Friday, 29 June 2007

It has been a long time since I posted

So I thought maybe I better talk about something I am doing. I purchased a copy of Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front in the Avalanche Press Broken Promises sale. Rather then let this game go to waste (or at least sit unplayed), I decided to teach it to myself solitaire. I will give you a after action report of the game as it goes along. I started tonight and I am playing pretty casually, so expect it around Christmas time...

The scenario I am playing is #76 out of 112. Katasov Rides Again!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Proof you don't need to be a nerd to be a gamer....

Backgammon anyone, or maybe some miniatures, or perhaps an RPG?

Game night review June 16th

It was a dark and stormy night, and the huddled masses gathered for some gaming. There were eleven of us on that fateful Saturday, drawn as if by moths to a flame for the same cause, to play board games!

There were only four of us to begin, but we knew we had a mission, to shear some sheep. Brenda was found to be the best at it, winning in a close contest over 3 other barbers in a Shear Panic. While the sheep were being sheared, others arrived and soon the cries of “Avast ye Matey!”, “landlubbers ahoy” and “you sunk my battleship!” rang out as the others released their pirate inside. Barnacle Jay the Sailor proved to be the most seaworthy, winning over the others in a game of Pirate's Cove.

The four of us played a game of San Juan, building a newer better city and again Brenda proved to be the master craftsman, while the rest of us could only marvel. The others, and you know who you are, played Fearsome Floors, with Lucky Lenora leaving lesser lives to leak liquids in the lair.

Our game of San Juan ended and the last of the laggards arrived and we played a six player game of Bang! Sheriff John survived Gunslinger Amanda pretending to be Eric Clapton with the help of Dep’ty Meghan to ensure the forces of niceness and goodness would be victorious.

Some left, so we switched to a couple of games of Werewolf to end the night, and the werewolves were successful, winning three of five games. The villagers, to their credit, only lynched the Seer in the first two games, after that they switched back to actually hunting werewolves. winning the next two, before succumbing to the wolves in the final game.

I hope everyone had fun, the next game night will be July 14th.

If you are curious too see what games have been played and when, please click on the link on the right.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Rolemaster: PR Report

This one is for you Darrin

Hi Folks

We put up a sample of the changes you will see in the Rolemaster Classic Creatures & Treasures on the front page.

The RMC Team has done a wonderful job re-organizing Creatures & Treasures. They have also expanded the special creature abilities rules, codifying them and making the rules easier to use. The individual monster descriptions have also been reorganized. Any abilities that can be considered to be a function of the form of the creature are now listed as being Natural Abilities. Other abilities, whose source may be magical or not depending upon the GM's setting, are now listed as Innate Abilities. We think these changes make the product better and a lot easier to use.

We have all the components for HARP: Battlemaster in house, but it will definitely not be released until early July. Our personal move and some other projects delayed it.

Rolemaster Mega Value Pack

We have gotten several requests for deal from people who want to upgrade their entire collection of RMFRP books to hardbounds. So here is the deal.

The package includes
5800 RMFRP
5802 Creatures & Monsters
5803 of Channeling
5804 of Essence
5805 of Mentalism
5806 Character Law
5807 Gamemaster Law
5810/5812 Arms Law and The Armory combined into one book
5811 Treasure Companion
5812 Fire & Ice
5814 Mentalism Companion
5815 Construct Companion
5816 Races & Cultures

Normally the hardbound versions of all of these books would cost a bit over $430, but this package is $300 for a limited amount of time. Later in June or July, I will up it to about $365 to reflect the usual 15% discount for Value Packs rather then the 30% this deal will reflect. The freight cost is for one product too. I will only ship there VPs via UPS Ground or Priority Mail International as they will weigh quite a bit.

You can order the Rolemaster Mega Value Pack from:

Additionally, ICE would like to congratulate Brent Knorr for his submission on the RM Essentials idea that we announced a short while back. Brent's suggestion of Rolemaster Express was exactly what we were looking for, so we ended the contest early. We also awarded a special prize to sunwolf for his hilarious suggestion of "Classic Lite Essential Rolemaster Intro Compendium or C.L.E.R.I.C for short."

