Inis mor

Tessellations are a series of identical shapes that lock together to form a continuous whole. Inis goes one better once the map pieces lock together it always looks like a map of Ireland. Somehow.

INIS is a dudes on a map game set in ancient Ireland with beautiful (recycled) Jim Fitzpatrick artwork. Players control a group of warriors trying to reach an end goal control target on an expanding map.

Each player has a limited amount of identical bearded warrior dudes and has to control six territories, be present near six amount of sanctuaries or subjugate (outnumber) six enemies. Do that and maintain it until the end of the round and you win.

The game starts with a small map of large interlocking pieces. The pieces are gorgeous. The important one being the central citadel, ownership of which determines the first player and one or two other benefits. This is usually heavily guarded and regularly fought over. Players draft a hand of cards from a central pool and these standard cards allow things such as move and fight, defend, build forts, add more warriors and so on. One allows you to explore adding an extra tile and others to draw epic events. Bit of a misnomer to be honest.

Some cards are played in reaction to Thwart or benefit from an opponent’s card or in combination with your own for some extra bonus. Getting a wild card makes winning much easier but they only come from a difficult to achieve played epic card. A wild card counts for one of any of the win conditions making victory a little easier.

Once you’ve met the criteria in your turn to win you have to show a pretender to the crown card (a little like shouting last card in certain card games) so others have a chance to ruin your plan. It’s neat that and stops someone from winning quietly.

Like a lot of games you play for the first time you can’t see the shape of things or how close people are to winning. You get it quick though with Inis. More so as others are misdirecting you with shouts of “he’s about to win!”. The game is close and tense. It’s forgiving. You often feel like you screwed up but not that it will cost you the game. You can get back on the track pretty quickly or at the very least have a damn good go at it.

Inis is by the same people that brought you Cylades and Kemet. Both good fun in your face games. Inis is a solid addition to their stable. It’s fast, easy to learn, gorgeous artwork, strong theme and fun to play. I’m a fan

Huzzah!

Vic

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E Through the ages

Through the Ages is a great game. The newer version even better so it was with great pleasure that I was made aware of the app version of the game. It’s pricey for an app at €11 but it’s bloody good.

I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about TTA Before. (It’s a simple search to check but it ruins the narrative). TTA is something amazing IMHO. It’s a 4x game without a map. No small achievement. I’m a big fan of Twilight Struggle and I would rate TTA up there at the same level. It’s also four player. Interestingly 2,3 and 4 player versions of this game play very differently. With higher numbers it becomes like a bike race where you need to keep close to other players in military and tech and know when to go flat out for scoring points and when to hold back and reserve your strength. (Also you can kick over the other players bikes and it’s a very valid tactic).

The board game is a cracker. It’s also a long game. Even with full knowledge of the rules you’re looking at 3 to 4 hours for a 4 player and that’s all hands on deck no distractions allowed.

Anyhoe what I’m here to talk about is the App version of the game recently released. It’s out for Android and IOS (not sure If it’s cross platform but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t). I’m here to tell you citizens of Springfield it’s a humdinger. Now I will preface this by saying there is one annoying bug that causes it to crash occasionally come age 3 but I’ve only seen this happen once and it’s only version 1.0 of the app so I expect this to be solved pretty quickly.

The developers have done a fantastic job implementing this. The interface is slick. There’s tutorials, challenges and the all important multiplayer. The card graphics are all present and accounted for the player board expands to accommodate more as the ages progress. It’s clever it’s a looker and it’s a pleasure to operate

One of the great things about an app version is it allows you to learn the game at your own pace (slow for me). This one certainly makes me want to whip out the board game and play it now that I’ve re familiarized myself with the rules. The other thing that I like is playing at my own pace and snatching a few turns when it suits me. Especially multiplayer. Multiplayer is where it’s at with this game but even the AI is a more than worthy opponent

This is a magnificent app well worth your investment of time and money.

Huzzah!

Vic

Actually this IS Sparta

Quartermaster General is a little bit different. It’s a card driven conquest game that ditches the classic model of moving dudes around a map and replaces it with a simpler one where you build a chain of units across the map to claim territories. The sizzle here is if any unit cannot trace an uninterrupted path back to a friendly city at the end of your turn you lose them. Cut a snake in two and the head dies. So does she tail but you get the idea.

The game is simplicity itself. You have a hand of seven cards and when it’s your turn you play an action card. An action card might muster a unit (naval or land). Attack someone next to one of your dudes. Trigger some event. Prepare a card to be used later or put in place a long lasting benefit to you.

But wait I’m jumping the gun (not that there’s any guns) the game in question is the third iteration of the series. Death or Glory is set in the ancient world around the Mediterranean and sees the Athenians and the Delian League (the Demos) going toe to toe with the Oligarchs of Sparta and Corinth. It’s the Peloponnesian War baby and players have a vague idea whom people are. Well the Spartans at any rate. It’s not as obvious as WW2 how teams will operate but it won’t take long to figure them out.

The map although not exactly smaller than the ww2 one is more focused. The Spartan and Athenian’s capitals are the equivalent of London and Berlin and a lot of action revolves around these two not so far from each other cities.

I may have been economic with the truth when I said you only play one card per turn. You can also play a facedown prepare card that can be revealed in a future turn. You have to discard a card to do this and the rub is you have a limited amount of non recycling cards in your deck. There’s fifteen turns to get through and some players have smaller decks than others. It’s all too easy to overstretch and run out of cards after which you can do NOTHING except lose a point per turn for your team you no card eejit.

