Knavcon 10 Raffle Part 2

More games being added to the Knavcon 10 Raffle Pool.  Knaves I give you


and let’s not forget


SO! how do I get tickets early and beat the rush on the day and benefit from the 2 for 1 offer before the friday before the Knavecon?  Simples just paypal my Swiss bank account at

Prices are currently

  • 2 x raffle tickets for €1
  • 20 x raffle tickets for €7
  • 50 x raffle tickets for €12

Should you feel inclined, feel free to pre-book your tickets for the event too.  Tickets will be available on the door on the day as usual.  It’s going to be a busy con!

  • Adults €18
  • Students and unwaged €10
  • Accompanied Children Free



A Mars a day

I got to play Terraforming Mars finally only 8 months after it was released. I'd had mixed feelings towards this game not least of which was the reported build quality. After all the hype. The reprints. The debates I played my first game on a buddy's copy. He'd paid €80 for it in a not so local FLGS… that's €80 I'm glad I didn't spend myself…..

First and foremost this is my first game of TM and I do plan to play it again. Bets firmly hedged let's continue

For my first game I was very much underwhelmed.

The theme is strong. You and up to three other players play a corporation with a special ability competing to get the highest score by helping to terraforming mars. You this by raising the temperature, oxygen levels and placing all the sea tiles. So these are the three levels Scotty slides to beam up a win. To affect these you plant forests, build cities, install microbes and a variety of other sciencey stuff.

Rounds start by drafting four cards from a massive stack and picking and paying which to keep. Each has a cost to play and a set of restrictions such as min or max temperature or oxygen levels. Usually these cards allow you to carry out an action or setup a future action at a lesser cost than the standard actions. Like Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne you can buy some of your actions more expensively if you have the cash. Well a lot of the actions.

Everything costs money which luckily you get at the start of the turn. You also get a variety of amounts added to energy, heat, plant life, iron and titanium. Each of these feed a very expensive slowly terraforming maw. Things like iron and titanium along with certain cards reduce the cost of building. Other levels allow you to build cities, forest and ok I'm going to stop there. We've been here before. You need to adjust a number of levels through a set of mechanics that vary in cost and effect as they're drawn from the deck, a very big deck it must be said. You can invest in cards that will increase score or improve your economy and ability to buy further cards and you're racing to get to the highest score. As always it's knowing when to build up your economy and when to go for broke and concentrate on scoring.

There is nothing wrong with the mechanics. It's all fine it's just so similar to every other games. What does annoy me about the game is as follows

It's a solo game practically. Everyone works away practically in their own bubble with very little interaction racing to the finish. I can't be doing with that

The build quality is poor. Not Monopoly money poor but it won't last. The board is basic unlike myself it will not age well. The money is easily chipped. The cards are fine but scream do be sleeved and there's just too many of them.

The artwork is fine and the color scheme fine. I want more for my buck, fine doesn't cut it. It doesn't wow accept maybe the money pieces.

The real problem I found with TM was there's better out there. There's too many games to play them all and I refuse to waste time on the mundane and after one game were still in the mundane zone. Sure it might improve as you play more but you're card is marked TM you'd better pull your socks up or it's expulsion for you.



Knavecon 10 Raffle

For all of you planning to attend or just happy to support Knavecon I once again give you the Grand Raffle.  for the princely sum of €1 your name will be entered into our now famous draw for a selection of Board Games which will be raffled on the day.  (early supporters will get TWO entries for their buck up until midnight Friday 1st September)

The prize fund will be added to as time progresses and more games will be appended to the list and this post updated.

Since this is the Tenth Knavecon I’m going to start off with something REALLY special. Considered THE grail game and out of print for a number of decades, Knaves I give you our first prize….

Please not this game is NOT new new, it’s a 40 year old game, from the contents it looks like it has never actually been played, the box is a little worn, which is to be expected in this age of game and materials.  The contents are 100% complete and look unused. There’s a video of the game in Knavecon X 


SO! how do I get tickets early and beat the rush on the day and benefit from the 2 for 1 offer before the friday before the Knavecon?  Simples just paypal my Swiss bank account at

Prices are currently

  • 2 x raffle tickets for €1
  • 20 x raffle tickets for €7
  • 50 x raffle tickets for €12

Should you feel inclined, feel free to pre-book your tickets for the event too.  Tickets will be available on the door on the day as usual.  It’s going to be a busy con!

  • Adults €18
  • Students and unwaged €10
  • Accompanied Children Free



Sharing is Caring


As you know, Knavecon 10 (or X if you’re Italian) is coming down the tracks in 5 weeks time or less, 2nd September.  I’ve always been keen to get people to mix up their gaming groups a bit and gamers do tend to be a friendly bunch. Usually.  I’d love to see people float around a bit more and get to know others, network if you will.  One of the Knaves had a cracking idea which I’m putting in place for Knavecon 10.  A set of signs you can write on in chalk to invite other players to join your game if you’re short a player or you just feel like getting some new people involved.  Remember gaming is like the black pudding industry it needs constant fresh blood.

