Unboxing of Mistborn: House of War

I received my package of Mistborn and looked around, seemed I was among the first to receive it, awesome!  This game was by Crafty Games and designed by Kevin Wilson (who also designed a lot of my other favorite games) so expect quite a few videos to be coming out about Mistborn.

The kickstarter was here:


Who is the Wendigo? – Richard and ChamberofLava play Iello’s Legend of the Wendigo Game

This was my second game of Legend of the Wendigo by Iello Games…and wow, I was not any better, possibly worse because I “thought” I was better.



At any rate, check out Danielle’s YouTube channel, ChamberofLava, shes zany and dedicated to making a good YouTube experience for her viewers.

Staring Cthulhu in the Eye – An Arkham Horror the LCG Game Review

Arkham Horror the Living Card Game is like a tabletop roleplaying game lite.  Similar to other RPG-lite games like Heroquest, Warhammer Fantasy Quest, or of course, its titular game Arkham Horror, what makes Arkham Horror the Living Card Game unique is that rather than miniatures and random puzzle piece map pieces, instead you use cards and almost a deck-building mechanic to explore the storyline and advance your character.

What is a Living Card Game?

If you’re new to the Living Card Games, this is for you, otherwise, feel free to skip to the next section down. J  Living Card Games are a response to people who like the idea of a growing supply of cards to choose from for building their decks but who DO NOT like the inherit unfairness that the Collectible Card games possess in the sense of different players have access to a different collection of cards to build their decks from.  In general, Living Card games sell sets, and each set contains every card from each set.  Lately, each set often contains the maximum number of each card that you can put in your deck, an improvement over previous generations where you might have to buy 2 or 3 of each set to be able to build the perfect deck.  Essentially, while there is still a money component to the games, there is a fixed cost of entry so that everyone knows how much it costs to keep up with the latest and greatest cards.

RPG Lite

First of all, the boxed set contains enough cards to create two characters and run through three adventures.  There are five characters to choose from, characters that will be familiar if you’ve played other games in Fantasy Flight Games “Lovecraft”-themed games.  Each of these characters feel distinctly different due to both the exact starting combination of cards along with their stats and abilities.

The boxed set contains one campaign, which contains three scenarios.  The campaign, Night of the Zealot, is creepy, full of flavor, and really makes me want to rush through to see what happens to “my” character.

As you play, you fill out this cool campaign log which tracks the experience you acquired going through the game along with any trauma you’ve picked up from dealing with the sanity-breaking monsters of the Mythos.

Campaign Guide

The idea of writing on the back of the book sends chills down most of my friend’s backs in its own way. 😉  “What?!  But how do you play again?” Well…honestly, for me, I probably never will.  Once I play this campaign, I’m unlikely to play it again, I’ll want to buy more campaigns like the Curse of the Rougarou or the Carnevale of Horrors.

BUT, if I “did” want to play again, you can download the campaign logs from their website and print more.


Instead of using dice, like most RPGs, this game does have a random mechanic, but it’s a bit cooler than dice IMO.  Each campaign has you choose a difficulty level then populate a bag of tokens.  The tokens have either numbers or special symbols, the meaning of the special symbols varies depending on your investigator and the campaign you’re currently exploring.  Personally, I like the results of each action being more customized to who is doing the action and where the action is taking place, and there is a tactile element of reaching into the chaos bag and pulling out your success or failure.


This is where I’m uncertain, is this game replayable?  Does it even matter?  Anna and I recorded our lets play, and I thought to myself for the price of the game, to have effectively 3 game sessions, maybe it’s a little expensive.  But looking at the math, and the amount of play-time you get out of the box, its cheaper than going to the movies, so maybe its workable.

Then I talked to Lydon, and he was saying he was sad I ended up recording the game with Anna, so we might record us playing it again ourselves.  So at this point, I’ve already played the first chapter twice, and I might play it a third time.  Maybe this game is more replayable than I thought.

Have any of you ever replayed a D&D module?  I’ve played Red Hand at least three times, the campaign is “that” good IMO, so honestly I have to say this is going to change on a case by case basis.  Each of you will have time figure out whether you’re likely to replay it, and if not, is the price of admission worth the three games you’ll get out of it.


In my opinion, this game is awesome! Fun, intriguing, and I’m really looking forward to getting the expansions after I’ve played through all 3 chapters at least once each.  What do you think?  Let me know below!

Patrol Angis: Stalking in the Forest AAR

This is a report on my third, unsuccessful attempt at the first demo mission that comes with Patrol Angis by Gavin Syme.  This time all of the figures were painted, and I thought I might have a plan.  The goal is to get as many of the Prydians (at the bottom) off the board at the top.  The Yordist battlesuits will be trying to stop them.  Trying to outrun the battlesuits didn’t work the first two times I tried it, so this time I decided to kill my problems away by attacking the battlesuits vigorously.

