Showing posts with label boardgames. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boardgames. Show all posts

Monday, 11 June 2018

Fairy Tale In My Pocket

Fairy Tale In My Pocket is a re-skin of Zombie In My Pocket, although it does change the rules around a little bit as well. In this game the you are a hero in a fairy-tale kingdom. The Princess is about to marry the Prince. Except only you know the truth; the Princess has been replaced by an evil impostor, and the real Princess is under an enchantment, asleep in a hidden cottage in the forest. You must find the Princess, wake her with a magic rose from the rose-garden then travel with her back to the kingdom and present her at the castle before the wedding takes place at sunset. Easy.

The mechanisms are the same as ZimP - you move from tile to tile in the first area (in this case the Forest), and on each draw a card to see what you encounter. When the card deck runs out you reshuffle it and time advances. The game runs  for three passes through the deck. You start at a lake, and must find the Rose garden and Cottage tiles in order to wake the Princess. Then you must find and/or travel to the Forest/kingdom Path tiles, enter the Kingdom and find the castle where you can stop the wedding.

Here's the game set up. The art is charming, although I think the location tiles are a little murky and hard to read.

Here I am on my quest. I used a spare 15mm figure as a marker.

I found the rose fairly quickly, and even managed to acquire a shield. One change in this game is that you don't just stumble across items; you encounter a peddler instead, who has a random selection of items for you to purchase. The game adds a Gold attribute which you use to buy the items. Gold can be gained by opting to help people in some of the encounters (which costs you time).

Here's the end of the first stage of the game; I had awoken the Princess (who joins you and adds to your combat score), acquired a cat wearing boots (another increase in my combat score) and even helped Snow White find the cottage of the seven dwarves (for a generous cash reward). And I was now on the path out of the forest and into the Kingdom with a reasonable amount of time to spare.

A good first game. I walked straight into the castle and stopped the wedding before the second deck had ended.

My second game went less well. I wandered the forest for ages finding both the path out and the sleeping Princess, but unable to track down the Rose Garden, which was at the bottom of the deck. Fortunately I started the game with some Seven league Boots - you start with one of three magical items - which meant that I could teleport to any other tile on the board.

I used the boots to get me back to the Cottage and wake the Princess, but then we spent forever crossing the Kingdom, ad failed to get to the castle before the wedding took place. Like the Rose Garden, it was also at the bottom of the deck.

So, one win and one loss.

This is a fun little game; the look of it instantly gives it a different feel to the Zombie version, and the slight rule changes add to the character and make for some slightly different decisions. I do like games that re-skin like this; it allows you to enjoy a game for the mechanisms whilst setting it in a background in which you can have an investment. BGG has a number of versions, ranging from the original Zombie setup, to Aliens, this Fairy Tale one, and even one where you are a paratrooper knocking out a German bunker on D-Day. They're all worth a look.

Did I say the art was charming?

Sunday, 3 June 2018


Last week I downloaded another print and play solo game - Desolate - but I only put it together in order to play it yesterday. It's a trickier one to assemble than Zombie In My Pocket because the backs of the cards are useful for identifying the decks, and double-sided cards are harder to do (or I find them so).

Anyway, in Desolate you are the pilot of a spaceship which has crashed on a small moon with an abandoned research station on it. You enter the research station looking for power cells with which to charge up the shuttle in which you can escape. You have limited oxygen, so are working against the clock. Oh, and the station is swarming with hostile alien life-forms. You're armed, but your ammo is limited. Good luck.

Exploring the station is done by turning over Exploration cards, which can either be an area of the station (like a storage area, sickbay and so on) or an alien attack. The areas allow you to pick up objects - medi-kits, more ammo, oxygen and (in the engineering section) the vital power cells you need to escape. You need five such cells. Each time you burn through the deck you expend oxygen, shuffle it, and continue exploring.

