Sunday, February 18, 2018

H.P. Lovecraft and my passions for the mythos.

Recently I have been watching with bemusement the enthusiasm of people for H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.  The second edition of Mansions of Madness has seen a resurgence, thanks in many ways to the App which does a lot of the hard work which was initially the "game masters" role.  I have a first edition set of Mansions and the first expansion.  Finding it really difficult to justify buying the second edition... but I might buckle one day... one day.

It was while I was looking at all the Cthulhu related material I found my role play materials and the Arkham Horror board game... oh look I even found more related games!

The Call of Cthulhu RPG collection, I prefer the BRP system.

Arkham Horror board game collection (just missing two titles
Miskatonic Horror and The Lurker at the Threshold).

The other Mythos related games in the collection.
So do I have a problem?  Is my sanity doubtful...

Till next time.
The Hon. John

Monday, February 12, 2018

How many is too many?

How many is too many?

A number of times I find that there are too many people vying for a game.  At my local club there are a group of up to six regulars and two or more irregulars (and visitors) who will turn up on a Saturday to participate in a board game.

Most times there is not a problem, there are a few games (usually) that can play up to six (or more).  What happen occasionally are the extra bodies of the irregulars or just visitors that are thrown into the mix?  Here comes the dilemma, is there a game that someone brought on the day going to accommodate the increased numbers or do we break into separate groups.

I have found that it is a difficult problem to solve as it is indicative of watching clique alignments.  When the issue arises, one member will always suggest splitting into two groups, they have no problem with that outcome.  Others though are less enthused and the problem of who sticks with who becomes apparent (to some).

Social dynamics is always interesting and rather depressing to me to watch.  I see people form groups based on competitive enjoyment, clique alignment or just whoever is left gets to join in.  Mostly I find people are loath to split as they unconsciously (perhaps not) realise that they have to make a choice and that that choice may reflect on them as a person.

In my own case I really dislike when the groups numbers force an issue of this nature.  I play games to socialise more than being competitive, this sees some people viewing me as the weak link, it also leads to some “picking/ganging up on” mentality as I can be removed early from play or I’m just a source of their own victory through whatever game mechanics are in play.  I try not to let this affect me but it does, occasionally when I’m at a weak point mentally I’ll explode and vent my displeasure, but thankfully this is an exceptionally rare occurrence.

How then do you solve an issue of breaking the numbers down into manageable sizes?

Look at the games that have been brought along on the day.  Do any of them allow for the larger play group?  Is there consensus to play this?  If there is then play, if it is not then break the games down into play sizes.

Most people tend to chose who they’d game with based on the game.  Competitive games attract some, cooperative others.  A group consensus then needs to be made over which games will meet people’s desire to game in a divided group.

A novel idea (which I haven’t trialled) would be to just do a random draw for the games chosen and allocate people to those games.  This is of course a mature way of looking at/solving an issue, however people may not like the outcome and may baulk altogether at playing with the random draw.  Trust me I know human nature better than most when it comes to the psychology of group dynamics.

Another option (the most sensible and practical) is that advance notice be given prior to a meet up.  Social media today is a boon when it comes to advertising intent, mind you, you will need people who use a common forum. Post what games you would like to play and sign up people to play the game on the day.  This means that people will know they have a game to play, reduces time lost through procrastinating and people will know the groups personality dynamics – all in advance.

This is of course a difficult operation for some; hopefully you can find a solution that can help.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Friday, February 2, 2018

Blind Pig Games Club Meet 3rd February 2018

A rainy and overcast day, but it's cool and pleasant.

I played three new games today - One Deck Dungeon, Evolution:Climate and Rising Sun.


Link to BGG is HERE

This was the morning filler game that Pat and I play while waiting for the rest of people to turn up.  Pat had played it Solo and commented on how difficult it was.  We played the two player version but were not able to complete it as people started to turn up and the desire to start a larger 6 player game was on.
My thoughts: I liked it, certainly a game I'll add to my collection seeing it has the Solo capacity and also its small size.  Thumbs up for this one.


Link to BGG is HERE

A good sized six player game going with this one.  Some banter and fun had here, the odd creatures that were created was lots of fun.
My thoughts: I enjoyed this game, certainly one I'll be adding to my collection when I can afford it.  The balance between feeding, climate effects and traits of the creatures makes for an interesting mix. Thumbs up on this one.


