Tag: Board Games

Seeking Diverse Board Games

There was a discussion in a Facebook group I am part of this Sunday, asking what are people’s favourite games designed by minority designers.

Sadly it was shut down and deleted before I could comment, apparently there were some undesirable comments in it.

But the thread asking why it was deleted which was quickly shut down showed what kind of comments I should have imagined.

When it comes to the board games industry, I think it would be fair to say that it does have a representation issue. My first U.K. Games Expo was 90% bearded white dudes, last year was very different to be fair, a lot more women, a lot more families a lot more LGBTQ folk, but white men (usually with a belly and beard like myself) still made up the majority of the attendees.

And the number of BAME attendees is still very low, which is shame, and I think that part of that is when there is a discussion about BAME game designers, you get comments about why does someone’s race matter, that it’s just playing identity politics and only working to divide people.

I am gonna be frank here, representation matters, if we see BAME game designers front and centre, then more BAME people will want to play board games.

I have sadly had a few occasions where when demonstrating games, I have been told by BAME people that board games are not something that people like them play, and I think that a big part of that is, because the board game hobby is seen very much as a very white dominated hobby.

Of course there will be those that continue to say that it should not matter what race someone is when they design a game, but I don’t think that’s a good way to think about it.

Let’s look at the most famous BAME board game designer, Eric Lang. He is a mixed race fella and had designed some amazing games, and come up with some brilliant and innovative game mechanisms.

Naturally, he will have a different background to many other game designers, coming from two different cultural backgrounds. And this difference in experiences will no doubt have contributed to the mix of talents skills and talents possessed by Lang, that has allowed him to innovate and design games in different ways to the average designer.

And I highlight him because he is an exception, he is a great designer, at the top of the industry who just happens to be mixed race, but the fact that he is sadly the only BAME designer of any notoriety is why his ethnicity stands out. In an ideal world, his ethnicity wouldn’t be something so noticeable because there would be a lot more BAME designers.

So when we have a board game industry that’s more diverse, we get more great games, we get more innovation, more challenging games.

We have seen that as more women are designing games, we are getting a bit of that, but most of the women designing games are coming from the same socio-economic background as their male counterpoints.

This isn’t me saying I want to see less games designed but white men, but what I want are more game designers, a bigger pool of talent, and for people to come into the industry who can offer innovation from which all designers can learn.

A case in point is music, over the past century, the biggest driver in development of popular music has been the influence of the music of other cultures. Ok yes in a lot of cases white people still dominate that industry whist using making music highly influenced by other cultures. But without the influences of other cultures, we wouldn’t have had jazz, rock and roll, rap etc.

So if we encourage game designers from other backgrounds, and I am not just taking about different ethnicities, but also religion, class, nationalities, education, disabilities etc.

The bigger the pool of talent, the better games we get, the more diverse an industry we have, the more players we have, the more opponents we have , the more games sold and the bigger the industry.

This is just my perspective, and I know that as a white dude, I enjoy a huge amount of privilege, but I don’t want to be a dude who sits back and says, I don’t see race I just see the games.

People like me have to say something when we see comments like that, we need to point out that representation is important, we need to say, actually, we want to see games from BAME designers specifically. And most important of all, listen to players, content creators and designers from a BAME background have to say on the matter.

If you want to follow up on this can I suggest checking out games by BAME designers, google and look for them, sadly I could only find Eric Lang and Omari Akil with my Google Fu, and in fairness of all the game designers I have met, the only one who was BAME was Eric Lang.

Also check out content creators who are BAME, simply because most reviewers out there are straight white dudes, and yeah their reviews are good, but getting reviews from people with different backgrounds can give you a perspective that you yourself may not have considered, which may open up new gaming possibilities, or make you reconsider a game. I’d recommend Be Bold Games and Geeky Gaymer Guy on YouTube.

