Hat trick of hate

Up Pompeii 1

I’m reliably informed (if you’re someone who trusts gamers) that it wasn’t the lava or indeed the ash that killed the population of Pompeii it was the pyroclastic surges.

Well that’s all well and grand but lava is the staple of so many adventure stories and when we played on Thur it was lava and to be even more accurate ME that killing the good people of Pompeii left and right.

The downfall of Pompeii. The game is medium length under an hour will see you good. We played it three time last week. THREE TIMES. that should tell you alone how good this game is. A few of the guys at knavecon IV had played it stupid and had recommend to me. They weren’t wrong

The game is very simple. Each turn you add one of your meeples to a building based on the cards in your hand. Each building can fit a limited amount of meeples and placing one in an occupied building lets you place additional meeples elsewhere via the relative rule


So the first half of the game you’re loading your guys (as many as possible) into building, preferably ones close to an exit because all hell is going to break loose come act two. During the first phase there’s cock blockery aplenty with players jockeying for the best spots like Guerrers trying to get up on a phone box during a parade. Omen cards allow you to (with great pleasure) take an enemy meeple and chuck them into the volcano freeing up some choice real estate but in no way appeasing the angry gods.

Then suddenly it’s fire and brimstone ,nikes on and to hell with making an orderly exit.

Once the second eruption card is pulled its lava from there on out. Players add an extra all devourer lava tile onto the already bubbling mass that’s rising up from six points within the city. So every turn a player gets to steer the avalanche hopefully onto enemy meeples and iggy pops two of his dudes to the nearest exit (the so long suckers salute is taken for granted)

Once everyone has exited Hanoi or at least got as many out as they could it’s all over and it’s most survivors that carry the day


This is superb. Absolutely fantastic game. I wholeheartedly recommend it. Works great with kids too. Despite what seems like a very simple game there is depth here. Each time we played it we found a bit more

Get this game. It’s cheap. If I was to fault it the build quality could be better and I already see a bit of wear and tear after three games but I can forgive

Going to play this again real soon



OI! Did you spill my potion?!!


Wizards fighting is an epic event. Usually I let you figure out the reference on the post but I’ll shortcut it just this once.  This was from a 1963 movie called “The Raven” which I can vaguely remember (a rerun of) and featured a final showdown between two sorcerers played by Vincent Price and Boris Carloff (who seemingly one of the lads on Thur night is related to) Here’s a clip of the battle.

THIS is how gentlemen fight

Wiz War is a capture the flag shoot out in the style of Frag!  It’s good clean fun and it does exactly what it says on the tin and exactly what you would expect of a game like this to be like. Up to four wizards scamper around a fairly random maze attempting to hold onto their own treasure whilst trying to grab someone else’s….

I’m going to tell a story now which I think is hilarious (says more about me than you). It’s off color so I’ll choose my words carefully. My dad worked on building sites when he was young and there wasn’t any toilets in this particular large development of flats. He was caught short one day and spying a flat across the way that another chippy had just vacated he ran down and left him a present …. only to return and find some thoughtful fella had done the same in his flat in his absence. 😦


This is wiz war in a nutshell. Run in and do the business before someone else does it to you 🙂

Wizards can move a certain amount of squares and at any point in movement launch off a spell. These come in the form of movement, offensive and defensive buffs, direct damage, passage blocking, direct damage and traps, this that and the other, exactly what you would expect.  You score one point for grabbing enemy treasure. One for killing a wizard.  Score two and it’s all over.

Here’s my problem, there’s nothing in here you don’t expect. Nothing novel or innovative. It’s uninspired, it’s quick but it’s a cheap thrill where winning isn’t really an accomplishment. It’s not random. There is skill in here but not enough to make you love the game.


It’s a fantasy flight game so it can’t help but be produced well. The minis  (four wizards) are good quality. Ditto the board and cards. There are other games out there that do wizardly combat. Magic the gathering among them. They do it better.

That said there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this game and I’ll happily play it again but I wouldn’t be rushing out to buy it.  It’s certainly good fun for younger players and there is a new expansion coming soon that looks interesting.

