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Cosmic_Guru

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Everything posted by Cosmic_Guru

  1. The National League has met again and it seems fans will be able to attend matches from 3 October (including away fans), subject to stadium capacity constraints. It's hard to see that really being an issue at this level, other than for prestige cup fixtures or maybe the odd derby game. Sutton are restricting season ticket sales to 750 this year and have sold around 550 which is probably around half the usual (recent seasons) number. Looking at the note circulated, it would seem the clubs would be interested in relaxation of the alcohol consumption rules but I imagine that would be unlikely. It's apparently allowed at pitch side below National League level. We've made a couple of signings too - Dean Bouznanis a 29 year old keeper (we had a good one on loan from Wimbledon last season), and 25 year old striker Tobi Sho-Silva from Halifax. I suppose you could consider Harry Beautyman signing a new deal to be the best news of all. Tommy Wright and our loanees have left (wouldn't be at all surprised to see Tommy popping up at Havant since he's another who lives Southampton way).
  2. I used to use BGG all the time and had plenty of good customer service as you note, and they probably still are fine for single purchases. It's just that every time I ordered 2 or 3 products something would be missing. No one else has this problem. Meeples Corner is my first choice now. That Dutch site is back up now so its been named and shamed! I suppose I'll give them a little longer since its mid holiday season but Summoner would be my NL pick now.
  3. Bit weird to pos a post where you had a bad experience but thanks for sharing.
  4. Anyone else read Spielbox? I bought a 2020 subscription via KS and I've subsequently purchased some back issues too (which lead to my Dutch misadventure). I think it complements Tabletop Gaming quite nicely, almost Wireframe to TG's Edge. You get a real sense of gameplay, it's suitability at different player counts, the quality of manufacture etc. Multiple reviewers usually contribute and they can be blunt at times. Admittedly it probably helps if you find slightly idiosyncratic translation from German charming rather than cumbersome. Also, if you want King's Dilemma this autumn (and why not, it's phenomenally good - should have won the expert game prize imo) - pre-order here - you won't be charged until available. https://meeplescorner.co.uk/product/the-kings-dilemma/
  5. I was in a rush earlier but I will flesh out the first post - agreed that paying for pre-orders in advance is a no no. I've also seen Zatu prices rocket at times - during lock down anything with a solo capability was jacked up to RRP.
  6. Having just recently been burned by buying something from a Dutch site, Spelspul.nl, which I'll probably need to obtain chargeback for, I thought this might be useful, particularly as new names seem to pop up on the price comparison website https://boardgameprices.co.uk from time to time. In the UK, the only supplier I'm aware of with issues is Amazon - can be OK but if an item looks very good value for money it may be either counterfeit or a foreign language version (I believe they pool their stock with other suppliers which obviously complicates things). Caution advised. Thoughts on other sites I've used Board game guru. Used to use these all the time since they ship with DPD local. Now on my avoid list owing to too many mistakes with multiple orders. Also for an archaic system and having to pay in advance for pre-orders. Zatu. Use if cheap and item is in stock. Don't believe the "restock expected" classification. Have a loyalty scheme and much time is wasted trying to get the 3 or 5 products necessary for a small discount. Ship quickly with RM. Prices may be increased at any time so beware leaving any items in a basket. Chaos cards. I don't use them a lot because I'm not into card games and I find the website cluttered. They offer free shipping with slightly slower RM delivery. . Iirc you pay for pre-orders in advance. Loyalty scheme. Offer free shipping for slightly longer delivery times. Firestorm cards. These seem to specialise in the heavier Euros and often have items not held elsewhere (and cat jigsaws). Awkward website - recommend weekly newsletter to identify new items. Slightly awkward and slower system but you get there after a day or two. No idea about pre-orders. No loyalty scheme. AVOID DHL shipment option since this is the man+van version not the timed delivery service. Meeples Corner. Love these guys. Recently revamped site. No advance payment for pre-orders. Usually ship next day with DHL timed delivery. No loyalty scheme. Small stock volumes held and restricted compared to some other sites. Meeples, BGG and Firestorm all have KS versions available from time to time if that is of interest. Overseas I've used Summoner (NL) and Huggendubel (GER) with absolutely no problems. Would be interested to hear other recommendations or cautionary tales.
