YouTube Review - IKEA EXPEDIT Bookcase Unit

Mentioned on the Dice Tower podcast and among Twitter chats galore, this special bookcase unit from IKEA has proved very popular among gamers. Its popularity and its looks were what spurred me to purchase and assemble this product and I wasn't disappointed. 

In this video I give an in-depth overview the unit and how it holds games in generals as well as some hints and tips for when you come to constructing the thing. At the end, keep watching for a glimpse into what's coming in February CO-OP month!

01:16 - What Do I Think Of The Unit
11:00 - Construction Hints & Tips
21:57 - Final Overview & Future Glimpses





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Portsmouth On Board - 22 January 2014 - Explorers, Freaky Weather and Paradoxes

And the members keep on coming! Ever since we started up on Meetup.com new members have been turning up every session. I lost count of how many there were this time, but at least 20-25 again there must have been. Can't complain though, it's great to see more members and especially those who are new to the hobby and willing to delve into something new and different. 

"Expedition: Famous Explorers"
 
So many games to photograph, so little time it seemed tonight! I've now come to the conclusion that I will likely only be photographing the main games that are played and ignoring fillers at this rate as it's a massive overload of photos each time, especially when trying to remember the names of them all! 

"Concordia"
 
But onto the first game of the night for me. Cast your minds back to the 80's when Ravensburger was publishing a lot of games. Does Expedition or Wildlife Adventure ring a bell? No? Shame, as the latter is still in my family's collection and it gets played so often at home, being a simple cut-throat game of laying down routes on a map to score the cards in your hand while diverting the expeditions away from the other players. Works well, easy to teach and good family fun. Well imagine my joy when I saw on the Dice Tower that 8th Summit had published a re-theme of this game using explorers and landmarks instead of endangered animals with some additional advanced rules to keep it in check with modern style games. 

"Agricola"
 
Expedition: Famous Explorers is born and with four of us in tow I tried it out for the first time tonight. As before you have three expeditions that you lay out trying to reach your cards and score them, but you can do more funky things with the placements and the secret locations and explorer/event cards add a nice twist to the game. On top of that, we kept laughing at each other's predicaments and the score was literally two points apart from first to last . . . . .sadly I was last. Ah well it's nice to not win my first play of a new game for a change (engaging Ego circuits. . . . Ego circuits engaged!)

 "Smash Up"

Around the club, so many other games were going on. To my surprise someone brought Agricola and managed to get a 5+ player game of that going - nice to see that back in action, it's still a fun Euro for me, but I fear it's been overshadowed by Caverna now. Elsewhere my buddy Jim was teaching the new members a really intriguing card game he's acquired called Chrononauts. I don't know much about the gameplay yet, but essentially you get to mess around with established time-lines in history causing paradoxes, generally resulting in laughs galore. And I have to admit, it did look hilarious from observation to have World War 3 in motion at one end, a cure for cancer with the aid of chocolate cake at another and the Titantic avoiding the iceberg at another. I'm going to try this on Friday and am looking forward to it.

 "Chrononauts"

With Expeditions completed with generally good praise for the game (review to come another day after Co-Op month is over I suspect after I've had more plays of it) we needed something more meaty. Luckily for me this was answered by a chance to play Robinson Crusoe, the highly regarded "Euro style" Co-op game. Finally! It's been on my playlist for a long time.

"Pandemic"

One word of warning, to keep the game thematic they use the old fashioned style calligraphy font on the player boards and on some parts of the main board game. This works in a thematic sense, but boy did I have to squint to decipher the words! After a long rules explanation we got stuck in and it didn't take long for me to realise just how much this game likes to slap you in the face, no actually, punch you in the stomach every turn. There's never enough of anything you need and the weather constantly destroys your supplies each turn. What's weird though is that you look at the island tile and it's like a tropical paradise with lush fields and palm tress and Caribbean style beaches, yet somehow we're constantly being bombarded by intense storms and even snow! When was the last time you saw snow on a palm tree?

