Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Castaways

A small selection of pieces from my latest commission. This one off to a chap in Spain ~ His fingers are crossed (and so are mine) it arrives in time for some Christmas Crusoe capers ;)

El campamento (con fuego), Turn marcador ... y Fur Shelter.

I'm also forever meaning to put size comparisons in with my pics; so here are a few sculpts from my own set and a few from the above commission ~ with an AA battery lurking amongst them...

Hmmm... I wonder what other game has been sucking
away my spare (and not-so-spare) time of late ;p

Oh, and apologies to those who have expressed interest in me putting up a polymer clay tutorial ... My bad, I still haven't got my A into G ~ but I promise ...soon. -_o

As usual ...feel free to check out more of my work for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island here.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Good morning, Sir. Welcome to the National Cheese Emporium!

Taking a break from Robinson Crusoe pieces, I had the chance to do a few sculpts for good ol' Mice & Mystics.

The 'Hook and Thread', I decided to do this time, on a base-plate. My Canadian friend thought pine boards would look the part. I think he was right ;)
The piece is a lot more sturdy than the original one I did for my set - which I've always found a little flexible. The new one also has the same footprint as the tile from the board game.

Hook, line ...and Emmental.

Watch your thumb.

I tried to go for cheeses similar to my set ...but thought I'd make the blue with a touch more blue in there ~ just to make it stand out from the crowd.
Makes me peckish just looking at 'em all ...mmmmm.

I'm going to get out the crackers.

The Essentials ;)

I got to make myself a new Hook and Thread too... 

I'm hooked, there's no denying it.

All tournament legal ;p

I think this was all a good omen... A few day's back I also received a mysterious email from Plaid Hat Games ~ something about a Priority Mail International package coming my way.
Do I smell more mice on the horizon? Could a pre-ordered Downwood Tales be in my near future?

I'll tell you this ...I'm going to be watching my postbox like a hawk!


Monday, 3 November 2014

Sick of Losing ...Must, Find, Cure.

Of course that's a lie... losing doesn't (99% of the time) bother me at all.

Generally it means you're playing against an opponent who's better, in which case you can learn something from them (if you're paying attention) ... or maybe you're new to the game playing others who know it, easily remedied through repeat plays ~ practice makes perfect ... or in the case of co op/ solitaire games, a loss can mean the game itself is actually presenting you with a challenge! And a good challenge is what I like.

Just a few days back I received a copy of...
Pandemic: The Cure ... Z-Man games were giving it away as a prize on the BoardGameGeek and I was lucky to be one of the handful of winners. Thank you Z-Man games ;)

Since my first game I have been hooked.
This is a co op in which a team of two to five individuals do their best to prevent four rapidly spreading insidious diseases from decimating the population of our planet.

A multitude of cube-like pathogens encroach across the globe.

Each of the diseases is represented by a different coloured die: red, blue. yellow and black. A certain number (depending on the infection rate) of these dice appear randomly around the globe following each players turn. When a particular continent houses too many of one of the four colours of dice, there is an outbreak and the disease spreads further across the globe.

To win you must find a cure for the diseases - to do this you must first treat the inflicted, take samples ...and then attempt to discover the cure, using the samples acquired. You roll a die for each sample you have in your possession, of one colour ...if you manage to score 13 or more - success! A cure found does not prevent the disease from rearing it ugly head up again ...but it does make it easier to treat.
When all four diseases have had a cure found for them the game is won.

The game though can be lost through three means. One; the bag containing the disease dice emptying, or two and three; the syringe marker reaching the end of the Infection or Outbreak tracks.

Our brave heroes ...faces obscured by stacks of action dice ~ my bad.

There are several different characters that are up for the task of saving mankind, each having their own special abilities. The Scientist gets a bonus when rolling to find a cure, the Dispatcher is great at providing transport to move himself and others around the globe, the Medic can treat masses of people at a time and the Generalist gets bonus action dice, for example. I select three random characters to use each time I play - the different combinations of skills make each game rather unique.

Speaking of action dice; each character has their own personal pool of dice - displaying icons specific to that character. Some of the icons are common to all of the different characters' dice, the Bio-hazard and Take Sample icons are two if them. Each turn you roll all of your available action dice (sample bottles containing diseases are locked). Any bio-hazard icons rolled advance the marker on the Infection Rate track ~ which may cause an epidemic, adding more disease dice to the continents, which may cause outbreaks, which may if you're unlucky cause further outbreaks, which may... You get the picture.

Events - our heroes need all the help they can get!

Any other dice rolled can either be spent on the actions displayed ...or re-rolled any number of times until either an action is revealed you'd like to perform, or a bio-hazard is rolled - which occurs, as above, and locks that die for the turn.

