Conclave 2013


I’ll be making an appearance at Conclave 2013 in Thomand Park this year (15th June).  Looks like it’s going to be a good one.  I’ll be there from 2pm onwards on Saturday running a number of board and card games.  If anyone’s about give me a shout


My Thur Rages on – Being a Drax Report

Spartacus a big favourite of the group (and more importantly me) was supercharged on Thur with the addition of the first expansion for it “The Serpents and the Wolf”


The group had been watching this with anticipation so when it was released we pounced on it like a starving cat in a lifeboat.  first up, it’s good, it’s very nice indeed.  This is definitely worth getting and they’re giving away a promo card (or two) with it.

I’d put money on it (not mine) that if they reprint the original this would be included, it screams “should have been in the original box but we were saving money to make the base version popular”

For your dolla you get two new dominus (it’s now six player), a stack of new gladiators and slaves, some very small rule additions and most importantly the ability to field teams of two v two.  THIS is the whole sizzle of the expansion and not wanting to wait I forced the first match to be a 4 player.

The rules are that if your influence is 10 or over you can call a Primus (a 4 player) and an intrigue card can force this too.  it makes for some very hairy races to the finish.

The game plays a tiny bit slower and you tend to analyse the 4 player moves a bit more carefully but it doesn’t slow it by much and I believe you would be back up to normal speed for the game pretty quickly.  Because of how the game works even with six (and we had six on thur) it doesn’t leave people waiting too much, we flew through intrigue and market.  With six in the running anything can happen.

The only thing I was unsure about was you can’t stab your team mate in the back unless you have a specific gladiator but I think a house rule would fix that.  We’re ALL about the backstabbing on thur nights 🙂

This is a cracker of an addition.  if you’re a fan of the original it’s pointless me saying but GO get this. it’s well worth the entrance fee. Oh yes and it’s NOT suitable for kids but it says that clearly on the box (as I’m sure an actress may have said to a Bishop)


a few rounds of Zombie Dice rounded out the evening.  I didn’t win that either but I’ll still



Zombie Dice


Have been trying to find games I can play with my 5 year old (have to think of the next generation of gamers) and I think this could be a hit

1. it’s cheap €12

2. It’s easy to play

3. It’s quick

4. It’s got Zombies in

More importantly he’s OK with the fact that the players will be the zombies in the game. He inquired and  I had no idea why zombies LIKE brains but he didn’t press the matter.

If you haven’t played zombie dice it’s a very simple push your luck filler game.  Well worth a look.  It’s also out on iOS but that doesn’t capture the whole feel of the dice.


Thur Night Gaming – Being a Drax Report

Constantinople (Not Istanbul) was the weapon of choice on Thur night thanks to one of the Tue night crew and a damn fine game it was too, but before that there had to be a warm-up,  Incan Gold.  Some gamers forget to mentally stretch beforehand and this can lead to confusion and general malaise in the game proper.  Take my advice, always warm up with a simple game beforehand to get the ol’ brain spinning up to playing speed.  Right Incan gold. Boy of Boy It really is a weak game.  Even as a filler it just raises it’s head above Letter of Marque 🙂


With our resident archaeologist all present we figured he’d take an early lead and as he explained one of the biggest issues with working on road projects just like Incan gold are the ever present dangers of zombies, giant spiders and rockfalls.  We had always figured this to be the case however it was great to hear it from a professional and everyone nodded sagely and muttered ‘damn zombies’ before starting.

Well it ran for a few turns and someone won.  can I be more specific? sure it was one of the lads who won and it happened before now. Enough of that it was time for Constantinople and I won’t be stopped


The first thing you notice about Constantinople is the spelling and the fact that it’s not actually CALLED Constantinople.  This in my opinion is clever but let’s not dwell on this.

Constantinopolis as they insist on calling it is Puerto Rico for grown ups.  Don’t get me wrong I love Puerto Rico, it’s been good to me and mine but this is better and that’s damn close to burning heretic talk.



(the Mars bar was a prop and not a part of the game per se)

Being a Fantasy Flight there are many many fine pieces to it and the built quality if very nice indeed.  It’s a semi solo game with a certain amount of cock blockery but the real skill is in managing your resources and scoring points and this is where it’s fun.  Every point is hard won and there’s a lot of tension from start to finish where you every so slowly edge past your opponent (Drax, always Drax).  Since this was our first game a lot of the strategy was lost on us but that didn’t matter, the game is a joy to play and I’m eager to play it again.

I have to say we’ve been having quite the run of good games and this is just another example with classic written all over it.

The game itself? oh it’s standard fair, you gains resources, stick em on ships and try and ship them, scoring points as you go but several routes all of the valid can help you on your quest.  There’s a lovely flow to the game, for me it reminded me of Puerto Rico certainly but also through the ages and one or two others I can’t put my finger on.  This is a damn fine game, it’s also fiver player not bad thing at all.

