29 April 2016

First to Fight (boardgame review)

While the title says boardgame review I would consider this to be as much a cardgame so I'm sticking both labels on this post.

First to Fight is a Polish game about Polish WW2 exploits in which players take on the roles of Polish commanders struggling to pull enough troops and resources together to complete operations on various fronts such as western Europe, Poland, Warsaw, Northern Europe/Atlantic and North Africa/Italy.

The game spans over the entire war and time is tracked with a calendar on the board. The game is divided into two parts, "early war" and "late war" with players being dealt mission cards for early war at the start of the game, and as those are finished or failed you receive new late war mission cards. A mission can be to assemble enough pilots in the Northern Europe/Atlantic region to take part in Battle of Britain, or have enough soldiers for the Warsaw Uprising, enough Saboteurs for the assassination of Reinhard Heydritch.

There are several troop types in the game, all represented by Polish soldiers or members of the resistance movement Armia Krajowa. These troops represent Infantry, Tank forces, Air force, Navy, Airborne infantry and Saboteurs. Soldiers come with two values, Fighting and Underground. The fighting value is used to complete objectives, for instance if a mission requires a total of 9 Pilots then all pilots that you have managed to pull together are worth their fighting value added together, additional personnel that is not part of the air force only contributes with a single point per card. The Underground value is used for sabotage in a region and for determining the order in which characters are wounded, soldiers with low underground value take wounds first. All characters can take two wounds before being removed from the game as casualties.

27 April 2016

Frostgrave: The Silent Tower AAR

Second game in our ongoing Frostgrave campaign, we played the "Silent tower" scenario, which has a magic negating structure in the middle of the board where no magic works. This also means that you can't use magic against units inside that building, and you cannot use magic to enter it either.
Entering the tower with a wizard granted a nice experience reward, and the treasure inside the building counted as 3 rolls on the treasure chart after the game - so a most valuable prize to fight for!

As I mentioned in my last post we use the campaign house rules. And we also use a 6-turn limit (for a 4x4' table). This works very well and prompts players to act fast and not loiter around, and shortens games considerable towards the end - sparing you the long wait from waiting until all models leave the table etc. All treasures carried by units are regarded as salvaged at the end of a game by the owning player. You do not have to bring treasure off the table to secure it.

We also agreed on limiting the campaign to a race, first wizard that reaches level 20 wins the campaign.

The Illusionist warband in this particular battle was composed of:

Wizard Silas
Apprentice Ronya
2x Men-at-arms
1 Thief
1 Infantryman
1 Bowman
1 Crossbowman

The Witch Warband for this fight:

Wizard Saric
Apprentice Frid
2x Men-at-arms
1 Templar
1 Thief
1 Bowman

24 April 2016

Dead men tell no tales (boardgame review)

Here's a fun and very difficult game - Dead men tell no tales!

This is a co-op game where players take on the role of pirates attacking and raiding a ship. The only two problems with this is:

1) They set the ship ablaze prior to boarding it.
2) The ship turned out to be full of undead!

The goal of these suicidal raiders is to loot a certain amount of treasure, the number of treasure tokens depend on the number of players, before the ship you are raiding blows up or before you are overrun by the undead deckhands.

The game works as such, each player controls a pirate character with his or her special rules which often give you additional action beyond the normal "move, fight, extinguish flames, loot". At the start of each player turn the active player draws a tile from the stack and places it adjacent to another entry point on the starting board. This simulates exploration of the ship as time goes by. There are several tricky parts to this placement of new rooms - first of all you don't want to place them in a long corridor as rooms can be destroyed if the fire level reaches 6 or if the room explodes from a chain reaction of exploding powder kegs. Second is that you don't want too many rooms with the same starting fire level bunched up together as that may create an inferno that gets out of hand quickly.

22 April 2016

Frostgrave - starting a campaign

As Caroline became interested in Frostgrave a while back I painted up a second warband and wizard couple for her to play. We recently played a test/learn the rules and then proceeded to play a regular game. In both instances we used the "genie in the bottle" scenario since I had recently painted up the superb Genie and lamp miniature from North Star.

I was playing my Witch along with his apprentice, Caroline opted for the Illusionist. Initially she was not happy with the lack of offensive spells that she had picked but realized she will have to play her wizard in another way - and I told her that she will be able to learn new spells in the future.

She enjoyed the game a lot, so I think there will be more  Frostgrave games between us in the future. The scenario ended with my warband being able to snatch the lamp - with a bit of effort and having to sacrifice one soldier to distract the genie as I was summoning fog screens.

Carolines Illusionist warband set up their home base in the "laboratory", and accumulated 390 gold as well as a ring of power and a potion of strength as well as a potion of healing. She also decreased the difficulty to cast the Explosive Rune and the Telekinesis spells.

My Witch warband set up a base in the old "Treasury", and accumulated 340 gold and after selling the Genie lamp and a few small items I also recruited a Templar.
My wizard spent his experience to decrease the difficulty to cast the Elemental Hammer and Shield spells.

Pictures from our test game

20 April 2016

Russian Railroads (boardgame review)

Continuing the trail of boardgame reviews (there have been a lot of purchases and gaming behind the scenes) - today I will be reviewing "Russian Railroads". This is another game that I got as a gift from Caroline for our two-year anniversary (I got her jewelry, she got me boardgames that we can play together, everyone was happy :-D ).
Russian Railroads has players build railroads, in Russia, hence the name. OK there is a bit more to it than that - and it's a pretty damn fun worker placement game with extremely pretty components and board.

In this game players compete against each other, trying to get the most points. You get points for building railroads - of which there are three, and for industrialization of Russia. Each player has a "map" of his own showing the three railway lines and the current status of your industry. Players then share a larger board where resources are gathered in order to build new rails, better trains or improve industry on your map. Players take turns in placing their workers, or money, on spaces on the board for six rounds after which the final points are tallied up and a winner emerges.

There are some very neat features that I really like in this game. First of all, there are several different types of "tracks" - colored Black, Grey, Brown, Cream and White. Black tracks are tier 1, and do not give you much points, Grey tracks are worth a bit more, Brown are worth more than Grey and so on. The tricky part however is that you must always advance your rail construction along each train destination in order. Grey tracks can never move ahead of black tracks, brown can never move ahead of grey and so on.
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