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MDM – Investigative journalism

MDM – Investigative journalism published on 6 Comments on MDM – Investigative journalism

Writer_smallerMarvel Dice Masters

‘The big retailers got all the copies’.

‘They are purposefully short-shipping to create demand’.

People love a conspiracy, or any kind of story. The simple fact is that Marvel Dice Masters is a product that meets at an almost unique crossroads of demand right now. Gaming is going through a boom, so there’s that.  It’s a collectible game, those are particularly big right now. As though that wasn’t enough, it’s based around Marvel superheroes. How big are they right now? Have you been to the cinema lately? And finally, just to ensure no-one escapses, the booster packs are a Dollar. Just one. One Dollar! Who’s not gonna walk into a games store and not pick up one booster. Or two, or three, or more. I mean, c’mon. They’re a Dollar.

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Problems at home

Problems at home published on 7 Comments on Problems at home

Writer_smallerProblems at home

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome my family to the site (hi guys!). Settle in, find a seat – not too close to the back, sit where you can see, please. To our returning guests, thanks for coming again, we hope you found the comic to your taste, and we’re glad you decided to stay for the blog posts as well. Not everyone does. This week we’re going to be talking about getting others into the hobby. But don’t worry, we won’t keep you too long. Just a brief chat, and then you can get back to work. I promise I won’t tell the boss you’ve been spending your morning looking at webcomics.

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Harsh realities

Harsh realities published on 5 Comments on Harsh realities

Writer_smallerGalaxy Trucker

Galaxy Trucker is a favourite of ours. We’ve never failed to have a blast (sorry ships) playing it. It took a long time to find a comic to do about it though. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, sometimes strips are easy, jumping fully formed from the rulebook. The problem with Galaxy Trucker was that it is already a funny game. A very funny game. It is hilarious in design, theme, artwork, rules and gameplay.

Its space-faring, ship construction theme is grounded by the players working for ‘Corporation Incorporated’, an interplanetary supplier of sewer systems and low-income housing. Instead of building expensive ships to transport their cut-price cargo to the farthest reaches of the stars, the company hit upon the brilliant idea of simply making their ships from the cargo, and dismantling them upon arrival. Given the nature of the ships, of course, arrival is not guaranteed. And that’s the fun of the game.

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Bags – A pain we all know

Bags – A pain we all know published on 1 Comment on Bags – A pain we all know

Writer_smallerIt’s all those tiny wooden pieces…

It goes without saying, of course, that the comic represents an exaggerated version of the truth. In Ireland, police don’t carry guns. But the endless search for baggies, the frustration at a terrible component to bag ratio lurking under the lid of a new purchase, hours spending popping open old games, desperately searching, cupboards raided, Tupperware stolen… I’m sure I don’t need to go on, dear reader. We’ve all been there.

The flipside of this is of course the joy of a good inlay. Opening a box and knowing, just knowing that all the components, cards, miniatures, dice, counters, more cards will all nestle snugly into the plastic tray. Games the likes of Splendor, which, while oversized to be sure, deserves a prize for its perfect inlay, let alone gameplay. Why publishers don’t put a little more care into providing package for their games is a puzzle. Maybe even a game… No? OK, too much of a stretch. I’ll leave it there, then.

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Elder Sign – Not enough hours in the day

Elder Sign – Not enough hours in the day published on 1 Comment on Elder Sign – Not enough hours in the day

Writer_smallerElder Sign

Sometimes comics are difficult to write; with ideas forming only after hours of play and conversation on a game. But sometimes the ideas are easier to come by. Sometimes they are right there in the rulebook, waving a flag and jumping off the page. For those unfamiliar with the game, there is a clock mechanic (a really good one) in Elder Sign. It gives a great sense of pace and impending Lovecraftian doom to the game. Every time the clock strikes midnight, bad things happen. But to quote the rulebook:

Each time the clock reaches “XII”, midnight strikes. There is no “noon” in Elder Sign, as the investigators have to sleep sometime and leave the museum during its business hours.

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Splendor – The lure of gems

Splendor – The lure of gems published on 1 Comment on Splendor – The lure of gems


“The most prestigious prize in gaming” is something you will have been reading a lot this week.  The Spiel de Jahre has been awarded for an incredible 35 years now and is a shoe-in for the industry’s highest, and most high-profile accolade.

What’s wonderful about this is that the prize is awarded to a very specific category of games. It is aimed at rewarded those games that are perfectly positioned to get more people playing games. Family-friendly, lightweight offerings that can act as gateways to the hobby. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know by now how important getting others into the hobby, and keeping the hobby an open, friendly environment is to us at Tiny Wooden Pieces, so nothing makes me happier than to say that this is a hobby where the most-talked about prize recognises the importance of just that. Of allowing more people to discover and play games.

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Eclipse – A heavy price

Eclipse – A heavy price published on 3 Comments on Eclipse – A heavy price


Eclipse has the single darkest, most horrible mechanic of any board game I have played. Not the traitor card, though. Aside from being kind of hilarious, that is actually a great mechanic. Eclipse handles alliances very well, making them a functioning mechanic in-game, not just a hand-shake agreement between players. There are tangible benefits to being in an alliance (diplomatic relations, as the rules refer to it) with another player. Of course, it also means you can’t pass through their territory, not unless you want to earn the stamp of a betrayer. Attaching a stigma to treachery is thematically very sound, and backing it up with minus victory points works very well.

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Zombicide – Practical survival wear for the zombie apocalypse

Zombicide – Practical survival wear for the zombie apocalypse published on 12 Comments on Zombicide – Practical survival wear for the zombie apocalypse

Writer_smallerOn a more serious note

I hate that guy at the counter of the comic shop who rolls his eyes when someone comes up with a copy of the Walking Dead volume 1. That guy who only thought it was cool when no-one had heard of it, and has no time for newcomers, dilettantes, and people just dipping their toes into the hobby. The guy who is arrogant, condescending to new customers, and generally just ignorant. I have nothing but contempt for the shop owner who allows his staff to chase away new business; to actively discourage people from taking up the hobby. I love comics as much as I do board games, and I want everyone to play games and read comics. I want to share my hobbies, to open their worlds up to everyone who is interested.

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Love Letter

Love Letter published on 1 Comment on Love Letter

Writer_smallerLove Letter

Some counters – they are just there to keep track of score. 4 reference cards – convenient, but far from essential. After that you have 16 cards and a lovely velvet-y pouch to carry them in. That’s it. 16 cards that manage to add up to a game that is easy to teach, quick to play, and a great balance of deduction and luck. Continue reading Love Letter

Expansion Creep

Expansion Creep published on No Comments on Expansion Creep

Writer_smallerThe iconic isle of Catan

I don’t think this will be our last visit to the island of Catan. Like it or not, the island is engrained forever in gaming culture. 19 years later and it’s still the iconic poster child for the board game hobby. Many now see it as dated, surpassed and improved upon enough to be made redundant, but Catan remains, for me, an elegant, well-crafted and almost-always enjoyable game. It’s not one that’s brought to the table very often at a games night, but as a gateway game – something to show people that board games mean more than just Monopoly – Catan has always served well. Continue reading Expansion Creep

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