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

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.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Love, Murder and Knights

Catherine has been designing another of her murder mysteries over the past couple of weeks, and tried it out on us yesterday. I don't have any pictures, and obviously won't reveal too many details, since she plans to market it at some stage, but basically we all played pet cats living in a suburban street investigating the death of one of their number. It was as bonkers as it sounds, but great fun and kept everyone engaged and entertained for a few hours. As well as grossed out by the special cat-themed nibbles she'd provided for us.

Anyway, we played a game of Love Letter: Premium Edition afterwards; this is the version which has extra cards to expand it to between five and eight players. The dynamics are different to the basic two- to four-player game (more rounds end in a comparison of cards rather than last man standing), but it's still very entertaining.

Despite all this entertainment I still found time at home to do the basing on my Arthurian HOTT army, which is now completed and ready for its first game. Here's a quick picture. I'm sure there will be more to follow.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Battle Cry - Antietam

Last month I played  couple of games of Battle Cry, took photos and then forgot to blog it. Unforgivable.

Anyway, here they are. To be honest I've forgotten the details of exactly what happened, so you can just enjoy the terrible pictures without too much text.

I used 6mm figure, two bases to a unit and small stones marking casualties.

Here's the initial setup, with the sparse Confederate defence line at the bottom of the picture.

Attack across Burnside's Bridge.

A doomed attack on the sunken road.

Foothold over the bridge.

The attack on the road is driven back.

A.P.Hill's division comes to the rescue.

Union troops filter through the northern woods.

Confederates defend the cornfield.

The Union driven back at the bridge. I think they lost quite badly.

A second game. In this oe the sunken road was quickly cleared.

Burnside's bridge was still a tough nut to crack. I think the Union won this one in the end.

Sorry about the terrible lighting on the photos; we get glorious bright sunshine even in the winter here.
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