17 January 2018

Battle for Rokugan - video overview

Branching out into new territory for my blog, by adding video content. First out is a video overview of the new strategy game "Battle for Rokugan" by Fantasy Fligth Games. A small game that me and Caroline picked up at our local gaming store around Christmas. A proper review will be posted in the future as we have only played this game once so far (and we liked it) and would need to play it a few more times and with more players to form a proper opinion about it.

The video has been added to my youtube channel, and it has links to both my blog related Facebook page and my blog. 
More videos will be uploaded in the near future.

14 January 2018

Frostgrave: Loot the cart AAR

Scenario 3 in the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign, the scenario which really prompted me to finish painting the Frostgrave cultists needed for most of the scenarios. We had to proxy the cart and the cultists in this scenario with other minis. I wish the bad guys were a bit more active other than making up cannon fodder for our henchmen. We managed to kill them off with ranged weapon and magic before grabbing and running away with the loot.

My smokescreen spell really came to good use in this scenario, it was perfect for covering my retreat after having grabbed the treasure, and also blocked line of sight to the appearing ghouls. 

Frostgrave really is a great game, the strength really lies in the fast paced easy to learn rules. It's probably the game that made me appreciate rules that lean more towards "playing the game rather than the system". I guess SAGA falls into the same category, you get easy enough core rules that are easy to remember and don't have to cross reference the rulebook of a crib sheet each turn. I used to find these type of games disappointing, but I guess both Frostgrave and SAGA bring something interesting enough to make those "on the surface beer & pretzels type rules" interesting and involving. Tried out Pulp Alley not so long ago with my friend Thomas and had the same feeling.

That does not mean I don't enjoy more intricate or rule heavy games like By Fire & Sword, Chain of Command etc, but at the moment I simply don't have time or energy to dive into too mnay complicated rule sets. So it is nice to have something like this if I have to learn a new game over at a friend or teach a game to someone that has never played it.

13 January 2018

Frostgrave: Battle on the river AAR

You may have noticed that no game of Frostgrave posted on this blog has been especially "frosty" or included any kind of snow landscape. It was an early decision on my part, as I think the snow is extremely nice and cool - but it limits the models I would purchase to a specific setting. This is why I went with the regular "green grass" bases.

Of course this calls for a bit of creativity when interpreting some of the Frostgrave scenarios, such as this one - Battle on the river. It should take place on a frozen river - our game took place in a flooded swamp. Wrecks frozen in place in the river were made into ruined buildings decaying in the swamp. The whole area between the roads on both sides of the table were treated as a flooded swamp, using the exact same rules as for the original scenario. It worked well. The scenario itself was also pretty fun. This was however played before I had finished off my special models for the bad guys such as cultists and the Lich king himself so we had to proxy the villain in the center of the table - using a miniature of an orc. My warband came out on top on this scenario, managing to snatch the special treasure carried by the main badguy - who I "heroically" killed after Caroline had brought him to near death with her own henchmen :-D

The scenario itself was nothing special, but it still made for an enjoyable game of Frostgrave.

12 January 2018

Custom playmats from Inked Playmats review

As I received the Arkham Horror: The card game for Christmas I soon realized that I wanted  a visual tabletop aid for organizing player areas. Ideally like the awesome playmat that accompanies the one in Legendary Encounters Alien: A deck building game.

I stumbled upon Inked Playmats by browsing BoardGameGeek files section for Arkham Horror: The card game. One user had made his own custom playmats by combining his excellent high resolution artwork with the mouse pad-like material offered by Inked Playmays.

Browsing the homepage of the manufacturer a lot of choices are presented, you can get rectangular, square etc shapes in a wide variety of sizes. My brain almost overloaded with games I own that could benefit from something like this. But I wanted to start out with a small order. Inked Playmats were kind enough to sponsor the blog by giving a discount on my order after I approached them with a review proposition.

I placed an order for two game mats with artwork for player areas for Arkham Horror the card game, and one playmat with a Cthulhu/Lovecraft inspired background to be used as the play area for story, events and location cards. I also figured that last playmat would work well for rolling dice against an atmospheric backdrop in roleplaying games such as Call of Cthulhu or Trail of Cthulhu.

The playmats arrived today, shipping tipe from Oregon USA to Sweden took about 2 weeks. The price is imo very fair at 25USD apiece. The size of these 3 are 14" x 24" which was the recommended size for the Arkham Horror player area artwork I found on BoardGameGeek.

The print on the mats is high quality, the material is high durability and washable. The front is smooth fabric, the rear is rubber to prevent the playmat to slide around on the table.

It rolls up nicely for as well and the playmats come in a cardboard tube for easy storage.

I'm very happy with the product and shipping time. The only thing that was bad was that the shipping to Sweden was hit by customs and postal service fees. I would love to order from Inked Playmats again, but would probably pool together with a friend or two to split the fees and shipping cost.
Inked Playmats - Highly recommended! You can check out their store by clicking the company logo.


07 January 2018

Mythos Tales: Macabre detection in Lovecraft's Arkham review

Mythos Tales is  a very interesting boardgame in that it does not feature a board and the main focus of the gameplay is performing interviews and detective work by visiting locations and people in Arkham to figure out the mystery in each of the 8 cases provided within the game.

To describe the gameplay in short I would probably say that it is a mystery/puzzle solving game with a taste of a roleplaying game that does not require a game master. The theme of the game is that of H.P. Lovecraft's horror filled universe. Over the 8 cases provided in the game players will investigate weird murders, cult activity and monster sightings in the city of Arkham. The premise is solid and we were initially - yes initially - very enthusiastic and engaged in the gameplay and stories.

To describe the gameplay I need to mention the components first. The game includes a main scenario book that is printed in full color - some 190 pages. Each of the 8 cases have their own segment  in this book. Each case is wonderfully described with an intro, time limit and starting hints and clues. Each case also has a reference to a multitude of locations that you can visit in Arkham to make inquiries about sightings and questioning people of interest. 

To help you out you will also have a full color map of the city of Arkham with reference numbers on each building, park and location of importance (and locations that are completely unimportant as well). Also a directory of the inhabitants of Arkham, Arkham businesses, university, city utilities etc.
Finally each case also comes with a 1 page newspaper "The Arkham Advertiser" that has news printed on it relevant or irrelevant to the case at hand.

Each case begins with a short introduction telling you about something that has recently happened in Arkham, a short rundown of events and locations and sometimes people of interest by professor Henry Armitage of Arkham University who needs you to help him figure out what's going on. In the short intro description you often get a couple of leads right away to get you started. Reading the newspaper can also provide some clues, sometimes they are directly tied to the mystery and sometimes you realize that something in the newspaper becomes relevant at a later stage during your investigation. 

Once you know where to start, you look up the names of people or locations in the Arkham directory and reference the number in the scenario book, for instance visiting the Arkham occultist Pasquale Fenton at the entry "L4" (which appears on both map and in the directory).

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