Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another rambling diatribe... or my thoughts on an article I read.

A person I know wrote an article online (check article here http://atgn.com.au/need-a-game-want-a-game-get-yourself-a-gaming-buddy/).  Here are my thoughts...

The first two points are “Hang around your local hobby store from time to time...” and “Or hang around your local games club”.  These two are almost the same when it comes to applying the principles advocated.  The comment that weirdos who hang out at games club aren’t present in local hobby stores is not mutually exclusive to one over the other.  If you a looking for a new person to include in home games it’s going to be hit and miss with who you will find acceptable.  One or two visits at a venue I believe will not attain a suitable sounding of the community to find a gaming buddy (unless you aren’t picky or just desperate.)  It has taken me, personally, months to ascertain who I would be comfortable with gaming at my residence.  Whether that person feels likewise is often the problem.  Over my long life I have found that humans are fickle and hypocrites.  People I know and game with (current and past) will literally walk to the other side to avoid having a conversation with me, when all I’d like to do was just say hello and move on.  (Having done more CBT – cognitive behaviour therapy - than the average person, I’m aware of the many implications of that statement, so please do not think that I’m not aware of them if you choose to take offense or point out the exceptions.) Such is the same with gaming, there appears to me to be a “happy to know or play games in a club/store environment with you”, but don’t ask for anymore interaction. Prepare to invest some time searching stores or clubs for the prerequisite gaming buddy of choice.

The other tenants are closely linked together, but the thinking that follows is debatable.  I again make reference to the human condition – people are (most of the time) looking for “what am I going to get out of any relationship.”  For example in my youth I had a group of people who first gamed at my parents house and then at my own home.  The benefits to the group at that time were, my parents tolerated the games at their residence (it also made them feel safe knowing their son was home and not out doing naughty things on a Friday and Saturday night), and my mother also fed them.  When I married and moved out of my parent’s residence, having my own home, the group who attended had the opportunity of no parental/adult supervision and more freedom.  In those early days there were very few alternative sources for enjoying a game on a regular basis.  Shops did not having gaming facilities and the clubs (really good ones in the day) only met on fortnightly or monthly basis (not too sure on the frequency, memories a little hazy) mostly on Sundays.  Younger readers may not remember that Queensland operated with a half day trade on Saturday with Sunday finding almost everything shut.  There was no internet, no mobile phones, no modern conveniences that people take for granted today.  Groups were formed, in my case, through friends and people knowing people (and inviting them along) to University and eventually finding the clubs operating at the time.  From my perspective looking back I found that people were easier to communicate and bond with than today.  Of course it may have just been the age syndrome of youth versus older mindsets and the flexibility it entails.

Where am I going with this (yes I do meander?)  Times may have changed but the human condition has not.  If you feel that you have to entice people to game at your residence with “benefits”, then all you may attract are leeches.  They only hang around because you are providing something which costs them little or nothing to do what they like doing.  I have been blessed with the fact my wife worked in a games store and knew the man she was marrying.  She had no difficulty with associating with my group or with the disruption to home life, not everyone has that understanding partner.  The number of people I’ve known who’ve dropped their interests because of partners or children is not uncommon, as it was in the past so it is today. When it comes to children I have even known of circumstances where persons would not come over for games because of them - the same applies for pets, cats and dogs, it’s amazing what people won’t tolerate.  In the mid 80’s I had my first break down and the group did not accept this or prepare to accommodate me back into the group even with my apologies. While society politely lies to itself that it is non-discriminatory, it is not, especially when it comes to mental illness.  In the 80’s it was almost unheard of for compassion or understanding from the community, you were ostracised and made to feel humiliated.

I have written previously on my blog that the people you associate with and in this case game with will most likely not be the same as time progresses.  In my case the original group that I knew 30 years ago, only one is still gaming with me.  Of the groups I have known since then (with the exclusion of the present), less so, I’d say zero.  As I get older I find that I’m either outliving my associates and friends, they move away, or they no longer wish to associate with me.  My circle of opportunity grows smaller each year; my greatest bugbear is the age gap now.  It has been refreshing to see an influx of youth into my hobby, but with that comes the peculiar discrimination of age. 

