Episode 35 - Top 75 Games Anniversary Special - Part III

You've all been very patient and for that you shall be rewarded! You've hopefully checked out my No 75 through to No 26 of my Top 75 anniversary special. Well now it's finally here! My Top 25 games as of 31 July 2015!
These games are just so much fun for me to play and yet recent plays in August show that next year's chart is going to just get better and better!




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40K Carnage And No Measuring Required! - Forbidden Stars Review

There is a category in the board gaming world that I like to call "event games". These are games where a typical board game night may not be enough to fit a play through in so you are forced to plan these in advance on a spare weekend day. Examples include Twilight Imperium 3 (TI3), the giant epic space 4X monstrosity of a game that takes 6+ hours on a regular basis and Through the Ages, the in-depth civilisation game that when played with multiple players, really can feel like it's literally going through the ages. Despite their length, these can be highly enjoyable games giving a sense of epicness and scale to the experience.

Of course, we all have busy lives here. We got jobs, commitments, kids (well not me, so I guess I have the advantage there) and so trying to fit these games in can cause issue with some players. These games aren't typically cheap and when you splash out your hard-earned income on a mammoth title, you want to get your monies worth for sure. But I for one always feel the need to indulge in a giant game every once in a while providing it's good of course. It scratches the itch of in-depth long term strategic planning and by the end of such an event you feel a great sense of achievement in what you've done. Here lies your mighty space empire, here lies your civilisation, prosperous and happy, you just can't get that same level of scale in a game that's over and done with in less than a hour. Of course if you've done poorly then you're probably left with some smouldering spaceship wreckage or a angry citizen's revolt, but hey, nobody's perfect!

So Fantasy Flight Games have brought us Forbidden Stars, an epic space conquest game under the banner of the Warhammer 40K license. Now personally I don't feel like Warhammer has realised its full potential in board games with titles that tend to be mediocre or just plain bad. However FFG really hit home with Chaos In The Old World (my personal favourite from the license) so they've proved that it can be done. And we all know how successful they are when it comes to space games so the odds are in their favour to nail this one. Not to mention Corey Konezka is one of the designers and if you check out his resume you'll find a lot of epic style sci-fi, fantasy and horror games to his name including the aforementioned TI3.

So will this do justice to the 40K license and could it even be a potential replacement for TI3? I'd best have a look at my calendar and see when I've got some free weekends. . .



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Balance Your Cheque Book In Space! – Periorbis Preview!

Well this is a first. A preview of an unreleased game. Certainly I’m not known for doing these, but on this one occasion (and who knows, the odd extra one now and again) I’m going to write about a forthcoming game from Perihelion Games called Periorbis otherwise known as Asteroid Miner.
This was completely new to me when I was first given a copy, I didn’t know this game existed beforehand. I did some research to find out more and generally I noticed it was getting a lot of positive buzz. However one phrase in particular stood out in a Rahdo review and I think it’s been used in others as well that gave me cause for concern. It was described as “Power Grid in Space” – cue the Dun Dun Dun music!
Anybody who has paid attention to my podcast or knows me from game groups will of course be fully aware that Power Grid is one of my most hated games of all time coming in at No 6 on my recent Top Ten Hated list from Episode 29. So to hear that phrase mentioned I will confess did fill me with a sense of foreboding and dread. Please don’t let this be some space auction game with dodgy turn order mechanics, please, please, please!!
However further inspection suggested that there’s more to Periorbis than meets the eye. Integrity and objectivity is what it’s all about so let’s dive in and see whether my initial fears were justified.

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Dice - Portsmouths First Board Gaming Cafe - Final Hours of Kickstarter!!

Over the past couple of months I've been volunteering and assisting with some new friends of mine who are in the process of attempting to open a new board game cafe in Southsea, Portsmouth. Basically it's a popular craze in the USA where by establishments are set up not only to provide the usual cafe style food and drink, but also to stock a library of board games that families can enjoy while they eat. These allow parents to cheaply introduce their kids to the world of modern board games while getting some enjoyment out of it themselves. Of course, anyone can visit these places, not just families, but the idea is that such a place caters to everyone of all ages and provides a genuinely useful addition to the local community.

They are currently in the final 35 hours of their Kickstarter project (a platform used to raise funds) and I've already pledged a significant amount myself.

If you want to find out more, you can visit their Kickstarter page which explains everything at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1382631007/dice-portsmouths-first-board-game-cafe

Think of it like a charity donation. If you live in the Portsmouth area and are a family person, something like this might appeal to you. If not, then fair enough, but you can give as little as a fiver to support it and every bit helps. It's already raised nearly £9,500 and their target is £11,000. With 35 hours to go it's everything to play for and they are so close. If the project doesn't fund you don't even pay a penny, you only pay if the project succeeds so there's no risk involved at all. If this funds, it's going to happen and I'll be there helping them out at every stage.



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Episode 34 - Top 75 Games Anniversary Special - Part II

The 2 year anniversary of The Broken Meeple continues with Part II of the Top 75 Games of All Time! This episode I go through my No 50 to 26 and the games are just getting better and better. Stay tuned for the final 25 games later in August 2015.




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The Origin Story of Pandakai - Takenoko Review!

