Knavecon Star Realms League #1

Image result for the league

Star Realms League has started with a Bang!  The sheets are being updated at a furious rate as games are being played.  The current standings are, but take these as guidelines there’s quite a few updates and matches in progress and a hell of a lot more matches to play.

1 YankinLK 27
2 DogPawHat 12
3 rzaba 12
4 FriendlyFire 19
5 MurphyFella 8
6 BDQ 5
7 Layana 5
8 HarryPigg 4
9 MrTimewalk 4
10 Alatar 2
11 DreadPirateJ 0
12 SendMoreCops 4
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Return to Valeria

Dominion was a bolt out of the blue, like space Invaders heralding a new genre of games. It was new. It was different and it was cloned to death. We had some good games in a similar vein like Ascension and Star Realms and some not so good like Thunderstone.

Now I need to qualify this I’ve only played the first edition of Thunderstone and there’s been multiple editions and versions since then so it has to have improved and people have to be liking and buying it.

Valeria Card Kingdoms is similar to Thunderstone. Each player is a hero wrangler recruiting warriors, mages and various brawlers, killing big scary monsters, taking over lands and castles and generally having a good old fantasy time but more accurately accumulating score.

Players start with a basic set of cards just like Star Realms and sink their money into bettering their economy and upping their offensive. The board is made up of a grid of cards that can be bought for gold, power and wildcard mana. At the top are a number of stacks of progressively tougher monsters which require a minimum level of power and possibly magic to kill. Below the board are a set of lands, castles and various yokes that you can buy to score points and boost one of your incomes.

Unlike say Star Realms all your cards are laid out in front of you and everyone can see them. Each of the cards you have show a number at the top between 2 and 12. On the turn you roll two dice and either combined or singly or both the cards with the matching numbers pay out. Everyone else gets a minor payout if they have matching numbers on their cards so every turns sees an impressive amount of resources building up. You’ll need it. It’s Dublin prices for everything.

Cards are usually multi-function and building up chains are key to winning. This card gives me mana each turn. This one doubles mana and coverts it to gold etc. keep your eyes open for combos or you’ll be left behind. It’s not a difficult game and most things are obvious but you’ll kick yourself if someone else pulls a move you could have been doing for the last six turns.

There is the normal amount of cock blockery and some in your face cards for stealing resources but it’s primarily a race

The game rattles on until a set number of stacks are exhausted (or the players) and it’s count your cards, cry me a river.

The game is a decent length. Under an hour and dependent on numbers. It scales well. The artwork is excellent. The pieces nice and sold and the card stock good. It takes as much board space as any good game but if can become a messy affair. Don’t gesticulate wildly around this game and get a wee box to hold your resources

It’s a good game. I’d never played anything in the Valeria series but I found it solid and fun and well worth a look. That’s if. That’s all I have to say. Now go. Get gaming

Huzzah!

Vic

I’ve seen things man

Some people can inhale a set of rules and run a game. Some can’t. I find someone running through a game with you the only way to fly. Thus is was I found myself back in the jungles of Vietnam at Knavecon X with Charlie all around. Now It would have been super cool if one of the players WAS actually called Charlie but you can’t have everything.

It’s a long time since I spoke about Fire in the Lake. It’s a big meaty GMT game not a million miles away from a distant plain.

This is not a slap out and play game. You need a hearty committed group of veterans who are willing to research the rules, do the exams and get the diplomas before you crack open the box. I spent a long time reading the rules, watching the videos, rereading the rules and absorbing everything I could download on how to play even then I had a basic understanding of how it worked but I was nowhere close to having a strategy for the faction I picked (or any faction). This is a desert island game and when they rescue you you’d still only be getting the hang of it.

Fire in the lake has four different factions. Each of them play in a different way, indeed each of them have actions different to all the others. They also have different goals to everyone else.

The Americans have mobility, firepower and resources but struggle to find their opposite number the Viet Cong. Their goal is to win popular support from the Vietnamese and get their troops out of the country. Their allies and it’s a loose term are the South Vietnamese army who want to use them to do their dirty work whilst the Americans in turn shake them down for their resources.

The Vietcong are guerrilla fighters. They hide, sneak and disrupt with acts of terror and subversion. They have a loose alliance with the North Vietnamese Army who occasionally poach some of their members into their ranks. Their goal is to stir active opposition to the Americans and establish bases.

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) are all about prestige and patronage, they welcome the military might of the Americans and want them to help clean up their mess but are corrupt and weak.

