Tuesday 17 October 2017

Cardboard - Hanamikoji Review

Just an ordinary Saturday night in, waving teapots at geisha and trying to be more charming than everyone else in Hanamikoji, a two-player card game that packs a big punch (mainly to your poor little brain) for such a small game. It's too pretty for a boring box-shot, so everyone pretend this is lovely cherry blossom, okay?

Shh, I was trying to be artsy...

Sunday 8 October 2017

Handmade Fair - September 2017

It looked like a grey start for this year's Handmade Fair as we arrived at The Green at Hampton Court, not helped by the distinct reduction in bunting levels from previous years. Still, it didn't take long to get into the spirit of the day and start looking around for exciting things to do.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Cardboard - Dice Forge board game review

With all the games on display at the UK Games Expo this year, new titles had to work super-hard to get themselves noticed. From the tiny wooden ladders of Catch the Moon to the novelty bed and sleep-mask in When I Dream, fancy components played a big part in the fight for attention, and one game doing a particularly great job in this respect was Dice Forge from Libellud. Upgradeable dice with interchangeable faces, striking box art and a beautiful board packed with a rainbow of colours all help the game to scream novelty - but is there any substance under all that chunky cartoon style? We've done deck building. We've done bag building. Time to try some dice building!

Dice Forge - box art - Random Nerdery review

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Guild Ball: I finally played some! (Farmer's Guild launch event)

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Snow and Skatha I've been guilty of vanishing slightly over the last month, partly being busy with the usual mix of life, work and games but also having dedicated a big chunk of time to fixing this hideously unpainted situation:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Unpainted

That's an awful lot of grey to cover...

Guild Ball is something I've written about before when we attended Steamforged Games' SteamCon in Leeds late last year. It's a mob football miniatures game where you're attempting to play the most dangerous game of football ever on a kill-or-be-killed pitch filled with dodgy (but beautifully detailed) characters from various power-hungry guilds from across the Empire of the Free Cities.

I came back from the con super-enthused to pick up the game, learn the rules properly and get my models painted up. True to form I did none of these things, and the Hunters returned to their bag, lost and forgotten in the shadow of shiny new board games (as much as it was possible to forget, that is, living with the most Guild Ball obsessed man ever...)

But then earlier this month, during a bit of a resurgence in the game at my local gaming store, Dice & Destiny, I found out about a launch event for the new Farmer's Guild: a few friendly games being played, with some promos and prizes up for grabs. The store is under new management and much improved in terms of decor, outlook and community engagement, so I'm more than happy to support what they're doing and in a fit of enthusiasm I signed up to play, along with my husband. This gave me just over three weeks to get my act together. Nothing like working to a deadline, eh?

Obviously I prioritised painting over learning the actual rules, spending lots of happy evenings pottering about with acrylic paints, green stuff and PVA glue making them a lot less plain and grey:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Snow and Skatha

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Seenah

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Egret

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Hearne

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Chaska, Theron, Hearne

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Young Theron

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Theron and team

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters team

[If you like the bases, by the way, they're roughly based on the one in this Sorastro painting guide.]

I also got in a rules refresher and some practice introducing friends to the game on a visit, and a couple more panicked 'aaargh, I don't know anything' games with my husband before the big day.

Guild Ball is one of those games where the rules, at their most basic, are pretty fast to pick up, but to get good takes lots of practice, strategic thinking and good knowledge of what everyone's models can do.

It will be little surprise to say, then, that I did not play well! Even so, the day was amazingly well run by our local Pundit (volunteer Steamforged rep) and loads of fun. Everyone was playing in the spirit of the day regardless of experience level and it looked like they were having a great time.

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - vs Fishermen

Highlights of my games included conceding two goals to Salt, the sea otter, a hilarious post-match overtime kickabout during which I scored a goal with 'borrowed' momentum and five minutes containing the most horrendous string of dice rolls I have ever put together in a game, ever!

Here's Salt, scoring his second goal...

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Salt goal

Everyone received some promotional tokens and an alternative art card for Grange, the Farmer's Captain. There was also a Farmers themed cauliflower ball model to take home for best painted team, which I was very excited to win against some amazing competition:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Farmer's Guild cauliflower ball

It might look like just a tiny metal vegetable, but it was very exciting to me!

Nicest of all though was a prize for best opponent, where people voted for their most enjoyable game of the day. I was very proud (and super embarrassed) to win this prize too!

Prizes aside, I think it's so nice that Steamforged have designed an event around having fun rather than the usual winning-focussed tournament formula and I hope they offer lots more like it in the future. And I'm not just saying that because I'm terrible at the game... Hopefully I'll get lots more practice in with Theron and co before heading to SteamCon again later this year.

