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    RPGs and the best of the rest, has to be interesting though these days to get a look in.
    Board games - dungeon crawlers or anything good for solo play.
    Reading history, fiction in translation, science fiction or more or less anything if stuck on the proverbial Desert Island.
    Tennis for 2 weeks a year.
    Football and in particular supporting Arsenal & Sutton Utd.

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  1. Bargain.at £12. Play as a mage. First boss - the one which travels underground - is tedious but quickly after that you will slice through mobs. Only drawback is all the toing and froing.
  2. The National League has met again and it seems fans will be able to attend matches from 3 October (including away fans), subject to stadium capacity constraints. It's hard to see that really being an issue at this level, other than for prestige cup fixtures or maybe the odd derby game. Sutton are restricting season ticket sales to 750 this year and have sold around 550 which is probably around half the usual (recent seasons) number. Looking at the note circulated, it would seem the clubs would be interested in relaxation of the alcohol consumption rules but I imagine that would be unlikely. It's apparently allowed at pitch side below National League level. We've made a couple of signings too - Dean Bouznanis a 29 year old keeper (we had a good one on loan from Wimbledon last season), and 25 year old striker Tobi Sho-Silva from Halifax. I suppose you could consider Harry Beautyman signing a new deal to be the best news of all. Tommy Wright and our loanees have left (wouldn't be at all surprised to see Tommy popping up at Havant since he's another who lives Southampton way).
  3. I used to use BGG all the time and had plenty of good customer service as you note, and they probably still are fine for single purchases. It's just that every time I ordered 2 or 3 products something would be missing. No one else has this problem. Meeples Corner is my first choice now. That Dutch site is back up now so its been named and shamed! I suppose I'll give them a little longer since its mid holiday season but Summoner would be my NL pick now.
  4. Bit weird to pos a post where you had a bad experience but thanks for sharing.
  5. Anyone else read Spielbox? I bought a 2020 subscription via KS and I've subsequently purchased some back issues too (which lead to my Dutch misadventure). I think it complements Tabletop Gaming quite nicely, almost Wireframe to TG's Edge. You get a real sense of gameplay, it's suitability at different player counts, the quality of manufacture etc. Multiple reviewers usually contribute and they can be blunt at times. Admittedly it probably helps if you find slightly idiosyncratic translation from German charming rather than cumbersome. Also, if you want King's Dilemma this autumn (and why not, it's phenomenally good - should have won the expert game prize imo) - pre-order here - you won't be charged until available. https://meeplescorner.co.uk/product/the-kings-dilemma/
  6. I was in a rush earlier but I will flesh out the first post - agreed that paying for pre-orders in advance is a no no. I've also seen Zatu prices rocket at times - during lock down anything with a solo capability was jacked up to RRP.
  7. Having just recently been burned by buying something from a Dutch site, Spelspul.nl, which I'll probably need to obtain chargeback for, I thought this might be useful, particularly as new names seem to pop up on the price comparison website https://boardgameprices.co.uk from time to time. In the UK, the only supplier I'm aware of with issues is Amazon - can be OK but if an item looks very good value for money it may be either counterfeit or a foreign language version (I believe they pool their stock with other suppliers which obviously complicates things). Caution advised. Thoughts on other sites I've used Board game guru. Used to use these all the time since they ship with DPD local. Now on my avoid list owing to too many mistakes with multiple orders. Also for an archaic system and having to pay in advance for pre-orders. Zatu. Use if cheap and item is in stock. Don't believe the "restock expected" classification. Have a loyalty scheme and much time is wasted trying to get the 3 or 5 products necessary for a small discount. Ship quickly with RM. Prices may be increased at any time so beware leaving any items in a basket. Chaos cards. I don't use them a lot because I'm not into card games and I find the website cluttered. They offer free shipping with slightly slower RM delivery. . Iirc you pay for pre-orders in advance. Loyalty scheme. Offer free shipping for slightly longer delivery times. Firestorm cards. These seem to specialise in the heavier Euros and often have items not held elsewhere (and cat jigsaws). Awkward website - recommend weekly newsletter to identify new items. Slightly awkward and slower system but you get there after a day or two. No idea about pre-orders. No loyalty scheme. AVOID DHL shipment option since this is the man+van version not the timed delivery service. Meeples Corner. Love these guys. Recently revamped site. No advance payment for pre-orders. Usually ship next day with DHL timed delivery. No loyalty scheme. Small stock volumes held and restricted compared to some other sites. Meeples, BGG and Firestorm all have KS versions available from time to time if that is of interest. Overseas I've used Summoner (NL) and Huggendubel (GER) with absolutely no problems. Would be interested to hear other recommendations or cautionary tales.
