Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Starshield Boardgaming Knights Search for the Elder Sign Only to Find a Death Angel

This past Monday at our weekly gaming session we, the Starshield Gaming Society, came together to prevent a great extra-planar evil from breaking through the veil to our world. This fearsome Great Old One was poised to enter our world through a gate in the Arkham Museum. Were the efforts of the Starshield Gaming Society and their Investigators enough to prevent the unthinkable? Read on and see...

Here is the initial setup with Midnight approaching...

I was playing Vicent Lee. Here he is with my Dreamlands Trophy...

Victory against the Great Old One, Yog-Sothoth, was ours. The world was once again safe...

From the haunting and terrifying realm that is Arkham, Massachusetts to the tense terror of a floating Space Hulk we went...

This was my first game using the new Marines from the Expansion Pack. Playing with 7 players (14 Space Marines), was pretty awesome. We played with the 6-player beginning location and that seemed to work just fine. I felt challenged and the Event Cards kept things interesting.

We lost several of our brothers before packing up the game for the night. We still had the 3rd and 4th locations to go, but the night was growing late and many of us had miles to go...

I hope to return soon to the floating hulk to finish what we started.

The more I play these two games, the more I find myself wanting to play them. Good, good stuff...

Thank you for reading and until next time, may the dice fall your way and play, play, play!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Starshield Boardgaming Knights Stop by the 7 Wonders and see the Sign while fighting Quarriors

On Monday night, the Starshield Gaming Society assembled for our weekly game night. We opted for boardgames this week to give Weezoh time to prepare his Realms of Cthulhu  campaign beginning next Monday. As I have obtained several new tabletop games in the past months, I was all for it.

Of the various games I brought, it was my two newest that hit the table but not before we sat down to a game of 7 Wonders. I, of course, was stuck next to Iczer who tries to "starve out" his immediate opponents by not building resources they can use. Frustrating but a valid strategy. 

However, it didn't serve him well this game as Zoltar and I pummeled him. 

In the end I ended up tied for second with Grez. I was happy with that finish as it is my highest 7 Wonders finish yet. 

From 7 wonders we divided our eight members into two groups and broke out Quarriors! and Elder Sign. Since I was the only gamer there who had played the game, I was in charge of teaching and playing Elder Sign, which was fine with me as I enjoy that game immensely and had only played solo once before and wanted to see how it played in multi-player. It took me about 15 minutes to set up the board and explain the rules. Then we were off to lose some Sanity.

The first group was Zoltar, Grez, and Mage. I pulled Joe Diamond. The other characters were Mage: Mike McGlen , Zoltar: Darrell Simmons, Iczer: Mandy Thompson. 

We played against Yig. Thankfully, we were able to shut him down with 10 Elder Signs before he awakened. There were, however, a few tense moments in the middle of the game. Turns out I was playing a few things incorrectly because I hadn't read the rulebook well enough and didn't want to stop the action to look up a couple of questions. The way we were playing just made the game a little easier to beat, but did not take away from our enjoyment of the game.

 After that game, I was joined by Weezoh: Monterey Jack, April: Jenny Barnes, Grez: Vincent Lee. We worked to keep Yig asleep. There were many more tense times in this game, with Lee dying and being replaced by Amanda Sharp. We, too, managed to prevent Yig from awakening in the 13th hour. It was a close one. 

Overall, the games went smoothly, and I believe everyone enjoyed both Quarriors! and Elder Sign. As for me, I love Elder Sign the more I play it. I just really get caught up in the theme and the tense suspense brought about by the dice and the advancing clock. Even after I realized we had been playing Focusing wrong and allowing removed dice to be returned to the pool after successfully completing one Task, I was happy with my experience with the game and the Starshielders.

Hopefully, on our next round of boardgames, Elder Sign will hit the table again, and we will play it completely right. That could only make it even more intense. Looking forward to it.

Thanks for visiting magehammer's Gaming Table, and Until next time, may the dice fall your way and play, play, play!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elder Sign: An Unboxing and First Solo Session

Elder Sign finally made its way into my life on Saturday. It wasn't until Sunday that I was able to sit down, crack it open, and play a game. The wait was a long one but in my estimation, well worth it. 