Conflict is quick and simple. Each alien attack has a strength which is determined partially from the card itself and partially from a randomly drawn Conflict card. These cards also dictate how much damage the alien attacks to to you, and each attack automatically hits you first; these aliens always get the drop on you. You decided how much ammo to expend, and roll 1D6 per unit expended. If your total beats that of the aliens, then you kill them, otherwise they take damage and you fight another round. If you defeat an alien then you get a reward in the form of extra ammo, oxygen or health.

The game runs very smoothly and is fairly entertaining. It's all about managing your limited resources, and risking whether to grab more of one resource hoping to replenish another in the next chamber. However either I'm playing it wrong, or it's not actually that difficult to beat. As in, I've played five games, and found the five power-cells in all of them. Yes, you get a 'score' based on how much health, ammo and oxygen you have left, but part of the fun with games like this is the fact that they are a challenge to beat. I haven't found it so yet. yes, in one game I ran out of ammo and had to beat an alien to death with my fists, nearly dying in the process, but I was one cell of winning at that stage, and found it in the next draw. It was close, but not too close.

I shall give it some more tries and see if I can spot where I'm going wrong or, I hope, lose a few games and be sure that my victories were a fluke.

The files for the print and play are HERE

Update: I played three more games. In the first I won it, but was on my last health point. I lost the other two - killed by aliens in the first and ran out of oxygen in the second ;)

Saturday, 2 June 2018


You'll have noticed that I've not been as active on this blog as I normally am. I'll confess that my gaming mojo has temporarily deserted me, denying me a source of useful posts. On top of that it's been a busy week generally, with work, a major family medical issue and (on a positive note) my starting some dancing lessons. Hopefully things will calm down in a week or so and some form of normality will be restored.

Anyway, I have downloaded a couple of print and play solo games and thought I'd run through one here - Zombie In My Pocket. I think that this has been around for a while, but I'd not come across it before, so it's new to me. It looks like there's a simple solo version (which I have) and a more involved co-operative version for 1-8 players. The Boardgame Geek entry can be found HERE.

And here it is. Three decks of cards, and a neat folding-up rules booklet; it all prints out on three sheets of A4, so is very compact:

So what is the objective? Well, the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us, and only you can stop it! You must enter a house in search of the Evil Temple therein, find teh Zombie Totem, then bury it in the Graveyard that's in the garden. Obviously zombies will be swarming around trying to stop you. Oh, and you have to do it against the clock.

Exploring the house is done via drawing tiles from a deck as you move from room to room. You are hping to find not only the Temple tile, but also the Dining Room, as this offers egress to the garden. You then switch to the garden deck, and are then hoping to draw the Graveyard. As you enter each tile you draw an event card and resolve it. When the deck runs out you reshuffle it and the clock advances one hour. You have three hours to complete the task; 9pm to Midnight!

So let's go! I start in the Foyer. You can only exit a room through a doorway; you can see one just beyond the token.

It leads into a bedroom were I slip on a strange goo, and take damage. Not a good start.

Fortunately I then wander into the dining room, so at least know where I have to go in order to reach the garden. Unfortunately that's my first encounter with zombies, and I take some more hits. There is an option to take a breather (cower) and heal damage. This costs time, but I felt I was doing well at this stage, so I took the opportunity to rest. I moved on through the family room and then into the adjoining Evil Temple. Needless to say there were zombies there.

Defeating the zombies I searched for the totem, and found not only it, but a Mars Bar as well, which restored a little of my lost health.

I moved back through the house as the clock struck 10pm, finding a board with nails through it in the family room (don't we all have one of those?). I got to use it in the dining room, taking on more zombies. And then I was off into the garden. On the patio I found a machete. I was now a formidable zombie-killing machine - I hoped.

I got to try out my weaponry as I explored the yard, slicing my way through more zombies. Again, with an hour to spare, I chose to have a rest.

The clock struck eleven, and I found the garden after fighting my way through more zombies. Ending the turn here normally restores a point of health, but the lettuce I picked had caterpillars on it and I lost a point as well. Oh well. I had another rest, them moved on. And found the Graveyard!

