Peter Hazlewood

Recent Posts

Ruthless: first impressions

Two years ago I was lucky enough to attend Essen Spiel to demo for Richard Denning's Nine Worlds. I was given the Thursday off to soak up the atmosphere and take a look at some games and was attracted to Roland MacDonald's little stand showing off his prototype for Ruthless: Legends of the Black Flag. The selling points were Pirates, and it being a different kind of deck builder, and of course incredible artwork as that is Roland's day job. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've now played it twice. Time for first impressions.

4p game at Bromsgrove Board Gamers

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GI2018: the full report

The Great Indoors 2018

Saturday 28th - Sunday 29th July at Bromsgrove Council House

We had more than 100 people attend over the whole weekend, though the exact number is unknown because I managed to recycle the paperwork. Sorry folks!

Exhibitors

This year we played host to Mythic Games, with their prototypes of the upcoming release Solomon Kane, Asgard Games who brought their retail stock to sell, and the ever-present Medusa Games demonstrating multiple games including Essen 2018 release Magnificent Flying Machines and a world exclusive premiere for a King of the Castle-themed family game.

Solomon Kane

Mark demoing Solomon Kane

Asgard Games

Just a small selection of games then Vince

King of the Castle

Richard Denning's King of the Castle game. You saw it here first!

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My top ten UKGE 2018 moments

UK Games Expo: better than Christmas for gamers

Those were the thoughts of my friend Kev, but I completely concur. This year, my UKGE experience was better than ever...and also rather different. I went on the Friday and Saturday but wasn't heading into the convention with masses of plans of demos and buying. Instead I had a couple of stands to visit, a few purchases/sales to pickup/deliver, and nothing else concrete. Instead, I would play some games, stroll round the halls seeing what piqued my interest...and spend some time with friends. So, here's my top ten UKGE 2018 moments.

Open gaming

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Solomon Kane @ GI2018

Solomon Kane

What is Solomon Kane?

Based upon the stories by Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan), Solomon Kane is a narrative adventure board game featuring exceptional 35mm miniatures. It is a highly innovative co-operative game of storytelling, resource management, and tactical miniatures play. Players take the part of the invisible powers of good and light who aid Solomon Kane in his quest to overcome the forces of Darkness. Each player is one of the four Cardinal Virtues: Courage, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice, each with special powers that reflect their unique role. Drawing upon Howard’s famous tales of the Puritan avenger, the core box allows players to tell their own versions of the Rattle of Bones, Skulls in the Stars, and Blue Flame of Vengeance. Expansions recreate Howard’s other Solomon Kane stories, as well as adding original adventures for the hero, created especially for the game.

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GI2018

What's on

If you've been waiting patiently (or otherwise) for news about The Great Indoors 2018 then your wish is now granted. Check out everything we've got in store for you so far. Hopefully we'll have more to add to this list of features in the weeks building up to the event.

Loads of open gaming space with signal system for finding games/gamers

People who've attended our first two events in 2016 and 2017 told us how much they valued lots of space for open gaming. This year's venue is much larger than last year and has masses of space for people who just want to game. We also have our signal system to make it easy to find games with open slots or attract gamers to join your game.

Open gaming

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Playing with your Mind

Our good friends over at Herefordshire Board Gamers have been busy little bees arranging multiple upcoming events. The first of two charity game days, from 11am to 11pm, is on March 31st and will be a relaxed affair while an "extravaganza mega fundraiser" is being held on May 19th.

Last, but certainly not least, is their rescheduled 24 hour board game-a-thon (with the original event snowed under) being held on April 28th.

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The Great AireCon

I attended my second AireCon over the weekend of 9th-11th March. 2017 was my first visit to both Harrogate and indeed AireCon; I spent much of that weekend wandering around feeling a little lost in this new place with very few people I really knew also in attendance. This year would be rather different. Firstly, Emma agreed to attend on the Friday which was the first convention she's voluntarily attended purely as a consumer (rather than at The Great Indoors, or exhibiting at UKGE last summer). Secondly, thanks to a natural progression of meeting new friends at various board game events- and the magnificent Board Game Trading and Chat UK Facebook group- there were plenty of lovely gamers who I would have the pleasure of meeting for the first time in person, or spending time with again.

AireCon sign

Photo courtesy of Allen O'Connor, featured on his blog Glass Bead Boardgames

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The Uwe Rosenberg progress report

As readers of my recent Top 50 games (as of 2017) blogs will have noticed, one designer's games occupied the positions of No.1 and No.2: Uwe Rosenberg. Anyone who has been involved in the hobby for even a short amount of time will likely have come across his games and/or know his name. He's managed to publish hit after hit in recent years and the announcement of an upcoming Rosenberg release generates a lot of interest; this is not just due to the hype bug but a result of his great popularity amongst gamers who enjoy challenging Eurogames. He has 7 games in the Boardgamegeek Top 100, and 4 within the Top 50, a record that no other designer can rival. Vlaa Chvatil: 3 in the Top 100 (3/0 1-50/51-100) because I do not count two versions of the same game. Matt Leacock: 2/2. Stefan Feld: 1/1. Eric Lang: 1/2. Martin Wallace: 1/1. You get the idea. While the BGG rankings cannot be anything but a collection of subjective opinions, they do at least give us a useful indication of the relative merits of thousands upon thousands of games.

