Review: Judge Dredd, Helter Skelter

This is a 2000AD comics adaptation of Wildlands, and thoroughly worth checking out. You play as one of four teams. Each team has been placed out of time, and you need to collect time fragments to get back. The time fragments are placed on the board after your characters, in a drawing system. You must then battle to get them back. A player wins when they have five points, which can be scored by collecting time fragments or killing other characters. 

Each team has a different flavour in play style. Some are melee based, some ranged, and some have more psi based attacks. 

Helter Skelter is quite tactical as some of the board locations give you cover or block line of sight, denying ranged attacks at you. In this game when you take your turn you can take as many actions as you wish, providing you can pay for these actions with your cards. Now, these cards not only pay for attacks – they are also used to move your characters and defend when you are being attacked by other players. At the end of your turn you draw three cards to a maximum of seven – however because you use cards to defend, when it gets to your turn you may not have any cards left – so you may be for bed to skip a turn, especially if you spent a lot of cards on actions the previous turn. Not all cards work for all characters either – picking and choosing wisely which cards to use, and when, is an important part of the game.

Now, just because you didn’t activate during your turn doesn’t mean you won’t activate at all. There are interrupt cards you may draw that you can play after an opponent’s turn, or during their turn after they have completed an action. So let’s say I was shot from an adjacent location, I take damage unless I can block it. I then play interrupt, move on to the same tile as my opponent, and then enter into melee, killing him. 

As I say this game is very tactical and playing the right card at the right time can be devastating. Saying that, you do need the right hand to start with, which is obviously luck based. With fast paced combat and tactics, this game takes around 30-40 minutes to complete and is 2-4 player with easy to pick up rules. Give it a go – it’s great fun and comes with a few nice miniatures too.  

Review: ZomBN1

Another fantastic game by Paul Stapleton and Bedsit Games. This time its set in Zombie infested Brighton. For ages 10+ and for 2-6 players. One player controls the zombies, and the others are survivors who have comical back stories. 

The aim of the game is to score 50 points and make it to Brighton Station, for the last train and the last seat heading out. Survivors score points by killing zombies or completing objectives. As the zombie player your aim is also to score 50 points, and to then get three zombies to the station to overrun it. Zombies score points for wounding a survivor, sending survivors to the hospital and completing objectives. They can’t pick up loot or activate events. 

zomBN! tabletop game board

Like Pauper’s Ladder this game has some funny random elements. The loot you acquire is hilarious and very visual. You might get bin armour or a deck chair to bash a zombie’s brain in. Or will you perhaps get some food just like everyones favourite… sprouts in brine?

You may play sneak cards which might cause a sewage explosion or a guardian angel might be watching over you and you can steal the card that’s played against you. Maybe you land on an encounter where a unicycle violinist might lure a zombie away, or the oldest gay in the village may come along on his electric scooter and ferry you to another tile. 

ZomBN1 cards

Game play consists of rolling two dice and moving the complete number of spaces rolled, stopping only for combat and objectives. Survivors in combat roll one red die and add weapon modifiers gained from their loot. The zombies roll two dice and take the best score. So unless you have a weapon to hand, I would try to avoid combat. If you land on a shop you can loot it, gaining useful items… mainly! When you get to your objective you stop moving, resolve the effects, and then receive a new objective. 

ZomBN1 dice

On the zombies’ turn they roll two white dice and move any combination of zombies up to six spaces. So if you roll 11 you could move 11 zombies one square each, or one zombie six squares and another five. Zombies complete objectives by placing three zombies onto their own or a survivor’s objective tile to overrun it, stealing the points for the objective. 

ZomBN1 is visually entertaining and has great artwork. The board features places you might recognise from Brighton like Devil’s Dyke and Peter Pans. The game is fast paced, this is because once you’ve rolled the dice you must moves straight away, without any deliberation or pre-counting of spaces. 

making a move in ZomBN1

Even though the games do not play in a similar fashion, I would say this is the alternative family’s Monopoly. Easy to learn and kind of family friendly, you will become bitter rivals in seconds – stitching each other up and playing games of petty revenge and shenanigans. This game will have the survivors at each other’s throats more often than not even if it doesn’t benefit them! 

So grab your chainsaws and get zombie slaying – even if they were once your family…

Review: Muffin Time

The new game from Big Potato arrived on our table this month.

A simple concept for a win. Collect ten cards, say muffin time, and wait for the start of your turn. Sounds easy right…? Wrong! The other players will screw you over by stealing cards, swapping hands, adding to your hand… if you don’t have exactly ten cards on the start of your next turn, you don’t win. 

Muffin time is so simple even a dyslexic dog will understand it. When its your turn, you place a trap card if you have one and you want to, then either draw a card or play an action card. However, when you do, another player may play a counter card, completely altering whatever you planned to do. For example, its my turn so I play the action ‘you’re fat’ (choose another player to draw five cards) – but they counter with ‘beep beep, I’m a sheep’ (any action cards played specifically on you now affects all players) and so everyone has to draw five. Frustrating if you were at nine! It’s a game where literally doing anything can spell your doom. Any action you take can usually be countered in some way… unless it is a mini game, which involves all players. 

trap action and counter cards muffin time game

Also… there are traps. When you get a trap you can place it face down in front of you. These add a crazy element to the game which makes you fearful of doing anything, as it may trigger a trap. Perhaps a player will have to create a distraction and then gets to steal one card from every player they fooled, or maybe you can make someone lose three cards if they check the rules. After a trap is triggered, you flip it over, revealing the fate of the player who set it off. 

This game is full of great and comical artwork, has loads of deployability and is steeped in dirty tactics. Big Potato make this game and it really has that Big Potato feel. For ages 13+ and for 2-6 players, this will be a must have – because its so simple, non gamers will pick it up quickly and enjoy it, and it has enough cruel manipulation that experienced gamers will enjoy it too. 

We got Muffin Time as a kickstarter, however it is available now from various retailers and presumably (hopefully!) at some point, from Big Potato too! 

examples of cards muffin time game big potato

Miniature Monday – Eric Geer

MINIATURE MONDAY MADNESS

On the first Monday of every month, we explore all aspects of miniatures. We look at painting and painters, sculpts and sculptors and everything in between. We will delve into the very early stages of miniature painting and printing, all the way through to masterpieces of experience. 

 

My name is Eric Geer , I have been a visual and miniature artist for over 20 years.

Recently I’ve been exploring more ways to incorporate multidirectional lighting effects and bold color schemes – incorporating elements of realism and surrealism to create a unique style.

godtear red bandits painted by Eric Geer

The intent of the style for the painting of Rangosh and his Red Bandit followers was to try to mimic some of Godtear’s game/concept art, particularly the image below:

godtear rangosh game art steamforged games

I first developed the color scheme on Rangosh…

…then transferred the same aesthetic over to the Red Bandits.

godtear red bandits painted by Eric Geer

Lastly,  I did spend plenty of time on each and every face to make them have lively looks and expressions.

Overall I’m very pleased how they turned out.

Rangosh and red bandits painted by Eric Geer

red bandits and a banner godtear

Eric Geer remains to be my favourite miniature painter. His style is truly unique, it has that surreal lighting effect akin to early sci-fi posters. Brimming with fantastic colours he can blend all kind of phenomenally garish palettes together. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, Mr Geer will provide bizarre inspiration to you.