19th March 2019.
Another Tuesday and another evening of gaming fun at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking.
Tonight we played in a 3 player game of 'K2'.
K2 obviously refers to the mountain K2. People on the internet who claim to know more about mountain climbing than me (and that's not hard, I know nothing about mountain climbing) state that K2 is harder to climb than Everest.
With that in mind, it's best that I conquer K2 from the confines of a board game sitting in a semi-comfy chair.
In K2, each player controls 2 climbers. The higher a climber goes, the more points they score at the end of the game (provided they're still alive at the end). Each climber scores, so your final score will be the combined score of both.
Climbers only have 1 stat for you to worry about and manage. That stat is 'acclimatisation'. If this drops to 0, then the climber dies.
The game rules are quite straightforward.
Each player has their own personal deck to draw cards from to create a hand of cards. There are basically 2 types of card.
Climbing to the top is simple, when you move one of your climbers to a new space on the mountain, it will have movement and acclimatisation cost that the climber must pay.
Thus; if you have played a 3-point movement card and you moved a climber to a space that costs 2 movement, you would still have 1 movement left.
At the end of a turn, climbers may gain or (most likely) lose acclimatisation points dependent on their position on the board.
There you go, rinse and repeat until you reach the top. Simple, right.
Except I've not mentioned 2 elements of the rules, which are what make K2 a good game.
The first is:
You see, the weather can influence the movement costs of moving to another tile and also the acclimatisation costs that climbers must pay.
Clear weather incurs no extra costs, but worse weather can affect, one, the other or both. Interestingly, the weather may only influence climbers at certain altitudes, it's possible to be above bad weather.
The game uses tiles to depict the weather, each tile shows the weather for the next 3 days and there are always 2 tiles turned face up. When the end of the first weather tile is reached, a new tile is turned over.
This means that players are able to see what the weather will be like for the next 3-6 days.
Why does this make K2 a good game? It makes K2 a good game when combined with the other rule I was talking about, which is:
The Hand of Cards
Each player has 3 cards in their hand at the start of a turn. Players then draw 3 more cards from their decks.
Giving them a hand size of 6.
From this hand of 6, players must play any 3 cards. Leaving them with 3 cards remaining in their hand
Why is this such a clever mechanic? Because it allows a player to plan their moves in for the future.
When you play cards, he weather will influence how effective they are.
This will influence which cards you play, but will also influence which cards you don't play.
So when the weather forecast shows bad weather ahead, you don't want to be climbing much, because you'll be hindered and wasting movement. Any good movement cards should 'banked' and not played.
Then, when eventually there's a stretch of good weather, hopefully you will have kept those good movement cards in your hand. So that regardless of what cards you draw, you'll have at least 3 good movement cards so that you can exploit the break in the bad weather to climb higher.
That's why it's such a good mechanic, it emulates the feeling of sitting around in your tent enduring bad weather, waiting for a window of good weather to open up and then surging for the peak.
There are some other rules about risk and turn order and like. But this is the gist of the game. And a good game it is.
10th March 2019.
It's a Saturday night at Matakishi's and he's running Oubliette for 'The Black Hack'.
This is our 4th session of play, but it's actually chapter 2 of the campaign.
You can read Matakishi's report about it here.
12th March 2019
It's time for the 2nd game of the night at 'The Sovereigns'.
This game is a bit like a tabletop version of a match-3 game but done with a magic potion theme.
Unfortunately it's been a couple of months since I played this game, so I don't remember the rules very well.
Furthermore, we played a 3-player version of the game. Apparently the game rules can vary with differing numbers of players.
The game is played on a square gridded board with 3 different coloured types of potion bottles substituting for different coloured gems. There are tiles that represent potion bottles, but they are placed face-down on the board. After a number of tile are placed on the board, the remaining tiles form a draw deck.
Each player is dealt an 'Apothecary' card.
3 apothecary cards are placed by the board along with 3 piles of different coloured gems. The remaining apothecary cards form a draw deck.
Once the game is set up, play commences.
During their turn a player can perform 2 actions (out of a choice of 4) and cannot perform the same action twice. The actions are:
The first player to satisfy 3 apothecary cards wins the game. Thus the player must complete match-3 3 times.