First of all, I was happy to see that the trend begun in Rune Age of providing zip lock baggies for storage was continued with ES. All of the components are, of course, top notch and visually appealing.

After popping the components out of their casings, I sat down for a game. Now, first of all, you have to know that I am a huge fan of the Mythos. I have Lovecraft's complete tales on my Kindle. Every fall we Starshielders pull out a Cthulhu RPG and let it take us through the dead season, winter. This year it is going to be Realms of Cthulhu by Reality Blurs, a game we have played in the past and which works really well for us. Weezoh also owns Munchkin Cthulhu, Arkham Horror, and Mansions of Madness. In addition, I am reading Fantasy Flight's novel Ghouls of the Miskatonic by Graham Mcneill, an excellent read, by the way! 

To say we enjoy us some Lovecraft is an understatement. My anticipation for this game was great. 
For my first game, I revealed a character at random to play. It was the doctor, Vincent Lee. His special ability is to restore a point of Stamina every turn.

The Great Old One I pulled was Shub-Niggurath. 

His special ability is particularly difficult. Having to roll an extra Terror icon is...well...a terror. I set up the Arkham Museum, turned over a Mythos card and was off and running...for my life. 

The game flows smoothly once you get the hang of the rules. The clock mechanic is brilliant and adds to the tension in the game. Knowing when to Focus dice and when to use Spells and Items, provides enough decisions to make me a happy gamer. Not to mention trying to decide which Adventure Card to attempt based on the Rewards of the card add a nice level of decision-making: "Do I go for more Elder Signs or should I go for this Adventure which will provide me with more Items and Spells..." I love those kinds of decisions. 

I didn't gather many Elder Signs in time, and the Old Goat of the Woods awoke. I fought against him valiantly, and in the end defeated him in the nick of time. I was almost out of Trophies.

What I Didn't Like: You have to read the rules on this game carefully! Very carefully. Important rules to for effective gameplay are in a single line at the beginning of a paragraph. I believe most of the complaints about this game revolving around this game being too easy actually come from people missing some little rule nuance here or some important reference there.

The rules could be a bit clearer in places like defining a Turn. I also wasn't sure about how the dice work when fighting the Great Old One. Is it possible to regain dice after succeeding on its Task bar? I hope the next time I play, I manage to play the game as it was meant to be played.

What I Liked: Everything else. With 48 Adventure Cards, 8 Ancient Ones, 16 Investigators, I see a lot of replay ability for me.

What I Loved: The theme on this game, the flavor text, the artwork, the tension from not knowing how the dice are going to fall; all of these things make this game a blast for me. I immersed myself in the rooms of the Arkham Museum and toured its stuffy and dangerous rooms. I reveled in my journey to Yuggoth.

For me games are about setting, conflict, and tension. Elder Sign has that in spades. I look forward to playing it again and again.

Until next time, good reader, may the dice fall your way and may you play, play, play. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SurfMonkey Barely Survives the Rune Age only to Qonquer Quarriors!

On Tuesday, SurfMonkey came over for our monthly night of gaming goodness! He had been itching to play my two newest arrivals, Rune Age, and Quarriors! 

I let him choose, and we began with Rune Age. Hey opted to play the Latari Elves. I have never played the Uthuk Y'llan, so I went for it. I, of course, chose the Dragonlords scenario. Maybe someday I will play another of the scenarios, but for now, I am trying to get maximum mileage out of it. 

SurfMonkey, being a veteran gamer, warmed to the rules immediately. We were taking Strongholds, generating Influence, buying troops in no time. His first run against a sitting Dragonlord showed him the power of the Warp-touched Attrition Die...His elves failed to secure the Dragonlord Reward.

 My barbaric forces with the help of three, yes, three Demons, sent the main Dragonlord to his end. Ah, sweet victory...

 For our second game, SurfMonkey suggested we trade factions but play against the Dragonlords again. I was all for it! I had never played the elves in multiplayer before, so I was intrigued to see how they would play.

Poor SurfMonkey learned the horrid powers of the Attrition die in several of forays against the Dragonlords, including the big boss himself. With apologies to Rick Moranis: Many Warlocks and Chaos Lords knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the dragon's gullet that day, I can tell you!