Link to BGG is HERE

OK this game would have to have been the most argued game that I have ever participated in, even other players commented on this.  Grasping the rules and the nuances of the game were troubling for many of us.  Out of the six players, two definitely, maybe three did not like the game, one was uncommitted and two were in favour.  Certainly a game that needs another go.
My thoughts: I initially did not enjoy this game until I started to cotton on the way victory points were earned and how interaction across the game board occurred. At this stage if I was offered another to play, I'd probably choose it over another game of Rising Sun.  That being said I was the one who was uncommitted to the game and prepared to give it a few more games before coming to a decision.  Thumbs horizontal on this one.

The Club
A decent turn out for the day with most of the regulars attending.  Weather may have been a factor, including other events that drag attendees away on any given meeting.  

Evolution: Climate - an excellent game with the regulars.

The faithfuls playing EPIC

A game of Imperial Assault.

40K in action.

40K in action.

Rising Sun, Pat with his finger raised is making a point!

Unfair in play.

My Personal Journal

As always I need to get out from home and interact with people.  The Club is one of the few opportunities I get to socialise with my peers.  I am not and will never be a competitive player, due to my isolation I hunger more for the social interaction than in winning, though winning is nice when it happens.  Usually when this occurs my fellow gamers will normally comment that the world is out of alignment or that the Stars are Right and the Great Old One has had a hand in fate.
Still now that I am home and writing this blog I find that my mood has plummeted again and I'm back to Me, Myself and I.  I'm used to this, in fact I only realised that is has been 20 years since my life was rooted by fate.  Oh well, that's my life...

Till next time
The Hon. John

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Heroquesting... a Saga


Over the last three days I have been penning the exploits of a band of adventurers who have dared to fight the 14 Quests in the box set of Heroquest.  BGG link HERE if you want to know more about game.

So far 6 of the Quests have been completed.

Quest 1

Quest 2

Quest 3

Quest 4

Quest 5

Quest 6

It is actually an exhaustive process to put this all together, the record keeping etc etc.  In the end I hope people just take the time to read the preamble and conclusion stories, I think they are what makes it over the dry and uninteresting (unless you lived the actual excitement of the game) statistics.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, hope you enjoyed it.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Game Tally for 2017

The year is almost over and it’s time to again look at my game record for the year.

I obtained Board Game Stats App in late June and have been religiously recording my games.  Since June I have played 101 games over 47 game titles with 15 people.  According to the App I have spent approximately 51 hours enjoying myself.  If I had this App at the beginning of the year my records would show more.

When I look at my game club The Blind Pig I find I’ve played 47 games over 31 game titles with 13 people.  I spent approximately 24 hours gaming at the club over the 9 club days.

I could include the games which I played solo (noted further down) but these really don’t count when I look at social interaction.

Club Games

Game Title
Games Played
Number of People
BANG! The Dice Game *
3
6
Tortuga 1667
3
8
Gods’ Gambit
3
6
Kingdomino *
3
6
Star Realms *
2
2
Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure *
2
6
Downsize
2
6
Viticulture
2
8
Machi Koro: Bright Lights
2
6
Barenpark *
2
4
Lovecraft Letter *
2
6
Captain Sonar *
2
8
Valley of the Kings: Afterlife *
1
4
Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull *
1
4
Nightfall
1
5
Epic Card Game
1
2
Stormweavers
1
3
Steampunk Rally
1
7
Talisman 4th Ed *
1
6
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
1
6
The Red Dragon Inn
1
6
A Feast for Odin *
1
4
Abandon Planet
1
7
Thief’s Market
1
5
Hanamakoji *
1
2
Yamatai
1
4
Between Two Cities
1
7
Roll for the Galaxy
1
5
Godforsaken Scavengers
1
4
51st State
1
4
Unfair *
1
5

The titles marked with an asterisk (*) are games I have in my collection (13 of the 31 ~ 42% approximately).

One of the things I enjoy most about a games club is the ability to try before you buy games.  I am a collector, according to Board Game Geek my collection is 407/410 in number (trying to work out the 3 difference).  A number of people ask me why I hang on to so many games or buy games that people I play with already have.  As I’ve posted in a previous article, the people I game with now are not the people I gamed with 37 plus years ago.  In those early days I played games which I regret not having bought at the time, of course I regret even more the games I gave away, but I’m someone who’s known for their generosity and I don’t begrudge it.  So my philosophy is, if I like a game, buy it, store it, play it whatever is needed: at least you own that game and don’t have to rely on others.

