Friday, May 31, 2019

Tabletopper Friday - Lake Geneva May 2019 Tabletopping

As May 2019 comes to a close, I find myself at Nexus Game Fair, which is now in Brookfield, WI.  I think this will prove to be a good move for this convention.  I've been unable to go for more than a day the last couple of years but worked out some vacation time to go for a little longer this year but more on that next week.  For this post, I want to just look back over a few of the games I played that I didn't highlight along the way.  for a few of them, I didn't get pictures but I'll be more attentive next time, I hope.  Earlier this week, Jesse broke out his newly acquire copy of Machi Koro (2012).  It's a fast, little card game with some interesting challenges, an engine-building component, and just enough ways to mitigate the dice rolling aspect to keep it from feeling like you need to be lucky to win.  Granted, being lucky can help but it can be overcome by solid strategy, so I enjoyed it.  I guess Anthony, Rick, Jesse, and I owe some thanks to Dennis for putting it in the Blind Auction for Jesse to win.

We got Rise of Augustus (2013) back to the table early this month.  I like to call this Roman Bingo.  It's amazing how tense it can get hoping your needed symbol is drawn from the bag before someone else gets what they need.  Great fun!

I've already mentioned Architects of the West Kingdom (2018) in other posts and I played it a lot the last couple of months but I don't doubt I will play it more throughout the summer.  It's a clever game but I think it is going to need some expansions to keep it fresh beyond a few more plays.  In this instance, we were happy Tom's longtime friend Mike Bell was in town to join us.  Don't ask him what the "A" on his hat stands for because it seems to change with some frequency.  Later in the month, but before getting in that game at the Pizza Ranch, Tom, Brad, and I knocked out yet another game of Architects!

There was also a good deal of Love Letter, Magic the Gathering, Stone Age, and more squeezed in at one time or another but it's time to gear up for a lot of boardgaming and card play at Nexus Game Fair, so I say, So long," to May and look forward to gaming in June.  Go, Cubbies!

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nostalgia Thursday - Fief: France 1429 (2015)

Of course, I've played and posted about Fief: France 1429 (2015) before but it feels like forever since I've played so when I managed to wrangle a Sunday off so I could join Wayne and the gang at A Gathering of Gamers at the Elkhorn Pizza Ranch on Third Sunday, and when he further decided Fief was hitting the table, I jumped to grab one of the open seats.

The reason this under Nostalgia Thursday is because it is based on a game that was first published as Fief (1981), revised and republished as Fief 2 (1989), trotted out again as the revised and streamlined Fief (2011), then finally upgraded and published in its current rendition.  I'll describe our Fief game a bit more toward the end of this post but first allow me to recap some of what else what played at A Gathering of Gamers in May.

When I arrived just after 11 am, Wayne had Francis Drake (2013) ready to go with Curtis, Creed, and Rob.  I've never had much luck with this game, so I didn't jump in on it and opted to join some others for an early game of something else, planning to rejoin that table for Fief in the second half of the day.

Instead, my day began with a game of Architects of the West Kingdom (2018), which I've played quite a bit lately but still enjoy quite a bit.  I played with Tom Wham along with Julie and Chris who I love gaming with whenever I can.  They're both tough opponents whether we play something we've played before or even something new to them!

Robie had a crew playing Clank! In Space! (2017) which I have yet to play but looks like a lot of fun.

Rich, Carl, and John joined one another for some Root (2018) which John can't seem to get enough of.

Laura, Nancy, Joe, James, and Brad were adding in some tech to a game of something, perhaps, Cthulhu-esque, or maybe horror-oriented, I am not sure.

Wendy presented a mystery game to Harold and company a bit later but first played some Power Grid (2004).

But, finally, Wayne got Fief: France 1429 (2015) to the table and I crowded Wayne's opening position to pressure him into an early alliance.  My penchant for only drawing female nobles, and the lack of them early on elsewhere in the game, helped me convince him to wed one of his lords to my first lady.  Because he also had military pressure from the far side of the board, he never thought it would suit him to break our alliance, and we wound up with a shared victory.  Creed and Curtis both played great for their first time but were severely hindered by bad dice rolls both during conflicts and when resolving events.  I think their lead units were either decimated by famine or stymied by bad weather two out of every three turns.  It left Wayne and me the opportunity to build a tremendous economy in the west and top out our armies, then seize the throne for a final victory point.  It was a trial by fire for those two fellas and I dare say they will be out for blood when next we meet.

