Gaming in the lockdown

Mythic Battles Pantheon – Ares vs the Chimera

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.

Stay Safe

 

Fantasy gaming to the fore

Descent continued its journey towards the end of the campaign with part two of the Wyrm Turns scenario. This saw the (so called) heroes try and stop the Overlord’s minions escape from the dungeon with the Red Dragon Skull.
Despite Overlord Frank now playing with a little more organisation (he has a spreadsheet!) allowing him to target the heroes more effectively, the heroes continued their drive to complete the campaign with no losses. But it was a closer run thing than many of the proceeding adventures (the magic of Excel?), with one dice roll probably deciding it. On the positive side, for the Overlord, the heroes didn’t get much loot from the dungeon (cue Evil laugh).

The crew then moved onto the fun pre-programmed wild west themed game, Colt Express, which saw the wacky fight for the loot on the train. Always a fun story and inevitably, why doesn’t this hit the table more often.

On the other table a four way game of Frostgrave raged on with Olly, Mark and Chris taking new comer Andrew through the streets of Felstad.
This is always a fun game, with a D20 mechanic that can both make and ruin a Wizard’s day. Couple it to the fantastic terrain collection that the crew have, and its also a good looking game.

Next week there is no meeting of the BAD Gamers as the School Play is on. But we’ll be back on July 4 with games of The Walking Dead: All out War, and D&D the adventure board game to name a few

 

 

Area control, old friends and vampires

That was the content of last night’s meeting of the BAD Gamers.

Tom, who hasn’t been around for a while, and is now secretary of the Banbury wargames club, NOW Gamers, came along and had a game of Wrath of Kings with Darren A. The RPG’ers played the dark ages version of Vampire and the rest of us played a range of board games with a loose area control theme.

We kicked off with a game of King of Tokyo, which Chris and Lee took to a bitter end. Then we moved on to Alien Frontiers and new game Inis. This is an interesting mix of a 7 Wonders style drafting, an expanding map, an area control system and a choice of three victory conditions. It looks beautiful, plays fast, and after the first few turns players will understand the mechanics. After one game strategy will be understood.

The evening then rounded off with one of Frank’s favourites, Onward to Venus, which has a strong tactical rather than strategic play but is also area control in nature. Martin, playing the German Empire took the win after playing a “very quiet let everyone else get on with the game” approach.wrath-of-kings-feb-7-17-2 wrath-of-kings-feb-7-17 inis-feb-7-17 alien-frontiers-feb-7-17

 

Next week looks like Frostgrave and Inis plus no doubt, more.

Sharp Practice and Dystopian Wars

Last games of January 2017

Only five of us out last night at the BAD gamers, but we got some good games in nevertheless.

Ben took Darren S and Mark H through a starter battle of Dystopian wars with the East India Company coming to blows with the Polish- Lithuanian Confederation. Not sure how the geography on that one worked out, but the game was bloody and close, going down to the last ships on each side.

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On the other table Steve and Frank played a game of Sharp Practice ACW. Set in 1864, Steve’s Yanks were attempting to sweep Frank’s Rebs from the table. Steve pinned the Rebs on his left flank, avoided those in the centre, and broke through on his right leading to the collapse of the rebels morale. Frank blamed his lose on poor positioning and early deployment of his main unit. Both agreed the game was great fun.


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Both were good games, and it was great to get the toys to the table.

Next week is RPG – modern Vampires and Boardgames. Possibly Inis and/or Conan.

Crom.

If you go down to the sewers tonight, you’re sure…

RPG night at the BAD Gamers last night, so while that group battled as vampires in the Dark Ages, the rest of us, and a new guy, Lee, took Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game for a walk around the table.

WH:TACG is a card based dungeon crawl based on the Warhammer Quest boardgame from the mid-90’s (in much the same way that FFG produced Space Hulk the card game, based on the GW board game).

We started with the intro mission which required our intrepid (but stereotyped) group of adventurers – a wizard, a cleric, a dwarf and (you guessed it) an elf, to investigate a terrible stench and resulting disease coming from the sewers on the edge of town.

We managed to battle through four areas to then get a final confrontation with the big bad – Grumpy something.

The game plays really well, with the mechanics being simple but comprehensive. We worked as a team, and although we finished up very bloodied, we were successful.

And it tells a story – putting the game somewhere between the boardgame narrative of a dungeon crawl like Descent and a full blown RPG like D&D (but without the need of either of them for an overlord/dungeon master player).

Overall then a good game, with the only downside being that with the GW-FFG split it will be out of print very shortly.

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Halo Fleet Battles gets an airing

First night back at the BAD Gamers for 2017, and Paul and Frank took Halo Fleet Battles for a try out, using the two player starter box and the Fall of Reach Campaign.

This campaign is designed to teach new players the game in a video game tutorial manner – i.e. start simple and add complexity as you progress.

We managed to play the first two scenarios, which both went to a UNSC victory. Looking back we got a fair few things wrong, but also picked up the game mechanics and unit buffs fairly quickly, so by the end mechanically the game was flowing well.

So what did we think to it?

Frank gave it a 7 out of 10. It was fun, but didn’t really grab him. HOWEVER we think this is down to the restricted nature and small forces of the early scenarios, rather than the game itself. It will shine when it’s being played with all the elements and bigger forces, giving the players more to think about, more options to consider, and more choices on what to prioritise.

Should hit the table again, and hopefully soon.