When I was a student and games were hard to find (or pay for) I used to design up my own. All of which wouldn’t pass muster these days. This game reminds me a bit of this. If you were asked to write a tabletop game of wizardly combat you’d probably come up with something similar to this.   I’m going to play it again and my view may change but for now it’s raises only a meagre huzzah (with no capitals or exclamation points)


Head still spinning from games played in Knavecon so lots in the tank for more blogs. This could be good or bad

Roll on tonight, we’re playing RAMPAGE!







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Knavecon IV ROCKED!


What Made Knavecon IV great?

The venue ?  Fantastic, best venue so far, layout was great, big, airy, the reception room for chill-out, game demos, buy and sell and coffee worked a treat.  The tables were way better than the last setup and we had ample space.  Hotel Staff were great.

The Games? We had a great selection of games on the day, more than last time, some great games were played.  I LOVED Rampage, what a crazy, silly game, (Which one of the lads rushed to Galway the next morning and bought a copy and it will be appearing this Thur at Thur night games!).  I loved cockroach salad (It just hated me).

The Helpers? We had a lot more people on hand to speed up registration, help with game demos, move stuff and generally offer advice (I don’t believe anyone said “don’t trust Vic” once at the con, they’re slipping)

The random events?  People in dressing gowns wandering down from the Spa, Wedding guests strolling in and quickly strolling out, men with bagpipes tuning up

The traders? Some great games on offer from our traders, thanks guys for making the trip


These all helped but it was the people who came on the day, got stuck in and gamed gamed gamed until the wee hours.

Every time Knavecon is run we learn more about what you want, what we do wrong and what we do right and we always try and make the next one that bit better.  Knavecon V is going to be a milestone for us.  Preparations are already afoot for it and it’s going to be the best one to date.

Knaves (anyone who came is a Knave), you came, you gamed, you rocked.  I salute you!



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25, 26, 27


Psssttt!! Want to make some money?  Go have a look at the game Ascending Empires on ebay.  Here use this handy link on BGG


$200 for the game in the states, €15 in France.  Buy low sell high (send me half the difference as a finders fee)

When I got Ascending empires as a swapsee I had thought it was a standard enough 4x game  (Expand, Explore, 2 other exes), I was a bit surprised when I found out the movement around the board was controlled by flicking the pieces.  Having played one game I was hooked, this is genius and all games should have a flicking mechanic.  Or NOT.

It’s been a while since I’d played it but I remembered how to setup the board so it was all go after that.  In AE you start with a handful of troops and two small ships. The board consists of a scattering of random colored planets (facedown) and you flick your ships across the uneven surface and if you get in orbit of a planet you can land your troops and take it over.  Once established on a planet you can build colonies and cities (adds defense and bonus points at end game) and research centers.  These are key and allow you extra abilities and options depending on which tech branch you pursue

There’s a finite amount of planets so inevitably (i.e. after turn one) conflict ensues (much to the chagrin of the players) and planets are sieged, ships destroyed and empires humbled.  What’s lovely about it is unlike most map based conquest games where it’s often trench warfare, due to the flick mechanic it’s quite possible to sneak interdiction attacks into the heart of your enemies empire.

Tech plays a big part in this game, getting ahead will give you major benefits.


There are four different colours of tech which correspond to planet colours.  Each branch does different things like increase the amount of ships and troops you can have, how many flicks you get during movement, allow you to build a bigger battleship craft and so on.  To tech up you first need to conquer a planet of the appropriate color and build a research station on it then research the tech to move up.  To get to a particular level of tech you need to own that many planets of the corresponding colours with research stations on them.  A Tall order when everyone is fighting for resources.

Getting to the fourth level of any tech colour grants some awesome powers.  in my case I teched up brown and could teleport to unowned planets nilly willy.  It was like having moles in your garden.


The game for a map conquest is relatively quick.  Turns shoot around (pardon the pun) and there’s practically no down time.