However, there is a twist. Each of the 3 apothecaries must be satisfied by a different colour. Thus a match-3 must be achieved with all 3 colours.
That's it for the actions, there are some other rules, but you get the gist. It's a fairly simple game: But you have to pay attention to your decisions.
There's no point in matching 3 potions if you don't have an apothecary card to put the tiles on to.
There's no point in putting tiles on to the board, only to give other player's something to turn over and get gems for.
And so on.
The game was reasonably quick to play. But I found that I had no effective strategy and that left me feeling unengaged. I can't say if it's good or bad, I would need to play it a couple of times before coming to that decision.
What, you want an actual blog post about the game?
It really does describe the game. Brutal is the perfect word for it. Brutal!
Oh okay then, here's a proper blog post about it.
12th March 2019.
It was a dark and stormy night. Well actually it was a fairly average and nondescript gaming Tuesday at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking.
Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth is a reskinned, tweaked and updated version of 'The Lost Expedition, you can read my blog The Lost Expedition here.
Instead of crossing the insect and dangerous animal infested hell of a jungle, you are now crossing the mutated insect and mutated dangerous animal infested hell of The Cursed Earth. Lets not forget the flesh eating dinosaurs either!
Even worse, you're on a race against time: Because of a Macguffin you must reach Ol' Stoneyface's loyal informer 'Max Normal' before a gang of perps do.
They travelling along the expedition trail just like you and if the gang reach Max before the players. Well, they'll just murder him to death in a hail of machine-gun fire. 'Brraapp, budda budda budda'; I can hear the sound effects from here.
Now that you've read my blog post on The Lost Expedition and you know what I'm talking about. How does The Cursed Earth differ?
The expedition trail is different. Instead of a row of 9 essentially cosmetic cards to travel along. You create an location deck and the final destination card (along with 2 other cards) is shuffled to form the last 3 cards of the deck. At the start of the game 3 location cards are turned over and laid out in order. When the players (or the perps) are on the last card in the location row and need to move on, then the next location card is revealed.
This is a significant addition because.
The encounter cards are mechanically the same. During each day and night each phase players must play 2 cards from their hand. During the day phase, the cards are placed in numerical order, during the night phase they are placed in the order that they are played. Where they differ is in what decisions these are different to the card in The Last Expedition and are not just reskinned. In addition to this there's a new type of option that becomes available to the characters.
This option is 'violence'. Many of the obstacles encountered by Dredd & Co. can be solved by the application of violence. Spend 2 bullets or 3 health and the problem is solved in the good ol' 'Big Meg style'.
There quite a few situations that can be solved in this fashion and it feels suitably appropriate..
You still have 3 characters in your party, Dredd, Anderson and Giant in this game. They have more health than their contemporaries in The Lost Expedition. The group is still issued with an inadequate supply of ration and bullets. Each one of the judges still has their own area expertise.
Judge Dredd has Survival.
Judge Giant has Diplomacy.
judge Anderson, unsurprisingly has Psi.
Interestingly, only Survival and Diplomacy can be gained from the encounter cards.
Psi works differently, there appears to be way of gaining Psi expertise cards, (additionally, how Psi works differs in the different game modes).
For the co-operative game mode: When the Psi symbol appears, there are 2 choices.
Finally; there's a new resource to manage (and a new way to die)! Radiation. As the characters journey across The Cursed Earth, they can accumulate radiation poisoning. If a character acquires more radiation tokens than health tokens, the it's bye bye to that character.
As always, there some other rules to take into account. But that's the gist of it.
In short Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth is a lot like The Lost Expedition, but harder. Brutally harder.
10th March 2019
The 10th of March was a Sunday and our 50 Fathoms session clashed with some pesky half marathon or something that shut off a load of roads in Woking and made life hard for Ares and Mark trying to get to 'The Sovereigns'.
So after a bit of a delay we kicked off session 6.
Location: Base of a volcano, Torath Ka.
Our objective is to secure some elemental fire from somewhere within the volcano!
We begin our ascent and encounter a large monkey-type creature (I think we encountered something similar when we were shipwrecked a while back). The monkey attacked us with a rock and then fled!