There are also Event cards that can be purchased for one-off effects ~ such as re-rolling dice, moving players around the globe and treating the sick. When you roll the disease dice to see where they appear on the globe, there is a chance you will come up with a cross icon, if this happens you place the die/dice on the CDC. These can be used to purchase event cards when the need arises.

Sitting out for the round while their associates fight for the fate of mankind.

I really like the challenge of this game. It appears to have a great balance between the randomness of where the diseases will appear and the results you'll get with your action dice rolls ...and the decisions on when and if you re-roll your action dice to try for the results you desire, and what you decide your actual plan is each round to contain the threats abound. I also like the fact you can play at varying difficulty levels ~ intro, normal and heroic. I played my first game on intro; each game since has been on normal - which is by no means easy - I think I've only beaten it twice in about ten games. I look forward to hitting heroic once I have a few more games under my belt.

Three down, one to go ...but an outbreak is imminent!

I play this predominantly solitaire and it is so good. It's a quick game too says thirty mins on the box, but I find playing alone I can finish in fifteen to twenty. One game was about ten minutes, but I don't recall that one going in my favour. The great thing about it being so quick is that you are very much (well I am) inclined to set it up for another round!

...and when I lose it just makes me want to try again. This time!!! This time I can beat it!!!! I CAN save humanity!!!! :)


Sunday, 26 October 2014

There's Shelter in them thar Hills

I don't know why I hadn't thought of making one of these for Robinson Crusoe before ... but after seeing a sweet piece by the fabulous Mr Petru of Hobold's Grotte I just had to try my hand at a Shelter (Natural).

Hmmmm... looks safe to me.

Hey, take a peek inside.

...are those paw prints?


...just kidding. Wink*


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Spreading the love (of Mr Crusoe)

Another Robinson Crusoe set has arrived in the hands of a keen gamer ...this time a resident of South Korea.

For this order I was asked to create versions of my small leaf and larger fur shelters.
Previous clients hadn't asked me to sculpt these particular pieces so I was excited to give them another shot.

I had definitely forgotten just how tricky that large shelter was to build ... phew. Rather happy with the results though.

A bundle of goodies.

After seeing the fire I had sculpted for my Denmark order, he had to have one too ...I still haven't made one for myself ;(

Mysterious furs from curious critters.

Whenever I buy packs of these little plastic resealable baggies
the store-owner always gives me a dubious look -_-


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ashore at last!

Awoken far too early I found myself having a parcel thrust into my hands.

"I thought I could hear strange noises coming from downstairs", she said " I was taking my shower. Afterwards I went down, opened the door and found this package. It says it's from Print Mighty. What have you ordered now!?"
"Nothing" I said, but I had a pretty good idea what was within.

Stunning cover art from Mr Dimitrievski.

I tore open, ok, carefully cut open the package and sure enough, to my delight, found a shiny new copy of Shipwrights of the North Sea. Generously donated to my collection by the games author, Shem Phillips of Garphill Games, for a touch of play-testing and editing I had done for this very title.

Time to build us some ships!

The quality is fabulous. A very sturdy linen laminate box; within are beautifully printed player boards and cards, also with linen laminate; wooden resource tokens, ships and workers ...all created specifically for the game ~ no common meeples here. A stand-up first player marker, point tokens, as well as a mini art-book showcasing the great art of Shipwright's artist Mihajlo Dimitrievski.
Great stuff ...I have a feeling Vikings will certainly be invading my games table this weekend.

Northmen, ships... and all you need to build 'em.

Little did  I know that later this day I would receive another surprise.
Checking my emails in the eve I found I had one from Z-Man games...

"Hello, Congratulations on winning our Pandemic: The Cure contest on BGG!".

It felt a bit strange that I would soon be having, fingers crossed, fun, playing a game revolving around an outbreak of a contagious diseases set to wipe out humanity with what's going on in the world at the moment. Hmm.

An offshoot of Matt Leacock's board-game Pandemic ~ a game I have never played but have always found looked intriguing. A dice based version. Disease busting Yahtzee ...looking forward!

Fast acting and fun!

Well, I can say I probably won't be sniffing the fresh gamy aroma from within the box when I spring the lid, just in case it contains a bit of extra 'theme'.

Thank you Z-Man games!!!

Between the two occurrences above I had been continuing with my Pathfinder Adventure Cardgame - Rise of the Runelords. Well, more of restarting it from scratch. Several months back I had acquired the base set, character add-on and first adventure pack. I played and found it very enjoyable.
If you love the die rolling part of role playing games like D&D and Pathfinder then this is a game (or could well be) for you. It's a bona fide 'roll' (the dice) playing game.

It's a full co-op that can be played with a handful of players ...or solitaire (which is how I tend to roll with this one).

There's an overarching story there (supposedly based upon a campaign from the Pathfinder role playing game) and each scenario contained within has an intro tale... but once the game has started it's all dice action. It's all about ability and skill checks ...gathering treasures, throwing spells, hacking monsters, visiting dangerous locations and tracking down and quelling major villains!

