11th April 2020
Saturday night has rolled around again and I'm in my living room. Tonight, Matakishi will be running the 2nd session of his 'In Darkest Warrens' game over Skype.
Location: On the road to Darkholme.
Whilst on the road to Darkholme, we were accosted by a very distressed looking farm woman who said. "Help, they've all been taken!".
We're not the kind to turn down someone in need, so we asked her elaborate.
She told us that that her three children - a son and two daughters who worked around the farm had been taken by gypsies. Some gypsy caravans passed by very recently. We agreed to help and the farm woman offers us a horse for payment.
Before we went off I checked for tracks, but my findings were indeterminate.
we followed at a pace the road, hoping the caravan would stick to it and that we could catch it. The road wound its way for a few hours before it took us into the dark woods.
As night began to fall we caught site of the flickering of a camp fire. We drew closer to the camp fire we saw that there were five gypsy caravans camped here close to a stream.
Four caravans were arranged around the camp fire, the last one was set further away. Currently, we could not see anyone sitting around the fire and everything looked quiet.
As we were watching and settling on what approach to use, we heard the howl of wolves in the distance.
Uncertain of what this meant, we decided that there was no time to waste and entered the camp site to investigate. As we moved closer to the camp fire, it did not appear to be generating the normal heat expected for a fire, something strange was happening here.
Before we had any chance to understand the situation, the fire bloomed brightly and became some sort of creature. It moved in to attack us.
The entire camp site appeared to be an illusion, but the fire creature was definitely real! As it positioned itself to attack, we retaliated.
Our mundane attacks were proving to be ineffective, however Egbert and Urham were having success with their spells, as was Ranulf who was using water from the stream to attack it.
Realising that my attacks would be a waste of time, I ran over to the remaining caravan. I was hoping that there would be a mage here who was controlling the fire creature and could call it off.
I knocked on the caravan door and there was no answer, even though I could clearly see bright light emanating from the windows.
In the meantime, my companions continued and eventually managed to defeat the fire creature.
There was nothing else to do now other than to enter the final caravan. When we opened the door, we were shocked to see that it opened into bright sunlight!
We knew we had to see this thing through, so we went through the door.
On the other side, bright sunlight was streaming through the trees, night had become day and we had no idea where we were.
We walked on and the trees thinned out. Open fields stretched out before us. We saw more woods, a village and a curious-looking fenced area off field with people in it?
The fenced off area was closest, so we decided to head there first.
When we arrived at the fenced area, things were even stranger!
Inside the fenced off area were children, they were sitting around doing nothing whilst slowly being covered in some sort of woollen thread which was dropping out of the sky?
Outside the fenced area were adults and they were clearly waiting around by some hand carts.
Finally - and most strangely, we saw some strange almost man-like wooden creatures that were walking about.
It appeared that they were guarding the area, as we approached they moved in aggressively and tried to fend us off, but he drove them away.
The children looked quite catatonic, so we chose to speak with the adults.
We noticed that they were sallow looking and also completely toothless, all of them!
We asked them what was going on?
They replied and told use that they wait here for the children to be completely 'cocooned' in the woollen thread, whereupon they put them into a cart and take them to 'The Moon Tower' in the village.
They also explained that the wooden creatures are known as 'peg-men'!
As we were talking to them, we spotted yet another strange thing. We saw what can only be described as as 'cloth-mouse' - something like a child's toy steal some wool from a child and run off!
We took the opportunity to examine one of these children and found that they too, were toothless!
The adults tell us some more about the area.
We are currently in 'The Windy Field'.
The Moon Tower is shrouded in darkness.
The other forest that we saw is known as 'The Forest of Lost Dreams'.
The smoke that we might see comes from 'The Factory'.
We asked the adults about the teeth and they told us that teeth are taken from everybody and sent to 'The Tooth Treasury'? Unsurprisingly, The Tooth Treasury was run by 'The Tooth Hag'.
They then told us that we can expect to lose our teeth soon too. We checked our teeth and they seemed looser than expected? Perhaps it was our imaginations or the power of suggestion?
