Episode 8 - Working Together In Perfect Harmony

Episode 8 of the Broken Meeple Podcast is finally here!
In today's broadcast I will cover:
-several news items that have been brought to my attention in the last week.
-first impressions of Ricochet Robots and Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends
-my Top 5 (yes finally I'm back to doing Top 5's!) Co-Operative Games


Thank you for listening and spreading the love for board games.



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Portsmouth On Board - 27 November 2013 - Volcanos, Bouncing Robots and Storyboards

I think this session has the current record for how many different games and genres can be played in one night! And all with the same 3 fellow players to accompany me. Plenty of games being played across the group, but I was treated to some new ones for a change - it's been a couple of weeks of me providing the games so it's refreshing to try something new.

To kick things off, we start with a light cutthroat game called Downfall of Pompeii - I'd be wanting to try this for a while but it's been out of print for ages and has only just come back on the scene. This however was an Essen version I believe. . . . . yeah not jealous at all. . . . right I'm going to make sure I get to Essen next year.

"Small World - so pretty every time it's laid out"

Put simply you spend half the game placing people inside the city with the use of cards and then on the second half you try to evacuate them out while moving the lava in such a way that it "Om Nom Noms" everyone else. Yes that was exactly what was going through my head as I took great glee at consuming the other city dwellers in flames. As you can tell this is a cruel take-that game, but it's good fun. It's not complicated to teach or play and it's a cheap laugh. Granted the most fun is done when the lava gets going, but it's worth the build up and it plays very closely too. And during the build up phase you get to occasionally sacrifice other player pieces to the volcano god by literally chucking them into a plastic volcano piece that stands over the city - that's just frigg'in cool! I won, but only by one piece and we all finished quite close together.

"Downfall of Pompeii - Yellow is looking so yummy for the lava right now"

That game didn't take long though and across the other tables we could still see Small World and Spyrium in progress so we kept the theme light and as part of welcoming a new member to the club we moved on to their copy of Dixit and proceeded to enjoy everyone's attempts at clue giving. I swear it was the quickest game of Dixit I've ever played, but that's one of the qualities of Dixit - see my review for more details (Dixit Odyssey). Apparently we are all uneducated though because we didn't understand a reference that was used by one player with regards to some obscure poet. . . . . I'm so going to get flak for this I bet! . . . ah well we got two points and she didn't so HA! But that same person pipped me by two points and won the game in the end so joke's on me I guess. 

"Dixit - this was one of my clues that fell flat"

At this point the other two games were still going on. . . . blimey I know for a fact that Small World and Spyrium can take shorter time than that so not sure what was happening there. We kept things light and opted for a light filler game so I jumped straight in keen to teach them Kakerlaken Poker. See my review (Kakerlaken Poker) for more details on how this plays, but there was certainly a lot of bluffs being called in this game. 

"Yeah I forgot to take a photo of the game in question - it happens!"

Finally one group had migrated from their first game on to City of Horrors, but Spyrium was still going on. Continuing the endless run of games I was introduced to Ricochet Robots. Now if you saw my first Portsmouth On Board post (POB 13.11.2013) you would have seen a photo for this already. It was praised highly by the owners and so I was intrigued to try something to test the brain cells a bit more without being a heavy Euro game. 

"City of Horror"

It's like a simple puzzle game with competition against the other players. You have 4 coloured robots on a grid board with little "walls" dotted around and symbols showing where you have to aim a robot to in a turn. The catch is however that robots can only move in straight lines but ricochet (get it now?) off the walls and other robots. Once the new destination is revealed you have to think fast against the other players to see if you can take the robot to that square in as few moves as possible. It's so simple to teach, but boy does it do a number on your brain cells in a good way. It's a great test of your spatial awareness and is an example of a game that schools should be using as a teaching tool. A landslide victory . . . . not boasting, it just was! I'm sure I'll get completely owned on my next play, which I look forward to. 

"Ricochet Robots - robots bouncing all over the place, a great brain teaser game"

Puff puff. . . . four games in one night and only one of those was a filler game by definition. Great mix of games and two new ones to give first impressions on in my podcast in the future. 