  7. Agreed. He's now on the "no no" list of designers, mechanics and settings! This sounds a bit absurd, but it's handy to have as a checklist to review potential kickstarters etc. I'm also tempted by older games (if they can be tracked down) through reading back copies of Spielbox, so it's handy to have for that as well. I haven't posted here for ages but games played have included Sword & Sorcery (forgot just how long those scenarios take with a 5p team), Paladins of the West Kingdom (excellent progression of Architects and another solo game winner), 7th Continent (solved, but did not win, the treasure chest curse), Pangea, a really technical game about running an extinction event simulation as one of 4 animal types, the Dwarves (because it was on sale but its quite decent), Sail to India - novel mechanic whereby your cube markers serve not only as ships and bods, but also have to mark cash and VP levels, and finally, having decided that technical games are of increasing interest to me I decided to take the plunge with Phil Eklund and Bios: Genesis as the place to start. This is where it probably helps to have a science education! Initially it looks an impenetrable mass of small type and footnotes and symbols but working through the detailed example really helps. Essentially you are endeavouring to create simple life from the primeval soup. You may do this competitively (where parasites come into their own) or co-operatively or solo. There are 4 sets of locations where life may potentially form - "refugia" - in space or on the Earth's surface. Each game turn is prefaced by an event in which some of these locations are made available and then loads of bad things happen like being bombarded with UV, heat or oxygen, and sometimes the climate turns hot or cold. You have to place your "bionts" on these spaces and roll dice to try to achieve auto-catalysis and flip the refugia into bacteria. You want this to happen with the bacteria possessing as many chromosomes as possible but this is tricky to achieve and leads many missteps along the way. You also have to consider whether going your own way or combining with other players would be beneficial. Once an microorganism is created and placed on your tableau (roll a double when lots of chromosomes are available from "organised" manna) you can develop it with mutations which make it stronger and have greater resistances, but before this you also have to survive a "Darwin roll" each turn. Again, lots of bad things can happen if you don't have sufficient protection. Yet more bad things will happen when the next event card is drawn representing 200 million years down the line. In other words, its a real struggle. When you have sufficient chromosomes on one of your microbes you may convert it into a macro-organism, initially a marine creature and finally a terrestrial one. I was dead chuffed yesterday to create Flatworm pictured below (all the way from Inter-planatary dust via a microbe), albeit one still lacking a few organs. In this game, 4 cold events had transpired which meant Armageddon and game over, but under the rule set for the solo game it was a success since 2 bionics of different colours were represented in the organism. In a competitive game you would score your final cubes and bionts. The final event was fairly benign (other than triggering the Armageddon) and if the game had continued the flatworm would have needed more beefing up to be certain of survival. It's an intriguing game - to be sure the dice rolls are a bit arbitrary in places but in the big picture the aims and process are rather well implemented, and the science is interesting and informative. Anyway, its a hit here and great for the soloist. In fact under a non killer cold scenario blue was in a relatively weak position since he had no other living microbes. These are the sources of catalysts - represented by tiddlywinks - the in game currency used for mutation and organ purchase. It takes several turns to generate life through judicious rolling in promising refugia. In that time the poor worm would have been bombarded with heat, UV and O2 and other hazards, any excess over Shields resulting in organ loss. Lose the bionts and it's extinction.
  8. I find On Mars disjointed and lacking all logic or common sense in places. Reading more about older Laverda games suggests he's simply not for me. You could look at Underwater cities, one of the Meso America games such as Tzolkin or Teotihuacan, a Brass game or Terra Mystica / Gaia Project for something with real crunch and more affordable / available.
  9. Barnet seemed to benefit most from the points per game extrapolated basis for determining the National League. They had a cup run and (seemingly) a permanently waterlogged pitch. Anyway justice has been done with odious Yeovil and Boreham- come in a taxi - Wood eliminated, and the big 2 can battle it out Sunday. Also Havant & Waterlooville were eliminated so no return of the Doz. Not sure where this all leaves relegation from National League (4-2 means net 2 up at the present and numbers are to be maintained) or from League 2 with the legal issues there. Once all that is resolved, the new season starts 3 October and I'm up for it, having, after some prevarication, renewed my season ticket at the discounted price. I don't know what crowd control measures will have to be put in place at this level - the congested bar is the obvious issue at Sutton. Other than that, so long as it isn't pissing down driving people under cover, there is no real issue to maintaining social distancing for 99.9% of fixtures. I'm not a fan of sitting in the stand anyway since it dates from when folk were a good inch or two shorter than nowadays and it's impossible to sit with straight legs (even at 5 8), so you have to either twist sideways into an aisle or you are knocking knees with both neighbours
  10. Voted for the black box although when the purchase will be made is anyone's guess, especially given that I've hardly touched video gaming for months now. No brainer of a decision - i'm totally embedded in the ecosystem and have all my back catalogue, friends, RPG club etc there. No envy for the PS5 SP exclusives whatsoever.
  11. Probably a bit OT, but the Sherlock Holmes games are great. Just don't interpret "plant surprise" as an unexpected herbaceous gift!
  12. Date at the end of this - 18 August - must admit it surprised me. I'm hoping it comes out for console with an auto-pilot option although that might be seen as missing the point completely....
