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.


Moonstone – 4 player all vs all play through

Moonstone is a darkly whimsical fantasy fairytale game, where the object is to collect Moonstones – represented by shiny little D4’s that’ll cause a whole lot of shenanigans… because your opponents are after them too!
Unlike many tabletop skirmish games, this is 2-4 players, and each troupe can be one of three factions: Dominion, Commonwealth, or Leshavult.
There are lots of different races to choose from – you could choose faeries, humans, goblins, gnomes, fauns, spirits… even giants and trolls, and the models are absolutely beautiful too. Read on to find out how our most recent four player game panned out!

Moonstone – Starting the Game

We begin with four troupes of colourful characters… well, some more than others, as only the faeries and one half finished Firespitter were showing off their finery whilst the others remain (for now) a muted shade of just-put-together grey. In their varying states of paintedness, the line up was as follows:

Faeries (Dominion faction): Teetoe, The Fencer, and Gwendoline

Goblins (Dominion faction): Firespitter, Grub, and Doug the Flatulent

Humans (Commonwealth faction): Friar Flavius, Brunhilde and Baron Von Fancyhat

Witches (Leshavult faction): Zorya, Antonia and Danica

The Moonstone Character Cards are available to view on the Moonstone website, if you’re wondering what tricks these characters have up their sleeves (or under their hats, in some cases).

One the troupes were selected, the Moonstones were sprinkled over the board. After three calls of MULLIGAN, we were left with an interesting scatter that grouped four moonstones very close together – and even more interestingly, every single one of the seven moonstones on the table had landed as a 1. Easy harvesting! But for whom?

moonstone the game dice

Play Begins – Round 1

In a four player game, there is no one player with initiative, so we rolled off to start. The Witches got to go first, followed by the Humans, then the Faeries and finally the Goblins.

Zorya dived straight in with Violent Impulse, which resulted in a catastrophe that gave +1 melee to Brunhilde, Friar Flavious, Antonia and Zorya herself. Taking full advantage of this, she initiated melee against Brunhilde who pulled out a critical thrust in defence of Zorya’s single thrust… which unfortunately led to 9 damage to Zorya, who was immediately slain. Brunhilde stood looking triumphant and only slightly wounded, with 4 damage making not much of a dent in her impressive health of 13.

Friar Flavious was next to step forward, taking on Antonia with a melee attack whilst the +1 was still in force. With a rising attack vs high guard, he failed to do any damage and moved on to a second attack, with a much more deadly critical falling swing vs low guard – doing a total of 7 damage including the +1 which regrettably left Antonia slain alongside her fellow witch Zorya.

Things were not looking good at all for the Witches, with Danica left standing forlornly alone and Moonstoneless.

As Danica contemplated the fate of her fellow Witches, the Fencer advanced and harvested two of the grouped Moonstones in quick succession. Doug the Flatulent followed hot on her heels, advancing to harvest a third Moonstone.

Not to be outdone, Danica boldly moved forward and harvested the fourth Moonstone, before stepping as far away as possible from others on the board. Noting this, Baron von Fancyhat decided to try his luck and jogged towards her, shooting his pistol wildly and missing completely.

Taking advantage of the distraction (and having pledged a somewhat shaky and suspicious alliance with the Goblins), Gwendoline tentatively jogged forward and cast Rejuvenate on the Firepitter, using a fortuitous pink III to move him forward 3 inches, closer to the Moonstones and also closer to the opposing troupes.

As the Firespitter paused to catch a breath (3 inches is a big movement for one so slow), Grub nipped deftly past him and harvested the fifth Moonstone, gleefully holding it aloft before stepping back a little towards the shadows of a crate of beer barrels.

In a vain attempt to stop all the Moonstones disappearing, Brunhilde jogged forward quickly, before slowing to step a few times. But, too late! Teetoe also jogged forward, nimbly picking up the sixth Moonstone before anyone else got the chance.

As she basked in the pale moonlit glow, the Firespitter made his move, jogging and then slowing as he readied his Fireblast, which shot unfalteringly towards Brunhilde. Gasping in shock, she took first 6 damage, and then – having not quite believed this to be the case, took a further 2, ending the round with a very tenuous grasp on health.

The Action Intensifies – Round 2 

Noting the extremely poor condition of Brunhilde, Danica quickly cast Visions of the Past to restore Brunhilde to full health, much to the dismay of the Firespitter. Whilst he stood with his mouth agape, the Fencer jogged forward, followed by Doug the Flatulent who then continued his movement with a Chaaarge!! towards Baron Von Fancyhat, lance gripped firmly in his hand and pointing slightly skyward. Sweeping it down in a falling swing, he was met with a high guard, somewhat ashamedly doing absolutely no damage at all despite his strong start.

