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jonnyalpha

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Played the prototype of the diskworld ankh morpork game with a few friends and a nice young man from desvideum yesterday. Lots of fun, think I'll be buying a copy come June ish when it's finished.

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Played the prototype of the diskworld ankh morpork game with a few friends and a nice young man from desvideum yesterday. Lots of fun, think I'll be buying a copy come June ish when it's finished.

Any more details you can disclose, or are you all NDAed up?

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Nah no NDA. It was good fun, built around a similar mechanic to risk where you have to control different territories or cause certain effects in ankh morpork. The board and cards etc were unfinished and certain facets of the game play and scoring system weren't 100% finished but the game still flowed fine and we could see how the bits that seemed a bit superfluous in our play through would come into effect with a little fine tuning. My one negative thought is that aside from the names on the cards and the board there wasn't a lot of the diskworld theme present. Hopefully the finished game will sort that out also though. I'll try and put up a more coherent piece later along with some photos I took of the game in progress.

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Ticket to Ride - first time I've ever played this, despite hearing lots about it previously. Really enjoyed it, and it seemed to be the most 'friendly' (i.e. least confrontational) game we played. Messed up the first game by not taking any extra tickets, but got the hang of it a bit more in the second game. I expect once you learn which routes are key, and which tickets are most achievable/work well together it gets better/easier.

How many players were there? Our five player sessions on Ticket To Ride: Europe often involve a fair bit of nobbling other players, obviously this would be less of an issue with fewer people. I got the Europa 1912 expansion on Saturday and using the Big Cities cards has now made it a very competitive game.

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Just finished the first game of the Doomgate Legion Thunderstone expansion. The enemies are tough fuckers in this one, you really have to ramp up your smash shit in the face tactics, and the new diseases can be bastards. Just counting up now.

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I'm having more fun with Wrath of Ashardlon than I ever have with any other game I've tried out in single player. It's very challenging but doesn't feel unfair. The game system works very well and you concentrate more on getting into it as opposed to running it. Can't wait to review it.

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So, Doomgate Legion. I won the first game 56 to 42 so we decided to have a second game using solely randomised Doomgate Legion cards. It started out as an arms race as in the previous game Donk didn't have money to buy stuff (look up the Greed Blade card) so we both started reaching for the heavy hitters and big weapons (oo-er). Then commenced the longest game of Thunderstone ever :P it must have been a good hour and half long or more and in the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeend...complete tie. We had a breached creature so neither of us could claim the Thunderstone. Hilarious game, mind.

One thing I'm noticing playing deck building games like Dominion and Thunderstone is that ties can be a very common occurrence.

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Played three games of the Game of Thrones LCG last night, got humped three times. Was still good fun though.

Looking forward to full weekend of hardcore geeking the weekend after next, 6 of us getting together for an epic 2 day rpg sesh. Can't wait!

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We've been playing a game of Hansa Teutonica over the last three days at work, during our lunch hour. I think it's maybe our fourth game now, and it's amazing how much it's changed. The first game had barely any interaction between players - everybody was just doing their own thing, making trade routes and getting points. Now, though, it's absolutely vicious. People are obstructing the other players at every opportunity, and getting any upgrades is a real fight.

It's a fantastic game, though. For a game with almost no randomness (other than drawing new tokens, which isn't a big thing), and no hidden information, it's amazing how well people can hide their strategies or distract players into thinking somebody else is winning. I've always been surprised by the scores people have at the end of the game. Seems to be a lot of different possible routes to winning, too. At least in these first few games, nothing's jumped out as being an obvious best strategy.

The theme of the game is a bit off-putting to some of our players, which is a shame (and that bored bloke on the box hardly sells it), and it's also quite hard to explain to new players even though it's actually pretty straightforward once you get going. Other than that, though, it's a brilliant game. Even if I did come last.