"Robinson Crusoe"

It reached a point though where you just knew you were going to lose. In some Co-Op's you feel you can bounce back and survive no matter what's going on. Ghost Stories is the best example of that. I've come back from such adversity in that game and triumphed - in fact I did so last week in a solo game where I was over-run by 11-12 ghosts for several turns, but got that last shot I needed right at the end. With this game, half way through I just knew that we were boned and you just have to delay the inevitable.

"Battlestar Galactica"

It does look like it has a lot of variety though in the different scenarios it has and as a solo game, it could be pretty entertaining, but I never felt like I was the cook helping out the group as I barely ended up doing any cooking, as you never had any food to do it with! I did however get to take on a gorilla and goats (bizarre) in hand to hand combat and I had their heads as trophies on sticks right up to the point where our entire team froze to death on the same night!

It is very Euro in it's style so food comes in cubes, etc. Still a good laugh though and I was glad to have finally tested out this game, but for it's price tag I can't see myself acquiring it just for a solo game (though saying that Marvel Legendary cost me a pretty penny but then I love superheroes!) - in a co-op I fear the Alpha Gamer issue would simply arise.

"Kakerlaken Poker"

That ended my streak of games for the night, but elsewhere a few interesting fillers had broken out but the highlight which I wish I hadn't missed out on was Shadow Hunters, which in my mind is the game that The Resistance wishes it could be. I've burned out on The Resistance and rarely enjoy that game, but Shadow Hunters spices it up with some great variety, less chaos and the ability to beat down on everyone!

"Shadow Hunters"

To wrap up the night, I found myself discussing superhero games with other co-organizers - always a fun topic for me. The classic trio being Sentinels of the Multiverse (a game I'm tempted to purchase), Legendary (which I own) and DC Deck Builder (which I refuse to play based on it's major detractions from theme).

A good session as always - looking forward to the next one!

Games Played

Android: Netrunner
Expedition: Famous Explorers
The Agents
Chrononauts
Pandemic
Robinson Crusoe
Modern Art
Shadow Hunters
Battlestar Galactica
Agricola
Kakerlaken Poker
Concordia
AND MANY MORE!




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Even More Aliens With Freaky Special Powers! - Cosmic Encounter Expansions Video Review

Before the YouTube channel starts exploding with Co-Op related videos I want to give you all something to watch for January. So it's about time I caught up with one or two planned reviews in my pile and now we're going with all four expansions to Cosmic Encounter, a really great sci-fi negotiation which I've already reviewed on this blog.
 
Firstly before you watch the video I want to apologise for the video quality. I was reasonably happy with my introduction video, but I know that improvements can be made. I then tried some various changes (zoomed in further, reduced resolution to 720P for storage space, recorded in the evening, etc) and basically all of them didn't work!
 
It's a learning process for me so I know not to make those errors again and after getting some advice from other users on YouTube who record their own videos I feel confident that future review videos are going to be a lot better!
 

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Unboxing Review - Expedition: Famous Explorers

Let's kick-start the Un-Boxing section of the channel with a recent game that I've acquired out of near desperation. The predecessor of this game "Wildlife Adventure" is a game I still play from time to time with my family back in Somerset and it's been around since my childhood, thus clocking many games in. 

Well here is the re-theme of the same game, replacing endangered animals with famous landmarks and explorers. It all sounds great so let's dive in and see what you get!





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The Broken Meeple Is Now On YouTube!


I finally plucked up the courage to get myself up on YouTube!


This is an introduction video detailing who I am, what kind of games I like/dislike, what board game groups I attend and what the future of the blog and this channel are. If you are new to this website you may wish to view this first before continuing.



I hope you enjoy and I look forward to populating this channel with many more videos soon!




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Equal and Opposite? I'm Not So Sure! - Tension Review

I like to hope that I'm not just reviewing staple games on this blog. I love games made for gamers, but I give respect to lightweight family games that most would overlook if they saw them in a store. They provide entertainment just as much as other games so they're usually worth a look - long as they aren't pub quiz games. . . . . . grrrrr, listen to my podcast, you'll see why! So here's one example from Xmas 2013.