If you've read my recent ManorCon report, you'll have already grabbed my first impressions, but due to the ease of getting this game to the table, it's been a doddle to get this review out nice and quick. I've been keen to try Takenoko out for a long, long time, but I didn't know many people who owned it and so getting a run-through was proving difficult. Thankfully two saviours came to my aid (thanks to Mark Haywood and Cal O'Dowd for the opportunity) at ManorCon to put this gaming itch to rest.

Why was Takenoko such a high priority target though for me? Well other than the colourful aesthetics and panda miniature, this game had the potential to fit a space in my collection that was running a little low on choices, that being a gateway game (excluding micro games) that wasn't a co-op. Naturally I find co-op's to be the best gateway game choices because the other player doesn't feel like they're at a disadvantage. But for conflict titles I only really have Survive, Sheriff of Nottingham and Catan and the first of those can be too mean for some. So I needed something fresh and friendly to appeal to the non-gamer masses.

So was this the perfect game to meet my criteria or was the cute panda a giant bait and switch?



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Meanwhile. . . at the Legion of Doom! - Justice League Dice Masters Review

When it comes to movies and games, Superheroes are one of my biggest likes for a theme. My favourite game, Sentinels of the Multiverse is a pure superhero co-op and I watch nearly all of the superhero movies that come out, both from Marvel and DC alike. That being said, I’m definitely more of a Marvel fan boy, I like the characters more, the teams work better and when it comes to the movies, Marvel puts out better stories. No flame wars please, this is just my opinion, but you got to admit, DC movies have been suffering a bit in recent years with the odd exception. The Dark Knight Rises I swear has more plot holes than there are minutes in the movie!
Marvel Legendary is another co-op I really enjoy, again because I get to play with all my Marvel greats in one game. However, the theme in that game can sometimes feel a little abstracted with the deck-building mechanic, especially when other players are buying heroes that you’re also using. And when it comes to theme, the less said about the DC Deck Building Game the better.
Custom dice are also a big hit for me in games, giving you that cool tactile response as well as something pretty to look at and hold. So now we have a combination of both, with superheroes and custom dice galore in a quick 2 player game. Other non-superhero sets exist, and even though the focus here is on Justice League, I will be covering Dice Masters as a whole as well.

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Episode 33 - Top 75 Games Anniversary Special - Part I

August marks the 2 year anniversary of The Broken Meeple! Last year I did my Top Ten, well that's not enough I'm afraid, so instead I'm doing my Top 75 Games Of All Time! I couldn't do 100 reliably, please forgive me!

This is the first of 3 special August episodes showing off my No 75 to 51! Also featuring a guest advert for Dice Portsmouth who are currently on Kickstarter to open up a new board gaming cafe in Southsea.



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Todoke! Fly At Higher Game! - Yu-Gi-Oh Dice Masters Starter Set Review

Of all the Dice Master sets to be released, this is by far the weirdest one of the lot. Superheroes are an obvious and popular theme to use. The influence of Dungeons and Dragons is widespread. But Yu-Gi-Oh is just one anime show out of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands, I swear my friend mentions 2-3 new shows every time I see him) so I find it odd that this was chosen to be a whole Dice Master set all on its own. However bear in mind that this was the first set that was "designed" by the publisher, but not the first one released.

If we're going to get nit picky on the anime choice, I'd have got more excited to see a Dragonball Z Dice Masters - aw come on, tell me you wouldn't want to see that? Goku and Vegeta going up against Frieza and Cell in dice combat? Though I would laugh at what stats the Krillin dice would have.............ok I'm digressing way too far into geeky territory here and probably lost most of my non-anime inclined readers so let's get back to the plot (whistles Cha-La-Head-Cha-La theme).

The starter pack looks like all the others at first glance, just with a niche theme attached to it. No doubt I expect that it will include new mechanics and some crafty combos with other sets, but as before I want to also rate it based on its standalone capabilities. But is the theme a little too specific here to appeal to the masses?



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I've a Red Dragon and Black Widow. . . Roll Initiative! - Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters Starter Review

Coming soon in the pipeline is a review of Dice Masters: Justice League on GamesQuest which gives an overall opinion on Dice Masters in general and a brief look at the cards of Justice League. This is the first of two reviews on The Broken Meeple for the Dungeons and Dragons starter set and the Yu-Gi-Oh starter set. Now I do not have extensive knowledge of the Dice Masters roster of cards so I'm going to focus on the starter sets in general - do they have potential for mixing with other Dice Master genre's and how solid is the set by itself if you're only going to stick to one.

My personal exposure to Dice Masters has so far been solidly with the Marvel sets being a bit of a Marvel movie fan. So I own many cards from the three Marvel sets to date, being AvX, Uncanny X-Men and the newly released Age of Ultron. So naturally you can already tell I enjoy the game, but it does have some issues depending on how much you're going to expose yourself to the tournament scene. I feel the game is best played on a casual basis, but others will no doubt decide for themselves on that front.

Now however we have a new theme which isn't directly related to all the superhero sets. Dungeons and Dragons has entered the scene providing possibilities that will make the mix-aholics among us very cheerful with their first set (of many no doubt) "Battle for Faerûn". This can of course be mixed with previous sets, however could this work just as well by itself?



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