Stocking Filler

Christmas is almost upon us, still looking for a crackin stocking filler ?  Why not a ticket or two for KNAVECON next April!  What could be better!


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Diplomacy 2014 – Now over to our raving reporter….

As promised our Diplomacy Expert* Handsome Bob has his say about what’s been happing so far in Diplomacy ….


They came, they saw, they confused the hell out of everybody.

Apologies for the delay in writing a commentary on this game, I was intercepted on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan and was waylaid temporarily.

In the interests of full disclosure, I haven’t been privy to any of the correspondence between the players so any assumptions I make (however illogical, captain) are based on what I see on the board.

That having been said, after Turn 1 I was confident I could call the game:  Turkey had bottled it; Russia and Austria would make significant inroads; Italy would meander around the Med while keeping a close eye on Austria just in case he got naughty and any two of England, France and Germany would work together to screw over the third.

Turn 2 brought a quick and surprising revision: Turkey and Russia played Austria like a Stradivarius; Italy meandered into Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest; France plundered all and sundry and Germany and England seemed to stalemate with neither making any significant gains.  And Germany had some Eyetie spear-brandishing in his southern heartland.

After Turn 3 I just went to bed with a wet towel wrapped around my head, weeping profusely and wondering how the game had gotten so schizophrenic and screwed up.

Let’s summarise:

England: now has two units on mainland Europe at the expense of handing Norway over to the Tsar as a kind of a Christmas freebie.  Unfortunately, one is a fleet so can only wander up and down the coast.  The one in Holland will have Kaiser Drax looking over one of his shoulders while he contorts himself into knots while simultaneously looking over the other shoulder at the Italian unit in Berlin.  The fleet in the North Sea is ideally positioned to support and convoy with little or no interference.

France: showed all the instincts (actually paranoia) of the typical Diplomacy player by not trusting England not to do the dirty, duly convoying his army in Spain back to Brest ‘just in case’.  The move into the Med would suggest that Italy might need to develop a taste for Brie and Escargot before too much longer.

Italy: Ballsy, ballsy, ballsy.  Not happy with just sashaying into Munich, he then advances to Berlin when the nasty Hun descended upon him, thus getting a valuable build and forcing Drax to investigate a career as a circus contortionist (cf England above).  Can Germany kick him out?  More to the point, can he do it before Austria decides to join in the fun to be had at Oktoberfest?

Austria: having seemingly been shafted by the Turkey/Russia juggernaut, he took his hiding like a man and, sensing weakness, decided to take out his frustration on the now-vulnerable Hun.  As to whether he can do anything before the forces massing on his Eastern borders decide to invade is another matter.  However there may be a story yet to be told there (see Turkey below).

Germany – ahem (stifles giggles): trussed up like a submissive and waiting for the whip to crack, can Kaiser Drax rescue his once proud nation or will his people be force to live on a diet of pasta and Verdi?  One thing’s for sure, he needs help – and it looks like his only hope, one Obi Wan Kenobi, is busy elsewhere.  But if anyone can rescue the situation, smooth-talking, I’ll-sell-you-my-firstborn-in-return-for-support-into-Berlin Drax is your man.  We’ll be watching the German space (while it’s still in existence) with interest.

Turkey: looked doomed after Turn 1 due to indecisiveness, ended Turn 2 with a build (after crawling into the Tsar’s boudoir in Moscow) and now looks like he could be mounting an interesting offensive on his former friend (or is he? It could all be smoke and mirrors and judicious use of sneaky convoys).

Russia: currently the bookies favourite.  Two builds, control of Scandinavia (pretty much unopposed) a fleet in the Baltic and moving West with a vengeance.  Maybe he too wants a slice of the German schnitzel or the Austrian whatever they eat there.  Or has he spread himself too thinly? Tsar Paul is too canny a player to get caught out like that.

I am hugely looking forward to Turn 4 but am making no predictions as to what will happen.  After three turns, I’m not getting caught out again.

Have at it gents!!

Diplomacy 1901 – Round 1 Results

Spring 1901

It never fails to amaze me that every game of Diplomacy is different. Here’s the opening moves to our captive game

spring 1901move

After the move here’s how it’s all looking. I’m disqualified from commenting on Diplomacy on the basis that I’m “a bit rubbish” but my good friend* Handsome Bob will be doing an analysis of how it’s all playing out.