Finally we asked them why they were here and they said that they had come to rescue children, but now they were just 'here'.
This did not sound very promising.
When a 'cocooned' child was loaded into a cart, we decided to follow the cart to the village and see what happened.
As expected, the cart was taken to The Moon Tower, the adults explain to us that 'The Nightmare Hag' and 'The Weavers' live there.
They also explained that 'The Stick Hag' is in charge over, whoever she is?
We arrived at The Moon Tower, it was a grim place, shrouded in perpetual shadow and approach to the tower was coated in 'canopy-like' layer thick webbing. Large, obscured and shadowy motionless shapes hung high in that webbing. We were pretty certain what they were....
We headed for the tower, but the webbing impeded our progress and nearly trapped us. We persevered and worked our way through it. Unfortunately, disturbing the webbing had the consequence of drawing the attention of the shadowy shapes above and several giant spiders walked their horrible spider-walk down the webbing to investigate.
A fight ensued and we managed to dispatch the spiders.
Meanwhile, the adults had dumped the cocooned children hear and were returning to the village.
Now that we were within 'the canopy', Egbert cast a 'fly' spell on Ranulf.ha
Ranulf soared to the top of the tower. There was a window there, Ranulf went to go into the tower when he a horrible, hideous hag - The Nightmare Hag. She had scissors for hands lunged forward to attack Ranulf.
Using his great strength, Ranulf grabbed the hag and flung her out of the tower. Instead of plummeting to the ground, the hag could and she swung around and attacked Ranulf again.
It turns out that when we are damaged by the hag, we lose memories!
I loosed a couple of arrows at the hag, they struck their mark, but there was clearly no effect on her.
Realising that we cannot harm the hag, I retreated out of the canopy. Meanwhile the hag swooped and attacked Egbert and Urham. Ranulf took the opportunity to fly into the tower and explored.
Inside he found thousands of children's toys! Scanning the area he spotted a toy from his childhood, Ranulf grabbed it and his lost memory returned!
Outside the tower, Egbert and Urham were having no luck against The Nightmare Hag, the three others retreated and joined me outside the canopy. Luckily, The Nightmare Hag did not pursue.
We were watching the tower from a distance when later, as the day began turning to night, we saw The Nightmare Hag fly off, leaving her tower.
We left too! We had seen a strange toy-like 'cloth-crow' flapping through the air and decided to follow.
The cloth-crow led us to The Forest of Lost Dreams. When we entered, it had become dark. As we walked through the forest we encountered a trap, also became aware that we were being watched by several sets of strange eyes!
The strange eyes belonged to three cloth-toys. We talk to them and it dawns on us that these three were the three missing children the farm woman had told us about! Somehow they had managed to escape in The Forest of Lost Dreams and become these toys.
They told use that they knew how to defeat the hags. We would need to carry 'lucky heather' when we fought them. They said that they could provide us with heather, but we would need to trade with them. They needed knives, scissors and tools. We gave them what we had, but they needed more.
We headed back to the village, it was late now and very quiet. We searched around for anything that might useful to trade and found a grappling hook and bedroll amongst other things
We returned to the forest and traded what we had acquired for lucky heather and spent the remainder of the night there.
Morning has come, we've got our lucky heather and it's time to deal with the hags!
We agreed that we should go and deal with the Tooth Hag first so we headed over to her cottage. The way is guarded by peg-men, but we managed to defeat them.
Next we saw something we hadn't seen before? Metal peg-men, known as stick-cutters! We fought them too and managed to defeat them.
After all this fighting we reached the Tooth Hag's cottage. It was a very disturbing sight. Everything was made of teeth, the walls, door, window frames - all teeth.
Ranulf rang the doorbell and the Tooth Hag answered! Ranulf attacked her! Now that we were wielding lucky heather, we defeated her.
We explored her cottage and find little of use or interest until we found the basement. Descending down, we found the basement wait deep in teeth!
