Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Terrain Tuesday - Milliput

Milliput is a versatile material that is often used with miniatures to build up a section or fill in a gap but it is just as useful for terrain work. Over on coloureddust.com.pl, part five of their Modeling Materials series focused on Milliput here.

Also, on milliput.com, they have a how to page here.

Finally, on the Scale War Machines YouTube channel, they have a video on How to Use Milliput Putty.  Enjoy!

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadlyto cover
3D tabletop pieces made from foam, felt, and other materials.
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Monday, May 2, 2016

Minis & Modeling Monday - Fur, Leather, & Paper

Over on Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic YouTube channel, a new video shows us "How to Paint Fur on Miniatures."  Nifty!

Also, on the Tabletop Minions YouTube channel, they explain "How to Paint Cracked Leather [on] Painting With the Pro."  Enjoy!

Finally, on the British Pathé YouTube channel, they shared a video from half a century ago on "Model Paper Soldiers (1960)."  Nostalgic!

A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop.
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Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Sunday Miscellanea - Five Tribes (2014)

Even after having some interest in Five Tribes (2014) a year ago when it first made a big splash, it took this long to get it to the table locally.  Still, we did wind up playing a bunch of games recently include a couple of two- and a couple of four-player games.  It's a thinker and a good one for collections.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala. The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs! The oracles foretold of strangers who would maneuver the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state. Will you fulfill the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns and move the Tribes into position at the right time, and the Sultanate may become yours!
Designed by Bruno Cathala, Five Tribes builds on a long tradition of German-style games that feature wooden meeples. Here, in a unique twist on the now-standard "worker placement" genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure.
As befitting a Days of Wonder game, the rules are straightforward and easy to learn. But devising a winning strategy will take a more calculated approach than our standard fare. You need to carefully consider what moves can score you well and put your opponents at a disadvantage. You need to weigh many different pathways to victory, including the summoning of powerful Djinns that may help your cause as you attempt to control this legendary Sultanate.

We had fun with both two and four players but this one is particular good as a one-on-one contest with a well-matched opponent.  It's also good to set some ground rules regarding meeple placement and the length of time, regardless of player number, if you want to finish quickly or play several time in an afternoon or evening.  This is a game that can bring out the analysis paralysis in folks and is likely to have some players wanting to redo something they just did, which can cause a lot of problems during play.  Players can forget to more their turn markers, too, so my buddy John came up with an elegant solution.  He suggested you mark where you are picking up your meeples with the turn marker when you first get them and once you place each meeple, it is placed for good.  No keeping a finger on a meeple and picking it back up.  That way lies madness.  Once the last meeple is placed for your action, you have to pick up the turn marker and put it on the track for next turn's bidding order, thus ending your turn.  This protocol ensures resolutions during each player's turn and helps folks from over-thinking and re-thinking turns.  Simple.  I gotta get this back on the table soon.

Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on MFWARS.com
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Systems Saturday - Castles of Mad King Ludwig (2014)

I didn't get to play the full game this time because something came up but I've played Castles of Mad King Ludwig (2014) a few times before and always enjoyed it.  Laura and Al stopped out for a Lake Geneva Games gameday and were part of a tight crowd of players that put game after game on the front table that day.  When I had to step away, I made sure another player took my place so the game could continue.  I hate when it happens but sometimes the choice isn't in your control.  I'm glad a spare player was nearby and willing to jump in.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria...one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he's commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he's building while also selling his services to other players.
In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards.
After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King's demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.

I love how this game is constantly shifting during play and how one can change their strategy and fate by picking up additional bonus goals.  Plus, it's just damned fun building a rambling castle.  Truly, a fun game!

A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Tabletopper Friday - Ora et Labora (2011)

We managed to get one more game of Ora et Labora (2011) to the table last week, this time it was with Tom and Wendy.  Wendy hadn't played before but Tom and I had played often enough now to make teaching the game to someone else fairly simple.  She had played Le Havre before, so some of the nomenclature was already at her commend.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
In Ora et Labora, each player is head of a monastery in the Medieval era who acquires land and constructs buildings – little enterprises that will gain resources and profit. The goal is to build a working infrastructure and manufacture prestigious items – such as books, ceramics, ornaments, and relics – to gain the most victory points at the end of the game.
Ora et Labora, Uwe Rosenberg's fifth "big" game, has game play mechanisms similar to his Le Havre, such as two-sided resource tiles that can be upgraded from a basic item to something more useful. Instead of adding resources to the board turn by turn as in Agricola and Le Havre, Ora et Labora uses a numbered rondel to show how many of each resource is available at any time. At the beginning of each round, players turn the rondel by one segment, adjusting the counts of all resources at the same time.
Each player has a personal game board. New buildings enter the game from time to time, and players can construct them on their game boards with the building materials they gather, with some terrain restrictions on what can be built where. Some spaces start with trees or moors on them, as in Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, so they hinder development until a player clears the land, but they provide resources when they are removed. Clever building on your personal game board will impact your final score, and players can buy additional terrain during the game, if needed.
Players also have three workers who can enter buildings to take the action associated with that location. Workers must stay in place until you've placed all three. You can enter your own buildings with these workers, but to enter and use another player's buildings, you must pay that player an entry fee so that he'll move one of his workers into that building to do the work for you.
Ora et Labora features two variants: France and Ireland.

We played the French variant of the game which adds grapes and wine to the mix as well as bread.  I focused more on buildings that produce prestigious items and upgrades them, so I spent less time looking at buildings.  I think there were some points left on the table from buildings I could have had and that might give other players easy meat to pick up, so I need to be more careful in that regard.  I did get all of the top Settlements, so that worked out well but their placement could still be tweaked to get maximum points out of the buildings I place.  Still, it was a very good outcome even with such room for improvement.

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nostalgia Thursday - Guillotine (1998)

I've only played Guillotine (1998) a few times, and only in the last five years.  It's a fun little game and the packaging is clever, in that the titular device also acts as a spacer within the box to keep the cards in place.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
The French Revolution is famous in part for the use of the guillotine to put nobles to death, and this is the macabre subject of this light card game. As executioners pandering to the masses, the players are trying to behead the least popular nobles. Each day the nobles are lined up and players take turns killing the ones at the front of the line until all the nobles are gone. However, players are given cards which will manipulate the line order right before 'harvesting,' which is what makes the game interesting. After three days worth of chopping, the highest total carries the day.

No need to say much about this game.  It's easy to pick up and learn.  The text on each card guides your strategies.  And there isn't all that much text, so the game proceeds quickly.  If you see this one in your FLGS, pick up a copy because you won't be disappointed.

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wargaming Wednesday - Campanica, Fort Lee, & More

Over on blmablog.com, Big Lee Hadley treats us to a battle report of a game with his daughter (who tents her fingers in evil glee) titled "The Battle of Campanica" here.

Also, on theangrylurker.blogspot.ie, we get a peek at the wonderful antics of Francis Lee and friends with Part Two of his Fort Lee Battle Report here.

Finally, on chirinesworkbench.blogspot.com, a week full of wargaming is recounted here.

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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