I admit I probably made an incoherent mess of this whole post, but this something I feel strongly about, and I will end with a bit of wisdom from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Consider the flowers of a garden. Though differing in kind, color, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm and addeth unto their beauty. How unpleasing to the eye if all the flowers and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruit, the branches and the trees of that garden were all of the same shape and color! Diversity of hues, form and shape enricheth and adorneth the garden, and heighteneth the effect thereof.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

What I Am Modelling

I started the week by starting the Prosecutors from the Age of Sigmar starter set and a Knight-Venator for my Stormcast Eternals, these were a lot quicker to paint than I thought they would be.

This means the only remaining models from the original Age of a Sigmar box set I have left to paint are the Retributors.

I then started work on some Blood Ravens Intercessors and Sgt Jovan.

The Intercessors are a mix of multipart models, a Dark Imperium model and one from the easy to build set. These five models will add to the squad I painted up when Dark Imperium first came out and give me a full squad of ten Intercessors.

I am painting Sgt Jovan at the same time because it’s makes sense to paint him with these six instead of later on with a squad of ten.

I then started work on three Blood Ravens Land Speeders, which I got finished on Sunday afternoon. I have built and painted here a Typhoon and two Tornadoes.

I then started work on 5 Retributors, a Knight-Heraldor and a Knight-Vexillor for my Stormcast Eternals.

The Knight-Heraldor was finished today, I dunno why but I decided to focus on just him.

I also made sure all of my next ten projects are built, primed and paced into my “in-tray“.


So how does my painting plan look for now.

  1. Stormcast Eternals Retributors x 5 & Knight-Vexillor.
  2. Space Wolves Grey Hunters Packs Leaders x 4, Iron Priest & Repulsor
  3. Blood Ravens Chaplains x 5
  4. Chainrasp Horde x 40
  5. Sons of Horus Contemptor Dreadnought
  6. T’au Ethereal on Hover Drone x 2
  7. Blood Ravens Intercessors x 10
  8. Death Guard Sabre Strike Tank x 2
  9. Stormcast Eternals Sequitors x 8
  10. Blood Ravens Repulsor x 2

What I Am Reading

I finished Valdor: Birth of the Imperium, I enjoyed it, but I found it very short and I think I would have like there to be more to it.

I have now started on The Founding by Dan Abnett the first Gaunts Ghosts omnibus, I have been getting hassle from Graham and Chris for having never read any Gaunts Ghosts books so I am correcting that oversight.

In terms of audio books I listened to Honourbound by Racheal Harrison, because I really loved the story and it was just as enjoyable in audio format.

I also finished listening to Cadia Stands by Justin D Hill, which was really good and I was quite pleased to hear that Cadians are in fact, space Geordies.

And I just started listening to Cadian Honour by Justin D Hill which continues the Cadians are Geordies theme.

What I Am Playing

Sadly not a sausage, really sad about that.

What I Am Backing

Still backing Railroad Ink Challenge, but I am considering dropping my pledge at this point just due to financial issues.

We are seriously looking at backing Chai: High Tea, the game looks really nice.

What I Am Cooking

For Sunday morning breakfast I made a slow cooker hash brown and smoked sausage casserole, it tasted a lot better than it looked.

Next time I am thinking of reducing the smoked sausage a bit, adding some unsmoked bacon lardons and a finely diced green pepper.

What I Am Spending

My first premium pack for Mortal Realms arrived, a slight issue with a sprue but nowt that I can’t imagine will take long to deal with.

The pack is of Flesh Eaters Courts and contains an Abhorrant Archregent, 20 Crypt Ghouls, and 3 Crypt Flayers, plus Athonian Camoshade and an extra magazine

The only issue is that Lindsay and Megan are not pleased that I am giving serious thought into turning these guys into an army that I would play with!

We also as a household decided to buy Pandemic: Hot Zone North America, we love Pandemic and the idea of a smaller, quicker version of the game is very appealing, just like Ticket to Ride London.

I also purchased a couple of sheets of transfers with the Blood Ravens chapter symbol, but they aren’t due to arrive until July as they are coming from China.

And finally I bought myself a 12 pack of Carabao Sugar Free Green Apple, annoyingly I have been living on energy drinks lately, they have really been helping me get through the day.

But this on is my current favourite, and thankfully is sugar free.


