Eclipse PC version 

I recently picked up a copy of Eclipse dawn of a new blah on steam. It’s just been released on the PC. 
Now I’m a huge fan of eclipse. I’ve had the boardgame and the first expansion for ages and have even played a nine player (which was less chaotic and faster than you would think). I’ve had my greedy eyes on the electronic version since the iPad (which I don’t have) version was released and I was looking forward to the PC version coming out. Guess what! It’s shit

Now to be fair some board games just don’t lend themselves to electronic conversion and Eclipse is definitely one of them. That said the developers did a really bad job here. Where do I begin
First and foremost the interface is clunky. Lots of slide out menus reminiscent of a DOS game trying to be too clever. There’s no graphics settings so everything feels like it was designed for 800×600. Uninformative status displays. Dull graphics. Menus that sometimes disappear if you double click rather than single click and stop you from continuing the game. No save game. Very poor zoom (You can see only see ten hexes at most). I’m going to stop there but there’s more

What’s worse is there’s so much wrong with the game the developers will never get it right unless they scrap it and start again which they can’t.  I’ve no issue with a developer making a dogs of something while they are learning their trade but why did it have to be This game 
I didn’t bother with multiplayer. It was pointless. 
It’s a real pity. I love the board game and it’s not going to win any new fans the way it’s presented. So I’m going to cleanse myself by playing the real thing and for the first time ever. I’m going to ask for a refund from Steam
Bad show all around
Update : goddam I played it for over 2 hours so I’m stuck with it now. Lose lose. 

Jayo and the argonauts 

Cyclades (pronounce it as you will) is another decent game from Matagot. I played it some time back which prompted me to get Kemet. If Kemet is a knife fight in a phonebox then Cyclades is a rolling brawl in an open plan call center.
Players are racing to erect (oh err) or take ownership of, two metropolises which themselves are make up of four different temples each dedicated to different gods. This plays out on a fairly tight archipelago map. So far we have islands, Greek mythology and map based conquest. The good news is it doesn’t go all terribly wrong after that. 

Each player starts with a couple of soldiers (straight out of Jason and the argonauts), a couple of ships, a small stack of cash and bidding begins in the form of offerings of gold to the gods. There’s five gods each of which if your open bid is the highest grant you an action of some sort.  
Ares allows you to buy men and move them. Let’s pause there. Unlike other games this is the only way to move your dudes and attack. Poseidon allows you to buy ships and move them. Again the only way to move ships. Athena gives you a shortcut in the form of cards that can be cashed in to build A metropolis. The other dude old whatshisbame gives you priest cards that give bonus coins for bidding and the last chap mr something or other gives you cornucopias which enrich your islands and give you bonus coins each turn. 
Each of the islands have limited spots for building temples and some of them come with preprinted cornucopias so owning those ones gives you cash at the start of the turn and are in high demand. The usual dynamic of get more, build more, steamroller, win is nicely kept in check with the bidding mechanic and the need to guard what you’ve built or stolen. Having a big army is neither here nor there if someone knocks out your ships and you can get where you want. Likewise being outbid when you have a coup de grace move in mind is right pain the the snag 

On top of the bidding there’s also a conveyor belt of cards sliding by you can splash gold on. Cards grant you access to a variety of one turn lasting mythological creatures that can boost your attack, send ships running for cover, snipe one army and so on. It’s all very thematic 
This is a great little game. It’s well produced. Artwork and components are good quality. I particularly like how each player has a different army model to everyone else. The game is fast, the mechanics neat. There’s nothing particularly new here but it fits together beautifully and makes a magnificent whole (oh err). I’m a sucker for map based conquest and this is one of the better ones. 

War is Heck

I know very little about the American revolution. I’ve never watched the Mel Gibson movie or seen all of last of the Mohicans but I like 1776 rebellion. It’s real Purdy 
This could be described as a lite version of a Distant Plain with a dash of quartermaster general thrown in for good measure. It’s sort of like that. It’s a lite war game and I think it’s a lot of fun and suitably different from what we normally play. 
The game shows a sideways subway like map of the east coast of North American made up of a patchwork of colonies which are sub divided into regions. The regions start with a number of cubes in situ in a variety of colors (all detailed on the map for ease of setup) 
In the blue and yellow corner we have Team America. The continental army (who’s balls hang low) and the American militia. In then red corner we have Team GB: the always nasty Red Coats and the loyalist militia: plus let’s not forget Team neutral: the Native Americans. 

