a retail-level of game for you right off the bat, all nicely separated into their respective expansion boxes. I think the Hellboy box that I have is the equivalent of core set, two big expansions and about 4 smaller boxes.

The board gaming landscape has definitely changed, and I’m not so sure I want to keep up with it anymore. Like I said, though, if it works for you, then that’s great. I’m not really sure the new way is for me, anymore. I’ll pick up the Arkham Horror LCG for as long as that runs, but I don’t think there has really been anything that has grabbed my attention for a few years now in the mainstream (non-KS) market. Which I find weird, because I used to be such a fan of Fantasy Flight, but they appear to have really run themselves into the ground. Remember when the In-Flight Report would be an event at GenCon? When we’d have genuine excitement over what is going to come next from the company? Doesn’t really seem like there’s much going on now, outside of a couple of card games. Though I would guess that’s more on how Asmodee are choosing to run things.

There is also the other factor to consider, how my own circumstances have changed. I suppose I’ve moved from being a board gamer to being a wargamer, and have kept the small handful of games that I know I enjoy, but by and large I’m not all that open to buying a £40 game on a whim when that £40 could be spent on a new unit for one of my armies! I’ve become so much more invested in tabletop wargaming that I seem to prefer to spend my time marshalling the plastic crack, rather than playing board games. But the will is still there, of course, in the way that I enjoy stuff like Blackstone Fortress, how I’m looking at the new Kill Team and so on. I think I still want to play board games, and I will most likely still be writing about them here on the blog, though this has now primarily become a Warhammer 40k platform with the occasional card game thrown in!

I haven’t played games with Tony for years, and of course the pandemic hasn’t helped there, but we’ve been talking about recapturing the good old days, and I’m hopeful that soon, when things settle down a bit more with the kids and we can reliably have the evenings back, that we can maybe look at getting some games to the table. Perhaps play a few rounds of Magic as well, properly capturing the old game days (though with fewer 3am finishes…)

So, what was the point of this ramble? Well, I guess it’s just something that has been running round a lot in my head for a while now, and after reading Tavendale’s blog it got me thinking more and more about it. I’m not sure I have anything particularly enlightening to say, but it’s nice to get these things down on paper every so often, maybe spark some debate, or whatever!

Follow the Path

Good morning everyone, and welcome!

Tuesday sees another game day here at spalanz.com, and today it’s the turn of the popular Tsuro to come under my spotlight of awesome…

Tsuro

This beautiful game first emerged in 2004 but, like many people I suppose, it first came to my attention thanks to the awesome internet show Tabletop:

I think Tsuro was one of the first games that sold out almost everywhere following its appearance there, and helped to coin “the Wheaton effect” of games going out of stock overnight following their appearing on the show. Well, anyway. We seem to have recovered now, and it is pretty widely available once more – which is good news for gamers everywhere, because it’s a really awesome game!

Tsuro

The game is just beautiful, as you can see from the board above. If you didn’t watch the video (and if not, why not?!), each player controls a small dragon token and, during a turn, places a tile on the board, then moves his dragon along the path depicted on the tile:

Tsuro

The dragon tokens are, also, incredibly beautiful:

Tsuro

The object of the game is to be the last dragon standing, as other players are forced to place a tile that will move their token off the board:

Tsuro

Such a simple, elegant game, and yet there is a high degree of strategy involved, as you need to ensure you never bump into another player, which can also eliminate you, but you can potentially force an opponent off the board while remaining on there yourself:

Tsuro
Red places the tile that will force grey off the board

This level of strategy is helped by the fact that you have a “hand” of three tiles, from which you play one and replenish on your turn. So while the tile-laying mechanic is similar to Carcassonne, the similarity ends there, as Tsuro is nowhere near as random. It’s just superb!

It’s also one of the most beautiful games that I own, starting from the sheet of paper that greets you on opening the box, and through to the rulebook, which opens out vertically.

Tsuro

Tsuro is a great game that I often look forward to including in game nights because it’s a lot of fun, can play pretty quickly, but offers a decent level of challenge. I’m not calling it a filler game, don’t get me wrong here, but I suppose it’s much like some other, shorter games (Smash Up comes to mind) that are good to play before or between the Arkham Horrors or the Runebounds, or indeed to string together for a fast paced night of excellence!

Tsuro

Highly recommended, I’ve got to say!