I like this game a lot.  I’ve only played it a few times and usually only 1v1 so with extra players (it takes up to four) it gets really interesting.  Now it does have it’s faults, the board is notoriously poor in design.  It’s a set of jigsaw pieces that should form a flat surface for flicking around but it doesn’t.  There was more than one curse when a ship careered off a joint.  It’s certainly not a show stopper and it makes the game a little bit more crazy golf than billiards.   No-one really complained as everyone was working on the same playing field.

The game is simple to play, the rules are all contained on your play board and it’s very elegant.  There are no grey areas or what ifs, everything is covered.  I’m surprised this game didn’t make a bigger splash and that it’s out of print, I would have loved to see more games like it but who knows, games have a habit of reappearing.  As it stands it’s a tasty little game and if you can get your your hands on it go for it.  It’s a goodie

Oh lest I forget i won.  27 points, my opponents scored 26 and 25 points 🙂

it will be at Knavecon IV







The Gathering in the house!


It wouldn’t be a Knavecon without the guys from The Gathering in Limerick.  I Dropped in yesterday evening and we agreed a loose soon to be less loose plan.  The guys are going to be bringing some really nice toys to the party

Pegasus Bridge


Anyone who went to conclave will remember this incredible Bolt Action scenario.  They guys are going to be running it at the con

Expect a showing of BattleTech and Magic the Gathering on the day too

The Gathering is running Magic on the Sunday as well so if you’ve down for Knavecon make a weekend of it and jump in to the MTG competition on the Sunday as well

Can’t ask for better than that!



on an X-Wing and a prayer (just an X-Wing really)


Ok I’m hooked. X-wing fever has caught hold. A sure sign is how my browser (on a number of PCs) seems to think I want squad builder when I press any letter on the keyboard.

Being silly season, we were only four last Thur and when deciding on what to play nearly everyone said “X-wing!” And so it was

No 100 point battles for us. 200pts a side? PAH! It was a full on, leaded, tackle out, no holds barred, stomp a man when he’s down 300pts a side! A real mans game and we were real men

Now X-wing is great. Lovely fantastic super but it DOES take time to setup. I reckon we were well over half an hour just setting the whole thing up powered by multiple coffees , co-operation (still getting over that) and good cheer (Drax didn’t make it), Well worth the set-up entrance fee

photo 1

The Imperials (not me) took

2 x FireSprays
1 x Tie advanced
1 x Lamda class shuttle
3 x Tie interceptors (maybe it was 4)
1 x Tie Defender
1 x Tie Phantom

All top class ships none of your tie fighter muck here. All kitted out with CD players, air con and cruise control. In other words we have the models let’s throw them out there and see what happens.

On the rebel scum side (me)

6 x X-wings. Count them
The falcon
1 x Y Wing
1 x A wing

photo 2

The rebels had gone heavy missile so it was going to be noisy and fast.

Our team in the grand tradition had ignored each other during squad design and just picked our ships as the mood took us

The plan from the rebel side was to hang back and let rip with all the missiles so it was slow movement across the board whereas the imperials were straight in with the absolute bare minimum of kissing.

Initial fire from the rebels was sketchy scoring very little damage while the imperials were de-shielding left and right. I immediately took the smart route of blaming my team mate for his obvious lack of commitment and our current misfortune.

Funny enough this seemed to pay dividends and Vader in his tie advance took a nasty paddling from his young fella and his equally nasty smuggler bud.

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Having seen Vader cause a lot of trouble in earlier games I was determined to fix his wagon. Another round saw him wink out and the falcon started a slow steady tour of the battlefield with Luke side by side

At this point everyone was close up and it quickly degenerated to shillelagh law and their were wigs on the green. The tie interceptors menaced while the two firesprays lumbered around surrounded by a pride of x-wings. The x-wings harried the Firesprays like a pack of rabid dogs and eventually brought both of them down with very little damage to themselves. The A-wing cashed in its chips pretty quick. Doing what it always seems to do. Zoom around looking flashy but quickly getting smacked down like the dog in foghorn leg horn.

The phantom was a nasty contender combined with someone who knew how to use it (i.e. Not me). It started to take a toll but couldn’t hope to compete with the massed forces of all those x-wings.

