Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New arivals

This month, I got me a new board game and a new SF rulebook.

The game is Carnival Zombie. The best way to describe it is a Castle Panic version for big kids.
I played a couple of games and I have to say that I really like it, although the complete campaign lasts too long to be played on one go.
In the future I think I will be playing just one night battle at the time.

I also purchased wargame PMC2640 by Polish publisher Assault Publishing. This is a SF game played at company level.
The reason for acquiring the book was the claim by the author that it has fully developed solo rules.
After just reading the rules, I am not 100% happy with what I see. Book keeping system is a bit complicated, players will need several different counters, it will be hard to use them in 6mm on 1 foot board.
Solo system is design to fight "mindless" opponents - bugs or rebel militia. Enemy will act more or less random, situation on the table is not used into consideration.
But I will have to try to play it to give my final decision.

Finally, one thing unconnected with gaming.
I was recently introduced to the book Stories of your life by Ted Chaing. I have to say that it is the best SF book I have read in last couple of years. Last night I stayed awake until 2am just to finish one story, and that didn't happened to me in some time. Highly recommended.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Dungeon of light and darkness

2016 BGG Solitaire Print and Play Contest started two days ago, and it already delivered some really interesting titles.

This year, I will try my game designing skills with the game called Dungeon of light and darkness.

It is a push your luck tile and dice placement dungeon crawl game.

Somewhere among the tunnels of Dungeon of Light and Darkness, lies famous Fountain of knowledge. Many have tried to find it, but none succeed. And no, there are no monsters in this dungeon.. But the light goes on and off in its chambers in mysterious ways, and this is enough to drive explorers crazy and forever lost. Can you become the first man in centuries to drink from the long lost fountain?

Here are images of some game components in full color and in ink saving black and white version.
 

Game files can be downloaded from contest WIP thread, or directly from here:

First draft of the rules:

Full color components front:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_68vh2U4DoKWDJPdm1OLWlIWkU...
Full color components Back (not necessary to play the game):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_68vh2U4DoKNF9JMjhVU3ZLbW8...

Low ink version components front:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_68vh2U4DoKdEtzTG9LTTJ0czQ...
Low ink version components Back (not necessary to play the game):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_68vh2U4DoKa3ppTy05VjJTcEU...


Friday, May 20, 2016

Dragon Rampant

Dragon Rampant is a relatively new set of rules written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey. It is fantasy version of the older Lion Rampant rules.

After reading the rules, I was certain that I will like the game, considering that it uses the same mechanics as Song of Blades and Heroes system - you roll for activation of every unit, but if activation fails you suffer turnover - your turn ends and opponent gets the initiative. Dragon Rampant is something in the line of SBH bigger battles and this is good.

For my first solo game, I decided to go with my usual suspects 10mm humans Vs. Orcs by Copplestone castings.
Orcs commanded by me had 5 units - Heavy spears with general, Orc horde (Bellicose), heavy wolf riders, archers and reduced unit of trolls (elite foot).

Humans had unit of levelheaded knights with general, unit of elite foot warriors,  unit of sharpshooters and unit of light spears. Having in mind similarity between this game and SBH, I decided to use for enemy activation Opportunity/Trouble system from SBH Solo by Mats Lintonsson.
After that, I will move the activated units in the best possible way, until I play enough games to be able to write micro AIs in the way suggested by Mats.
Starting position. I deployed my orcs first. For humans, I decided the position of each unit by dividing table edge into 6 parts and then rolling d6 to see where will each unit start. I got 3,4,4,5. Humans positioned itself in the center. 
This is photo from the middle of the game. Orc side was devastated by some terrible rolls, and things do not look good for me. Orc mob is already destroyed, general is battered while my units on the left wing stay where they are, unable to activate.
  
Human elite foot first destroyed my general and then the trolls. With only two units remaining on the table, and enemy approaching, I decided to retreat.

Dragon Rampant (as well as the Lion Rampant before it) is a really good game. Activation mechanics makes it also very suitable for solo play.
There are also some interesting looking scenarios mentioned in the book, so for the next game I will definitely try one of them.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

News and the lack of it

The reason for the long break between the posts is the fact that I have recently put more of my gaming time into board games, and there is much less story there than with wargaming or RPG.

