Thursday 11 December 2008

Wednesday: Games Night - Labyrinth

Mike and Del came over last night, this will be our last session before Christmas.

Del picked up a game called Labyrinth (by Ravensburger) in a local charity shop for the princely sum of £3.


We played it twice last night and both Mike and myself are now in the market for a copy! It appears that it is still available although it has been somewhat upgraded from the version Del got hold of!

Ok so why is it so great?

Basically it is a square board which is covered in smaller square tiles, each featuring various corridor sections that make up the labyrinth (corners, straights and T junctions).

Each player is dealt several cards with items on them and looks at the top one, then they have to try to get their counter onto the corridor section that features the item. Sounds simple...


But, each turn the active player has to push one row of tiles one square along (this frees up the first tile which is pushed off of the edge of the board for the next player to use on his turn). Consequently the labyrinth is constantly changing! That is pretty much the total extent of the rules!

Each game lasted around 30 minutes, although could have been quicker as we tend to chat a lot. For a game that looks like it is aimed squarely at kids, it is extremely good fun and addictive.

There is a slight variation, if you are playing the game with kids, they can look at all there cards, whereas adults can only look at their top card. This seems like a great way to level the game out and it will be interesting to see how it works in practice.

A very successful game, reminiscent of The Haunting House, although from our general consensus actually better!

(Note: Photos courtesy of

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Thursday 4 December 2008

Games Night

Wednesday games night was last night and we finally got around to trying out Monsterpocalype from Privateer Press.


Monsterpocalypse is a two player game and each player assumes the role of a city destroying monster (aka Godzilla or Cloverfield) and his smaller "support units". The idea is to fight the otherplayers monster and and is kind of a WWE meets Godzilla thing!

We only used the basic combat rules, without expanding in to all the powers that the monsters and units have so it was pretty much of a simple slugfest. However it gave us a good introduction into the basic rule mechanics and we are ready now to move on to a fully powered-up session next time.


The basic game mechanic of using dice pools to activate various effects is nicely enhanced with the system of moving used dice from the unit activation dice pool to the monster's dice pool and vice versa! This adds an element of resource management into the game which is a nice addition to a simple fighting monsters game!

Until we have had a chance to use the full game with all of the special abilities it is difficult for me to give a complete review here, but I can say that we were all fairly pleased with the basic game mechanics and are looking forward to the next session.

The figures and game components are also worth mentioning! The figures themselves are pre-painted plastic and generally are of a high standard. The different factions are clearly identifiable whether they be "not-Godzilla", "not-cthulhu", "not-ultraman" or any of the other factions. The are well sculpted and reasonably well painted.


The games is played out on a paper terrain map showing the streets and obstacles of a large city block. The paper is a little thin and also the folds cause it to not lie very flat, which is somewhat annoying, but not a serious problem. If this game becomes a regular with our group I will be tempted to stick the play-mat to a board to make it a little more resilient.


Along with the monster and unit figures, the games also comes with a selection of buildings that the monsters can use as cover, and more importantly can destroy! These models are nicely produced and look great on the table during play. Even if we do not continue with Monsterpocalypse for very long, I can certainly see the building being used for micro-armour/6mm wargames in future sessions.

image image

Monsterpocalypse is certainly not a cheap game to get into, with starter sets running to £16 and boosters at £9.99, but if a group of you all buy into it and switch around the pieces with each other to create decent factions, each player does not need to spend a fortune to get up and running.

I will post a further review once we have had another chance to play, and once we have tried the full rules.

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Tuesday 2 December 2008

Toy Soldiers: The ethics of "War Toys"!

I have just read a very well written piece by the Dane of War over on his blog:-
Where have all the army men gone: Read it Here
It basically bemoans the modern lack of toy soldiers in Denmark (Dane of War's home) and the modern "PC" attitude towards war toys and games.