Right I’m back looking at the article and relating it to an old man.  For example - I go to a local hobby store or club and hang around looking for a gaming buddy... I think I can almost hear your minds taking the wrong track.  Everyone is younger than you; you are trying to find someone who wants to be your gaming buddy, you can offer them “benefits” with a home based venue.  So I can almost guess people are going to cry “paedophile/deviant”, if you go to venues where there are young children ( up to 17) then you can feel even more threatened by public perception.  It’s difficult to find people who are prepared to accept you on age, just like people’s inability to deal with those suffering from illnesses.  The article only applies where you fall within acceptable parameters of social acceptance. 

My personal rant or call it what you will...
As I have mentioned in the past I have a magnificent collection of games built up over 30 plus years, with more than sufficient space for games and entertainment.  I am with my age and the vagaries of personal circumstances restricted to home or close venues for my gaming enjoyment.  I am particular about who I want to game with and who I invite into my residence.  I learnt that offering enticements through generosity have amounted to zero improvement of chances to game (without attracting leeches) so I no longer offer them.  Though I am still prone to be generous, it’s my nature – pity some take advantage of it.  If people cannot see the opportunity they are missing that I can offer then I’m not going to “prostitute” myself to obtain a gaming buddy or new group of home based gamers.  Of course suffering from my personal daemons makes life extremely hard and I don’t expect people to understand nevertheless feel sympathy for. 

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Solo Games today... because it's very wet outside.

On this weekend the good people at Games World (Carindale) had a 20% off sale and I could not help (with notice) save my pension to lash out on some games.  I acquired A Feast for Odin, Kingdomino and Hanamikoji. Thanks also to my family who chipped in to help me get these games.

Hanamikoji, A Feast for Odin and Kingdomino

A Feast for Odin set up for Solo play.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
Ships 13 11 16 0
Emigrations 0 21 21 42
Exploration boards 6 12 0 0
Sheds and houses 0 0 27 8
Sheep and cattle 8 15 2 15
Occupations 4 8 4 5
Silver 2 1 7 14
Final Income 21 14 7 12
English Crown 0 0 0 0
Positive sub-total 54 82 84 96
Home board 0 17 30 10
Exploration boards 2 0 0 0
Sheds and houses 0 0 0 0
Thing Penalty 0 0 0 0
Negative sub-total 2 17 30 10
Total 52 65 54 86

The above are the four games I played today.  The first two games I went for the exploration boards (lands) and managed to improve my score on the second game by converting my ship to emigration points, a wise move.  This helped especially in the last game where the point bonus was so appealing.  The third and fourth game I decided to stick with the Sheds and houses options and while I dropped to points similar to my first game I picked up quite well in the last game.

I confess that I really like this game for it's ease of play and would recommend it to anyone.  I have played one game at the club last week and four players is great, especially when the raiding and pillaging deplete the stockpile.  This does not happen in the solo mode, and you can sit back and explore your options without fearing antagonising people with your deliberations.

I will look at Kingdomino tomorrow as there is a solo variant on Board Game Geek which I shall try.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

32 Years Ago...

Time flies, yet it has been 32 years that my wife and I have been married.  We survived my interfering mother, financial penury, children, unemployment and now as pensioners we struggle ever onward.

Till the next year..

The Hon. John

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 7th October

A back breaking day today.  The club hosted a 40 player Warmachine Hordes team event.  Was the first one at the hall on the day, and had the tables all set up and ready for the table tops by the time the first players started to arrive.  Was having some anxiety as I started to run low on the tables, just scrapped through with enough to spare for the regular players.  Would have had some sixty odd people there today, a very good turnout.

Set up and awaiting the table tops for the WMH 40 player event.

Every table top used!  Not one left over.

Table tops on and awaiting the players.

The room left over for the regulars, who turned out
in enough numbers to use the tables.

The WMH event about to start.

Meanwhile the rest of us played A Feast for Odin.

While Star Wars: Rebellion was being set up.
The group that I normally affiliate with play board games and we gamed four new games today.

