Thursday, 29 December 2016

The 2016 Festive Haul



The Christmas tree was fruitful! My tactic for this year’s ‘subtle hint campaign’ focused on board games rather than wargaming reinforcements, reasoning that anything easily found in popular non-gamer online stores, like Amazon for example, has more of a chance of finding its way onto Santa’s sleigh. And it paid off! A cunning plan!

If there was one game that really hoped for it, was Osprey’s 75th Anniversary edition of the iconic Escape from Colditz. Pure nostalgia in a box! And, thanks to my fantastic wife, it was there waiting for me amongst all the other garishly wrapped presents being handed out during the traditional Christmas morning family frenzy of paper shredding and half-hearted “Oh…thanks. Just what I wanted” affectations, as a paper and hugely wasteful packaging mountain erupted in my mother’s conservatory.

And that’s not all. Amongst the other gifts, including my mother’s annual obsession with buying me huge packs of ‘traditional’ underwear – I’ve no idea what she thinks this middle-aged man-boy wears the rest of the year - the second objective from my pre-Christmas subtle suggestions campaign surfaced amongst the orange chocolate eggs and bathroom soap kits (the source of much over packaging); Mission to Mars 2049! (https://www.mars2049.com/) Yes! Result! A spot of Mars colonisation is on trend. Now there were two quality board games with alluring artwork amongst the Christmas paper rubble.

The biggest surprise came in the form of two gifts of gaming goodliness courtesy of my brother-in-law, Ironman John, who I hadn’t targeted but the Gaming Force is strong in this one. Another fine example of board game artwork burst from John’s uniquely wrapped Christmas paper; Widow’s Walk – the first expansion to Betrayal at House on the Hill. Strike three! Thanks John!

And to top off the board game one-two-three, John somehow got his hands on some pure wargaming kit in the form of 4-Ground’s Gencon exclusive – The Eightfold Path Beast Wagon! This was a bit of a gaming curve ball that I certainly wasn’t expecting! I'm not sure it went into full production as I can't find it on 4-Ground's website. But what a brilliant wee gift from someone who knows my wargaming habits. This 28mm bestial conveyance came with some intriguing artwork too. Further investigation required. I’m certain that it'll soon find its way onto the fantasy gaming table. I’ll just have to source a suitable monster. Maybe a Trump Ogre.

For Festive back-up, I brought along a couple of ‘just in case’ games for Christmas Day and Boxing Day - Zombicide and the original Pandemic. Wonderfully Christmassy don’t you think?! The latter was still sealed as I’d only purchased it a few weeks before and still hadn’t got to playing this much-vaunted game. Thankfully, its time came on Boxing day evening where I inhaled that new box aroma as its plastic membrane was peeled off. Ironman John and The Teenager joined me trying to curtail and eventually eradicate the spread of virulent diseases around the world. 
I thoroughly enjoyed Pandemic. It lived up to all the buzz around this cooperative board game. Any game that actually encourages The Teenager not to go all rogue and instead work for the common gaming goal was a great achievement. Although, if we’d had time to unwrap Escape from Colditz I’d have no doubt that he’d opt for the prison guards!

So, all in all, a fine haul. Of course, full reports from Mars, Colditz Castle and a creepy old mansion coming up soon. In the meantime, I hope my reader had a similarly fruitful gaming Christmas.

I’ll wish you all a Happy New Year and I’ll be back in early January with the annual review and look ahead.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the excellent (but fiddly to put together; expletive factor 10) 4-Ground 'Eightfold Path' Beast Wagon; the balsa cement and black primer are still drying!