Uwe's Top 100 representatives

So...I thought I'd give a brief account of all the Rosenberg games I've tried so far. 11! Wow. Maybe a better blogger would've checked that first before deciding to write an article about them. I knew I'd played a few...! Read on, if you're brave enough.

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 10-1

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 10-1. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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It's hot in here. An interview with AireCon founder Mark Cooke

One of the joys of board gaming, for me at least, is going along to conventions. There's something wonderfully uplifting about walking into a place and seeing masses of people looking at/demoing/playing board games. It makes me feel included; among friends. Last year, whilst attending Dragonmeet in London, I entered a competition to win a brand new copy of Terraforming Mars, the big hotness of 2016. This was being run by the organisers of AireCon who were there drumming up support for their own convention, held annually in Harrogate. You can imagine my disappointment delight when I found out I'd won second prize: a free ticket to AireCon 2017.

AireCon logo

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 20-11

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 20-11. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 30-21

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 30-21. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Peter's Top 50 (2017): 40-31

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 40-31. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Peter's Top 50 (2017): 50-41

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version starting with games 50-41. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Shogun: a review

We all love new games- at least that seems to be the case for the vast majority of board gamers. There's a thrill of being amongst the first to enjoy a new experience; your opinions and feedback seem that much more valuable because there isn't a long list of people who have been there done it.

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Announcing GI2018

BIG NEWS! The Great Indoors is back for its third year in 2018.

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July GI2018 will take place at Parkside Suite, Bromsgrove. You may or may not be aware but this is the first time the event will run over two days. We are very keen to cater for increasing numbers of attendees and provide the best experience possible. To that end, we have received feedback suggesting there is demand for a whole weekend event; in addition it was always our aim eventually for The Great Indoors to be a weekend event. We feel that the time is right for this and hope that you'll be able to join us for one or even both days. While pricing is not finalised at this point, having the venue for two days will enable us to offer weekend tickets at a reduced rate while not penalising those who wish to only attend for one day.

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Via Nebula: a review. Martin Wallace + fantasy = masterpiece?

Background

Martin Wallace is a very famous British game designer and many of his games centre around trains: building routes, buying shares, collecting and using resources. Three of his most famous games are Age of Steam, Steam and Railways of the World (co-designed with Glenn Drover). They share certain similarities and design elements and range from medium difficulty (Railways of the World) to the more heavyweight end of the spectrum (Age of Steam).

Craftsman and wheat

In 2016, Via Nebula was published by Space Cowboys and if you've not come across this game before I'd imagine you're wondering round about now what trains have got to do with anything? Bear with me.

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AOX preview

One of the benefits of running your own event is that you get to meet some great people throughout the board gaming world.

Chris 'Shep' Shepperson

Shep

We backed Shep's first published game, Package!?, last year which successfully funded on Kickstarter and were impressed with the design. It's a highly abstract game for 2-4 players that can (eventually) be played in around 10 minutes. It does, however, have a steep learning curve for such an ostensibly simple game and certainly isn't for everybody. Now step up AOX, coming soon to Kickstarter.

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GI2017: the full report

The Great Indoors 2017

Saturday 29th July at Arrow Valley Visitor Centre

Exhibitors

It was great to see many people taking advantage of our exhibitor demos/playtests.

Dice Hospital

Dice Hospital prototype with Mike Nudd

Four Elements

Michael Mita's Four Elements

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The Great Indoors 2017

The Great Indoors full logo

Excitement is building so it's time to share some more specifics about what will be happening on the day.

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Competition winners

This is just a quick announcement to confirm the winners of the early bird prize draw.

1st place: Ben Gallant - £30 voucher

2nd place: Emma Davies - Terraforming Mars

3rd place: David Tomlinson - Roll Player

The prizes are on their way now from The Board Game Hut so all that remains is to congratulate the winners, and wish them masses of enjoyment, thank The Board Game Hut for sponsoring our event with these amazing prizes, and lastly to encourage any readers who haven't yet bought tickets for our upcoming event on Saturday 29th July in Redditch to consider attending. More details will follow but for now please head to The Great Indoors event to find out more.