First up was Tortuga 1667.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
Played two games.  First was between Pat and I as we learned the rules I won this two player trial game, but we learnt from our mistakes so that the seven player game later played more smoothly.  Would have liked to play another round, but someone opted not to.

At the time the first game was finished the regulars had arrived and A Feast for Odin was played.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
A good game that while starting slow picked up with speed as people became familiar with the game mechanics.  I came last, having to take off 52 points from my score sort of settled my game.  Must have a read of the rules.

Abandon Planet was the next game played, seven players battling it out. Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
 A very interesting game is all I can say, it's OK but not sure if it's my cup of tea.

Last game of the day was Thief's Market.  Check the LINK with BGG to see more information on the game.
An aggravating game where vindictiveness can become hampering.  I'm not particularly happy when an attitude of if I can't win I'll do everything I can to stop another.  Yes I won this game but only just.  I'm not known to be lucky with games, and winning is something I see very few times.  Vindictive behaviour really spoils my life and does little to help those with severe mental illness from moving forward. I sometimes just want to walk away from it all when this happens.  I'll get over it, but it takes days to re-balance my life.

So the club had a good day, I not as much as I'd have liked.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Very Quiet Time...

This month has been very quiet.  Nothing has happened since the club meet on the 2nd September.  So sad, but that's my life at the best of times.  In an emergency call, otherwise leave well alone...

I have been slowly adding to my board game collection as a result.  No idea why, I guess I'm waiting for a horde of friends to support me. (Yes I'm bitter and twisted.)

Liked the looks of this game, watched some play throughs and reviews, consulted BGG and came to conclusion it was worth the money.  My only concern it keeping the die faces from being lost or becoming too loose from play (highly unlikely).
For more information about Dice Forge check the LINK to BGG.

A very nice production set, overpriced but so nice to have.  I think that this will be better than Love Letter in the long run.
For more information about Lovecraft Letter check the LINK to BGG.

So disappointed in the fact that the copy I have is not similar to the copy I have played.  I now need to find the expansions...  Happy to at least own a copy, even if it's not quite what I wanted.
For more informatiion about Machi Koro check the LINK to BGG.

Yes I was attracted to this but the price (cheap and within my budget).  I now check my game purchases through the means I've noted previously.  I'm looking forward to giving this game a go - soon with luck.
For more information about Notre Dame check the LINK to BGG.

The most lacklustre packaging for a game.  A plain cardboard box with Secret Hitler marked on the front.  No information about the game at all anywhere on the box to explain what's in the box.  I guess they were expecting word of mouth to sell the game.  I only bought this game through the generosity of Games World (Carindale) who allowed me to check out their opened box.  After checking the internet for more information and seeing a game in action I decided that it was worth purchasing.  Hopefully this will get a game at the next club meet in October.

For more information about Secret Hitler check the LINK to BGG.

My son raved about this show and finally I sat down and watched it - as a result I am hooked on this nonsensical series.  I had to watch a YouTube clip to understand how to play the game, only because I'm getting lazy with the desire to read rules.

For more information about Total Rickall check the LINK to BGG.

In ending I must thank a couple of people (who wish to remain anonymous) for support in obtaining these games.  As a pensioner I don't have much cash, so to have some generous benefactors engenders much gratification and happiness from me.  Thank you.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 2nd September

Today was the Blind Pig and a few games were played and looked at.  Lots of fun was enjoyed by the games on offer.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Close games.  Pat and I played a two player game to start while waiting for the trailer to arrive with the tables and terrain.  I won the first game.  Next we managed a four player game, in which I came last, difference in places between 1st and last was only 10 points.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Played this game as we had seven people.  Dragged on and in the end everyone decided to call it and move on to another game.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Set up and were going to play but the lateness of the day and learning curve had the game packed up with a decision to play Red Dragon Inn.

Link to BGG is HERE for those seeking more information.

Proved to really popular and was hilarious to play.  Two of us who played have opted to get the game.  Lots of fun, highly recommend.

Below are pictures for the rest of day.