We also got in a quick game of Idle Thumbs favourite Die Weinhändler with a couple of people who'd not played it before. Really fun little game (though, again, slightly dull theme). The auction system, where you win the cards bid by the next-highest bidder, is really clever and leads to some interesting situations where you're trying to slot your bid in between two others, or alternatively make a bid using cards you know are unhelpful to the other players. I'm really pleased I got this, as we've played it a fair bit, plus it's cheap, easy to explain and (unlike certain other card-based games) it comes in a nice small box so it's not a pain to lug it around.

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Finally got round to playing The Great British Train Game that we had picked up before Christmas.

It's a clever trivia game based around the idea of trains travelling around the UK and Ireland. Your little plastic train has to reach its destination (marked by a matching little suitcase) and then answer a First Class question. The key though, is that you have to pick up three Diversion cards (from the six silver signals that are placed on the board at the beginning, and which can be moved) as well as three First Class questions. The Diversion cards could make you go slower or miss turns, or they could give you an advantage. Once you have answered a First Class question (rightly or wrongly) the Travel Card determines your next destination - again with a trivia question to identify where it is.

What's clever is that all the questions are British-based, and also come in varying difficulty levels (easy, medium and hard levels, determining how quickly your train can move). The First Class cards are multiple choice too, and you have "lifelines" - your Short Train card eliminates two of the possible answers (much like 50/50 in Millionaire) and the Missed Train card lets you have another guess (but you can't play both on the same question).

Took about an hour for three of us to play the first time. Nice board and playing pieces, card dispensers were a little tricky as there are so many cards stuffed into the boxes.

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So I finally plucked up the courage to go along to London On Board last night.

Hmmm bit of a mixed bag.

I wasn't made to feel particularly welcome, everyone seemed very wrapped up in their own games. It was very cliquey and quite insular feeling. The was no obvious organiser or anyone to say "hello, welcome newb", or introduce me to how it worked etc. I suppose they've all been meeting up for so long and know each other so well it makes it very hard for a newcomer to come along.

However... I did get invited to join in, and manage to play three games, and games I'd never played before.

- Ticket To Ride. To my shame never played it. So, so simple and quite fun. I lost. Really really really badly. I didn't manage a single one of my routes! :(

- Samurai. Ergh this was horrible, not my thing. Also lost

- Puerto Rico. Again, to my shame another classic game I'd never played. I enjoyed this far more than I expected. I'd written it off as something very dry, and I guess the theme and setting is a tad dull. But I really like the mechanics and had a few of those 'ah-ha!' penny drop moments where the design and strategy comes through. Although I lost (well came 3rd out of 4) I feel like I knew why I'd lost and what I'd do differently next time.

Anyhow I'll probably go back at least a couple more times, try and work my way into the group a little. It shouldn't have to be this much hard work, but oh well.

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It's alarming how socially malco-ordinated a lot of gamers are. Me and Donk go to a shop called Chimera in Ripley near Derby and the WoW group is of the older end (like 25 - 40umptybump) so it's very good, but some of the Hero Clix players and Warhammer players are a bit...you know how there's a scale of nerdiness? Well, and I'm going to sound like a really arrogant cunt but I'd like to think most of us in here are the more 'aware' end of Geeky, like we know we have problems as we're late 20's/30's and buy little bits of plastic but we're socially aware enough to be able to do other things like go to the pub, hold a conversation, wash, all that. Then you have the bottom end of that scale, and that's where you have the people that talk too loud about how cool Dante is from Devil May Cry, and they all have neck beards and they don't know how to pull their trousers up so have builders bum and smell like they fell out of a tramps armpit. At Patriot Games in Sheffield there's a lot of those type of people.

Now, I'm sure they're lovely in their way and I've made a massive sweeping generalisation like the judgemental wanker that I am, but this is why it's going to be difficult for new people to get into gaming because groups form through one way or another and then they become like the turtle manoeuvres that the Romans did. Shields go up and you've got little chance of breaking through.

sorry, I'm not sure where I was going with this.

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Have a +1

Yeah it's a funny old thing, it sounds churlish to call other people nerds as I'm a total uber nerd geek. Always have been, always will.

But I don't see why poor social skills and enjoying RPGs/Videogames/Boardgames/Wargames or any other traditionally geeky hobby have to go hand in hand. They obviously do, real world experience bears this out.