Moon-Bots Review

I first played this game designed by Franz Coudrec and illustrated beautifully by Sylvain Aublin at EGX where I was asked to demonstrate it.

And I loved it so much I walked ground to Firestorm Cards and bought it then and there.

The Jist

The grand annual Moon-Bots tournament sees the galaxy’s most gifted scientists gathering on the moon to build robots to fight one another, upgrading them as they go.

The last robot standing wins the game and you start off with a basic robot which has one attack, and one dice.

The first phase of the game is a card drafting phase in which you salvage parts to make your robot better, these components costing you either 2 energy, 1 energy or being free. This is important and energy is also your robots life, some particularly good components like re-rolls and extra dice cost you an additional energy.

The market place is a grid of six cards in two rows, with the cost rising depending on how high in the grid it is, if a card below another one is picked, the cards above it move down and get cheaper.

There are certain cards which you have no idea what they do, these are never allowed to be feee so if they drop onto the lowest level of the grid they disappear, but these can be really good, like allowing you to scour through the deck to find an upgrade you want for free, or indeed some of them cause you problems.

The parts you salvage are added to your robot, and the art matches up with the robot on the player boards, and enhances your combat ability. Some upgrades, such as extra dice or defences go to the top and side of your player board.

The second phase is the role of your dice, and this is very much like Machi Koro in that your rolls determine what actions you take. Initially the robot will either punch on a roll of 1 or fire a missile on a roll of 6, but as you add more dice you get more possible things you can do, such as a leg which does a rocket attack on a 2, 3 or 4.

You can then attack the player on your right, or your left only, or split the attacks between them and damage their energy levels, once one of the players next to you is eliminated you can then attack the player next to them as if they were next to you.

Components

The box gives you a bunch of upgrade cards, four dice in each player colour, four energy markers and four player boards.

The cards are on a fairly average card stock, nowt to write home about but they do the job well, the player boards are double layers so that the upgrades slot in and fit rather nicely where they should be, and the artwork all matches up perfectly.

The dice are nice and chunky and use Arabic numerals instead of pips, which actually fits the game rather well art wise.

Look

I love the artwork and that drew me in fairly early on, it’s cute and I knew right away that would get Megan and Lindsay to want to play it.

What’s Good

I really enjoy the game and it can be played in around 15-30 minutes, and gives you a good game experience whilst not taking too long.

Lindsay picked it up in a couple of terms without needing to read too much of the instructions, and she did rather well.

Simple, yet lots of fun.

What’s Bad

It’s easy for two players to hang up on the player between them to eliminate them from the game early on, so here is hoping your group is fair and nice.

The instructions aren’t the best however, they just don’t feel the best written.

Final Score

This game is cute, it has a similar vibe to King of Tokyo and a lot of Machi Koro, it’s a very enjoyable little game.

Have to give this 7 out of 10.


I will not lie I have looked at other reviews to get an idea of how to write this, I am no pro, but there is a possibility that I may have been influenced by reading them and some stuff may have filtered through to this review.

If you do spot anything that could be seen as heavily influenced by what someone else has said, let me know and I will be sure to credit and link them.

Game Details
NameMoon-Bots (2019)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.50]
BGG Rank [User Rating]10522 [6.57]
Player Count2-4
Designer(s)Franz Couderc
Artists(s)Sylvain Aublin
Publisher(s)Blue Orange (EU)
Mechanism(s)Uncredited

Tuna Boat Baby!!!

Tonight me and Lindsay were joined by Paul to play a game which I really love, Machi Koro.

It’s a few years old now, actually it’s about to have its 5th Anniversary Edition releases, but it’s a game I have always enjoyed even though it’s not the most in depth or strategically challenging game.

The concept is really simple, you roll dice, which activated different building and facilities within your city, and earn money with which to buy other buildings and facilities.

The aim is to build certain landmark buildings, such as an Airport and Amusement Park, the first one to build all of them wins the game.

It’s random and very much filled with luck but a little strategy can go a long way, tonight my aim was to focus on big rewarding facilities when people built their Train Stations and started to roll two dice, so whenever someone rolled a 9, I was getting 15 coins because of my three mines, and that won me the game in the end.