40K in play

40K in play.

40K in play.

Dropfleet Commander in play

Yep Talisman and the look!
Til next time.

The Hon. John.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Board Game Stats - August Update

Since the June 10 I have been using this useful tool Board Game Stats to record the games I've played and the people I've gamed against.

It helps with but identifies the social isolation I have.  40% of my games are solo, hardly surprising, with 32% being two player.  62% of my games are played at my residence, which includes essentially all the solo games.  44% are played on a Saturday which is the day the Blind Pig Games Club runs. 25 unique board games have been played, now that was pleasing to note.  12 out of the 25 games played I don't own.  The largest player count was 7 people playing Steampunk Rally.  Viticulture plays 6 maximum and while the count is 8 it reflects the 4 plays the game has had with differing groups of players.

In the end I can feel happy that where I initially thought I got very few games it turns out I've played 65 since June.  Yet when I look at the other statistics it still frustrates me that I only get games at the club and the occasional game outside - usually with one of three persons.  Solo games are what whiles away the many hours of isolation.  The problem that will only worsen the older I get.

I find that the App is useful.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Friday Board Games - Outlive & Draconis Invasion

Continuing my week long adventure in board gaming I played another two games today, which for me is wonderful as I normally only ever get games at my club.

Link to BGG is HERE for those wanting more information.

First game of the day was Outlive and I was glad that there was a couple of YouTube videos to help me understand the game.  Watching it played sped up the setup and explanation of a new game to me.  The game mechanics were simple enough to master, the trick came in managing the resources needed maintain the rooms in your bunker and obtaining the pieces of equipment available.  The way in which you had to use your numbered meeples (they gave the action points allowed) was entertaining, the direction you could move and the fact you could not move onto a location with an existing meeple of your own... frustrating but fun.

I just managed to pull a victory on this game even though I only completed 2 of the 6 events - a 37 to 33 win.

Link to BGG is HERE for those wanting more information.

I've played this game before and it is a brutal and quick game once you have mastered the game mechanics of deck building.  The combination of terror cards being added to your deck, reducing the effectiveness of what you have to play with, and the fact that each terror card adds to a "clock" which resets after 6 but gives you a detrimental effect - though whether to you or your opponent is questionable.  Game ends when either a player kills six monsters of the event cards are exhausted.

This time neither of us managed to win against the terror!

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Massive Darkness - an OK dungeon crawl board game.

Link to BGG is HERE for those who want to know more about the game.

This week my old rebellious retainer appeared for some games (he said something about being on holidays).  He brought along with him Massive Darkness, and massive is an apt word for the game and its contents.

The game play is fairly standard for dungeon delving games.  What marked it as different was the player board - a hard plastic tray to show what your characters are equipped with and their experience points tracker.  I liked this purely for the fact that the options were all there for all to see, the experience tracker certainly beats having tokens by the dozen to spend when needed.

The dice are the game breakers in this game, you can never have more that 3 die regardless of how many extras may be generated by equipment cards.  Level 2 and 4 treasure cards were from what I could see the only ones where there were set collection equipment, level 2 had the Kings set (armour, weapon and item) where the level 4 had the Knights set (again I think it was armour, weapon and item or it may have been another piece of armour).  I obtained the Kings set and never really found another combination of items that changed my game play.  This was with my sorcerer who essentially acted as a warrior-mage, never used any magic!

The light and dark zone mechanic was an interesting concept with some abilities only working in either zone tile.

In a nutshell players would activate their characters in clockwise order.  This proved to be a pain, especially when you wanted a particular character to activate first to obtain an advantage in a certain situation.  Players could move, open doors, obtain chests, initiate combat and then spend experience. (Not in that order.)

What frustrated me until I started to see the mechanics of the game was that while you may finish a particular scenario with high level treasure items equipped, you had to have items that could be equipped at the level of the highest character in the group.  For example you may have worked your way through and obtained level 4 items, but the highest level character is 2 - when you start the next scenario you could not equip straight off the highest level items, you were restricted to level 2 only.  While during play you could hold as many items as possible, at the end and before the next game, you could only have the three pieces equipped on your player board plus up to 6.  We found that in our games we had to have and keep items of a lower level for when the circumstances required it.

