Monday, March 21, 2011


I've been aware of Minecraft for a while now, perhaps since around mid-2010. I've seen some really cool videos on YouTube and have been considering getting the game for several months. Well, tonight I finally decided to take the plunge and purchased the Beta version. Yep, that's right, it's a game that is still in development but by January 2011 it had already had over 1,000,000 units sold.

Minecraft is a sandbox building game written in Java. The worlds are made up of three-dimensional blocks set in a grid pattern. Each block (and at this point in time there are well over 100 different types) represent various items or terrain. Players can destroy and create blocks, changing the landscape to their desire.

The graphics are very basic but it doesn't take great graphics to make a great game, it's the gameplay that counts. Gameplay is where Minecraft shines. It's a game that is part exploration, part role-play, part resource management and part creative building. It's also a lot of fun.

Type Minecraft in the search field on YouTube to see some game play. Also check out this post on VideoGameGeek by user ekted.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gaming with Grandma - 122

Another Saturday morning gaming with my mum (AKA Grandma) and 9 year old daughter Maddie. Our game of choice today was the recently acquired Forbidden Island by Matt Leacock, the designer of Pandemic.

Players in this game play explorers searching an island for four powerful artifacts. They must locate all four artifacts and lift off the island in a helicopter to win the game. The only problem is that the island is quickly sinking into the ocean and the players must work cooperatively to shore up flooded areas and find the artifacts.

The island - pale blue tiles are flooded and the gaps are tiles that have sunk

There are six different roles randomly assigned to the 2-4 players. Each role has special abilities to assist in the mission. In this our first game Grandma was the Engineer, Maddie was the Explorer and I was the Diver.

There is also a water level track. We started off on the Novice level which starts the water at the lowest level.

The mechanics are fairly straightforward with players taking up to three actions, taking two treasure cards and then taking a certain number of flood cards depending on the current water level. Maddie quickly picked this up and was soon suggesting actions for Grandma and I. I was pleased to hear her exclaim during the game "This is really exciting" and "This is fun".

We went on to win our first game at Novice level.

Later that afternoon after Grandma had left Maddie requested another game with just the two of us. We started at Normal level with her being the Pilot and me the Messenger. We did win, but it was fairly close. We'll up the difficulty to Elite level in our next game.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Some new games

I can't believe it's been over a year since I last purchased some board games. I've certainly got a list of games on my "to buy" list but haven't been tempted until a recent Milsims Games overstock sale.

I picked up the following games for some good discounted prices:

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sir Arthur takes one on the chin

I had the opportunity to try Commands & Colors: Napoleonics this morning with an old gaming opponent of mine, Chris (AKA BGG User Banjo666). Chris taught me how to play the miniatures rules DBM and it's probably been a good 8 or 9 years since we last saw each other or gamed together.

We played Chris' copy of the game and he had the first scenario set up for me when I arrived. It was the Rolica1 (French First Position) 17 August 1808 scenario which was historically part of the Peninsular War. I played the British/Portuguese army under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley (more famously known as The Duke of Wellington) versus the French under the command of General Henri Delaborde.

Historical Background

After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?

The field of battle at the end

It was to be an unhistorical result to the real battle of Rolica with my British/Portuguese force eventually losing 3 banners to 5 against the French.

I love the Commands & Colors series of games by Richard Borg. C&C Napoleonics is a fine new edition to this series and although similar in play to other games in the series, it does capture the feel of warfare in the Napoleonic period. I loved the rule for Infantry being able to form square when threatened by Cavalry, and also the rules for Combined Arms Combat and national differences to similar types of units.

I'm looking forward to further games.