And that was it. Yes, it was swarming with zombies, but I fought them off and, despite being on my last point of health, was able to bury the totem without further incident, ending the Apocalypse.

I think I had it relatively easy in this game, finding the temple and exit fairly quickly, as well as some useful weaponry. I'd played two games previously, dying in one, and running out of time in the other (where the temple and the graveyard were both at the bottom of their respective decks).

This is a nice-looking game, and reasonably fun. Not one you'd play again and again, but very portable, which is a big plus.

Next up, if I can get the cards to print and align properly, is a similar game called Desolate.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Deep Space Serenity

Deep Space D-6 is a game that lends itself to tinkering, and one area where this has been done is in he nature of the ship you get to command. Last week I downloaded a 'Serenity' variant board, and gave it a run-through this evening. It's a tricky board; the Firefly-class ship is unarmed, so the Tactical option has been effectively removed. Threats are eliminated by out-flying them or tricking them, and this requires combos involving Command dice. Although hard to set up, tactical dice are wild-cards, so you get a few choices. 'Serenity' also has fewer shields and hull than the basis USS Crypsis board, although the hull is easier to repair.

Here's the start of the first game, with just some Raiders to deal with.

It was soon joined by an Assault Cruiser.

And quickly by other ships. I just didn't get any decent crew rolls in this game, and the 'Serenity' was swiftly destroyed.

In the second game I was confronted by an Interceptor at the  start.

A series of nasty ships came out of the deck early on.

Things were soon looking very bad indeed.

And that Threat Roll of '2' was the end, as it activated enough cards to eliminate all of my remaining hull.

I shall return to the 'Serenity' another day. I decided to give the USS Crypsis another try. My initial threats were fairly dangerous, but I got plenty of good tactical rolls, and the ship's weapons fought them off.

Two thirds of the way through the deck and I was still going strong. I'd navigated the Nebula, whilst not meeting any enemy ships, survived the Meteoroid by blowing it up when I had full hull and shields, and even passed through the Solar Winds.

That Time Warp proved a little tricky to deal with; I had a few turns where I had crew trapped in the Threats boxes and in the infirmary, and had to ignore threats in order to release them. The little damage I did regenerated via the Time Warp. By this stage I had my crew back in full fighting fettle, though.

I had used up the deck by this stage; all I had to do was eliminate the on-board threats.

And I did. Another win for Spacefleet!

That's two wins in a row using the basic board, so I think removing some of the Nothing Happens cards is in order so the difficulty is increased. One option I think might be interesting is to keep the deck in play the same (36 cards) but add in some new ones - say about 8. At the start of the game the deck is shuffled, and then 8 cards are removed and kept face-down. That way you have no idea exactly what cards you're going to encounter.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Deep Space D-6

"You are the Captain of the USS Crypsis - a RPTR class starship on routine patrol of the Auborne system when a distress call was received. Upon warping in you quickly realize it was a trap! With the help of your crew, you must survive until a rescue fleet appears."

This is the premise of Deep Space D-6, a rather nice solitaire boardgame which I downloaded and printed the other day. Whilst there is a commercial version, with lovely components, extra rules and a selection of ships to play, there is a basic print and play version available as a free download for anyone who wants to give it a go. You can find it via its Boardgame Geek entry.

The mechanisms are relatively straightforward. Your ship's crew is represented by a hand of six dice. At the start of each turn you roll them, and the results dictate which crew assignments are available that turn - 1's are Command, 2's are Tactical, 3's are Medical, 4's are Science and 5's are Engineering. Command dice can alter other dice, tactical shoot at things, medical heal crew, Science operate the shields and keep threats at bay and Engineering repair damage. 6's are bad, representing Threats appearing on the scanners. Threats are the key to the game; there is a deck of 36-42 cards (depending on how many 'Nothing Happens' cards you choose to put in), mostly containing some obstacle or attacking enemy ship. Threats can be external (you shoot at them) or internal (issues on the ship which cause problems until specific crew specialisms resolve them). Each turn you automatically gain a new threat, and the scanners may generate more if you roll lots of 6's. So you roll your dice, assign the crew to deal with existing threats and issues according to what you have available, generate a new threat and then resolve all currently active threats to see if they damage the ship. You win if you get through the deck and eliminate all active external threats. It's not easy (even with all the 'Nothing Happens' cards in play). You lose if your ship reaches zero hull or, if at the start of a turn, you have no crew dice available to roll.

