Westeros Problems

Writer_smallerWhat are those rules again . . .?

It’s been a long time since we’ve managed a game of Game of Thrones, but we’re angling to get it to the table sometime soon. It’s heavy, but a really great game. One of the first really heavy games we ever bought. In terms of rules and game play, it does actual flow quite well, despite a chunky 30-page rulebook. All the different mechanics work quite well, and it makes for a really engaging session.

But ports, though. I don’t know why this is, but we always end up looking up ports during a game. They are a particular type of territory that seem to be an exception to every other rule in the game, and we can never quite remember exactly how they function. I’m never quite sure if this is because they are needlessly complex, or if the rules could be explained better. It is, by and large, a decent rulebook though.

Thinking about Game of Thrones and its weight always puts me in mind of Eclipse. That is a game that is just as complex (if not more so) but all the mechanics seem to knit so effortlessly together that we never have to look things up. The game just flows far better than a game of its type has any right to. You are researching technologies, upgrading your fleet, exploring and colonising systems and managing a basic economy, and it all just gels. It might be one of the truly great game designs in our collection, I think, and definitely worth a look if a 4X or sci-fi is your thing.

In news, this week, there have been so many Blood Bowl teasers, videos, and news that I may just explode like an over-inflated squig. Way back in my Warhammer years, I picked up a copy of Blood Bowl, and was a huge fan. Unfortunately, most of my time was spent trying to convince people to play it, as opposed to actually playing the damn game.

Luckily, this time around I seem to be surrounded by people who are as excited about the game as I am, so I will be going all in – as many teams and expansions as I can afford. I have heard a lot of great things about Guild Ball recently, and if it wasn’t for the re-release of Blood Bowl I would almost certainly have picked it up by now. But Blood Bowl is a classic, so Guild Ball will have to wait (until I meet someone with a copy willing to give me a demo game).

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Gone with the war games

Writer_smallerAnd happy New Year

Tiny Wooden Pieces returns! Or rather, we return to our scheduled programming. I had a lot of fun organising the guest comics over Christmas, and loved having so many great people on the site. The reaction seems to have been positive, so it’s already in motion for next Christmas, and for a break myself and Aileen will need to take during the year.

Meanwhile, it’s good to be back in the driving seat, re-discovering how much fun it is to make comics with Aileen, and having so much fun poking fun at the hobby we both love so much.

Which brings me nicely back to the comic. I’m not there yet, but fool that I am, the call of Bolt Action is strong. It’s seems to be a nicely realised war game with a genuinely affordable buy-in. It covers World War II (hence the B&W style of today’s comic), which for me is a particularly arresting period of history. The miniatures seem to cover every army, faction, period, and armament of the conflict, offering a nicely broad range of styles and strategies to choose from. I still have a range of paints and brushes from the last time I gave Necromunda a go. But of course, I also have a half-painted gang from that time as well.

Interestingly, today’s comic is sort of a reverse version of Dave’s comic from a few weeks ago.

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Star Wars: Armada

Writer_smallerStar Wars: Armada

A Star Wars ship combat game on the scale of Armada probably appeals more to me than X-Wing. The more salient concern, however, is all the X-Wings on our gaming shelf, unmarked by combat. Rarely ever flown at all, in fact. Turns out the downside of a collectible or a miniatures game is less the expense, and more the time required to play it over and again with all the additions and expansions. With so many incredible games being released all the time, it’s harder and harder to get replay value out of the games we already own. Of course, this is a problem entirely of our own making. And it’s a lack of restraint that is the main ingredient of that problem. There are just so many good games out there. We haven’t even gotten around to buying Imperial Assault yet, and our Risk: Legacy campaign is currently experiencing a ceasefire. Not a truce, or even negotiations. It’s just looking like we might be embedded for a while longer than first anticipated. Bloody great game, though.


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A shared loss

Writer_smallerA shared loss

“I’m just protecting my borders!”

We have all heard it, and we have all said it. Entrenched in Risk: Legacy campaign I’m hearing it quite a lot these days, sometimes even from my own mouth.

The difference is of course, when I say it, it’s true.

This comic is based on an infamous game of regular Risk (not the Legacy kind) where myself and my friend Ger expended so much effort intentionally aggravating each other that Aileen had very little trouble in sneaking up on us both and winning in about the time it took you to read this far into my blog post.


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Inherent Risk

Writer_smallerInherent Risk

Back in the days when I played Games Workshop, Necromunda was always my favourite of their releases. Because of the campaign. Your army was but a small gang, who levelled up, took injuries, got more equipment, fought for leadership. From game to game a story was told. You were playing with characters, not just miniatures. If they were killed, it was a big deal. This was a named fighter, who had scars, skills, hates, experience and equipment uniquely his own. And a good gang fighter was expensive to replace. Unless you went with a juve, which was the Necromunda equivalent of a child soldier, I‘ve just realised.



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Game of Thrones – What a difference a season makes

Writer_smallerWhat a difference a season makes

If season four of Game of Thrones taught us anything, it’s that Tyrion doesn’t have the field to himself when it comes to Westeros’ Man of the Year awards (at least amongst fans, in Westeros itself, Geoffrey buys the accolade every year). From a House that hadn’t much mention, let alone screen time on the series to date, came one of the show’s more memorable characters. The Red Viper of Dorne single-handedly managed to spark interest in that Southern part of the Game of Thrones board game map. Of course, those who have read the novels will argue and counter this point, but as soon as anyone who has read ahead opens their mouth I stick my fingers in my ears to avoid spoilers, and so remain happily oblivious to their protestations.


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