I already have my bet made as to whom is going to win, but even after one round I’m not so sure….



So it Begins…. Diplomacy 2014. Spring 1901


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to what could prove to be the best game of 2014!   Seven players who may have started as friends are now joined in the titanic struggle that is email Diplomacy.

The leaders are as follows

Eoin “Spartan” Kearney Austria
Paul Clancy Russia
Conor Hoary England
Kieran Fitzgerald France
“Patrick” Drax “O’Sullivan” Germany
Joe “Dread Pirate Joe” Morris Italy
Tony Gleeson Turkey

We have a fine mix of experienced and new players.  One things for sure, they’ll never be the same people they were by the time this is over

The ultimate winner will receive a prize of an exclusive Knavecon T-Shirt and a copy of 30 Seconds, but more importantly very public bragging rights.  Turns will be once a week, results and maps posted on the site and my good friend* Bob Burke  will provide a running commentary on how it’s all progressing.

Let the games commence!



One Sentence Reviews


I recently summed up a Boardgame in two words. Here’s my attempt at a few more one sentence reviews….

The Walking dead = Undead snake
Talisman = Ludo+
Relic = Ludo++
Risk = RSI back stabbing
Diplomacy = Friend ender
The Resistance = First to talk is the traitor
Skull and Roses = Break their mind
Twilight Struggle =Ever increasing Plate spinning
Puerto Rico = Just buy corn
Lords of Waterdeep = Big quests win, nice box
Battlestar Galactica = Probably is Cylon
Descent = Grown up heroquest
Pirates Cove  = Build ship Avoid fights
Constonopolis = Puerto Rico+
Through the Ages = Blind man Civ
Nations = through the Ages 2.0
Sid Meirs Civilization = First to fly wins
Galaxy Trucker = Keep quiet and grab the shields
7 Wonders = Lucky Pierre
Augustus = Roman bingo
Junta  = It’s always a bad year
Spartacus = Get one good warrior early
Heroquest = Always search
Warrior Knights = Barely warmed up
Citadels = Thief wins
Tsuro = Nothing to see over here
Game of Thrones = North is screwed
Modern Art =Chaos math
Zombicide = Oops my bad
Attack! = Posh Risk
Robo Rally = Dizzy racing
Eclipse = More missiles
El Grande = Omnipresence
Coup = Can’t be sure
Cards against humanity = So I’m not the only pervent
Boss Monster = Everyone loves 8 bit
Imperial = You don’t own it
Serinissima = Seamen
Death Angel = Game Over Man
Small World = Trolls win
Fury of Dracula = Fighty Scotland Yard
Letters from Whitechapel = Scotland Yard+
a Study in Emerald = A fine stew
Age of empires = I call shotgun!
Rex final days of an Empire = the Cats have it
Mansions of Madness = Long setup
Lord of the Rings = Coop hate
Cold War CIA v KGB = Blackjack plus

Feel free to add you own!

No Love Lost


Love letter is a bit of a misnomer, there’s no letter and there’s surely no love when you play this game. I love simple, clever games and Love Letter is certainly one of these. It has sixteen cards and it still manages to deliver like a boss

It’s best played with three to four players (the max) and it plays out in say twenty minutes or so. The first few games take a bit of getting your head around and being told repeatidly draw one, play one eventually gets through your skull.

You start the game with one of seven possible card types some of which have multiples. They are the usual motley crew of medieval archetypes, Priest, Princess, Duchess, King, Guard and so on. Each of them have a special power and each of them can dampen either you or your opponents ardour.

The idea is you need to end the round with a card higher ranked than your opponents or knock them all out of the round before the cards run out.


This can be achieved in a number of ways, the easiest being naming what card an opponent has by playing a guard (yes sometimes it’s pure guess). Forcing them to discard a particular card, punching them in the throat (not sure this is an official rule), Challenging them to have a higher card than you with the Duke. Other cards allow you to swap hands or view another player’s cards. It’s very much Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock and it works very well indeed. It is if you will perfectly formed.