I played  quick game last night just to try it out, didn't put much effort into it and got destroyed about a third of the way through the deck.

This evening I decided to give it a proper go. This was the start of my first game, with the initial threats consisting of an Assault Cruiser and an approaching Meteoroid. The latter is a nasty threat, since it automatically scores damage, even if you destroy it. All you can do is attempt to delay it so that when it hits your ship has enough hull and shields to take the impact.

Things quickly went pear-shaped, as a lack of Tactical rolls prevented me from engaging the steadily accumulating wave of Threats. You can see a series of die results on each card. A single Threat Die is rolled, and every Threat card with the resulting number on it is activated. At this stage rolling a one was not a good thing to happen. I rolled a one.

The next turn I rolled another one, and the meteoroid smacked into my virtually crippled ship, destroying it. I was less then halfway through the deck.

My second game went slightly better, but again, I couldn't stop the Threats accumulating. The end came when I was attacked by a horde of cloaked threats (the card to the left of the main board), a double-whammy for which I was ill-prepared.

The third game went far more smoothly. I got great rolls virtually all of the way through, which meant I was able to stay on top of the Threats. Yes, there were a few hair-raising moments, but I eventually made it to the end of the deck. At this point things could still have gone badly; I still had to resolve the remaining three external threats (the cards on the right), but three of my six crew dice were in the infirmary, and one of the others was 'Distracted' ("Show me some more of this thing you Earth-people call 'kissing' ..."). If the two active dice I had ended up locked in the scanners I would run out of crew and lose.

I didn't. I managed to stay on top of the Threats, recover my crew from the Infirmary ("I'm a doctor, not a random-number generator!"), save my sixth crew dice from the amorous clutches of a purple-haired alien sex-goddess and finish off the last of the attacking enemy ships just as the relief force arrived.

Of course, having defeated the game with the 'Nothing Happens' cards in the deck, I now feel honour-bound to remove some or all of them and increase the difficulty.

The game takes about thirty minutes to play, and occupies a reasonably small footprint, so is a perfect lunchtime game. I thoroughly recommend it.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Lovecraft Letter

We bought Maya a copy of 'Lovecraft Letter' for Christmas, but up until this weekend she'd not had a chance to play it. Yesterday we rectified that.

'Lovecraft Letter' is a variant of the classic 'Love Letter' game with an insane twist. 

At its core it is the basic 'Love Letter' game. Indeed you can strip out the special cards and play it as such. However as well as the basic cards and rules you'd expect from 'Love Letter' it has a second set of cards which run an insanity mechanism. These have the same numerical values and rules as the basic cards (so 'The Hounds of Tindalos' insane card acts like 'The Great Race of Yith' normal one - both are equivalent to the 'Baron' in regular 'Love Letter'), but also have a special 'Insane' effect as well. Once you've played one Insane card, you can access the special effect on all subsequent ones you get. And some of them are quite powerful. However on each of your turns you must check to see if you go totally insane; if you do, you're out of the round.

Victory is slightly different. If you win a round then you get a token. You get one type if you were sane when you won, and another if you were insane. You only need two sane tokens to win, or three insane tokens. There's also an instant win condition on one of the insane cards, but it's very hard to achieve. That said, it is possible for someone to win in two rounds in this game, although it's quite hard to do.

It take a few rounds to get used to the unusual insane effects, but after that the game rattles along nicely. We enjoyed it and, whilst it seems more random than the basic game, the Lovecraft skin gives it an entertaining element which makes up for this.