Here’s my challenge to you Knaves coming to the Knavecon 10 and that’s to get involved in a game with a group of people you haven’t played with before.  Better still drag a newbie into a game and explain the rules.  you don’t have to of course, it’s your con, but I think you’ll be surprised how much fun it is to play with a fresh group of people.  Especially since they don’t know you and may trust you when you say you won’t attack them….

Keep the faith

See you on the 2nd



Unlucky for some

Twilight Struggle is a stupendous game. Maybe even the best 2 player game out there. I've played some epic games of it. The best of which kicked off at 11pm at a Knavecon. Sometimes you just don't have the three to four hours it requires to play. Enter 13 days a cut down version that uses a lot of the same mechanics but plays out in maybe 20-30 minutes (or in my case 5 as I kept nuking myself). It's good, it's definitely not As good as TS. more like pitch and putt versus golf.

13 MINUTES is like mini golf without the windmill. it's a cut down version of 13 days and it's not bad at all.

The game uses a lot of the same mechanics as 13 days and a few from bloodbowl team manager. It also tips it's hat to Love Letter insofar as it only consists of a small number of cards. 13 in this case. Also 13 influence cubes.

Both players pick either USSR or USA as their side. Both play a little different but mostly the same.

When the game starts players secretly bid a number of their precious influence cubes to see who goes first. Both sides bid of cubes are removed from the game. One card is randomly picked and placed face down (Cuba) and it's worth two points at the end if you have the most influence cubes on it. Then it all kicks off.

Each turn a player plays one card from their hand of two. The playing field is made up of your side of the table. The neutral middle and the opponents side. When you play a card it goes into either your side or the middle. You then have the option of putting down or taking up, up to the amount of cubes listed on the card onto any card on the table. Putting any cubes on a card (a card on the table is termed a battleground) moves it one step towards your side of the table, taking back cubes moves it one step towards your opponent.

The other option when playing a card is to use the event text instead (if the card is neutral or your sides card). Event text tend to be more powerful with things like place cubes on two battlegrounds. Swap a card from your influence zone to your opponents. The whole your zone my zone thing is to break ties if you have equal influence (including zero each) on a battleground. In grand TS tradition if you play a card with the opponents symbol on it they get to kick off the event before you can spend the influence.

Each turn more and more battlegrounds open up and hard choices have to be made about where to spend your limited influence cubes. Which to let your opponent dominate and which to hold onto. I think Kenny Rogers may have sung about this.

The last sting in the tail is the nuclear symbol at the top of the card in one of three colors. If at the end of the game you have in your Zone three cards with the same color nuclear symbol then Kaboomy! It's game over man for you. Sneaking in a third nuclear symbol into the opponents zone is a sweet way to win (and I've yet to pull it off)

The game is cheap. It's fast and it's portable. It's a very small game just a small stack of cards and a few cubes. It punches above it's weight for what's in the box and because it's so quick you'll want to replay immediately.

I like it. It's good fun maybe not quite as good as 13 days and certainly not as good as Twilight Struggle but it's a quick fix and it fits nicely in that zone. Worth a look. I'll have it at Knavecon which is closer than you think!



Wabbit Season

I spoke a few posts back about Player Unknown Battlegrounds, yes yes, it’s not a board game, we all got over that.  What it IS though is the best online shooter in a number of years and you should really get your hands on it.  Ask several other multi-talented Knaves they’ll tell you

Anyhoe in the very irregular bit I do on house rules I dreamt up and we tested out something a little different within the game

PUBG is an open world shooter with a BIG map 8km x 8km across.  When you play in a team of 4 players you normally work as a team competing to be top of the heap against other 4 player teams. Not being know for co-op we changed it up a little, enter RABBIT mode

In this version of the game which is totally player driver one person in the team of four is nominated or agrees to play the role of the rabbit,  they have to evade or kill the other 3 players on their team.  To do this they jump out of the plane as normal. The other three players count to ten before they follow.

I’m here to tell you folks, THIS is a lot of fun.  Remember there’s a war going on down there and anything can happen.  Now the rabbit has quite the task on their hands because not only are they on their own and being actively hunted by EVERYONE in the game they’re also visible on the map to the three members of the team hunting them.

We gave this a good shake down and it’s absolutely brilliant, more so if you have voice chat.  It’s also nails hard for the luckless rabbit, but a welcome challenge.  Top marks to the various rabbits who tried running into a building full of enemy players, hiding on a roof with no stairs down, landing on a vehicle and driving across the map to evade the on foot pursuers (should have run them down when I had the chance) and every other trick we could think on.  No rabbits survived and at best took out one other team member.

