Munchkin: Pandemic

Munchkin: Pandemic

Munchkin we don’t really play anymore. Pandemic, on the other hand, remains one of our all-time favourite games. But that doesn’t mean we’re above poking some gentle fun at it. It’s important to be able to maintain a sense of humour about things. This is probably more true the more sacred you hold something. Nothing should be above satire.

I don’t begrudge either Munchkin or Pandemic the number of versions and expansions they each boast. Both are great gateway games, and variations and licenses are only going to help them reach more people. Also, I’m a firm believer that if you don’t like or approve of a product, simply don’t buy it. Problem solved.

While I’m perfectly fine with Munchkin spawning new editions like disease cubes during an outbreak, as I said above, we don’t play it anymore. Pandemic, on the other hand, we continue to devour, like Shoggoth spawning in a crowd of innocents. And in all fairness to the game (brand?), we haven’t come across a bad edition yet. Each brings something different, and interesting, to the board, and none feel like a mere re-skin or cash-in. We’ve played and loved Cthulhu, Iberia, Legacy, On the Brink, The Cure – and we haven’t even gotten through all of the expansions/iterations yet, and our campaign of Legacy is one of our all-time great board gaming experiences.

Thoughts? Opinions? Favourite versions of Pandemic? Think there are too many versions of Pandemic?

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Pandemic: The Cure?

Writer_smallerPandemic: The Cure?

This is, more or less, a comic about how there very nearly wasn’t a comic this week. Moreover, it is a comic about why this is a comic featuring just one character in a simple setting talking to a bed, as opposed to another ‘actual’ character. In other words, it was as much as could be done once Aileen had recovered.

It is also a true story. Thankfully, Aileen is entirely better now, thanks in no small part to board games. So from here on out it’s regular, weekly updates. Also, in case anyone is concerned, the stick I wield in panel 5 is not normally used to test the level of sickness/wellness in Aileen. It is actually my editor’s stick, and is generally used to make sure comics are made on time. The manner in which the stick is used for both purposes is, however, surprisingly similar.

Started 2017 by kicking a big game off our bucket list – we finally played 7 Wonders. Not the all-new, all-fancy Duel, mind you, just regular old-fashioned 7 Wonders, which is one of those games that we had somehow managed to avoid playing up until this point.

I enjoyed it. It’s a really nice engine-building system, with a great theme and artwork to back it up. There’s interesting decisions to be made with almost every hand, and it has a surprisingly fast play time for how much ‘game’ you get out of it. The game goes through three ‘ages’, wherein you pass your hand of cards around the table, picking one card to keep at a time, laying each chosen card in front of you to further your civilisation. Sort of like Sushi Go, but with pyramids.

Cards will earn money, resources, or just take you straight to victory points. As the ages pass, the cards get more expensive, but if you’ve been doing your job right, your earlier efforts will have laid a sufficient foundation of resources to pay for these cards. As you expand, you can choose to specialise in science, commerce, civilisation, or war. It’s a mix of planning, and adapting to your hand as you are dealt it, and it’s a mix that it gets right.

After two plays, it’s a game that I do want to go back to, but I also feel its lifespan will be somewhat limited for me. On paper, it’s a game with huge replayability – there appear to be a lot of viable strategies, and what will work in any given game will depend on the cards you are dealt, and of course the cards your neighbours will choose to either take or pass along to you.

Where it falls down for me is player interaction. 7 Wonders does have it, but it feels almost like an afterthought – just a box that was ticked, rather than an element that was integral to the design. You can purchase resources that you don’t produce yourself from your direct neighbours (i.e. the players to your left and right), but it’s a set transaction they have no choice in.

At the end of each age, military strength is compared to your neighbours, and victory points are either rewarded or deducted. Interaction is present, but it just doesn’t feel very deep, even for a relatively quick card game. It is definitely a game I like, and one I want to play and explore more, it’s just not a game I’m super-excited about. Maybe it’s just a game that suffers from its own hype, and had it not been built up so much I would have enjoyed it more? Impossible to tell, but maybe it will grow on me over time.

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No Sleep ’till Eradication

Writer_smallerNew Comics Resume Next Week!

No new comic this week! After two great guest comics and a Christmas special, we are taking one week off before throwing ourselves once more into the unforgiving arms of a weekly comic update schedule. Unforgiving, but nonetheless rewarding, challenging, creative & fun. As ever, the guest comics and the time off has allowed us to recharge our creative batteries, and we do feel that this allows us to make better comics. It also allows us time to play more games, which we think is pretty great as well.

We also now have an Instagram account! Our account is twpcomic – just a couple of posts so far while we figure it out, but we would really appreciate it if you could give us a follow. You can also find us on twitter via the same handle – @twpcomic. The Tiny Wooden Pieces New Year’s Resolution is in fact to do a lot more on social media this year, so you will find a lot of our ramblings, thoughts, unsolicited opinions, sketches, games we’re playing and pictures of dogs we think look like famous people on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook this year.

