Friday, April 29, 2011

Hey! that's my fish goes mobile.

This caught me off guard but FFG has released a mobile version of this fun game.

Fantasy Flight Games is delighted to announce that the international bestseller Hey, That’s My Fish! is now available for your mobile device! Hey, That's My Fish! is a visually stunning game across all platforms, including a Universal version that runs in full resolution on all iOS devices, plus a native version for your Android devices.

If you're going wait a minute this isn't an FFG game well apparently it is now. The publishers is also releasing a boxed versions "With a new box, new penguin miniatures, and new artwork, the updated Hey, That’s My Fish! will delight fans of the classic board game while engaging newcomers."

As you all know I am a big FFG fan but lately I've become a little disappointed with what they are doing. I'll save that editorial for another time.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News Bits and Money Pits

Some news for you as I get back into a routine.

FFG has posted a new preview of the upcoming TI expansion. Never  been much of a TI player myself but this expansion looks very good.

You might recall are interview with Richard Berg on the upcoming Godzilla game well it seems he has gotten his pre-release copy and posted some pics over at board game geek.

A product I am keeping an eye on called Battleship Galaxies is slowly releasing the information train. You can find the latest news here.

According to this BGG post Age of empires is getting a name change and an expansion. I'm one of a select few who detests this game for no apparent reason. I should mention the above post doesn't appear to be from an official source.

So I dug into the LOTR Card Game and I have to say I really am enjoying it. As much as I grow tired of the card game genre, being able to play solo or co-operative is very engaging. With only 3 quests included however I see this game becoming a big money pit.  There are already 3 adventure packs announced at $9.99 a pop and I'm sure many more to follow since the game appears to be popular.

Next up is Fighting Formations, I really can't wait to give this a try due to the praise it is getting.
Monday, April 25, 2011

Back from Holiday road.

So I'm back from vacation and thanks to Todd for keeping some sort of posting going on here at the OBGB. We'll have to send out a search party for Chris to see where he is.

I arrived home to several new games waiting for me. I'll hopefully get to one of them before Thursdays meet up I just can't decide which. It's between Fighting Formations and the LOTR Card game. I'd much prefer FF over the card game but the chances of that getting played on Thursday are slim. However chances are someone else already has played the LOTR card game saving me the trouble of reading the rules again before play which is always a selling point in my book.

Either way it's good to be home but the trip was well worth it. My parents enjoyed their 50th wedding anniversary party a lot which made all the travel a lot easier.

2011 Spring Kitcon Report--aka Seven Wonders Pallooza

As promised, here is a quick-fire recap of my day of gaming at the 2011 Spring Kitcon:

On my way there, I got a call at 9:05 AM: we have seat waiting for you for Battlestar Galactica:

Game One: BSG with Pegasus and Exodus Expansion pieces sprinkled in:

I am playing "Helo" and am a Cylon right off the bat, so I'm sitting there with Helo's very powerful change a decision power and I know exactly when I want to use it.

About 10-12 turns in, a crisis card comes up and sure enough it's what I was waiting for: it reads essentially do something bad or execute the current player. . .they choose the bad option and I say--nah you really want to off your friend.

On second thought, why don't you start looking for a new character. . .

Bonus cylon points because it was the chief and make it a double bonus as the chief changes to Dee and she kills herself when Morale drops to 2.

Game Result: Nearly three hours later, the Humans win. . .with 1 morale left. Although I did everything I could do to stop them--including the aforementioned two kills!

Games Two, Three and Five: Seven Wonders

So, I had heard that this game was all the buzz and I now see why. This must have hit the table like 10 or 12 times throughout the day and it's a great game for an event like Kitcon. It's a card drafting game that plays in 30-45 minutes and fits 7 players. . .there aren't many games that play fast and are good fits for 6-7 players. This was easy to learn and master. . .and it's definitely on my shortlist.

Results: I think I finished fifth, second and third in three spirited sessions.