"Spyrium - boy this went on for a while, what was happening there?"

Games Played

Downfall of Pompeii
City of Horrors
Spyrium
Small World
Kakerlaken Poker
Dixit
Ricochet Robots

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Supply and Demand in the Industrial Age - Spyrium Review

I don't expect most games below the £22-£25 mark to have a great deal of depth in the game, but there are exceptions to this rule and these always get a look in. This game was also fairly well hyped by gamers, but when it came out I don't remember seeing it being played much. I had to find out what was going on as the game intrigued me when I learnt of it's unique mechanics and it's low price tag. 


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Heavy Euro and Fantasy in the Same Sentence? Blasphemy! - Terra Mystica Review

When I first caught wind of a game described as a heavy Euro with a fantasy theme, believe me was I sceptical! If there's anything I know from Euro games in the past, theme is usually a light affair at best, particularly with heavy ones. And for that theme to be a fantasy one is practically unheard of. However despite this I have yearned for a strategic Euro to incorporate a theme that I can get into easily. I like sci-fi and fantasy genres in movies and games alike, but usually I'm restricted to playing Ameritrash, RPG's and Miniature games to scratch that itch. My favourite Euro's will usually consist of a unique theme or mechanic that sets it aside from the rest, such as Agricola with farming or Kingsburg with "dice workers". 

So does Terra Mystica scratch my fantasy itch while still remaining a solid Euro game? Read on!



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Southampton On Board - 18 November 2013 - Gemstones, Trains and Broken Meeples

Well after getting good feedback from posting up the weekly gaming reports, I'm glad to be continuing the trend with last night's Southampton On Board session. Due to upcoming reviews I was keen to get some particular games to the table in preparation, that of Spyrium and Ticket To Ride: Europe. Fortunately my wish was granted despite the other quality games available. Quite a good turnout as well with 3 full games going on at once.

"Spyrium"

Spyrium was the first game to be played, and despite how much I like it, it's tricky to sell the game to others. Essentially you are an entrepreneur in the Industrial Age as a new resource "Spyrium" has been discovered. You have to acquire victory points by forming patents, constructing new buildings, utilising the experts available and claiming rent. The unique mechanic is that everything takes place within a "market" of 9 cards that show the experts, buildings and patents. You place your Meeples between the cards in the market and then remove them to activate or construct the card you want. However the position of everyone else's Meeples can bump up the cost of doing so due to high demand within the market. As each Meeple leaves the market, things get cheaper, but you risk losing the card to someone else if you leave it too long.

It's a great mechanic and bear in mind this game costs around £20-£22 to obtain and for something that's produced by Asmodee who are pretty good with quality, that's a bargain for a game with such depth, yet few components. Well I say few, it's hardly sparse with the cool looking green gems, fantastic artwork cards and the clear and concise board. That is just a light spoiler of the game, I'll be reviewing it properly later in November. Four of us were playing and each of us had a completely different strategy from mining excess Spyrium to hoarding money to working the factories. The first time I'd played the game I won by focusing on mining so I went for the complete opposite approach and sought to ignore Spyrium and monopolise the rental and market and construct as many buildings as possible. Another victory in the bag, but even though this is only my second game - I'm really liking this so far. 

I mentioned quality components - well. . . . normally they are spot on, but for the first time I've encountered one minor issue. . . . and it's a Broken Meeple! For the first time ever I've seen one up close - maybe it's a sign or an omen stating that my blog shall go on?

"My Broken Meeple blog now has a devoted follower - I shall instruct all my readers to now follow in his shining example (hacksaws not provided)"

Across the other tables were other popular games of recent months including Guildhall, which is a light card game I've been wanting to play for a while, but needs must unfortunately, and Terra Mystica. Now believe me I like Terra Mystica, but I'm not a fan boy and Z-Man Games are not paying me to publicise it. It's pure coincidence that in the weeks that I'm playing/reviewing the game (expect the review on Wednesday) that suddenly it's appearing at every games session for the last fortnight. Right, disclaimer out of the way.