Anyway, enough of the Tooth Hag, next we decided to return to the Nightmare Hag and see if our luck was better this time.
We went back to the gloomy Moon Tower and began cutting through the heavy webbing that surrounded it. The three remaining giant spiders came clambering down to attack us, but we dealt with them.
Next, we found the Nightmare Hag and dispatched her.
Only the Stick Hag remained.
We headed over to her house, it was larger than we expected as it incorporated a forge. The heat it generated was tremendous and we could feel it from far away.
Whilst looking on we could see that this is where stick-cutters were made.
Approaching the hag, we are surprised by her shocking visage, her body had the appearance of a bundle of sticks and her limbs the appearance of sharpened twigs.
We attacked the Stick Hag, unfortunately in the early rounds of combat, the hag resisted the spells of both mages and blasts us with magic of her own.
We were put on the back foot, but we managed to recover.
In a way that only Ranulf could manage, he wrestled her and threw her into the close by pond. This weakened her and allowed us to defeat her.
The final of the three hags had been vanquished.
We searched her house and freed some children from a cell, they were waiting her to be eaten!
We had managed to save most of the children and adults here, who recovered their memories from the Moon tower and teeth from the Tooth Hag's cottage.
Accompanied by the three children we had initially set out to save, we returned to the strange doorway that had led us to this place.
Luckily it was still there and returned us to the other woods by the stream.
It was less than a day's walk to the children's farm. When we arrived, the farm woman thanked us profusely and gave us a horse.
She also told us that in the time we had been away, we had been marked as outlaws and wanted for being con-men?
This was unexpected!
5th April 2020
It's Sunday lunchtime and I'm sitting in my living room. It's time for 50 Fathoms over Skype.
Location: Flotsam Sea
We continued our journey on the Flotsam Sea.
Whilst we were travelling we came across another ship, they appeared to be scavenging.
As we observed them, it began to rain. A fog then appeared on the ar side of the ship. We then saw another ship appear, heading straight for the scavengers. It was an attack!
When new ship charged, massive tentacles burst from the sea and wrapped around the scavenger's ship. As the attackers closed, 'octopods' from their ship boarded the scavenger's ship.
We moved in as quickly as we could. We saw that the attacker's ship was named the 'Maria Terquesa'. We launched a two-pronged counter attack.
Rackham boards the Maria Terquesa and engages the warlock aboard the ship in a duel. During this confrontation, somehow both of them become blinded?
Meanwhile I have jumped aboard the other ship and gone for the octopods. Shia is targeting the giant tentacles and attempting to burn then. Win is trying to use her Stun power to incapacitate them.
We fought for a while until most of the octopods had been defeated.
To be continued, next session...
4th April 2020
Saturday is here and we're not at Matakishi's, the Covid-19 has claimed Saturday nights too as we are now all socially distancing.
This means it's time to play over Skype!
Since we're playing over Skype, Matakishi has decided to run something different, something simpler.
In Darkest Warrens
This is where 'In Darkest Warrens' comes in.
In Darkest Warrens a very light RPG, condensed into 2 pages or so.
PCs have 4 stats, each with an associated value. All tasks are assigned to one of these 4 stats. To succeed, all a player needs to do is roll equal to or above the value (So lower values are better.).
There are 5 professions, each profession grants a player a special ability that they can use once per combat
Magic is equally as simple and elegant. Magic users can cast each spell they know once per combat, but if they fail to cast it, they don't lose the spell and can try to cast it again (Until they succeed at it.).
I could write more, but it would probably end up longer than the actual rules.
Suffice to say that these rules are designed for quick 'pick-up-and-play' fun and not long term play.
So on with adventure and exploration!
Our brave band of heroes are:
Ranulf Rawhide; a barbarian, played by Kevin.
Egbert the Undecided; a mage, played by Mark.
Urham; a mage, played by Micheala.
Cosmo Naught; a ranger, played by 'Yours Truly'.
Our travels have taken away from home and we have found ourselves in the hamlet of 'Boburn', a quiet and simple looking settlement.