Let’s see how that went, shall we?

Here’s how it started out.  The three battlesuits at the top, normally locked together as a unit, get to move and attack separately for this special scenario.  At the bottom, from left to right, I have a sniper mina (two-man troop element), a sort of  assault demi (four-man troop element), a miscellaneous demi (two heavy weapons, a rifleman and a guy with a pistol for some reason), Balthazar and Jerome (the noble commander and his guy), and a pretty standard post (ten-man troop element) with rifles, a rocket launcher and a loader.

The setup.

The setup. Prydians at the bottom. Yordists at the top

Ouch.  The Prydians won initiative with a six, so there were many activation points to spread around.  The Prydians couldn’t see through the trees, so they moved forward.  Unfortunately, the heavy weapons of the battlesuits can penetrate through a fair amount of cover, and they attacked, killing the sniper mina almost immediately and putting the hurt on the Prydian post, killing half of them.  The Prydian morale held, though.  On the left, the Prydian assault demi charged forward on their suicide mission.


The first Duxis has a howitzer.  It’s not that nasty, but it can shoot over cover.  The third has a rail gun.  It packs a punch.  The second has a laser cannon.  This thing is awful.  It gets to roll two dice to hit, it has a large AOE, and normal troops basically die automatically if it hits them.  Yuck.

Three duxis on top, to prydian troop elements approach.

Going for the Kill

We got him!  Well, kind of.  We hurt him at least.  In this scenario, I’m finding that return fire (if you live) is pretty effective.  I’m wondering if next time I try this (because I will try again until I win) I shouldn’t go on overwatch a bunch and wait for them to come to me.

Wearing him down!

Then the rail gun battlesuit decided to get even, and just obliterated the Prydian “miscellaneous” demi.  It wasn’t really a “sneak attack”, but it did come from the flank, I suppose.  Note the yellow “remotivate” token, aka “morale failure”, aka “pee stain”. 😛  That’s OK.  That Duxis got murdered on the next turn.  Why don’t I have a picture of that?  You guys believe me, right? 🙁

Sneak attack!

The assault demi didn’t get very far through the rough terrain before they got mowed down by the Duxis.  One brave Roaz axe wielder gave it his all, though, charging alone into the face of a big, fat impact-fist.  He actually almost killed it, too.  He did one more point of damage, but couldn’t find a second, and the Duxis followed up by punching him into goo.  The howitzer Duxis did die shortly after that, though.  So… that’s something, I guess.

Go out swinging!

Finally, having lasered everyone else into atoms, the last Duxis stormed forward on six activation tokens that he didn’t have to share with anybody.  Balthazar put up a good fight, and actually managed to wound the thing, but he had to use up all of his activation tokens trying to survive.  Even his ability to shake off death (once) wasn’t enough, and eventually he fell.

They probably should have run away. They could have had a nice life together.

OK.  So my plan for next time is to optimize my defenses (but not at the cost of offense), try to lie in wait with overwatch if I can’t just shoot them, and (I just thought of this) maybe give my front-line guys extra activation tokens to soak some of that damage.  That might work.

So, Patrol Angis.  Fun and challenging with some interesting tactical levers that I don’t have enough sense to use yet.  It would probably be even better with an actual opponent.  I will find somebody and bend them to my will!

Draconis Invasion Review | Is it the deck building game to rule all deck building games?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been playing quite a few games of Draconis Invasion.   This is a kickstarter project that has a lot of hype going into it.  Is it worth all the hype? Well lets get into it.

The game seems most like Dominion combined with maybe a bit of the combat mechanics of a game like Legendary.  It is a competitive game where you’re goal is to end the game with the most points, and like many Euro games, there are multiple conditions that can possibly trigger the ending of the game (none of which indicate who won).

I liked the parts of the game that felt like Dominion.  The random decks that give you a different gameplay experience each time.  The other similarity are cards like the wealth cards which help you buy better cards later force you to make a decision around how long you’ll spend building up your deck’s purchasing power vs pursuing points.  I also like the artwork as well as the hints towards a “lord of the rings” type story.

The game is very quick, with no one sitting too long before the game comes back to their turn again.  Its also quick to setup, and quick to tear down.  This makes the game a good “after a stressful day at work” type of game.

What I don’t think anyone cared for too much, is the combat mechanic.  There are monsters called “invaders” which ultimately are how you score points.  All combat cards are called “defenders”.  Most of the defender cards you purchase cost gold to purchase and then later gold to use.  This requirement to spend gold each time you attack means that many times you’ll spend all of your gold to purchase a powerful warrior, only to discard that same warrior later when you don’t simultaneously get enough gold to actually play the warrior.

