Friday, October 31, 2014

Tabletopper Friday - Port Royal (2014)

There are tons of new reworked games being heralded in the wake of the Essen Game Faire and one of them is Port Royal (2014).  I am particularly intrigued by this one because of the mechanic of using the same deck for two mechanics, one side of each card have a portion of the game on it while the other all have a single coin image, the latter being used for currency in the game.  I've seen this elsewhere, as in the game Oddville (2012), and find it pretty neat.  The game is currently getting good momentum with German and Japanese language versions and English coming out as we speak.  Below, I am including both the Board Games Geek demo video from Essen as well as a German language video from Pegasus Spiele themselves.

Here is the game description from Board Game Geek:
The merchant players in Port Royal, which won the Austrian Game Designers Competition under the title Händler der Karibik, are trying to earn as much as they can out of the Caribbean Sea, but if they set their goals too high, they might take home nothing for the day.
The 120-card deck depicts a coin on the back of each card — with players earning and paying coins throughout the game — and different items on the card fronts. On a turn, a player can first draw as many cards as he likes, one at a time from the deck, placing them in the harbor (an area near the deck). Each card shows one of the following:
  • Person, who stays in a face-up row next to deck.
  • Ship, which the player can attack immediately if he has enough swords on his people cards, after which the ship is discarded; otherwise, the ship stays in the harbor.
  • Expedition, which remains above the harbor until a player fulfills it by discarding people who have the items required for the expedition.
  • Tax Increase, which forces everyone with twelve or more coins to discard half their money, after which the card is discarded.
If the player draws a ship with the same name as a ship already in the harbor, he's spent too much time dilly-dallying and his turn ends (after using the ship to attack, if possible), with all the cards in the harbor being discarded. Otherwise, the player can stop whenever he likes, then use/acquire one card if three or fewer ships are in the harbor, two cards if four ships are present, and three cards if five ships are present. Players rob ships, collecting the number of coins shown on them, then discarding the card, while they hire people, paying the number of coins depicted. After the active player takes his 1-3 cards, each other player may pay the active player one coin in order to take one card in the same way.
When one player has at least twelve influence points — which are on both people and expedition cards — and has fulfilled at least one expedition, the game is played to the end of the round, giving everyone the same number of turns, then the player with the most influence points and at least one Expedition wins. Alternatively, a player can win without fulfilling an expedition, but he needs to have more points in order to do so.
• Port Royal differs from Händler der Karibik in that it includes ten more cards to allow for play with up to five players and players can win without fulfilling an expedition.

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nostalgia Thursday - Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy Wargaming

If you haven't read it, check out the article on the Swords & Dorkery blog titled "Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy Wargaming."  See more here.

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wargaming Wednesday - Miniature Minions Blog

Over on the Miniature Minions blog, you can find all sorts of great photos of minis painted up for tabletop battles.  While the initial description states "Miniature Minions is devoted to my armies based for De Bellis Antiquitatis and its Napoleonic variant DBN." I have discovered that the site also caters a bit to Hordes of the Things (HOTT), a fantasy miniature wargame, published by Wargames Research Group, based on the DBA rules, and a particular favorite of my own.  Check out the blog here.

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Terrain Tuesday - Green Leaf Terrain, Elf Terrain, & Just Plug Lighting

On his YouTube channel, Miniwargamer Jay is highlighting Green Leaf Terrain.  Nice.

Also, Dream Spirit Wargaming's YouTube channel has a fresh video on a Wood Elf Terrzain set.  Good stuff.

Finally, Woodland is showing off the Just Plug lighting system on their YouTube channel.  Enjoy.

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Minis & Modeling Monday - Bits Boxes, Bases and Banners, & Battling Boats

James Wappel, on his Wappellious blog, recently reminded us to "Always eat your leftovers" as he showed us a way to make something from the bits box here.

Also, on the Fencing Frog blog, they treated us to a photo array of "Dark Age Bases and Banner."  See more here.

Finally, on the Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog blog, there are a boatload of photos from a recent wargaming naval battle from last month's "Against all Flags! - Pirates in September 2014 Event."  See more here.

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, October 26, 2014

The Sunday Miscellanea - How to Make Ink

Over on the Epic Fantasy YouTube channel, there is a video from earlier this month showing us "How to Make Ink fast and easy."  This might be a fun crafting project for gaming groups and Halloween enthusiasts.  Enjoy!

Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Systems Saturday - Shipyard (2009)

I've played Shipyard (2009) about a half dozen times and find it to be a complex but enjoyable game.  There are a lot of working parts in the game and not all of them are pulling in the same directions, like several machines sitting side by side, open to the eye, all necessary to the manufacturing plant, but needing different kinds of expertise to make it perform at top efficiency.  So, the massaging of the various Shipyard mechanics needs to happen in concert but requires a level of multitasking to lead to victory.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
We’re in 19th century, sea transport is more and more important. Both corporations and naval forces require newer and newer ships. Try to put yourself in the role of their manufacturers. Hire employees, buy accessories, get favour of evaluating committees. Don’t forget to rent a canal and you can heave anchor.
Players take turns, beginning with a randomly selected player and continuing around the table clockwise. On their turn, they will choose one of the available actions from the Action Track. The action will get the player something they need to help build their ships. On the player's next turn, they will move that Action Card ahead of all the others and choose a different action.
If a player completes a ship on their turn (ships consists of little cards depicting bows, sterns, and (preferably several) middle pieces with several options to add equipment or crew), it is taken out for a shakedown cruise in a canal, during which they may score points for speed, crew, equipment, or safety.
As players take their turns, the line of Action Cards will advance around the Action Track. When the lead Action Card reaches the Starting Space again, the countdown marker moves down one space, and play continues.
The game ends when the countdown marker reaches the finish space. (It can also end early if the players run out of Ship Cards.) Bonus points are scored for Government Contracts, and the player with the most points wins.
It's not a long game, taking under two hours for a few players, and that's part of the charm and frustration of Shipyard.  While you will be pleased with your successes, it's one of those games where you always will feel you could have improved your management, even when you win.  This is a keeper game for folks who like complexity and replayability in a base game that I don't think needs any expansions.  There is but one modification we've made to this game, and it seems to be a near-universal one, in that there is a ship building contract in the game, a hidden victory point mechanic, and we treat it as if the number "32" simply is not on it.  I think some folks pull the whole contract from play be we find this more moderate adjustment to be plenty enough.

A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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