Home Games

Game Title
Games Played
Number of People
Massive Darkness
8
2
Chainsaw Warrior *
6
1
Elder Sign *
6
1
Thunderstone Advanced *
5
1
Conquest of Planet Earth
5
2
A Feast for Odin *
4
1
Space Hulk: Death Angel *
3
1
Xenoshyft: Dreadmire
2
2
Runebound 2nd Edition
2
2
The Fury of the Norsemen *
2
1
Star Realms
1
2
Outlive
1
2
Draconis Invasion
1
2
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective *
1
1
Bommerz over Da Sulpha River *
1
1

For my home games I tallied 48 games across 15 game titles, those marked with an asterisk (*) are Solo mode games I played.  Twenty-one days and approximately 24 hours of play time.

So the year is about to wrap up, the club goes on hiatus until February, allowing the club owner to have a well deserved holiday.  As the internet PR man I will continue to post articles and such on the clubs site to keep people aware that the club is still alive and well.  It is concerning when one of the South East Queensland game clubs (Queensland Northern Knights) is tendering an item at their AGM to wrap up operations due to lack of members.  That now leaves only LXG, BIG (though not too sure) and the Blind Pig still operating as independent clubs unlike those that are ensconced in game stores.  I may have missed someone, but to my knowledge LXG, QNK and the Pig are the only clubs that I see regular reporting from.

I hope my health allows me to see the New Year in, but I’m having a hard time at present and I’m unsure what my future will be.

Till next time.


The Hon. John

Monday, December 11, 2017

Last session before the new.

It's the little things that make and break you.


Thank You.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Monsters! Monsters!

Welcome to the other side (of Tunnels and Trolls), where you get to role play the not "good guys".


My copy has seen better days, but considering that my copy is a second printing dated 1979 I'm blessed it has lasted as long as it has, especially with the spiral binding.

I've been doing a bit of a bender these days and going back to the roots of my gaming.  My old board games are still good, though finding people who are not immediately derisive of them is proving problematic.  It would appear that people will only play what's "hot" and recent, apparently anything that is five years or older in date is "so unfashionable" and contains "game mechanics" that have been supplanted by more modern developments.  Phooey I say.

I loved Ken St. Andre's introduction where he refers to Tunnels & Trolls (hereafter T&T) as "the poor man's alternative to the expensive Other Role-Play Game".  I think we can all guess which one that would be...

So this RPG uses similar mechanics to T&T's, though the rules indicate you do not need to own the other to play this system.  T&T does though "contain detailed tables of weapons, high-level magic, provisions,etc".


There are 52 Monsters listed in M!M! and I've been able to source reasonable models to represent them.  I really do no regret my generosity with a trade many years ago for some Star Wars figures... really wish I still had the vast horde of plastic crack to throw around the table.  Sigh, nothing I can do about it now though, thankfully I kept the "one of" for my collection.  

As the game reflects it's all about the Monsters coming to a village, city or whatever scenario the GM has come up with.  Today it would be like Descent or another other of the Dungeon Crawl games.  I'm still in the process of reacquainting myself with the rules, the turn sequence goes like this:

1. Movement/Action
2. Wandering Enemies
3. Combat
4. Recovery

So yes it's very much in the mould of a classic Dungeon Crawl.  The game mechanics operate on the simple die six, with multiples of the die being cast and the pips added up and compared to an opponent to determine the outcome.  Simple, luck driven mechanics.  Nothing wrong with it.  Role-play games are first meant to be an exploration of the imagination, with some excitement of combat thrown in.  

Names of spells are hilarious and I'm sure some people might take exception to some the titles, such as Yassa Massa for an enslavement spell.  Other titles are silly, but explain simply the spells, "Oh Go Away" for fear, "Hidey Hole" for invisibility and "Rock-a-bye" for sleep.  

I can recall some discussions with a friend at MUDDA (Melbourne University Dungeons and Dragons Association - I think) over the merits of T&T compared to D&D - we agreed to disagree.  Yes it may seem frivolous to some, but once you peer past the veneer you can see an acceptable system which can bring many hours of enjoyment.  I know from experience that my gaming group in the early 80's enjoyed this system, and played it just as we played so many of the other competitors to D&D.

So my goal, for what it's worth, is to reacquaint myself with the rules, rustle up a campaign and let loose the Monsters! of war.

Till next time.

The Hon. John