My real issue with Machi Koro is though, that you need to have the Harbour expansion to get the most out of the game, without that its a little less good, it’s still a fun game, but the Harbour takes it to the next level.

Ok, it’s not gonna satisfy players who want to play something like Twilight Imperium all the time, but it’s a light fun game, and my favourite thing is the low downtime (unless you happen to be playing with Lindsay that is).

I would say that if you get a chance to play it, give it a whirl, because I think it’s a lot of fun and a unique twist on city building.

We own the Deluxe Edition which came with both the Harbour and Millionaires Row expansions in a tin with some custom dice.

Headaches and Diabetes

It’s been a slow week, not much has happened at all and I haven’t done very much at all. The weather can’t make up its mind, one day it’s miserable and raining cats and dogs, the next it’s far too hot for me to do anything.

But the one constant thing about this week has been a stabbing constant headache, they started Tuesday and have continued since, I would go and see the doctor, but they will probably blame it on my diabetes.

It’s quite annoying really, every little thing I need medical assistance with, the doctors blame on diabetes, I know it’s a serious disease and I ought to take it far more seriously than I do, but when everything that can go wrong is said to be because of diabetes it’s gets a bit dull.

“Doctor I have been stabbed”, “Well that could be your diabetes” “Doctor I have been throwing up after eating some questionable meat yesterday” “Probably the diabetes” “Doctor my foot fell off”, well actually the last one could be diabetes, but you get my point. Given that I had a head injury when I got run over a couple of years ago, it’s quite irritating when they ignore that as a possible cause of any of my neurological issues.

I did actually get some success with the doctors when my new one decided that the last doctor diagnosing me with CFS could have been premature, so she ordered more blood tests and found I had undetectable levels of Vitamin D, which is probably because I am usually in too much pain to go out much and the sun kinda burns, when I go outside, plus there is nature and stuff. Anyway I now get monthly injections of something and a lovely tasting Vitamin D pill three times a week that honestly doesn’t taste like old feet.

So back to the headaches, and yeah I am not sure what I am gonna do about them, it could be a caffeine related. I haven’t had a cup of tea in about a month, but that caffeine has been replaced with that from cans of Pepsi Max, so I tried having a caffeine free day (so long as Tango Sugar Free doesn’t have caffeine in it), and was I wrong, the headache was just as bad, but then j got hit by a headache of caffeine withdrawal, something I haven’t experienced since the last Nineteen Day Fast I actually participated in, diabetes means I don’t take part in the fast!

Anyway so I currently have no idea why I am getting these headaches or what to do about them, if they are still here on Tuesday I will reluctantly make an appointment to see the doctor, even though it know they will try and blame them on diabetes.

What I am Modelling

Currently I have a few too many projects on my desk, the headache means that it’s been rather difficult for me to do much work, though I have managed to do a little work on a Contemptor Dreadnought for my Word Bearers, it’s going to be armed with two twin linked Volkite Culverins, simply because I think they are such a cool weapon. I airbrushed the majority of the model Mephiston Red, then washed it with Nuln Oil, then doing a little tidying up with Mephiston Red again. After this I dry brushed it with Astorath Red, Ryza Rust and finally Hexos Palesun, which I think has given a nice set of red armour, and this is a scheme I will replicate for the rest of my Word Bearers vehicles.

What I am Reading

I finished Angels of Caliban, which I quite enjoyed as it reached it conclusion, it had the civil war really come to Macragge and showed that Lion El-Johnson really is a ruthless general. The focus on the Dreadwing of the Dark Angels was also pretty cool and got me wondering how this could be represented in the game, but I had to stop myself there because I am not starting another army, I don’t have the room!

I then digested two short stories, Blackshield by Chris Wraght which was very cool and introduced to the fiction an interesting character from Betrayal, as well as giving us an insight to why some Astartes would become Blackshields.

The other story, Myriad by Rob Sanders, which followed up the novella Cybernetica and picked up a thread from that which was left hanging. This story I felt was more like classic more serious sci-if, despite being a Warhammer 40k story, and it really felt extremely fun as the characters were almost strong armed into breaking their own moral code for the greater good. As well as that it had characters straight from the Skitarii codex, giving me hope that maybe we will see the Skitarii become usable units in Heresy games.