Game Four: 51st State
An interesting card game driven resource gathering game. I like how it is interactive, but it seems imbalanced as I never saw a leader and ended up missing on a ton of bonus points.

Result: last place learner =)

After a short break to head home for dinner and to color the eggs. . .I returned for part two, which was very similar to part one as I ended the day with:

Game Six: BSG (the encore)

I am first so I pick Admiral Adama and am Cylon right off the bat again. . .anyway, as Admiral Cylon, I want to play it straight up until we make at least one or two jumps, but we end up playing with a cat named Evil Jim who mistakenly throws me in the brig because he thought I put a civilian ship in danger. . .the ship was a blank. . .but the blank ship tiles have a spaceship on there and I guess he expected to see nothing. It spoiled my plans but this effort actually ended up causing so much confusion that people kept burning valuable cards to keep me in the brig even though I kept protesting that they "shouldn't bother."

Subtitle choices: Evil Jim Strikes Again or When is a blank not a blank?

Anyway, the new admiral was also cylon and made the Galactica go 4 distance when they still had blue in all four resource dials to make the cylon sympathizer pro-cylon and the human's simply couldn't manage a game with a 3-3 disadvantage.

Results: Cylons win in a landslide as the human population gets dropped to zero shortly after they limp to distance 6.

A fun day of gaming that ultimately ended at 1AM but I was unable to get any of my newer games to the table. . .luckily I return to full time gaming in a couple of weeks.
Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Fun Thoughts--Getting Prepared for Kitcon--Spring 2011 Edition

As you may or may not know, our game club has a great event three times a year named Kitcon.

It's a wonderful full day of gaming (one year I started at 9am and finished at 3am the next day!) and three of my favorite days of the year.

There are some preparations that must be made for an event like this.

You need to decide what time you can make it and leave (and in my case, when I can go back for an additional 6 hours of gaming later at night).

You need to take a survey of your games and decide which ones you want to bring, which ones you want to play and which are must plays.

You have to take a look at rules and reread rules for new games.

And finally you have to get a good night sleep because you want to be at your bes--prepared for 12-18 hours of game playing.

Look back here on Monday for a recap of the day. . .I'm certainly looking forward to it!

More Deadwood details from FFG

Dan mentioned this game before he left and our friends at FFG have posted their first glimpse here:

This made me wonder, with a few video games being ported to Board Game Form if the great Red Dead Redemption might get that treatment down the road.

Specific to Deadwood, it sounds a bit like Bang, so I hope there is more meat there. . .
Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fun Thoughts--Does the Journey or the Win matter most?

Meant to do this post two weeks ago, but figured I'd toss it out here today.

To be honest, I am uber-competitive. When it comes to work and some of the sports I play/played, I'd rather gut my opponent vs. actually lose.

Yet when it comes to many board games, I'm often just content with having the opportunity to play. I realized the other day that the more and more games I play that I find myself driven to the experience vs. actually being compelled to win. This certainly isn't universal and for some games and some specific types of games, the experience is in the win, but it's something I wanted to toss out here for possible comments.

I thought about this some more and some games fit this way of thinking more than others:

It's All About the Journey Games

  1. Die Macher--The German Classic is a must try and really shows how some games are so deep you don't even mind what place you actually finish in
  2. War of the Ring-- The recreation of the LoTR Triology is an epic event and just plain fun to get on the table and spend four hours working out the details
  3. Battlestar Galactica--The best of the competitive co-operatives and comes so close to capturing the essence of the series that you get sucked in more and more each time you play
You Play to Win the Game Games

  1. Age of Steam--Just like other economic engine games. . .the experience is making the most money, getting the most goods and scoring the most points--Age of Steam is one of the most brutal where a few early mistakes can literally kick you straight out of the game
  2. Tigris and Euphrates--Once you learn the subtleties of the rules, you realize that winning this game is the only satisfying result
  3. Game of Thrones--I could have gone down a number of paths here, but Game of Thrones is a great example of the euro-war game where again your urges to stab your friends in the back overcomes the fun of playing
Anyway, just some fun thoughts for a Friday. . .feel free to comment and offer any other games that fit in either category.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fun in the board game kitchen?