Upon entering the hamlet, we are approached by the elder who wants us to rescue the hamlet's prize cow, Brenda.
Brenda had been stolen by an ogre who has carried Brenda away to a fortress to the north, no more than a day's walk from Boburn.
We discussed our options and the elder offered a reward - a reward we did not refuse!
We set off on our way north, soon we encountered what seemed to be a wise woman selling 'mushroom healing potions'.
We asked her if she had seen Brenda the cow, but she knew nothing.
We then asked the wise woman if she knew anything about an ogre to the north. She replied that there is no ogre and we should be wary of the sound of the 'pitter-patter' of small feet.
This instantly made us think of two possibilities, goblins... or giant spiders!
Finally, the wise woman informed us that 'The Goblin King's strength comes from his crown'.
Our journey drew to a close when we spied the castle on the horizon. When we approached we saw that it was in a state of some disrepair. We also noticed a pair of small figures sitting hunched over a fire and eating.
We approached them and confirmed that they were goblins. Luckily it didn't look like they were eating beef! We asked them about Brenda, but they pleaded ignorance of the situation. - Suspicious?
We asked them what they knew about the fortress? They told us the fortress as occupied by 'Gurt the Goblin King', They could not, or would not supply us with more information. We left them be and did some searching of our own.
We searched the area around the front of the fortress, my aptitude with the wilderness revealed cow tracks heading through the main gates and into the fortress. We approached and listened at the wall. We could hear 'mooing' on the other side!
We decided against a frontal assault through the gates. Instead we scouted the perimeter and found a back way in. This was a much more agreeable.
We needed a way through the door, it was locked and we had no key. Ranulf stepped forward up, intent on barging the door down. No door could resist his brawny bulk.
But resist it did!
It was down to Egbert to show the party how a door is kicked in!
Now we were in, we had exploring to do. We went and investigated rear tower to the left. Success! We had found Brenda - and four goblins - and an enormous goblin wearing a crown.
Very quickly, a battle ensued and we set upon into the goblins. The goblin king seemed tougher than we expected, so remembering what we had been told, Urham grabbed his crown. The goblin king immediately crumpled to the ground, shrunk to normal goblin size and died. The crown had given him extra resilience that kept him going, now the crown was gone; so was the resilience.
Soon the battle was over and we were victorious. That was easy.
But alas, it was not to be. Brenda the prize cow would not fit through the doorway by which we had entered the fortress, we had to find another way out, probably through the main gates we had hoped to bypass.
We followed the corridor until it opened into a small hallway with four exits. We check the first door on the right.
This room is filled with bodies. Disturbingly, most of the bodies have had their heads crushed? Looking around we found a chest, we also notice there are no other doors out of here. But there's a big hole in the wall that probably leads into the adjoining room.
Cautiously we looked through hole, it did lead to an adjoining room and within this room we founda 'milk swilling ogre'!
Stepping back, we looted the chest and formulated a plan to attack the ogre.
Then we rushed the ogre. Our forethought and strategy were a success and we manage to defeat the ogre without issue.
We've explored two rooms so far and continue exploring, we checked the first door on the first and it led to the courtyard, we decided to avoid the courtyard for now.
So we go through the only door remaining, the door ahead - and it leads into another hall.
The door to the right leads into the goblin latrine! Ewww! To be avoided!
The door ahead is barricaded, to keep something inside the room from getting out. Our thoughts were drawn back to the wise woman's words about the pitter-patter of tiny feet and how it made us think of giant spiders.
We decided to also avoid this room and perhaps investigate it later.
That only leaves the courtyard.
The courtyard was mostly empty, there was a well here and on the far side a tower, the last area to explore.
We entered the courtyard and despatched the four goblins we found there. As we crossed the courtyard, we heard something strange. Singing was coming from the well, a woman's voice singing.
Ranulf climbed down the well and at the water level found a side passage that disappeared off into the darkness.
We had a choice now, whether to go into the well and wherever that may lead, or finish exploring the fortress.