Actually you've made me think I've probably been a bit too harsh on them. Having attended Magic tourneys, wargaming groups, gaming conventions, etc. The group last night were probably a cut above most "gamer nerds". It's a socially awkward situation at best; walking into a pub on your tod and sitting down with a group of total strangers is a pretty odd thing to do when you think about it!!

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Like I say, try and get a little more active on their group forum (or whatever) and see if you can make it a little less awkward. I think you've got the right idea of going occasionally rather than all the time, mind.

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I very much subscribe to the theory of a hierarchy of geekiness, here is my version:-

Top - magic the gathering players - some get to be celebs, it has a pro-tour so it's practically a sport, and you have to admit john finkel always looks cool (this games position is in no way affected by it being my favourite game btw)

2nd - video gamers - now quite socially acceptable, just remember to mention call of duty and fifa to 'outsiders' and not dodonachi and battle raper

3rd - comics geeks - the most undersexed of the geeks and so have to spend their days gazing at power girls breasts. Good to have around to resolve any disputes on who would win in a fight querys

4th - role players - its one thing pretending to be an elf or an orc and you have a kickass computer to make it look pretty but when you are playing it in your head then it is crazy (this rating is in no way influenced by my history and subsequent fear of hallucinatory mental problems)

Bottom - LARPers - its one thing pretending to be an elf or an orc and you have a kickass computer to make it look pretty or even in your head where you can imagine you look pretty, but to see sweaty, overweight men dressed as elves and orcs makes frank frazetta turn in his grave

Ps - this post is entirely humerous, i love games of all kinds and have been or am one of every category i have insulted above :)

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Four of us getting together tonight for boardgames related shenanigans. Arkham Horror could well be getting an airing and if not that then some Zombies and Death Angel looks likely. Beers are in the fridge and salty snacks are in the cupboard :D

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Better than me, I'm on a tidying up mission to free myself up for a weekend of editing and catching up on reviews!

Did get to go out and play last night though. Started out with a game of Homesteaders which I lost spectacularly... It's very much a game where you need to know what is possible, and on a first time you're lucky to finish last - it's that kind of thing! You have to buy a bunch of buildings over the space of ten rounds to build up a town. Every building has an ability that needs to be triggered by a worker, the buildings get you resources and money and the cycle begins again. Learning the abilities will help build strategies, but that's going to take some time. I can see it's a very good game but it's going to take a few more plays before I get used to it.

Next up was Vasco de Gama, a Euro game that's all about getting ships, crewing them and getting loads of points. Interesting mechanic to work out the actions but very tricky to explain - there's action tokens you place on spaces on the board, but you also need to grab numbered tokens that decide the order you go. Again, lots of intricacies and nuances I missed out on and I made a few errors. Finished last again, but still good to play. I'd happily give it another go.

Right. Now off to do the washing up!

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We did play Arkham Horror on Friday but unfortunately due one friend not turning up until late it was gone 9 before we actually started the 1st turn! By 1 in the morning it was obvious we weren't going to see a conclusion until around 3 and so called it a night. Was great fun as always but we agreed that if we can't all get together for a 7 start Arkham will have to stay in the box in future.

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Weekend was great. Three different RPGs, GoT LCG and some Death Angel. Lots of booze and good friends. Pretty much the perfect weekend, in fact. Bit knackered now though, and mIldly hungover.

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Some glass trophy, pretty well made actually. £100 store credit and qualification to some special final tournament which has not been announced yet.

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Nice one Sith!

I forgot to post, introduced a couple of new folks to gaming over the weekend - one of Steph's roller derby team-mates and her boyfriend. They'd only ever played stuff like Monopoly and the like before, but they saw my collection when they came over for beers on Saturday and asked if they could play something.

I said sure (of course) and let them pick anything off the pile - they went for Wrath of Ashardalon! Had a grand old time running the game for five people (as it only plays up to five and there were six of us, I stepped out but was still involved, helping out with rules and such stuff). After that we had a six-player game of Dixit which went down a storm. New converts GET!

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