"Everybody loves a Top 10 list"

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Southampton On Board - 14 January 2014 - Blackmail, Cockroaches and Firefighters

Right, first of all I'm going to apologise for yet again, forgetting to bring my proper camera to the meetup. As such I'm forced to make do with my Ipad which as most people will be aware does not take very good photos indoors in the evening!

A good portion of the night was spent reminiscing as opposed to board gaming as most of us had not seen each other since prior to Xmas, but eventually duty calls and some board games were dished out. I was tempted to give Merchants and Marauders a try as it looked like a complex pirate Euro game, but as I was due to appear on the Dice Tower Showdown podcast yet again that same night I figured that melting my brain with a heavy Euro would not be the best plan. I therefore decided to go with Revolution, my only worry being that it was made by Steve Jackson games and I've kind of gone off them lately.

"Revolution"

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Episode 11 - Rants & Resolutions

Hello listeners - it's the first podcast of 2014!

In this episode, I give my first impressions of Dominion, report on my presence on the Dice Tower Showdown recently with my rant on why I can't stand Power Grid and then finally I outline my New Year resolutions for gaming and the blog in general.




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Portsmouth On Board - 8 January 2014 - Newbies, Dominions and Indian Trains

Phew! After a long break over Xmas, suddenly I return and there's 2 major games sessions in the first week! Not that I'm complaining it's just an observation. But I highly enjoy the Portsmouth sessions.
My New Year's Resolution for gaming is to (a) keep developing my blog, get in touch with networks/publishers and get myself on YouTube and (b) play/buy a lot more games! For some it seems that (b) was a shared opinion as this session had probably the biggest in-rush of new members at once with at least 6-7 new players. Always a good thing to see whether you're a veteran gamer or someone broadening your palette. We also saw the return of some new members from December which we're pleased to see and even Nigel from GamesQuest came by for a visit.

 "Dominion"

After introducing myself and the club to the new members we were strapped for choice on games to play with over 5 games going on at once. Sadly the hotness for me which was Robinson Crusoe didn't get to the table. . . . "I'll get you next time Gadget. . . . next time!" However all was not lost for me as one of the new members had brought along Dominion which is another hot game I've been meaning to play for ages ever since I first heard of it and saw the hype surrounding it so I jumped right in.

"Article 27 - looks quite pretty this"

On one table Auction Art was being introduced to other new members, which didn't look too appealing to me, but after taking ages to remember the title of the game I was shocked to find that it's highly ranked on BoardGameGeek so that's intrigued me. Article 27 populated another table, which I know very little about, but boy does it look colourful so it's certainly caught my perception as well. But my second choice for what I would have played fell to Carcassonne Winter Edition. I love Carcassonne, it's one of my favourite light Euro games both on tiles and on Ipad, but I already own the original plus the main two expansions. There's no reason for me to acquire the Winter version but I recommend it for new entrants who don't care about expanding it as it looks beautiful. Carcassonne already is a nice looking game when it gets going but the white snow tiles with open cities and Xmas tress everywhere, it gets a thumbs up from me.

"Carcassonne Winter Edition - I think it's easier to look at than the original, what do you think?

The Dominion game carried on smoothly and quickly as we all spent our coins to acquire setups for our kingdom such as Moats, Workshops, Mines and Militia, the latter of which is guaranteed to make others hate you. I was surprised at just how much variety you get in the base game and we were barely using half the box contents in our game. I look forward to giving this my first impressions in Episode 11 of the podcast so subscribe to me on ITunes to find out what I think.

"Modern Art. . . . or is it Modern Connect 4?"

Across the other tables Ed started introducing Carson City to a large group of new members so kudos for getting them involved! I know little on this game after only seeing a brief review of it on The Dice Tower - might have to look this one up. I quite liked someone's description where he looked at the board and called it Agricola for Cowboys, not sure how accurate that is.

"Carson City - early stages - go get 'em Bridget!"

