Sunday 11 October 2009

Model Making: Reddiprene38: Modelling Material Review

I have just written a review of Reddiprene38 modelmaking material for the SFSFW blog, you can read it here:-

Thursday 9 April 2009

Games Night: Formula Motor Racing

Jeff brought along a new game to our games night last night called Formula Motor Racing. This is another games designed by Reiner Knizia so we were fairly sure it would be a winner, and trying not to get to corny it moved straight through the field into pole position.


Each game plays in around 20-30 minutes and is good fun in itself but, mirroring the actual Grand Prix season, players tally their scores over a series of games to see who can win the season.

Simply put, the mechanic of the game is down to playing cards that either advance cars through the race order, move them back, or possibly knock them out of the race completely. The cards are colour coded with a colour for each player and also black, which can be used on any players cars. As cards are randomly drawn players do not get the cards specifically for their own colour, so you  often have to play tactically to improve your position in the field. The first 6 cars at the end of the game score, and the order that they finish in is the order that the they start the next race in.

Once the series of games is under way it soon becomes apparent that the game is as much about pushing other players down the ranking as it is about getting your cars up it. As soon as one player starts to take a lead over several games all the other players start actively forcing him out of the scoring.

This is an extremely simple game to learn to play, but it is incredibly addictive. I imagine we will be playing this regularly as a secondary game to other games that may finish early.

Well worth looking out for.


Photos from

Thursday 19 March 2009

Game Night: The New World, A Carcassonne Game

We played this version of Carcassonne once in October last year (and got a couple of the rules slightly wrong). We decided to give it another spin as Carcassonne is always a fun game in any of it’s versions.


New World: A Carcassonne Game is one of the latest incarnations of Carcassonne. All of the games in this family have the same basic tile laying mechanic, where you slowly build up the landscape and score points by claiming cities, roads and other features in either short term points grabs or long term planned strategies. Each new variation has had a slightly different mechanic, making  them all interesting to play and re-playable in fairly regular rotation.

New World has taken many of the different elements from the other games and brought them together. It still has the basic town and road construction and claiming, but it also add the meadow/animal mechanic from Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers.

New World does change somewhat from the other games in that instead of starting from a single tile in the middle of the table and spreading out from there, it starts from a board that presents the East coast of America, tiles are then laid down to represent the expansion of the settlers as the spread west. Also, to facilitate the advance westward to meeples have been included that represent “surveyors”, these are slowly advanced westward as each player scores points and any of the players meeples that fall behind the surveyors are removed from the board. This certainly changes the dynamic of the game and adds a nice twist to the now familiar formula with Carcassonne.


We did find a few rules that are not explained as well as they could be, but after checking and a experimenting with a little game-play we got over these. Our feeling is that this is probably down to the translation from the original German rules.

We managed to get two games in over the course of the evening, and this is after a fairly late start (around 8.15pm), so clearly once game play becomes more familiar this is going to be quite a quick and fun game.

Between the members of our gaming group we have almost all of the versions of Carcassonne, and this is a welcome addition. Personally I have Hunters and Gatherers and would like to acquire Carcassonne: The City at some point. New World will also now be added to my wish list.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Games Night: Tannhauser


Tannhauser, from Fantasy Flight Games, is a an alternative World War II (Weird War II) board game that pits an American elite team against a supernatural band of Nazis (including demonically possessed fighters and zombie troopers amongst others).

Jeff bought Tannhauser when it was first released in 2007. We played it once or twice and were generally very disappointed. Firstly the artwork, although generally gorgeous, was very dark and made the various routes through the board very difficult to work out and it became a real eye strain in less than perfect light! After we got over that there was the game play, which seemed less than fantastic. We played a straight scenario with each team out to destroy the other team, and I think that this may well have been the main problem!

Last night Jeff brought Tannhauser over again, so that we could give it one last try before he consigned it to Ebay! This time we used a scenario where each team was out to retrieve 2 (or possibly 3) objectives. You score victory points for taking out opposing forces and also for collecting the objectives. The game ends when one of the teams gets it’s second primary objective, and then the victory points are totalled up.


Using the scenario made a huge difference to the enjoyment of the game. Taking the primary focus away from killing enemy forces and on to protecting your main figures while they retrieve the objectives made the game far more fun and left us all feeling that we wanted to play it again, probably in the near future.

So, the evenings discussions slowly evolved from how much should it be listed on Ebay for, around to what new expansion packs have been released for the game and would picking up the new Russian troops be worthwhile. All in all a successful evenings gaming!

The game itself is not perfect and certainly needs some commitment from the player to get to grips with the system. Grenades for example seem very weak and difficult to use.

However, we decided to try it again in the near future and re all looking forward to playing it!

Thursday 12 February 2009

Games Night: Battle for the Galaxy Zylatron

Our weekly games night was called off last night due to more snow, so I am finally getting around to documenting our last session, which I had forgotten to post about!

I picked up what looked like an interesting board game from Ebay some time ago and this has been the first chance we have actually had to try it. Battle For The Galaxy: Zylatron, is basically a space combat and conquest game, it is quite abstract and the “galaxy” in question only consists of 5 planets and 4 moons!


Photo from

The basic game-play consists of taking control of the central planet and then attempting to capture your opponents planets. The object of the game, is to eliminate your opponents and totally dominate the galaxy.

I must admit we had several problems with this game. When opponents destroy your ships and troopers, the replacement cost seems excessively high compare to the ability to earn cash in the game. We found that due to the fairly easy destruction of resources and the high cost of replacement we spent far to much time simply trying to rebuild our fleets and over the evening we made virtually no progress towards the ultimate objective of dominating the galaxy.

The game itself seems to have real possibilities, and we have determined that with a reduction in the costs of replacement ships it could work very well. I think we will probably give it another go, with revised ship costs and see if it improves the overall game-play!

Overall the quality of the board and playing pieces is quite nice, especially considering that this is a fairly old game! The only real problem with this is the hex/triangular pattern on the board, which can be confusing and was not the easiest system to navigate by!

I will report back when we have had another chance to play and hopefully I will be able to say we have successfully improved the game!

Thursday 15 January 2009

Games Night: Monsterpocalypse

Last week and then again last night we played full games of Monsterpocalype, using the monsters to their full potential.

Wow what a difference it made. In my previous post I mentioned that we only used the basic combat rules, and not the special attacks. This was as a way of picking up the rules and certainly was enjoyable, if a little limited. The full rules make huge difference to the game play, making it far easier to wound monsters as well as upping the "fun factor" significantly!


Jeff, Mike and Del!

Mike and Del managed to finish their game with the Terrasaurs defeating the Martian Menace. Jeff and myself had a bit of slugging match between my G.U.A.R.D. and his Terrasaurs and had to call a draw when we finished up. He had reduced both forms of my monster by about half their points and I had killed his Alpha form!

It is interesting, now that we are getting the hang of the game, to see how the different factions interact, and indeed how the different units work with and against each other.

So far Mike has not bought into the game, but we think we have persuaded him now, and if the local shops can actually get more stock in (it is in terribly short supply in the UK) he has indicated that he will buy some!

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