We press onwards and upwards! Soon we discover a cave and explore, find a tunnel within. Entering we find the floor to be quite peculiar and ascertain that the tunnel is a 'lava tube'; a natural occurrence in a volcano that allows it to vent lava during volcanic activity. Does this mean that the tube will lead to a source of volcanic activity? Hopefully so.
The volcano is not particularly active right now, so it's safe to proceed through the tunnel? I guess so? Right?
Continuing along, we come across another peculiarity. A perfectly rectangular room! Obviously this is something artificial and piques our curiosity. Inside the room is a table with 8 chairs, the chair at the head of the table is elaborately decorated. Obviously the seat of someone important?
We wonder who would use this room, or why they would put such a room in a volcano? Unable to find any answers we leave the room behind and continue along the tunnel.
Soon we arrive at a pool of lava, things are looking good. But then, strange fiery lizard things emerge from the lava and attack!
We realise that these are 'salamanders'. At battle ensues and we defeat them.
We are then left staring at the lava lake, pondering on how we are to gather and carry some of the lava. It then occurs to us that the salamanders that attacked us were brandishing swords - swords that could resist the terrific heat of the volcano. We collect some of these swords.
We search along the edge of the lava lake and we come across the salamander's camp. Searching the camp we find a container. If it's like the swords, it'll be resistant to the heat.
We fill the container with lava and it holds!.
We begin our return journey.
As we head back along the lava tube we pass the rectangular room again. Passing by we notice something has changed in the room. One of the chairs around the table had been overturned when we first came across the room.
Now it's upright...
Anyway we press on and as we leave the tunnels and we feel relieved, strangely relieved?
Before we depart, we name the volcano 'Mount Sal'.
The return journey will take 4 days. For the first day we descended the volcano. During the night we spot glinting, upon investigating we find another diamond, this time polished and estimate its value to be 5,000 pieces o' eight!
The next day passes without incident, we are now well and truly back in the jungle as we descend further.
On the morning of the 3rd day we wake up sweating. The temperature has risen dramatically. The day's travel is hellish as waves of heat punishes us. Those of us more attuned to life in the seas suffer the most. Otherwise the day is uneventful. Perhaps anything that might wish us harm has wisely decided to sit the day out resting in the shade.
On the next we day we continue our descent. Mercifully the heat has subsided. By the day's end we have arrived back at the cliffs. One final descent down the cliff path and we are back at the Delilah!
9th March 2019
Gaming night at Matakishi's continued.
The session of Oubilette had been short as it only part of chapter and the continuation of chapter 1.
This gave enough time to play something else. We elected to play a favourite of everyone; Port Royal.
You can find my blog on Port Royal here.
9th March 2019
It's Saturday and game night at Matakishi's place.
Tonight is the continuation of part 1 of Matakishi's Oubliette campaign using the Black Hack rules.
You can find Matakishi's full report on it here.
In the previous session, we had left it at the troll bridge. And that's where we picked it up. We had to decide how to proceed: Fight the troll or cross the rickety bridge.
There was also Remuz's 'cunning' plan, which we immediately dismissed, leaving us with the original 2 options.
In the end we decided that the potential risk of the rickety bridge was a better bet than the guaranteed trouble we would have with the troll.
In the end we crossed the bridge without incident.
We continued. We encountered The Lady Cassandra who somehow joined our band. We encountered some food all laid out and looking tasty. We were all immediately suspicious of it. All except Remuz. It seemed to have no effect on Remuz, so The Lady Cassandra had some and promptly puked. Nonplussed, we pressed on.
Next we came to an area with gear. There was a sign that implied that we could swap our ramshackle kit for better equipment. So we did. We left with some actual useful that wouldn't fall apart after any sort of prolonged usage.
We continued exploring, eventually we encountered what appeared to be vast and bottomless chasm. We could see an exit on a far wall. There were numerous columns or platforms dotted throughout the area that could lead to the exit.
With great caution we began traversing these quite frankly dodgy platforms. Partway across appears a flying super giant insect. It was quite a nasty thing and it attacked us.
On the platforms when it attacked, there was the risk that we could be knocked off the platforms and into the inky gulf below. The fight was desperate and stressful but but we prevailed and then made it to the exit and left.