I was browsing the different sites for some lunchtime topics today and I stumbled upon an upcoming game explained in the z-man games newsletter found here:

It's called Wok Star and it sounds really unique:

From the board game geek entry:

Wok Star is a cooperative real-time game where players take on different roles to help grow a Chinese restaurant in a tycoon style game.

This definitely is a different take on this type of game and I wonder how well the cooperative elements would actually work. Imagine the conversations: we needed 12 cups of rice and you cut up 10 pounds of water chestnuts. More Soy Sauce!

It also led me to wonder if this would eventually lead to an Iron Chef the game, but then it struck me that it likely was already made and sure enough in 2003 this game was released.

Looks kind of mainstream and has a 4.4 rating on BGG (ouch). . .but it's funny how culture affects gaming development trends with cooking shows being more and more popular I'm sure we'll see more games in the vein of Wok Star.

What will be first: Top Chef, Iron Chef America. . .who knows. . .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A few hundred years after Tribune. . .comes Ventura

Not the highway. . .not the former wrestler/governor (or is it governor wrestler).

A new wargame from Fantasy Flight games. . .it's based in medieval Italy and looks really interesting:

For more information, please check out their announcement here:


I will be away for close to 2 weeks so the traffic might slow a little. Chris and Todd will need to hold down the fort so we'll see how they do when I give them the keys.

Upon my return I expect a lot of game to be waiting at the office to look over and review. Anyway I'm all packed, just need to grab some games for my iPad for the trip.
Saturday, April 09, 2011

FFG Announcements

FFG has announced the 3rd Adventure pack for their (yet to be released) Lord of the Rings Card game called A Journey To Rhosgobel

This is the 3rd expansion in the Shadows or Mirkwood cycle. While some news can be found on this pack here. The most exciting thing about the announcement is confirmation that the base game will be in stores in 2 weeks.

The other announcement for today is a new game called Deadwood which as far as I can tell has no relation to the TV series that used to air on HBO. How dare those co#$suckers use that name. Sorry Deadwood humor, had to be done. While there is a page up at board game geek there is not a single post in the forums. The best info you can get now is the FFG announcement page.
Friday, April 08, 2011

Bonus Adventures for WoA

Those of you enjoying the excellent game Wrath of Ashardalon are in store for a few more official adventures thanks to Wizards of the Coast. Three new ones to be exact and they can be found right here.
Thursday, April 07, 2011

Into the Digital Abyss: My thoughts on the Small World App for iPad and the Impact for the Hobby

So we recently purchased an iPad2 and one of the apps I was most excited about trying was Days of Wonder's Small World App.

I won't give it the full review, but this incredibly well-done application (See information here) essentially ports Small World's 2-player board game experience into the tablet. It looks incredible and it makes you wonder if this is the first step for games and gamers alike to be pushed into a more digital medium.

Is this the future of the hobby?

Certainly, there are a number of other board games on iPhone/iPad and on the consoles (my most recent search came up with over 300 for the iPad alone), but this is the first that, in my opinion, really gives you both the look and the feel of the game and allows you (it is designed) to play the game like you would in a real board game setting (i.e. using the tablet as the board).

It makes you wonder how many more games are going to get this treatment.

I myself have dreamed of the digital board gaming table where you would load your games into it and it would set up your digital chits/pieces/etc. This would make playing games a lot faster and make clean up a lot easier, and if it was internet-enabled, it could allow for folks to play games with friends and family across the world.

This app essentially accomplishes this for Small World--without the internet capabilities (you cannot play this version over the internet).

You have to imagine that more games are going to get the iPad treatment in the near future and it makes sense. . .instead of going to the basement, setting up the game and playing, my wife sets the tablet down, clicks an icon, types in our names and there you go.

