Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Intrigue

Someone once asked, "this is Christmas, and what have you done?" The answer each year, as you might expect, was "played more games." This year was no different, and to celebrate in style for the last gaming session of 2014 (a fantastic year for gaming which we will look at before the year is out), the Knaves did the big Christmas gaming night last Thursday. Coffee, sugar, and lots more sugar, but we are here to talk about the games. Naturally when you put 10 people into a 6 person space, the group tends to migrate in different directions, and so while some of us may have separated out and began the night with some gambling on a camel race (more on that in said 2014 segment), we completed the evening with a classic of the modern age of gaming that is suitable for both newbies and vets alike; Lords of Waterdeep.

Lords of Waterdeep is set in the Forgotten Realms world of Dungeons and Dragons. We all play as lords that make up the government of the city-state of Waterdeep. During the game we are trying to gather adventurers to our side to set out and complete certain tasks and quests of interest for us. The game runs off of simple worker placement mechanics, but is set apart by a unique intrigue system that is used to get an edge over your opponent(s). Every player starts with a number of agents which they use to gather adventurers in their tavern in the hopes of completing a number of quest cards on their board, which range from 'churchly' matters of Piety to the debauchery and deviousness of Skullduggery. Normally completion will award victory points and sometimes some other rewards. Some of these quests also reveal a plot which benefits the player throughout the game (this usually revolves around trying to complete a number of the same type of quests or getting bonuses for gathering certain types of adventurers). As is probably no surprise, whoever has the most points at the end of the game's 8 rounds wins.

Another unique side to Lords of Waterdeep that sets it apart from the likes of Agricola or Puerto Rico however is the inclusion of the fabled Lords of Waterdeep themselves. Anyone privy to the world of Dungeons and Dragons knows that these lords and ladies run the city, and use magical masks to keep their identities secret. The game plays into that by assigning one of these figures to each player in secret at the start of the game. Each has their own objective that will earn them bonus points at the end, so no two players are ever trying for the exact same thing. Because of this mechanic the game really is never over until it is over, a sign, in my opinion, of a very well made game. Our game Thursday night was no different as despite some very clear early leads from two players, the end board shown to your right tells a very different story.

Lords of Waterdeep is a very simple game but no less fun or tactical for that matter. As I mentioned earlier, it is great for both new and experienced players alike, and in my opinion, is one of the shining examples of what board gaming is all about over the last few years. I daresay it might be my favourite game of recent times, and I gave it 10/10 on Board Game Geek. The game was also featured on TableTop, so if you would like to see it in action, just take a look at the video below.


Lords of Waterdeep is a perfect example of a worker placement game done right. So whether it is Lords of Waterdeep, or something different like Agricola or Revolution, what is your favourite worker placement game and why?

Please leave a comment with your answer, and tune in next time. You've been Tabled!


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

You've been Tabled!

Morning folks.

Some time ago, there was this thing called Warhammer. It was awesome, and I got pretty good at it. I started to blog about my experiences, my armies, my progress, and things went from there. Over time, however, the game became too expensive and the joy of the game became diluted largely by over-pushy tournament play. I drifted away from that which brought me into the world of gaming, and so the blog came to a close.

Key in some date maybe two years ago, and I rediscovered my love of gaming through those that started it all, board games. Many of you may have heard, but apparently we currently live in a golden age of board games, and I couldn't agree more. Games are so accessible to people now, but more importantly, people have finally realized that there is nothing wrong in enjoying them, and finally come out of the shell. Say what you will; everybody is a gamer whether they want to admit it or not.

So, where is this all going? Well, it brings me to the here and now, and this here new blog. Over the past few years, while enjoying playing as many games as I can in what time I can, I have also gotten heavily involved in the gaming scene again here in Limerick, and by extension Ireland (its a small country). This has been capped by my involvement in two large and successful gaming events, BroCon and Knavecon. The important thing about gaming events is they achieve the main goal of gaming on a mass scale; bringing people together.

And that is the main aim of this blog. Through reviewing games, talking about events, and raising issues, my hope is to get people really talking about games, because talking about it is the first step to helping the scene grow. A key issue discussed a lot is the value of face-to-face versus online gaming, and so I intend to look at video games as well every so often, as they fill their own role in things.

With each article I intend to finish with a question to the audience to try and spark some discussion. When people talk about games, they want to play games, and when they play games, our work has achieved something. So over the coming months, expect lots of reviews (there are too many games out there for only a handful of people to cover), lots of discussion, and lots of fun.

Get geared up, assemble your party, and prepare to be Tabled.


And so to start right off the bat, today I ask you simply; what particular games and/or gaming related topics might you like to see covered on Tabled?