The ability to use/equip items came from the board section that had activated.  Certainly racing to a board section to active your level 5 items might seem like a good idea, but it also means that the monsters activated are then level 5 and great roaming monsters than if you were still only on level 2 activation to start with.

All up the game had some game mechanics I liked and would incorporate into other home made rules, playing the scenarios as a story is by far the most rewarding way to play the game.  As this was the only way we played I couldn't comment on the other play mode.  What sold me on the game was the miniatures, I believe the set I was playing against was a Kickstarter set, so the monsters were plentiful.  The difficulty I had with the figures were that they literally could not fit onto the board sections when in play, especially if you had 8 of them!

If I were to get this game it honestly would only be for the miniatures.  The games replay-ability is limited in my opinion, there are cheaper dungeon crawl games out their.  The colour green and blue were poor choices when it came to printing on the cards, very hard to differentiate what colour was to be used.

Starting out, not even equipped yet with starting items.

The four adventures just manage to fit into a tile section
of the board, just don't add monsters!

Throw in some monsters and chests and the room tile becomes
very cluttered, and that's just one hero in there.

The EXIT, the most important place to get to to win the scenario.

Someone did not react well to the large monster, it was
I believe the largest game piece in the game

Fighting very large spider.

Another large monster.

Ajax the warrior-mage, he's supposed to me a mage but with the
equipment he was just better equipped to close combat.

Malleus the warrior-priest, favourite weapon a javelin.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Novel Update!

Writing has been fun, but slow and it's sadly going to get slower.  My lowly laptop is about to die, it's performance is fluctuating and as a penniless pensioner I've had to limit my time on the machine in the hope of getting it to last the distance.  I've been doing written notes and such, but I really hate reinventing the wheel - twice.

However with that aside my last recorded effort is 30, 460 words or 50 pages of A4.  My story plot has been developed, guidelines with an all too many deviation "set".  It's been fun to date, my index cards keep growing as I spend my time now creating my reference setting.  I'm finding that I need to update the cards as I write as there is nothing more infuriating than starting to write a section only to forget what it was you had written before and then searching (at this point of time) 50 pages.  Consistency is important, especially when you have a proof reader pointing out the anomalies you are creating.

Humid Queensland is the working title, though I'll probably change that when I'm finished.

Currently having a quiet drink with my ego, an appropriate drop "Angry Orchard", lovely bit of artwork on the bottle, so me.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 12th August Meet

A good day today, got in five excellent games with great people.  I got in a game of Epic Card Game, Stormweavers, Viticulture, Steampunk Rally and Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City.

The new game played with 7 players (can play to 8) and it's rare to find a game played where nearly all the regulars could get into the game.

Link to BGG HERE for details on the game.

Horus Heresy - the original from GW, wish I had a copy.

Players for Viticulture
Was really immersed in my games today and didn't get to check out or take photo's of other things happening.  There was 40K in play, Battle for Calth and Horus Heresy.

The next Blind Pig is September 2nd and will be an open day of fun and games with alcohol.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Blind Pig Games Club 29th July Meet

Was running late on the 29th, lost the internet with my provider on the 27th and was in conversation (read that as put on hold) about getting my service resumed.  My whole post code was affected.  However I made it to the club in time to open up just as the clubs owner arrived with the tables and terrain.

It was a good day at the club, around 20 people, possibly a few more turned up for games.  I got in six games on the day which I was very happy with. A game of Star Realms (which I just lost!), Awesome Kingdom: The Tower of Hateskull, Clank!, Nightfall and two games of Downsize.  I only managed one win on the day and that was at Downsize.  First time I had played Nightfall, interesting game mechanics, will play again now I know how it plays.

The next club meet is 12th August.

Till next time.

The Hon. John

40K in play, not sure edition I'm guessing 8th?

EPIC 40K in play, the Orks won...

40K in play, 8th Ed

Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth - good to see being played.

40K 8th Ed in play.  Good to see Michael C up and about.