In Dominion each player had their own strategy with me focusing on multiple actions and card drawing to cycle through the deck quickly. It worked well to score me a victory, but I did have some money issues at times and players didn't appreciate constantly getting Militia cards played! My friend Jim took an approach which allowed him second chances if he drew badly which was pretty neat and two other players went for a balance. My favourite though was one player who went out and out for income generation. He was easily the richest player in the game, but he waited so long before he started buying anything and had little to no way to increase his actions for the turn that it backfired on him! Perhaps he thought we were playing Monopoly? <shrugs>

"Pandemic"

With several games ending and a quick break to catch up with other members we began a string of games to fill the second half of the night. The Article 27 lads whipped out the co-op classic Pandemic (check out my review coming soon) and a small group brought out Race for the Galaxy. Now I like Race, it's a cool game, but boy does it have a big learning curve. There's a fair amount of stuff to learn and it's hard to tell what the optimal strategy is so anyone who owns the game will own your soul as well, but if you like the theme of the game, it's worth investing the time.

"Race For The Galaxy - lord knows if I can tell what's going on"

Saboteur was proposed for the remaining 8 of us, but I prefer it with slightly less players and the Southampton group has kind of burned me out on the game. A consensus was reached to split into two groups of four and I took one group to try out one of my many new maps for Ticket To Ride. With four of us I went for India as the game is only designed for a maximum of 4 players and I heard it was fairly cutthroat. Well that is certainly true - even though I gather that Africa is the most cut-throat of the range, this one must surely take the second spot. There are many one-train connections, some of which are fundamental to getting up the country and everyone wants a piece of them.

The special winning condition of completing a circular route on the map using your tickets also alerts players to step in and ruin your day if they're paying attention to your route. We gave Graham a hard time on that front for that very reason. I stuck to trying to complete the biggest routes on the board for mass points, which worked to an extent, but I over-estimated how large a circle I could make and realised a bit late that I wouldn't have enough trains to do so . . .  whoops! Can I connect them up with an Indian replacement bus service?

"Ticket To Ride: India - and yes that Madras Eight Train route is mine!"

Never the less though, I scraped a victory here as well. Feedback was that the map was ok, but it's nothing special. I quite like the layout of the map and that's my appeal to it, but granted it doesn't add much new to the game like for example the new Netherlands map which I've yet to try. The Carson City game also wrapped up with a new player to modern games Bridget claiming the victory with a last minute move to "out" the other players. Well done on that - just goes to show you should never underestimate a new player.
This was one of the better nights I've had so far in this group since joining and as a start to 2014, it was great to see so many new players showing interest and some returning new members. I hope the group continues to grow in this fashion with more and more players getting into the hobby. But you'll keep seeing me at each session and as part of my resolution I'm going to start hosting some sessions at my place. Check out the group on Meetup.com and get in touch with me. I'm off to scout on Ikea for a new storage solution for my games! :-)

"Saboteur"

 Games Played

Carson City
Modern Art
Dominion
Carcassonne Winter Edition
Article 27
Pandemic
Race For The Galaxy
Ticket To Ride: India
Saboteur


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Southampton On Board - 6 January 2014 - Assassins, Sushi and Evil Victories

Well it's that time again! We've had the break over Xmas and New Year and now it's time to get back into some board game club action. This week I've got Southampton and Portsmouth all in one go and I'm even checking out another Portsmouth group that specialises in wargaming, but hints at playing board games too so I expect to be a bit exhausted by the end of the week!
 
Not a lot of members but it's so soon in the New Year, but we had the ability to get 2 main games going and so we opted to stick to shorter games for the evening. While another group checked out The Mines of Zav......Zaven.....wait a minute (goes to check BGG). . . . . . Zavandor, I brought out an old favourite classic of mine, Citadels.

"The Mines of . . . . . thingy"
 
5 players is probably the sweet spot for Citadels in my opinion and it didn't take long for the only new player to the game to grasp the rules, one of the great things about the game. We brought the Queen into play and kicked the Warlord to the kerb to replace with the Diplomat. Personally I prefer the game this way - the Queen is a good way to gain money without always being assassinated and the Diplomat can cause some interesting swings in the game without dragging it on like the Warlord's destruction ability does.
 