  13. Not long to wait. August 18 on PC gamepass.
  14. The art style is deliberate but the inconsistent voices and too modern vocabulary are a little annoying although undoubtedly budget constrained. You can also see the jump cuts from time to time. Still, a fascinating game and worth checking out when on sale. .
  15. Yep, it's the 4 character solo game which ramps up the busy work. I also have control schedules for crafting wants, key facts about each character ( immunity, added damage, re-roll opportunities beong the main ones), levelling up and a scan of the combat terminology page (all of which sounds excessive but 4 shheets fit back to.back in 2 clear plastic document holders so it's quite tidy in play). This all being in relation to a by now high powered team of slayer, witchhunter, illusionist and scientist who have completed all the chapters in the first 2 books. Not sure the aesthetic of some of these fits with the 16th or 17th century setting, but they are a cool bunch.
  16. Using dice to track monster damage is a great idea. I marked my standees as I couldn't see any other way of identifying one from another, obviously not ideal.
  17. I really like Folklore although the housekeeping is a real nightmare. Ive finally devised a system which keeps things as streamlined as possible which includes tricks like relegating all gear with passive bonuses to the character bags, scribbling all the small changes in game to cash and xp on sheets of paper to save wear and tear on character sheets, and using the Gloomhaven dials for health and MP.
  18. Maybe I'm over optimistic but I think there is plenty of scope for more games in the DA setting. When DAO appeared Bioware had a big chunk of the console WRPG market. Now that's not the case and, following the "kickstarter era", the genre is thriving with lots of competition from the likes of Obsidian, Larian, and Playground (all digits crossed) and the expectation that PC RPG will find their way over sooner or later (e.g disco elysium ). The other point is that the 3 DA games have so far been quite different structurally. It would be possible to pull back from the bloated open areas of DAI whilst retaining the highlights of the series, but I have no idea how much talent has leached away, or what the corporate objectives are. In summary, outlook uncertain.
  19. Finished up and almost perfect throughout. It's rare that a single show elicits the full range of emotions, (it is incredibly funny in places), resonates (unfortunately ) perfectly with the times despite being based on a 35 year old comic book, is impeccably soundtracked and acted throughout and had zero filler. I AM THE EGG MAN WE ARE THE EGG MEN COO COO CACHOO
  20. Yes, they have sorted the final National League table now based on average points, and I assume the promotion playoffs are being scheduled. Good luck to Harrogate and Notts County in those. Not too sure what is happening with relegation since the idea is to keep the size of the league constant, but if one club is relegated from League 2 then Chorley will drop. I don't think that is controversial given the sizeable gap down there. Barrow too were ahead of the pack for several months so good luck to them in League 2.
  21. Thanks. It certainly gets under the skin at times. I should probably break open volume 2 shortly - it has a forest setting and from watching some videos last year it seems draining energy becomes more significant. Volume 3 is in production and has a desert setting with heat and radiation hazards, together with new gameplay factors such as city states and faction reputation, caravan routes, gambling and arena combat. Volume 4 is in development and has a vampirism theme or background with day night cycles, new buildings etc. Goodness knows what they have planned for 5 and 6. Consulting the boardgames pricing website I see you can pick up copies of volumes 1 and 2 for less than £60, which I would think reasonable for the quality and replay value if appealing.
  22. With one episode to go, just got to post how amazing this series is. I took the time to read the book(s) the week before and that paid off since otherwise it would have made a lot less sense. Instead you grinned at all the "in" references (and were sad and angry at other times of course). Particular shoutout to the soundtrack which is incredible too. I didn't know that the Tulsa massacre was real either when I started watching a couple of weeks ago.