Missing livestock ...scorched earth ...sounds like something scaly afoot!

As you progress through the scenarios you gain better items, grow in power and abilities ...and gain larger pools of dice with which to adventure where no hero has adventured before ...unless you are re-playing a scenario you've tried before ...but failed (it does happen thank goodness - if there was no challenge where would be the fun) ;p

The fighter ...always a handy chap to have about.

The reason though that I've just restarted the whole thing is because I've gone ahead and grabbed the remaining adventure packs (a total of 6) as I saw that they were, well almost all of them, on sale at the Book Depository. On sale plus free shipping - it had to be done.
So with the full Rise of the Runelords set. I thought I'd scratch my old characters and start afresh.... Onward ho!

Another package at the door?....

What? ...more polyhedral dice? Huzzah!.


Monday, 29 September 2014


No new games of recent have really caught my eye ...ok, so that's a bit of a lie ~ quite a few have; but none have given me that 'must have urgently' feeling.
I though love to have the courier knocking at my door, so I thought I'd take a peek at the BoardGameGeek store and see if I could find some tasty morsels.
I was in luck. In the Promos area I located some great pieces that would slip right into a handful of my favourite games.

In just over a week there was a rapping on the door ...they had arrived.

A melange of cardboard goodness.

On occasion, when you get a full blown expansion for a game, you can find it changes the game you love into one you are not quite so fond of. The game may still be great ... but the something that made the core game amazing seems to have been lost.

I've found though that with these (new items that were just handed to me by my friendly local courier) and other promos I've acquired in the past, it's generally a case of adding a little more of what already existed in the game ~ but with a twist.

That said ... the promo for Robinson Crusoe: AotCI was something new to the game ... Personality Trait cards (pack #1). I haven't had a chance to play with them yet but I can see they will be interesting. Selected randomly, each adds a pro and a con to your character ... the Kid for example refuses to take part in a Hunt, being scared stiff of wild beasts, but if at some point a beast does break through the camp's palisade he has the ability to hide away safe from harm.

These sort of cards I can see just adding more variation, interest and difficulty (the good kind) to this already fabulous solitaire/co-op survival game ... looking forward ;)

Uh oh... a gimpy Explorer ~ this'll be tricky ;)

Next up were a small palmful of Village Bonus tiles for my newest game, one I absolutely love, Terra Mystica. These just add variation to the already available tiles, giving additional avenues for point scoring and advancement. Great stuff.

After a hard days building it was time for a cruise.

Another promo for the superb Keyflower; I have in the past acquired a few bonus items for this game... Key Celeste ~ the haunted brigantine, Emporium & Monument ...and now the Beekeeper.
Another tile in the mix, another way to gather points.  

Mmmmmm... honey!

Four anthropomorphic Mercenaries for Summoner Wars. A game I really like but just don't get the chance to play enough. I'll certainly be packing it in my bag the next time I head north (nudge nudge wink wink). I only have the Master Set so it'll be fun to discover which race these critters align with.

It's going all Kung Fu Panda. 

Another four cards ... this time for Troyes, an interesting dice based worker placement game.
This promo contained one new card for each faction and a new event.
This is a game I haven't played in some time ~ it is a goodie though... I think these fresh faces will inspire me to drag it off the shelf and onto the table. 

Looks like it's time for dinner... "for what we are about to receive..."

And if that all wasn't enough, a couple of days later a copy of Spielbox magazine appeared in my letterbox. Hey what's this tucked inside the bag... another promo... heaven forbid. Ooh, and it's another for that Terra Mystica. This time a new Round Bonus Tile ~ more power and victory points for shipping. Rubs hands together ;)

A good read with bonus cardboard.

Spielbox is also pretty good as they have a backlog of issues from over the past few years ... each with different boardgame promos within ... well worth a look if you're that way inclined.

For now though, I'm going to have to shelf all these goodies as I've just had another commission for a large bundle of my hand-sculpted Robinson Crusoe components. So it's time to get out my clay and tools, slip on my glasses ~ my ageing eyes just aren't what they used to be ...and get to work.
Luckily I love creating pieces for games as much as I like playing them.

Happy Gaming!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tasty Tasty Pastries

I'm always glad to be able to wipe the beads of sweat from my brow and breathe again when I hear that a parcel I've sent has reached it's destination.
A cache of Robinson Crusoe pieces for a charming bloke from the land of those delicious baked goods (among other things), Denmark.

The happy client himself.

Included among the pieces was my very first fire, that can be placed atop the camp fireplace when the need arises. Now I just have to make one for myself too. ;)

Relax in front of the blazing fire on the lion-skin rug ...cosy.

The full set ...double the wood, double the fun!