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Board game terminology: a guide

Contributor Zara Shoosmith recently wrote an article about board game terminology and how their widespread use in conversations can be confusing and intimidating to new gamers. I am guilty of assuming that everyone will understand when I use a term such as 'king-making'; I do not use the term to consciously exclude people from the conversation but that is in fact a likely result. This whole topic is an issue I had not considered before; joining a board game group already has significant barriers to entry and we must do what we can to make new gamers as comfortable as possible. In future I will try to make sure that if I use jargon, I immediately offer an explanation to those who may not understand. If you are a new gamer, there is also something you can do: read around the topic, consume lots of board game media and, if necessary, consult this handy reference guide designed to explain terms that you may come across.

Confused Peter looking at a dictionary

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Kodama: a review. The family game with depth.

Background

Kodama: The Tree Spirits was released in 2016, designed by Daniel Solis and originally published in English by Action Phase Games and Indie Boards and Cards.

Kodama box

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I find making friends hard; gaming helps

I have suffered with depression for a number of years now; it's hard to say exactly how long. Thankfully, unlike millions of other similarly-afflicted people in the world, I'm a board gamer. Out in the real world, being an introvert hinders my ability to make friends and depression and anxiety symptoms have done nothing to improve this. If you can relate to this then my first piece of advice would be to go to a regular gaming group. Emma and I had lived in Bromsgrove for 4 years by the time I formed Bromsgrove Board Gamers. How many good friends had I made in that time? Not many. Fast forward another 3 years and we have made some great friends, all through the joys of gaming.

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Top Ten quick 2 player games

Many games are advertised as suitable for 2 players but really only shine with more. Here is a Top Ten list of games that work very well with 2 players and are played in approximately 15-30 minutes. They are also readily available to purchase at the time of publishing- see links and prices below.

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Announcing The Great Indoors 2017

The Great Indoors 2017 event banner

It's back, it's bigger and it's better than ever before; its the The Great Indoors 2017. Following the tremendous success of our debut event in July 2016 we are delighted to announce the return of Worcestershire's premier board game event. It will be held on Saturday 29th July 2017 at Arrow Valley Visitor Centre, Redditch.

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Emerson Matsuuchi: an interview with the designer of Specter OPS

Those who know me know that I love games in the 'hidden movement' genre. On New Year's eve I published my top 50 games in a blog on boardgamegeek with Specter OPS top of the pile. It is my favourite game so I decided to seek an interview with the designer, Emerson Matsuuchi. Here is that conversation, for your enjoyment. You can also click here for our Specter OPS review.

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Specter OPS: a review

Background

Specter Ops was a 2015 release by Plaid Hat Games and designer Emerson Matsuuchi and belongs to the hidden movement genre, a mechanism I have found very enjoyable and frankly under-used in board gaming. Try and think of a few...you'll probably name Fury of Dracula, Letters from Whitechapel and Scotland Yard; there are others of course but these are arguably the most famous games in this category. Scotland Yard is a light family game, Letters from Whitechapel is a bit more grizzly thanks to its theme but the gameplay is fairly straightforward, and Fury of Dracula is a deeper and longer experience that has benefited from two new editions over the years, the latest also released in 2015.

Specter Ops board

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Call for contributors

Ever wanted to see your name in lights? Dreaming of your 5 minutes of fame?

We are looking for bloggers who are a little bit different; people who write for the fun of it; people who adore table top gaming. If you're interested in blogging on The Great Indoors then please email Peter .

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Waggle Dance: a review

Background

Waggle Dance was released in 2014 by Grublin Games and designed by Mike Nudd. As is standard operation for Cornwall-based publishers Grublin Games, the game was crowdfunded by a Kickstarter campaign and is now available from retailers. Speaking personally, it can be frustrating when a game is created for a Kickstarter campaign but then unavailable for those who didn't back it. No fear of that with Grublin Games: we salute you!

Waggle Dance

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My board gaming genesis

I got into board gaming through a friend at church, the right honourable Neil Curtis. Because he's an unassuming, diffident kind of chap, he let me pick the games from his collection that I wanted to play. Rather than condescending by starting me off with 'gateway' games, he let me chart the course, probably reasoning that it's more important to garner enthusiasm for this wonderful hobby than to insist on starting with simpler games and moving from there.

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Crisis: a review

Background - Why I bought Crisis

When I found out a few weeks ago that I would be going to my first Essen Spiel, one of the first things I looked at was the Spiel Preview page on BGG, curated by the fantastic W. Eric Martin. This is a one-stop shop for all games being released at Essen and believe me, it was exhaustive: 32 pages long at the last count. Sorted by publisher, you can find details on just about every game either being released or demoed prior to Kickstarter campaigns etc.

Crisis board game

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The Great Indoors 2016

Saturday 30th July was the culmination of a year and a half's work: the Great Indoors came to Bromsgrove Rugby Club. For no good reason, other than wishing that there were more local board game events (and I like organising things), I had decided to explore the possibility of creating my very own event and turn this

Empty Bromsgrove Rugby Club

into this

The Great Indoors 2016 in full flow

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