The game is purely reactionary, you have to think on your feet (even when you’re sitting down) and there’s always a way to win. This sounds like a wine buff (there’s hints of blackberry) but there are hints of other games in here but none of them are overpowering nor is the game too similar to anything else. It very much stands on its own.

I’m always amazed how music works, a half dozen notes into a tune you have something unique, the same is true of love letter. It’s unique, it’s fun and it’s criminally cheap. You can pick it up for less than ten euro and you will play it again and again. Of all the essential games to have in your collection, THIS is top of the list

Go now and pick up a copy and if I’m wrong you can punch me in the throat at the next Knavecon




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



We go on three?


you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?  BEST LINE EVER (apart from all the other best lines ever)

Cash and guns or more correctly  Ca$h and Gun$ is a super little filler game. It’s been reprinted lately having been out of print for a number of years and being stupendously expensive for what is a fairly simple game at heart.

I had a crack at playing this some months back with the group using a set made of playing cards, kids guns and sticky back plastic. It was good but the real McCoy is much nicer.

It caters for four to eight players and it’s a short filler game. About twenty minutes and you’re done.  It’s a real goodie to round out an evenings gaming.

The whole sizzle of the game is the guns. It plays as a series of Mexican standoffs with everyone at the count of three pointing their natty foam guns at each other. I can only assume the foam guns are there after playtesters understandably pistol whipped each other with more solid versions.

So having seen whom or more likely multiple whoms are pointing at you on the count of three players get to chicken out or stand their ground.

Those who stand firm find out if their attacker loaded their gun with blanks or live ammo (of which there’s a limited amount) and therefore either wind up full of holes (three wounds and you’re dead dead) or miraculously unscathed

Those remaining brave and un holed get to share a central pile of loot, which gets redrawn each round

Rinse and repeat for eight rounds and whomever has the biggest wad at the end, is the winner.


Throw in a few extra rules and you have different character types that can take more hits, steal more of the stash and you have a recipe for all out fun

It’s a blast (literally).  There’s a bit of luck in there, there’s a lot of old rivalries come to the fore when playing.  There’s guns, did I mention guns? There’s cash.

I talked about the live version of this some time back, this is a similar animal and it retains the same fun elements from it’s bigger cousin.  I lost btw, way too fool hardy and shootable, that said I didn’t lose as bad as the owner of the game who has after a dozen plays NEVER, EVER made it to the end without being killed.

Then again a man’s GOT to know his limitations



Krazy Kosmonauts Krush Kompetition


I like Kosmonauts. I liked it more the first time I played it but I still liked it the second time and am sure I’ll like it next time whenever that will be.

I especially like it because it’s Russian and it has a strong K in the title. Fantastic

Kosmonauts is a fairly simple robo rally type game but purely based on movement. There’s no messing about with shooting and bumping, this solar system is more than big enough for the two (to four) of us

Each turn the current player (moves on each turn) moves all the planets around their track and the rather zippy Haley’s comet then picks a Global effect from a display of three cards. These take the form of solar winds that give a boost in one direction (usual not the one you want), restricts certain actions or removes or rewards fuel. Each of these global effects can be cancelled for you by burning one of your three non regenerating shield which also come in handy when you scream through the asteroid belt near solar central.


The whole game is a bit like skipping where knowing when to jump on and out of the rotating planets will pay dividends.  I surprises me how little time you need to think about your move, granted you do need to move your lips while you’re figuring it out but it’s fairly straightforward.

Now here’s where it takes a bit of a twist and the game becomes a bit hard to figure. At the start of the game you secretly get a choice of three missions from a possible six drawn ones. These missions are to get to a certain planet but the rub is you have to choose in advance if you reckon (a scientific measure)  you will be first or second to land on that Planet.

This makes the game almost modern art hard to Strategise. I’m sure given a few games it would become more obvious but I struggled a bit with it.  As look would have it my standard strategy or no strategy worked fine.

The game ends when someone has reached all their planets and gotten back to earth but you can see this happening easily enough and it leads to more risky burns from everyone else to make your missions before your opponent does

I like this game. It’s pretty simple. It’s different (I understand high frontier is a little similar but a lot more complex). It’s fast. It’s fun. I’d definitely play it again and keep and eye out for it.

So should you komrade




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