Both individuals have been contacted and given instructions on how to claim their prizes.

As for the newly named, Rolemaster Express, we will be doing a Beta release for it on June 22nd. The Beta PDF will cost $5 (though the final price might increase to $6 once it is fully finalized), and will be available only through ICE's online store.

And that is all for now folks. Getting the printing going has been a huge relief and the entire backlog will be sorted out very shortly.


Bruce ICE

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Battle Lore, my point of view

Battle Lore is the fourth (and not final game) in the successful series of Commands & Colors line by Richard Borg. Battle Lore is unlike the rest of the series because it is the first that moves away from the strictly historical recreation and delves into fantasy. The previous games in the series recreate battles from; the American Civil War, World War II, and Ancients (Roman Era).

If you are unfamiliar with the system, here is a quick breakdown of the way the game works. The units are laid out as shown by the scenario with the correct numbers of figures per unit and both sides are dealt a hand of cards. The game goes in the igo-ugo system with one player laying down a card and activating the units as shown on the card. Combat results are determined by the rolling of dice, the number of dice is determined by the unit type. As an example, a red (veteran or heavy) unit rolls 4 dice in melee. The die does use numbers, instead it has, in Battle Lore, helmets representing the three colours of units (red, green and blue) , a sword, a lore symbol and a flag. When the veteran unit rolls it’s dice the results are compared to the unit it is fighting against. If you wanted to hit that unit you would need to roll a red helmet. This can be modified by the units you are attacking with and spells (hence the Lore). The game continues until one side destroys the number of units required by the scenario for the win. Battle Lore is the second most complex of the systems, falling behind Commands & Colors: Ancients and directly ahead of Memoir ’44 on the complexity scale.

Battle Lore adds two things that did not exist in previous versions; the first is the fantastical creatures (the game comes with goblins and dwarves), and the second is the Lore.

I think Days of Wonder has really tapped a good market here with the idea of fantasy in this game; there are more players willing to play Agincourt with goblins helping the French then just a French vs. English battle. Memoir ’44 was a big hit for them as well, but the collectable aspect of Battle Lore may propel their sales even higher. Days of Wonder has also scheduled a series of add-ons for the game that will give the players more options and monsters. Those that pre-ordered received a Hill Giant and some received an Earth Elemental as well. They have also created plans for releasing a Dwarven Battalion Specialist Pack plus a Goblin Skirmishers Specialist Pack this year. The first supplement for the game has already seen a release date and that is the Call to Arms expansion. Days of Wonder is planning on releasing 4 expansions in the first year alone.

This is both good and bad, for one, it allows the game to continually change and for another it causes players to continually purchase new packages for the game, almost like a CCG. I am not a big fan of this, but I can see why companies do it. I am wondering if there will be a backlash to this huge amount of updates because it may slow down updates to Memoir ’44 and the volume of the updates may turn people off.

The other new aspect, Lore adds another degree of randomness and strategy. Battle Lore also does not include leaders on the field like Battle Cry of C&C:A but does allow for off field leaders, the “War Council”. In its most basic sense, you add cards depending on the type of “War Council” you have, your choices are Commander, Wizard, Warrior, Rogue and Cleric. Each war council member has different abilities and lore cards they can use to “cast spells” on their opponents. The Lore cards can be played offensively (e.g. fireball) or defensively (dispel lore) with varying costs between them of 1-10 Lore points.

The way Lore points are collected and used is as follows: the player whose turn it is collects lore cards and/or lore tokens at the end of the turn, plus any Lore results on the dice allow them to be collected as well. This means that if you attack and subsequently get attacked back, your opponent could collect lore in the battle back. Each Lore card has a cost associated with it, and some are variables as well, the Fireball costs 10, while the Dispel Lore is equal to half the spell originally cast.

One other new feature to the game is the concept of “Battle Back”. This was first introduced in a different form in Commands & Colors: Ancients. In the Battle Lore version you are only allowed to battle back if you are bold. There are different ways of being bold, the first being supported by two other friendly units, another being dwarven. Battle Back is the ability to “battle back” when you are attacked and have not been forced to retreat or wiped out.