"I swear I'm innocent!"

To round off the night we needed something light to get over the strategic influence of Spyrium and so without any hesitation I pulled out a Ticket to Ride game, the classic light gateway game and so far the only train game I actually enjoy. But then most other train games I've been introduced to have been 18xx or similar Euro games copying the style so that's maybe that's the reason. I hate the British train system, but I don't mind trains in general so please someone find me another train game to enjoy if you can. . . . maybe that deck-building game by AEG?

In particular I opted for the Europe map - not simply because I'm reviewing it soon, but also because it's the best one for new players as due to the train station mechanic it's not quite as cut-throat as some of the others. Set up took a while as I'd forgotten the setup rules (always a pain when you first play a game in your collection), but thankfully it's only a one-off. Only just got everything on the table, I'd forgotten just how darn big the board was. But isn't it just a beautiful board?

"Yeah, none of those plastic trains, I got me some quality wooden pieces to pimp my game up!"

My first impressions is that I enjoy this map - it's designed very well, but competition seemed to be on the lower side with regards to tracks. I think that was probably just luck of the tickets, but Europe is definitely a map I'd recommend for 4-5 players. I've got India and Switzerland for small groups which are far more contested. However Europe makes for a nice friendly introduction game and the tunnel rules allow for some randomness . . . . much to Jacob's annoyance as apparently health and safety measures are low on his list of priorities when it comes to digging tunnels, being crushed several times in one game.

A very close finish for the top two players despite using different ideas, but unfortunately I fell just short as I was having difficulty obtaining the right train cards to do my long ticket. Next time I'll try a different approach.

"Lancaster"

We barely finished both games on time to pack up the last game and get out of town, but it's good to get a full night of gaming in the time. Looking forward to next week! And maybe I'll go back to the camera - we had extra lighting this week so I gave the Ipad another go!

"Revolution"

Games Played

Spyrium
Ticket To Ride: Europe with 1912
Lancaster
Guildhall
Terra Mystica
Revolution

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Episode 7 - Is Board Gaming Cost-Effective?

In today's episode:
- a news update regarding several expansions on the horizon in early 2014
- first impressions on the quick filler game with a bold approach (Eight Minute Empire)
- a discussion on whether board gaming is a cost-effective hobby



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Portsmouth On Board - 13 November 2013 - The Shire, Endless Sci Fi's and Cube Empires

Well we kicked off with Southampton in my last post, (SOB 11.11.2013) now we are starting off the Portsmouth On Board page! As you may know I attend two groups regularly each month. Southampton is held every Monday, but Portsmouth is held every two weeks on Wednesday at The British Legion near Fratton Station. Portsmouth however has a great deal more members and as such the diversity of games involved is wide. If you wish to find out more about the group, visit us on Meetup.com (Portsmouth On Board)

"Concordia - and yes I'm using my digital camera this time!"


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Where The Laws of Reason & Logic No Longer Apply - Dixit Odyssey Review

Most party games these days seem to be re-hashes of word describing games, charades, quizzes, etc and don't get me wrong I enjoy those to an extent, but I'd like to see a bigger variety out there. Dixit however is something new (at least in my experience). Rather than requiring acting skills or English language skills, you're stuck in a situation where you have to strain the the creative thinking side of your brain to describe images but not so that everyone can get it. . . . confused? Let me explain.

"I do question why they went with this cover art - it seems really random. . . . though maybe that was it!"


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Southampton On Board - 11 November 2013 - Cavemen, Terraforming & Billboards

Well finally, I've gotten around to it! As you may have read on my About Me page I attend two gaming groups on a regular basis where I get to play the majority of my games. I've been recently uploading photos of the games in question to my Google+ account, but I wanted to report on them fully on this blog (and as such, take the pictures with a proper camera as opposed to my Ipad Mini)



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Episode 6 - Forces Beyond Your Control



HELLO!

I'm back! Sorry for the quiet period, but Arkham Horror Month really required my full devotion and I was away for a week in the later part of October. But now normal service has resumed and we get started with first impressions on Shadows over Camelot and Galaxy Trucker.



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