Personally, as a wargamer, and someone who (like Dane) grew up in the 70's playing with Airfix toy soldiers, I have spent a fair time thinking this subject through. Now, being a father of two boys, the oldest of which is 4 1/2 and starting to reach an age where toy soldiers may have some appeal, I have to decide where to go!
My wife and I have been extremely reluctant to allow the boys to have toy guns (my eldest son has a Buzz Lightyear ray gun, but that is as close as we will go). So how is that different to toy soldiers?
Also, being a Buddhist, I have had to think hard about the ethics of playing wargames myself.
I suppose my general conclusion is, that most wargamers do not promote war or aggression in any way, they generally know a lot more about the hardships and horrors of war than the average person would (although clearly not as much as anyone who has actually fought ). Also they tend to honour and respect those that have fought for their countries.
I tend to think that wargames are always going to have some controversy around them when it comes to moral issues. Even down to things like what kind of casualty markers are used on the wargames table. Certainly some are valid, and I suppose I am not totally convinced that my position is the right one. However, at the moment I am happy to promote wargames to my sons and have taken my eldest to several Wargames show (although he has not shown any particular interest in that direction yet).
I think the best thing is to admit that this subject needs continuous review and that I will always be looking at the subject and thinking it through. I tend to lean towards science fiction and fantasy games most of the time, which are clearly removed from reality and so I suppose I am avoiding the true horrors of war most of the time anyway.
A difficult subject that is never going to be truly resolved. Dane of War makes some good points, and it is well worth a read.
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Friday 28 November 2008

RPG PDFs: An Indulgence!

Thanks to a post over on the Evil DM's blog, I have just spent a hour fighting my way through the RPG Now website and spent around $70 on PDF downloads!

But it was all worth it in the end!

Basically, Adamant Entertainment, an RPG publisher is having a sale over the next three or four days and selling all it's PDF products for $1 each.

THRILLING TALES: Omnibus Edition

They produce the Thrilling Tales Pulp rules for the d20 system* as well as various other games and accessories.

Anyway, I couldn't resist. I already had 3 or 4 of the Thrilling Tales books, just to see what they were like, but now I have the whole lot!

I also picked up the Sword and Planet rules called Mars , and it's two supplements.


Finally, while looking through Adamants listings I saw that they also do a series of PDF books for a steampunk RPG system called The Imperial Age. I couldn't resist them either!


I have to say, I have used RPG Now before and it has worked perfectly well. However, today as I was filling up the shopping basket (remember, we are talking approximately 70 items) the shopping basket reset itself several times and I had to start over!

That would not be to much of a problem if you could add multiple items at once, but no I had to re-add each item individually aarrgh!!!

Anyway in the end I got around it by placing several smaller orders, instead of one big one!

*Anyone who knows me will know I have a strong dislike for the d20 system. However both Thrilling Tales and The Imperial Age offer so much potential source material that could be used for both pulp/steampunk table wargaming or alternative RPG rules, I felt I could not miss them.

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Thursday 20 November 2008

Games Night

Last night we had a couple of games of Reiner Knizia's King's Gate.


I picked it up a couple of weeks ago a TARGE, a wargames show I was at, my purchase being mainly based on the fact that it looked like a quick and easy game and generally I like any game that Knizia has designed.

King's Gate is a tile laying game, where players attempt to gain control of different locations in an Medieval city.

The game play is fairly simple and as a four player game it was good fun. I have seen reports on Board Game Geek saying that the 2 player rules are a bit disappointing (each player basically takes the parts of two players each). However as a four player game we really enjoyed it!

Once you are familiar with the rules and the card symbols the game plays very easily and there was a minimum amount of check back with the rule book.


Images courtesy of Board Game Geek!

There is a problem with the artwork on the game! Once a lot of the tiles have been played the the confusing artwork makes it quite difficult to see all the detail. It would have been better if the buildings around the edge of each card had been faded or bleached out a little, to make the main features of the cards more prominent.

However as each round of the game focuses on one small area of the city, it is not too much of a hindrance to play!

So overall, a worthwhile purchase, even if the card art is a little annoying!

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Tuesday 11 November 2008

Armistice Day 90th Anniverary

Not a lot to say really...

Lest we forget


Please support the Poppy Appeal!


