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.

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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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