You'd think after making a few of these fur shelters it would get easier ...but you'd be wrong. I'm always up for the challenge though, even if it does involve a bit of hair loss along the way. ;p

When the fire dies down it's time to snuggle up inside the toasty teepee.

This smile is almost payment enough ;p

Feel free to check out some other things I've created for Robinson Crusoe AotCI here.
Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Digging in the Dirt

A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to get my paws on a game I'd had my eye on for some time ...the fabulous Terra Mystica from designers Jens Drögemüller and Helge Ostertag. I must say, this game has really struck a chord with me; after my first play I had fallen in love with it. I had read and/or watched several reviews and game-play run-throughs so had a reasonable feeling that it was going to be a game that I'd like ...but you never truly know if a game will be a winner until you've sat down and actually played the thing. I can see why it's ranked #4 (well, it was number #4 when I started writing this but now I see it's crept up to #3! ...Edit: and now 2 days after posting it's hit #2) on the BoardGameGeek.

Witches vs Nomads.

Each player controls a different fantastical race; giants, mermaids, witches and darklings, to name a few ~ there are 14 to choose from and each has it's own unique powers and weaknesses. The game-board shows a land divided into hexes, each hex one of 7 different terrain types ...and each race particularly likes one of these; mountains for the giants, lakes for the mermaids, forest for the witches and swamp for the darklings etcetera etcetera ...this is the only terrain the particular race will build it's structures upon. All races though have the ability to terraform types of land they don't like into their own, the difficulty of the transformation depends on how similar the land-types are.

More camels than you can shake a very dessicated stick at.

Every race has it's own player-board upon which their unbuilt structures reside;  as a race builds new structures on the map they reveal resources that were concealed beneath them on their boards that will be available in following rounds. Some buildings provide an instant benefit upon building them, and others open an extra special race ability.

Classic broom-riding witches ...wheeeeee!

At first glance the races may all seem rather similar, but at a closer look you'll notice small differences ...costs to build structures, what resources the structures provide, special abilities ...and other little differences. If you find you do well with one race, then try the same play style with one of the others, there's a good chance the outcome will be very different.

Priests off working at Cult headquarters.

To prevent players from hiding away in their own little corners of the board the designers have made it beneficial (to all involved) when building adjacent to another race's structures. The builder can get things constructed at a lower cost, while players with neighbouring structures can gain power. This makes for some tactical plays ... especially when there are a larger number of players at the table.

Land, workers, cash and power ...what more do you need.

The other mechanic that really makes this game is the (3) bowls of power. The power is accumulated through various means and can be used to perform certain special actions.
These abilities are once-per-rounders and first in first served. If power is spent from a player's third bowl, they get to keep the power spent ~ it is moved to the lowest bowl. If it is paid from their second bowl, the player permanently loses an additional amount equal to what was paid ~ this is not always a bad thing, but does reduce their overall power pool. Any power gained during the game is not added into their pool, but rather moved from their lowest bowl to the next one up; the power circulating round and round as it is spent and gained. The mechanic is very cool.

The Tri-Pools of POWER!!!

I've mainly played this as a 2-player game and I've enjoyed it each and every time. I can see though that it would certainly get better with more at the table. I can also see that if you played this predominantly as a game with several players'd possibly not be a fan of the 2-player game due to the lower chance of the 'building adjacent' aspect not cropping up as much.

Grinning evilly, my better half takes the win ...again.

Currently this is my go-to game ...and I'm certainly looking forward to the extra tiles I've ordered via the BGG store and the Spielbox shop ;)
Fingers crossed our postie doesn't fold the package, emblazoned with "DO NOT FOLD", in half and force it into the letterbox slot like last time.


Monday, 4 August 2014

A Package for a Far-Away Land

Well, it's been a few days since my last post ... but I have been at least productive.
A lucky someone ...with a rather good taste in games (and art ... if I do say so myself) will be receiving a marker upgrade package in their mailbox in the near future for their copy of Robinson Crusoe: AotCI.

It's a little sad to see your creations you've spent so many hours on packaged up and sent off (to New Jersey in this case) ...but I am certain they will be well loved where they're going.

One of the pieces commissioned was the Shelter marker. For my copy of the game I made myself a leaf shelter, but I was requested to create one of fur. Even though I had made a fur shelter before (for my Shelter Building space) it didn't reduce the challenge of this sculpt was a tricky little blighter.
I spent an afternoon making one that in the end I just wasn't totally happy with ~ I have kept it, but spent the next day working on another, which I was much happier with ...seen below.

A cosy place to spend the night

Throw another log on the fire

A smorgasbord of castaway delights

The full commission ~ off to a new home in the U S of A

Bundled up in bubble-wrap :)

Feel free to take a peek at the work I've done for my own copy of the RC:AotCI if you so desire.

Phew ... now I can relax for a few days and might actually get the chance to play a game or two and recharge the batteries ;)