So, until next week, we hope you all had some lovely time off, and got to spent some time with friends & loved ones. And if that time was spent playing board games with them, then all the better. As far as we are concerned, there is no better way to spend your time than playing games with good friends, and our own personal New Year’s Resolution is to spend more of our time doing exactly that.

Happy New Year!

Writer_smallerGuest week

The last of this year’s guest comics bring the return of Dave and Roselyn, as they continue to discover the wonders, or dangers, of board games. The comic was illustrated by the brilliant Damien Duncan, and, of course, written by Dave himself. And Dave was also kind enough to contribute a blog post this week as well.

Next week we are actually taking a week off. I gotta put my hand up and say we messed up our scheduling and guest comics, and realised too late that we didn’t have a comic ready for next week, and most of our week will be spent visiting my folks at home in Kerry. Rather than do a rush job on a comic, we decided to take the week off, as putting up a half-ass comic is the only thing I can think of that is worse than missing a week of updates.

So I apologise in advance, but we will return in earnest in 2017, full of renewed energy and enthusiasm. Thanks for sticking with us for another year, and if you would be so kind as to join us again in 2017, we would consider it an honour.

 

DaveGuest Blog!

Hi everyone, happy holidays! Firstly, thank you to Colin and Aileen for letting me loose on their comic again, and thank you to Damian for doing such an awesome job with this strip.

This is, in fact, a true story. I agonised for a long time over changing the ending to make it funnier, but in the end I had to go with what really happened. My lovely, chilled out, completely uncompetitive wife discovered we could lose against a board game and something inside her snapped. Suddenly she needed to win more than a Russian Olympian. I suppose I should be grateful we only took three attempts to win and cure the world. Otherwise, we could still be there!

My wife is not crazy, she would like you all to know that, apparently. However, if you would like to see her proven wrong, tell Colin you would like to hear about our recent attempt at the new board game, Labyrinth.

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Season’s greetings 2015

Artist_christmasHappy Christmas

Christmas is a busy time for us all, and even folks at the CDC need some time to kick back and relax. Speaking of which, I am eternally grateful for our amazing guest comics over the past three weeks – if you haven’t seen them yet, check them out here, here, and here. There’s no way I could have put a comic out each week, what with end of semester assignments and working in an exam hall – but those busy weeks made it especially nice to come back for this week’s Christmas special.

And now that Christmas is here, hopefully we might actually get back to playing some games again. And after seeing the new Star Wars, we are both dying to play X-Wing again. We started watching Rebels too, and I can’t wait until the Ghost Expansion Pack comes out with Wave VIII – I love those characters and I love that ship. In the meantime though, I’ll happily settle for dashing ace pilot Poe Dameron . . .

So that’s it for 2015 folks! Have a wonderful Christmas, play lots of games, and see you in the New Year!

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Priorities

Writer_smallerPriorities

After reading the comic, I was afraid it would come off as sarcastic, or cynical about the seemingly universal praise and attention that Pandemic Legacy is receiving. Let me be clear. I am, in real life, and not just in comic form, just this excited for Pandemic Legacy. I am an excitable person. Pandemic still ranks as one of, if not our actual favourite game, and the Legacy system is a brilliant way to really bring the theme and knife edge tension of the game to life.

Our Risk Legacy campaign is technically still ongoing, but only just. I’m not ready to call Time of Death on it yet, but it has been on life support for a while now. I don’t want to give up on it, but getting the group together, and putting Risk Legacy in front of every other game is increasing difficult the longer it goes between games. We may have to just start Pandemic Legacy and leave Risk in suspended animation.

Brief blog post this week, but on a final note, myself and Aileen will be taking a few weeks off over Christmas. However, we have an exciting plan brewing to keep the comics coming while we fatten ourselves on seasonal treats, oversleep, be merry, and try to peel off the couch long enough to set up a board game or two. So the website will update with new comics all over Christmas, even as we take some time to recharge our batteries and figure out some improvements for next year.

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Pandemic Legacy

Writer_smallerPandemic

A special thanks to board gaming legend Matt Leacock for agreeing to be part of this week’s comic. As well as a great designer he’s apparently a good sport as well. On top of this he’s designing a new Thunderbirds game, something I’m hugely excited to play.

Pandemic was an important game for us. We were getting into the hobby, or at least getting more interested in it. We didn’t have any friends who played board games, and there were no local gaming groups we were aware of. I spent a good deal of time online researching what game to get, and came across Table Top. My brother had told me about Pandemic, but the theme seemed so … not fun. Scientists? Curing diseases? Why would I want to play a game about diseases. On paper it was not my cup of tea. But with the episode on Table Top I decided to at least watch it being played. So I watched the episode.

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