24 August 2013

And now for something completely different.....


This is my 100th post. A rather significant milestone, but I had wished to have reached it about 18 months sooner.
I have been doing a lot of painting and gaming recently, but not a lot of posting due to the horrible heat in Korea at the moment (mid to low 30's Celsius during the day and no colder than 24 Celsius for the past month or so at night) and the insane humidity (80%+ everyday) which makes the temperature feel 5 to 10 degrees hotter. This coupled with a new boss at work, new responsibilities, picking up an extra 10 hours teaching and doing a project with a friend , etc... All of these things make my brain go wibble.

What I have been doing recently is playing a number of board and card games. This is mainly because they take up a lot less time to set up and pack away than a 2000pts Fantasy army.
I have been playing (in no particular order), Smash Up, Small World, EVO, Shadows Over Camelot, Blood Bowl: Team Manager and Pandemic. Links to each game's web page and the company producing the game (if any) will be placed on the game or company name at the start of the review.

I will start with two games in this post and follow up with more in later posts.

By Jay Little
Produced by Fantasy Flight

Blood Bowl is a passion of mine. The miniature game is one of the most enjoyable games that Games Workshop have EVER produced. The mechanics are complex on appearance and the number of skill have the appearance of being broken in the extreme. Multiple platforms to play the basic game or minor variants allow the game to be played at a dizzying array of levels.
Blood Bowl: Team Manager allows Players to play through a season in a much shorter amount of time. Typically 4 to 6 rounds, each round consisting of 2-3 games per player (2 games normally, 3 games potentially if there is a tournament being played that round).

There are 6 teams in the basic set (Humans, Dwarfs, Wood Elves, Skaven, Chaos and Orcs), along with a multitude of cards and tokens. This was my second game from Fantasy Flight, so I was well aware of the high level of quality of the components in the box. The tokens are thick cardstock. The cards come in two different sizes, basic playing card size for the game cards and half sized for the upgrade cards. There is also a pair of custom dice that represent the block dice in the board game.

The game is primarily a card game. Each player either randomly selects a team or chooses one to be for the entire game. Orcs and Chaos are more damage output orientated, Dwarfs are more into defensive plays and denial, Wood Elves and Skaven are more into running or passing, while the humans can do a bit of running or hitting. the teams as the cards go are pretty balanced and they are like their tabletop compatriots.
As soon as they upgrade cards are added the game starts to work in a number of different ways.

the game can be played with 2-4 players and I have had fun with all of the different number of players, but the best fun is really with 4 players. I have played this with gamers and with people who didn't think that they were gamers.

Good points.

Lots of humour in the cards. It is similar to the actual board game with the insanity of the universe.

It is pretty easy to pick up and play. Normally after one round players are understanding the mechanics of the game pretty well.

Banter... This game brings out the best/worst in you. The banter my gaming group uses isn't as bad as some as other groups I know of, but the taunting and abuse hurled between the players has made the game run a little longer than normal, but it had been more enjoyable because of it.

Bad Points

For my own preferences there would be no Humans or Wood Elves in there. Humans appear to be very bland, although I do win with them lots, and Wood Elves are tree-hugging-hippies. 

Skaven upgrades can be an issue. The Skaven team gets a lot of thematic upgrades that makes any loss almost as good as a win. It means that they will always get points even if they lose. It may even be better for them to lose instead of win depending upon the available matches.

Cheating tokens. You will need more. Due to some of the cards and events that are available we almost ran out of tokens.

You need the FAQ. The rulebook is a little unclear on some of the interactions between the cards.

Other points.

There is an expansion pack (Blood Bowl: Team Manager Sudden Death). There are three new teams; Vampires, Dark Elves and Undead. My issue with this pack is that it came and was sold out quicker than I could buy it. The three new teams add a different mechanic during play. Check the link for an idea of it. Since I haven't got the add on I can't really comment about it.


The game is really fun, seriously. If you like Blood Bowl, give it a go.

By Paul Peterson
Produced by Alderac Games

I saw Smash Up on TableTop, hosted by Will Wheaton. This game looked AMAZING! It was actually one of the most watched episodes of S2 of TableTop that I have watched. A nice simple concept of multiple different decks of 20 cards.
Choose two of the decks. 
Shuffle them together. 
It is that simple.
The box has 8 different decks (Aliens, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, Wizards and Zombies) with the cards being either Minions or Actions. There is also 16 'Bases' which the players fight over. Each base awards a number of points whether you come first, second or third, the winner is the first to 15+ points. The bases sometimes have an attribute that can alter how points are gained for the final victory or they will alter how Minions are moved once the base has scored.

The Rules are simple for the game. Each turn you can play one Minion and one Action. The description of the cards effects may allow more actions accordingly.You can get some ridiculous daisy-chained combinations. A Wizard and Robot deck I had made me put down 9 cards in one turn.

Here is a very basic overview of the different decks.

Aliens- they can move enemy cards back to their owner's hand making them go over the 10 card limit. They can also disintegrate cards putting them at the bottom of the players draw deck.

Dinosaurs- aggression, aggression with a side of outright devastation on the side.

Ninjas- Stealth, last minute points seizing and assassinations.

Pirates- give faction mobility and other smaller movement shenanigans along with the mass slaughter of low power Minions.

Robots- Powerful abilities that boost Minion power and allow extra Minions to be placed as a single action.

Tricksters- Masters of denial. Not overtly powerful, but they can be really f#%@^$* annoying.

Wizards- They can do multiple actions. One of the best companions for Robots. Extra Minions and extra Actions.... YES PLEASE!

Zombies- uuuuuuuuhhhh...... They are Zombies. Their discard pile is their best friend.

I have played the game as 1 on 1 and a 3 player. Both versions of the games were pretty good, but I do want to play a 4 player game.

Good Points

Pretty cards. The art design is very good on the cards.

Simple gameplay rules. The play a Minion and an Action a turn works nicely.

Different decks. Each deck does play very differently from the others, some of them compliment each other very well, some not so much. There are no useless pairings though.

The box holds the basic set and it has enough slots for both of the add-on packs.

Bad Points

The colloquial nature of the rulebook. For people who don't have English as a first language the book is pretty hard going. It uses a lot of colloquial English and it can be hard going if you are unaware of its usage.

The card rules can start HUGE chains of cards and it can be rough for the players to keep track of all of the things going on at the same time. Check the TableTop video to see what happened to Will Wheaton during the Smash Up video.

Other Points

there is one expansion pack out now Awesome Level 9000 which has 4 new factions (Killer Plants, Steampunk, Bear Cavalry and Ghosts) and 8 new Bases. There is another expansion set out in September; The Obligatory Cthulu Set. The second expansion pack includes 4 more factions (Cthulu Cultists, Elder thingsa, Miskatonic University and Innsmouth) and 8 more Bases. These two packs bring the decks to 16 and 32 Base Cards. All oif these decks can be mixed for a much more varied game.


This game takes some time to get used to it. It is really fun after you have got a few games under your belt. After you have a bit of experience it is an amazing game.

I hope that you find these reviews helpful for you.

Comments are welcome, as always.


English Pillock