The other aspect that can further aggravate the feeling of “useless hands” is the Terror card mechanics.  The longer you play, the more terror cards you tend to acquire, with no way to get rid of them.  These terror cards are your typical “blank” card that many deck building games have, but unlike other deck building games that give you an ability to “clean up” your deck, Draconis Invasion has an entire aspect of the game dedicated to using the Terror cards to help force the game to end.  I’m assuming this Terror card ending the game is to prevent people from turtling too long, but in our experience, the game could still drag out which is bad, but also having the players feel like the terror cards waste their turns, which is also bad.

These two aspects can combine to have turn after turn after turn of the players having nothing meaningful to do.  The turns go quick, which is pretty cool IMO, but there is very little reason for the players to interact with each other and often many reasons to just throw your hands away.

To wrap it up, I like a lot of the game, and I’d definitely play it again.  But I don’t really have high expectations out of the game.  Its easy to setup, its quick to play, but some of the glamour is gone.

Blast Pistol: Attack on Malproksima Colony!

Nordic Weasel Games has come out with another set of rules.  These are their “living” game systems, which I won’t try to explain.  What I like about it is that instead of an army builder (which is great, in general) this game has set (though expanding) army lists with names and a bit of flavor text and, generally speaking, context.  I like that context.  It makes it feel like these unit choices matter.  It also describes the universe in a “show, don’t tell” kind of way.  As for the rules themselves, they don’t try to be exceptionally clever, but they are good and, so far, fun.

There are a few different flavors of this rules system.  “Last Era” is the fantasy version.  “Blast Pistol” is the sci-fi version.  That’s the one I’m playing below.  There are a couple other version as well.

I don’t think I mention it in the comic, but Prospectors can score bonus points by finding “resources” in terrain features, not that I found any.

Anyway, to the action!












Komrades in Arms: Sattelite Reign with FiveCore

I’m trying something a little different here.  Let me know if you like it.  Or hate it.  I suppose it would be interesting to know that you had no opinion one way or the other.

This is my second game in my FiveCore Satellite Reign campaign.  This time it’s an escort mission.  Get the former corp guy into the UZYKORP lab to steal a prototype weapon.  We gave our charge an empty pistol.  Don’t want him getting himself hurt.  I should mention that I’m not using random events, as there’s too much to keep track of on my own as it is.  Also, since I’ve only got four guys, the activation level (guys activated on a normal turn) is ‘2’.

This game idea might actually be better with Nordic Weasel’s “Starport Scum“, a more RPG-ish offering, but that’s still in beta, and besides, I like FiveCore.  It’s pretty flexible.

So, here we go…


How to Setup the Xenoshyft Cooperative Board Game

If you haven’t read the game review, its here.   Otherwise, if you’re ready to setup the game or merely want to know what it takes to setup the game, I setup the game, then play a sample round.

As I’m going, I talk through some interesting aspects of the game, some of the meta-meanings of certain portions, and give some advice.  Hopefully most of it is correct! 😀

If you haven’t picked it up yet, you can pick it up here (affiliate link).  Thanks everyone!

The Bank Job: Satellite Reign by Way of FiveCore 3e

I really enjoyed the cyberpunk skirmish RTS “Satellite Reign“, but having finally beaten it, I wanted more.  I’ve also been wanting to do more miniature skirmish gaming, in particular Nordic Weasel Games’ “FiveCore” system.  Peanut butter, meet chocolate.  I decided to continue my adventures on the tabletop.

Satellite Reign FiveCore Third Edition Cover

In “Satellite Reign”, you’ve got a team of four members: the Soldier, the Hacker, the Infiltrator, and the Support.  Each has a variety of synergistic upgrades unique to their class, and an array of weapons, gadgets and cybernetics that can be used by anyone.  Stealth is usually key, but in theory you can just shoot your way through missions.  Also, death isn’t a career-ending injury, since your consciousness can be downloaded into a new clone.

Conveniently, “FiveCore” supports a class structure with class specific advances and more general upgrades.  I took apart the existing classes and cobbled together my own skill lists.  I also made a few house-rule adjustments to fit the campaign concept, like accounting for the above-mentioned clones, and allowing for endless reinforcements for the corporate side.  Despite all of this preparation, for now at least, my team of agents are agents in name only, mooks, “goons” in game terms.  They’ve got no special skills and are essentially interchangeable except for their weapon choices.

Meet the agents:  The red Soldier, green Hacker, Yellow Infiltrator, and blue Support.

A photo of four miniatures representing the agents.