Our next adventure is to try PARANOIA where one player is secretly nominated by a fifth person as the traitor and as the game progresses has to murder the other three players….

See you on the battlefield



New Spice

Century spice road sounds a bit like aftershave from the 70s. It's basically splendor+ but with enough differences to warrant having both games in your collection. Unless you hate Splendor of course.

The rules are surprisingly simple. In fact when I read them fully I had already watched a video on how to play because I didn't believe they were that easy. One double sided (sight busy looking) rule card.

The theme is neither here nor there. There's camels and they transport bags of yokes. It's an economy game where you shift around cubes of four different colours each more expensive to acquire.

The playing field is split between scoring cards and economy building cards. Six scoring cards are laid out across the top randomly drawn from the stack on the right. Seven economy building cards under it randomly drawn from the stack on the right. (A playmat would be good)

Each turn players can take one of three actions

Take an economy card, play an economy card or buy a scoring card. Actually there's four you can rest and take back all the cards you previously played.

It's that simple. All the actions you can do are written iconically on the cards. The actions are things like take two yellow (the lowest value cubes) upgrade one colour, swap two reds for one brown and so on. You start the game with two basic action cards in your hand. Gain two yellow (lowest value cube) and upgrade two cubes to a higher value cube (or upgrade one two steps). Better economy cards can be purchased by either picking the leftmost one or putting cubes on each card you skip over from the left before the one you pick. This is a clever mechanic. It means less popular cards start to get goods piled up on them that a buying player takes when they pick the card.

The game is fast. One action per player whips around pretty quick. A limit of five cubes means players are usually only concentrating on buying one scoring card and it's quite possible to derive what they're up to and try and cut them off.

The scoring cards range in value from around 7 to 19 (or so) with a bonus of a gold coin (3 points) and silver (one point) if the cards are first and second in line. First player to get five score cards ends the game (after the round is complete). Count your points and highest wins.

It's an interesting game. You have to think ahead. Careful cube management and watching when players have spent theirs and now you have a march on them is key. Rushing to end the game, slowing it down, card counting, going for high value score cards to keep up with other players is all in there. It's a deeper game than it looks. Certainly more so than splendor and it works well with more than two players. Up to five in fact.

The game is beautifully produced. It's a match for splendor in quality. Actually more so. There's some lovely metal coins in there which top it off nicely. It's pricey but it's a quality game. I really like it. I'd pick it over splendor but the new expansion for Splendor could up it's game a notch or two.

A few copies will be floating around at Knavecon. I recommend a try



Bang! and sherrif’s gone

Bang the dice game is the love child of zombie dice and Bang! the card game (I reckon it was unexpected and there was drink involved). 
Bang dice is a classic filler. Small, portable, easy to learn and totally forgettable. A filler game is like a best supporting actor. They’re important but they rarely get much screen time or talked about afterwards. 
Bang dice is a Yahtzee em’ up. Everyone sits In a conspirital circle. You roll five Identical custom dice with the following faces 
1 and 2 : shoot someone one to two players away. 
Beer : gain a health point
Dynamite: get three of these and lose a health point. Also they can’t be re rolled
Arrow.: take an arrow token from the pile. Once the pile of a dozen or so runs out the Indians attack giving you wounds equal to amount of arrows you’re carrying 
Gatling gun: roll three and you inflict one wound on everyone else and return all your arrow tokens. (Important to make the whole cranking handle action when you do).
The idea is to smoke your enemies but right there it gets a bit complex. At the start players secretly draw role cards
Sheriff : shows his card and takes two extra life points. 
Everyone else’s role is hidden and the number of each varies depending on how many players take part (up to 8)
We have the deputies who win if the sheriff survives. The outlaws who win if the sheriff dies and the renegade who wins if he’s the last one standing. 
The trick is to figure out what the other players are up to. Shooting the sheriff is usually an indicator you’re an outlaw. Figure out the rest yourself. 
Each player also starts with a random character with a particular skill like gaining one life at the start of a turn or immune to dynamite. All with suitable gunslinger names. 
The game is fast and fun. It’s a deduction style game but very simple and fast. With three to four players it’s just a simple dice chucker but from six players on it gets a lot more interesting as deducing whom the outlaws and bandits are is key. The game lends itself readily to western movie quotes and while it lasts it’s fun. I’d rank it up there with coup as a good solid filler  
I picked up the expansion for it which I’m eager to try out and I’ll review that soon when I do. 
Bang! Itself has been around for a while and is also a good filler game. Bang! The dice game seems like the younger cooler brother of bang and is well worth trying out. I’ll have it at Knavecon and we can have a game then hombre 