I haven’t really listened to any audio books this week because it’s been hard to concentrate, so I have mostly been listening to pod casts instead.

What I am Playing

The headache has jet me from playing much, I was going to play Forbidden Island with Megan on Tuesday but the headaches started that day and I wasn’t much good that day at all. I have played some more Pokemon Go, though less than most weeks due to a mixture of headache and few Pokeballs, though last night it was mine and Lindsay’s monthly date night, so we went to the Metrocentre, ate at Ed’s Diner and then went Pokemon hunting. I currently have saved up candies to perform about 20 evolutions, so plan to camp on a Pokestop and put a lucky egg on to do all those evolutions tomorrow.

My aim for next week however is to play at least two games of something.

What I am Backing

At the moment noting new, although the new edition of Braggart looks very tempting, it really depends on money, my hobby budget this month is going to the extremely talented, Golden Demon finalist Harry Welsh of Mackem Productions for him to paint the Harlequins from Death Masque for me, and I also need to put £50 into the conventions account, so money is tight again. Doesn’t help that I bought a 4 months supply of deodorant from Costco today either.

But it looks like my copy of Secret Hitler is being delivered to me on Tuesday, a game which I am really looking forward to get it. The production quality on it looks phenomenal, and of course I got it in the wooden box, in the few games I have played, it’s been brilliant, it’s a hidden identities game which solved issues that games like The Resistance had that I didn’t even realise they had. And even the print and play version was very nice, though it probably helps that Drew (from The Boardroom podcast) did a great job with his printing and mounting of it on good quality cardboard.

What I am Spending

Ok I bought a Dominos work lunch for me Megan and Lindsay on Thursday as the kitchen was a mess and neither me or Megan was in any state to tidy it up, but it has been a good week for not spending. I did buy two pots of paint, Fenrisian Grey and Evil Suns Scarlet because I had run out of them, and I picked up my available comic subscriptions, that being the August edition of the Munchkin Comic and the next two issues of the Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection. Oh and I got a brand new sealed copy of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on 3D Blu-Ray from eBay for £2.99, for various reasons, I haven’t seen it yet, I know it’s going to be terrible, but hey it was a bargain!

I did see a few games in Travelling Man I am very interested in, The Networks from Formal Ferret Games and Moops Monster Mashup from Steve Jackson Games, but like with comics the price of Brexit has really set in and games that would have been £20 for example, before the referendum, are now £24 or £25 which might not seem a lot, but when your budget is limited like mine, it can be the difference between getting it or not.

A Week With Scenery and Looking Forward to the Weekender

In preparation for our Heresy Weekender, now less than a week away, I have been working on some scenery.
Our good friend at Amera Plastic Mouldings, a rather excellent North East company, gifted us some scenery. We got a Z250 Battlefield Crater Set, a Z230 Redoubt and a Z211 Bombed-Out Building.
So I took a day to get these painted up, they do require cutting off the plastic sheet but that’s nothing major, and once off they took primer nicely and were very quick to get painted up. I mostly used washes and dry bushing, keeping the scheme very simple overall.

I also got painted up a set of Promethium Relay Pipes, again keeping it rather simple, I painted it with Warplock Bronze, Balthasar Gold & Leadbelcher, then washing it with Agrax Earthshade then dry brushing it all with Necron Compound, which I found gives them a nice weathered look.

Other Models I Got Painted

I did manage to get a few more models painted up this week starting with some Corpuscarii Electro-Priests, meaning that for my escalation league March list I need to now paint up 10 Skitarii Rangers, so that’s something for me to start on this week.

The other model I managed to get round to finishing was my Spartan Assault Tank, now I didn’t have the best cast for this and as I bought it online from a third party, I was unable to go to Forgeworld and ask for replacements, but using lots of forum posts I was able to figure out how to best build it. I will say however that putting the tracks on was a right faff on and I am glad that Forgeworld now send it out with them already attached, so when I go to them to purchase  another vehicle in this class I can avoid that palaver.