I, however, experienced one of the greatest moments in my gaming history when I took my elves against the Big Bad. I had a hand of a Demon, 2 Pegasus Riders, and a Darnati Warrior, and 2 Storm Sorceresses thanks to Bountiful Harvest. . I decided to go for it, hoping the Riders would deliver. And, man, did they ever. They yielded me another Demon, another Pegasus Rider, which yielded me another Darnati Warrior. The rest of my hand hit the table, and the Attrition Die came up blank for a total of 32 Strength! (To be fair, I play a house rule that shuffles Bountiful Harvest back into the Event Deck with the Stage 2 cards. I may re-think that rule after my crushing victory over the Dragonlords).

Then it was on to my newest game and one of my current favorites, Quarriors! I set up the game and explained to my opponent. He had no problem picking it up, and we were off and rolling. 

I just have to say that SurfMonkey was born to play this game. I managed to to muster up good hands and great creatures, but so did he. He made good use of his spells, and so did I, but in the end, SurfMonkey scored his Glory greater than mine. 

SurfMonkey and I ended the night at two games apiece. A good night for sure. SurfMonkey said, "Rune Age is freakin' cool." And of Quarriors! he said, "It's all right. At least I can win at it." So, I have a feeling I can expect some more of Terrinoth in future gaming sessions, and I have a feeling I haven't seen the last of the Wilds either...

Thanks for reading and until next time, may your dice roll your way, and play, play, play.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Starshield Boardgaming Knights Quarriors! with a Ticket to Ride to the 7 Wonders to Say Anything

Members of the Starshield Gaming Society assembled in the Geek Cave on Monday night for our weekly gaming session. Tonight it was all about board games. 

While we waited for Grez first and MooseCadet (aka Brigid), Iczer, Weezoh, and I played a rousing game of Quarriors! The spread was pretty good, I must say and there was a lot of room for back and forth leads. In the end I was triumphant. 

After Grez arrived, we played another. I was once again victorious. Good playing and fortuitous draws led me to victory. I culled the first game and didn't the second game just to see how they worked out. I guess I didn't really notice a difference. I may have just had the spirits of the Quarries in me, I don't know. What I do know is, I love this game!

After MooseCadet/Brigid arrived, we sat down to a Ticket to Ride: Europe game. This was my second play of this game, and I must say I enjoyed it much more the second time around. I even had strategies and stuff in my head. The game was also notable because MooseCadet scored the 8 line shown below. That was an exciting moment for all. However, unfortunately, MooseCadet failed to fulfill a number of tickets and took a major hit in end game scoring. She ended last. 

I ended up third. Much better than my last showing. 

From the fabled railways of Europe, we continued onto the ancient tableau that is 7 Wonders. This game is swiftly becoming one of my favorite. It has a cool card-drafting technique and has, of course, cards! Love cards. 

Though I ended the game with a stack of 3 gold (14 to be exact), I failed to win and came in third...again. A trend was beginning to develop as the night wore on. Our final gasp was a game of Say Anything, which really lived up to its name. Highlights for me: Nikola Tesla, Dickens is boring, and our friend Zoltar.

Our next game night should be a character creation session of our foray into the Dresden Files RPG. Looking forward to what comes of that. 

Until next time, good gamer, may the dice roll your way 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Farewell to a Friend's Bachelor-hood Geek-Style...

On Saturday, I attended a Bachelor Geektogether for a friend of mine, KatoKatonian, who will soon be entering the bonds of matrimony with a wonderful young lady, MerryDragon.

StormBringer had arranged a night of gaming to send the man off in style. It was a night of junk food, laughs, cries of victory and dismay, and good old-fashioned fun!

It was a dark and stormy morning...

I arrived at StormBringer's place after driving through torrential downpours on the Ohio Turnpike. I settled in to await his arrival from his morning routines of physical fitness with a can of Sprite and a game of Rune Age.

By the time Storm arrived, I was well into my third run of the Event deck in the Dragonlords scenario. By the time StormBringer was finished freshening up, my undead legions were not able to muster enough to take down the Objective Dragonlord before the others swooped in and finished me. So goes life and death in Terrinoth.

Man cannot subsist on gaming alone...