I had a chance to purchase Friday and Onirim on the local used games market.

I was really excited to be able to play Friday, but the game itself was a bit of a disappointment. Not that the game is bad, it just wasn't exciting enough for me, and I had no reason to play more than couple of games.

On the Other hand, from Onirim I had no expectations, especially having in mind that I acquired first edition of the game (with only 3 expansions comparing to the 7 in the second edition) and the edition in German language (lucky for me, Onirim is language independent game and the rules in English can be downloaded from internet). So, Onirim was quite a surprise for me.
I could not believe how atmospheric can a set of cards be in a solo game. I really have that feeling of wandering trough the labyrinth of nightmares.

At the moment I am playing base game with the addition of Towers expansion, and I can not get enough of it. I am still to try other expansions.

Also, June 1st will mark the start of the 2016 BGG Solitaire P'n'P Contest, so I am preparing my candidate.
So far just a quick teaser picture:
Game will be called Dungeons of Light and Darkness, and will use tile and dice placement push your luck mechanic. Elements are ready, game is playtested from my side, and now I am working on writing the best rule-book possible. But more about this game in June.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Endless Sea of Darkness - GMA solo adventure - character creation

As I was inspired by the fluf from Blades in the dark, I wanted to play a Leviathan hunting game using free  GMA/ALONe engine, modified to be more FATE like.

So, here is Dolphin, hero of these adventures:

Family members: Sun/Shield/Target
Growing at the shores of the Endless Sea, means having no real family. Dolphin's father was a captain of the great Leviathan hunting ship, and he spent most of the year on the sea. Dolphin knew that he wants to be just like him when he grows up - he will also become famous captain and great leader of men.

As a young boy, Dolphin lived in the old captain's beach mansion, surrounded with servants. As captain's hair, he lived in the main building. Left wing of the mansion was Female house, where captain's harem was kept. Right wing was Servants house, home for all other mail members of captain's household.


Aspect: Hair of influential family (+ with rich classes, - with poor or with women).

Childhood: Tower/Crown/Hearth
Since his father was constantly at sea, the main Dolphin caretaker was Carpfish, the household cheef of stuff. Thanks to him, Dolphin never lacked any love as a child.

Aspect: Carpfish is my true family.


Youth: Crown/Skull/Target
The time has come for Dolphin to leave his father's mansion and to start his study years at seamanship academy. Next years he spent on training ship, learning to navigate, command the crew and hunt for fish and smaller predators of the Endless Sea. His contact with his father's mansion were limited to rare letters from Carpfish.

Aspect: Sea legs (+1 at sea, -1 at land for physical tasks)

Coming of age: Wand/Crown/Hearth
A year before he was schedule to finish his training at academy, Dolphin participated in a strange event. While hunting Sea Dogs, medium sized predators of Endless Sea, Dolphin spotted a single young Leviathan, scattered away from his family as a result of other ships activity. Even though such actions are officially prohibited, Dolphin ordered his crew to go after the beast. They managed to kill it, and the small ship triumphantly sailed to the harbor with leviathan carcass attached.
Dolphin's actions were approved by authorities, he was awarded his ranks before time, and as best student of the academy given command over one of the supporting ships for Leviathan hunt.
By this, he effectively stole the honors from Shark, boy one year older then him. As Shark was also a hair of renown Leviathan hunter captain, he was offered a compensation by being promoted to the commander on a merchant ship (something that never been done before), but Shark still felt as he was stolen from.  

Aspect: Shark thinks he can do it better.

And that is it. I really like how ALONe guides me through FATE like character creation process, that emulates the players interaction during character creation in FATE Core. It takes my character to the places I would not be able to find without it.

To be continued......

Friday, April 8, 2016

4 against darkness

Recently, I had a chance to play several solo dungeon crawling games, from different publishing companies.
One of them is 4 against darkness by Ganesha games.

So, team consisting form rogue, cleric, wizard and elf descended into the dungeon.