Soldier(Assault Rifle), Hacker(Pistol), Infiltrator(Pistol), Support(2 Pistols)

The agents are new in the City, and short on resources.  They’ve already hacked a slew of ATMs to siphon fractional remainders into their accounts, but to truly optimize the algorithm, they need to get into the headquarters of the local Haughstuen & Haasen Global compound and run some code on their servers.  As long as they’re engaging in illegal systems access, they might as well steal some larger sums to get things started.  In game terms, I’ll get to pick a free equipment upgrade if I’m successful.

Here’s the H&H Global compound.  Please forgive the incomplete paint job.  I’m working on it.  The server building, and the agents’ target, is in the upper left corner, watched over by a stationary guard.  The other two guards will wander around.  There are two more guards that will join the fray if the alarm sounds.

A layout of miniature buildings.

W&W must be renovating…

Despite the above photo, the agents don’t start in the corner.  Instead, the Infiltrator comes in from the bottom right, and the rest rush up from the bottom left.

Three figures with noise tokens.


Those invisible guys are “noise” markers, in this case for running into position instead of sneaking.  The sentries will probably head right for them.  Meanwhile, the Infiltrator finds himself trapped in his corner.  Thinking quickly, the Hacker makes a racket, distracting the sentry and luring him away from his post, and allowing the Infiltrator to slip by.


Meanwhile, the Soldier and and the Support have also painted themselves into a corner.  That guard hears them, and is going to come find them.  Desperate, the Soldier charges around the corner and tries to break the guard’s neck, but the guard stomps him dead.  The Support follows after, though, and gets the job done.  Somehow, the sentry at the HQ door doesn’t notice the two dead bodies and the sneaking Support, but she’s not taking any chances.  She grabs her team-mate and drags him back around the container out of sight.

Three figurines and some dice.

The Soldier gets himself geeked.

More figures and dice.

Smoke break!

Some figures hide behind terrain.

Drag, drag, drag…

The Infiltrator moves as quickly as he dares, trying to get behind the sentry and take him out before he notices his dead friend, but it’s too late.  The sentry sounds the alarm!  Klaxons blare!  Flashers flash!  Booted feet can be heard running through corridors!

A figure sneaks around back.

Sneak, sneak, run…

Meanwhile, the Hacker circles around a pair of power stations and gets the drop on the guard that he’d lured earlier.  The firefight lasts for several exchanges before the guard finally takes a bullet to the faceplate.

I figure comes up behind an enemy figure.

Sneak attack!

Two figures shooting from behind cover.

Pow! Pow! Ghahh!

Back by the target, the Infiltrator shoots down another guard, but is in turn taken out by two guards emerging from a sentry station behind him!

A figure shooting another.

Bang! Got ‘im! Ack!

Time is running out!  The Support makes a dash for the target, dodging reaction fire and diving behind a receiver dome and out of sight so she can steel her nerves and rush past  a hail of gunfire and through the doorway!  The seconds seem like hours for the Support as she successfully installs the virus into the bank’s system.  On the other hand, time goes by for the Hacker in a blur as he shoots it out with the guards and drops another one.

A figure hides behind terrain.

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive… Dodge.

A figure sneaks behind a building.

A lull…

A figure shoots at a guard from behind a building.

Hurry up in there!

With the deed done, and the compound on full alert, the two surviving agents flee for the exit to get lost in the thronging crowds of the City streets.

Two figures flee the board.

Run away!

Obviously, the two dead agents will have to be downloaded into new clones.  They’d lose a skill in the process, but they’re already at rock bottom, so no big deal.  The Hacker, however, gained an advance and used it on the “Drone” skill.  He now has a personal attack drone that follows him around and shoots at his enemies.  This give him a constant die of support fire, even during reactions!  Cool!  The Support spends the money from the heist on a set of light armor.  Hopefully she doesn’t get herself killed and lose it.

Two figures.

Mission Complete!

Let’s Play – Ghostbusters the Board Game

Our normal tabletop gaming group gets together to play Ghostbusters the Board Game by Cryptozoic. Anna replaces Lydon because she is so passionate for ghostbusters and because the game is specifically a 4 character game.

We play the first scenario which uses the basic rules.

Ramsey is Bryan Welsh, ghostbuster rookie.
Anna is Kylie Griffin.
Richard is Dr. Ray Stantz.
Steve is Dr. Egon Spengler.

We realized midway through, that ghosts moving around can easily block line of sight, so there was at least one point towards the beginning where a ghost blocked line of sight for a proton stream and we cheated a little bit. We don’t think it affected the game very much, but don’t let it affect your game when/if you play.

You can get your copy of the board game from Amazon:

To view the original kickstarter, go here

If you want to look at the kickstarter for the sequel, here you go. Both are obviously closed, but it can give you an idea whats coming up!