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Escaping from Colditz and nostalgia

The re-imagined classic, Escape from Colditz hit the table for the end of term game, at the BAD Gamers last night. A few of us remembered it from our youth, and this new version while an improvement, still has some flaws from days of yore;
– Several times an escape officer’s turn would be spent trying to roll a double on 2D6 to get out of solitary. Dull.
– The roll and move mechanic denied Mark victory – “If I roll anything but a 3, I win”

HOWEVER, was the game fun? Did we talk about it when it was over? Yes to both – which in our experience are symptoms of a good game.

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Highlights include;

– Darren making a break for it through the Chapel tunnel, with one of his escapees sacrificing his opportunity for freedom by assaulting a guard, only to have the other escapee shot dead by another guard
– Pete sending his escapee out the front gate, straight past a guard, capitalising on the confusion caused by other escape attempts. Then capped it off by getting a now pursuing guard sent off on an errand, so that he could make good his escape
– Mark racing like a flying Dutchman to get away from a guard, failing, and then doing exactly the same escape again, and succeeding
– New guy Martin, quietly plotting away to make a break, and then stealing the win from t’other Mark thanks to Mark’s “If I roll anything but a 3” curse.

For a six player game it was ultimately a laugh. Probably not something that we’ll want to play often, but one we’ll be happy to play again.

Last Night on Earth: Salvage Mission

A firm favourite at the BAD Gamers is the boardgame Last Night on Earth. A story driven game, with a roll and move mechanic, and a zombie movie theme, it never fails to deliver a great time, with experiences being retold many times over.

On this occasion the brave (stupid?) heroes had landed their plane on the outskirts of Timber Peak, up in the forest and mountains. Their goal was to search for the rumoured super zombie behemoth and kill it to get samples. While chemistry teacher Mr Goddard and Alice the waitress searched the buildings around the airfield for supplies, veterans, Jake Cartwright and Sally started searching for the behemoth.

It didn’t take long for the Zed’s to appear, and they headed for the airfield drawn by the sound of the plane landing, no doubt. Meanwhile Jake and Sally made good progress in their searches, picking up both supplies and event cards, while narrowing down the location of the big one.

Sadly, Alice, while holding off a wave of zombies was killed when the building she was in caught fire. Luckily, a train drew into the town shortly after, carrying Jake’s old friend from Woodinvale, Sheriff Anderson, who rapidly joined in the search (what are the chances?)

With the airfield on fire, the zombies beginning to swarm, and time running out, things were not looking good for the heroes. But, in the best tradition of B-movies, at this point, Sally, the high school girl, came across the super behemoth near the cliff edge in the forest. In what was a David v Goliath match up, Sally emulated the biblical hero, side stepping the behemoth’s attacks and flooring it with several sharp blows that sent it tumbling off the cliff to its demise. Quickly descending the cliff, Sally grabbed the samples, and started to race back to the airfield.

Now the race was on. Could the heroes get to the plane, and escape before the zombies could finish them off? Hell yes. In spite of the raging fires around the airfield, Jake, Mr Godard and Sally got to the plane (with Sheriff Anderson heading back to the train), and started the take off procedure. All were wounded, and sadly fate would play one more card, as the plane pulled up into the heavens, young Sally succumbed to her wounds*.

And so ended another GREAT adventure and once again proved why Last Night on Earth is such a favourite at the club

*Sad as this was, especially given Sally’s achievements, Jake and Mr Goddard had no compunction in throwing her body out of the plane. You never can tell who will turn, so better safe than sorry.

 

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Disaster in the Congo!

Frank and Paul took the new miniatures hotness, Congo, for a spin on Tuesday, while the rest of the club played Vampire RPG.

Being a fan of the Studio Tomahawk games Muskets & Tomahawks and Saga, a lot was expected of Congo, and it didn’t disappoint.

With both players bringing out their newly painted forces – The Zanzibaris for Paul, and the White Mens Expedition for Frank – and using Paul’s excellent Pulp Alley jungle terrain, the game looked terrific.

We played the Queen of Aksosum scenario, which saw the European’s camped out in the centre of the table, with their hands on the Queen’s sacred jewel (!), and being attacked by the Zanzibaris. The Europeans had to try and get the treasure off of the table, while the Zanzibaris both tried to stop them and looted the camp.

It was great fun – with melee’s and gunfire all around the table. HOWEVER, we got a lot of the rules wrong. Including the card mechanic, the scenario specific rules, and the melee outcomes.

 

We’ve put the game down as being a learner, and are looking forward to getting it to the table again (Frank has even ordered more figures).

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Two Saga’s

Saga has been an on and off favourite at the Club for a few years now. For example a competition league was set up and saw a good range of games played, but then we moved onto new games, as is the way with these things.

So, it was great when a couple of weeks ago we decided to get the figures out again and do battle once more.

We had two tables and four players – Mark fielded his Normans against Darren, who played Vikings.
Normans hold the hill
Vikings prepare to assault the hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other table, Frank took his Anglo-Danes for a spin against more of Mark’s Normans, this time being played by Paul.

Norman CavalryThe speech goes on, and on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As ever, with any game you haven’t played in a while, there was a degree of relearning the rules, and also for Paul, an introduction to the game. But we soon got back into the swing of rolling the Saga dice, deciding what actions to take on the faction battle boards, and knocking seven shades out of each other.

Mark and Darren fought over a hill, with Mark’s forces taking a battering but holding onto the hill. Frank and Paul fought over Frank’s village, with a scenario win for the Anglo Danes, which can justifiably be put down to Frank NOT explaining the scenario properly to Paul. Shenanigans could be rightly called by Paul, although Frank is chalking it up as another victory for his unbeaten Anglo Danes.

All in all, it was good to get Saga back to the table, to again see how the factions play out differently, and to try and play to the faction’s strengths rather than in a vanilla Dark Ages style. Hopefully it won’t be such a long time before it hits the table again.