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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With January about to leave us, its time to catch up on some of the games played recently at the BAD Gamers
Mark, Lee and Frank took Merchants & Marauders for a spin. Been a while, and it showed in Frank’s ability to remember the rules! Still Lee created a good narrative as a merchant who found fortune through trading and then fame through taking down the local pirate (and in so doing winning the game).
At the all day January session, Pete took Paul, Graham and Frank through Conquest of Nerath. A dudes on the map game set in one of the D&D worlds. The strategy needed to play the game evolves over time, making this more than a fantasy version of Risk. Indeed the euro situation of having too much to do and not enough to do it with came out in the middle of the game, meaning that every attack had longer term consequences.
Also at the all day session Mark ran two games of Frostgrave, with his new gaming mat. Both games proved great fun, what with teleporting wizards stealing treasure, other wizards using telekinesis to move treasure about, and yet other wizards blowing themselves up while miscasting spells. A fun miniatures game, and one that will hit the table again in the coming weeks.
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).
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.
On the other table, Frank took his Anglo-Danes for a spin against more of Mark’s Normans, this time being played by Paul.
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.