Monday 3 November 2008

Toy Soldiers: Targe 2008 Wargames Show

My second wargames show in a fortnight (and for the year as it happens), was TARGE at Kirriemuir (just north of Dundee) this weekend.
The show seemed busy (I was only there for an hour as we went shopping in Dundee afterwards), and the display/participation tables all looked great.
I wasn't looking for any figures in particular, although I nearly bought a pack of the new "hard plastic" Celts from Dave Thomas's stall.
I did end up buying a new board game Reiner Knizia's King's Gate.
Image via Wikipedia
Reiner Knizia and Bernd Brunnhofer at the Deut...
It is a tile laying game and looks like it should play quite quickly. I must admit, as soon as I see Knizia's name on the box I am usually happy to buy any game. It is usually a guarantee of a fun evening.
Anyway, as with Skelp a couple of weeks ago, I took several photos and here are the best of them!
PICT0008 PICT0009
The nice chap on this table actually gave my son a set of coloured pencils, some pictures of Knights to colour in and a bag of sweets. What a great way to make the day memorable (for a 4 year old who was generally bored by the whole thing)!
I am not quite sure what this one was about but the players seemed to be having fun! RAFWA (Leuchars) Toy Story:-
East Kilbride Wargames Club's Wings Of War game! (I really must get my WoW stuff out and have another game).
Anyway, I am not too sure of the rest, but here are the photos!
My son liked the burning houses on this one!

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Thursday 30 October 2008

Pre-Halloween Games Night

Mike and Del came over last night for our (nominally) regular weekly games night.

None us us are particularly interested in celebrating Halloween, we all come from the generation before the UK was hit by the commercialism that is the American style Halloween.

Still as it is Halloween this week and we have several horror themed games it only seemed right that we play one!

Del brought along All Wound Up, a wind up zombie game and I dug out my copy Munchkin Bites! (although we didn't get around to playing it).


All Wound Up has each player taking a wind up zombie and then through the use of cards to control the play, try to get around the board (a grave yard) and get to the cemetery gates!


What tend to happen is that each player soon discovers that his zombie tends to veer off in one direction or another and this can cause some tricky problems. There are also cards that allow a player to alter the direction of the other players zombies, causing them to go off the board, or fall into an open grave!

It is a fun simple game and great for Halloween. There is nothing to gory or scary about it so i would also suggest that it is a fun game for the kids!

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Thursday 16 October 2008

Games Night

Last night was games night and we played a couple of games, first off was our first play of New World, the latest Carcassonne incarnation.


Between us we have all the previous editions and it is always interesting to see how the new versions vary and how they stand up against previous ones!

Well I am glad to say that we all felt that this was one of the more successful editions. Rating up there with our other favourites, Hunters and Gatherers and Carcassonne: The City.

The game does have some new twists, with tile laying generally moving in one direction across  table, rather than being totally at the players discretion. The new mechanics all seem to work well and drive the making it possibly more competitive that previous games, good fun and well worth a try.


Secondly I got out my copy of Mensa Connections (also know as Ingenius). This is an excellent, abstract dominos style game and was great fun without too much brain hurting going on!

Saturday 11 October 2008

Toy Soldiers: Skelp 2008 Wargames Show

I paid a visit to the annual Skelp wagames show in Forfar today and I must say, even though I was dragging my 4 year old around who was continually getting bored and wanting to move to the next table, I had a really good time.
I bought three rule books, Tooth and Claw a dinosaur hunting skirmish game, and then two Rattrap rule-books, Thrilling Expeditions: Valley of the Thunder Lizard and Broadsword Adventures.
I was also tempted and gave and a starter set of the new Monsterpocalypse from Privateer Press. It just looks so much fun, and I am hoping that I will be able to start teaching No.1 son a stripped down version of the game in a few months, once I have got my head around it!
Anyway here are a few photos I took today:-
15mm Berlin City Fight Game

Halo Game
10mm WW2 Game
WW2 game
Colonial Game
Colonial Game
Colonial Game
RC Panzer running around outside the show!
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