Annoyingly the round bit of the hinge on one side of the assault ramp broke in transit, so I had to glue the doors shut, but I am glad I got the Ultramarines Land Raider Doors, they really do add something to the model. I still have to decide on what transfers if any I am going to put on the model, but at some point I will be adding the obligatory Heavy Support symbols.

Audio Book

This week I have been listening to Thousand Sons by Graham McNeil, which is frankly an amazing book, although it does fail to explain a few little things, in particular what the Tutelaries are, my own theory is that they are minor daemons of Tzeentch, the perfect sleeper agents ready to help drive the Sons of Magnus into the arms of Tzeentch. The Thousand Sons come across as very arrogant in the book and their downfall feels almost inevitable though out the entire book.

The only real criticism I would have of the book is that you don’t really get to see much of the non-psychic Thousand Sons, the ordinary bolster wielding line troops, and that would have been nice to see. My main Space Marine army are Blood Ravens so I do have a soft spot for crusade and heresy era Thousand Sons fluff.

Am about halfway through it at this point, not sure if I will finish it before the weekender, but who knows.

Gaming

I got in agave this week against Christians Mechanicum army, we took the game quite slowly as we were double checking rules to make sure we are 100% ready for the weekender. It was a very enjoyable game however and I surprised myself by having a humble Assault Squad Sgt with a Power Fist take down a Cerastus Knight-Atrapos, after a good number of its hull points had already been whittled down by the Fellblade of course.

From that game I learnt a lot of things, my Invictarus Suzerains need a transport to get them into combat, I need to remember my FNP rolls and to take advantage of the Interlocking Tactics.

As the game ended at turn 3, as I said we were taking it slow, the game was beginning to turn in Christians favour. He was using the Onslaught detachment so he had two Lords of War, in this case a Knight Errant, which managed to finish off my Fellblade which had been ravaged by the Conversion Beamers of his Myrmidon Destructor. Both warlords were dead, and I still had a full tactical squad in a Storm Eagle, but the high wounds of his units was really pushing my ability to deal with them, so although I had a great start to the game, I think it was going to end up as a loss for me.

My wife picked up a new card game on Saturday in Travelling Man, my FLGS, called Elevensies, now she is a bit of a tea drinking geek and she basically picked up the box, said “ooh its about tea”, and promptly bought it.

So today we gave it a go, and you know what its quite a good game, the idea being to prepare the best morning tea, you get 11 cards, each with either 1 spoon or 2 spoons, the aim is to have the morning tea with the most spoons. You get bonuses for placing down the 1 spoon cards, and you give bonuses to your opponents with 2 spoon cards, its a very tactical game, and for a completely random purchase its a pretty decent addition to my games collection.

Heresy Weekender

So next weekend is our Horus Heresy Weekender, myself and 17 other guys are taking over Moor House Adventure Centre and having ourselves a little narrative campaign, don’t worry there will be lots of photos and updates for it, and it’s also being covered by The Dark Artisan.

I did the first game draw earlier and if you are interested, here are the pairings.

  • Table 1. Jens Träff – World Eaters vs Arran Morgan – Salamanders
  • Table 2. Gareth Wilson – Night Lords vs Oliver Anderson – White Scars
  • Table 3. Philip Sanderson – Solar Auxilia & World Eaters vs Richard Slee – Ultramarines & Imperial Fists
  • Table 4. Graham Mills – Iron Warriors vs Martin Swaffield – Raven Guard
  • Table 5. Aidan Connor – Sons of Horus & Mechanicum vs Chris Mills – Imperial Fists
  • Table 6. Christian Preston – Mechanicum vs Adam Sellars – Raven Guard
  • Table 7. Mark Pears – World Eaters vs Graham Campbell – Salamanders
  • Table 8. Connor Mark Pears – Mechanicum vs Michael Botterill – Ultramarines
  • Table 9. Steven Henry – Sons of Horus vs Harry Scarr – Mechanicum

Don’t worry I fully intend to keep people up to date with how the weekender goes with plenty of updates both here and on Facebook.

So until then have fun guys.

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