We decided to finish exploring the fortress. Upon entering the tower came across a peculiar situation: A goblin fighting three massive rats!
We dispatched the rats and questioned the goblin. Unfortunately, he knew very little, so we let him go.
It was left to us to explore the tunnel from the well.
We descended and went along the tunnel. The singing was beautiful, but we could not make out the words.
The tunnel opened out into a circular room. Within was a small girl, surrounded by small dolls!
The girl turned to look at us as we entered the room, her eyes were entirely jet black and terrifying.
So terrifying that Urham and I fled the room!
The girl let out a scream and the dolls attack!
When Ranulf and Egbert attacked the dolls, their strange porcelain heads exploded and there was a myriad chorus of screaming voices!
After a few moments, I gritted my teeth and set my jaw and returned to the fight. We focussed our attacks on the 'devil-child' and slew it, this caused all the remaining dolls to explode!
We returned to the surface and found that Brenda had gone. Stolen by the goblin. Stupid, stupid goblin.
Luckily we managed to follow Brenda's tracks and retrieve her, the goblin and his two companions (From the campfire.) were trying to escape. We gave them a telling off and returned to Boburn.
We were given our reward and became guests of honour at a feast.
We are also told that we might find work at the town of Darkholme.
29th March 2020
It's a Sunday lunchtime and we're not at 'The Sovereign' in Woking. Due to the Covid-19 social distancing policies, we're not together at all.
I am actually in my living room in front of a laptop, logged into a Skype group video chat for my first ever 'virtual' tabletop RPG session ever.
Let's see how it goes.
Location: Paltos; at the prison.
Our battle to free Tomas continues!
We had just broken into the 'prison proper' and Shia had managed to take the captain here prisoner.
Shia then convinced the remaining guards to back down and surrender.
We quickly searched the prison and found three prisoners shacked to a wall. A human, a kraken and a masquani - Tomas, Grick & Kyle.
When we released them, Tomas went on a rampage attacking the guards. We had to ignore him and flee with the other prisoners back to the town and our boats.
On our return we saw another Kieran ship approaching Paltos. Kyle used his magic to drive the ship back and we made good out escape.
When we were well at sea, Kyle gave us 'The Tears of Lys'.
It is a necklace decorated with a length of tear shaped gems. When one of these gems are used, it allows the owner to have a question answered. There is only one gem left.
However, it was not quite so simple, the owner must tell a tragic tale and cry a tear on to the gem in order to use it.
So Shia had a sad tale from her past that she recounted, a tale which is not to be repeated here...
After telling her tale, Shia was given a vision.
The vision showed the trial of the three sea-hags from thirteen years ago.
- There is the grey haired king in green armour, adorned with an octopus insignia.
- There are three black haired women - sisters, they are prisoners and on trial for the murder of their father and sister. The three hags.
- Three nobles as judges, two are shadowy and indistinct. But the last man has a 'leaping shark' insignia on his armour.
After the vision, we discussed our strategy and what our next step will be.
It was decided that we needed to acquire both 'elemental water' and 'water from another world'.
Elemental water can be found somewhere within the 'Flotsam Sea'. The Flotsam Sea is a massive and treacherous swirling sea with a vortex at it's heart. It so named for all the wrecked ships it has claimed. This includes wrecked ships drawn in from Earth and other worlds. We theorise that one of this 'otherworld' wrecks may contain water from where ever they came from.
The journey into the centre of The Flotsam Sea will take two to three weeks.
Early into our journey we spotted a burning ship! Upon closer inspection, we saw that there were 2 salamanders aboard.
Rackham used his magic to remove the salamanders and extinguish the fires.
The ship was entirely abandoned, so we took ownership of it. It was a 'brigantine' called 'Argon'.
We continued on with our journey into The Flotsam Sea and over time the seas became rougher and rougher.
We are about a week into the journey when we spot another ship, and again it appears to be in trouble!