  23. OK, so this is a bit more info based on the versus game I just completed (and WON). This is a surprisingly good mode, even when continually swapping hats as a soloist because the Dead King has a number of things to consider. He has to balance going straight for the jugular and corrupting cities and shrines, with opportunities to increase his attack statistic by undertaking his equivalent of quests, and having fun at the heroes expense by disrupting their circumstances and raising minions to go after them, but also at the expense of his energy level. As noted earlier, he has various opportunities to roll to increase difficulty (which will pump his stats in the final battle, and which is irreversible), and he also has powerful "play anytime" cards - in this game he prevented the heroes from purchasing gear upgrades for 6 turns which is why they all have cash in hand at the end. So not all the cards are stacked in his favour. I thought about an effective team for this game and I decided to go with 3 races which each had undead as a favoured enemy - this gives an unblock able damage bonus - but he had the answer to that in the form of a ritual he can use each combat round to reduce the value of this (one with re-roll capability would be more useful) I also thought it would be useful to build the hero's citadel very early in a central position so that they would always have a safe place to turn in quests and to obtain teleportation stones. Both sides alternate placing the initial 4 pieces on the map - I decided the heroes wouldn't try to extend distances in this case (unlike the earlier game where the initial set up was very different with lots of empty space in the middle). The team this time comprised Lucifer, a Fallen divine one (healer), Bhaal the demonborn bserker (striker) and a shady weapon smith to buff the berserker. If you are not familiar with the gameplay, the team moves around the map resolving circumstances rolled for with d6 (top row) and seeking to complete quests at particular locations (bottom row). Boss lairs are marked in red and there are also caves to explore (green) which offer a menu of threats and opportunities depending on a d10 roll. The DK moves around and corrupts every city he reaches (the red and black markers). These are then closed to heroes although there are 5 talismans available to purchase which enable the city to be freed. As and when you turn in quests or complete boss fights you power up. This is the crux of the game (indeed the franchise). Each role has 4 statistics which are the focus here (as well as health, energy and the 3 skills corresponding to dice which you roll every turn and which are also used to complete many quests). These statistics are attack, defence, and 2 masteries denoted by different symbols The masteries will reflect the role. The flipside of each role board features artwork of the role where you can see the nature of the weapon used and general appearance of your character, but there are no weapons or equipment to acquire in this. Instead you raise the level of these key stats either via cash (representing purchasing upgrades) or via the direct power ups. The intriguing and technical aspect of all this is how the derived values of the 2 masteries are adjusted as you increase your 4 stats. At the simplest level you simply add say attack value to rage (mastery 1) value to achieve a greater attack value at the expense of one energy. Sometimes though these masteries also allow you to do something else as well once you reach certain levels e.g the weapon smith may buff attack level for a number of rounds, and also defend. Sometimes an action taken in round 1 doesn't manifest until round 2 e.g laying traps, or drinking to enhance attack (as you do). So these roles develop and intertwine with each other in a way which I find fascinating. The laminated boards provide space for all the necessary calculations. The easiest way to succeed is to have a big hitter such as the brute or the berserker here, but energy may also be damaged and the next game in the series makes more use of this. The game is remarkable albeit expensive, and with versus mode (from the expansion) and the campaign which is currently being written represents good value for money for a certain fanbase. Anyway here are a couple of pics of the map - which is very detailed even if it doesn't come across very well, and the team going into the final battle which they won over 3 rounds.
  24. Oh it happened alright, it's just that the game doesn't photograph well. I'll try to get some pics of the current game.
  25. It's been a HEXploreit Valley of the Dead King weekend here. Given the current difficulties in the hotel sector, Basil, a wrathful dwarven brute, Sybil, a stingy angelborn oracle, and Connie, a headstrong elven shaman decided to set out on a long mission to rid the valley of the menace once and for all. They had a tough beginning to their campaign with a kobold invasion of their home town, but next encountered a real stroke of luck with encountering the first boss in a way in which the rewards were doubled. Their passage thereafter was long and not always agreeable, and it got more and more difficult as more bosses were slain, but they were determined to vanquish each and every boss in order (14 in total) and to confront the Dead King at his deadliest, so needs must. Basil was a whirlwind of hack and slashing, even at some cost to his health, Sybil divined the boss's intentions and either defended, healed or absorbed damage, and Connie used her totems to power up her spirit summons to wreck havoc on boss's energy levels. Another major stroke of luck was the opportunity to eliminate the Dead King's bone army before the final battle, one which was grabbed by both hands. Finally, after many many weary miles (and a few teleportations), the team faced up to their ultimate adversary - he of 480 health and 420 energy. No problem whatsoever for our intrepid trio. He rolled a 3 - a further double action - potentially disastrous but fortunately not so here. Basil wound himself up for 450 health damage, totems were set out, Sybil did her thing and we were into round 2. The boss rolled a 1 - damage of 16 to each hero - no problem when you may absorb up to 34 at a time and everyone's health was over 30 initially. Connie got her Will o the wisp to eliminate all his energy in one go (via the 18 totems she had in place), and that left Basil simply needing a final swing of his axe to do the job. In all seriousness, a brilliant game, even though this group was ultimately somewhat OP given that boss battles yield the best rewards. In this instance I set out the world map to extend the game length as long as necessary to complete my objectives for this team, and gain a couple of achievements (valour points) for myself, which carry over to other games in the franchise, each of which introduces new elements - this is the most basic of the games. All of the role and race cards carry over to all games afaik. I also looked at the versus game and I'm for that too now- in this one player plays as the DK and appears to have all the advantages - he chooses his targets to corrupt (rather than rolling for them), he may up the game difficulty which is usually the party's prerogative, and he has some truly evil "anytime" cards he may play. I'm thinking a very fast game might be the best approach - possibly using the brute and oracle again (that power of the oracle to roll the boss die before committing to actions is unique and extremely beneficial), with maybe a buffer in there to to speed things up even further.
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