One of the fundamental differences between Battle Lore and the other games in this series is the way you set up your units. The preferred setup is in a triangle, this allows all the units to support each other (be bold) and move together. This is different from the others because Commands & Colors: Ancients uses lines (as they would then) and the other two do not have bonuses for grouping.

One thing I do not like, although I do understand the reasoning, is that all miniatures are the same colour. Battle Cry and Memoir ’44 both use different colours of miniatures to depict the two sides, Battle Lore uses grey for both. The logic behind this is the ability to design your own battles and be able to pick any units. The other two games use blue and grey (Battle Cry) and a different colour for every force in Memoir ’44, C&C:A uses different colour blocks.

My final opinion on Battle Lore is that it is not as good as C&C: A but is a good game nonetheless. It has slightly more complexity then Memoir ’44 but it may lack the legs that I think C&C: A will have. On a 1-10 scale I give this a 7 or an 8, not a perfect game but a very good game.

What are your thoughts?

Added URL to Days of Wonder, Battle Lore, Memoir '44 and C&C:A

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Power Grid a Mania tomorrow at 2 PM!

I have three copies of the game arriving, so we could have 18 people playing. You can sign up here. If you want to come and play as a learning experience you are more then welcome. If you don't know much about Power Grid, click it's name and read about it.

It is by the same designer as Fearsome Floors, but has nothing in common with it, except that it is fun!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

More reasons to game

Game playing can stave off Alzheimer's Disease

Can Brain Stimulating Games Help Slow Down Aging?

Mind Games May Trump Alzheimer's

So if it helps vs things like Alzheimer's I wonder if we should be promoting the health benefits of gaming?

According the the last one, you would get the most benefit from dancing and gaming...

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Gaming at the SuperStore!

Sunday, June 17, 2007, 1:15 PM Where:
Coventry Hills Superstore
100 Country Village Road NE
Calgary , AB T3K5Z2

Coventry Hills Superstore Community Room
100 Country Village Road NE
Time: 1:15pm to 5:45pm
Dates: June 17th and July 15th (both are Sundays)

The Community Room is on the second floor so people just have to find the stairs going up. The stairs are by the SW entrance.

The room also has a kitchen facility which is available to our members to prepare food and beverages. In compliance with Health Canada's food handling guidelines, all food and beverages consumed in the Community Room must be purchased within the store.

RSVP limit:
Only 20 members (including guests) can RSVP 'Yes' or 'Maybe' for this event. There's still room for 16 more.

To sign up for this, go to Calgary Meetup Group and sign up.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

A change to my tracking

I have put a new tab called All Time in the Games We Play spreadsheet. It shows how many times each game has been played since I started running game nights in 2005. The All Time list is sorted alphabetically instead of by games played mainly due to laziness on my part.

The Games We Play spreadsheet is just over to the right.

A possible change to Grand Prix: Detroit to Cleveland

I found this on a review of GP and Top Race

Top Race uses completely different rules for these cards, allowing them to be played as "breakdowns" or "catchups." Suppose the red/blue switch is played and red is farther along the track than blue. If played as a breakdown, the red car is pulled to the side of the road. It doesn't move again until the blue car passes it. If played as a catchup, the blue car pulls alongside the red car (or moves as far forward as it can until it is blocked).

As you might imagine, these changes have a dramatic effect on gameplay. Catchups are rare, since the odds of the right switch card getting dealt to the right owner are relatively small. But anyone can benefit from slowing down a leader, hence the popularity of the breakdowns. And with betting thrown into the mix, there's an added incentive to muck about with other cars.

I like this, and I think next time we play we can try these rules.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Power Grid a Mania is on!

The object of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone's network gains a predetermined size. In this edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then vie against other players to purchase the power plants that you use to supply the power. However, as plants are purchased, newer more efficient plants become available so you're potentially allowing others to access to superior equipment merely by purchasing at all. Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials, like coal, oil, garbage, or uranium, to power said plants (except for the highly valuable 'renewable energy' wind/solar plants), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.

It is at my place Sunday, June 10th at 1 PM. Email me if you are interested, as I only have room for 4 more (unless another copy of Power Grid shows up).