Drawing closer, we see that the ship is listing significantly to one side. We can now see that a rope is running from the ship to a rocky outcrop just above sea level. The rope is lashed to the rock, preventing the ship from being sucked into whirlpool. We also notice that two individuals are clinging to the rocky outcrop that just above the sea level.
The ship is named 'Donna Briam' and we can see that the rope is straining and won't last long.
Rackham uses his elemental magic to help Win glide over to the stricken ship. Win manages to secure a 2nd line to the ship, allowing us to 'tow' the Donna Briam away from the deadly pull of the whirlpool.
Once we are all in safety, we chat with the crew of the Donna Briam. The captain is one 'Hargreaves Mcoy'.
As thanks, Captain Hargreaves gifts use a magic 'ship's wheel' made of bone!
21st March 2020
Saturday is here and normal Saturday gaming has not resumed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the last meeting of the Woking Gaming Club, Simon & Colin invited us to play a final game, provided that an opportunity would present itself. And that opportunity did present itself - on Saturday 21st March.
So we're at Simon's for a Saturday as his wife and children are away.
The game of the night was 'Maracaibo'.
If you've ever favoured yourself as an adventurer, explorer or trader jobbing your way round and round in circles for years in the Caribbean. Then maybe, just maybe. This is a game for you.
What's in a game?
Maracaibo is a big game with a lot of components, cards and tiles:
How's it play?
There's quite a lot of setup to this game.
Since we're not playing the campaign, some of the components will be left out.
So now we're ready!
The basic principle of Maracaibo is to travel from location to location in a loop from and back to Havana. Stopping at different places will allow players to perform different actions in pursuit of victory points.
A player's turn consists of 3 phases, sailing, main action & drawing cards.
Let's start with city actions:
Players keep taking turns until a round ends. A round continues until any player reaches space 22. There's a game mechanism that prevents a player immediately ending a round (Players must stop at space 21 first.). Then the following actions occur.
Players can purchase a project card or gain 2 VP.
The money and victory point economy tracks are dealt with.
A new prestige building is revealed and new quest cards are placed on the board as required.
The new first player is the player who ended the previous turn.
Play continues until the end of the final round.
Points can come from project cards, player boards, prestige buildings, rank with nations and of course the scoring track.
Final points are tallied and highest score wins.
TLDR; right? Although I've probably made it sound more complicated than it actually is.
Maracaibo definitely sits at the heavier end of the complexity scale.
Some of this complexity is down to rules, but much of it is due to having so many things going on at the same time. Not only is there the main track and project cards and ship grades and personal objectives, there's the exploration track. Then there's the influence and rank tracks. I've probably missed something too!
All of these are ways to score points
It's a lot for a player to think about and take in, particularly with potentially very limited turns!
There may be 22 spaces on the main track, but if a player races round, they can end the round after about 4 turns. A sneaky player can end the game quite quickly and if players don't pay attention, they may get caught flat footed.
So players need to think of ways to optimise their strategy, manage their resources and play to the strengths of their personal objectives.
They also need to keep an eye on what other players may be doing with regards movement and also to influence and rank, high rank with a high influence nation can be the source of a lot of victory points.
This is not a confrontational game by any means, but influence represents the only way players can mess with each other (Even though it's indirectly.). Lowering a nation's influence after another player has increased their rank with that nation can cost them a lot of victory points.
Its mechanics suits its themes fairly well as what players are doing is following trade routes whilst buying and selling.
Whilst Maracaibo is not the most complex or heaviest of games, but it's complex enough.
It's a game that will take a couple plays to understand a learn, so it's not very accessible. But if you like heavier games, then you'll be used to that.
If you like heavier games and you like the theme, you'll probably like Maracaibo, although it typically requires a few hours to complete, around 3 hours I'd say.
For me, I'd like to play it again, but it sits close to the upper limits of complexity I like dealing with.
17th March 2020
It's a Tuesday at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking.
It's the final game of the final night with the Woking Gaming Club before the lockdown came into affect.
And that final game was Heckmeck/Pickomino.