  8. Agreed. He's now on the "no no" list of designers, mechanics and settings! This sounds a bit absurd, but it's handy to have as a checklist to review potential kickstarters etc. I'm also tempted by older games (if they can be tracked down) through reading back copies of Spielbox, so it's handy to have for that as well. I haven't posted here for ages but games played have included Sword & Sorcery (forgot just how long those scenarios take with a 5p team), Paladins of the West Kingdom (excellent progression of Architects and another solo game winner), 7th Continent (solved, but did not win, the treasure chest curse), Pangea, a really technical game about running an extinction event simulation as one of 4 animal types, the Dwarves (because it was on sale but its quite decent), Sail to India - novel mechanic whereby your cube markers serve not only as ships and bods, but also have to mark cash and VP levels, and finally, having decided that technical games are of increasing interest to me I decided to take the plunge with Phil Eklund and Bios: Genesis as the place to start. This is where it probably helps to have a science education! Initially it looks an impenetrable mass of small type and footnotes and symbols but working through the detailed example really helps. Essentially you are endeavouring to create simple life from the primeval soup. You may do this competitively (where parasites come into their own) or co-operatively or solo. There are 4 sets of locations where life may potentially form - "refugia" - in space or on the Earth's surface. Each game turn is prefaced by an event in which some of these locations are made available and then loads of bad things happen like being bombarded with UV, heat or oxygen, and sometimes the climate turns hot or cold. You have to place your "bionts" on these spaces and roll dice to try to achieve auto-catalysis and flip the refugia into bacteria. You want this to happen with the bacteria possessing as many chromosomes as possible but this is tricky to achieve and leads many missteps along the way. You also have to consider whether going your own way or combining with other players would be beneficial. Once an microorganism is created and placed on your tableau (roll a double when lots of chromosomes are available from "organised" manna) you can develop it with mutations which make it stronger and have greater resistances, but before this you also have to survive a "Darwin roll" each turn. Again, lots of bad things can happen if you don't have sufficient protection. Yet more bad things will happen when the next event card is drawn representing 200 million years down the line. In other words, its a real struggle. When you have sufficient chromosomes on one of your microbes you may convert it into a macro-organism, initially a marine creature and finally a terrestrial one. I was dead chuffed yesterday to create Flatworm pictured below (all the way from Inter-planatary dust via a microbe), albeit one still lacking a few organs. In this game, 4 cold events had transpired which meant Armageddon and game over, but under the rule set for the solo game it was a success since 2 bionics of different colours were represented in the organism. In a competitive game you would score your final cubes and bionts. The final event was fairly benign (other than triggering the Armageddon) and if the game had continued the flatworm would have needed more beefing up to be certain of survival. It's an intriguing game - to be sure the dice rolls are a bit arbitrary in places but in the big picture the aims and process are rather well implemented, and the science is interesting and informative. Anyway, its a hit here and great for the soloist. In fact under a non killer cold scenario blue was in a relatively weak position since he had no other living microbes. These are the sources of catalysts - represented by tiddlywinks - the in game currency used for mutation and organ purchase. It takes several turns to generate life through judicious rolling in promising refugia. In that time the poor worm would have been bombarded with heat, UV and O2 and other hazards, any excess over Shields resulting in organ loss. Lose the bionts and it's extinction.
  9. I find On Mars disjointed and lacking all logic or common sense in places. Reading more about older Laverda games suggests he's simply not for me. You could look at Underwater cities, one of the Meso America games such as Tzolkin or Teotihuacan, a Brass game or Terra Mystica / Gaia Project for something with real crunch and more affordable / available.
  10. Barnet seemed to benefit most from the points per game extrapolated basis for determining the National League. They had a cup run and (seemingly) a permanently waterlogged pitch. Anyway justice has been done with odious Yeovil and Boreham- come in a taxi - Wood eliminated, and the big 2 can battle it out Sunday. Also Havant & Waterlooville were eliminated so no return of the Doz. Not sure where this all leaves relegation from National League (4-2 means net 2 up at the present and numbers are to be maintained) or from League 2 with the legal issues there. Once all that is resolved, the new season starts 3 October and I'm up for it, having, after some prevarication, renewed my season ticket at the discounted price. I don't know what crowd control measures will have to be put in place at this level - the congested bar is the obvious issue at Sutton. Other than that, so long as it isn't pissing down driving people under cover, there is no real issue to maintaining social distancing for 99.9% of fixtures. I'm not a fan of sitting in the stand anyway since it dates from when folk were a good inch or two shorter than nowadays and it's impossible to sit with straight legs (even at 5 8), so you have to either twist sideways into an aisle or you are knocking knees with both neighbours
  11. Voted for the black box although when the purchase will be made is anyone's guess, especially given that I've hardly touched video gaming for months now. No brainer of a decision - i'm totally embedded in the ecosystem and have all my back catalogue, friends, RPG club etc there. No envy for the PS5 SP exclusives whatsoever.
  12. Probably a bit OT, but the Sherlock Holmes games are great. Just don't interpret "plant surprise" as an unexpected herbaceous gift!
  13. Date at the end of this - 18 August - must admit it surprised me. I'm hoping it comes out for console with an auto-pilot option although that might be seen as missing the point completely....
  14. Not long to wait. August 18 on PC gamepass.
  15. The art style is deliberate but the inconsistent voices and too modern vocabulary are a little annoying although undoubtedly budget constrained. You can also see the jump cuts from time to time. Still, a fascinating game and worth checking out when on sale. .
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