The Assassin was having a field day, killing left, right and centre, without focusing on one player. I seemed to have been cursed with the bad luck though that game in which I seemed to be only able to choose to kill/steal from the one card that everyone decided to bypass for the round. . . . typical! Ah well, I grabbed a close second place, but was narrowly beaten by the first player to 8 districts.
 
The Mines were taking their sweet time (so much for a short game to align with Citadels) so we brought out the fillers to pad the night out. First up, Sushi Go - not my favourite of fillers as I prefer a bit more meat to my drafting games, but it's harmless enough and I'll happily play it. You want a decent drafting game, go play 7 Wonders or on a slightly different tangent, Seasons where you're drafting dice instead. Both are great games and I'll get round to reviewing these at some point.
 
One tip for playing Sushi Go though, never sit next to the owner of the game. I guarantee you'll never get given any cards you need as he'll know that he's supposed to nick them all! Always sit next to the beginners!

 
 "Sushi Go - I'm not doing very well!"
 
 
After that, STILL the Mines were carrying on - how long does an auction game take? It looked alright though from this angle so I'll give it a try sometime. But what can we play that only takes 5-10 minutes max? Easy! NO THANKS! You can teach it in 30 seconds and play it in 5 minutes. . . . well assuming you don't get players with Analysis Paralysis thinking too hard on their turn - yes seriously someone got AP in No Thanks! Takes allsorts!
 
But finally the Mines concluded and with a couple less players it was decided by popular vote (which usually means everyone else bar me) that we should get a couple of games of Resistance: Avalon in. I have mixed feelings over this game mainly because of reaching a level of burnout from it being played FAR too often in the first days I joined Southampton On Board. It also seems like unorganised chaos with too many players (8+) and being "Good" is usually quite dull. Luckily for me though we had 7 players which is a good number and I was "Evil" in both games! HOORAY! Finally I get to be evil and have choices to make!

This has to be one of the first times I've truly enjoyed every bit of an Avalon game. Finally with a few less players and being Evil I have some choices and bluffing to make rather than just unorganised chaos trying to figure out who the bad guys are. The first game was an easy win for the Evil side, but in the second game it got more tricky. The Lady of the Lake had conveniently being given to a Good player, which was then passed to Merlin and then passed to another Good guy. Talk about making life difficult for the Evil gang. Despite myself pointing out some quality flaws in their logic, unfortunately people are led easily and trying to argue against Merlin is a losing battle.

We then received a blessing however. Our resident new player to the club still had doubts as to the validity of their claims and I knew this was the only chance we had to get our final failed mission so I milked this opportunity and secreted in all the doubt and misguided advice I could - think of that hunchback advisor from The Two Towers, I was a bit like him. So much more fun than being a Goodie (yawn).

We managed to convince him to ignore all of the Good guys on the last mission and as such ALL the Evil guys were on the same last mission . . . . I think we needed a big neon sign with FAILED written on it to describe the outcome of that mission. Though one of us stuck in a Success by accident so it shows you just can't get the staff sometimes!

"Avalon - players not available for comment"

All in all, a fun night, but I really want to try some more new games out I've not played yet. But in the light of our great win, because I'm incredibly immature at times. . . . . .
 
 

I AM EVIL HOMER! I AM EVIL HOMER! :D

 Games Played

The Mines of Zavandor
Citadels
Sushi Go
No Thanks!
Resistance: Avalon
 
 
 


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Emoticons Are Taking Over The English Language - Smiley Face Review

Hello readers! It's 2014 and this is the first review of the new year! Looking forward to getting January out of the way work-wise given my job profession as an accountant, but in terms of gaming, there's some great titles coming out and I hope to attend at least one, if not two major board game conventions as well. 

I'm going to start things off on a lighter note with what has to be, one of the most under-rated games that exist out there. This game is ranked in the 6,000's on BoardGameGeek and to most people you would probably just ignore any kind of game that was ranked so low. But many gamers and podcasters out there have included this game on their under-rated lists and it's designed by Bruno Faidutti who is responsible for some quality games including Citadels so for less than £11, it had to be worth a look.

"Not an easy game to sell by cover alone! Oh and sorry for my parent's Xmas style tablecloth!"


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