Like most, if not all tabletop games clubs, the BAD Gamers is currently suspended from its normal habit of meeting on Tuesday nights. We went into lockdown in March, with our last club night being March 17 (which seems a VERY long time ago).
However, we’ve managed to keep our gaming habits fed with games via Skype, Discord, Teams, Zoom and Whats App, allowing us to communicate while we play online versions of our favourite boardgames and role playing games. At home many board games have also been hitting the tables as families look for distractions other than binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime. Mythic Battle Pantheon, through to Jaws and more standard fayre like Ticket to Ride and Love Letter have become staples of family game nights.
What is missing is miniatures games, but these are also getting played if only as solo or in-family efforts. Warcry, The Walking Dead, and Core Space have all gotten table time. Plus, the hobby aspect of miniatures gaming is a live and well with new armies being painted, terrain pieces built and projects completed. Just take a look at one of the club members blog at snitchythedog to see what sort of work is happening.
So, while we can’t meet up, socially, gaming wise, there’s a lot going on. The question is will it continue after the lock-down is over? If so, does it mean that a richer gaming vein has been tapped because of the lock-down, than would have been realised without it? Only time will tell, but purely from a gaming standpoint, and in no way detracting from the pain & anguish the virus has brought, the lock-down could be looked back on in twelve months time as a good thing for tabletop gamers.
RPG night at the BAD Gamers last Tuesday, with Ben running the latest instalment of the D&D campaign
That left six of us to play a boardgame, or two. Luckily, Mark had brought along his very blinged out copy of Fief, the game of Medieval French dealings.
The academy games version is a reprint of a 1980’s game, and gave us a great narrative of diplomatic marriages, plotting for political and religious based power, dealing with outbreaks of the Black Death, and our version of Joan D’Arc attacking the King of France and his best mate, the Pope, to stop them winning the game.
Sadly the attack failed and the two leaders, who were cowering in a castle, became the winners of the game (or, Pete and Mark won).
A good game with a degree of crunchiness in the rules and a large dose of 1980’s style randomness which added to the narrative, if not the actual game play.
Quieter night at the BAD Gamers this Tuesday night with just six of us out to game.
Alan took Mark, Darren and Pete through the new edition of FFG’s Sid Meir’s Civilisation, which played well but was a little long, was the conclusion.
Meanwhile, on the other table Sean and Frank played Napoleonic Sharp Practice, with Sean’s French patrol running into Frank’s British patrol in a learning game of the GREAT black powder skirmish game.
The game had some glorious moments with the French rapidly advancing to box in the British force. Sadly, they failed to press home their advance and ultimately fell to the ravaging disciplined fire of the British thin red line. The coup de grace on the French being given by Lieutenant Blackadder’s troops who delivered a crashing volley into the depleted French line troops, which sent the formation falling back and the overall morale of the French force through the floor.
A simple game, but one that delivered a great narrative, with “if only” moments for both sides.
Set in the remote coastal town, the adventure saw the three investigators having to survive the night while trying to find a way to escape from the interbred minions of the Marsh family and its Deep One confederates.
This involved looking for clues, avoiding a rioting mob, and fighting a range of fish men like baddies.
Sadly, the investigation was called at 10.30pm, with probably another 30 minutes to play. But at that point things weren’t going so well with two of the three temporarily insane, two mobs rampaging around the street, and an axe wielding maniac chasing down the team.
A little clunky at times, and with the noise in the room not always conducive to a nerve wracking experience, the game was still good fun and IS very much a Call of Cthulhu adventure in a box
Lovecraft, D&D and the ‘Nam. Classic tabletop gaming at the BAD Gamers.
Tuesday night had Pete run the next instalment of his D&D boardgame campaign, Martin and Frank play a second game of Force on Force in Vietnam, and Mark, Darren, Lee and Alan play a range of Boardgames including Lovecraft Letter.
Next week will be a D&D RPG session, and a game of the Lovecraft themed Mansions of Madness.
Last Sunday saw the BAD Gamers March all day Sunday session. With a few last minute changes this became a board game fest with Forge War, Twilight Struggle, Terraforming Mars, Zombie Dice, and 1754 hitting the table. As ever, a great day’s gaming, that flew by.
Tuesday night was the full range of tabletop gaming with a D&D RPG session, the Battlestar Galactica boardgame, and the new miniatures hotness Star Wars Legion all being played. Good times and a great display of both the diversity and the inclusiveness of our hobby
Next all day Sunday session will be in May or June
Mars was terraformed, a saga was played and a pandemic tackled in last night’s games at the BAD Gamers
Alan took Tiago and Darren through the rather excellent Terraforming Mars. The win went to Tiago, with a strategy that focussed on cards/projects. Darren was second with a great revenue engine but the cards didn’t fall well for him.
Frank and Sean played a game of Saga 2nd Edition. The game is still Saga, as it was, but the rules are a lot tighter.
Sean took the win by using the cunning strategy of getting on his horse and running away, forcing Frank, who should have sat on his arse, to come out and fight.
The strength of the game is in the distinct style of each of the factions and this has become more distinct with 2E.
No doubt it will be played more
Finally Mark took Lee, Pete and Darren through the first few chapters of Pandemic Season 2. By all accounts S2 is even better than S1.
Next week sees Boardgames (Mansions of Madness?) and the next episode of the D&D campaign.
Tuesday night saw three tables up and running at the BAD Gamers, with the unusual twist of two of them being miniatures games and only one for Boardgames.
Mark and Chris played a game of Frostgrave, with one particular highlight being the appearance of a giant worm right where a treasure was being looted.
Martin and Frank played a game of Force on Force modern warfare, set in Vietnam. This was a learning game with Frank using some of his veteran 20mm US forces (painted in the late 90’s with enamels!). The battle went the way of the VC with multiple casualties on the US side and a corresponding decline in capability to act. Although we struggled with the layout of the rule book for reference during the game, the core mechanics are both simple and sound, and the game felt realistic and was great to play. It will hit the table again in a couple of weeks
On the final table new lad Kent Yeomans joined Pete Gardner, Tiago Almeida, and Darren Stevens in a game of Kingdom builder. Which AGAIN Darren didn’t win. These must truly be the end times.
Next week sees the debut of 2nd Edition Saga and the continuation of the Pandemic Legacy campaign, plus other games
Frostgrave is a firm favourite in the club, with Dead Man’s Hand, a close second.
Scrappers played surprisingly well. It comes from Osprey, and is a post apocalyptic gang level skirmish game. It’s more complex than Frostgrave, in both setup of the crews and mechanics, but still easy to pick up. The game became intuitive after a couple of rounds and as it relies on an opposed die roll approach, it keeps you involved no matter who’s go it is.
The best part about it for starting is that we used existing Deadzone and Congo terrain plus some mixed SF figures we already had, making the rules purchase the only new investment.
The downside to Scrappers is the rule book, which is quite dense and difficult to use as a reference during play. But when you start playing, it rapidly made sense and gave a fun gang level game, that we are already planning to play again.
A little later Pete and Graham called down the Elder Gods in a game of Elder Sign.
We then all joined in a game of Escape from Colditz, which in-spite of its flaws, proved to be great fun with a lot of laughs.
A quick detour into the card and dice game Age of War, which has a lot more depth to it than it first suggests, and then the day rounded out with a game of Puerto Rico – which was a first time for most of us, and the reason why this older game is considered a euro game classic, became obvious very quickly.
Good times and now looking forward to the next one at the end of January