There’s a variety of one shot cards that force opponents to discard cards and ones that grant you a muster of troops on some distant spot. Knowing the deck would help but interestingly everyone can see the distribution of cards for each player on a helpful player card. Studying it you can see the Spartans have very few muster ship cards but a stack of land attacks and so on.

A new feature and one that suits the setting is bribing the locals to supply your troops. During your turn you can burn one of your precious cards from your draw deck to buy a coin which can be used at any time to keep a unit in supply should they be out of reach of friendly vittles.

One of the things I really like about this series is despite being team v team it’s not 1v1 with team bolted on like so many other games. You really feel you are your own nation despite being part of a team.

Games are fun. Once the turn is figured it’s quite quick. The map and cards are fine, not inspired an the jelly baby like units are sufficient. It feels a little cheap but not Terraforming Mars cheap.

Although the game is pretty simple there’s a bit of learning to be had in the cards themselves and how each nation plays out. If you haven’t played quartermaster general WW2 and only have 4 players this is well worth a look. Likewise if you’ve played too much WW2 and need a fresh start. I’m curious now as to how the WW1 version plays. Time to investigate.

Huzzah!

Vic

Thunder

I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about Formula D before. Formula D is a newer version of The old warhorse Foruma De with a different set of starters tracks and a few extra advanced rules.

Formula D is as old as Adams foreskin but it’s holds up well (unlike). I first played it a good twenty years back and enjoyed it then. It’s a good one to have when you have seven to ten players and want to keep the gaming group together. There’s not that much outside of card games to keep that sort of cohesion.

If you haven’t guessed it’s a racing game and it’s aimed purely at fun although you can get some serious serious advanced rules online if you’re hardcore. Speaking of which the games comes with simple basic rules and fully leaded advanced rules. It’s worth going the whole hog.

The game is deceptively simple, it revolves around six dice which represent the gear your car is currently in. You start out in first gear with a D4 and each turn you can up a gear to bigger and faster dice. You move a distance equal to the roll of the dice/gear you’re currently in. The catch is dice aren’t standard sized and have a range. So 1st gear goes from 1 – 2 only. Second 2-4 up to mighty sixth gear that goes from 20 – 30.

The map consists of a track with three lanes and lots of squares for you to move along and of course the all important corners. Corners are what get you. Corners consist of a number of spots that in order to safely negotiate you have to stop in at least once. (Some nasty ones more than once). Fail to stop in a corner and you spin out dropping down to first gear and have to suffer the ignominy of everyone passing you by and some particularly horrible players making musical car horn sounds as they whizz past.

To assist you in your endeavor your car comes equipped with a limited amount of points to tweak the dice rolls. Brake points allow you to reduce the dice result. Tyres points to overshoot the corner a bit. You can also drop multiple gears to get your engine to brake with you but it burns valuable engine points and gear points and can lead to your car blowing it’s engine or gearbox. Everyone else is doing the same boat as you, pushing their car and pushing their luck which categorizes the game nicely

The game comes with two tracks, simple and advanced rules and room for up to ten. It’s nicely produced with keen little pieces and easy to follow instructions.

It’s a fun game. Definitely not too serious and luck does play a part but you usually lose because your ego was writing cheques your dice rolling couldn’t cash. Depending on numbers the game could rattle on for 1 to 2 hours but there’s little down time and games are always close. The feel of being ahead and others snapping at your heels is very well realized.

This game will appeal to new players as well as vets. (Not that type of vet). It’s got a certain somewhat. It’s not the greatest race game. Not the most accurate simulation but it’s definitely worth trying out. Tell you what I’ll demo it at Knavecon 11 better still I’ll pick up some more tracks for it.

Huzzah!

Vic

Knavecon Star Realms League #2

Image result for league of gentlemen

Ok knaves, the first league despite being a bit of an experiment was a huge success.  There’s a demand for a second one.  This time we’re going to make it very simple.  Players will play everyone else in the league three times and score 1 point for a win.  That’s it……

Now recruiting new players, noob players more than welcome

Who’s game?

Vic

Knavecon Star Realms League #1 RESULTS

Image result for it's the final countdown

All hail BDQ the winner of the first (and probably last) Star Realms League. A close run thing, but I think we can all agree Leon didn’t win.  clearly.

Huzzah!

BDQ 54
FriendlyFire 52
MurphyFella 51
YankinLK 50
Layana 49
SendMoreCops 47
rzaba 43
DreadPirateJ 40
HarryPigg 38
DogPawHat 37
Alatar 34
MrTimewalk 29

Neck and Neck

Competition is Fierce on the Star Realms League, 22 games in total and some players since Monday morning have done extremely well, extremely quickly.  Here’s the current standings.  Something to note is the % score at the right, despite being lower in score Friendly Fire has two games in hand and even two losses will bring him up to 41 when he plays his next two games.  Likewise Layana.  The dark horse here has to be MurphyFella who I reckon might come from behind to make it a real match.

YankinLK 42 17 2.47%
FriendlyFire 39 15 2.60%
Layana 38 15 2.53%
rzaba 31 14 2.21%
DogPawHat 25 17 1.47%
SendMoreCops 22 11 2.00%
BDQ 20 9 2.22%
Alatar 12 10 1.20%
HarryPigg 11 7 1.57%
MurphyFella 8 3 2.67%
MrTimewalk 4 3 1.33%
DreadPirateJ 2 2 1.00%

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

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

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