Meanwhile the falcon was knocking out ships for sport. The 360 degree turret fire on it was devastating along with the re-rolls. The lamda shuttle overshot and proved hard to get back into the fight. It’s a sluggish beast and we half expected to hear beep beep beep sounds as it turned and manoeuvred.

By the time it had got back in the fight the falcon had hovered up the opposition. Once the phantom cashed in its chips it was all over bar the shouting.

The shuttle proved small beer and Luke doggedly pursued and smacked it down

At the end we had three serviceable x-wings and a perfectly fine falcon, the imperials were nowhere to be seen. (so we couldn’t’ actually see them)

The killers of the night had been Luke and the Falcon. The phantom and tie defender had been nasty but again that’s the beauty of this game. The same combo up against a different (for fun lets say better) opponent would prove a different prospect.

Make no mistake this is a fantastic game. Id go as far as to say this is the future shape of table top. Yes yes that’s heresy but I’m seeing a trend where players are for one reason or another (kids) becoming less connected with full on games like Warhammer and are drifting to fast tabletop fixes like x-wing. But Hey! That’s gaming, it’s a cauldron that’s constantly stirred by new innovations and it’s great to see x-wing doing so well. If fantasy flight continue to deliver expansions as good as the ones to date this game will be around for a very long time to come and I for one am more than happy with that



photo 4

Wet Thur – Being a Drax Report


“You’re over thinking it….”

Quote of the night last Thur.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, quite recently, a Study in Emerald is a great game….  A Study in Emerald is a great game.

But before all that there was a warm up…

“It’s a kids game and it’s Polish, but it can be played by adults…”

“Shut up and take my money already”

photo 1

Kosmiczna Misja (Am I pronouncing that right?) is a kids game where you build bases on planets and score points for complete ones.  It is deceptively simple, a child could play it (ho ho) and for €5 it’s a steal.  Four of us sat down and played it so if we had only played one game we had gotten value for money for it already.  We played three games.  It’s SO simple.  The game consists of 30+ tiles shuffled face down, with three drawn and visible at all times.  Each tile consists of a quarter of a planet with varying amounts of half bases, full bases or aliens on them. When it’s your turn you roll a dice and depending on how many bases already built on your partially completed planet you draw a card and place it to hopefully complete and score a full 4 section planet.  The aliens are there to add +1 to your dice roll and the half bases make it awkward to complete a planet as you have to have a matching other half base against it.  That’s it.

All in all it’s like a cut down version of carrcasonne.  It’s fast, it’s simple and there’s just the right amount of cock blockery to make it fun.  This is a super kids game and a perfectly acceptable adults game.  Since it’s so quick there’s a real go again vibe to it


We’re fortunate in our group insofar as we have a good* group of people who actively seek out new games and bring them along for the group to try and that not everyone likes the same type of game.   Kosmiczna Misja is something we would never come across in the normal run of things and it would have been a pity to have missed out on such a simple game. If our Polish connect is back home anytime soon I’d say he’ll return with his bag stuffed with copies of this.

It was meat and potato times now with everyone suitably warmed up so we partook of the main course.  Once again a Study in Emerald.

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I’ve spoke about aSiE before, it’s a great concept based on a great story, developed by a great designer so it should be well… great.  It is.  This was played at Knavecon but it didn’t go down a storm,  It takes a bit of getting into. There’s a number of elements in the game and we discovered a few more of on Thur as we played.  The whole use of agents and some deeper and more devious strategies.

I really love this game, it’s got everything, it’s semi-map based, it’s got worker placement, it’s got card drafting, it’s got alliances, teams, double crossing, bluffing, a magnificent setting and superb re-playability.  It’s like someone tried their best to get all that’s good in gaming and pack it into a game and what’s more they did it very well indeed.  Nothing is superfluous, there are no simple routes to winning and it changes every time we play.  A real desert island game.

When we played on Thur we realised a few things we hadn’t before.  How to use agents properly, how to appear to be of one faction, how to steal victory.  Having played it there was a real urge to play again but time prevented us.  I wouldn’t be at all shocked if this appears next Thur and next weekend at a gaming buddies 40th

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Get your hands on this game, you won’t be disappointed.  oh yes, I actually won it as well so win win.



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