Baron Von Fancyhat decided to return the favour, lifting his longsword in what might have been an impressive falling swing, were it not for the quick reactions of the Firespitter who stepped in with a high guard, leaving both out of breath but undamaged. Recovering quickly, Baron von Fancyhat raised his longsword with vigour, using a critical rising attack as the Firespitter countered with a sweeping cut, resulting in 4 damage to the Firespitter.

As the goblin and the human stood panting from exertion, Gwendoline paused to Rejuvenate the Fencer, moving her 3 steps before jogging away herself.

Finally recovered, the Firespitter stepped out of the wooded patch he had been standing in, hurling a retaliatory Fireblast at Baron Von Fancyhat, the latter nobly transferring all four damage inflicted to Brunhilde, who had taken a reactionary step to move 3 inches towards him.

Fearing for the health of his large and again somewhat wounded friend, Friar Flavius moved towards her and used Healing to return her once again to full health.

Stealthily, Teetoe took five steps towards the Fencer, stopping to watch as Grub jogged to the crate of barrels he had been lingering close to, dropping his Moonstone tantalisingly close to the Firespitter as he opened up a Wyrm Hole which he then disappeared into, vanishing completely for a moment before popping up right next to a fence… and Danica’s back. Using the confusion to his advantage, he let loose a small puff of Bug Spray, which fizzled into the air and caused not even a minor irritation to the otherwise extremely irritated witch.

Oblivious to this tomfoolery, Brunhilde used her new found health to spur herself on towards Doug the Flatulent, arcing forward her blades in a sweeping cut which was met with a low guard, resulting in an end of round with no damage for either.

Moonstones and Melee – Round 3

Regaining his composure, Grub whipped out his Bug Spray with far more aplomb and viciously squirted it twice, causing Danica to drop to the floor along with her Moonstone, which he jogged over to and stared at possessively.

Meanwhile, the Fencer furtively moved towards the edge of the board, finally stepping over the edge and taking a well earned rest alongside her two-Moonstone bounty.

Dismayed at the loss of potential Moonstones, Brunhilde angrily took a swing towards the nearest foe, launching her blades into a sweeping cut that once again was met with a low guard from Doug the Flatulent, doing absolutely no damage at all to either party. Composing herself a little, Brunhilde straightened her back and again brought forth her blades in a second sweeping cut, taking Doug slightly unaware as he countered with a hasty thrust, leaving him with a total of 4 damage compared to a somewhat measly 2 damage to Brunhilde from his lance. 

As the two foes eyed each other warily and contemplated their next move, the Firespitter jogged to the nearby Moonstone (deposited by Grub as he wiggled off on his escape) and picked it up, cradling it close and staring at it in wonder before stepping away from everyone else nearby.

Moving forward to aid the ailing Doug the Flatulent, Gwendoline once again cast Rejuvenate, moving him towards Grub (and more importantly, away from Brunhilde!) and healing him back to full health in the process.

This action was not enough to distract Baron Von Fancyhat, who pressed on towards the Firespitter, entering into melee once again with his longsword held high, prior to plunging it forcefully in a critical falling swing which was countered with a slightly startled rising attack by the still-somewhat-Moonstruck goblin – who then crumpled to the floor still feebly grasping the coveted Moonstone, which tumbled from his grey-tinged hands as the life left him.

Roaring in anger, Doug raised his lance and thrust it towards Friar Flavius, managing to inflict 3 damage in spite of the Friar’s attempt to block with a high guard.

Both failed to notice Teetoe, who crept towards the edge of the board and jumped off the edge to join her companion The Fencer, bringing the faeries total of ‘safe’ Moonstones to three.

Teetoe faerie moonstone the game

Oblivious, and eager to avoid further attacks (and further damage…) Friar Flavius retreated a couple of steps away, before closing his eyes and Healing himself of the damage he had just taken, much to the disgust of Doug who stood furiously considering whether he’d prefer a Moonstone, or a bit more melee action…

Gases and Cries – Round 4

Whilst Doug the Flatulent stood nearby, lost in contemplation, Grub decided to abandon the Moonstone he’d been guarding in favour of reopening his Wyrm Hole and once again vanishing, reappearing a step or two before the Moonstone dropped by the Firespitter, and also – less happily – right next to Baron Von Fancyhat. Defiance shining from his rather beady eyes, Grub jogged to stand right next to the Moonstone, before turning his oddly steely gaze towards the Baron. Secateurs held threateningly in front of him, he thrust them towards von Fancyhat and was met with a critical signature falling swing, followed up with a devastating critical rising attack. His last thoughts as he tumbled towards the Moonstone he had come so close to acquiring related not to the gooey goblin blood pouring from his numerous longsword wounds, but rather to wondering how, in all this fighting and fuss, the Baron’s hat looked still so remarkably unruffled.