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wargaming Wednesday - Chaos Wars with Michael Shorten

A couple of Saturdays ago, I took a trip down to The Gift of Games, a fine FLGS in Grayslake, IL, where Michael Shorten was set up to run a Chaos Wars demo.  Chaos Wars is a set of Medieval Fantasy miniatures rules originally put forth by Ral Partha Enterprises and now revived by Iron Wind Metals.  They had started off being known as Rules According to Ral but have been updated a bit over the years.  You can download the free rules from their website download section.  the minis, you need to purchase but they're quite reasonable and have that Old School feeling to them, being true 25 mm figures, as you might suspect.

Tim has a clean shop that is a lot more open than the previous game store that utilized this space (Unique Gifts and Games).

Gaming toward the back with retail space in front and plenty of both.

He's got some fancy tables with inset play areas, too.

It was a little eerie seeing Chewbacca guarding the exit only a week and a half after Peter Mayhew had passed.

It was a rainy day outside but we were playing a minis wargame so all was right with the world.

Ed stopped by to check out the action.

And Chris, who also plays in Michael's regular D&D game popped in too.

When I arrived, Michael was just completing the set up and since the forces of evil happened to be nearer, I felt obliged to play them.

The way he had each unit on a 3 x 5 and the spell cards ready for casting made the demo quite smooth.

Michael sets a fine table with just enough terrain to make things interesting without hindering game play.  One can't slow the goblins down with forest terrain anyway.

He has a great collection of figures, all painted and based to perfection.  He sent a flying panther in to try and harass my wizard early on but my archers had some great dice and peppered it from the sky.

I played a little cat-and-mouse to get as much damage out of my artillery as I could without allowing my infantry, archers, or cavalry within range of his siege engines.

I used my quicker troops to draw some of his forces to my left . . . then ran full on to the far right side of the battlefield, bringing the forest into play for my goblins, while tempting him to divide his forces to either side of it.

As he moved forward, toward me, I rearranged my troops to try and gain some strength advantages.

With my cavalry and heavy orc troops to my left, and my goblins to the right (being supported my some ogres), I edged a little closer being careful to keep at least a single move away from his fastest units.

His open formation gave me a chance to try and steal a march on him and force some advantageous match ups for me.

When I finally got initiative, I moved my goblins through the forest and engaged his left, bringing my archers forward to do a little more damage to his cavalry.  The archers were chewed up but not before some excellent rolling halved his horse.

As time ran down on our scenario, we were both taking heavy losses and some good dice either way could have sealed the deal for either of us.

Michael was kind enough to grant me a couple of minis from his unpainted figures box and I chose a couple of "flesh golems," or at least that is what I intend to use them as.  Thanks, Michael Shorten, for being an excellent demo instructor and thanks to Tim of The Gift of Games for hosting the event!

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Terrain Tuesday - Constructing Forts and Towers w/ James Wappel

It's been a while since I posted regularly on this corner of the CMG Blog Triad, but the resourceful James Wappel has a new video on building towers and fortifications, and this needed sharing.

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly to cover
3D tabletop pieces made from foam, felt, and other materials.
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Monday, May 27, 2019

Minis & Modeling Monday - The Army Painter Warpaints: Mega Paint Set 2017

I've been getting the itch to do some painting and crafting again so I picked up a fresh set of paints from The Army Painter.  I ordered the set through Lake Geneva Games to garner the special order 20% discount, since it isn't something we generally keep on the shelf.  We stock the individual Reaper Master Series paint line, which I love, but so many of my old paints were suspect so I thought buying a big set to jump back in would be a good idea.  In the end I chose The Army Painter Warpaints: Mega Paint Set 2017.  I also got some brushes, a citadel paint handle, an inexpensive paint carrying case, and a wet palette (something new for me!).  Hopefully, I can start to slap some paint on some minis soon.  I've got oodles of figures I've picked up over the years with plans to someday paint them, so I just need to decide and make the time.

In fact, I think I have just the figure in mind.  It's an old one I got in a small lot at a Games Plus auction maybe a decade ago and it's the same sculpt I used long ago (c. 1980s) as a regular NPC henchman or hireling because he doesn't brandish a weapon and is outfitted with a backpack and numerous pouches and other gear.  I used to jokingly refer to him as The Patsy, in part as a homage of King Arthur's coconut-wielding sidekick in Monty Python's Holy Grail and also because I would often target him first if the group was ambushed or when they sprung a trap.  He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways, despite him not being Brave Sir Robin.  I'm quite happy to listen to any advice you might have on this renewed effort, so please chime in!

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