Aliens to the Sarf sir, farsands of 'em - BGA Norn Irn meeting 22 September 2012
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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Bill was away this week, Micah has gone ‘over the hills and far away’ to Spain and Stuart unable to attend until next Saturday, so just four of us today. And Swami was delayed by road closures for the final hurrah of the Ulster marching season so for a long time we thought there would only be the three of us.
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1. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:572]
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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To annoy Bill we played his favourite filler on the day he was away. Didn’t take long and Tim ruled the roost, still having four of his five dice at the end
 
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2. Board Game: Zooloretto: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1900]
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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Zooloretto is an enjoyable family game and the wurfel edition reproduces the main theme en petit. We played this twice as it turned out, once while we waited for the Swami then once after Colin departed, and the first playing was marred by early rules confusion on my part. Pleasant fun and apparently some decisions to be made although this is called into question by the scores – five of the six scores were 14 points which suggests that there may be little non-obvious strategy.


Animals for the cages - and I don't even like zoos!
 
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3. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2254]
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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I suspect we all have mixed feelings when invited to play a friend’s prototype game. On the one hand, you wouldn’t want to say no – after all if you can’t ask your gaming friends to be playtesters, who can you ask? On the other hand there must be a touch of fear that you are getting into an endurance test which will demand false politeness and platitudes. Still when Tim suggested that we give an outing to an SF cooperative wargame of his I was able to remind myself that he had previously presented a card game that hadn’t been a painful experience at all.


The mysterious 'designer' makes up another rules arbitration.


‘Horde’ is a Space Marines versus Bugs shootout that owes a fair amount to Gears of War – the videogame that is, as Tim designed this after playing GOW well before the boardgame ever appeared. We suggested to him that he file suit against WOTC and they might give him a settlement just to go away…if it were only that easy.

Our gallant squad was composed of:

Johnny Savage (Peter)
Jake Shadow (Tim)
Scott Reaper (Swami)
‘the Berserker’ (Colin)

…so no room for Brett Riverboat or the Riviera Kid.


Gallant marines ready for death or glory

The object of the game is to survive three waves of Alien attacks. There are four grades of Combat Aliens plus two special Big Bosses. The first wave is composed from squad cards, twice the number of players ie in our case 8 squads, the second 3x the players and the third wave was one of the two Big Bosses plus a squad of bozos. Each wave has a special random attribute eg agile, elite etc.


Alien squad advancing!

The board is made up of nodes, linked by arcs, with colour coded zones, limiting who you could shoot at, walls blocking line of sight and half-size walls providing soft cover especially if you use the crouch action. Marines can stand and fire, move a little and fire less accurately or move full distance. Weapons are graded for accuracy, number of shots and damage caused. In addition certain board spaces allow random equipment to be found – weapons, medkits, etc.

On their turn the bozos are animated by a deck of AI cards that make them advance, retreat, fire etc and which works pretty well. As in all zombie-type games, aliens move towards the nearest target which allows the marines to lure them onto killing grounds if they coordinate right.

Admittedly, there is not much here that is new or startling, nor is it exactly Castles of Burgundy, but it works well and we had a good day’s fun out of it. It played long mainly because of the amount of discussion of each move – at times I cried out ‘this isn’t a discussion group’ but at others I was as bad as anyone.


Go there...no go there...how to string out the game

We handled the first wave easily enough, though lengthily, the second wave was tougher but ‘The Berserker’ played a blinder with his tomahawk and flamethrower, putting the Alien mechs into a permanent state of suppression while we totted up the hits on them. The third wave we did particularly well, luring the Big Boss over claymore mines and finally finishing him off from all sides in the central hall. Germolino!


Johnny and Brett taunt the Big Boss, knowing 'The Berserker' is about to close the trap.

There are some rough edges to the rules but fortunately the designer was with us, which is rarely the case for Reiner Knizia or Stefan Feld. Board and cards were paper and pencil prototypes, but Tim’s models were great. If the game was published in a big box by Fantasy Flight or similar it would surely sell like…like… ah yes, Gear of War the Boardgame.

Would play again readily.
 
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4. Board Game: Wilderness [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:4086]
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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For reports from the West
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5. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1091]
Peter Millen
United Kingdom
Greyabbey
Northern Ireland
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Report from the Greyabbey Gamers.

A week ago we played Wings of War with miniatures. The game was enjoyed by all three participants (Peter, Stuart, Stephen).

An introductory affair to get to know the cards and the miniatures, I took to the air in a Spad against two Boche which wasn't as skewed as it sounds as we were having to work hard just to keep in contact with the enemy. Long story short I kept getting hits on the Fokker Tripe but it wouldn't go down (we were just using basic damage numbers). Meanwhile the other fellow in the Albatross kept flying away from the engagement and being cursed by his fellow wurst-eater.

Unfortunately, he discovered his Immelman just at the wrong moment and I ended up with one on my tail and one flying straight at me. The ensuing damage was too much for my poor machine though I had the compensation of finishing off the Fokker in front just as my plane went into its final dive, leaving the most-disengaged pilot as the sole survivor.

Much fun and the guys were enthused, not only wanting to play again but talking ambitiously about campaigns, missions and so forth.

This week we played Ave Caesar (two races won by Stuart and Stephen) and Caveman Curling where Peter ruled the ice.

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