The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) want to dominate the map. Pure conquest.

Ever do that thing with a cardboard box where you fold one flap under the other then the other under it and you do it four times to it all holds together magically? These asynchronous factions balance each other so well. Now I couldn’t tell you if they balance completely. They can’t by their very nature but any of them are most certainly a challenge to play and all of them so different in their styles. There is infinite replay value here

The game turn is a card driven affair and just like Twilight Struggle you can either take the action written on the card or ignore the card to take a specific action. Card events have a positive communist and a positive Allies Effect. Usually they’re skewed in favor of one side but there’s always some silver lining in there. Heavy bombing campaign? Wipes out enemies of you’re the allies. Turns the people against them if you’re the communists playing it.

Play happens in between drawing monsoon cards that reduce possible actions (flying, moving) and allow for certain events to happen and positions and scores to be consolidated. Minions are seeded semi randomly in the event deck. It’s a bit like a boxing match but you don’t know how long a round is going to last.

Just like Twilight Struggle some actions require a dice roll to happen but again like TS it’s always a calculated risk and there’s often a sure fire event or action open to you. Sure the game can be impacted by a random card appearing but it’s not a show stopper ever. It’s your own fault when it all goes wrong and it will for 3 of the 4 players.

Specific actions vary depending on the faction you have so the Yanks would

Have things like sweeps, air strikes and air lifts. The VC would have terror attacks and ambushes, the NVA would have bombardments and infiltration and so on. Obviously I’m only scratching the surface here. Each has a major and minor event so you could combo sweeping an area to uncover guerrilla fighters and then follow up with air strikes on their positions.

The game comes with three lengths of scenario which have to be populated on the map short, medium and long. The short with everything in place you could get done in two hours. Maybe less. I really liked this idea. There is a bit of setup before the game kicks off. Not quite War of the Ring but a bit. It didn’t help that I didn’t know any of the province or city names.

Presentation wise it’s no looker. It’s cubes on a map and despite the lovely graphics on the map and cards it won’t appeal to the foppish mini painting crowd. The game has to be played and learned to get the most from it. It’s not the graphics it’s the gameplay.

The setting and theme are excellent. This is a nasty, messy conflict. Also a really fun and intense one. It’s hard to know what to do a lot of the time. So many options are open to you, especially for some of the factions. It’s often hard to see things coming down the line although a massive build up of troops outside a city is a fair bet. This game will require multiple plays to make sense of but it’s so worth it. This is not a Thur night game this is a campaign of learning with dedicated players but, it gives and gives if you’re willing to invest time in it. I personally was and am

I love this game. It’s got so much to offer in both gameplay and depth. If this is your thing it’s another one of those cold dead hands games. It’s got pride of place right beside Twilight Struggle and I will sing it’s praises if you press play on my opinion.

Super game great to play it again

Huzzah!

Vic

Knavecon Star Realms League #1

Image result for the expanse

OK now that Knavecon 10 is over it’s time we settled in for some good background gaming.  Myself and a certain infamous Cork man have been playing Star Realms on the phone against each other for over a year, probably two or three.  Let’s get a league going!

If you’re not familiar with the game Star Realms, it’s a two player card game of ship combat.  It’s really good, there’s been several expansions, all of them good.  It’s been available as an android, PC and IOS. Everyone who already plays or wants to start give me an  “I’M IN!” comment and we get a round robin league going.  I’m looking for maybe 8+ players to make it interesting.

Rules are as follows

  1. Players will be assigned a Veteran number from 2 (complete noob) up to 4 (infamous) by well, me
  2. When you play it’s 1 for a loss and your opponents veterancy number for a win, so if you beat a good player you get more points
  3. You play everyone else ONCE and submit your score, play as many test games as you like but agree on THE match that counts and see it to the end
  4. I’ll keep an eye on who isn’t playing and adjust the league accordingly

So…. Who’s IN ?

Vic

Knavecon on tour

A big thank you to Ugo and the guys from Dublin for inviting me to their games night on Wed when I was overnighting up there. A crackin setup for gaming and some sweet games. Well apart from the last filler which quickly got categorized as a kids game. Now a big Valeria fan. Great game review to follow.

Huzzah!

Vic

First we get the Guns

Guns and Steel is a thinky Filler. A Civilization game played out in twenty minutes or so. It’s cheap, fairly simple and surprisingly good. I SAY fairly simple but the whole Fibonacci series resource mechanic can be confusing at first. Each turn you place a resource (the back of the card) and an action card (the front of another card) and take the action. You also get to buy a card from the technology pyramid of cards on the table.