Big thanks to everyone involved at Dice & Destiny and especially our Pundit, Haydn, for the awesome day!

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Tuesday 11 July 2017

Handmade Fair September 2017 (and ticket discount offer!)

With all the recent board-gaming excitement and my ridiculously long break I've written nothing about craft-based-nerdery since Christmas! As if to redress the balance, I was reminded that it's time to start booking fun trips for 2017!

Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair 2017 with discount code

Monday 3 July 2017

Cardboard - Star Wars: Destiny dice game review

A long time ago, in a living room far, far away...

Star Wars Destiny - Random Nerdery review

This week I'm taking a look at the Rey and Kylo Ren starter sets for Star Wars: Destiny, a collectible card and dice game from Fantasy Flight Games. Each player brings their own deck to the table, centred around a character (or characters) from the Star Wars universe and packed with weapons, equipment, events and support characters that will hopefully leave them as the last team standing.

Monday 26 June 2017

Cardboard - Mystic Vale card game review

Druids, fancy see-through cards and a substantially reduced chance of ruining your game with a drinks spillage. What more could you ask for in a deck-builder? Cue Mystic Vale, newly crowned Origins card game of the year!

Random Nerdery - Mystic Vale review - box art

Thursday 8 June 2017

UK Games Expo 2017 Highlights

It's official: the UK Games Expo is currently the world's third largest board gaming convention having welcomed over 16,500 unique visitors to the Birmingham NEC and Hilton Metropole over the last weekend, including a very excited and over-caffeinated me.

UK Games Expo 2017

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Cardboard - Yamatai board game review

If you take a look at my game shelf there's a notable trend towards picking up every game I see with a Japanese theme. From Tokaido to Takenoko, Mottainai or Hanabi, I think I have a small obsession - but it hasn't let me down yet! Let's start by going down the list of reasons for me to be excited about this game:
  • Colourful shiny box: check
  • Days of Wonder: check
  • Japan: check
  • Lost, ancient, mysterious kingdom setting: check
  • Smile-based reward system: wait, what?
Yamatai box art - Random Nerdery board game review

Yamatai is the latest offering from Days of Wonder, designed by Bruno Cathala (Five Tribes, Dice Town, Shadows Over Camelot) and Marc Paquien (...Yamatai). With the prospect of a rewarding smile from Queen Himiko at stake, 2-4 players strive to become the most prestigious builder as the capital of Yamatai takes shape on an archipelago in ancient Japan.

Monday 29 May 2017

Cardboard - Codenames Pictures giveaway

I love, love, love the original version of Codenames, the word-linking party game from the awesome Vlaada Chvátil (Galaxy Trucker, Mage Knight, Dungeon Lords) and having tried out a prototype of Codenames: Pictures at last year's UK Games Expo I decided that I liked this version even more!

Now the proud owner of my own copy of the game, I thought with the anniversary of my first game approaching it would be fun to share the love and give away a copy to someone in the UK - see below.

Friday 26 May 2017

UK Games Expo 2017

I can't believe it's been a year since the last UK Games Expo. In just under a week it'll be time to make the trip up to the NEC Birmingham again for another weekend of games, friends, fun and food, and I can't wait!

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Cardboard - Marvel Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary card game review

Continuing my little series on Upper Deck's Legendary deck builder, this week it's the turn of Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary. Again, I won't go into details on the basic gameplay, as that's covered in my original review of the base game which you can catch up on here.

If you didn't get enough Captain America in Marvel Legendary: Civil War, here he is again dusting off the shiny vibranium shield for his very own small box expansion to celebrate reaching the grand old age of 75. That's a lot of candles...

Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - box art

There's a lot packed into this little box (including a bit of time travel, which can never be bad), so let's have a look through what you get in your 100 cards:

Thursday 20 April 2017

Cardboard - Marvel Legendary: Civil War card game review

So Marvel Legendary was great fun, but that box was looking a little empty with just the base set inside. Not that there wasn't plenty of choice in the starter box, but with shelf space at a premium it would be a crime to have that much spare air in the box for too long, wouldn't it?

Luckily enough, Upper Deck offer plenty of expansion options to switch up your game (or make best use of your storage space!) and I'm going to take a look at a couple: Civil War and Captain America 75th Anniversary. I won't go over the basic gameplay again, as they're all in my review of the base game which you can catch up on here.

Join me as I hang my head in nerd-shame at how little of the Marvel universe I really know. First up, Civil War:

Marvel Legendary Civil War box art