Showing posts from 2018

Hey Kickstarter, let's make some noise

It's been an interesting year for the crowdfunding platform, with its share of multi-million dollar successes, controversies surrounding outright potential fraud and plagiarism, and continuing dramas centering around project fulfillment or lack there of. We have our first taste of Kickstarter as an actual pre-order store and our stalwart Big Name behemoths seeing push backs against some of their expected successes.
At the centre of it all, the old debates surface and swirl and disappear only to surface again. For those jumping on the platform for their first time, with their game clutched tightly to their chest, they'll often hear the echoes of previous creators ringing in their ears.
'Kickstarter isn't fair'
'Kickstarter has raised the bar for everyone'
'Kickstarter makes it impossible for those without a budget'
'Kickstarter isn't for those who aren't prepared to make an effort'
'Kickstarter won't help those who don't do …

Gladiatores Blood For Roses - Kickstarter First Thoughts

With the blood pounding through my ears and my vision dazed and confused, I check my bearings once again, ready to strike my hands down and make my mark. With one question burning in my head, I look towards the sun, sweat dripping slightly from my brow.

And that question is a simple one..

When you are asked to give your first thoughts on a game about Gladiatorial combat, is it against the law to not start the piece without some kind of combat reference?

Should I be asking if you are entertained? Should you clap after reading this? Should I be getting on with piece? Probably yes.

So let’s start with something that might get a thumbs down and the crowd baying. The combat mechanics in most of the games I’ve played are rather slow and long. This is down to you normally having to deal with the consequences of that one attack and that one attack only. Tension gives way to rounds and everyone being polite and taking their turn. It’s almost civilised in its nature. You backup your character w…

Tabletop Scotland - We Went a Wandering...

Friendly, Busy, But Never Overcrowded..

I’m in the unusual position that I first heard about Tabletop Scotland long before the Media Coverage and press releases hit, as I’ve known David, Simon and John for the last three years, as they are regular attendees at the local gaming club I go to in Dunfermline (DWARF). We’ve played some games together and in fact both Dave and John were guests on the podcast in the past.

It was really interesting to hear the snippets of information as the planning progressed. The excitement of reaching 250 ticket sales and the nervousness of how far it would climb before the big day. How much of the Dewar Centre was going to be taken up by cardboard? and the proud moments when the partnerships were announced tentatively. In the background was always whispers of ‘this is going to happen isn’t it?’

As the days rolled ever onwards and the ticket sales increased, the next question that arose was ‘I hope this is good’. And not meant in a way to be cruel but more …

Dice Summoners - Decking Awesome Games - Kickstarter First Thoughts

So with the combination of several melee and magical attacks that were achieved on the back of a rather lucky dice roll I removed the last of Ciara’s Hit Points. I raised my arms in a V and cheered out loud, so those gathered around in the hall would have no doubt that I achieved a fantastic victory. I’m a hell of a sore winner, gloater and the type of person who believes that there is nothing better in victory than reminding your opponent that you did indeed win. Especially when it is one of the architects of the game itself. And where better than in front of a crowd?

That however is not the reason that I like Dice Summoners. One of the things that struck me was the simplicity and purity of the core mechanics, so that when Simon from Tabletop Scotland asked me what I thought of the game, I wasn’t only able to give him a grin and exclaim once again I had won, but I was able to in a period of less than five minutes explain to them how to play the game. That to me is a GOOD THING.

For …

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island 2nd Edition - Solo review - Steve Mcgillivray

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island 2nd Edition - Solo review

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island places players on a deserted island, shipwrecked there and in dire need of food and shelter. Here I'll talk about Solo mode using the beginner scenario Castaway, which is a great introduction to the game.
The game is played over 12 rounds, with the aim being to build a log pile and light a fire to signal a passing ship. The ship is scheduled to pass on rounds 10, 11 and 12 so time is of the essence. To further complicate matters, the woodpile must be added to only once per turn, prior to the Action phase, adding another level of complexity and difficulty. This isn't even taking into account the day to day task of actually surviving, which can be very challenging.

Each round is comprised of 6 phases. The Event (skipped in round 1), Morale, Production, Action, Weather and Night phases. The Action phase is, unsurprisingly, where most of the key decisions a…

MYnd Kraft by Tharini Rajamohan - First Thoughts - Richard Simpson

MYnd Kraft by Tharini Rajamohan is a more of a games system then an actual game, combining some basic programming knowledge in order to create a series of mini games that can be expanded upon and even altered to increase or decrease the difficulty.

Look on it as something similar to what Bez did with Wibbell ++ or Karen Rubins achieved with Comic Turns, both of which are brilliant fun in their own right and continue to offer additional hours of entertainment as you experiment and explore with the foundations provided in their respective core sets.

Let us start with the encouraging first observation that you can sit down and know the basics of how MYnd Kraft works in little under four minutes, regardless of how much or little programming knowledge that you have, and that if you can’t tell your switch from your loop, or your function from your data structure then worry not, as the instruction booklet is laid out in a clear series of tables that explain exactly how each of the cards work…

Unreserved - Physis Games - Some First Thoughts

"Oh and next up we have Physis Game’s auction type game, Unreserved. We’ll start the bidding on £3 to get us going... And that’s £4 with you madam? Now who’ll give me £5..?”

You might imagine that in the voice of David Dickinson, but in truth, he’s never actually held a gavel anytime I saw him. He was never mechanically that important, just the cheeky glue that held the entire show together and made the contestants feel at home. The auction themselves only got exciting when you get one of those hidden gems that shoots off like an unexpected firework, causing everyone to run and hide and a bidding war to kick off. The truth of the matter is that most of the auctions are straightforward affairs and normally either end up slightly above the asking price, or at worse a touch below, leaving the contestant running away with winnings in the region of tens of pounds instead of a fortune. It’s the anticipation of the ‘hidden gem’ being found that compels us to continue watching as oppose…

Ruthless - First Thoughts - Iain McAllister

This Review is based of a first playthrough of the game at UK Games Expo. I do not own it, though have pre-ordered, and have not read the rulebook.

Arr matey that be a fine deckbuilder that you have there. Be a real shame if some plucky young game set sails on the choppy seas of game releases and blew a hole in your bloated side, making off with all the best loot and leaving you with naught but an accordion playing parrot and a memory of how good you used to have it. Ruthless folk would do that to you and those scurvy dogs from Alley Cat Games might be the crew to carry it off. Now get up in that crow's nest and see if we can't tell which way the wind is blowing.

Batten Down the Hatches!!

Deckbuilding has become a rather overused mechanic in the last few years, being forced into every genre under the sun. I’ll admit that it does lend a sense of replayability to a lot of games but I often feel it is turning up because it is such an easy go to mechanic, with a ready made army of lo…