As the game progresses your small hand of cards increases in potency and new resources from the starting food and metal open up to you along with better actions and more beefy military units.

Military is simple. Some cards have spear symbols on them and when you call and attack you count how many spear symbols you’re bringing to the party and woo betide the players with less. At best they will temporarily lose some resources or at worst have to hand over a wonder of the world they built/stole.

Beside each row of the ziggurat of tech cards is a wonder card that requires a particular combo to win. So it might be having 3 strength in military or having such and such a level of resources. Wonders give you big points along with the various bought cards.

For such a simple game there’s a lot of Depth here. There’s a lot to think about. Which cards to angle for. Which cards others have taken. When to draw your hand back in and get a fresh run but expose yourself defensively. When to Risk an attack or do a small one to deny an opponent resources then do a better one to steal their wonder.

I really like this game. It seems clunky in the first few turns but it suddenly clicks and it’s a turns into a sick experience. It packs a hell of a punch giving you a lot of the feels you’d get from a much bigger longer game

I’m going to pick up a copy. It will be at Knavecon and definitely worth fifteen minutes of your time

Huzzah!

Vic

Gone swimming

The Godfather movies have all the ingredients for a great boardgame. It seems odd that no one has made a decent stab at it as a dudes on a map style game until now.

The Godfather Carleone’s empire to give it it’s full title is a worker placement area control game with shades of Tammny Hall, Lords of Waterdeep, Junta and hints of Blood Rage and even Forbidden Stars at a stretch.

The game is played out on a map of New York which is divided up into eight sectors each with one or more businesses. A business (some of which are fixed on the map and some drawn from a deck each turn) has two spots you can place a mobster worker on. Either a thug in the front of the business to shake it down or a mobster boss who stands adjacent to a number of business and gets them to pay out what they’re doing at the back of the building.

Like any worker placement getting in first is critical to get the good stuff. The stuff in this case consists of guns, drink, blood money or wildcard drugs. These are used to complete missions which grant you money (also used as score) and resources.

Key to all this is your suitcase (which is a natty little protractor style pencil case affair) only money in it at the end of the game counts and getting it in there is an action on a business spot. Unlike Junta money in there (as I found out) is far from safe and needs to be used for bidding later on and is open for stealing by other players. This mechanic is neat. It leads to a very tense game. Especially later when the game is coming to an end and you want to get all your ill gotten gains squirreled away in it.

Area control Is clever. If you have more workers in a location you take control and stick down a tag showing this for subsequent rounds. Owning an area allows you to wet your beak when other players take resources from there. Ownership is easily lost too, so be warned. This can lead to a little bit of analysis paralysis later in the game but a few played games I reckon will fix that.

As the game progresses more family members and mobsters (workers) get added to your roster so more moves and more interestingly conflicts happen. A variety of public officials like the mayor, police chief and godfather appear each turn and can be bid on and bought. These grant you certain powers such as arresting or moving on thugs or giving more ownership rights for areas.

Rules wise it’s not that complex but you will get a rude education (like I did) the first time you play as to what can be done in the game.

I’m only scratching the surface here with options. There’s cards that allow drive by shootings, hostile take overs and well more shootings really. There’s Depth here and a few gotyas that will require multiple plays.

I really like it. I was treated to a copy with some of the minis painted which added to it. Including the horses head counter which indicates the first player.

Build quality is good but not excellent. The board is a little dull and the artwork for some bits boring but don’t let that detract you. The game play is solid. This is a game crying out to be pimped out.

I’m going to pick up a copy of this sometime soon. I’m that impressed with it. It’s pricey but it does make you an offer you can’t refuse….

Sorry

Huzzah!

Vic

Knavecon 10 Grande Raffle Part 7

More games added to the raffle…. Three of them!

Image result for machi koroImage result for machi koro harbor+Image result for machi koro millionaire's row

Plus

+

Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove

 

Don’t Forget!

 

 

and let’s not forget

MORE TO FOLLOW

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

victorgannon@yahoo.com

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

Huzzah!

Vic

Knavecon 10 Grande Raffle Part 6

More games added to the raffle…. Two in fact

+

 

Plus of course

Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove

 

Don’t Forget!

 

 

and let’s not forget

MORE TO FOLLOW

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

victorgannon@yahoo.com

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

Huzzah!

Vic

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