A Little Dungeon Saga

Among other things, we had a few goes through some of the early scenarios for DS yesterday. It’s important to get the first few scenarios right before you run off and do the rest because they are the ones with the fewest bells and whistles. Consequently they rely entirely on the core mechanics to work. And, also, if they are rubbish then people won’t ever get to the later ones…

DS test

Those of you who’ve played the Alpha rules from the Kickstarter will recognise the set up. It’s largely the same. What has changed are some of the details on the Heroes, which obviously changes the balance of the piece as a whole. The two fighty Heroes (Dwarf and Barbarian) are least changed because they were already quite close to the archetypes they sprang from. A tweak here and there was all that was needed.

The Elf is also little changed, in some ways being the point around which the others have revolved. Someone has to be a reference point.

The Wizard is the most different, or should I say his magic is.

DS magic

Now I’m not going to trouble you with details of something that is still not entirely nailed down. I know, I know… it’s a tease. Though I think I left the picture big enough to read the cards…

Anyway, Ronnie was talking about putting out some of these rules to KS backers as a pdf at some point, so you could have another go yourselves and try to pick holes in the thing before it got printed. It’s a great idea and we’ll get that sorted just as soon as we can find a gap in the schedules to get a few bits laid out :)

Posted in Dungeon Sagas | 17 Comments

MA Posters

In case any of you fancy decorating your ruined walls with some posters, these were shared by Marcel Popik on FaceBook. There are more on the FB group :)

MA postersI think the bits at the bottom are newspapers for you to litter the streets with. I think it’s a great idea and really helps to bring the place to life.


Posted in Mars Attacks! | 7 Comments

Mars Attacks Compendium

This should now be available digitally to backers. I didn’t back it myself, but that’s what I’m told. I expect that today’s Mantic newsletter(s) will explain the details if you’re not sure how to get hold of it.

A couple of questions have already been posted to the MA FAQ, and this is the best place for them. I’ll answer them when I’ve got a copy of the rules (and cards) myself :P

Posted in Mars Attacks! | 4 Comments

Martians In Deadzone – Rules

Back from the meeting, and things are pretty much as I suggested earlier. I’m not sure when the printed rules will arrive, so in the meantime here are my original docs for the rules that are needed to go with the Martian and Human DZ cards.

Rules text DZ Martians v01

Rules text DZ MA Humans v02

You will still need the card deck to play with them. Most people won’t have these yet as they’re waiting for the printed versions of the rules to come in so they can all be shipped out together :)

Posted in Deadzone, Mars Attacks! | 37 Comments

Martians In Deadzone

From some of the comments I’ve got, it seems that people have got a bit confused about the Martian (and Human) decks of cards for Deadzone. These cards are for Deadzone only, and are written as if Mars Attacks (the game) does not exist. You are not expected to use anything from Mars Attacks except the models. So, when it refers to an ability on a card, it is the Deadzone version of that ability it refers to. As I said, the cards are for Deadzone.

Several of the ability names are the same in both games. This is to remind you of the general effect of a rule at a glance if you already know it, and is a perfectly good name if you don’t. However, because the game rules are different, the detail of how they achieve this similar effect is sometimes different.

A few people have got the cards early, and not the accompanying text. They seem to have jumped to the slightly odd conclusion that the cards refer to the Mars Attacks versions of the abilities and discovered that they don’t work properly in a different game (not terribly surprising when you think about it). The MA rules refer to things that are not used in DZ like heroics and critters.

Rather than thinking that there might be some clarifying rules missing, folk have assumed that it was all a horrible blunder. A classic piece of internet panic. The truth is that the cards, and their accompanying rules, were written back in May and have just been waiting for the world of production to catch up. Alles in ordnung, as they say.

Where/when will these rules be published? I’ve no idea. Not long would be my guess. Probably when the main batch of the cards go out when the last of that wave of items comes into the warehouse. Those decks that have already been sent out are very few in number and are something of an oddity to do with the distribution process (apparently they were sent to people who ordered a very limited and unusual selection of items – the bulk of the orders aren’t out yet).

Either way, there is no need to worry. The rules are written for DZ and don’t rely on using other games to make them work. DZ and MA are two separate and different games. You can play either separately. As this deck is for DZ it has DZ rules and needs nothing from MA (other than models).

I’ll be seeing the folks at Mantic today and will ask about the details. Stay tuned for an update when I get back.

Posted in Deadzone, Mars Attacks! | 8 Comments

Review: Lords Of War – On The Table

lords-of-war-logoIn the first part of this review I looked at the physical components of the game, what you got in the box, and so on. In this part I’ll cover the rules.

So you know where I’m coming from, I’ve played LOW about 15-20 times with several different opponents and with many different combinations of armies. I win some battles and lose others, though I possibly have slightly more wins than losses.