Definitely gets two thumbs from me


More of that Next Thur

Sunny Thur Gaming – Night of Horror- Being a Drax Report


Well we finally got to play Mansion of Madness after several Thursdays of false starts and it was as good as I had hoped and more. The Mansions of Madness is a very nice model/map game set in the HP Lovecraft universe. 1920’s, unspeakable horrors from beyond, maniacs, tommy guns, hats. It’s got it all. The game itself in essence is a dungeon romp in the tradition of heroquest and it’s ilk but it’s very clever and the setting is magnificent.


Unlike say the excellent role playing game, this is competitive with the GM trying to kill/drive insane the investigators whilst the investigators are trying to solve the mystery against the clock. The game contains a lot of clever ideas and unlike some others games like this none of these are superfluous or counter productive. Despite being story driven the game has a fantastic replay value. Each of the six scenarios that come with the games have multiple branches so it’s quite possible to play the same scenario over and play a very different game.

A lot of thought has gone into this game and it’s obvious from the start. Like all FF games the quality is superb. like all FF games there are a LOT components, in the case of MOM there are a L O T of components and separating them out is a chore. Once bagged and tagged there is NO air in the game box.

The rules are excellent, straightforward and fast. The one thing against it is the setup time. It took us a LONG time to setup however if we all shut up talking shite (we could hardly do that) and got on with it I’d say we’d be up and going in under a half hour. what IS nice in setup is the invetigators have to setup the map whilst the GM sets up the pieces within.

SO how did it go?

The investigators stumbled in the house of lynch learning the rules as they went (which turned out simpler than we thought) and immediately did the thing demanded of all horror movies/games. Split up and go separate ways (possibly with candles and night dresses). Within a very short time axe weilding manics, zombies and other assorted bad stuff was all over them like a Brian. In fact one luckless investigator was like a maniac magnet, you couldn’t leave him alone in a room for five minutes to search but an axe wielding maniac would splinter the door and come for him. Despite the best efforts by the GM (me) to drive them mad, hack them to death I was unsuccessful but more importantly so were they and the time ran out for them and in the case of the scenario I picked that was all she wrote for the hapless investigators. Queue Thunder and Lightning and manic laughter.

Overall this is a fantastic game, definitely one of the better games I’ve played in a long time. We seem to be having quite the run of good games lately with Spartacus, Waterdeep and this.

More of this sort of thing I say

and now that I’ve learned the rules (mostly)

It’s going to be hitting the table again soon

Hail Cthulhu !


Thur Night Gaming – Being a Drax Report – Wounded Knee Special


It was a dark and stormy night and a few brave souls ventured out amid the flying debris to lock in battle.  We started with a ‘quick’ game of Dominion while we waited for everyone to arrive but this quickly degenerated into a ‘long’ game of Dominion and onto (for me anyway) a ‘terrible’ game of dominion.  I’ve since considered burning spy, thief and militia as the time sink cards they really are.  Boris won it with Brian close behind and me nowhere to be seen

Next up with the real meat and potatoes.  I’ve had a hankering to play CONAN the strategy boardgame for a long time

BY pure concidence the same bunch of players were assembled last night that attempted the game last time.  Now, Conan is a complex game, once you get into the swing of it it’s fine but it’s standard Fantasy Flight, lots of tokens, lovely artwork and a solid game.  I’d be lying to say interest was low after the last attempt but we set to and with the conan soundtrack in the background we all attempted to wear the jewelled crown of aquelonia upon a troubled brow. If you haven’t seen the game it’s a bit different, it’s a bit like warrior knights with a few twists. Conan features but he’s a force of nature that you nudge in a certain direction rather than directly control.  As the game continued it become more and more competitive and as we got to the half way mark it was looking like everyone was onboard for the long haul and due to the complex rules it WAS a long enough haul.

I don’t recommend attempting this game without someone to guide you and looking up half a dozen tutorials on youtube.  It’s a hard game to get to grips with.  Even with a good lash of it last time we struggled with some parts of it using the age old technique of we’ll figure that bit out later.

All in all this is an excellent game.  There’s a good bit to it and a lot of ways to win. I’m eager to have another lash of it having figured out all the rules.  Once you get into the swing of it, it can tip along at a nice pace.  Nice level of player interaction and back stabbery.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and everyone stayed the course so we didn’t finish until 2am and the winner was a little in question, I reckon it was Borys, he reckonded it was me but no-one had a bad time…. Except maybe Brian On…..

There are three areas you can score points for  Mastery of  Treasure, Women and Monsters….

In the third age you can attempt to steal a march and end the game by getting Conan to your home kingdom and crowning him king of your realm.  It’s risky enough.  Basically you declare which area you claim mastery of and show your points tokens you’ve gained through the game, if you’re highest in that area you win.  So effectively Brian invited Conan to his kingdom and claimed to have the highest rating in Women in the whole world.  12 in this case, way higher than Bory’s 3 and Brian F’s 2 but…. Not as high as absolutle Babes from Aquelonia whom I had tokens for to a total of 15….

Conan was displeased, he beheaded Brian, marched off and his kingdom failed.  Not a happy bunny J

Great game, I recommend it, let’s play this again since we can now

More of that next Thursday



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