Read my blog about it here.
17th March 2020
Tuesday has rolled around again and we're at 'The Sovereigns' with the Woking Gaming Club.
The club members agreed that due to the threat of the Covid-19 virus, this would be the last get-together for the club until we were no longer required to socially-distance ourselves.
The first game of the evening was 'Cartographers'.
Do you fancy getting out and about, doing a bit of exploring? Perhaps finding a forest or two, or even a river? Then this game may be for you.
That's right, in these days of self isolation and being stuck at home; we played a game about going outside!
Cartographers is a style of game I've yet to play called 'roll and write'.
What's in a game?
The only bugbear with the game is the pad of blank maps, which you tear out and give to each player. Even though 100 sheets enough for a lot of games, the idea of it makes me wince!
If you do run out of sheets however, you can download and print extras from the website.
Dave, the game's owner had the wisdom and foresight to also purchase a couple of sets of coloured fine line markers to use with the game (More about that below.).
How's it play?
First there's setup.
Play begins by turning over an exploration card.
Scoring occurs at the end of every season and is broken down as follows (As well as end of round actions.):
Once the score for the winter season has been calculated, the score for all 4 seasons is tallied. Highest score wins.
Cartographers is a fun and interesting game.
Interesting because of how the scoring works, it gives players short term and long term goals. Not only are there 4 scoring objectives, each objective is scored twice and they are scored asymmetrically.
Objective 'A' is scored in rounds 1 & 4. So working towards it in rounds 1 & 4 will earn a player points. Objective 'A' scores no points in rounds 2 & 3, however working towards objective 'A' in rounds 2 & 3 can pay dividends when it's scored again in round 4. This may mean neglecting other scoring opportunities though.
Objective 'B' on the other hand, scores in rounds 1 & 2, after that it's worthless. So to make the most of this scoring opportunity, players will have to concentrate on it for the first half of the game.
All of this makes players think about short, long and mid term goals and how to maximise scoring opportunities.
Additionally, players cannot predict what terrain/shapes will appear if at all or the order they appear. Nor can they predict when ambush cards will appear. Players also need to be flexible and be able to change their plans.
This culminates in giving players lots of factors to consider and decisions to make - which is good.
Another interesting thing about Cartographer is the number of players it supports. It's essentially only limited by the drawing implements/time required. You could use the entire pad and play with 100 people at once if you had the time/space/pencils!
There is theoretically no downtime as everyone draws their shapes at the same time. I say theoretically, because they'll always be that player that takes too and wants to draw in too much detail! 'Do you really need to draw the chimneys on the houses in your village. What! Now you're doing the smoke too!'. You know what I mean.
The addition of the coloured markers - whilst an extra expense added quite a lot to the experience. I imagine using the pencils a little duller. It's a shame they couldn't include coloured pencils or something along those lines. Obviously costs need to be kept down though.
Even so, I found it a good game and would play it again.
15th March 2020
Sunday gaming continues at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking.
The final game of the day was 'Heckmeck/Pickomino'.
Read my blog about it here.
15th March 2020
It's Sunday afternoon and we're at 'The Sovereign' in Woking. Unfortunately half of the players could not make it today, so we're playing board games instead.
Due to the looming threat of Covid-19, this would be the last Sunday meeting at 'The Sovereigns' that we would have for the time being.
The first game of the day was 'Love Letter'.
Read my blog about it here.
14th March 2020
It's a Saturday night and we're at Matakishi's for some RPG goodness.
Tonight, we will be continuing with the 'Clockwork & Chivalry' campaign 'Kingdom & Commonwealth'.
Due to the ongoing threat of the Covid-19 virus, this would be the last time we met up in person for a while.
Anyway! On to the game.
Several months had passed since our last meeting with Sir Reginald.
We had received an invitation to Oxford to meet with Sir Reginald and a 'Henry Ireton'.
Oxford was heavily guarded and a Royalist town. Luckily, we had been furnished with the required papers to enter the city.