The goal is very simple. At the end of the game control more colonies than the opposing team. That’s it. There’s no money or economy in the game you get some dudes each turn and have at it 
Winning is achieved in the time honored tradition of placing reinforcements, moving armies and then knocking the shite out of the other team whilst in general cooperating with your teammate. 

What’s different here from the normal fare on the face of it appears small but puts a surprisingly large spin on proceedings. Firstly when you command units you can control your team mate’s units too. Don’t worry there’s enough lads on the board that you won’t fall out over it and you are really working together 
Now I’m not a huge fan of games with two teams. In a lot of cases they’re just two player games with a bigger player count (I’m looking at you letters from white chapel). Granted some of them work really well like Star Wars Rebellion and War of the Rings but 1776 feels like you’re part of a team properly and truth be told you could play with more than 4 if you wanted as the game lends itself to advisors throwing in unhelpful sideline suggestions. The map can change quickly, observers won’t be bored
The mechanics of the game are simple. You start with a deck of 12 cards per faction, some of which are movement cards, some event cards and one special movement card in the form of a truce. 
Every turn you HAVE to play a movement card (or show and draw a new hand). Movement cards come as either move x amount of armies y amount of regions or ship movement where you move x amount of armies from one costal region to another (or across a river). The final one is the ever tricksy truce card which allows four armies to move and once one side had played two of these its game over. Whilst moving, as you would expect if you bump into the enemy it’s fighty time.  
Fights are straightforward. You pick the dice for the troop types engaged and roll them (defender goes first) There’s a limited amount of dice per unit type so a mix of troops gives a better chance of success. Dice feature hits, blanks and flee faces. Hits remove enemies (defenders choice), blanks allow you to retreat units (or advance them to some other area) and flee causes your guys to scurry off but they’ll be back next turn. Again the subtle differences have a big impact. It’s possible to “retreat” units to forward unguarded location. This is big. It makes it much harder to contain enemy forces as they can slip out of your hand like a bar of soap (whatever that is) 
Add to this native Americans that side with armies they first encounter, mercenaries that appear as part of events, event cards that cause a variety of headaches for your opponents but are definitely not overpowered and it’s becoming a very rich gaming experience. It’s a simple game to learn but there’s quite a bit of depth here

The game is suitably epic. Rolling battles. Dug in resistance. Last ditch defenses. The theme is strong here. It’s also very close run. The game we played (and I won’t get into the mistakes I may have made as an American general when my team mate went off to water the horses) was a draw. Games are quick or can be. It’s possible to end the game anywhere between turn three and ten. Even a ten turn war will only last two plus hours. There’s no downtime here it’s full on but immensely enjoyable to watch. 
Production values are excellent. It’s a beautifully presented game. The artwork is gorgeous. The only thing I’d prefer would be little painted soldiers than cubes for the units. I say prefer but I’m never going to paint them up. 
I really like this game. It comes with a number of scenarios outside of the big campaign for quicker or or fewer player games
Just like quarter master general I’m impressed with an innovative and simple rule system and I’d love to try some of the other games in this series. Once I’ve played enough of this one of course. Which I haven’t 
Great game well worth a look

Breakfast of Gamers

Image result for greasy spoon cafe

The Knaves will be meeting for Brekkie in the Hotel in the morning around 9am before the main event kicks off at 10am.  By all means come and join us for the now traditional start to the day with the four important food groups of sugar, starch, grease and burnt crunchy bits



Knavecon 8 Grand Raffle Part 11

Sorry for the late post, was doing stuff and things. Anyhoe.. the Mighty Black Kat have sponsored Fantasy Flight Battlestar Galactica an absolutely crackin game.  If you don’t have a copy in your collection now’s a great time to get it


Was talking to them today and they will once again be front and centre with their shop.  It doesn’t get much better than this



oh and this stuff too and yes more to follow