Monday, May 27, 2013

Rethinking My Medieval Project

This morning I had some rules ideas and thought about trying them out, but I did not want to pull out my plastic figures. It dawned on me that I have some 2mm figures lying around. They should allow easy set-up for a quick solo experiment.

Well, my game did not materialize because I could not find the figures, but it has me thinking of ordering some new miniatures for a 2mm medieval project.

Why would I go back to the 2mm route? Well, there are two major reasons.
  • Quick and easy to paint - I am a very indifferent painter so my projects seem to lag indefinitely. I started painting my 15mm figures for my Francesia campaign in February. I have 0 figures done. I can knock out some basic 2mm blocks in a day. Being able to get miniatures painted in a reasonable time frame is a big factor for me.
  • Easy set-up - I have found that I won't play a solo game if it is a pain to set up. I've used 2mm for games before and set up is a breeze. With a 2mm board, I think I will play more.
In addition, the price is not bad. I can get enough blocks for 2 medieval armies for under $20.

I decided to move to 15mm because of the looks, but 2mm can be very attractive en masse. For example, check out this Alamo game done in 2mm - link. I know my stuff won't look like that, but it still can look decent.

I am definitely thinking of placing an order; the long shipping time from the UK is the only thing deterring me at this moment.

Queen of Catan

We finally staged another game night. This time, I pulled out the classic Settlers of Catan

I've owned a copy for a few years (it was a gift from my brother) but never played it (at the time I was predominantly playing 2-player games with my wife). Last night, my wife, brother-in-law, and I gave it a go.

Settlers of Catan (SoC) is a building game. Players randomly gain resources (depending on where their settlements are located) and then use those resources to build more settlements or to expand a settlement into a city. Settlements and cities accrue victory points (VPs). You may also purchase Development Cards, which may provide additional VPs.

I'm not a big fan of building games - I prefer combat-oriented games - but this was enjoyable. In line with my preference, I kept trying to buy Development cards, some of which provide "knights." The person with the largest army of knights gets extra VPs. Elizabeth outdid me, however, ending up with the biggest army and the accompanying 2 VPs.

Although there is no direct combat, a player can steal from another player by using the thief. If you roll a 7 or play a knight card, you can move the thief piece next to another player's settlement. This prevents that player from receiving resources from that space. In addition, you can take a card from that player. I did this to Elizabeth early in the game, much to my regret. Throughout the game, she kept getting the opportunity to move the thief, so she targeted me. As a result, I tended to suffer from a lack of resources.

While I foundered, Elizabeth and Jimmy quickly built up their little realms and were tied at 7 VPs each (a player needs 10 VPs to win). Then Elizabeth pulled off a stunning turn. She built 2 segments of roads, giving her the longest road in Catan (worth 2 VPs, which she gained at Jimmy's expense). She then used the bricks to build a settlement, worth 1 VP. Total = 10. She was victorious so I declare her the Queen of Catan.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Questing in the Dark Side

No board game update this weekend. Instead, I spent a lot of my free time questing in World of Warcraft. I guess I can say that I have something to show for it.

Here's a picture of my main character, Reddox Jr., the tauren paladin, with my achievement for reaching maximum level.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Over the past few months, I've played several cooperative games with my wife and brother-in-law. Recently, we had a long losing streak, consisting of (in no particular order):
  • Space Hulk card game - Genestealers wiped out our Space Marines. It gives me nightmares.
  • Forbidden Island - the island sank, with us on it.
  • Pandemic - the plague wiped out humanity
  • Shaows Over Camelot card game - the traitors destroyed Camelot.
Last night, we ended our losing streak with 2 resounding victories. Battle reports follow.

The Castle Defended

Last week, I mentioned that I had ordered Castle Panic.

Last night, my wife, brother-in-law, and I tried it out.

The game features some really nice components, the highlight being the castle in the center of the board. Monsters (trolls, orcs, and goblins, plus some bosses) will appear on the board and rush the castle. If they reach the castle, they tear the walls down. Players work together to fend off the attacks.

 Monsters are swarming the castle

At first, our attacks weren't very successful, and the monsters drew nearer to the wall.

 The walls are threatened

But then Sir James (my brother-in-law), led a series of attacks that swept the invaders from the walls.
The walls have been cleared. 

We buttressed one of the walls. When the orcs tried to crash through the wall, the extra defense stopped them cold.
The buttressed wall staves off the orc attack 

Then the monsters play dirty. They roll a giant boulder down the hill, crashing into the wall.
 The boulder about to take out a section of wall

Once again, Sir James's heroics save the day. This time, a nice shot by his archers take out a troll that emerges from the forest.
 Take that, troll!

Again, the monsters play dirty and another boulder smashes into the wall. In their callous disregard for the own, the boulder crushes a troll before it smashes the wall.

The assault grew more fevered. Our walls faltered and fell. Then Lady Elizabeth stepped in. Her attacks cleared the field. But then a huge swarm of monsters appeared. They breached the wall and began to tear down our keep. Things were looking bleak, but then Sir James led a sortie that thinned them out. Lady Elizabeth followed by wounding the last troll and chasing it back into the forest. When it emerged again, Sir James struck it down.


Sir James with his trophy - the last troll.
Note that only Two Towers remain.

Although this was a simple game, we had a lot of fun fending off the monsters. Castle Panic is a nice, light war game. I'm sure we'll play it some more.

And Camelot Saved

Our second game was the Shadows Over Camelot card game.

Loyal and Traitor cards from SoC

We started off well, and got to 6 white swords (7 wins) with only a couple of black swords. Then I mucked up a quest (by accident! I wasn't the traitor) and we got 3 more black swords. But Jimmy came through once again and completed the quest that saved Camelot.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Doldrums

The Doldrums (noun)

  1. A belt of calms and light, baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
  2. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits
The Redgravian Fleet becalmed in the Francesian Doldrums

"Doldrums" is a good word to describe my board/miniature gaming status. I have not been playing board or miniature games and did not even post last week. There are a few reasons for this:

  • I ordered figures for my medieval project but I am waiting for them to arrive. They are being shipped from England so I don't expect them for a few weeks. I could use my plastic figures, but I don't have the right mix of troop types to play a Dux Brit campaign (which is my project goal).
  • I'm not really in the mood for any of the games I have. I want something with a little combat. My choices would be Memoir '44, the Space Hulk card game, or an RPG. I'm not into WWII at this time, Space Hulk is frighteningly hard, and my brain is not creative enough for an RPG.
  • I got sucked back into World of Warcraft. I enjoy playing WoW with my wife so I signed back up and we have dungeoned the last two weekends.
I hope to do a little board gaming soon. I ordered Castle Panic - a light, cooperative game that I think my wife and I will enjoy.

Photo note:  I decided to pull out a few of my ships to illustrate the doldrums. I built these in the early '90s and somehow have managed to hold onto them all these years. I no longer have a board or mat to use as an ocean, so I pressed a blue T-shirt into service for the photo.