So we found ourselves at a pub charmingly named 'The Splattered Receptacle'. It was a fairly busy place. We noticed a band of armed men here - possibly soldiers? The were also some 'rowdy rural types' and 'subdued students'.
We were taken upstairs for our meeting with the two men. We were surprised to find that they had been accompanied by a lady?
Henry Ireton introduced himself and explained that he was taking a great risk coming here. Even though the wintry weather we had endured in our previous endeavour had long faded away, the atmosphere in the room had become decidedly frosty.
Ireton explained that both Sir Reginald and he were strongly anti-war and wanted to prevent this situation from getting worse.
Sir Reginald then asked all of us to take an oath, we agreed and did so. Then Henry Ireton introduced us to the lady.
'Hilaria Edgecombe' was her name. Hilaria explained had served as a 'lady-in-waiting' to a 'Lady Elizabeth Hopton'.
Three years ago, Lady Hopton had been in the town of 'Penwith' whilst travelling Cornwall. Hilaria told that Lady Hopton had been cursed by a witch. A witch called 'Magi Friggi'. Lady Hopton had spent some time wasting away until she died.
Hilaria showed us a 'Poppit'? Something made and used by witches.
Ireton then went on to explain that he suspected that something was spreading from Cornwall. Ireton believes it is magic of some sort - but not alchemy.
Ireton wants use to investigate.
Finally, Ireton warns us that Cornwall is held by Royalists and we will need to proceed to carefully.
As the conversation concluded, we heard -and felt- an explosion, the room was blasted and we were thrown to the floor.
We picked ourselves up and assessed the situation, the room was burning and Hilaria was dead!
We looked downstairs, the entire area was littered with bodies and billowing smoke from a fire somewhere. This was no way out, we would choke to death before we could blindly scrabble our way out.
We tried the windows, it looked like a way out. But before we could do anything, we spotted what could only be described as 'a manical woman in a conical hat who cursed us'!
Sir Reginald is abruptly set alight as flames from the fire flicked out and caught him. Fire did not normally behave like this! Something had affected it, magic of some sort?
Ursula used her own witchcraft to counter this 'fire-magic' and we managed to save Sir Reginald.
Then we all managed to escape. Henry Ireton made his farewells and fled Oxford.
We conducted a brief investigation of events and witnesses told us that they saw the farmers burst into flame!
There was little for us go to on here.
Sir Reginald invited us to his home.
It is decided that we must find the root of what is spreading and head to the sea town.
Sir Reginald provided us with a guide to help us in our task, his name is Kit.
Before leaving for Cornwall, we conducted some research on the region.
Cornwall is ruled by three witches, who apparently draw their power from dark sacrificial magic.
Kit told us the whole of Cornwall is under their spell!
The journey to Cornwall took a week. Just before entering Cornwall, we spent the night at an inn called 'The Royal'.
The next day we entered Cornwall, at some point during the day we crossed a bridge guarded by soldiers. The paid us no attention, but they saluted Ursula!
As we travelled through Cornwall, we came across many isolated hamlets and solitary churches.
Late one day we reached a castle, we inquired withing.
It is ruled by a man called 'Hopkins'. He invited us in for a meal.
During the meal Hopkins attempted to have us put into his dungeon. We resisted and a battle ensued. We dispatched Hopkins and dealt with his guards or took them prisoner. A few moments later, more guards charged in and we dealt with them.
We decided to take the initiative and stormed the remaining guards. There numbers had been whittled down, so we managed to clear out the last soldiers. The castle was ours.
We took the time to free the prisoners that Hopkins had incarcerated.
We rested for a couple of days to recuperate and in that time some Royalist guards arrived.
They were surprised to see us here, but they were not unhappy to see that Hopkins was gone.
The leader of the guards was called 'Penrose'. We charged him and his men with guarding our castle in our absence.
We asked Penrose and his men if they anything about the three witches.
The told of three wise-women who were sisters and lived in Penzance.
We decided it would be a good idea to go Penzance and 'speak' with them.
I play, I paint.