Here's a combination you don't want to have; discarding either of these cards loses you the round. Not good.

(I did manage a victory in one game by a wonderfully obscure mechanism. The round ended with three of us still in contention. In this case the person with the highest card in their hand wins. I had a '1'. I was doomed. But the other two players both had a '5'. The rules say that in the case of a tie, all players involved are knocked out, and the next highest surviving player wins. So that was me. This gave me a second sane token, and victory. An underdog win if ever there was one.)

Anyway, if you like 'Love Letter' and enjoy Lovecraft, this is a great little game. The components, right down to the box, are gorgeous and, as seems to be becoming the norm for such games, you even get card-holders with a proper back and everything. Recommended.

Monday, 30 October 2017


After I played my first game of GEV in about 30 years I ended up reading a bit more about it online, and realised that not only had I never owned a copy of Ogre, but that I'd never played it either. So that weekend I fished around on the 'net and managed to find a copy of the rules, an image of the original map and images to make a full counter sheet. And I made my own copy of the game.

This evening was my first chance to play it.

I ran the basic Mk III Ogre scenario. Here it is.

And the defence - 20 points of infantry, plus four GEVs, four heavy thanks and four missile tanks. I deployed the GEVs and most of the heavy tanks as a forward defence in the centre, with the infantry as a second line ready to move in any direction, and the missile tanks as fire support in the rear.

The Ogre advanced and the first wave moved to meet it. I reserved fire with the Ogre's missiles; in retrospect a mistake.

The first attack; the defenders knocked out the Ogre's main battery, and one of the secondary batteries.

The Ogre fired its missiles, aiming to take out a couple of heavy tanks, but only got one. It was now being dogged by the armour, including GEVs hovering just out of reach, and coming under attack from the infantry. One heavy tank was overrun.

The defenders' attacks quickly eliminated the remaining secondary batteries, leaving the Ogre with no option but to press forward towards the command post and try to use AP batteries of an overrun on it. The defenders started to aim for the tracks.

The end - four hexes from the command post the Ogre was immobilised.

My tactics as the Ogre were probably unsound, and maybe I should have launched some direct attacks on the defenders from the start to whittle them down. As it was I was able to mob the Ogre and keep up a steady fire to remove first its fangs and the its feet.

Better luck next time ...

Saturday, 21 October 2017


When I went away to Brisbane last week, I was travelling very light, so I threw a couple of paperbacks and some microgames in my bag. One of them was this copy of GEV, from way back in 1978 and unplayed for a good 30 years. I never got to play it whilst I was away, but it's been raining all day and I couldn't be bothered leaving the office at lunchtime and I remembered it was still in my bag. I downloaded a dice app onto my phone ...

... and away I went.

I set up Scenario 1 - Breakthrough. The Combine (Blue) have to get as many of their 12 GEVs off the opposite edge of the map as they can. The Paneuropeans (White) have to stop them. Aside from 20 points of infantry, I selected 2 howitzers and 4 light tanks for the Paneuropeans.

I had an hour in which to sort out the counters, brush up on the rules, set up the scenario and play. Limited time meant I opted for a simple approach of running straight at the enemy. The howitzers are quite dangerous and can't be ignored, since they can pretty much pick off a GEV each turn. I mobbed this one, destroying it.

The other one survived the attacks against it, but was disrupted, allowing me to slip past it.

Four GEVs escaped past it.

On the other flank with the howitzer gone the attackers could move with impunity, but the Paneuropean light tanks were able to block them.

The Combine GEVs were picked off one after the other as they tried to slip past the defences.

The game ended in a very marginal Paneuropean victory (48-46), with them having destroyed 8 GEVs for the loss of the howitzer and a point of infantry.

It was fun and quick to play, and I'm sure my tactics were terrible, but I was trying to relearn the game as I went along. It was a pleasant way to while away a lunchbreak.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...