The Basics

The game is centred on the cards, and most of what you need to know is written on them. Each represents either a commander or a fighting unit of some sort. Some are regiments of infantry, some cavalry and others monsters, chariots, archers or whatever. It’s a fantasy game, and most of the tropes you’d expect are included in one of the armies or another.

If we ignore the art and look at the rest of the card, we can see a number of symbols, arrows, grids and numbers. This is the meat of the game.


The card has 6 features to note:

  • Name scroll: tells you what they are called – in this case a Goblin Shanker. Fluff only.
  • Art: pretty picture. Fluff only.
  • Purply-red shield at the top: the model’s rank symbol. Used when assembling bespoke decks. In game, the only difference is whether it is a Command card or not (see how to win, below).
  • White circle: this sits above the rank and shows you the type of card: spear, cavalry, etc. In game, spear and bow count as Support models. The rest are ignored in basic play.
  • Blue and red shield at the bottom left: defence value. A critical game value. From 1 to 9. Most are 1-6.
  • Arrows with numbers in round the edge: attack value and direction(s). The other major game value. Between 1 and 5. This card has a 4 attack directly forwards and a 1 diagonally to his front left. There are 8 possible directions of arrows, and I don’t think any one card has them all. This is key: each card only attacks in a limited number of directions, and the values of these attacks usually vary.


Troops with missile attacks add one more feature to their cards: a ranged attack grid. This is the black box with white dots in at the top centre. The number at the bottom of this box is the attack value. If you imagine the card is where this number is on the grid, the dots show which card positions it could attack.


Rules Of Play

Essentially, you simply take turns playing a card from your hand onto the grid, attacking an enemy card and trying to destroy it. Then you either retreat a different card from the grid back into your hand, or take a new card from your deck. That’s one turn. Then your opponent does the same, then back to you, and so on.

When you play a card it must attack an enemy model by being placed in a position in which it points one of its arrows at it. The only exceptions are support cards which can be placed next to one of yours instead. This lets you put archers at the back, for example.

Once you’ve placed your card you work out the attacks from both armies and take off any cards that have been killed. This could include the one you’ve just placed if it’s going in for a suicide attack. An attack against a card is the total value of all the enemy arrows pointing at it (plus possibly a missile attack). Thus you can kill a weaker (lower defence) card with a single opposing card, while cards with higher defence need two or more to gang up.

In order to kill a card you need to beat its defence value.


In the example shown above, I am placing an Orc command card on the right. Note that each player places their own cards facing their side. Attacks are simultaneous and both sides fight.

When we work out the attacks, the Dwarf card has no arrow pointing at my pig on the left. It does have an arrow pointing at my character on the right, for a total attack of 2. This is less than that card’s defence of 5, so it does nothing. 

My attack back is the total of all the arrows I have pointing at the Dwarf. This is 3 from the pig and 4 from the character for a total of 7. This is one more than the Dwarf’s defence of 6, so he is killed. I remove that card and place it in my victory pile. 

If you kill the opposing general then your opponent misses a turn. Other than that you simply take turns placing cards and making attacks until one of you wins.

You win by killing either 4 command cards or 20 in total of any type. Simple.

There are a couple more wrinkles for unusual circumstances, but that’s pretty much it.


Intermediate And Advanced

The above is a description of the Basic game. Lords of War also has an Intermediate and Advanced form. The Intermediate adds a couple of simple rules: one for cavalry and another for berserkers. Advanced is playing with hand cards face up instead of hidden. I’ve not tried Advanced as it is a pure information version and that style of game doesn’t appeal to me as much. The intermediate rules are a simple addition and worth adding after a game or two to learn the basics.

Part 3 will be my analysis of play and my views on the game’s pros and cons.

Posted in Board Gaming, Review | 6 Comments

Hoary Old Chestnuts

DFLogoWhen I sail through the stats for this site, I am often surprised by the continued popularity of my Dreadfleet review, and even more of my Salvage Project. This is even though I’ve done nothing with it since Jan 2012. Every now and again someone asks whether I’ve done any more on it. The short answer is no.

I suppose that there are many folk like me who spent all their gold hoping for a great game to go with the lovely models, and were disappointed. Despite this, and given the lack of resale value it’s hardly surprising, many have hung onto it.

I was looking at my copy the other day and wondering what to do with it. It may be worth half what I paid, if I could sell it. There’s certainly nothing else I want to use any of it for, so I can’t repurpose it to a different live project. Which left me to ponder whether it might be worth resurrecting the Salvage Project.

On the one hand I’m certainly not short of projects. On the other, it’s a big box of uselessness as it stands, and I need the shelf space for something else, or for it to earn its keep.

On balance, what seems like the best way forward is to give it one last go with the revised rules. The nightmares stopped a while back, and some of the cloying awfulness that hung around the box has dissipated. Maybe I can start from a relatively clean slate and see whether the revised game contains a worthwhile germ of a game I’d like to keep.

One more chance then. Fail here and it’s off to Davey Jones for sure…

Posted in Dreadfleet | 26 Comments