1. Entrance
2. Trapdoor, guarding 5gp. Rogue disarmed it.
3. Empty room. Elf found a clue leading to the location of the rich merchant who dissapeared here recently.
4. Another empty room. Nothing here.
5. This room is a home of the small dragon. Party retreated from the room, shutting the door behind them, but not before they were all burned by dragon's breath.
6. 6 Fungi Folk. After killing them, party found wand of sleep that was given to Wizard.
7. 2 Trolls were guarding this tunnel. On their bodies, party found another wand of sleep. This one was given to the Elf. This tunnel contains a short-cut to dragons lair, which party noticed for the future.
8. Party met wandering alchemist, but they were not rich enough to buy anything from him.
9. 3 trolls on the crossroads. Tough fight, but only 5gp of treasure.
10. 6 orcs. Same as above.
11. Weird monster - iron eater. Put to sleep by wizard. Elf gains a level.
12. Empty tunnel, but the search brought attention of wandering boss monster - Orc Brute. Wand of Sleep did the job again, but party become seriously injured by this time, s they did some healing. Wizard gains a level.
13 and 14 - empty, containing clues. Elf was now sure that merchant is near.
15. Level 4 trap, disarmed by rogue. 130 gp hidden. Finally a better loot. Returning to crossroads, party encountered 4 giant centipedes (wandering monsters) but they were easy pray for our heroes.
16. 6 zombies guarding a merchant chained to the wall. Party killed the undead and saved their target.
On their way back, party was attacked by a boss wandering monster - a mummy. wizard hit it with the fireball, and cleric finished the job. Rogue tried to level up but rolled a 1, so he stayed on the first level.
The party escorted merchant back to town and picked up their reward.

Verdict: 4AD is a fast game - you can play a level of dungeon within an hour. What I really liked are monster reaction tables - when you meet a monster you can select to take initiative and attack first, or roll to see monster's reaction. Some monsters will fight - and then they strike first. But some will run away, or let you pass, ask for a bribe, offer help, and some will even give you quests.
Another important thing to know is that 4ad is a light game. You can play it anywhere and everywhere, all you need is some graph paper and a way to roll some d6. Still with quests, clues, etc, there is enough material for 10 to 15 games before you explore main possibilities. So far, basic rules offer just one level of the dungeon, but main book mentions expansion called Deeper levels that is in the pipeline, that should provide further fun.
Finally, for the more creative type out there, this game is fairly easy to customize to your taste. Player can create tables similar to the ones from the book with ease, and it will not spoil the fun of exploring the dungeon.
Recommended.

PS. There is also a competition by Ganesha games, so if you play 4AD and make an AAR of your exploits, connect the publisher, you might get a chance to win some Ganesha games products.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BattleSworn solo

BattleSworn by Ganesha Games (the ones producing Song of Blades and Heroes and other games in the range) was always a game that tickled my imagination. It has a great mechanics since players bid for their actions, which is really innovative in wargaming world.
But as the game was not playable solo, I stayed away from it.
Recently, Ganesha published BattleSworn supplement Knights and Knaves that included solo rules for the game, so I rushed to buy both books.

After reading the solo rules, I had to say that idea behind them is good, and it really seemed to me that I will add BattleSworn to the list of my favorite rules.

 So, I took out my orcs, made a human warband to serve as enemy, and started playing.
Unfortunately, I soon understood that solo rules for BattleSworn will not be my cup of tea. I found myself battling not against imaginary opponent, but against statistical odds. My formal education in this field didn't help. Actually, if one plays statistically correct, one can almost always predict AI moves. This gave me slow, but steady advantage, and after 10 bids (something that should represent a length of typical battle)  I managed to keep AI almost unable to move, kill two of his soldiers while keeping my forces out of harm's way.
It was obvious to me that even if I played 20 or 30 bids nothing much would change. I would kill enemies one by one, while AI would not be able to move rest of his forces from the starting line. So, I ended the game there.

So, the verdict: BattleSworn seems like the really good game. Against live opponent, able to make some surprising decisions, it should be a fun experience. But it is just not meant to be played solo. It is not even question of better solo rules - the ones presented in Knights and Knives are as good as they can get. ButtleSworn simply isn't solo friendly.

I do hope to play it against some of my friends these days.