Buy it from amazon:
Tsuro

Pathfinding thoughts

 

Hey everybody!
As it’s Sunday, I thought I’d share some of my gaming ramblings. Because I know how much you all love them!

Largely, my weekend has consisted of close-reading Homer’s Odyssey for my degree, however. I’ve got to say, I’m not a fan of Lattimore’s translation, but unfortunately it’s the set book, so I guess I’ll just have to get on with it. I think I have two essays to produce on this, then it’s moving on to Classical Athens and the joy that is Aristophanes! I say this without a hint of irony: ignoring issues of translation, Aristophanes wrote some really very funny plays. I studied three for my A level back in the day, but enjoyed them so much that I read the other surviving eight for my own enjoyment. Reading Aristophanes, for me, is what makes the Classical world so utterly amazing – that I can still be in hysterics at a 2,430-year-old play really does speak volumes.

Anyway!

I think I mentioned the other day my glut of Pathfinder stuff? It seems that Paizo are producing a lot of material across their entire line of games at the moment, perhaps in time for christmas, with a fair few RPG releases as well. Something that has me baffled is the new Monster Codex, which seems like it might just be a reinvention of the Bestiary. Might be something I try to take a look at in real life before I decide if I want it. Something that does look interesting is the Advanced Class Origins supplement, designed to work alongside the Advanced Class Guide. I’m a complete sucker for anything that works off existing material to enrich the roleplaying experience, so am quite tempted by this!

I’ve been taking a look at the Class decks for the Adventure Card Game, and am pleased to report that they look pretty awesome! The idea behind the decks is that you get four heroes (one of whom is a new version of an already-released character) with a whole slew of stuff – spells, weapons, armour, items, allies and blessings. Some of these are new, and some are already-existing options. However, the cards are organised by adventure deck number, so when you make it to, say, The Hook Mountain Massacre, you add in to the pool all of the cards with a 3 in the top corner, along with the cards from the third adventure deck, increasing your deck-customisation options! Marvellous.

I have yet to make it to Skull & Shackles, however, but then I’m still only on the first adventure deck of Rise of the Runelords, so such a languid schedule shouldn’t really surprise anyone! I do like the look of some of the cards in this new box, though, I have to say…

Skull & Shackles

After a bit of rummaging around online, I’ve also read they’ve announced the third box in the Adventure Card Game line, Wrath of the Righteous. This was the thirteenth adventure path in the RPG (Skull & Shackles was the tenth, if you recall?), which brings us fairly close as the current, Iron Gods adventure path is only #15!

The Worldwound tore reality apart at the dawn of the Age of Lost Omens, murdering the nation of Sarkoris and unleashing a ravenous demonic horde upon the world. Only the quick action of several other nations of knights, barbarians, and heroes stemmed the demon army and contained it within lost Sarkoris, and for the next century, crusade after crusade tried to defeat the demons only to fail time and time again. Their greatest success, the line of magical artifacts known as wardstones that stand sentinel along the Worldwound’s border, barely manages to contain the demons. So when one of the wardstones is sabotaged, a city falls and the demons within surge out in a massive assault like none before. Even before the Fifth Crusade has begun a city has fallen and some of the crusaders’ greatest defenders and heroes are slain. Can anyone rise up against the demon host to prevent the armies of Deskari, the demon lord of the Locust Host, from swallowing the world?

I’m quite excited,  as I’ve long been intrigued by the Worldwound setting, and the demons that are contained therein. Should be lots of fun!

Pathfinder RPG

All that talk of the Pathfinder RPG has also got me thinking, of course. I’ve yet to play the RPG, sadly, despite it having been on the radar for years. I’m still very much in the mood for a RPG, it’s just a matter of convincing the right number of people…

When all is said and done, however, I’m actually trying to cut back a little on my gaming spending right now. Seems like I’ve been buying a lot of things of late just because they look good, which I suppose isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m starting to think more about the practicalities and whatnot, as I find myself with a whole host of games that I don’t get to play. There’s also the fact that I’m essentially diluting my games collection, by spending so much time playing new games and not getting to play those that I love. While Lord of the Rings is a case in point, there are a whole host of amazing games that I’ve barely played all year – Warhammer Invasion has been out 4 or 5 times, and I’ve only played Runebound, and Fortune and Glory, once! So I feel something must be done!