I don't know if any of this is necessarily a good thing, but it's likely to happen eventually. I'd be interested in your thoughts and I'll keep my ear/eye out for the next set of iPad board game apps and see if this is going to be a trend for the industry.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Horned Rat News

For those interested FFG has posted a preview of their upcoming expansion for Chaos in the Old World. You can read all about it here.

They have also announced a painting contest which can score you a copy of everything they have released for Battles of Westeros.

Maybe I should enter, what do you think Chris?
Tuesday, April 05, 2011

TI Expansion preview and other news.

For those that are interested in this upcoming expansion the first preview is up. Go give it a look.

The first Nighfall expansion has also been announced it is called Martial Law. I really liked this game but I felt the base set was skimpy on cards. This is a stand alone expansion so I assume that means you don't need the base game.

Fighting Formations is going to be released on April 7th. Of course by released I mean shipped to all the P500 customers like myself. I'm very eager to get my copy as I really like what they are trying with the mechanics.

This week is going to be kind of slow for me as I'm preparing for a trip so hopefully Chris and Todd can keep you entertained.

Countdown to 100

So, I realized the other day that I hadn't updated my Boardgame collection on the Geek in quite some time, and after updating it, I realized that I was getting real close to my 100th Board Game/Expansion.

Now technically, if I was to count all of the fluff and multiple copies of Monopoly and whatnot that litter the shelves in my basement, I am over 100, but since I am not counting those as true "Hobby" games I am stuck on 93 (with #94 pending). . .

So, six more to go until I reach 100. I'm thinking that a nice solid game order for my birthday should knock this out.

Feel free to offer any suggestions!

Monday, April 04, 2011

My hate for stickers and my love of walking robots

So last week was like Christmas according to the wife. I had no less then a dozen games show up at the office / house. Most of these were from my GMT games haul but others were just purchases.

One game I have never owned is the Command and Colors series. I knew there was a reason for it but I couldn't recall why. Upon opening my copy last night it hit me like a smack in the face.


Yes I hate games that force me to finish the components. I don't mind some assembly, I actually enjoy painting my figures although Chris says I am a horrible painter and he might of prevented me from every painting again.

However there is one thing I absolutely can't stand and that is putting stickers on components. You see I was blessed with incredible sausage fingers. This makes putting sticker on items very hard. I also have self diagnosed OCD which means if they stickers are not straight it drives me insane. You put all those thing together with a game that has about 260 blocks that need stickers applied and you may as well kick me somewhere not so nice.

Needless to say I am in the process of putting these stickers on and well I don't have much to say about the joy of owning this excellent game.

Now lets jump over to the pure joy department. My boxed set of Battletech arrived and let me tell you this is a steal for people who want to get into Battletech. There are already some good unboxing videos on the web so I won't be doing that but this boxed edition comes loaded with goodies.

First there are 24 Mechs, well technically there are 26. A quick start rules which had me playing in about 15 minutes. Introductory Rules, Mech sheets and tables. A book on the history of the inner sphere, a painting and tactics guide, a book on how to use all the core rule books and tech supplements.

In short it is perfect for someone like me who always wanted to be into this game but was simply overwhelmed by the amount of material. This boxed set takes that feeling away and gets you playing and lets you decide where to go next. Easily a 5 star recommendation from me.

Now all I need are some opponents.

A shout out to CBS

I apologize in advance for Mo Rocca, but here is a cool segment that ran on a recent CBS Sunday Morning News Show about board games and Gencon:

I think it gives a fair representation of the current state of board gaming. . .I really like the angle at the end that talks about winning vs. enjoying the game. (it's actually a rant that I wrote last week and need to post to the blog this week)
Sunday, April 03, 2011

An Apeal to FFG: Where the Heck is "Not Dune" Already?

Where am I?