With two of the goblin troupe of three now slain, Brunhilde endeavoured to make it three for three, and thrust her blades towards Doug the Flatulent, causing 2 damage despite his valiant attempt to block with a high guard.

Sighing, Gwendoline once again stepped forward and gave aid to her ally, using Rejuvenate to restore his health and move him away from danger… and in fact towards the Moonstone which had until very recently been right next to the [then still alive] Grub.

Nodding in thanks and looking vaguely abashed, Doug stepped forward to pick up the sixth Moonstone, adding it to his original harvest to give himself a health total of two of the precious rocks. Turning triumphantly, he let out a celebratory fart in the direction of Brunhilde and Friar Flavious, his foul gases not enough to take them down, but still every bit noxious enough to do a bit of damage nonetheless.

Holding his nose with one hand in disgust, Baron Von Fancyhat bent over the lifeless body of Grub and delicately harvested the seventh and final moonstone, jogging away somewhat jubilantly, feathered hat flapping, before uttering a rallying cry in the direction of Friar Flavious to assist in his recovery from the stench (and restoring him back to full energy, at the same time).

Feeling eminently better, Friar Flavious windmilled towards Doug the Flatulent with a falling swing, only to be met with a falling swing of Doug’s own – both doing no damage at all, except maybe to pride.

In a final attempt to rid the goblins of their booty, the Friar once again raised his weapon to let forth a rising attack on the goblin and his dog, being met with a thrust from the rather long lance that the goblin was wielding, doing a mediocre amount of damage of 2 to Doug the Flatulent who in turn did 3 to Friar Flavious. Panicking, Friar Flavious raised his hands in case of retaliation and pulled off a limply effected high guard, just as Doug the Flatulent raised his own limbs to form a low guard of his own.

The Final Victor

And as the humans and the goblins carried out their weirdly gyrating not-quite-melee dance – with two Moonstones apiece to gaze upon in between bouts of farting and flailing – and the Witches nowhere to be seen at all, the Faeries sat to one side and smiled secret little sardonic smiles as they quietly celebrated their win. 

 

Smart Ass

‘Good for people who are smart. Not so good for people who are ass’

That’s the feedback I got, when I asked at BoardGameClub last week.

Not very helpful though really, so here’s the more in depth look at why Smart Ass was enjoyed by everyone who played it:

  1. The rules are only two pages long
  2. It’s easy to pick up
  3. The die is awesome

Family Fun – the UK Games Expo Overview

Saturday 2nd June was a special day.

My brother would tell you that’s because it was his 30th birthday (and yes, that was pretty special). But what made it even better was that it was also a day filled with games. SO MANY GAMES. Two big halls of them, specifically.

Worth travelling all the way to Birmingham for, for sure.

The UK Games Expo 2018 took place over three days – the 1st to the 3rd June 2018 – and involved thousands of visitors, 300+ exhibitors, tournaments, a huge variety of games, and even a field full of vikings.

On the second day, I loaded three kids and a protesting partner into the car and insisted they give it a try.

Here’s what we found:

1. The UK Games EXPO is great for families

There were plenty of games to try. There was a dedicated kids roleplaying zone, and the kids games zone too, with lots of family friendly fun to try out. D discovered a whole new world of fun with Tails of Equestria, a My Little Pony D&D style storytelling RPG that sucked her in straight away. Looking forward to exploring that a bit more over the coming months! Oh, and there were multicoloured llama hats for sale. Not just for kids. Everyone loves a llama.

my little pony tails of equestria

2. Treasure hunts help keep kids happy

As an adult, I kind of wanted to peruse all the things on offer. Some things, the kids weren’t so keen on. So the ‘Beginners Guide’

3. Don’t slack on the snacks

There are places to get food. There are also big queues to get the food, and then to get the table to eat the food at. Basically, take food, and take drink. Or try and time your human needs for the times when other humans don’t have them.

4. You’ll find all creatures, big and small

Which is a reference to the size of games companies. Some of our favourite finds were games from very small companies we might never have known about otherwise. The kids loved 4 Elements, a

5. Your wallet might cry but you’ll still be smiling

With so much awesome stuff on offer it’s hard not to buy things. We found that cards were accepted in most cases when we wanted to buy, and whereas previously at such shows I’ve limited my purchase power by taking cash and that’s that when its gone, this time I found I spent more than planned just because it was so easy to whip out the plastic. Or paypal transferring. Modern technology does have benefits.

Worth it though, even though we might all be eating beans for the rest of the month.