StormBringer and I left to pick up KatoKatonian. I was bundled up and hidden under a large beach towel in the back seat. When Kato opened the car door to unwrap his "present," I revealed myself to the waning bachelor much to his surprise. It was also at that time that I had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful bride for the first time. Though the meeting was brief, I could tell my friend has chosen...wisely.

We were off to the Winking Lizard Tavern where we met up with the other two members of our party, Dr. Q and Nayls. Inside the common room of the tavern, we enjoyed good food, Ohio State football, and great conversation. After our meal, we continued onto our objective.

After a quick snack and beverage run to the local grocery, we finally descended upon the demesne of StormBringer with a fervor and gleam in our eyes.

To the table!

Let the games begin!

The first game to hit the field of battle was our favorite warm up game, Zombie Dice. We played two games with Dr. Q winning one and KatoKatonian the other. 

From the nightmarish world of zombie hordes to the magical and dangerous world of Dungeons and Dragons. Kato chose the next game to be the massive Wrath of Ashardalon. After a surprisingly quick set up, we were down in the dungeon having a hard time. 

 Dr. Q chose to play the dwarven fighter, Nayls piloted the half-orc rogue, StormBringer was the Dragonborn Wizard, I played the bald (appropriately enough) human cleric, and KatoKatonian played the pious elven paladin. 
Through the luck of the draw, we ended up in the Unknown Overlord's Dire Chamber right at the bottom of the entrance stairs. A duergar captain had assembled a host of guardians to protect the entrance to Ashardalon's lair. 

We had a few rough turns before we finally found our stride. The greatest threat to our party were the kobolds and duergar warriors. They continued to explore other portions of the dungeon in an effort to rouse more defenders to come join the fray and try to lay us low. 

Soon the Duergar captain lay dead upon the cold, hard floor, but not before we had to fight off, orcs, grells, snakes, gibbering mouthers, fearsome cave bears, and my personal non-favorite, Legion Devils. My blade barrier spell and StormBringer's magic blasts soon brought those devils low. 

We could hear more monsters shuffling towards us, so we chose a route in the opposite direction and continued our search for the might Ashardalon.

After a few more monsters and several environmental challenges, we stumbled upon the mighty dragon's lair.

The huge dragon and his minions stood before us, but we had no fear. We leaped into the fight and tried to bring the evil tyrant lizard low. He stepped into my blade barrier and was sliced horribly, but he kept fighting. Eventually, our combined prowess brought him to his knees, and the heat of his vile breath weapon was forever stilled. No longer would this tyrant lizard terrorize innocents. We were triumphant.

From the dragon's lair frying pan to the fire of the space hulk...

After pizza picked up and delivered by the most marvelous MEM, we settled in for a game of ...

After a brief tutorial and analysis of the game mechanics and the distribution of the combat teams, we were off into a dungeon of another kind, the unforgiving and hostile environment of a floating space hulk. This particular craft was a haven for an insidious infestation of the xenos known as Genestealers. 

Our space marines were tasked with purging the xenos threat and making the galaxy safe for the subjects of the Undying Emperor! 

Into the jaws of death we leaped. We made our way through the cold and eerily silent corridors of the scuttled ship. From all sides the Genestealers leaped at us, trying to take us to be their fodder. 

Our battle brothers fell, but several of us managed to make it to the center of the hive. It was there that one of the greatest combat failures in all the thousands of years of the Emperor's rule occurred. A Space Marine, fully supported by the combined skill and might of his surviving battle brothers, had the opportunity to end the xenos threat permanently by slaying the last of two Genestealer Brood Lords.

KatoKatonian rolled 5 failures in his attempt to slay the final alien. From that pivotal point, our battle brothers' will was broken, and we were soon overwhelmed by the Lord and his spawn. At least our brothers fought and died with honor in the service of the Emperor. 

An ending and a beginning...

A most excellent night of gaming was had by all. We sent our friend to his mean bliss in style. I want to thank everyone for a most excellent night, and I wish KatoKatonian and his beautiful bride all of the happiness and fulfillment marriage brings. May your dice always roll true, and your home be a happy one. 

Best wishes, good sir. From all of us, good life and good journey. 

I can't wait for Nayls' bachelor party!