For me ze war is over

When I was a young lad, a mere strip of a lad, I lived for a couple of years in Bray Co. Wicklow (or Wicla if you’re a local). I can remember walking home and passing a shop that had Escape from Colditz in the window. I always wanted to play it, but never did, probably because 30 seconds after seeing it in the shop my mind latched on to something else shiny. Flash forward a number of years and little has changed. What was I talking about again? I did get to play a quick game of the original 1973 version a few years back but i wasn’t a huge fan due to some weaknesses in the rules that could see players running down the clock. Enter the 2016 version which I was lucky enough to acquire at the UK games EXPO. Osprey games have taken it, knocked off the rust and updated a number of rules. Nothing too radical, more a refinement of the game. Gone is playing against the clock replaced now it’s a set amount of turns and a number of other subtle changes that makes the game a way more pleasant experience.


Thinking about it, I’m not aware of any other game where prisoners are trying to escape from a prison (dungeon crawls don’t count). Colditz is pretty unique. I won’t insult you by telling you the premise of Colditz (I’ll insult you in person at the next Knavecon) but suffice to say you have up to five players each commanding their groups of prisoner pawns hoping to escape the famous prison while one player takes the role of ze Germans (boo! hiss!) and tries to stop them.

The first thing you notice about this game is it’s production values. It’s a gorgeous game. Osprey have done a magnificent job on it. The artwork is excellent with a lovely old world feel to it. The board is beautifully illustrated. The rules clear and concise. The game includes some lavish touches like a historical booklet on the castle, neat little cardboard tuck boxes, piece trays that fit in a replica of a red cross aid parcel. Take out all the cardboard and you’ll find a copy of an original escape map for the castle on the inside of the box. It’s classy deluxe.


The game is still very much faithful to the original, very little appears to have changed, but the changes are numerous and subtle, things like tweaks to the map, changes to the number of cards, removal of the do or die rules. If you really want to go back the original rules are included for you to try out (Obviously we didn’t and played the new version).

The game is played out over a number of rounds (50 for noobs, 40 for less noobs and so on) after which the Germany player wins if none of the prisoners has gotten two of his boys out. The problem with the old game was everyone WOULD escape given enough real time, the limited amount of turns side steps this nicely.

Dotted around the map are a number of key escape points that can be moved through with the right equipment, keys for getting through locked gates, passes for walking past checkpoints, ropes for climbing down walls and wire cutters for cutting through barbed wire. None of these will mean jack if you don’t also have an escape kit (food, disguise, compass and map) for when you do finally shaw shank your way out. The good news is you start with one the bad news is you have to get two guys out (you can split the kit if you escape on the same turn).

The map is made up of a central spot called the appel, this is where your pawns start lined up and is den (safe from guards), outside this area is the inner courtyard where German guards patrol, you generally want to spend as little time around here as you can because the German guards will bump into you and if you’ve got escape equipment will stick you in solitary (have to roll doubles to get out). beyond the courtyard are the various rooms and halls, prisoners can move here (guards usually can’t) and if you get two pawns in a room that has the right symbol on it you get the corresponding escape equipment card (and transported back to the appel).


movement is real old school, you roll two dice (doubles grants an extra roll) and you add them all together as movement points, roll low (below 5) and you get an opportunity card, these grant a pile of options like fast travel to a particular room, hide equipment, open one of the three escape tunnels and so on. The Germans likewise get security cards that allow arrests in rooms, shoot to kill, roll calls and various other cards to help them and ruin the prisoner’s best laid plans

Once you think you’re ready to rock you can make a break for it (make sure you roll high), start burning your equipment to get down walls, through locked areas and through fences. If you’re caught by a guard outside the inner courtyard you get locked up but this time lose equipment, worse still it’s quite possible to get shot outside the grounds by guards.

The security officer (German) player has a tough time of it, they need to be horrible to the players (Obviously I shone at that role). Keeping them all in is like herding cats. In one game we played one of the escape player’s entire set of pawns spent over half the game locked up in solitary (I guess if you can’t do the time). The escaping player have to co-operate with each other and trade escape equipment, they WILL NOT escape on their own. This was way outside the comfort zone of my group, but I think they learned an important lesson they will never discuss.

As it turned out one prisoner got two guys out and won. Next time the timer will be lower.

This is great game, it’s a classic and the rule improvements are excellent. With newbie timing it can drag on. It’s important to keep it on the rails and take your turn quickly. The turn does whip about fast enough, there’s little down time. for a game which is pretty much from the 70s it stands up surprisingly well with more modern titles.


Coldtiz is tense and exciting, uncertain and unforgiving. Players can co-operate in escape but… do you really want to help someone else be the one who won the game? and THAT’S why I’d still be in prison at the end of 50 turns.

I’ll have this at Knavecon. Definitely, definitely check it out. Rules are simple, game looks good, kids will love it, adults too. Top game, real nostalgic trip but well worth your time



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