I was having my morning coffee and integrating my Cosmic Incursion Expansion into the base game and was suddenly musing aloud about how curious FFG is about their game release announcements. It was before they even released Cosmic Encounter that they'd made waves saying they were re-skinning Dune into the Twilight Imperium universe, while they released Android as a sneak attack, shipping about one month after to was announced. On top of that they've released at least a dozen new, in-house designs in the interim. And yet, no new incarnation of Dune. No previews, developer blogs, prototype components and plastic bits. Nothing.

So here's my public appeal. How about this year? Maybe by GenCon? Please, I promise, we'll be extra good this year.
Friday, April 01, 2011

On Tap this weekend

If the stars align correctly my copy of the Battletech 25th anniversary introductory boxed set should arrive today or tomorrow.

I never played Battletech growing up. I saw it played a lot, wanted to learn it but with so many games and RPG's I never got around to it. When I heard about this box set and my love for Mech games in general I thought this was the best time to get on board.

I'm really hoping it arrives so I can spend my weekend throwing Giant Mechs at each other in battle. The one thing that scares me about getting into Battletech is my completest OCD. I have literally dozen of expansions that I have never played or even cracked the shrink wrap on. With 25 years worth of history and the ability to buy and paint plastic Mechs my wallet may be in for a hurting.

Now if this game doesn't come I still have a boatload of games to open. I received my shipment of GMT games from the 50% off sale and I'm looking forward to tearing into Dominant Species. 7 Wonders just arrived last night and like a lot of reports there is a color misprint on some of the cards. I'm not one who usually cares or even notices these things but it is pretty substantial.

I forgot to mention my basement gaming area is all laid out in Tide or Iron mode. I've been playing through the scenarios and writing them up for a feature I am thinking about. Should be a fun weekend with some new and old games.

What are you playing this weekend?

Conquest of Planet Earth Review

Published: 2011
Designer: Jason Hill
Publisher: Flying Frog Productions

Rules Complexity: Medium
Players: 1 -4
Type: Cooperative, Competitive, Solo

Artwork: A
Bits: B+

Gameplay: B
Playing Time: 45 - 90 minutes

Overall: B

Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien game is one of Flying Frog productions  newest games. Probably best know for their zombie game Last Night on Earth Flying Frog is a company some people love and others love to hate. I've seen their games criticized for their shallow play and the fact that instead of art work they use photographs of actors.

Conquest is no different then the companies other products. It's fast to play, has relatively simple mechanics and is fun to play. In this game you're an Alien race, part of an Armada which is conquering earth. The game offers several ways to play. As a competitive game you're vying to be the biggest, baddest Alien race in universe. Players compete against each other to see who can cause the most terror to the poor humans first.

As a cooperative game the players work together to face a stronger human defense. Finally the game can be played solo and it work much in the same ways as the cooperative game. While I have played the game solo, I have yet to play it as a cooperative game with multiple players. The reason for that is simple, this game is a really fun competitive game. You can really launch surprises on the other players and thus far every game I have played has been different.

The contents of the box.

You look amazing!
To my knowledge this might be their first game that doesn't contain any photographs in lieu of artwork and frankly it shows in a good way. While I don't mind the photographs in other games, the artwork in Conquest is outstanding. It does an excellent job at conveying the 50's era scifi theme they were shooting for.

The saucers and 4 special ally miniatures are also really well done and ripe for painting. As always the components are outstanding. The card board is thick and sturdy and the cards for better or worse have that glossy application that Flying Frog loves. It makes them very hard to shuffle and grab but there is no denying that they last a lot longer. As with their other games a CD soundtrack is included and I have not listened to it. I haven't actually opened one of the CD's included in any of their game but this is certainly a staple of this company at this point. Over all from top to bottom the bits are great quality I jsut personally don't like what they do to the cards.

Lets munch and crunch
The game is relatively simply to play, in fact a lot easier then the rules would have you think. My biggest gripe with Flying Frog games are their manuals. They are no intuitive in my opinion and while everything is covered and they included examples the rule books just seem structured very poorly. Having said that the rules in Conquest are less affected by this then same Touch of Evil.

So after each player randomly chooses and Aline race from a nice mixture which is provided they collect their color and tokens. Draw a starting hand of event cards based on their intelligence and prepare for the invasion. Event cards offer options to the player. Some add benefits, others harm your opponents and some benefit everyone. 

Each turn begins with a command / Initiative phase. The players have a set of counters that range from 2-6 plus an additional D6 counter. Each player secretly chooses one of these an reveals. The player with the lowest number goes first (ties are rolled off) but this number also represents the number of action points you have. So if I use my 2 counter because I want to go fist, I only get 2 action points. Once a counter is used it is set aside, you only get these back once you have used all of them and the only one in your hand is the D6 counter. The D6 counter is the only one that doesn't go away when you use it. When played you roll a 6 sided die to determine your action points.

You spend your action points to do things like play event cards, bring destroyed saucers back into play, buy aline menace tokens which are use for some of your alien races special abilities and finally to move and explore.
Location, location, location!

The heart of the game is exploring locations and subjugating the poor humans their. When you explore an empty board space a location card is turned over. The card will have a name, a population value and a defense value. For example a small town will have a 1 population and a 1 defense.  Some cards have text specific to their location like the fair grounds which adds a d6 to the resistance strength total. Finally some cards have icons denoting them as a certain type like technical or mountain etc.

The green population value is essentially the scoring system. Once you've conquered an area that value turn into terror points for your race. So the small town mention above, once you've crusher their resistance you now have 1 terror point. The first player to 8 terror points wins the game, this might sound awfully easy right about now so lets talk about defense.

The blue number on the card is called the defense value, but it is not the number you're fighting. It is in fact how many consecutive battles you must fight to conquer an area. So if that number in the blue shield is a 3, you need to win 3 battles without being destroyed or retreating in a row.

Take the fight to the alien menace!
Combat is the game boiled down into a nutshell. When you enter an area you draw a card from the resistance deck. That card is going to be either a unit or a hero. Hero's are best thought of as attachments to units. They might add +2 strength or even double the strength of the defending unit.

You can fight a hero alone, it must be accompanied by a unit. So when you draw if you get a hero you need to draw again until a units comes up. It's not uncommon to be fighting a battle with a unit and 2 or 3 heroes attached.

Units themselves also can have special abilities but for the most part they have a strength value. So if I draw a unit with a 5 strength and nothing else that is the opposition I am fighting.  Your attack strength comes from you alien races card. If your race has a strength of 3 you get a 3 for each attacking unit which makes it a good idea to not go into unexplored areas alone.

Once you calculate your attack strength and the defender strength you roll a die for each one and add it to that and the higher number wins the battle, ties are consider a pushed fight round. There is one little exception a roll of 6 is an automatic victory, regardless of strength totals. This means any battle is winnable or losable.

If you win the fight and have fought the number of battles you conquer the area. If there are still battles to fight due to the defense value of the location you can keep fighting or retreat. When you defeat and enemy or retreat the resistance you were fighting is discarded and new resistance is drawn, in this way the overall flow of the battle changes from fight to fight.

If you lose the fight but have saucers left you can still attack although your strength is reduced but unlike above you fight the same resistance until it is defeated or you leave the area. Sometimes it is better to live to fight another day then to press an attack hoping for a six.

Summing it up
I've only scratched the surface of the game. As mentioned there are aline powers, lots of nasty event and space stuff cards. There are resistance units that can come into play on the board and as I mentioned earlier the solo / cooperative game makes the humans a lot tougher by introducing human technology.

All in all, Conquest is a very fun game. It can be played in an hour and it's a perfect light game where you go after each other and have some laughs. It shouldn't be taken too seriously and players who despise games where your opponents can basically screw you over should stay far away. However it is a perfect game for young or tween children that the whole family can enjoy.

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